Pomegranate Factoids

...freeze much you should get yourself a pomegranate tree. They’ll grow in more humid climates but may not produce much fruit. Ours took five years, from planting as a bare root tree, to get the  modest crop you see in the picture. It’s one of my favorite trees–delicious fruit, a red flowers in the spring and a gorgeous display of yellow leaves in the fall–what more could you ask for? If you’ve been successful growing p...

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Sunday Spam: Automatic Chicken Cage

We interrupt the usual picture Sunday feature to bring you the best and most misdirected spam email that has ever graced the Root Simple in-box: Dear Sir or Madam, Liaocheng Dongying Hengtong Metal Manufacturing Co.,Ltd here. Glad to hear that you are on the market for Automatic chicken cage. We are a professional producer of the complete sets of equipment for raising birds. At present, it is an enterprise which has the import-export license an...

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Chairs, are they killing us?

...g, however, took place in a room of the house that had only an Afghan rug and some pillows–no chairs or tables–where we sat for several hours listening to a concert of classical Afghan music. It was a lot like the picture above. Everyone, young and old, sat on the floor, cross-legged for the entirety of the concert. Imagine a group of Americans sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner like this. And we wonder why Americans injure themsel...

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Book Review: The Blood of the Earth: An Essay on Magic and Peak Oil

...now. I’m sharing these because I think they show how down-to-earth and practical his thinking is, and how it will appeal to Root Simple readers. Greer explores these ideas in more depth, but I think you’ll get the picture: Learn One Thing: Learn a practical skill, so that you have something trade in a barter economy. Give Up One Thing: Choose one material possession that you believe you depend on, and that you also know is quite depen...

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Make a Rain Barrel

...push the water through a garden hose. The overflow connection is another reason I like Chenkin’s design. It’s important to keep rainwater away from your foundation especially when, like us, you live on a hill. The picture at top shows our barrel installed with the overflow pipe connected to a pipe that runs down to the street. Los Angeles’ building code required us to run our rainwater out to the street, where it helps wash poll...

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Book Review: 1491

...t the relationship between nature and culture in pre-contact Americas. As with Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources , which we’ve reviewed here before, a picture rises of very active human management of natural resources. All across the Americas there is compelling evidence of intense landscape management practices which in most cases (but not all) managed to provide for the...

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How Long Do Chickens Live?

...alking it up to age and general frailty. This hen, Jane, was always the smallest and the weakest of the four, and lived a hard life at the  bottom of the pecking order. Poor Jane. She’s the hen I’m holding in that picture of Erik and I over at the right hand bar. None of our ladies like to be held, but Jane was always the most patient with photographers. Our neighbor, Sue, has twenty years experience with backyard hens, and once she t...

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Vertical Garden Success!

Regular readers of the blog know that we’re dubious about vertical gardening, but this is a vertical garden we can really get behind. Here, a cherry tomato is growing out of a crack in a retaining wall in our neighbor’s yard. (It’s just off our front stairs, and is almost certainly an offspring of one of our tomatoes) It is thriving with no water whatsoever. You can’t see them in this picture, but there’s tons of f...

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The World’s Most Beautiful Okra

...is Iraqi stew called Bamia. Bamia and rice makes for the perfect late summer dinner. Mrs. Homegrown here: I just had to second this post–this is an outstanding, gorgeous plant, pretty enough to be purely ornamental. The picture above doesn’t sell it. Let’s just say that the second I saw it in the Huntington Ranch, I said, “We’re planting that next year.”...

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Cat Update

...s, was born with a heart defect. The kitty cardiologist (the excellent Dr. Zimmerman at AVCC for you Angelenos) identifies it as a complete AV canal defect. This is a rare and serious heart deformity.  Dr. Zimmerman drew us a picture of a normal cat heart and then one of Phoebe’s heart, and all we could think was that it was a miracle this kitten lived a minute outside the womb. As I understand it (and please forgive the very loose termino...

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