Straw Bale Garden Part V: Growing Vegetables

It’s too early to call my straw bale garden a success but, so far, the vegetables I planted in the bales are growing. I got a late start on planting–I put in the tomatoes, squash and basil in mid May/Early June–just in time for the cloudy, cool weather we have here in early summer. Check out the difference between the tomato I planted in a bale on the left, compared with a tomato in one o...

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Lila Downs Video Showing Tortilla Making in Oaxaca

Gloria En la Huerta from the Los Angeles Bread Bakers sent me a link to this music video that shows tortilla making in Oaxaca. The song is “Palomo Del Comalito” (Dove of the Comalito) by Lila Downs. Note the huge corn tortillas, proof of the regional diversity of Mexican cuisine (and one of the many details I got wrong in my tortilla press post–thanks for the corrections Gloria). Lyrics in English after the jump. The beautif...

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New Project: Making Bitters

...rently steeping. In future posts I’ll share the recipes I develop as I follow this path. In the meanwhile, making your own bitters is really easy. You may be able to throw a few experiments together just using things you find in your spice cabinet. Since these are flavoring, not medicine, you don’t have to be as careful with the quantities and timing as you must be when tincturing herbs for medicine. Yet at the same time, it’s a...

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A Homemade Mattress?

...aid down one layer at a time in the ticking, not actually stuffed. You have to work with the nature of the wool. It took her about 6 hours to fill the mattress. 3) Here is a webpage, in French, showing the mattress making process. Lots of useful pictures. I have to run it through Google Translate for more clues. 4) Do not fall for the eHow result if you search for how to make a wool mattress. It gets off to a great start by recommending you use g...

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Making It e-Book Corrected

To those of you who purchased an e-version of our book Making It and had trouble reading it, I just received a note from our publisher Rodale: The “disappearing words” are actually words that appear in a faint gray color that was hard or impossible to see over light background color settings on some devices, especially the Kindle from Amazon. We have corrected the e-book files and re-released them to all retailers. The corrected vers...

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2011 in Review: The Garden

It’s was a difficult year in the garden. A lead and zinc issue screwed up my winter vegetables garden plans. At least we managed to find some river rocks and put in a path. I found this photo from December 2010. I was certainly a lot more organized that year. For 2012, I’m putting in raised beds to deal with the heavy metal issue and we’ve already planted more native plants. But most importantly one of my New Years resolution...

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Roundin’ up the Summer Urban Homesteading Disasters

...ut aesthetically unappealing, loaves. Moral: the more important the event the more likely disaster will strike. Squashed I’ve blogged about it before, but my attempt to grow winter squash (Marina di Chioggia) ended in disaster. The squash vines took up the majority of one of my few vegetable beds. I got only two squash, one that was consumed by racoons and the other that never fully matured before the vine crapped out. The immature squash...

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Of Stickers and Boomers

...an elderly gentleman speak slowly at a podium in front of a truly uninspired backdrop. Where are the kittens and baby sloths? you might ask along the way, if your internet video viewing habits are like mine. Best not to think of it as a video. Think of it as a radio program, settle down to listen and you will be truly and deeply rewarded. I had trouble embedding the video, but you can view it on its NEH page. Berry comes on stage at about the 11:...

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Giveaway: What’s your favorite tip?

We want to give away a copy of our new book, Making It . To make this contest interesting for everyone, we’re asking you to give us a homesteading-type tip to enter. Leave us a comment on almost any subject you’ve had some experience with: gardening, fermenting, brewing, sewing, livestock, foraging, cleaning, cooking, building, general common sense–really, it can be just about anything. And the tip doesn’t have to be big...

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