Lessons In Beekeeping: Remember To Wear Boots

...e carefully peeled back the wall paneling, to expose the bee’s comb. We smoked the bees to calm them down and proceeded to cut the comb out, putting the honeycomb into a five gallon bucket and the “brood” or baby bee comb into frames that went into the bee’s new hive box. We filled up ten frames of a “deep” hive box with brood comb. Once the comb was in the box, we sprayed the remaining bees, still clinging to...

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Bisphenol-A

Above, the bisphenol-A or BPA molecule, a type of plastic found in all kinds of products including baby bottles, plastic food containers, Nalgene bottles, some wines (from the plastic stoppers and the lining of fermentation tanks) and the lining in metal cans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s safe, a viewpoint contradicted by at least 100 studies. The problem: BPA is a endocrine disruptor linked to a host of problems, acco...

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Be a question. Be an answer.

Kotex Ad from 1971. Is that Susan Dey Cybill Shepherd? And what’s that oddly eroticized blur in the foreground? Okay, time to wrest the blog out of Erik’s hands. He’s gone crazy with the geek-boy subject matter of late. I’m going to bring this baby down to earth with a resounding thud. Let’s talk menstruation. We’re writing a new book, as we may have mentioned. It’s a project book focused on making som...

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How to Cook Broadleaf Plantain

...so bitter and heavily veined, so I prefer to collect it as a medicinal herb. I infuse it into oil that I put into salves and creams and I use it as a fresh poultice on itchy bites and hives. But eating it? Meh. I’ll put baby leaves in a salad. Erik has sprinkled the leaves on pizzas--and I’ll eat anything on a pizza. The seeds can be collected and used in seedy applications. But all in all, the flavor and tough texture of plantain lef...

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Bad Forager: Mistaking Hemlock for Fennel

...ibble. I will also put lots of emphasis on tasting and smelling everything an experienced forager identifies for me. Those senses have long memories, and are hard to fool. Some notes on hemlock: I’ve always been wary of baby hemlock. It likes to grow where chickweed grows, so its easy to pull up a few hemlock sprouts along with young chickweed, and it doesn’t take much fresh hemlock in your salad to make you very sick. The main poison...

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Campfire Cooking: Fish in Clay (& Vegetarian Options!)

...course! Veggie Options: I have to admit, I was so obsessed with trout process, I missed some of what was going on at the vegetarian table. But in essence the process is the same. You can dress sturdy veggies like carrots and baby potatoes with fat and herbs, wrap them with leaves, cover that with clay and throw it on the coals. Pascal also recommended trying fruit, like pears. He likes pears with native California black sage. Better still, you c...

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How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

..., you’ll likely have to water them more frequently than a normal plant, because their root structure is all messed up.  If the sun is strong, provide them with some shade. Also consider mulching to slow down water loss. Baby them as much as you can. [ETA: One of our readers reminds me that another way to up your chances of success is to trim back the foliage of the plant. Fewer leaves means it will need less water, and can spend more energy...

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Cactus Thief Strikes Again

...rity system that would set off an alarm and flashing strobe in the house. Attach a trip wire to the root system and we’re in business. I also pondered another extreme strategy: shower the cactus thief with free flats of baby cacti. The latter strategy could even lead to the first ever Root Simple Upworthy style clickbait headline, “Thief Steals Cactus and the Thorny Response Will Have You in Tears.” Stoic philosopher Epictetus s...

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How to Remove Bees From a Tree

The Los Angeles Fire Department responds to the North Hollywood bee incident. Photo: LAFD. First let’s cover how not to remove bees from a tree. My beekeeping mentor Kirk Anderson described an incident that took place this week in North Hollywood, What happened was a HUMAN was cutting his tree down. It came down alright, with the bees that were in the tree. The bees didn’t expect or enjoy the trip to the ground. The home owner ran wi...

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Citified Parched Corn

...ing a source of dry parching corn. So I did what any Angelino would do — I drove to Trader Joes and bought a three bags of frozen corn nibblets. Then I put the nibblets in our fancy electric dehydrator. I dried a bag of baby green peas while I was at it, because I thought they might parch nicely, too. Fresh frozen corn is, obviously, very different than dried-on-the-cob corn. The fresh kernels are sliced off the cob, so they are open ended....

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