Three Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

I spotted some nice front yard gardens while I was out for a walk the other day. Check out these finds: Above, these gardeners have used some scrap lumber as retaining walls to allow them some extra soil depth for planting. In this small front yard bed they’re growing beautiful kohlrabi (my new favorite vegetable), some climbing beans and a few different kinds of squash. Keeping a veggie garden doesn’t have to be either complicated...

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Google Sketchup as an Urban Homesteading Tool

...n, greatly assisted by an amazing and free 3d design program: Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp). While it takes some time to learn (I’m still learning!), this program helped me visualize the chicken run as well as estimate the amount of materials I’d need to buy. Here’s how I used it to create the run: Previous runs either did not work (chickens squeezed out and flew over) or were hideously ugly. I resolved to design a...

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Barefoot Running With Ken Bob Saxton

...bent-knee style (the music reflects his sense of humor). I gave the Keb Bob running style a try this Sunday and it was pretty amazing. I had less knee pain and I found myself booking along. It will take me some time to get used to, so I’m going to take it slow for a few weeks. Bending the knee also, according to Ken Bob, applies to walking. I gave walking with a gently bent knee a try this morning too, and it seemed to help with the knee p...

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Carlo Petrini and Slow Food: A Joyful Revolution

...od system “entropic,” adding that our agricultural system is, in fact, in a crisis of entropy.  When it takes 300 calories to produce 100 calories of food, according to Petrini, we clearly have a system headed towards collapse. When it comes to the health consequences our out of control food system, he noted the ironic fact that more money is spent on weight loss and obesity than buying food. He brought attention to the incredible was...

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Modesto Milling’s Organic Layer Pellets

I could blog for weeks about all the lectures I attended at the National Heirloom Expo, but I thought I’d take a break to highlight a product I came across in the vendor hall: Modesto Milling chicken feed. I’ve been using it for a few months now on the recommendation of Craig and Gary from Winnetka Farms (where our chickens came from).  In my opinion, if I’m going to go through the trouble of keeping my own chickens they shou...

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Poultry Houses of the Ultra-Wealthy

...er Crispin Odey to build a neo-classical chicken coop. Odey will, apparently, be spending at least £100,000 just for the stone. The Telegraph also covered the story and has more details on the construction, The temple’s roof – adorned with an Anthemia statuette – will be fashioned in grey zinc; the pediments, cornice, architrave and frieze are in English oak; and the columns, pilasters and rusticated stone plinth are being hewn from finest grey F...

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How to Juice Prickly Pear Fruit

Joseph working the thrift-store mill I always know it’s prickly pear fruit season when questions start coming in on a recipe I did for a prickly pear fruit jelly. Unfortunately, the mucilaginous and seedy texture of the fruit makes it difficult to work with. The only tested recipe I could find, for a prickly pear marmalade in the Ball Blue Book, says nothing about how to seed or juice the fruit. With the assistance of two fellow...

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All Haste Is of the Devil: Carl Jung as Homesteader

...the water from the well. I chop the wood and cook the food. These simple acts make man simple and how difficult it is to be simple! Why live the simple life? Jung says, . . . we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the...

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Don’t store your cucumbers in the fridge

Image courtesy of UC Davis. Photographer: Don Edwards Just in time for cucumber season, some news that surprises me. Did you know that you should store cucumbers at room temperature? Credit for my enlightenment goes to UC Davis. (May I just say bless UC Davis for all the good it does?) In this case I’m referencing their department of Post Harvest Technology. According to them, cukes should be stored at room temperature. If you do...

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Of Man Caves and Woman Caves

...ecause our friends at Zapf Architectural Renderings are working on a man cave remodel of the Root Simple garage. It will look something like this: But seriously. Man Caves Magazine got me pondering gender equality issues. Why no Woman Caves Magazine? A haphazard Google image search for “woman cave” turned up things like this: Looks like a room that’s never used. I’m curious if Root Simple readers have man or woman caves....

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