Saturday’s Quote

Ghandi in 1909, source Wikimedia. Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality                                       — Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, March 21, 19...

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SIP Improvement

Watermelon SIPs on the Chicago rooftop of the Green Roof Growers We’ve featured self-irrigating pots (SIPs) in our first book and have done a lot of experiments with them over the years. One of the problems with growing tomatoes in SIPs is that the roots can get into the water chamber and cause problems and diseases. I found a nice workaround to this problem via an anonymous tip on a BoingBoing tomato post: With tomatoes, you need...

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Waiting for our tomatoes/Tomatoland

...8220;People just want something red to put in their salad.” I grew up on flavorless, industrial tomatoes, and as a child, I assiduously picked them off everything I was fed. In retrospect, I don’t blame my young self–they were horrible. Believe it or not,  I didn’t know what a real tomato tasted like until I was 20 or so, not until an aggressive fruit vendor foisted a slice of heirloom tomato on me and I was too polite n...

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Stinging Nettles and Cat Allergies

...17;s a Google Books link.) Do nettles really work for allergies? I don’t know. It may be all in my head–but you know what? I’m all for the placebo effect. That’s not a negative term in my book at all. Self-healing is the best healing. Nettles are also really good for you, being full of minerals and green goodness–so there’s no reason not to try. They’re also free for the gathering in most places. I make...

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The Big To-Do List

...h my copy of the WEC and realized that I had done most of the things in it (not necessarily well, mind you). Well, everything except natural child birth, large puppets and mime. I believe we’re entering the time of the self-taught generalist. But, looking at Heinlein’s list, I’ve got a lot of things I have yet to master. Which leads me to ask you, our dear readers, what topics and skills you’re interested in learning. Wha...

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Get a Soil Test!

Regular readers have probably already got this message, but right now we can’t repeat it enough. If there’s a lesson with our backyard lead scare , it’s to practice due diligence when beginning a garden –or better yet, when you buy property–and that means getting a soil test from a soil lab. They’re not that expensive, especially when you consider the high cost of remediation, and the well being of your self...

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Tomatoes in December

It ain’t pretty but I’m not complaining. Note to self: the tomatoes that sprout on their own are always the healthiest. The cherry tomato above has reseeded itself for at least 12 years. Sometimes its offspring survive the winter and grow as a perennial. Our climate sort of permits this but occasionally a cold night will kill tomatoes off. And each year the fruit declines in quality. This summer I transplanted two tomato se...

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How to Build an Igloo

TRANSA | Iglu Bauanleitung from Sooli Entertainment on Vimeo. Paul Overton over at Dude Craft (a great website, by the way) described this slick video as “Swiss hipsters build an igloo.” Sure looks like fun. Instructions are in German, but I think the process is pretty self explanatory. Makes me want to head up into the mountains and give this a try....

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The Sound of One Hand Snapping

We’ve had to do a fair amount of carpentry around the compound – part of that self-sufficiency thing – and countersinking nails with a nail set, those pen like things you use to get the nail head below the surface of the wood, is a pain in the ass. Which is why we think that this tool, the “Noxon Two Bit Snapper” by the mysterious Spring Tools Corporation may be the handiest tool in the SurviveLA compound tool box....

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The Boy Scouts Suck

...Boy Scouts, whose ongoing attempts at being more relevant backfire so pitiably and whose founder, Robert Baden-Powell, was an anti-semitic, fascist, pedophile. If we had kids around the SurviveLA compound, in keeping with our self-sufficiency goals, we’d form our own SuriviveLA Scout troop. Here’s how the SurviveLA Scouts would differ from the Boys Scouts: 1. SurviveLA Scouts are coed. Men and women have gotta learn to work together a...

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