Doomsday Preppers: Exploitative, Uninteresting, Unreal “Reality”

ker Werner Herzog often plays loose with the details of his documentaries. He calls the practice the “ecstatic truth.” He deploys the ecstatic truth when he thinks he needs to tell a story in a more compelling way than the actual facts of the situation allow. As a journalist, Mark Twain was also a fan of the ecstatic truth. McClung’s swimming pool aquaponics setup. Doomsday Preppers is a kind of unecstatic truth. It be...

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Saturday Linkages: Making Things and Herding Ducks

...reats by Chris Rochelle: Chocolate Cake Baked in an Orange http://www. chow.com/galleries/315/ step-up-the-smore-7-ideas-for-campfire-treats-by-chris-rochelle/7324/chocolate-cake-baked-in-an-orange  …   Fowl How to Herd Your Chickens (or ducks) http:// shar.es/v87HU   For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:  Follow @rootsimple...

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What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

Root Simple’s new composting game for your Xbox! I wish I could source compost pile materials from our yard. But lead and zinc contamination in our soil make that a dodgy proposition without doing a lot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) str...

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The Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano

Kelly and I had the privilege of doing a short talk this weekend at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. If you’re interested in Southern California food forestry, greywater, chickens, you name it, this is the place to visit. They have an amazing garden, classes and a well curated gift store. When people ask us how to design garden and house systems in SoCal, we’re going to send them to the Ecology Center....

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Introducing Nancy Klehm With Tips on Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

...e, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, salsify, and cress. I have many vegetables, fruits, culinary and medicinal herbs sown and growing under lights indoors that have weeks ahead of them under 14 hours of artificial sun. But thankfully, I have already been eating out of my garden which is a loose collection of the cultivated and the forageable: asparagus, stinging nettle, dandelion, chickweed, dock, wild and French sorrel, parsley, pea shoots,...

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A Review of Williams-Sonoma’s Agrarian Line

...ream acceptance of things like chicken coops and beehives might lead to fewer uptight home owners association restrictions. Yet another speculated that Ikea would come out with similar, but more modernist, options. But rather than delve into the cultural meaning of the Agrarian line (you are all welcome to do that in the comments), I thought I’d look at a few of their actual offerings in beekeeping, chicken coops, canning supplies and books...

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A Time Out Box for Quail

ray cat and raptors. After almost a year of this particular constellation of individual birds living peacefully, unrest flared. Recently, ‘B.B. Curious’, the largest of all the quail became exceedingly aggressive towards the others. She was chasing them and pulling their back feathers out causing periodic frantic scurrying and distressing calls from the others. I checked her body and health. I stepped up their seeds and protein in case it was a...

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My Trip to Maker Faire

...ech/high tech irony, I was not able to use my PowerPoint and had to speak extemporaneously. This worked out for the better, as I was able to pull up a member of the audience to demonstrate her solar cooker–much more fun than showing pictures of solar cookers. And, after all, maybe it’s time we retire PowerPoint. Some of the things I spotted at Maker Faire: Long lines for the tiny house. I’ll review Lloyd Kahn’s awesome t...

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Advances in Gardening: The Trough of Garlic

.... Too late for us this year, a friend gave us an enthusiastic recommendation: a variety called Music. Check it out. Perhaps we’ll plant this one next year. Here in LA, we plant garlic in the fall, between Halloween and Thanksgiving for a spring harvest. You’ll have to check local wisdom to find out when you should plant yours, but we’ve heard that in cold winter climates you also plant garlic around this time–the only dif...

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