Tame the Email Beast and Have Time To Run Your Urban Homestead

...not “mobile”. If you hear a “busy signal” (oldsters can tell you what that sounds like) it means I’m talking to someone else and don’t even know you’re trying to call. You should call again later.  The Western Electric 500 does not function as a map, camera, meat thermometer or allow me to update my Facebook page.  But it has a nice ring, and I do love hearing the sound of your voice. Bloggin’ at...

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Giveaway: What’s your favorite tip?

We want to give away a copy of our new book, Making It . To make this contest interesting for everyone, we’re asking you to give us a homesteading-type tip to enter. Leave us a comment on almost any subject you’ve had some experience with: gardening, fermenting, brewing, sewing, livestock, foraging, cleaning, cooking, building, general common sense–really, it can be just about anything. And the tip doesn’t have to be big...

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National Wildlife Federation Teams with Scotts

...nsist of actual people meeting face to face to do things like building school gardens, teaching permaculture and making our neighborhoods safer. For more background on this controversy see Garden Rant.  And leave a comment on the NWF’s Facebook page. Update: NWF has announced that they are giving up on this partnership citing Scott’s legal troubles  “related to events in 2008 that predate our partnership.” I’m still...

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Of Stickers and Boomers

...y sloths? you might ask along the way, if your internet video viewing habits are like mine. Best not to think of it as a video. Think of it as a radio program, settle down to listen and you will be truly and deeply rewarded. I had trouble embedding the video, but you can view it on its NEH page. Berry comes on stage at about the 11:00 mark. Or, if you prefer, you can read it here. I’m reading it now after my listen, and am just beginning to...

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Be a question. Be an answer.

...with a resounding thud. Let’s talk menstruation. We’re writing a new book, as we may have mentioned. It’s a project book focused on making some of the basic necessities of life yourself, whether that be a compost pile, a bar of soap, or a breath mint. It’s almost done (thank mercy), but at this late date I’ve realized one subject we haven’t covered is The Ladies Only Subject. Periods do necessitate accouterment...

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Stirred, Not Shaken

...e horns–that they represented a higher world unified with the earth by being buried and containing manure. It’s a symbol that recalls the ouroboros, the snake chasing it’s own tail, representing the cycles of nature, combined with the “as above, so below” gesture the magician in the tarot deck is making below. All this makes more sense if you compost! Now I’m a big fan of the scientific method (yea soil tests!)...

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How to Cycle Safely

...Many cities also have bike maps that can also be handy. When going through an intersection watch out for people making left tuns. Assume that you are not seen even if you are wearing a florescent pink bunny suit. Also watch out for people making right turns. Always assume the worst is about to happen and have a plan to either turn quickly or slam on the brakes. Avoid the door zone. There are rare exceptions when I will dip into the door zone bri...

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Shameless Self Promotion, With Kitten

We’ve heard from several people that Making It is an excellent sleep aid. Just a reminder that our two books, Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World and The Urban Homestead make great holiday gifts. There’s also a Kindle edition of both Making It andThe Urban Homestead if you’re e-inclined. Even if you just click through our Amazon bookstore (on the right column) and don’t buy any of our books, we...

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Doomsday Preppers: Exploitative, Uninteresting, Unreal “Reality”

...of its cynical producer, that you are crazy if you don’t just “act normal”, consume and shop. It holds its subjects up for ridicule because they are self-actuated people and, hence, “different”. The people profiled (victimized would be a better word) on Doomsday Preppers are actually getting up off the couch and doing something: growing food, building communities and making sensible preparations. My heart goes out t...

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Build Your Own Furniture

...raw bale and rammed earth houses. All of these innovative architectural ideas may have great potential, but when it comes time to buy supplies at the lumber yard, the overly creative builder will soon realize the difficulty of utopian designs in a world of 4 by 8 sheets of plywood and drywall. That geodesic shape is hip, but what do you do with the rest of the plywood sheet once you cut it out? The same limitation applies to making furniture. Tha...

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