Rain Barrels

...y large and expensive tanks. We don’t want to discourage anyone from making an attempt at it, but for most urban homesteaders it won’t be economical or practical given the space requirements and weight of thousands of gallons of stored water. Thankfully, there are simpler strategies for harvesting rainwater. Rainwater used for irrigating plants does not need filtering or purification, and since outdoor watering accounts for the number...

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Urban Homestead Wins Book Award

Our book, The Urban Homestead just won a gold medal in the Independent Publisher Awards. To celebrate we’ll throw in a back issue of Ripples magazine for the first twenty folks who buy a copy of our book off of this website. Ripples is, “A Revolutionary Journal of Seasonal Delight” published by the nice folks at www.dailyacts.org. Now that’s enough tooting our own horn. We’ll get back to posting when the dust settle...

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Start Your Urban Homestead for One Dollar

...The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising. Want to move to Buffalo, New York? If so the city has an Urban Homestead Program where you can get a house for a $1 plus closing costs. The rules–you’ve got to: Fix code violations. Live in the house for at least three years. Have $5,000 in the bank for repairs. Too cold a climate for me, but you can read more about the program and see some success stories at Bu...

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Rainwater Harvesting and Beyond

...pasizes earthworks which capture and channel water where you want it to go, instead of uselessly sending it down the gutter. For those of you in Southern California, Lancaster will be delivering a free talk at the Santa Monica Public Library Monday September 15th at 6:30 p.m. More info via Westside Permaculture Gatherings. If you’re not in SoCal, you can get more information about Lancaster’s work and order a copy of one of his books...

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Rainfall Harvesting Math

...th a factor of .8. Both tar and gravel and asphalt shingle roofs retain a fair amount of water after a rain, but they will still work fine for rainwater collection. Data on both yearly and monthly average rainfall can be found on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration website. For our house here in Los Angeles, we have a collection area of 992 square feet, a pitched asphalt shingle roof and an average of 15.06 inches of rain a...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rown here: Okay, so in a previous post I talked about growing Calendula. This post I’m going to talk about harvesting and drying it. The next post I’ll do on the topic will be about making a skin-healing salve from the dried petals, olive oil and beeswax. When to harvest:  Start harvesting your Calendula as soon as the first flush of flowers is in full bloom. Don’t try to “save” the flowers. The more you harvest, th...

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Summer Urban Homestead Failures: Exploding Beer Bottles

...a bad idea) I can tell you that bottle grenades aren’t funny. So having had three bottles explode and all the other bottles I opened showing signs of over-carbonation, I had the dilemma of what to do next. String my bow and shoot arrows at them from a distance? Call in the homebrew bomb squad? I decided to don a heavy jacket (in 90ºF + temperatures) and safety goggles and uncap each one in the sink. The second to last bottle gave me a cool...

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LA ecovillage: self-reliance in a car-free urban homestead

Johnny, who shot that nice video of us for faircompanies.com just made another video about our friends at the LA ecovillage. It’s well worth a view. Some of the most amazing folks in Los Angeles live there. And I like that fact that’s it’s an ecovillage smack dab in the middle of my beloved hometown. Make sure to also check out Johnny’s blog Granola Shotgun....

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The Original L.A. Urban Homestead

You know that band you saw play at your local dive bar back in the day that is totally popular now and playing in arenas? Well, the L.A. Eco-Home is kind of like that. Long before glossy magazines were doing “Green” issues, before hybrid cars and composting became hip, Julia Russell had been giving tours featuring the environmentally friendly aspects of her home and garden. Julia is pictured here in front of her Gordon apple tree wh...

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