Cooking With Heritage Grains: Sonora Wheat Pasta

Once you start working with heritage grain varieties it’s hard to go back to the few choices in the flour aisle we have at most supermarkets. I managed to get my hands on some Sonora wheat a few months back and have been experimenting with it ever since. Traditionally used for tortillas, it’s also great for pancakes and bread. Yesterday I made pasta with Sonora wheat using a recipe by Whole Grain Connection founder Monica Spiller. Y...

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Saturday Linkages: Yaks, an M16 Lamp and Hog Farm Explosions

An urban homestead meltdown in Arcata involving yaks, 24 foot meditation towers and unhappy neighbors: http://www.arcataeye.com/2012/03/occupy-arcata-heights-ends-with-a-splatter-march-14-2012/ M16 lamp – http://boingboing.net/2012/03/15/m16-lamp.html And . . a lamp made out of used coffee filters: http://www.recyclart.org/2012/03/coffee-filter-lamp/  The Apocalypse will be a lot like flying coach: http://boingboing.net/2012/03/14/the-ap...

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Mellow Yellow: How to Make Dandelion Wine

...my campsite that evening. When I opened the bottle, I anticipated something more magic than what met my tongue. It was cloying yellow syrupy stuff, which resembled soft drink concentrate. I poured it out next to my tent, returning it to the earth where she could compost it. I was sure that I’d never get close to it again. That was fifteen years ago, and now I have been drinking dandelion wine for about two years. The new stuff is stuff I’ve mad...

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World’s Largest Chard Grows in SIP

...n full leaf. In the photo above all his energy has gone into the flower, so the leaves are a sad shadow of their former glory. Basically, SuperChard used to look like an exotic, pampered tropical plant. One that did not mind rattling around in our hatchback and getting dragged all over tarnation. Chard reproduces in its second year, and SuperChard’s time has come. He began to bolt with our first heat wave and has sent up a huge flower spike...

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Make a Brigid’s Cross

.... A proper reed cross They’re super-easy to make. Just go the Fish Eaters site for very clear weaving directions. Traditionally they are made out of reeds or long pieces of straw. I had neither, so I used some broom corn*, which didn’t result in a symmetrical effect that reeds give, but is sort of cute in its own way.  (FYI for you southerners: I tried palm fronds first, but they were too slippery. And seei...

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A Sonora and Kamut Wheat Field in Los Angeles County!

...tified organic) from the Sustainable Seed Company. Discing the field The field was prepared by discing it with a tractor. We sowed the wheat by hand and then covered it temporarily with shade cloth to keep the birds out until the seeds germinate. The seeds were watered in with an overhead sprinkler, but the plan is to pray for rain. If it turns out to be a dry year, monthly waterings will be necessary. Mark, Andrea and Nathan sow...

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Earthquake Proofing the Pantry

So I finally got around to earthquake proofing the pantry. All it took was a bunch of four foot bungee cords which seemed to have just about the right amount of stretch to span our seven foot shelves. You could probably use the same four foot bungee cords to span an even longer shelf. I used eye hooks to anchor the ends of the cords. Looking at the picture, the height of the cords on some of the shelves might not be optimal (looks like some of...

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Three Power Tools Every Urban Homesteader Should Own

...friend or relative with a repair project, this great triumvirate of tools will get you through 99% of all jobs. For that 1% of problems that require an exotic tool, you can rent one. I prefer corded tools as I hate it when a battery dies in the middle of a day’s work and corded tools have more power. That being said, there are a few times when I wish I had a battery powered drill. I’d also recommend spending a little extra to get hi...

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How to Memorize Numbers

...t add a vowel of your choice, say “o” to make “dog“. “17″ now is a dog.  For the 95 let’s say 9 = “b” and 5 = “l” to make “ball”. You now have a dog playing with a ball that you can put into a room in your memory palace. For a longer strings of numbers it’s best to “chunk” them into groups of four to make them more manageable. This is beyond...

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Other People’s Poo: Biosolids in the Garden

It’s people! Why not use city compost in your garden? Ecological designer Darren Butler, at a class I was sitting in on, showed a soil report from a site that had used compost from the city of Los Angeles. LA’s compost contain biosolids, a euphemism for sewage. The soil test showed high levels of: zinc 196 ppm copper 76 ppm sulfur 5,752 ppm The problem isn’t human waste, it’s all the other stuff that ends up...

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