A Grand Tour

Say howdy to Wendy and Mikey, intrepid homesteaders from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Thanks to the wonders of internet video we can all see what they’ve been up to: a long list of activities that includes, papercrete, oyster mushroom cultivation, DIY drip irrigation, vegetable gardening, rainwater harvesting, dome building and more. The Grand Tour from Mikey Sklar on Vimeo. Wendy and Mickey blog about their activities at blog.holy...

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The Survivor

We interrupt this dull series of articles about rainwater harvesting for important breaking news at our urban homestead–the development of the SurviveLA signature cocktail–the Survivor. For a long time we’ve cursed the previous owners of our compound for their useless, inedible landscaping. One of the plants they left us that we’ve lived with for all these years is an ornamental pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) that, wh...

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Urban Homestead Book Signing and Lecture

...blog and get yourself a copy of their brand-new book ‘The Urban Homestead,’ which covers various topics from raising chickens, to carrying cargo on your bicycle, to canning produce from your garden, to harvesting rainwater, and much more! All very inexpensive and step-by-step instructions. The book is an important addition to the shelf of every Angeleno concerned about sustainability, self-sufficiency, and living a high-quality low...

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Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...a disaster–I’m still going to try to make a broom. But now I know more and would do things a little differently if I was serious about the broom biz. I’m going to share with you what I know about growing and harvesting broom corn to make brooms. Making the broom will have to be another post. What is broom corn? It’s a member of the very useful sorghum family: Sorghum vulgare var. technicum.  It’s a tall plant that cl...

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In the Gutter

Our roofs, of course, are another impermeable surface that prevents rainwater from going where it should go–to our edible landscape. We can minimize the surface area by living in as small a house as possible and trying to maximize open ground. At our own compound we’ve even gone so far as to remove some previous resident’s bad addition and reduce the footprint of our house. So called green roofs, which have soil and plants growing on them...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...me in a little six pack cooler. Very clean canning-type jars Hot water bottle (optional) Towel(s) for insulation Your last store bought container of yogurt. You need live yogurt to start the culture, only a few spoonfuls. The label should say something about containing live, active cultures. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of live yogurt for every quart of milk you’re transforming. Milk, of course. Make sure your milk doesn’t say ̶...

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Teflon Coated Light Bulbs Deadly to Chickens

...to airborne toxins. I can’t help but wonder about the effect of these fumes on humans too. Several years ago, Dupont was unsuccessfully sued over the toxicity of Teflon in cookware. Sylvania, apparently, has a warning label on their Teflon coated bulbs, “WARNING: This product contains PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene–”Teflon” is a brand name). When heated, it creates fumes potentially fatal to confined birds.” G...

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Bar Codes on Veggies

...y of vegetables grown in that prefecture. Ibaraki Prefectural authorities and the JA Ibaraki Prefecture Central Union of Agricultural Cooperative cooperating with other farming and agricultural associations are adding QR code labels right at the point of origin. In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer c...

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Are Pallets Safe to Reuse?

...at Great Lakes Chemical Corporation, a supplier of methyl bromide, Methyl bromide products are restricted use pesticides. A certified applicator license is required to purchase and use these products and strict adherence to label directions/requirements is mandatory. Under normal fumigation conditions methyl bromide is a gas and when the pallets are properly aerated according to label instructions, virtually no methyl bromide residue remains...

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Non-GMO Versions of Grape Nuts and Cheerios Less Nutritious Than GMO Versions

...e noted, “Cheerios are essentially a vitamin pill wrapped in rapidly absorbable starch.” At the massive natural food expo, I attended earlier this month, I saw a lot of unhealthy foods with a “non-GMO” label. In the case of Cheerios and Grape Nuts, the “non-GMO” label is either a marketing gimmick or an attempt to start a voluntary labeling program to head off voter mandated efforts. Here’s where you can...

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