The New Urban Forager

On a hot, humid day along Houston’s Buffalo Bayou, in the shadow of four abandoned concrete silos, a maggot infested corpse of a pit bull lies splayed across a sheet of black plastic. Nearby, a pile of asphalt roofing material blocks the path I’m taking down to one of the most polluted waterways in Texas. Not a promising beginning to an urban food foraging expedition.(Read the rest of our foraging essay via Reality Sandwich)...

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Start Your Urban Homestead for One Dollar

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising. Want to move to Buffalo, New York? If so the city has an Urban Homestead Program where you can get a house for a $1 plus closing costs. The rules–you’ve got to: Fix code violations. Live in the house for at least three years. Have $5,000 in the bank for repairs. Too cold a climate for me, but you can read more about the program and see some success stories at Buf...

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Urban Chickens and Lead

From the One More Thing To Worry About department, the New York Times has an article on lead levels in eggs laid by urban chickens “Worries About Lead for New York City’s Garden-Fresh Eggs.” According to the article, the lead levels found in New York City’s home grown eggs ranged from none to over a 100 parts per billion. Since the FDA does not have an acceptable lead level in eggs it’s difficult to interpret the results...

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Saturday Linkages: Off-Grid Living, Urban Velo, Meat Glue, Home Depot and Dandelions

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Amazing photos of people living off-the-grid in the United States: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/03/photos-of-people-living-off-th.html This week in TSA awfulness: a recap of recent American airport atrocities: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/02/this-week-in-tsa-awfulness-a.html New issue of Urban Velo: http://www.urbanvelo.org/issue31/index.html Meat Glue (not to be confused with pink slime): http://boingboing.net/2...

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Saturday Linkages: An Egg Shaped Houseboat, Bamboo Joints and the Origins of Umami

Interior of houseboat designed by PAD studio, SPUD group and artist Stephen Turner. Behold a Once-Lost Plan for a Central Park That Might Have Been http://gizmodo.com/behold-a-once-lost-plan-for-a-central-park-that-might-h-787841443 … # Williamsburg vacant lot transformed into bike course and urban farm: http://po.st/2c8dOu  Japanese beetle traps—a reconsideration by James Roush http://gardenrant.com/2013/07/japanese-beetle-traps-a-reconsiderati...

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Roundin’ up the Summer Urban Homesteading Disasters

Everyday loaf on the left, “charity” loaf on the right. As we’ve noted in our books, part of the deal with this lifestyle is persevering through the inevitable disasters. Which means it’s time for a regular blog feature, the disaster roundup.   Loafing Around I agreed to bake a few baguettes for a charity function this evening. Problem #1 is that I can’t do baguettes in my small oven so I decided to do a s...

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Urban Homesteading Mistakes: Landscape Fabric

Since you all seem to enjoy accounts of our many failures around the Root Simple compound, I thought I’d share what must be one of the worst mistakes I’ve made. It’s a error up in our great chandelier of failures along with buying a 91 year old house on a hill with a bad foundation. Two words for you: landscape fabric–that plastic stuff sold in rolls at big box stores that allegedly blocks out weeds. Just after we bough...

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Three Power Tools Every Urban Homesteader Should Own

On nearly all the work I’ve done on our house, everything from chicken coops to wood floors I’ve used just three power tools: corded drill circular saw sabre sawjig saw While I also own a router, a miter saw, a sander and a few other miscellaneous power tools, the three tools above I consider essential. Even if you don’t own a house, but would like to build some furniture or help a friend or relative with a repair project,...

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Yet More Urban Homesteading Mistakes

My new excuse: I didn’t write it, the kitten did! Three of my favorite Root Simple compound blunders happened this week. Yesterday I announced a “Vermincomposting” class. I meant vermicomposting, of course, but I’d point out that it is good to remember that vermin are actually compostable, along with everything biological –including bloggers. Earlier this week I meant to mention Native Americans  but, due...

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Denver and Los Angeles Experience Crowds Staring at Chicken Coops

Denver Urban Homesteaders looking at a chicken coop Judging from the phone calls and emails coming into the Homegrown Evolution compound, America has discovered that it just might be a good idea to grow some vegetables and keep some chickens. There’s lots of motivating factors, no doubt. A bad economy and dissatisfaction with factory farming to start. But we also suspect that folks have discovered that it’s just plain fun to do all...

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