How to Make Soba Noodles

Last month I took an amazing class with author and chef Sonoko Sakai on how to make soba noodles by hand. She’s a great teacher and I managed to make a halfway decent couple of servings of noodles during the class. Like many Japanese arts, soba making has a series of very precise steps. The recipe itself is simple (just buckwheat flour and water), though you do have to pay close attention to the temperature and humidity in the room. Whil...

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Of Man Caves and Woman Caves

I spotted this magazine yesterday at the checkout line in Home Depot. According to Manland, the “ultimate man cave site,” this magazine is “a special-edition magazine from the publishers of WOOD Magazine.” Paging Dr. Freud–WOOD Magazine sponsoring Man Caves? Will Rigid Tools be an advertiser? The Man Caves editors get to have lots of fun coining new words like “mantastic” and throwing around headlines l...

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Saturday Linkages: Meditation Pods and Zombie Lawn Gnomes

Doesn’t everyone need a vintage 1970s meditation pod? DIY How To Build Your Own Trippy Meditation Pod http://www. popsci.com/diy/article/20 12-09/how-make-your-own-trippy-meditation-pod-1970  …   Robin Wood Makes Wooden Bowls With Hand Tools in UK http:// lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2012/09/robin- wood-makes-wooden-bowls-with-hand.html#.UGX1GKP6FNw.twitter  … Skate Villa: Skateboard-Friendly Hunting Lodge Conversion | Designs &...

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Saturday Linkages: Improvised Motocycles, Permaculture, Bear Attacks Man In Outhouse, Unicorn Poop Cookies–Yes, It’s a Strange World We Live In

Stuck in an African desert, a man improvises a motorcycle out of his Citroen with no tools. You can’t get more bad-ass than that! Homemade motorcycle improvised out of a Citroen 2CV in the middle of the desert: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/23/homemade-motorcycled-improvise.html Geoff Lawton on the Future of Permaculture | The Survival Podcast http://bit.ly/JRtgEb Outhouse bear attack survivor was grabbed from ‘throne’...

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Indigo 101

Graham stirs the vat with his “witchy stick” –which is tinted many beautiful shades of blue. One of the primary lessons of gleaned from my Shibori Challenge is that cotton is difficult to dye with natural dyes, whereas wool and silk take these colors beautifully. Know your materials! Building on that, I’ve also figured out that the reason indigo dye is the favored dye for shibori techniques is because indigo ge...

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Reminder: Earthen Oven Workshop This Friday-Sunday at the Root Simple Compound

There’s still a few spots left for the oven workshop with adobe master Kurt Gardella. Here’s the details and registration information: Earthen ovens are inexpensive to build, fun to use, and provide baking environment impossible to recreate in the kitchen.  This May, Kurt Gardella returns to California for three days to teach you how to make your own earthen oven.  Kurt has built dozens of these ovens in New Mexico, and...

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Loofah Sponges

We talk about the joy of loofah–or luffa– (Luffa aegyptiaca) all the time, but I don’t believe we’ve every blogged about it here. I was reminded of it when we received a letter from Candace, who heard us on a podcast talking about how much fun it was to grow loofah sponges. She said: I wanted to thank you for that part of the interview in particular.  I decided to grow some this summer and it has been a great joy.  It i...

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Question for you: Do you like giveaways?

The more we blog, the more offers we get from people willing to provide goods for giveaways that we host–we’re talking new books, gardening tools, seeds, that sort of stuff. (Although we have been endlessly spammed by an antique replica sword company who is desperate that we share their information with you. Their marketing focus is obviously rapier sharp.) We’re of two minds on this. We like free stuff, and are happy to be a c...

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Seedling Disaster!

“No one talks of failure as anything but shameful; this is wrongheaded and foolish . . . Mistakes are synonymous with learning. Failing is unavoidable. Making is a process, not an end. It is true that deep experience helps avoid problems, but mainly it gives you mental tools with which to solve inevitable problems when they come up.” -Tom Jennings, as quoted in Mark Frauenfelder’s excellent new book, Made by Hand: Searching f...

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Trapping bees out of a kitchen vent

With a growing awareness of the plight of honeybees more people are calling on the services of beekeepers rather than exterminators. And, thanks to a crash course in bee removal and relocation from Backwards Beekeeping guru Kirk Anderson, I’ve managed to help relocate about ten or so hives, giving them new homes with Los Angeles’ hobby beekeepers. Each removal has been different and I’ve made plenty of mistakes. But with each...

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