Far Side of the Stairs

...he idea of combining “alley-cat” with our “middle-age” we feared might lead to a trip to the “emergency-room”. But the brave folks at SoapboxLA were clearly up to the challenge and took first place in the categories of non-crocodile wrestling Australian and fiery high-horse Hungarian. But seriously, part of this urban homesteading thing is about whipping our communities into shape and LA needs a serious thrashi...

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The Boy Scouts Suck

...As Barbara Ehrenreich once said, “Men alone in groups are bad company”. It’s also no fair that the girls have got to whore themselves selling cookies. 2. Let’s teach our kids to make the world a better place without the Norman Rockwell fascist veneer. 3. Hipper uniforms. We suggest something like this. 4. An urban cycling merit badge. 5. All activities are outdoors. Lots of nature experiences. No computer merit badges a...

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Meet the Gophinator

The Gophinator Thankfully, we don’t have gophers, but dealing with them is one of the first questions we get when teaching vegetable gardening classes.  You can use raised beds lined with hardware cloth. But, other than target practice (a no-no in urban areas), most people I know with gopher problems end up using traps or zealous cats. Several sources have told me about the Cadillac of gopher traps, the aptly named “Gophina...

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Grab and Go

...important to remember that hypothermia can occur when temperatures are above ten degrees Celsius, (that’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit for you backwards non-metric American types) especially if it’s windy or if your clothes get wet. 4. Illumination We have multiple headlamps and flashlights with extra batteries. 5. First-aid supplies We’ll give the full list of the contents of our first aid kit in a subsequent post. 6. Fire Our fir...

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SUSTAINABLE LA @ Farmlab/Under Spring

...ll as comrade Elon Schoenholz’s “You Can’t Compost Concrete” and a little something from the Wolfpack Hustle kids. From the announcement: Sustainable LA is a celebration of Angelinos engaged in the green revolution. The one-hour program consists of short films on a variety of topics including urban gardening, environmental awareness and community activism. In keeping with the grassroots nature of many of these organizatio...

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Introducing Nancy Klehm With Tips on Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

...den in her yard, an empty lot next to her house and on her roof in addition to lots of indoor seedlings. She has 5 chickens (one is rooster) and 7 quail (5 bobwhite and 2 coturnix). She also grows and gathers in her neighborhood and maintains a half acre food forest west of the city. In her first post for Root Simple Nancy introduces her climate and offers some tips on growing Jerusalem artichokes: Welcome to Zone 5 I live in what is known by the...

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Only at Home: Huntington Ranch Symposium Nov. 18

...Huntington Ranch Symposium The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical GardensSan Marino, CA Marking the second year of Ranch operations, this one-day symposium focuses on aspects of urban agriculture that can’t be duplicated in commercial settings. From the use of gray water irrigation systems to growing offbeat edibles, learn how to harvest the unique potential from your home garden. From 8:30am to 5:00pm. Featuring: Master ga...

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Plymouth Rock Monthly

What magazine had 40,000 subscribers in 1920? Answer: the Plymouth Rock Monthly, a periodical devoted to our favorite chicken breed. We have two “production” Barred Plymouth Rocks in our small flock of four hens, and we’ve found them to be productive, friendly and, with their striped plumage, an attractive sight in our garden. While the internet is an amazing resource for the urban homesteader, there are a few holes in this ele...

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Friday Afternoon Linkages–Some Fun, Some Scary

Life is like a seesaw with a rusty bolt–a good kid on one end and a bad kid on the other and no way to tell whose ass is gonna hit the ground hardest. On the fun side of life’s pesky algebra equation this week: Mark Frauenfelder is experimenting with a unique way of drying persimmons using a traditional Japanese method as pictured on the left. Meanwhile, in a busy month of blogging, the intrepid urban homesteaders over at Ramshackle...

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The Sacred Chickens of Ancient Rome

...ed an unwanted prophesy. The naval commander, Publius Claudius Pulcher, refused to take no for an answer and had the sacred chickens tossed overboard saying, “Let them drink, since they won’t eat.” Elektra Tig also found a drawing of a sacred chicken coop just in case some of you are looking for coopatecture inspiration: Maybe some of us urban homesteader types can put together a flock of sacred chickens for the US senate. By J...

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