The Making of a Great Olive Oil

...(called malaxation) the pulpy olive mass goes into a high speed centrifuge: Matt (left) Dale (right) with the centrifuge At the end of all this machinery the oil pours out of a spigot and into a steel drum: We all had the great privilege of tasting the freshly squeezed oil. I won’t soon forget that heavenly flavor. Matt told us that it takes around a ton of olives to make 25 to 30 gallons of oil. The olives come from a thousand t...

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National Wildlife Federation Teams with Scotts

...making our neighborhoods safer. For more background on this controversy see Garden Rant.  And leave a comment on the NWF’s Facebook page. Update: NWF has announced that they are giving up on this partnership citing Scott’s legal troubles  “related to events in 2008 that predate our partnership.” I’m still going to find an alternate use for my NWF wildlife habitat sign for even contemplating this partnership in the fi...

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New Homegrown Evolution Events Calendar Widget Thngy

Never mind this post. I’m in the process of creating a Google calendar for the site. Stay tuned. I’ve created an events listing widget for events we’re either involved with or simply think are cool. You will find this widget along the right side of this page and at http://twtvite.com/hgevolve. Click on an event and you’ll get a map and the ability to add the listing to your busy calendars. You can also Facebookasize it...

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Taut-line knot

...there’s a few variations of this knot, but this version does work. ETA: One of our commenters brought up the advantages of variations of this knot. If you’re new to knots, as I am, I’d recommend you learn one variation of this knot, so you get the general gist of it planted in your brain, and then venture into the Wikipedia page on the Tautline Hitch to look at the variations. The one shown here is #1857. Also important, I le...

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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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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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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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Recipe for Raising Chickens

...d have been enjoying 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 Definitiv...

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Pakistan Mulberries

...done an image search that turned up this:   Apparently chicks dig Pakistan mulberries or at least that’s the impression that a nursery down in Georgia (that I’m not gonna name cause the reviews are not so good) would like us to think. And the same nursery that generated the image above also has a page of religious videos, one of which (“The Cursed Fig Tree”) addresses the “God hates figs” controversy we dealt...

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Bees: Shown to the Children

..., such as mouse corpses, are actually covered with propolis, not wax, but I’m not going to hold it against the authors. First, I’m not sure if I’m right or not, and at any rate, the idea is the same, and very well described. There’s so much good to say about this book. It’s illustrated with early photos, line drawings, and pretty full color illustrations. In somewhat more than 100 pages it covers bee anatomy, behavio...

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