Recipe for Raising Chickens

...ying it so much we thought we’d tell you about it. It was first released in 1975, and this 2009 version is the 3rd edition. It’s a charming little book, paper covered and staple bound, totaling only 31 pages. In fine 70s style, it is handwritten (in neat calligraphy) rather than typeset, and copiously illustrated with pen and ink drawings of hens and chicks. I’ll say right off the bat that it is not The Definitive Chicken Book....

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping

...Herboldsheimer they said they’d write the book but only if they could base it on no-treatment beekeeping. The result is the excellent Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping which contains everything you need to know to get started keeping bees. It’s the first book to describe no-treatment beekeeping and it also clearly explains the basic biology of the hive, no easy task. The book’s approach is summed up on page 139, ̶...

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Local Bite Challenge Starts Today

...of you will join her. She and her partner will be eating locally for 100 days on a budget of 100 bucks a week.  There’s all sorts of activities and mini-challenges over the 100 day period to keep you inspired. So if you’ve considered eating more locally, but haven’t quite found the gumption to embrace it yet, this would be a fun way to take the plunge, and see what you learn about your local foodscape. This introduction page gi...

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How to Search for Science-Based Gardening Advice

...to help me with any research I needed to do. Hopefully our culture will not get swept away by Google and forget the importance of  librarians in helping us navigate our confusing world. Thanks to libraries,we have access to tools beyond Google. Hot Topics To that end, I’m thinking of making the trek to UCLA this year to look into a number of controversial horticultural and homesteading questions that have come up in the course of writing...

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Bleach Alternatives for Disinfecting Pruning Shears

...horticulture professor at Washington State University. I’ve been using bleach which, it turns out, is not the best choice. Bleach is both toxic to humans and to plants as well. It also stains clothes and damages tools. Chalker-Scott’s preferred alternative? Lysol. It won’t corrode your tools and is safer to humans. She also discusses alcohol and Lysterine and a few other choices. The fact sheet concludes with more important det...

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How To Dry Food With the Sun

Drying Apricots in Southern California–early 20th century style. Dehydration is one of my favorite food preservation techniques. Drying food concentrates flavor and is a traditional technique in our Mediterranean climate. Best of all, drying food is one of the best applications for low-tech solar power. In many places, you can simply set food out under cheesecloth to dry in the sun. But there’s a catch to sun drying: humidit...

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Bee Rescue Hotline

Backwards Beekeeper Kirk Anderson with the hot tub bees, via the Backwards Beekeeper blog. First off: bee swarm seasons is approaching and, if you’re in the Southern California area and end up with a bunch of bees you don’t want, give the Backwards Beekeepers a call. The number is (213) 373-1104. I’ve put it on the right side of the page. When you call state: How to reach you. Please give us a phone number that you will answ...

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It’s Official: The End is Near

...uch as hurricanes”. So called “catastrophe bonds” are a method for insurance companies to ease the danger of losses on an uncertain future of global warming related natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina. On another page we find an ad for “America’s newest stars” Qatar Airway’s direct service between Washington D.C., New York and Doha. Together these stories and ads indicate a country so hooked on dr...

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