Yet More Urban Homesteading Mistakes

...Lastly, I stained some cement pavers with iron sulfate and blogged about it. What I forgot to mention is that, the day before, I had accidentally reached for the bag of garden sulfur rather than iron sulfate and carefully brushed all 16 pavers with sulfur. The next day, noticing that nothing had happened, I realized that rather than staining the pavers I had, every so slightly, acidified them. Time for those much delayed mindfulness exercises....

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Urban Homesteading Mistakes: Landscape Fabric

...er a few years Bermuda grass will inevitably poke up through it and you’ll end up with what you can see in the photo above. To repeat: landscape fabric doesn’t work and is a waste of money. My favorite alternative is a very thick (minimum 4-inch, but preferably more) layer of mulch. The added benefit with mulch is that you build soil over time. With landscape fabric you just add another piece of plastic to the landfill. I know some f...

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So Much Poultry, So Little Time

...rounds. We know nothing about show chickens and we’re too exhausted to blog coherently, so we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves with just a few observations: -If you don’t want to bother raising chicks, a poultry show is a good place to start a flock and talk to some knowledgeable folks. There were quite a few chickens for sale at reasonable prices. -Someone needs to put together an urban version of the 4-H club to bring...

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

.... People waiting for buses in LA huddle in the pole shadows, trying to shelter from the insanely intense LA sun. There are very few bus shelters here. Bus stops are ill-marked afterthoughts in an already unlovely urban landscape.  I stand in the pole shade, wondering if the bus will ever come, and I seethe about the way this city treats its pedestrians. Erik: It’s a stereotype that LA is car-centric. If I had a dollar for every time some ou...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...er to keep the yogurt warm while it ferments. I’m sure there are many ways to keep yogurt warm, but I find 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...

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SIPS and Kraut at Project Butterfly

..., ferment beer, keep chickens, bake bread and turn your waste products into valuable resources. By stepping into the DIY movement, we’ll create a paradigm shift that will improve our lives, our community and our planet. Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, authors of The Urban Homestead, have become increasingly interested in the concept of urban sustainability since moving to Los Angeles in 1998. In that time, they’ve slowly converted their...

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Our Holiday Gift Suggestions

That dreaded holiday seasons is just around the corner. With unemployment still high we hope that many of you have negotiated a family gift truce to limit tedious shopping. Or perhaps you’re making things to give away. But if you still need to get a little something for that special homesteader on your shopping list, we’ve got a few suggestions from our Homegrown Evolution Amazon Store. Even if you just click through the store and b...

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The Return of the Fraternal Society

...nce again, and some of the original values of “the craft” are being revisited (see this article from the LA Times for more on changing Masonic demographics). Freemasonry is also growing in continental Europe and is very important in Spanish speaking immigrant communities in the US (again, continental European and Spanish speaking lodges are sometimes co-ed). Why is a Homesteading Blog Talking about Fraternal Organizations? The urban h...

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Book Review: The Urban Bestiary

...ry to remember that I am a creature of nature, living in a vast human habitat which exists as part of a web with the entire ecosystem. Remembering that I am not apart from nature sometimes requires a little mental judo–and some well chosen bedside reading. Thus my recent reading has included books like Being Animal and What the Robin Knows (reviewed here) and most recently The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Ha...

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Permaculturalist Paul Wheaton in Los Angeles

In honor of the upcoming SoCal Permaculture Convergence, the Institute for Urban Ecology is proud to be partnering with several Los Angeles based organizations to bring you this once-in-a-lifetime event. Come learn from some of LA’s leading urban ecology experts and from internationally recognized Permaculturalist Paul Wheaton.  To encourage everyone to come and learn, this event is ALMOST FREE!!!!  Sign up a big group and pa...

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