Urban Homesteading Mistakes: Landscape Fabric

.... 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 folks swear by cardboard, and in certain situations cardboard is probably OK, but I still prefer, when possible, just piling up t...

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The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush

...und. Nassim Taleb is fond of pointing out the huge number of medical mistakes that could easily have been avoided by the doctor having the courage to not intervene with some needless procedure or pharmaceutical. Up until some time in the 20th century, in fact, you were actually better off not going to see a doctor. Michael Bush’s The Practical Beekeeper is the new bible of natural no-treatment beekeeping. Bush’s non-interventionist a...

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Another Chicken Fatality

...possible to truly disinfect a wooden coop with a dirt floor. We’ll do our best, open it up to light and give it a good airing and hope for the best. It looks like we might get a chance to start our flock fresh, and this time we’re going to do things differently. It looks like there are two paths we could follow–those paths, and the choice we make, will have to follow in the next post....

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Kitten Meet Kitten: How to handle kittten introductions?

...o like this:  PHOEBE: Mwwwwrrrrraaaahhhhh. Hiiiiisssssssssss. TROUT: WTF lady? Let’s play! Look at this tennis ball! Woohee! PHOEBE: Mwwwrraaaaahhhhhhhh Basically she’s fascinated by him, yet terrified at the same time. At first I thought it was all about territory, but she bolts and hides if he starts toddling her direction. And sadly, he has no common sense or social skills, so quite often wants to run up to her. My job as cat hoste...

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So-So Tomatoes Become Excellent When Dried

...a running microwave, not loud, but persistent. I was always half-consciously expecting to hear the microwave “ding!” at any moment. So, while the electric dehydrator let us process this crop of tomatoes in record time, I don’t think we’re going to ever buy one ourselves. Old Betsy, the wonky wooden dehydrator, suits us well enough....

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Scott’s Pepsi-G Stove

...le call a bug out bag–emergency gear that is ready to grab and go. I’ve taken one with me backpacking, as my only stove. It works fine, but it is limited in its capabilities. It can boil a cup or so of water at a time, enough to make one person a hot drink, or enough water to rehydrate a pouch of something. You certainly can’t make pancakes over one, and if you have a family to serve, you might want to consider carrying more th...

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Today is American Censorship Day

...implications, downright scary. It has has the power to censor the Internet. It can blacklist or bankrupt sites on whisper-thin grounds, it will impede small businesses and new start-ups, and even punish individuals with jail time for infringing copyright in smalls ways, like, for instance, posting a family video in which copyrighted music is playing in the background. This bill is likely to pass, and it will happen soon. It’s hard to summ...

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The Holiday Gift Truce

...ays, “People value the items they receive as gifts 20 percent less per dollar spent than the items they purchase for themselves. These are items that are not well-suited for their tastes.” Particularly in challenging economic times it’s hard to justify this orgy of value destruction, not to mention the stress and time spent in mall parking lots. I’m interested in how readers of this blog navigate the holiday season. Do you make your o...

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What We’re Going To Do About That Lead

...realize that soil is everything–our future and our well being is inextricably tied to its health. We know how to treat it right. We’re just not doing it. We know what toxins are, and we’ve know it for a long time. For instance, lead has been known to be a problem for thousand of years. Benjamin Franklin, in a letter dated July 31, 1786, comments on lead poisonings caused by contaminated rum, and the lack of concern about this pr...

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