Gift Suggestions, from the Other Half

...e spirit of full disclosure, we know both authors and we’re mentioned in both books. It doesn’t make them any less inspirational for me. Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World , by BoingBoing co-founder and Make Magazine editor in chief Mark Frauenfelder A quote from Erik’s review:  Made by Hand is not a how-to book it is, paradoxically, the most practical DIY book I’ve read in a long time. Why? Becaus...

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How to Process Carob

...hoto by Bill Wheelock. Our neighborhood has an abundance of carob (Ceratonia siliqua) trees that, around this time of year, drop thousands of pounds of pods. Now many of us may have unpleasant associations with carob as a 1970s era chocolate substitute, but the tree has a long history in the Middle East, where it’s used to make a tea, as a source of molasses, as a vegetable and as animal feed. The “locusts” that John the Bapt...

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This Is Why Mint Is Invasive

Mrs. Homegrown here: That’s me pulling out a mint plant from our garden, as part of The Great Renovation. Check out those amazing roots! This container was filled with a 5 inch thick mat of thick, tangled roots. No wonder mint is unstoppable. I adore mint, but we had two big mint plants, and under the new scheme, I’m trying to be more efficient about the way space is used in the yard. So this guy had to go. I thought I’d be di...

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Einkorn Pasta

A publicist representing Jovial Foods contacted us about trying out a new product they are marketing, pasta made with einkorn wheat. Einkorn is either the first or one of the first grains to be cultivated. We tried two of Jovial’s einkorn products, a whole grain einkorn spagehtti and a whole grain einkorn fusilli. Both were tasty, well made pastas, superior to a Trader Joes whole wheat pasta we compared them to in a taste test. I think...

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Farmers Markets: Buyer Beware

...False Claims, Lies Caught on Tape at Farmers Markets” detailed something I’ve known about for a long time: some of the food sold at farmers markets comes not from local farms, but from wholesale sources. In short, some dishonest farmers market sellers are reselling the same inferior produce you get at the supermarket for a lot more money. And it gets worse. NBC also uncovered evidence of lying about pesticide use, also not surprising....

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Greywater Fed Tomato Plant Takes Over The World

...re several fruit trees, a rhubarb plant and an assortment of perennial herbs lining a narrow strip of land along the side of the house. Now, the plants getting fed by the greywater are going bonkers. Last week the area became impassable it was so overgrown. The path along the side of the house had disappeared. I have the laundry water going to the sewer half the time because I don’t want to overwater. That and my roommate bought some non-gr...

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Least Farvorite Plant:–Heavenly Bamboo–Neither Heavenly nor Bamboo

...ady spot in a corner of our backyard. My reaction? I think I said something like, “No way, it’s been there for twelve years and it took forever to reach three feet.” Some time later Homegrown Neighbor came over and took a look at the yard. She said, “Why don’t you rip out that awful heavenly bamboo.” Once again I ignored the suggestion. Last week Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms came over to rethink the garden....

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Squash Baby Reconsidered

...pick. One problem I’ve had in the past has been folks pulling up unripe vegetables. So some education, in the form of signs, might help. Maybe a chalkboard could detail when things are ready to pick. 2. I could create an honor stand like the one at the organic farm I visited up in Bolinas, Gospel Flat Farm.  At Gospel Flat you drop your money in a box. Most of the time the stand is unstaffed. I could do the same and donate any (admitted...

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Another way to deal with prickly pear stickers

...d an angry Mrs. Homegrown. Previously I burned them off over our stove, but inevitably a few stickers would find their way to the kitchen sponge. Now I’ve got a new technique for removing stickers thanks to Norman of Silver City New Mexico who writes, “Just a note to tell you how I harvest the pears.  We live in the arid SW and have a lot of native cacti.  The pears were very good this year because of the extra wet summer.  In dry tim...

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Italy Questions Neonicotinoid Pesticides, California Department of Food and Agriculture Loves Them

...come around again. I’ve created a form where you can leave your email address here. I promise not to share the email addresses you provide or to send out spam. The list I create will only be used in the event we need to organize as concerned citizens. Hopefully I’ll never have to send out an email. But let’s not let CDFA treat us in a rude or condescending manner again. The next time CDFA pays a visit they may come with warrants...

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