Strange brew: herbal steam for a chest cold and sinus pain

Mrs. Homegrown here: I’ve had a bad cold for almost a week now. It’s gone through all the classic steps: the sore throat, then the snot factory, then the ghastly “productive cough” that keeps you awake at night, and on top of it all, the lost voice. Oh, the fun! I thought I was almost out of the woods, but then I seem to have hit a cul-de-sac involving the sinuses. Sinus trouble is a new malady for me–I’m jus...

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Goat Worship: A Halloween Exclusive!

...our circumstances and leanings.  How much does it cost to buy a good milk goat? Around $300 locally. That’s for a goat with her kids just weaned, ready to milk. Of course it’s much less cash up front to raise up a baby. Meet Mint. She’s thirsty after being milked. How much food? What kind of food? Milkers eat 2 flakes of hay each per day. The non-milkers eat 1 flake. (There are 10-12 flakes per bale, rough...

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Giveaway: What’s your favorite tip?

...vestock, foraging, cleaning, cooking, building, general common sense–really, it can be just about anything. And the tip doesn’t have to be big and profound. Something like “X is my favorite variety of winter squash” is just fine. You can also tell us of a mistake you’ve made, something you’ve learned the hard way–a mistake is just an inverse tip! This way, the comments on this page will be a fascinating r...

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Bean Fest, Episode 7: The Home-Ec Supper Club

...had to drink out of jam jars and novelty cocktail glasses. To seat them all, we had to bring our outside table inside and line it up with our usual table–and we borrowed 5 chairs from Homegrown Neighbor. Everyone had to squash up tight. The guests arrived with amazing offerings from their yards and kitchens, everything from a bowl of sweet, ripe pineapple guavas to a salad with green tomatoes to homemade biscuits to an apple butter tart fo...

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Deep Bedding for Chickens

...time, the floor of the coop and/or run becomes a deep soft deposit of compost. Ours is sort of like quicksand. We throw all sorts of stuff in there–kitchen scraps, huge stalks of bolted lettuce, armloads of nasturtium, squash rinds–whatever goes in vanishes within a day or two. The hens peck at it until all the good stuff is gone. Then they trample it. Then they bury it. It all becomes one. Wear and weather break down the bedding, so...

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Three Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

I spotted some nice front yard gardens while I was out for a walk the other day. Check out these finds: Above, these gardeners have used some scrap lumber as retaining walls to allow them some extra soil depth for planting. In this small front yard bed they’re growing beautiful kohlrabi (my new favorite vegetable), some climbing beans and a few different kinds of squash. Keeping a veggie garden doesn’t have to be either complicated...

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Vertical Vegetables

...r. How about simply favoring fruits and vegetables that either grow vertically naturally, say pole beans, grapes, peas or kiwi or that can be convinced with a bit of pruning to go vertical, such as tomatoes, melons and winter squash? Mel Bartholomew has some nice vertical gardening tips in his classic book Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! . Build some raised beds next to a wall or saw cut out the concrete, plant in the ground and y...

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More On the National Heirloom Exposition

Squash tower at the National Heirloom Exposition Quite honestly, between the lead and zinc in our soil and an endless heat wave that seems to portend climactic disaster, I’ve been a bit dispirited with our little urban homestead project this summer. The Heirloom Exposition up in Santa Rosa lifted me out of my petty depression. The amazing speakers, exhibits and vendors, left me inspired and ready to get back to work. This week I...

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The Pressure is On

...a noodle casserole era, when pressure cooking was last popular. Thankfully, a friend sent us a copy of Pressure Cooking for Everyone by Rick Rogers and Arlene Ward. The recipes are simple and I’m especially fond of the squash risotto and vegetarian chili. Speaking of vegetarian, the recipes in this book are on the meaty side (Kelly is a “fishatarian” and I simply don’t buy supermarket meat). Someone does need to do a good...

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2013 in Review Part I

...rden. It was the perfect solution to our lead soil problem–grow in bales temporarily and generate a lot of compost with which to use in permanent raised beds that I’ll build this winter. I’m still harvesting squash from those bales! May We attend the Age of Limits conference along with our friend John Zapf. Kelly and I blogged about our initial reaction to this doomy event but we never told the whole story–deciding instea...

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