Essential System #4 – Illumination

...ber that power plants are America’s single greatest producer of greenhouse gases. And as far as conservation goes, it’s estimated that if every American replaced one bulb with a compact fluorescent it would be the energy equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road. But back to LEDs. For emergency purposes it might be wise to have a Forever Flashlight that requires no batteries. You shake the thing back and forth to run the ligh...

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An Earth Day Rant

...Witness an article in the LA Times, Going Beyond the Basic Bike, wherein we learned about the treadmill bike pictured above–a bargain at $2,011–the kids can use it in a science fair project to simulate inefficient energy transfer! But they’ll also have to bust out the Foucault and Baudrillard to explain how a simulation of running becomes a means of locomotion. [Update: a reader points out that the treadmill bike is a joke--kind...

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Citified Parched Corn

Dried corn on the left, parched corn with peas and blueberries on right I was thinking about trail food, and wishing for a portable snack which was not based on nuts and chocolate chips (though there’s nothing wrong with that!) or too sugary, like dried fruit or energy bars. Then I recalled parched corn. Parched corn–dried corn which has been roasted–is one of those legendary Native American foods, like pemmican, which you hear...

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The Urban Homestead

...obel • Powell’s and your local indie bookstore This celebrated, essential handbook for the urban homesteading movement shows how to grow and preserve your own food, clean your house without toxins, raise chickens, gain energy independence, and more. Step-by-step projects, tips, and anecdotes will help get you started homesteading immediately. The Urban Homestead is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best book...

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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

...ncompasses 70 acres and 200-some homes. It has all the space and privacy that brings people to the suburbs, but it’s designed with considerable intelligence. For instance, the homes are all designed according to passive solar principles, so their heating and cooling bills are considerably reduced. Some have even have green roofs. But more interesting is the landscaping, the massive network of bike/walking paths and the creative use of publi...

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Saturday Linkages:

The Japanese art of Furoshiki–a way of making packages with a reusable cloth. Via No Tech Magazine. Zero waste shopping in Japan with Furoshiki: http://www.notechmagazine.com/2014/04/furoshiki-zero-waste-shopping-in-japan.html … A solar powered grain grinder: http://www.notechmagazine.com/2014/04/solar-powered-grain-mill.html … Bee Friendly Gardening In The Pacific Northwest http://www.nwedible.com/2014/04/bee-friendly-gardening.html … Nes...

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Saturday Linkages: Fire Plows, Kite Fishing and Roundup-Ready Turfgrass

...: Clever Solution or Future Flop? by Evelyn Hadden http://feedly.com/e/6x1OCfMz  Coming soon – Roundup-Ready Turfgrass | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2014/02/coming-soon-round-up-ready-turfgrass.html … Author Builds Tiny Solar-Powered Off Grid Cabin for Under 2000 http://inhabitat.com/author-builds-tiny-solar-powered-off-grid-cabin-for-under-2000/lamar-alexander-off-grid-cabin-2/ … For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Fol...

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So-So Tomatoes Become Excellent When Dried

...fset the risk. Another good tip for fending off moths is to freeze any food stuff which you suspect might be at risk for 4 days to kill moths and their larvae. How did we dry our tomatoes, you ask? Usually we use our homemade solar dehydrator, but this year we’ve got a friend’s electric dehydrator on loan. It seemed wicked to run the thing day and night, but it dries a lot faster, and with less work overall, than our solar set-up. (Oh...

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Scarlet Runner Bean Stew

...fried beans, they need to be extra soft. Just taste and see what you think. I like my beans nice and soft but not falling apart. So to cook the scarlet runner beans I placed them in the 3 quart enameled pot that goes with my solar cooker, filled it the rest of the way with water and let the beans soak overnight. The next day I admired the fat, swollen beans. I threw in a few bay leaves and put the pot in the solar cooker around 9 a.m.. I arrived...

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