The Return of the Fraternal Society

...anization. Fraternal societies provide a number of benefits: A “third place,” i.e. a gathering spot outside of the home and work. A social safety net. Moral and spiritual guidance. A model for and way to practice self-governance in small groups.  We have very few non-commercial “third places” in the US. Starbucks calls itself a third place, but you have to pay and follow the company’s rules while you sip your latt...

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Toby Hemenway On How Horticulture Can Save Us

...agriculture which Hemenway considers to have a destructive influence on ecosystems, human health and culture. Hemenway also, justifiably, critiqued some corners of the urban homesteading movement for promoting an egocentric self-sufficiency–”MY food on MY land” as he put it–a kind of industrial farming on a household level. While “self-sufficiency” appears in the subtitle of our first book (our publisher̵...

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Eight Things to Consider When Saving Vegetable Seeds

...e to type. [I'll note that I'm not anti-hybrid. The increased vigor of hybrids can be advantageous if you're having trouble in your garden.] 2. Know how the vegetable is pollinated It’s much easier to save the seeds of self-pollinating vegetables such as beans, peas and tomatoes. Remember that bees can fly for miles–anything pollinated by insects have to be isolated or caged to prevent cross-pollination. And many vegetables have weed...

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Why not plant some Calendula?

...ou down. It’s technically a short lived perennial, so in very mild climates it might be a permanent garden flower, However, it doesn’t live through freezes or extreme heat. Here is southern California it’s a self-seeding annual. It seeds like crazy, so if you don’t want volunteers all over your yard, trim off the spent blooms–”deadhead” them–before they go to seed. (Calendula seed is trippy: big, gn...

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A Review of Williams-Sonoma’s Agrarian Line

...ase beekeeping, than it is about actual activity, i.e. beekeeping. This is, of course, the essence of modern marketing as pioneered nearly a century ago by Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays (watch the Century of the Self to go down that left hand path). Use that stylish Williams-Sonoma veil and I’ll guarantee you that you’ll have a few angry bees crawling up the inside of the veil. Inexperienced beekeepers, such as myself, a...

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That ain’t a bowl full of larvae, it’s crosne!

...es. He said that he wasn’t sure, but that he thought that where he grew crosne, at a higher altitude with a much colder winter, would be more conducive to producing a good crop of tubers. What crosne leaves look like Self irrigating pots, post crosne harvest Undaunted, I planted two self irrigating planters made from storage bins with about twelve or so tubers. Throughout the year the foliage was lush and finally died back in late Novem...

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SurviveLA Visits Simparch’s Utah Compound

SurviveLA is in Wendover, Utah this weekend on business and it’s here, in this hallucinogenic landscape of salt flats and casinos, that the artistic/architectural thoughtstylist collective known as Simparch has established a self-sufficiency experiment they call Clean Livin’. Located on the remote South Base section of the historic Wendover Airfield on land leased by the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Simparch’s project p...

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SIPS and Kraut at Project Butterfly

We’ve got an event tomorrow–that’s Tuesday August 25th at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Los Angeles at Project Butterfly. There will be a lecture followed by two demos: how to make a self irrigating pot and how to make sauerkraut. Cost is $20. RSVP to [email protected] Here’s the 411: Step into the 21st century by making your house, apartment and kitchen a center of production. This lecture/workshop by the authors of The...

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

...7;t been doing much driving. In short, we get to claim the olive wreath of eco-smugness: living car-free in the epicenter of car culture, Los Angeles. Not even the electric car driving Ed Begley Jr. can aspire to our level of self-righteousness. I’d like to continue the experiment. Kelly:  Hmmm….do I get to be the bad guy in this debate? The car partisan? To me, it’s not so much a question of car or no car. I don’t like ca...

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Mutant Squash

...ety. Squash has completely separate male and female flowers that appear on the same plant, a characteristic called monoecism (from the Greek meaning “same household”) which is an evolutionary strategy for avoiding self-pollination. Corn is another example of a monoecious plant. Plants can only cross pollinate within their own species so watermelons can’t cross with lettuce, for instance. But there are many different varieties of...

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