Extreme Low-Tech Communication

This has to be the ultimate achievement in low-powered long-distance communication. Ham radio operator Michael Rainey, AA1TJ, transmitted a message over a distance of over 1,000 miles by yelling Morse code with his own voice into this primitive home-made transmitter, nicknamed “El Silbo.” No power was used other than that generated by his own voice vibrating the microphone (which was a re-purposed speaker). If you...

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How to Answer the Question, “What Should I Do With My Life?”

Yes, that kitten is Phoebe, back in her blue-eyed days. I headed down to San Diego County earlier this summer to do a talk at Growcology. Bianca Heyming, who runs Growcology along with her husband Nick, told me some advice her dad passed on to her about how to figure out one’s path in life. It’s the best wisdom I’ve ever heard on the subject. Her dad told her, “Look at what books are on your bookshelf a...

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How To Stop Powdery Mildew

My winter squash has what Mud Baron once described as “jock itch for plants:” powdery mildew. I’ve tried all kinds of notions and potions in the past, but this year I decided to see what the science says about powdery mildew. Our climate where I live in Los Angeles is, unfortunately, ideal for producing this vexing fungus. IPM Let’s begin with some condensed advice from UC Davis’ Integrated Pest...

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Saturday Linkages: Sidewalk Koi, Papercrete, Jaywalking and How to Grow Fresh Air

Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar’s papercrete masterpiece. Interventions Sidewalk Koi http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/08/sidewalk-koi.html … Worker sent to remove graffiti finds image of himself on the same wall hours later http://fw.to/wOjTzDJ Let’s Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit) http://www.andrewalexanderprice.com/blog20130330.php … Building Tiny Tea House on Wheels http://feedproxy.google...

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Getting Things Done

One of the side benefits of the Age of Limits conference, that we attended back in May, is that whenever we tired of what was going on in the main tent, we could always find Archdruid John Michael Greer holding court outside on everything from HAM radio to vegetable gardening to the history of obscure fraternal societies. He’s got another good blog post this week. My favorite quote from that post: . . . if the global e...

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Saturday Linkages: Sink Urinals!

Sink urinal from Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons. Gardening Toronto Gardens: Idea File: Matt Gil’s garden works with the constr… http://torontogardens.blogspot.com/2013/07/idea-file-matt-gils-garden-works-with.html?spref=tw … Brace yourself: remove staking from trees! https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=938 … Metro rips out Phantom Planter’s flowers at Dupont Circle stat...

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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-mecha...

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Lucius Annaeus Seneca on Living Within Limits

Writing in the 1st century AD, Seneca makes a good case for common sense limits: Is it not living unnaturally to hanker after roses during the winter, and to force lilies in midwinter by taking the requisite steps to change their environment and keeping up the temperature with hot water heating? Is it not living unnaturally to plant orchards on top of towers, or to have a forest of trees waving in the wind on the roofs and ridges of one’s...

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Eat Your Pests

Grubs anyone? Responding to our anti-squirrel post a few days ago Root Simple reader Chile pointed to a post on the her blog “Pests . . . and how to eat them“. She makes the excellent point that most of our dreaded garden pests, including insects are edible. Now if I could only overcome my squeamishness about eating insects. I had to deal with lots of wax moth larvae this week and remembered that in parts of Asia they are s...

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Michael Tortorello on Urban Homesteading

Michael Tortorello, who wrote that nice piece about us a few months ago, “Living Large, Off the Land,” is one of my favorite writers on gardening and “urban homesteady” topics. He’s critical without being curmudgeonly and manages to separate the truth from the hype (and there’s an awful lot of hype in this movement!). Plus he managed to get an entire paragraph about my thyrsus into the New York Times. Thyrsus...

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