Stinkhorn NSFW!

Proof that the mind of Gaia has a crude sense of humor–something along the lines of, “Let’s find another design context for that dog reproductive appendage, only this time we’ll make it slimy and smell like carrion.” I guess you gotta do whatever it takes to get those spores around even if it means pandering to blow flies.  Extra points to the mycologist out there who pins down the scientific name of this fly attr...

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A Common Sense View of Invasive Plants

Via the Garden Professors blog a sensible letter in Nature from Mark Davis and 18 other ecologists on the tired, in my opinion, native vs. invasive species debate: It is time for scientists, land managers and policy-makers to ditch this preoccupation with the native–alien dichotomy and embrace more dynamic and pragmatic approaches to the conservation and management of species — approaches better suited to our fast-changing planet. Clearly, natu...

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

It’s that time of year again. Put aside those zucchini bread recipes and try this instead. This recipe–or technique, rather– sounds too simple to be good, but it really works. As one friend said of the dish, “It tastes like there’s a lot going on, but there’s not.” All you’ve got to do is shred your zucchini up on the large holes of your kitchen grater. Saute the shreds in an uncovered s...

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Compost Bin Project From Our New Book

...sized pile.  I’ve got two bins, side by side, but wish I had three. Mine also look like hell since I put them together in a hurry. I much prefer the bin the folks at Motuv in Kansas City created: To answer ahead of time a question that always comes up–am I concerned about contaminated pallets? In short, no. A longer explanation will have to wait for another blog post. Leave a comment on how you store compost. And if you’ve...

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Natural Dyeing with Woad

Earlier in the month while the boys stayed at home with Eric, I attended a French General workshop on dyeing with woad (Isatis tinctoria). Woad (from the Brassicaceae family, a cousin to broccoli & cauliflower) has been cultivated in Europe since ancient times. Woad was prized by Napoleon and used to dye his army’s uniforms. At one time, the production of woad was the cornerstone of the economy of the south of France. Indigo o...

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Podcasts for the Urban Homesteader

...of humor. A Way To Garden with Margaret RoachI learned about this podcast from the folks at Garden Rant who pointed out that there are very few gardening related podcasts. Perhaps most good gardeners are allergic to spending time in front of a computer? I enjoy this show, though those of you in places that have “winter” will get more out of it. The C-Realm Podcast OK, I’m a bit on the woo-woo side of things, to be honest. The...

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

...ngs, obviously.  I’d dump the pail in there, and cover the scraps with handfuls of hay or dry leaves. Sometimes the level would raise high, but this stuff shrinks fast, so it maintained a level one tire deep most of the time, and would have done so until compost started building up at the bottom. Eventually I would have put the top tire on the ground and shoveled the contents of the bottom tire into the top tire, basically turning everyth...

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Strange brew: herbal steam for a chest cold and sinus pain

...few juniper berries. I had no dried eucalyptus. Eucalyptus has that nice, lung-opening menthol action which is hard to replace. Fortunately, I had some eucalyptus essential oil and would add one drop of it to the water each time I went into the tent. From now on I’m going to be sure to have eucalyptus essential oil on hand at all times. On steam round two, I wanted to freshen the mix and had no more dried sage or juniper, so I added a big...

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I like my chamomile stressed

...ile from volunteer plants in my yard. I never planted or tended them, but one or two would get about knee high, and from those one or two plants I’d gather all the flowers I needed by remembering to pick a handful every time I went in the back yard. The thing about chamomile is the more you pick, the more it produces. But I was greedy–and somewhat lazy, as usual. I thought, why be out there every day milking some scrappy chamomile pl...

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Why Did We Change Our Name?

...remains still …. and … you cannot step twice into the same stream.” as Hereclitus says. The publishing and blogging world is getting a bit crowded in the “urban homesteading” category. It’s time to expand the conversation and explore some new home ec related topics. We don’t want to become stale. Having a new book coming out later this spring, Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World , also ma...

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