Why We Travel By Train

Amtrak ain’t this grand, but it’s a lot better than flying! Photo via the Library of Congress. We’re headed up to Northern California, Oregon and Washington to promote our new book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World . And, with the exception of the San Francisco to Seattle leg, we’re traveling by train. Why do this when it’s more expensive, time consuming and probably makes our dear publis...

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Easy To Make Furniture: Sunset DIY Manual From the 1970s

PVC pipe and an avocado colored cushion? Instant outdoor furniture, or so this campy 1970s furniture manual, Easy-to-Make Furniture, from the editors of Sunset Magazine, would have you believe. While I think DIY furniture books from this period are somewhat horrifying, I have a respect for their can-do attitude in the face of the era’s declining wood shop skills. Then, WHAM, the global economy and Ikea came along and wiped out the last r...

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Support AB 1616 To Make Bake Sales Legal in California

Photo from ebcaswaps.blogspot.com From Mark Stambler of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers: AB1616, the California Homemade Food Act, was introduced in the California State Assembly today by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles). This cottage food law will finally allow people in California to legally sell bread [and other "non-hazardous" food such as honey, jams and jellies] they bake at home! The Los Angeles Bread Bakers helped draft the l...

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Deodorizing Wash

Deodorizing wash? Freshening wash? In Making It we called it cleansing spray. I’ve never been quite sure what to call this. It’s not a deodorant, in that it doesn’t really stay on you, deodorizing continuously. It’s not a body wash in that you don’t use it in the shower. This is a little mix I created, a simple blend of water, baking soda and essential oil. It’s something you can splash on and towel off real...

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Film Industry Blocks Bike Lanes, City of LA Doesn’t Care

Film industry trucks block bike lanes all the time here in Los Angeles, particularly along busy and fast moving Sunset Boulevard. Shutting down a bike lane on Sunset forces cyclists to merge into traffic that is sometimes going as fast as 50 miles an hour. It’s a tragedy waiting to happen. Not much room between a fast moving bus and a film industry truck. As to the legality of blocking a bike lane I don’t have a good answe...

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All Haste Is of the Devil: Carl Jung as Homesteader

Carl Jung pumping water in the Tower at Bollingen. From the Library of Congress. It’s a holiday here in the US, so we’ve turned things over to a special guest blogger, Dr. Carl Jung, who comes to us via the special astral internet plan we get from AT&T. As it turns out, Jung was quite the off-grid homesteader when it came to building and living in his special retreat tower in Bollingen, on the shore of Lake Zürich. I...

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Fall 2012 Adobe Classes With Kurt Gardella

I’ve taken three adobe classes with Kurt Gardella–and he built the amazing earth oven in our backyard. Kurt has a couple of classes coming up and I thought I’d help get the word out. He’s a great teacher. From an email he just sent: Dear adobe friends, Intro Fall is a great time for natural plastering and interior finishing work. Interior mud plastering and installing an earthen floor finish the normal adobe house constr...

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News from the Kat Kingdom at Root Simple

Meet Buck. Warning: Shameless, meandering cat narrative ahead. If you don’t like cats, all you can do at this point is turn away and sigh. The big news here is that we’ve been suckered into taking another kitten–but there will be no more! We will not turn into crazy cat collectors. As it is, keeping three cats in this tiny house is ridiculous. They’re always everywhere, always staring at you, or tripping you, or...

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Qualitites of a Good Outdoor Room

Our front porch. One of the features of gardens that I like is that they tend to be divided into smaller spaces, what has come to be called outdoor rooms. The Ecology Center, that we visited on Saturday, is a nice example of how to arrange a large space into many smaller ones. Just like the Huntington Ranch, the Ecology Center is subdivided into distinct spaces that host school visits and classes. Well designed residential gardens, like...

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