What Do Microbes Have To Do With Homesteading?

  So what are the activities that microbes make possible around the homestead? To name just four: Fermentation Beekeeping Soil Fertility Human beings Pretty important stuff. In fact, new systems thinking, applied to our natural word, is demonstrating that things like human beings are really just symbiotic sacks of microbial life. An article in the Economist, “Microbes maketh man” discusses just how important microbes are to human...

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Build a Ghetto Solar Cooker

Using crap we had laying around the homestead, SurviveLA fashioned a solar cooker based on plans from Backwoods Home Magazine, the Dwell of the Ted Kaczynski set. We just substituted an old cooler for the cardboard boxes, and we finished it off by using one of Los Angeles’ ubiquitous abandoned car tires as a cradle to keep the cooker oriented towards the sun. It ain’t pretty but it works. In our first test we reached 160º inside the...

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Disconnect to Reconnect: Ditching the “Flushie” for a Composting Toilet

...pairs nicely with my composting obsession and food growing habit. I stayed at Erik and Kelly’s back in February. Their low flush toilet and antique piping can’t seem to handle even the most modest bodily donation. Once a flushing attempt proves unsuccessful, and immediately following the ‘oh no…’ guilty grimace, a light-hearted blame game plays out and then according to homestead rules, Erik snakes the toilet. The closet augur is kept on the fron...

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Mongolian Giant Sunflower

...erve them for your bird feeder, wait until the seeds are completely dry; then remove them by hand or by rubbing them over wire mesh into a basket. Store in tightly closed containers to keep rodents away. In addition to the native sunflowers that reseed themselves every year I think I’ll plant a few Mongolian Giants each summer. If you’ve got a favorite sunflower variety, either ornamental or edible, please leave a comment. Mrs. Ho...

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009 Artificial Turf Wars and Fashion Disasters

...cipal and private property. As examples of parks that are either turf-free or use turf strategically, we mention the High Line in New York City and Playa Vista Park in West Los Angeles. Fashion on the Homestead In the second part of the podcast we discuss the homesteading fashion conundrum inspired by a quote from dapper film director (and cat lover) Alexandro Jodorowsky. Kelly talks about her strange unifo...

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Plastic or Wood?

...s has yet to come out with an iBook made from bamboo and corn husks. That being said, this haunting video about the impact of plastic on the ocean drives home the point that we need to drastically cut back our consumption of plastics and only use them for essentials] Okay, these are the new rules. We are going to phase as many plastics out of the homestead as we can. We won’t toss what we have in the landfill right now, but when it is ti...

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Video Sundays: Doberman Outsmarted by Chicken

...back memories. Except that our late Doberman was deathly afraid of chickens, for some reason. Addition from Mrs. Homestead: I wouldn’t characterize our dog as having been deathly afraid of chickens. Rather, I’d say he let the chickens push him around–very much like this video.  Once I found him trapped, unable to get to the house because the mean chickens were blocking his path, so I had to rescue him. But often enough they̵...

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When the Cat’s Away the Mice Will Play

Kelly went on a camping trip this past weekend leaving me alone at the Root Simple compound. I took the opportunity to make a slight modification to the homestead. I don’t think she’s noticed yet. Consider this post an inside challenge. Kelly–I dare you to find what I did. No hints yet. Readers–have you done any projects while your significant other is out of town? Kelly’s Response: So no, I did...

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That ain’t a bowl full of larvae, it’s crosne!

Mrs. Homegrown, justifiably, gives me a hard time for growing strange things around the homestead. This week I just completed the world’s smallest harvest of a root vegetable popularly known as crosne (Stachys affinis). Crosne, also known as Chinese artichoke, chorogi, knotroot and artichoke betony is a member of the mint family that produces a tiny edible tuber. While looking like any other mint plant, the leaves have no smell. The tubers...

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