Laundry to Landscape 2.0

I just installed a “laundry to landscape” greywater system at the house of Lora “Homegrown Neighbor” Hall using greywater guru Art Ludwig’s free open-source plans. It was a cinch. And, thanks to a revision in the California plumbing code last year, it’s legal with no permit required. I started in the laundry room by rigging up a three way diverter valve so that Lora can route the greywater back to the sew...

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Acanthoscelides obtectus- A seed saver’s lament

...green varieties of pole beans for beautiful summer soups, salads and other dishes. Not this year. When I opened the packet of bean seeds that I had saved last fall, I found all of these little holes in my beans. Turns out the culprit is the bean weevil, Acanthoscelides obtectus. Their larvae make swiss cheese out of dried beans. While they can be a pest in the garden apparently they usually are a problem in stored beans. And it turns out they l...

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Summer of Solar Cookin’

...sed it to cook pintos, adzukis, mung beans and white beans. I usually grab a sprig of an herb or a bay leaf from the garden to throw in the pot. Here is what I made today: Solar Powered Navy Beans 2 cups navy beans a handful of celery leaves 5 garlic cloves, whole 1/4 cup pickled red onion (just sliced red onion soaked overnight in white wine vinegar- delicious with everything) Lots of water- maybe 4-5 cups You want to make sure to use plent...

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Solar Light Hack

...it apart and desoldered the LEDs off the circuit board. Next, I soldered four wires to the former connections to the two LEDs. Basically, I created a extension cord to the LEDs. I mounted the LEDs on a small scrap circuit board and soldered the ends of the wires to them. What I ended up with is a battery and solar power unit connected by wire to two LEDs that I could place in a more attractive enclosure. We had a candle lamp that Mrs. Homegrown...

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Bantam Returns

Homegrown Neighbor here: I’ve been busy in the garden and letting the neighbors focus on their book, so I haven’t been blogging in a while. But today something very special happened that I have to share with you, dear readers. My bantam chicken, Debbie, the lighter colored chicken in the photo, disappeared last week. She simply didn’t come in at chicken bed time. This is very unusual. The chickens usually all line up and go...

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Ordo Ab Chao

...r our summer garden is to carefully choose what I’m going to grow, how much of it to plant, and stick with the program. No last minute improvising. And better note taking! I attempted to weigh vegetables this winter, earning the scorn of Mrs. Homegrown who deemed it too male an approach, too much about bragging rights. All that weighing took away note taking time from what would have been more useful information: when things were planted, t...

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More Fun With Food Preservation

Homegrown Neighbor here: I realized the other day that I had too much produce and decided to do something about it. There is kale coming out of my ears, celery wilting in the fridge, lettuce is bursting out of the garden and some of my farmer friends gave me a bunch of bell peppers they were just going to throw away. So I decided to use one of the easiest food preservation techniques around- freezing. The kale, celery, bell peppers and some s...

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Bottle Cap Wreath

Homegrown Neighbor here: I love Christmas. I love eating cookies, getting together with friends and family and of course, an excuse to make things. I was inspired this weekend to get a little crafty. My front door needed a wreath and I have a huge collection of beer bottle caps so of course I made a bottle cap wreath. I used a simple piece of wire as a form and a lot of hot glue. I tied the wire around a ceramic bowl to shape it. That’s...

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Gideon Lincecum Virtual Herbarium

–click to biggify– (If you still can’t read it, it says “Erigeron canadensis, the common hogsweed, bruise and press out the juice from the green plant and take it in tablespoonful dose as often as the stomach will bear, for bleeding lungs, bleeding from the stomach, bowels or womb. It is a powerful agent in stopping hemorrhage from any organ.”) Mrs. Homegrown here: Our friend Nancy gave us some salve made up o...

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Chicken Coop Architecture

...r a one-size-fits-all chicken coop plan, but living situations and climates vary. Instead, I’ll offer what the gifted architect Christopher Alexander calls a “pattern language,” a set of general guidelines you can use to get started building your coop.” Read the rest here. And a special thanks to David Kahn of Edendale Farm for the architect metaphor. Mrs. Homegrown was not happy that I used Gehry as an example (suggesti...

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