Five Lessons We Learned About Lead in Soil

...log may recall, we did some soil tests last year that revealed elevated levels of lead and zinc in our backyard. The cause? Most likely, paint from our 92 year old house and nearly a hundred years of auto exhaust and dust from brake linings. Applying a little alchemy to turn lead to gold, I think the most productive thing I can do is to help get the word out about lead soil and how common this problem is in urban areas. Towards that end I though...

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Saturday Linkages: From Plastic Bottle Kayaks to Canine Staircases

...tters-china-stiff-arms-fda-jerky-pet-treat-testi#.UDa6kfTHEpw.twitter  …       Gardening Letting Things Go in the Garden (on purpose) http:// shar.es/77QaJ   Community  A vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age: http://www. nfb.ca/film/radiant_c ity/  … RT @theurbanologist: Tourists & Angelenos alike will find this 1907 map of streetcar routes in LA most helpful: http:// ow.ly/dbzO0 For these links and more, follow Root Simple o...

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Nominate Your Favorite Complainer

...at most complainers are lonely, clinically depressed people seeking attention. Or perhaps bureaucrats justifying their jobs in a recession. So the competition might give our complaint athletes just what they want: to be noticed. But on this blog, a yearly complaint competition would give us a way to organize and round up the most outrageous complaints. With urban homesteading activities on the rise there will certainly be more of these unfortunat...

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Clicker Training Chickens

...so, using hens takes away the potential mind games that occur between dog and trainer. Free of that distraction, the trainer learns the correct rhythm for training. It’s pure stimulus-response–reward. Here’s a video of a chick learning the basics. You can find others of this sort on Youtube: You might be able to find a chicken training seminar in your area, probably under the banner of dog training. With the rise of urban chic...

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How To Design a Garden Step IV: Clues to Care

...of garden statuary. Particularly if your garden has a wild look or if you’re trying to grow vegetables in the front yard,  “clues to care” can go a long ways to keeping the neighbors happy. Dr. Susan J. Mulley, a landscape architecture professor at Cal Poly Pomona is doing some interesting research on how people react to alternative forms of landscaping such as native plants and urban vegetable gardens. She’s doing opinio...

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How to Memorize Numbers

...memory system. Yesterday we introduced an ancient memory system that can be handy for learning all those new urban homesteading skills. Today I’ll briefly discuss a way to use a related mnemonic called the Major System for committing strings of numbers to memory. To use the Major System you first memorize a set of consonants that represent 0 through 9. From Wikipedia, here’s a table of the Major System consonants and a set of mn...

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Goat Worship: A Halloween Exclusive!

...earing his Altadena booster shirt. Altadena rocks! And Gloria is in her Backward Beekeepers sweatshirt, which is the fashion statement of choice in these parts. Why keep goats? Why operate a home dairy? Why should you keep goats? Well, for the milk, of course. And the cheese–which is milk’s higher purpose.  In an urban area (at least in this part of the world) it can be nigh near impossible to lay your hands on fresh, organic raw...

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Greywater Workshops in Los Angeles

...will cover: Ecological Sanitation – waterless toilets and urine harvesting – can save water, protect the environment, and create free fertilizer around the world. Learn the “how and why” of composting toilets and urine reuse, see projects from Mexico, China, Sweden, Zimbabwe, and the United States. Learn about options for homescale composting toilets from urban to rural applications, operation and maintenance needs, and co...

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Upcoming Classes: Edible Gardening and Vermicomposting

...to integrate vermicomposting with a dry toilet or pet waste composting system* How to best use your castings in the garden* Tips for the apartment dweller* What to do with all those extra worms… And more! Nancy  Klehm is a long-time urban forager and grower, ecological system  designer, artist and intrepid soil builder. She spent over five years  designing and running a closed-loop vermicomposting project in Chicago  that used 100’s of tho...

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Vermicomposting Class

...to integrate vermicomposting with a dry toilet or pet waste composting system* How to best use your castings in the garden* Tips for the apartment dweller* What to do with all those extra worms… And more! Nancy Klehm is a long-time urban forager and grower, ecological system designer, artist and intrepid soil builder. She spent over five years designing and running a closed-loop vermicomposting project in Chicago that used 100’s of tho...

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