007 RIP Handsome, 3 Power Tools You Should Own and Hipster Compost

On the seventh episode of the podcast we open with Kelly’s cure for stepping on glass shards. Then we discuss the passing of our favorite chicken “Handsome.” Prompted by a recent comment on the blog we review an old post on three power tools every urban homesteader should own: drill, circular saw and jigsaw. Lastly, we expand on a recent post about composting brew waste, coffee grounds, juice pulp and coconut husks. In othe...

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Saturday Linkages: Well Tended Fires, Gardening Myths and a Spartan House

Image: Low Tech Magazine. Well tended fires outperform modern cooking stoves: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2014/06/thermal-efficiency-cooking-stoves.html … Grace and Gratitude, an urban homestead in Norfolk http://fw.to/kSevPBG  ‘Hobbit house’ set to be knocked down http://bit.ly/1qttpPH  10 Gardening Myths Busted! http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20815937,00.html … One for the honey: Beekeeping frame storage – IKEA...

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Gardening Mistakes: Six Ways We’ve Killed Plants

...ght thrive in one spot will wither in another. This is where trial and error comes in. Sometimes the only way to find out if what will grow is to plant stuff and see what takes off. 2. Soil compaction This is a big problem in urban areas and our yard is no exception. The parkway, which gets a lot of foot traffic, is very compacted. Very few plants do well with compacted soil, including natives. The best way to break up compacted soil is with a br...

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Journal of the New Alchemists

...science background. The Journal has a refreshing research-based approach to its subject matter. The period I reviewed (their last decade of publication) covers mostly their agricultural experiments, but occasionally dips into urban planning and other subjects. Biodome. Image: Journal of the New Alchemy. It’s interesting to look back at their work to see what ideas went mainstream and what faded away. What didn’t stick is what Nassim T...

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Campfire Cooking: Fish in Clay (& Vegetarian Options!)

...acks instead. Pascal said that cooked this way, carrots should be done in about 15 minutes, small potatoes in about 25 minutes, full sized potatoes in an hour. To find out more about Pascal and Mia’s classes, check out Urban Outdoor Skills and Transitional Gastronomy. It’s worth a trip to Los Angeles to take a class. Their Meetup groups are The Los Angeles Wild Food and Self-Reliance Group and Foraging Foodies LA. Friend them on Face...

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Of Skunks, Sauerkraut and Stoicism

We were honored when the nice folks behind Stoic Week 2013 asked us to write a blog post. It begins, Practicality is why stoicism works so well as the philosophical operating system of urban homesteading. While Foucault and Hegel might help me navigate the epistemological frontier, when I’m staring at a carefully tended vegetable bed that just got destroyed by a skunk, you can bet I’ll reach for the Seneca. Read the rest here....

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Picture Sundays: Do You Believe In Magic?

I really like this mural that just appeared in our neighborhood near the corner of Sunset and Coronado. Bunnies tumble out of a magic hat and there’s a silhouette of a coyote and crow (common urban wildlife here). The text, “do you beleav [sic] in magic” brought a smile to my face as I waited for the bus. My day had been re-enchanted by this symbolic bit of street art....

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How Much Can You Carry on a Bicycle?

...is to climb hills even with heavy groceries. One need not be car-free to enjoy a cargo bike. For many years Kelly and I shared a car. The Xtracycle was a big part of making that car-light arrangement work. When people ask if urban homesteading saves money, the first thing I point to is the cargo bike, not the chicken coop. The problem? Cargo bikes are not nearly as sexy as the Playboy Land Yacht. That’s a problem I’ll get to in a fut...

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Los Angeles Permaculture Design Course Certificate Series

..., developers, social workers, city planners, teachers, students, gardeners, landscapers, homeowners, business owners and others. • Modern Homesteading • Home & Garden Design • Natural Building & Property Development • Urban Gardens & Food Forestry • Celebrating Community • The Economics of a Sustainable Society THE PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE EXPERIENCE For anyone serious about creating a sustainable future. Permaculture Design touches...

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Bee Fever in Los Angeles

...looks promising thanks to the hard work of Honey Love and sympathetic city councilman Bill Rosendahl. The article also neatly sums up the radical “backwards” approach to beekeeping advocated by LA’s maverick urban beekeeper Kirk Anderson, Anderson learned from apiarist Charles Martin Simon, who invented the concept of “beekeeping backwards.” Simon’s approach was stupidly simple: Give the bees a clean box, put t...

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