How to Prevent Bees From Living in Your Walls . . . or Welcome Them In

...stories told by exterminators (they are, after all, selling poison). But if you have to remove bees from a wall it can be an expensive job if done correctly. I’ve removed hives from walls and it’s both hard on the bees and the beekeeper. Thankfully you can take a few easy steps to prevent a hive from moving into your house. Bees like dark hollow spaces–think of a dead tree or an empty stud wall. Here in LA many old houses, suc...

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Avoiding Hyperthermia

When spending a day baking pizzas at a public event in front of a 1000º F oven in the full Southern California sun remember to drink water and take breaks. Otherwise you will spend the next day in bed with a splitting headache, unable to eat, barely able to drink anything and at the mercy of two young cats. The first time I pulled off a case of hyperthermia was after a long bike ride. I would not call it fun, nor would I like this to happen whe...

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Update: Citrus Vinegar for Cleaning

...y bottle, and I like the scent, but I’ve realized that because the vinegar is tinted by the orange peel if it is left to dry on a white surface it will leave yellow marks behind. This is not a big deal, because when using vinegar spray you are usually spraying and wiping at the same time, and I’ve never seen yellow streaks left behind from using this way. But a few times I’ve sprayed something and then forgot to wipe it down. Wh...

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Tiny Homes Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn

...American architecture. In a way my favorite building is Tiny Homes is the most modest–Tom’s cabin. It’s a a $4,000 Tuff Shed from Home Depot turned into a cozy caretaker’s cabin. Tom took the shed, which already has a built-in loft, converted that loft to a bedroom, insulated the walls, put in a small kitchen and covered the interior studs with 3/8″ particle board.  Ton’s cabin isn’t much to look at fro...

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Sun Boxes: A Solar Powered Public Art Project

It’s not often that my unused music degree intersects with the topic of this blog, but I got an email from Craig Colorusso describing a neat, solar powered public art project that he’s touring the US with called Sun Boxes. From the description on his website: Sun Boxes are an environment to enter and exit at will. It’s comprised of twenty speakers operating independently, each powered by the sun via solar panels. There is a differ...

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Picture Sundays: Giant Crops of the Future

From Paleofuture, some 20th century notions about the factory farms of the future, from Arthur Radebaugh’s Sunday comic strip “Closer Than We Think” COLOSSAL CROPS — In addition to dire threats of destruction, the atomic age has also produced many brighter horizons for mankind’s future. One such happy prospect is the use of radiation to create more uniform and dependable crops that will end famine everywhere in the world. Gamma ray fi...

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Shibori Challenge Proves Challenging

..., I experimented with turmeric. Turmeric is a “fugitive dye” — a phrase I love — meaning it will fade fast. It fades especially fast in sunlight. Nonetheless, it’s nontoxic and makes a bright, deep yellow with no fuss. And I just happened to have a big container of stale turmeric just wasting away on the shelf. I tried some shibori techniques with that, with some okay first time results — though also with plent...

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How to Prep Fabric for Dyeing: Scouring

...r enamel canning pot. 2) Sodium Carbonate aka Washing Soda aka Soda Ash aka Sal Soda.  This can be hard to find. It belongs in laundry aisles, and Arm & Hammer sells it (calling it Washing Soda), but few supermarkets actually bother to carry it, which annoys me to no end. You can also buy it wherever dye-stuff is sold. If you plan to use a lot of it, you could probably get it for cheap in large quantities from chemical suppliers. 3) Fabric de...

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Should Reuseable Bags Be Washed?

...#8221; odds are that it’s probably norovirus. So should you wash your reusable bags to prevent norovirus? It’s probably a good idea but, according to Barf Blog, there’s not a lot of evidence about the question–just one study on the matter. In fact it’s not clear if the bag in this 2010 incident was to blame or the fact that the bag, stuffed with food, spent some time on the floor of the bathroom where, “viral...

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

...ience of decomposition is pleasure reading for him. He has a really, really big thermometer and knows how to use it. We’ve kept a compost pile for years and years, but only in the last two years has it become an obsession for him. One of his more recent projects has been to make an gigantic bin in our back yard. This is the sort of bin you could use to dispose of bodies. He became so persnickety about the proper usage of the Wonder Bin tha...

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