Vote Yes on 37!

I don’t normally discuss politics on this blog. I feel that the topics we discuss under the banner of homesteading–such as gardening, alternative energy, alternative transpiration, home ec, health and fitness–unite people across the political spectrum. Overall, I’d rather focus on what we can do and what we have in common rather than the constant diet of strife and discontent served up by mainstream media. That being sai...

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Stirred, Not Shaken

...s never without spirit and spirit is never without matter.” – Rudolf Steiner This past weekend I had the good fortune of attending an amazing workshop in biodynamic gardening taught by master gardener Dory Rindge. For those of you unfamiliar with biodynamics, it’s a system of agriculture based on the work of early 20th century philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner. In the 1920s, at just the point when chemical fertilizers where...

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Another Panel Solar Cooker

...found here (pdf). She also has a list of solar cooking resources here. And yes, for most North Americans this is the wrong time of year to be blogging on this topic since, as the sun gets lower in the horizon, solar panel cooking season is almost over. But I’ve got a backlog of summer R&D to share. Stay tuned for the ups and downs of our summer gardening, a bike accident story and a taste test of beer made with our homegrown hops . ....

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Rooftop Garden Classes

...d to hold snow, meaning that our roofs usually can’t hold much weight. So rooftop gardens are rare. But on the border of Little Tokyo, skid row, and a warehouse district, an old seafood warehouse rooftop has been turned into a gourmet garden atop the home of artisan food purveyor Cube Marketplace. Full disclosure: I’m the lucky gardener. And this weekend I’ll be teaching a Fall Gardening Class and a class on new ways to use comm...

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Stella Natura: Planting by the Signs

...ing? Probably not. But here in Los Angeles, where we have a four month time span to plant most things, following the Stella Natura calendar is a good way of avoiding procrastination. The calendar also has a handy space for taking notes on plantings, another thing I’ve been bad about in the past. I want to be clear that I’m not discounting empiricism. But since don’t have a lab at my disposal, gardening is an intuitive process wh...

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Cooking Classes via Silver Lake Farms

...CSA. (Ours delivered celery to shareholders weeks in a row. If you support CSA, you rock!) I’m introducing the classes at $48. Shelley Marks is our teacher. She’ll demonstrate the dishes of the day (see below), and get you to prepare them. We have a nice big kitchen in which to work. And eat! There’s a light meal for everyone to enjoy and discuss as part of class. Handouts include recipes and gardening tips. Bring your favorite...

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Mallow (Malva parviflora) an Edible Friend

...use the leaves as a substitute for grape leaves for making dolmas. Modern Mexicans also make a green sauce with the leaves. If any of you readers have recipes, please send them along. If that ain’t enough, the mucilaginous nature of the plant can be exploited by making a decoction of the leaves and roots to use as a shampoo, hair softener, and treatment for dandruff. And yet, like so many other gardening books, the oh-so-bourgeois Sunset Garden...

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Made By Hand

...nfelder has a new book Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World that chronicles his quest to do the kinds of activities we cover on this blog: vegetable gardening, keeping chickens, fermentation, beekeeping and more. While Made by Hand is not a how-to book it is, paradoxically, the most practical DIY book I’ve read in a long time. Why? Because it’s all about facing that fear of failure, the single greatest obstacle to...

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Self Irrigating Pot Patent from 1917

...s SIP closely resembles the Earthbox and SIPs I have built out of five gallon buckets and plastic storage bins. The interwebs reveal only one detail about Burleigh, that he owned a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. From this one factoid I infer that he had money and a progressive inclination. The SIP idea took another eighty years to finally catch on. For more SIP information: Read our many posts on SIPs And visit our SIP gardening friends,...

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Handmade, Homegrown Apron Contest

...of craft by night. Pam says, “I love making aprons. They make me happy.” I am a big fan of aprons. They are useful for cooking, gardening or just looking darn cute. I am also a big supporter of all things handmade. So I love this handcrafted apron. I also hope our readers will appreciate this reminiscence of mine. -When I was in college I lived in a house with a lot of people. There were about 50 of us and we took turns cooking and...

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