Have We Reached Peak Kale? Franchi’s Cavolo Laciniato “Galega De Folhas Lisas”

...o 2 feet apart is my guess for spacing. This variety caught my eye when I overheard a farmer talking about it in the Heirloom Seed Store’s booth. He liked it a lot but complained that his customers would not buy it because of its unusual appearance. I do think there’s an opportunity for an enterprising young farmer to raid the Franchi catalog and grow a farmers market booth full of Italian (and in this case Galacian) vegetables. If yo...

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How To Make a Cotton Ball Fire Starter

...ow to make a cotton ball fire starter. It’s easy: Rub some petroleum jelly in a couple of cotton balls and store them in a pill bottle. That’s it. We got five and half minutes of burn time–most of that strong flame–out of the ball we made for this video. Them dead dinosaurs burn good! Make some of these and the next time you need to start a fire in a hurry, or under less-than-perfect conditions, you’ll be a happy cam...

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Fabulous Postcards from HenCam

...e from farm people if you go far enough back. The land is in our blood, and as those of us who have rediscovered the joy of keeping smallstock, whether those be bees or hens or goats, our connection with animals comes right back, too. And of course, we love our dogs, whether we’re farmers or townfolk. That goes without saying! So we thought we’d give a shout out to Terry for her great books. They are heavy, 5″ x 7″ cards b...

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Did Kelly follow her 2012 resolutions?

...new passport, and making appointments for a physical, a dental exam and an eye exam. (In terms of engaging with the medical establishment, I prefer to behave as if though the zombie apocalypse has already occurred, thus I’m well overdue for a complete overhaul.) This I did. All of it. Yay me. -Organize the labels or tags on Root Simple so our dear, somewhat abused readers can find information when they want it. This I did as part of our ov...

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How To Fix a Broken Spring on an O’Keefe and Merritt Stove

...replace them. Here’s how you do it–read the rest after the jump: 1. Depending on the model of your stove, you’ll be able to get at one of the springs via an access door. On my stove the access door is located below and to the left of the oven door on the inside of a storage compartment. If that’s the only spring that’s broken all you need to do is pull it out and find a replacement at a hardware s...

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What Does Tromboncino Squash Taste Like?

...cchini. I planted seeds in April, transplanted the seedlings in May and in early November I still have squash on the vine. Like all squash it benefits from copious amounts of nitrogen and compost. We grew ours in straw bales. I’ve heard that it’s resistant to squash borers (not a problem I’ve had, so I can’t speak from experience). The seeds came from Franchi via the Heirloom Seed Store. Have you grown...

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Shoemaking Advice?

If only my shoes will turn out this well. The oldest surviving leather shoe: 5,500 year-old shoe found in a cave in Armenia. Photo by Gregory Areshian. Via National Geographic My post about homemade mattresses turned out to be one of the most popular ever on this site. (By the way, I’m still putting up with our old mattress, but one day I will be letting you know what I’ve decided to do about the new mattress) Mean...

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Someone Please Buy Me a KoMo Grain Mill

...gic and the KoMo Medium Grain Mill. I got so excited that I had to use supernatural powers of resistance to keep the credit card from flying out of my wallet on the spot. Komo’s “FlicFloc Manual Flaker.” In addition to grain mills they also make a manual flaker, the “FlicFloc” with a striking, triangular design. For now, I’ll stick with my crapular $30 surplus store flaker. They also make a n...

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Realities in my past

...w diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him...

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Advances in Gardening: The Trough of Garlic

...ow Your Own! If you haven’t grown garlic, it’s super easy. Just break up a head of garlic and plant the individual cloves pointy end up under an inch or so of soil, about six inches apart. You’ll want to use only big fat cloves, not those skinny ones that sit in toward the core. You can use regular old organic garlic that you’d buy at the store or the farmers’ market. Some warn against this, saying the heads might b...

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