Make a Brigid’s Cross

...ecorded before the 17th century, so who really knows where it came from. (Shades of Spinal Tap!: No one knew who they were or what they were doing…) But what the hay. St. Brigid’s day is February 1st, and the cross-quarter holiday of Imbolc, which marks the coming of spring, is celebrated around the 2nd. I think this weekend would be excellent time to make a few Brigid’s crosses for fun and luck. A prope...

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

...e 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 remaining economic reasons to try to make your own furniture. That being said, I think some clever folks with time on their hands and an eye for discarded materials could make use of...

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Cat Poop Compost Installment #2

...for two years, and it should not be applied to food crops (but it can go around fruit trees). *** Last year at the end of July I posted about our experimental cat litter composting solution in The Cat Poop Portal post. It’s been a while since we reported in, and I’ve received some gentle pokes from readers, so this is an update. Long story short, it’s going slowly. At the time of the last post we’d installed a 50 gallon...

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Support AB 1616 To Make Bake Sales Legal in California

...out it, please visit cottagefood.org. Many states have cottage food bills already (see a pdf of those states and the laws they have on the books). Those that don’t need one! In California, AB 1616 will help many people with home-based businesses in a time of economic uncertainty. Please consider making a donation to the Sustainable Economies Law Center to help pass AB 1616. See cottagefood.org for details of the bill and for a complete list...

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How To Design a Garden Step II: Using Google Earth to Draw Up a Plan

...ow’s post) permaculture zones For a more accurate and sizable plan you can also use Google’s free 3D modeling program SketchUp. The drawback with SketchUp is that it requires a couple of evenings to learn. If only we had taken the time to draw up a plan to scale when we first moved into our house back in 1998! Better late than never, and at least it’s easier now thanks to Google. Special thanks to Darren Butler and Scott Klei...

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Fewer Linkages Today But More To Come

Not the usual link dump today since I was away all week at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa. I camped, so the only tweeting I heard came from actual birds.  I’ll blog about the many talks I went to this week, but until that time, here’s some info from two of the speakers I heard at the conference. A very different take on bees: www.gaiabees.com From Sonoma Compost, information on: How to compost: http://www.sonomacomp...

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California Homemade Food Act Signed Into Law!

...ch as such as jams, jellies, bread and honey, in a home kitchen and sell them. The bill takes effect in January. There is still, however, a lot of work to be done to figure out exactly how local health departments will implement the bill. Many municipalities are short of money, so fees for home kitchen inspections will be an issue. There will be a need to balance costs to county health departments while at the same time not making fees so prohibi...

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Poultry Houses of the Ultra Wealthy: Part 2

Are $100,000 chicken coops a sign of an empire on the verge of a decadent downward spiral? If so it’s time to get that bug-out location ready because Neiman Marcus publicity flacks just announced a $100,000 “Heritage Hen Mini-Farm.” From the description on their website: Dawn breaks. The hens descend from their bespoke Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house to their playground below for a morning wing stretch. Slipping on...

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The Sun Comes

photo credit: Henry Mühlpfordt Happy Winter Solstice! It is the darkest day of the year, and the shortest day of the year.  But from now on, every day will be a little longer and a little brighter, until the year turns once more. This is a rough time to be a gardener, even in Southern California. Everything seems to be sleeping. You, perhaps, wish you were tucked in a warm bed, sleeping, instead of frantically rushing getting ready for...

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