Time Banking

So what is money but an abstract representation of misery, time spent doing things we’d all rather not be doing? How about an alternative? How about taking all of our hard earned capital away from the Wall Street types? Get ready for time banking. With time banking, you get together with your local community members, friends and family and exchange hours rather than currency. Time Bank USA describes the concept succinctly: “For ever...

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Remember to Label Those Jars!

Label, label, label!” This was one of the most important lessons I learned in my Master Food Preserver training. You’ll note, from the jars above, that I’m not very good about this. When were those jars canned and what’s in them? I have no idea. They were probably the result of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.”...

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Tame the Email Beast and Have Time To Run Your Urban Homestead

...mart phone? When Kelly and I do a book appearance one of the most common questions is, “How do you have time for all this stuff?” Our response is two parts. The first is to say that we don’t recommend people try to do everything in our book but, instead, focus on the things you like to do most. The time will appear as your interests and priorities shift. The second is that we don’t watch TV. That being said, there are...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...ind the cooler straightforward, and that’s what I’m going to describe here. We make two quarts at a time in a little six pack cooler. Very clean canning-type jars Hot water bottle (optional) Towel(s) for insulation Your last store bought container of yogurt. You need live yogurt to start the culture, only a few spoonfuls. The label should say something about containing live, active cultures. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of live yog...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...t will put out.  After the first cutting, you can probably return to harvest more every 3 days or so. The ideal time to harvest is in the morning, before it gets warm, but after the dew dries. You want them all fresh and perky and at their peak. This is traditional wisdom. However, I believe it’s better to harvest when you can than not at all, so I harvest at all times of day. A side note regarding seeds: If you don’t harvest the he...

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Warning: This Blog is Based in a Mediterranean Climate

...A fresco from Pompeii depicting many familiar plants. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time: write up a sort of this-blog-is-in-a-Mediterranean-climate disclaimer. There’s a certain amount of awkwardness when discussing vegetable gardening in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months. I imagine that most of the readers of this blog are either taking some time off from gardening or gardening under a hoop house....

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

...t’s hard to get to them without a bike. It’s possible by bus, but amazingly tedious and backward and time wasting. Basically, public transportation here doesn’t support your life, it becomes your life. Example: we went to visit Erik’s mom last week for a lunch date. She lives about 15 miles away. We left our house at 10 and came back at 5. We had a good long visit with her and about four hours of transit time total. Good t...

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Keeping it Local

...ion and How to Take It Back and on his radio show The Media Squat. One of the topics Rushkoff mentions often is time banking, an alternative to currency and bartering where hours are exchanged instead of money or goods. I’ve joined up with our local Echo Park Time Bank and in the past month have moved a heavy tree sculpture, had my portrait taken and unsuccessfully attempted to unclog a tub. Not only did I participate in useful activities...

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Looking for the Union Label

...derwear on the internets recalled a highly catchy ad jingle from the roller disco era, “Look for the Union Label” (youngsters can watch it on youtube here). We looked for the union label and we were surprised to find it via a company called Union House which carries a functional, if unexciting line of apparel. Unless hipsters take to golf shirts in an ironic fashion judo move, these offerings will never be cool like the domestically m...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...ate is, and how humid the storage area is. You should be aware that acorn weevil larvae will likely emerge, from time to time, from any collection of acorns., especially the fresher ones. (Older acorns may have acorn moths in them, though. These moths move into the holes left behind by the weevils. Nature is beautiful that way.) They are harmless to you, pets, carpets and furniture. They are edible, even tasty, I hear. If they end up in your hous...

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