My Trip to Maker Faire

...oraneously. 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 tiny house book later this week (he gave a talk just before me). Not sure what...

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Prickly Pear Fruit Chips

...store. I’m not a fan of oven drying either since there’s not enough air flow and you run the risk of cooking rather than dehydrating. A dehydrator, either electric or solar, is a great investment if you’ve got food to put up. When the prickly pear fruit has a leather-like consistency, enjoy. You swallow the hard seeds, making prickly pear fruit somewhat an acquired taste for some. Chumacero also mentioned that the young pads, &#...

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The Pressure is On

My pressure cooker is my new best friend. Especially when I’m not in the mood for cooking, I can toss a few ingredients in, lock the lid down and come back to a healthy, nutritious supper in just a few minutes. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a pressure cooker cookbook up to my standards. All of the ones I checked out from the library, even those newly published, seemed stuck in the 1950s tuna noodle casserole era, when pressure cooki...

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Book Review: A Feast of Weeds by Luigi Ballerini

The evening a review copy of A Feast of Weeds: A Literary Guide to Foraging and Cooking Wild Edible Plants came in I couldn’t put it down. I chased Kelly and our guest Nancy Klehm around the house to read excerpts: on the obscene etymology of the Italian word for the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), on the history of Mallow (Malva parviflora). And who knew that Italians eat red poppy leaves? Ballerini is a professor of...

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The World’s First Lamp

...inger in the shell and push the wicks up or down. Don’t use lamp oil, kerosene, etc. as fuel–only cooking oils. Conversely, don’t try to burn cooking oil in other types of oil lamps, like hurricane lamps.  Stabilize tilting shells either by nesting them in one another or by putting them in little dishes of sand, salt or pebbles. I’m using a couple of oyster shells that I dragged home from an oyster bar right now bec...

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Return of Bean Friday! Chickpea, Pasta and Tomato Soup

...or topping, optional The recipe called for not only an overnight soak for the beans, but also for three hours of cooking time. That seemed like overkill. What I ended up doing was letting my two cups of dried beans soak on the counter for 2 or 3 hours, by which time they’d doubled in size.  I’m not sure if pre-soaking is necessary at all, really. The long cooking time may be necessary to get the beans silky enough. This will all be th...

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Tippy Tap, Beta Version

.... If I do another tippy tap in plastic, I’ll use a water jug or a bottle which held something edible, like cooking oil. Next, I gave the bottle a quick coat of paint because I couldn’t scrape off the label and couldn’t stand to wash my hands while that psychotic, chemical peddling teddy bear stared up at me. The mechanics of building a tippy tap are quite simple, but fairly situational, so you’ll have to improvise around t...

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Appropriate Tech is the New High Tech

...In the meantime, I can think of one other free downloadable book, David Bainbridge’s The Integral Passive Solar Water Heater Book, that you can access for free via the Build It Solar website at: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/ISPWH/ispwh.htm If any of you know of more appropriate tech books, blogs or resources worth looking at, please leave a comment. And thanks to the Homegrown Evolution reader who noticed our oddb...

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June: National Bathroom Reading Month

...Catalog. This is sort of a Sky Mall for environmentalists. Produced by the same folks who put out the worthwhile Solar Living Source Book, most of the items in this catalog are beyond our modest writing-derived income level. Some things look useful, but there’s a lot of dubious stuff such as solar hat fans and electric scooters. And we suspect you can get many of the items in the catalog cheaper elsewhere, though we’re intrigued with...

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Essential System #9 – Hydration

...Lastly we must put in a plug for the geniuses behind the artistic collective Simparch who are experimenting with solar stills to distill water as a method of purification. Distillation takes care of 99.9% of the bad stuff and the Simparch folks have created a solar still as a part of the border art shindig InSite. Solar stills can also be improvised. One homestead project that is in the planning stages, pending our long wait for the corrupt Los...

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