The Urban Homestead

“The contemporary bible on the subject” — The New York Times The Urban Homestead (Expanded and Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen  (Process, 2010) ISBN: 978-1934170106 (The first edition, the one with the “American Gothic” cover, was released by Process on June 1, 2008) Buy it at:  Amazon • Abe Books • Barnes...

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On why our vegetable garden is such a disaster this year . . .

...y Fatigue and frustration–the double knockout punch of skunks and the hot weather left me on the ropes with little enthusiasm for ongoing gardening maintenance. Ego–forgetting that urban homesteading is not about self-sufficiency—to chase self-sufficiency is a fool’s errand. I should be happy just to have a few good salads and be thankful that I can buy good vegetables at a local farmer’s market. I don’t think self-suffic...

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Survival Gardening

...shop where we spent a fair amount of time, calculator in hand, figuring out how many calories you can squeeze from small spaces. What gets left out in the “survival garden” sales pitches is that, if you want real self-sufficiency, you’ve also got to maintain the soil fertility that you deplete by harvesting. To do that you need to grow all your own compost. For this, Jeavons suggests what he calls “carbon and calorie crop...

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New Health Food Trends at the Natural Products Food Expo West

...rise of gluten free products. Gluten intolerance is a problem for many people. One out of 131 people have Celiac diseases and a great many more probably have some sort of wheat allergy. However, someone tell me why we have to label products like tomato sauce and raw chicken as being “gluten free?” Most new gluten free products, everything from pasta to crackers to power bars, use quinoa. The Natural Products Expo’s own trade pub...

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Bar Codes on Veggies

...y of vegetables grown in that prefecture. Ibaraki Prefectural authorities and the JA Ibaraki Prefecture Central Union of Agricultural Cooperative cooperating with other farming and agricultural associations are adding QR code labels right at the point of origin. In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer c...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...me in a little six pack cooler. Very clean canning-type jars Hot water bottle (optional) Towel(s) for insulation Your last store bought container of yogurt. You need live yogurt to start the culture, only a few spoonfuls. The label should say something about containing live, active cultures. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of live yogurt for every quart of milk you’re transforming. Milk, of course. Make sure your milk doesn’t say ̶...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...ine the strainer with cheese cloth or muslin. Strain the oil into a fresh, clean jar. Pour off the oil first, then press the dried matter to squeeze out the remaining oil as best you can. You’ll never get it all back. Label it  Make sure you label it with the type of oil and the date it was made. Believe me, even if you only make one jar, you’ll forget what it is and when you made it, and a year later you’ll be standing at yo...

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Non-GMO Versions of Grape Nuts and Cheerios Less Nutritious Than GMO Versions

...e noted, “Cheerios are essentially a vitamin pill wrapped in rapidly absorbable starch.” At the massive natural food expo, I attended earlier this month, I saw a lot of unhealthy foods with a “non-GMO” label. In the case of Cheerios and Grape Nuts, the “non-GMO” label is either a marketing gimmick or an attempt to start a voluntary labeling program to head off voter mandated efforts. Here’s where you can...

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Review: Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal

...y adding sucralose, the artificial sweetener known as Splenda (and kicking up the sodium significantly). The front of the box says nothing about artificial sweeteners. Diet foods will have a jaunty “With Splenda!” label, but this cereal apparently isn’t being marketed that way. The only indication that you’re dealing with a fake sugar product is in the list of ingredients, which I hadn’t checked. And that was a mista...

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Teflon Coated Light Bulbs Deadly to Chickens

...to airborne toxins. I can’t help but wonder about the effect of these fumes on humans too. Several years ago, Dupont was unsuccessfully sued over the toxicity of Teflon in cookware. Sylvania, apparently, has a warning label on their Teflon coated bulbs, “WARNING: This product contains PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene–”Teflon” is a brand name). When heated, it creates fumes potentially fatal to confined birds.” G...

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