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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Learn to Build with Adobe

Kurt Gardella made me an adobe convert and helped us build an oven in our backyard that is responsible for many delicious pizzas. I’ve taken a few classes he’s taught, both in person and online. If you want to learn adobe, Kurt’s your man. Here’s some info on upcoming classes he’s teaching: Are you looking for college credit for your adobe construction coursework? I am teaching the following spring 2014 semester cl...

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Qualitites of a Good Outdoor Room

Our front porch. One of the features of gardens that I like is that they tend to be divided into smaller spaces, what has come to be called outdoor rooms. The Ecology Center, that we visited on Saturday, is a nice example of how to arrange a large space into many smaller ones. Just like the Huntington Ranch, the Ecology Center is subdivided into distinct spaces that host school visits and classes. Well designed residential gardens, like...

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Free Biodynamic Composting Seminar in Los Angeles with Jack McAndrew

Our friends at the Micheltorena School Garden are hosting a workshop with composting wizard Jack McAndrew. In case you missed Jack’s last workshop back in November, you’ve got another chance. Here’s the 411: Free Biodynamic Composting Seminar in Los Angeles with Jack McAndrew Date: Saturday, January 18th, rain or shine Time: 10am Duration: 2 to 3 hours but stay as short or as long as you’d like Where: Micheltorena School...

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Starting a Sourdough Starter Talk at Artisinal LA

I’ll be doing a short talk at Artisinal LA this Sunday October 13th at 4pm on how to start a sourdough starter. Artisinal LA (yep, the “A” word) is a showcase of local small food vendors. In case you’re not in LA this is what I’ll be demonstrating: Mark Stambler, who co-founded the LA Bread Bakers with me and Teresa Sitz, will also be doing a talk on baking bread at 4pm on Saturday....

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Erik Speaking at Maker Faire

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the Bay Area Maker Faire on Saturday May 19 at 6:30 pm on the Maker Square Stage (located in the Homegrown Village). The talk I’m giving will be about the appropriate tech projects we’ve been up to around the Root Simple compound–our new chicken run, greywater, solar cooking and Mediterranean edible gardening. I’d love to hang out, after the talk, with any...

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Los Angeles Bread Bakers Demo This Weekend

First off, along with co-founders Mark Stambler and Teresa Sitz I’m proud to announce the Los Angeles Bread Bakers (LABB). Click on the link to join us via Facebook. This Saturday April 9th at 2 p.m. LABB will demonstrate how to create a starter (levain) at Good Magazine’s Launch Weekend. The event will take place at: Atwater Crossing 3229 Casitas AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90039 Looking forward to meeting new LABBistas. LABB’s goa...

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Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

I’ll be teaching a two hour introduction to natural no-treatment beekeeping at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano this Saturday at 1 pm. To sign up buzz over here. Here’s the class description: Become a backyard beekeeper and enjoy a healthy garden full of pollinators. Understand beekeeping tools, materials, and techniques to get started. Beekeeping, or apiculture, is said to have begun with the Egyptians who used logs, boxes...

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Los Angeles Fruit Tree Pruning Workshops

Homegrown Neighbor here: Growing fruit trees has obvious rewards. You can eat the fruit at its peak, straight off of the tree, full of flavor, aromatic and juicy. And the sight of an apple, peach or other deciduous tree in bloom is an ephemeral yet breathtakingly beautiful sight. But many of these trees will not bear good fruit without proper pruning. Good pruning encourages stronger limbs able to hold heavy fruits, prevents limb breakage, imp...

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Analysis Paralysis

If you’re reading this blog, there’s no doubt that you’ve suffered from analysis paralysis. You’ve got to build that chicken coop, but you’re spending hours pouring over books, Pinterest boards and how-to websites. Add endless debates with your spouse and you’ve got a recipe for inaction. “Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought” is the way Shakespeare describes this condition in Hamlet....

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