How to Cycle Safely

...lking about rules for adults here–kids are a different situation. These are just a few of what I consider the most important things I’ve learned: Route choice. I carefully choose my regular routes to maximize the time I spend on quiet, seldom traveled side streets or in bike lanes/paths. I will go well out of my way to avoid high speed, bike-unfriendly streets. When going to a place I’ve never biked before I choose a route ahea...

Continue reading…

Licensed to Rant

...acilitate everyone getting behind the wheel of a car, there’s one big thing you have to give up, in addition to lots of cash–your privacy. It’s been many years since we renewed our license in person and this time around there was one big change–a sign taped to the wall just below the grinning portrait of the actor who played Conan the Barbarian saying in effect that if you don’t want to be electronically fingerprinte...

Continue reading…

Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...When using herb infused oils, you want to treat them gently and heat them as little as possible. Add essential oils: If you want to add any scent, or if you’re into the healing properties of essential oils, this is the time to stir them in–right after you take the mix off the heat, but before you pour it. For lip balms, I’ll add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Do be careful with peppermint oil, though–too much wi...

Continue reading…

Los Angeles: Swag Town USA

...d by Giant. We had naive hopes that the fifty winners would mount their new bikes and ride off on the mean streets of LA in one big happy flock, like a bunch of ceremonial white doves released from a cage. Of course, the last time we witnessed a dove release was at an event put on by the El Cajon based UFO cult, the Unarius Society. When they opened the top of the papier-mache UFO that housed the doves, the doves refused to leave until, after a l...

Continue reading…

Book Review: My Side of the Mountain

...away to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains–in 1959.  Since then, it has won the Newbery Medal and been consistently ranked high in recommended reading lists for children. Recently I re-read My Side for the first time in many, many years. I suspect that many Root Simple readers will be familiar with this book, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. I’d rank this book as one of the most influential in my life. I read it...

Continue reading…

Essential System #3 – Sew Your Own Damn Clothes

...tions to this moral dilemma, shopping at thrift stores, in which case you have second-hand slave laborer blood and sewing your own clothes. The big problem with the latter solution is that sewing is a bitch — it’s time consuming and at times incredibly frustrating. Nevertheless this homesteading revolution we propose won’t be a cake walk, and will be as much about rediscovering old techniques as it will be about new technologies...

Continue reading…

Happy World Car Free Day

...now you’re in a hurry to get to your job to pay for the $40,000 behemoth you use to transport yourself. Let me extend a welcome to my neighborhood which you use as an alternative to the freeway. It’s not the first time me, my wife, friends and neighbors have been threatened by folks like yourself piloting 6,800 pound death machines. It’s snarky but I have to point out our weight differential. Me and the doberman weigh a combined...

Continue reading…

Mistakes we have made . . .

There’s a kind of boastful blogging style that, I’m afraid, we here at Homegrown Evolution have been guilty of. Simply put, we’ve failed to detail all our blunders. These mistakes and accidents, some funny, others painfully disappointing, have more instructional value than our successes. And oh, how many blunders there have been in the past ten years. It’s about time to round up the top 6. I’m sure there are many mo...

Continue reading…

Tree Spinach – Chenopodium giganteum

For most of the country planting time is far off but for us, here in the Homegrown Revolution compound in Mediterranean Los Angeles, it’s time to start the winter garden. The billowing clouds of apocalyptic smoke from the fires ravaging the suburban fringes of our disaster prone megalopolis are the only thing that keeps us inside today, giving us time to contemplate one of the seed packets that has crossed our desk, Chenopodium giganteum a...

Continue reading…

Book Review: The Machine Stops by E.M. Forester

...in SF? The second remarkable thing is that he did this toe dipping in 1909. In 1909, the telephone was a new technology, and radio in its infancy. That he should be able to extrapolate this strangely accurate dystopia at that time points not only to his powers of observation and imagination, but also, perhaps, to the discomfort I suspect many people were experiencing at that time, as the world rushed into modernity. We don’t hear much about...

Continue reading…