Humanure Happens

Simparch’s dry toilet located in Wendover Utah From the 1806 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Four loads of earth mixed with one load of privy soil, will be equal to five loads of barnyard dung. Let it lie for several months and occasionally turn it over with a shovel, and it will be of use as manure.” The editors of the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2010, where I found that quote, deemed it necessary to tack on a dis...

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Saturday Linkages: Bow Drills and Cramped Apartments

Bow drill from Low Tech Magazine Gardening The End of Molasses Malarkey: http://ow.ly/1TC4aU DIY Making Wooden Spoons http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/03/making-wooden-spoons.html#.UUPl2rFofzQ.twitter … Low-Tech Wonders Hand powered drilling tools and machines: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/12/hand-powered-drilling-tools-and-machines.html … Endless Rope Drives: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/03/the-mechanical-transmission-...

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Saturday Linkages: Fueling Up

...ngblog.com/free-heat-for- your-home-homemade-briquettes-and-logs/  … Thoughtstylings Mark Bittman: A Simple Fix for Farming http:// nyti.ms/VjNlZb Fueling up: http:// we2our2.blogspot.com/2012/10/fuelin g-up.html  … Health The Island Where People Forget to Die http:// nyti.ms/S3Mitk Bikes Nice graphic showing why taking the lane is a good idea. http:// ow.ly/eIgHH   (via Commute Orlando)  From the Root Simple Archive  Appletastic Apple Cake...

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Saturday Linkages: Cat Houses, Office Gyms, Cooking in Compost and More . . .

A cat house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Makin’ Gourmet meal cooked in compost: http://www.7dvt.com/2012earthiest-roast … The Fixer’s Manifesto http://manifesto.sugru.com  Short film about Safecast, the hackerspace-created, crowdsource radioactivity monitoring project http://boingboing.net/2012/11/21/short-film-about-safecast-the.html … Vintage Cat House Designed by the Office of Frank Lloyd Wright – http://www.moderncat.net...

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Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

Swiss chard from the winter of 2010 A Root Simple reader I ran into this weekend took issue with my assertion that fall is the best time to start a vegetable garden in Southern California. Thinking about it some more I think she may have a point. Some of you may have noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at some of those older p...

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Update on Los Angeles’ Backwards Parkway Regulations

It looks like Councilman Wesson has temporarily suspended enforcement of parkway planting rules. This is in response to Steve Lopez’s LA Times column that profiled two parkway vegetable gardens that the city busted. A tip of the hat to Mr. Lopez for his good deed. We will all need to keep our eyes on the council and the Bureau of Street Services to make sure that the changes they make reflect common sense. And at the risk of tooting my own...

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Make a Spore Print

Making a mushroom spore print is a fun activity for the kidlings and it’s simple: 1. Pick a mushroom (from the wild or the supermarket) and break off the stem. 2. Put your mushroom, spore side down, on a piece of white paper (or a 50/50 split of of dark paper and white paper to check subtleties in the color). 3. Put a glass over the mushroom and wait 24 hours. The next day you should have something that looks like the picture above. Spore...

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Los Angeles School Board Cancels Tyson Contract

Thanks to the hard work of local food activists, including my neighbor Jennie Cook, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted this past week to withdraw its five year contract with Tyson Foods Inc. It’s a multi-million dollar loss for Tyson which provides chicken, or.what they refer to on their own website as “protein products” to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Tyson was to have been a part of a contract divided betwe...

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Pimp My Cold Frame

While the climate here in Los Angeles is exceedingly mild–it rarely gets much below freezing–springtime can, some years, be too cold to get good germination of summer vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. This was the case in 2010 when I was not able to get a single tomato seed to germinate until late May. To head off another seedling crisis I built a simple cold frame. In order to prevent the cold frame from becoming a solar...

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