What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

Root Simple’s new composting game for your Xbox! I wish I could source compost pile materials from our yard. But lead and zinc contamination in our soil make that a dodgy proposition without doing a lot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) str...

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Poultry Houses of the Ultra Wealthy: Part 2

Are $100,000 chicken coops a sign of an empire on the verge of a decadent downward spiral? If so it’s time to get that bug-out location ready because Neiman Marcus publicity flacks just announced a $100,000 “Heritage Hen Mini-Farm.” From the description on their website: Dawn breaks. The hens descend from their bespoke Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house to their playground below for a morning wing stretch. Slipping on...

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Homesteading Disasters: The Skunk Menace

...#8217;ll periodically write about the latest problem around the Root Simple Compound starting today with how fun it is to garden with skunks. Angry red arrows mark skunk dig sites in our new keyhole bed. I know that I’ve got a skunk problem. Yet each year when I sow lettuce seeds I get lazy about putting up the required bird net barrier over the beds. Or I haphazardly put it up, thinking that the skunks aren’t smart enough to...

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Revolution: A New TV Series About Extreme Suburban Homesteading

..., too.4 And America’s long lost archery skills have apparently been miraculously revived. Come to think of it, Hollywood seems to be having a love affair with archery of late. Is the javelin next? Put down those Xboxes kids and start practicing! In Revolution it’s also revealed that people suddenly know the names of plants and what to do with them even without access to Google. But the tranquil suburban homesteading is not to last for...

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Fewer Linkages Today But More To Come

Not the usual link dump today since I was away all week at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa. I camped, so the only tweeting I heard came from actual birds.  I’ll blog about the many talks I went to this week, but until that time, here’s some info from two of the speakers I heard at the conference. A very different take on bees: www.gaiabees.com From Sonoma Compost, information on: How to compost: http://www.sonomacomp...

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Barefoot Running With Ken Bob Saxton

...bent-knee style (the music reflects his sense of humor). I gave the Keb Bob running style a try this Sunday and it was pretty amazing. I had less knee pain and I found myself booking along. It will take me some time to get used to, so I’m going to take it slow for a few weeks. Bending the knee also, according to Ken Bob, applies to walking. I gave walking with a gently bent knee a try this morning too, and it seemed to help with the knee p...

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When It Gets Hot in Chicago: Make Tempeh!

...lock bags that you have pierced holes through with a fork. Place in a dark place and allow the summer heat to do its job. Depending on atmospheric temps, this will take anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. The tempeh is done when it is white and caked together with mold, maybe with some grayish or dark areas near the fork holes where the mold has started sporulation. Use or freeze immediately or the spore will keep running. Delish! Next time: Koji....

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Don’t store your cucumbers in the fridge

Image courtesy of UC Davis. Photographer: Don Edwards Just in time for cucumber season, some news that surprises me. Did you know that you should store cucumbers at room temperature? Credit for my enlightenment goes to UC Davis. (May I just say bless UC Davis for all the good it does?) In this case I’m referencing their department of Post Harvest Technology. According to them, cukes should be stored at room temperature. If you do...

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Four Ways to Preserve Prickly Pear Pads (Nopales)

...one minute. I then packed them in to freezer bags. Freezing is the best method in terms of taste and nutrition. It’s easy and it works great. Pickled I used the this okra recipe from the National Center for Home Preservation for my pickled nopalitos. They turned out very tasty. Pressure Canned Prickly pear is sold canned both in water and with a small amount of vinegar.  Unfortunately there are no tested home canning recipes for pressure c...

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