Picture Sunday: A Winter Harvest in Florida

Grapefruit, Carambola, pineapple, sapodilla, sugar apple, dwarf Cavendish bananas, ambarella, jaboticaba, jackfruit flowers, papaya, lemon and red palm fruits (inedible). Amazing. If you’ve got a picture to share, send it along to us at [email protected]...

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Saturday Linkages: Let’s Make Chickens Legal in Pasadena!

Let’s really make backyard hens legal in Pasadena CA!  Gardening Preventing the heartbreak of splayage: http://ow.ly/1RN6pB Uli Westphal’s Ripening Tomatoes http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/01/uli-westphals-ripening-tomatoes.html#.UQxX3qqq5vY.twitter … The Wild, the Domesticated, and the Coyote-Tainted http://j.mp/14EAlz6  Design Tiny Apartment in Soho/Insanely Well Designed http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/01/t...

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Our New Straw Bale Garden–Part I

lems presented by our property–lead and zinc contamination and a backyard that is up 30 steps–make straw bale gardening a promising solution. Bales and fertilizer are easier to carry up the stairs than bulk soil. It will be cheaper than buying soil. No lead and zinc. I was also inspired by this attractive straw bale garden in Arizona. It will be a garden that changes over time. I like the idea of watching the bales turn into compost...

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Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach, we’re water...

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Saturday Linkages: Of Granola and Turlets

ake Good Bread http://huff.to/UHEpMm  Bad News Department Citrus industry using insecticide deadly to bees: sulfoxaflor has surfaced again http://shar.es/YTAP7  CISPA is back: worst Internet law since SOPA needs you to fight it! – Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2013/02/18/cispa-is-back-worst-internet.html … The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food http://nyti.ms/154Tqde For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:...

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Book Review: My Side of the Mountain

Illustration from the book: Sam Gribley and his falcon, Frightful. And his homemade shirt with extra large pockets. Naturalist and author Jean Craigshead George wrote My Side of the Mountain –the story of a boy from New York City who runs away to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains–in 1959.  Since then, it has won the Newbery Medal and been consistently ranked high in recommended reading lists for children. Recently I...

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Make a Pepsi Can Stove

Preparedness means having a backup system for all of the things we depend on. If the gas goes out in an earthquake how are you going to cook? Thankfully the world of backpacking offers a number of solutions. Our favorite is the Pepsi can stove which you can build using these incredibly detailed instructions. [Editor's note 7/27/08: looks like the author of that Pepsi can stove site failed to renew the url and, sadly, the link no longer works. We...

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The Sound of One Hand Snapping

as a spring connecting the two ends which consist of a center punch and a nail set. You hold one end against a nail and pull the spring back. The spring bangs one end into the other, thereby driving the nail. We’ve used it for years, and driven hundreds of nails with it, hanging molding, fixing windows, making furniture, and countless other tasks. It’s possible, in fact, to drive nails with this thing without using a hammer and itR...

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CooKit Solar Panel Cooker

I’ve been experimenting with a nice panel solar cooker for the past week and, so far, the results are impressive. Called the CooKit, it was developed in 1994 by a group of engineers and solar cooking enthusiasts associated with Solar Cookers International and based on a design by Roger Bernard. It has a couple of nice features: It produces ample heat to cook rice and simple casseroles. When you fold it up it takes up no more space than a...

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