Maintaining a Worm Bin

...et long), and made of pine boards.  It bears an unfortunate resemblance to a coffin, but it works wonderfully. I used plastic storage totes for my worm bins before we built this, and while those worked fine, I really like my big bin for two main reasons. The first is the size. It can take whatever I throw at it. It takes all my kitchen scraps, except for the really choice stuff that goes to the chickens. The second selling point is that the wood...

Continue reading…

The tale of the worm bin celery

...ve a feral quality to it, despite its mild domestic origins. It didn’t grow fat, moist stalks which can be used to scoop up peanut butter. It grew stringy, dark green stalks which tasted powerfully of celery. It made excellent stock, and chopped into fine pieces, it was good in soup, too. Since I don’t eat much raw celery, this suited me fine. All winter long I used this plant as the basis of my cold-weather cooking–chopped onio...

Continue reading…

Filter Fail: How to Cure Internet Addiction

You say to yourself, “I’m just going to check my email and get back to doing the dishes.” Two hours later you’ve “liked” a dozen posts on Facebook, watched a hillbilly dance with a raccoon, checked BoingBoing, Twitter, LinkedIn and Root Simple (of course).  Not to mention , This used to be called “information overload,” but I prefer the phrase “filter fail” that Doug...

Continue reading…

Delicious Cauliflower

For me, cauliflower is a vegetable which eludes inspiration. I eat it raw. I roast it. I’ve made soup with it once or twice. That’s about the sum of my historic use of cauliflower. Now, everything has changed. I’ve found a recipe for cauliflower which I love. It comes from a book called Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, by Arto der Haroutunian. I think I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a good,...

Continue reading…

New Project: Making Bitters

...memade bitters. Bitters are made up of various aromatic substances tinctured in alcohol. These flavorings can be used to concoct fancy artisanal cocktails. True bitters are made with sharp, bitter herbs, like wormwood and dandelion–their original purpose was to stimulate digestion, and you’ll find them used often in appertifs. But the definition has widened to include all sorts of aromatic flavors, from resinous flavors, like pine, to...

Continue reading…

Self-Irrigating Gutter Update

...We’ll get back to our thoughts on responses to the Three Headed Hydra of Doom tomorrow, but for today we’re going to take a quick break for a practical post: Self-Irrigating Strawberries! This spring I built a self-irrigating gutter (SIG) using two gutters based on a video by Larry Hall. You can see my original post about this project here. Essentially, it is a gutter filled with potting mix, sitting on top of another g...

Continue reading…

How to Make a Bee Skep

...’s Music From Outer Space and a classified 16mm film rocket test film from the 1950s. Should you not be so fortunate as to find a skep in your local thrift store, Modern Farmer Magazine has a post on how you can build your own. Looks like a fun project. How skeps are used The following series of videos show how skeps are used. Part 6 documents the steps leading up to the honey harvest. It’s a labor intensive process. To get at the ho...

Continue reading…

Anne Hars’ Top Ramen Keyhole Vegetable Garden

...ears and I feel less guilty then I did when I was using wood,” says Hars referring to the straw wattle she used to edge the keyhole. Straw wattle is a (mostly) biodegradable material made out of rice straw and plastic netting. You can find it at irrigation supply stores and on order at Home Depot. It comes in 25 foot lengths. Soil for the bed came from the ground, from bagged soil that used to be in the wooden raised beds and from compost t...

Continue reading…

Picture Sundays: Doberman Chariots

“Ready for the race! Brutus of Quintre and his charge are ready for the sulky races, a regular feature of some of the South African sporting events.” Photos via The Doberman Insider. Now that we are without a car, it’s time for us to figure out alternative forms of transportation. Our late dog was a Doberman and I remembered a book we used to have about the breed that showed some unusual events that used to b...

Continue reading…

Our Keyhole Vegetable Bed: What Worked and What Didn’t Work

...d looked like just after I installed it back in October. Note the compost repository in the center of the bed. I used straw wattle (available where professional irrigation supplies are sold) to form the sides of the keyhole. A month later in November a few seedlings were popping up. I had to robustify the skunk barrier (made out of bird netting) after repeated skunk raids. What worked: The compost decomposed nicely and seemed to attract insect...

Continue reading…