My New Drug Dealer Phone

...omewhat of a necessity in modern life. A few years ago a reader suggested picking up a prepaid phone. We had one for a long time and it worked great, as long as you don’t use it that much. We lost it and I  had to replace it recently. For $20 I picked up the Tracfone 440. It bears a striking resemblance to: Pay as you go flip phones are used only by old dudes, drug dealers, terrorists and old dude sustainability bloggers...

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Film Industry Comprimises Safety of Cyclists

Photo: LA Streetsblog. On Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council, under heavy pressure from the film industry, voted to remove most of the green paint from bike lanes on Spring Street. The lanes had been installed two years ago as part of a pilot project to test this type of highly visible bike lane used in other cities such as New York and Chicago. Film industry groups complained from the very beginning, claiming that the lanes...

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Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach...

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How do you care for cast iron?

...really knew how to rock cast iron in those days. A couple of months ago I found an 8″ cast iron skillet on the sidewalk. It was a newer model pan, already seasoned, hardly used. One of my neighbors had apparently decided they didn’t like it, or need it. I snatched that puppy up. Not that I need more cast iron–I have three skillets in varying sizes, and no room for another. But to me, cast iron is solid gold. So I gave it to a fr...

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The Upside Down Fire

...k. You can just pile lots of little stuff on top any which way and light it. It’s like Goldilocks. I think the first guy has too little tinder, the second guy, too much. But to each, his own. You’ll find your own way–and you’ll love this fire. ETA: I forgot to mention that a Vaseline soaked cotton ball or a lint firestarter or some pieces of fatwood or something similar can really help foolproof the fire. Just tuck the fir...

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Growing Your Own Food is Like Printing Your Own Money: Ron Finley’s TED Talk

...h gangster/guerrilla gardener Ron Finley’s inspiring Ted talk. I first heard about Ron after he got busted for planting a vegetable garden in what used to be a weed strewn parkway. He’s gone on to plant many more gardens around Los Angeles. The end of this talk really hit home for me, “Don’t call me if you want to sit around and have meetings. If you want to meet with me come to the garden with your shovel so we can plant...

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What’s in Worm Leachate?

Garden Professor Jeff Gillman analyzed worm leachate (the liquids the flow our of your worm bin) from a home vemicompost setup. It’s pretty strong stuff! Gillman concludes, this could be a great liquid fertilizer if it were used properly.  I’d recommend diluting it somewhere between 1:1 and 1:5 worm juice : water before applying it, and I’d only apply it once every week or two.  If you want to use it, try it on somethin...

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Carlo Petrini and Slow Food: A Joyful Revolution

Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini gave the keynote address at the National Heirloom Exposition last Tuesday. For those of you who don’t know, the Slow Food movement began out of protests against a McDonald’s that was slated to open near the Spanish Steps in Rome in the 1980s. Slow Food has since grown into an international organization that promotes food biodiversity and traditional farming practices. Petrini spoke eloquently and with...

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We heal together

...with anything I’m going to say–but we don’t agree on everything. His thoughts will come later. There is a French term, egregore, which is used to describe the spirit of a meeting, that unique energy that arises when a group of people come together to eat, work, or talk. It is almost a thing in itself, if you see what I mean. It rises out of certain combinations of people coming together for a specific purpose. Surely you’v...

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Why are the pockets on women’s clothing so lame?

...watched Blackstar Warrior with Erik, I pinned the pattern pieces onto a sacrificial pink bandana and cut around them, leaving a rough seam margin of about 1/3″ all the way around. All this was freehand and loose, since, thankfully, this is all invisible. In retrospect I probably should have used a sturdier fabric. I will not be able to carry rocks in my pockets, but I think they’ll stand up to a slim wallet. For a while. Below, you c...

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