Our New Straw Bale Garden–Part I

Straw bales–ready to prepare. Pot in the center will be a solar powered fountain. We’re going to experiment with a straw bale vegetable garden in our backyard, inspired by Michael Tortorello’s article in the New York Times. The plan is to grow in the bales and harvest the resulting compost for use in permanent raised beds (that have yet to be built). We’ll keep growing in bales until we have enough comp...

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Learn to Build with Adobe

...es he’s teaching: Are you looking for college credit for your adobe construction coursework? I am teaching the following spring 2014 semester classes through Santa Fe Community College’s Adobe Construction Department: Class: ADOB 113 – Passive Solar Adobe Design Format: 8-Week Online Class Dates: January 21 to March 15, 2014 Credits: 2 Course #: 31660 Class: ADOB 111 – Adobe Construction Basics Format: 8-Week Online Clas...

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SurviveLA Food Review: Mary Jane’s Farm Organic Buttery Herb Pasta

...g. It is in fact a form of your classic boxed mac n’ cheese: elbow pasta in cheesy powder sauce, only sans the bright orange coloring. It is good, being similar to the upscale Annie’s Mac & Cheese. Maybe Annie and Mary Jane smoke pot together somewhere in OrganicVille? I did not notice the herb flavoring, and did not miss it, because I find when you are exhausted and camping at 10,000 feet your palette is not as adventurous as i...

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SunCalc: A Sun Trajectory Calculator

...u can see sun positions at sunrise (yellow), specified time (orange) and sunset (red). The thin orange curve is the current sun trajectory, and the yellow area around is the variation of sun trajectories during the year. The closer a point is to the center, the higher is the sun above the horizon. The colors on the time slider above show sunlight coverage during the day. I can see SunCalc being useful for laying out a garden, window and sola...

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Stern Sprouted Wheat Vegan Cookie or Health Bar Type Things

...these will replace brownies in my heart, but they’re a solid, guilt-free snack. And anyway, they’re the closest I’m going to get to dessert for a while. The recipe comes from the book, From the Wood-Fired Oven by Richard Miscovich, where the recipe is used as an example of what you can cook in a bread oven which has almost cooled off,  because these bake at very low temps. Actually, they’d be good candidates for a solar o...

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The modern woman-things to put in your apron pocket

Aprons are so cute and oh so functional. I’m often out and about in the yard and around the homestead and I find my apron a very useful accessory. An apron adds a flirty, feminine touch when worn over jeans and is a nice layer of protection for a dress. I tend to get very dirty and need a lot of pockets, so an apron is handy indeed. Whether I am at the farmer’s market, pulling weeds in the backyard or at the chicken coop, here are th...

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A New Fitness Craze: The Kayak Balance Stool

...r than moving your legs. According to Cunningham Inuit children in Greenland got a meaty bone to nibble on while they practiced on one of these things. I’m going to skip the bone for some reading material and slowly increase my time on the board. For a fancy kayak balance board tip yourself over here. Note from Mrs. Homestead: Came home last night to find Erik had made this highly attractive new toy on the porch. I was actually somewhat in...

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Security

...style freakout here, it’s important to note that Los Angeles’ crime rate is down significantly since the early 90s and is much lower than many other large cities in America. In fact the crime rate in LA is on a par with Denver and nowhere near the high rates of cities like Detroit and Washington D.C. But while we ain’t the gun-toting survivalist types here at the Homegrown Evolution homestead, we do have a security system. It&#...

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Steve Solomon’s Soil and Health e-Library

I’m really enjoying the incredible variety of obscure old books being scanned and put up on the interwebs. Of interest to readers of this blog will be the archive of free e-books maintained by gardening author Steve Solomon. His Soil and Health e-library contains books on “holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living” You can download the books for free, but Solomon requests a modest $13 donation....

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Greywater 101

Survival Podcast intern Josiah Wallingford has started up a blog, Brink of Freedom, that I’m going to contribute to periodically. In my first post, Laundry to Landscape: How to Reuse Laundry Greywater, I discuss my own greywater system as well as the setup I installed at neighbor Lora’s house. Greywater has been one of the simplest and most rewarding projects at our homestead. And I’m looking forward to cont...

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