Clean your bathroom without resorting to Poison

...y recently, but I’m not sure what else we’ve done.  Of course, I know my regular Root Simple readers are so hardcore they could give me tips in this area, but I thought it would be good to cover non-toxic cleaning for new readers and folks crawling the interwebs for information. It’s a really, really important topic. There’s no simpler way to remove toxins from your immediate environment than switching out your cleaning su...

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California poppy tea

  Mrs. Homegrown here: Where we live, this is the poppy time of year. California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are blooming all over our neighborhood, and most especially in our yard. I have to admit I have a mercenary attitude toward plants, my main thought on meeting one being, “What can you do for me?” California poppies, lovely as they are, have become more interesting to me since I’ve started consuming them. Now, don...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

...and toxic hallucinogen. “Black nightshade,” Solanum nigrum, on the other hand, is edible. The potted plant below the sign was Solanum nigrum not Atropa belladonna. One must be careful when using the popular names for plants! Solanum nigrum To add to the confusion, Solanum nigrum is eaten and used as animal fodder all over the world, though many sources continue to describe it as toxic. As with all members of the Solanum fam...

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Roundup

ically modified (GM) crops are engineered to tolerate the absorption of Roundup—it eliminates all plants that are not GM. Monsanto Inc., the major engineer of GM crops, is also the producer of Roundup. Thus, while Roundup was formulated as a weapon against weeds, it has become a prevalent ingredient in most of our food crops. Three recent studies show that Roundup, which is used by farmers and home gardeners, is not the safe product we have been...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...resulting oil is medicinal. It can be used straight on the skin, or fashioned into salves and balms. I’m particularly fond of Calendula. As a skin treatment it displays regenerative properties, making it really helpful for healing dry, scraped up, or otherwise damaged skin.  But lets step backwards a bit and talk about materials.  Materials Your herb–Calendula or anything else– should be dry when you start this. It should...

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Ten Uses for Palm Fronds

...es as I can find: 1. Make a mask. When Halloween comes around palm fronds can be made into creepy masks. Get good at this craft and open an Etsy store. 2. Make a roof. Weave them together and you’ve got the perfect roof for your tiki hut. Warning: you’ll need a lot. 3. Make a low quality mulch. Using palm fronds as mulch is somewhat controversial. The stuff takes forever to break down. Our arborist told me that some conventional citru...

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Mead!

...e yeast once the must has cooled below 80º F. We used a wine yeast called Lalvin 71B-1122 which we also picked up at our local home brew shop. We rehydrated the yeast according to the directions on the package, letting it sit for 15 minutes before we tossed it in the must. 6. We put the must in a used one gallon apple cider bottle and fitted it with a fermentation lock. Mr. Doug Harvey gifted us with an old hydrometer (used to measure the density...

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How Not to Grow Potatoes

n we finally got around to knocking down our ‘tater tire stacks after over a month and many complaints from visiting aesthetes, we discovered a trove of potatoes at the bottom. Amazingly after stewing in the summer heat for at least a month we still had a meager harvest. And speaking of heat, we suspect that potatoes may do better here in Southern California in the winter and we’re going to try it again soon–this time with seed...

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A Sports Utility Bicycle

We recently did an experiment to see if we could go for a week in Los Angeles traveling only by bicycle. What made this car-free week a success was the ingenious Xtracycle, a cargo bike ideal for the challenges of urban American streets. The Xtracycle extends the back wheel of the bike and is essentially a huge pannier bag with a skateboard-like seat. We’ve managed to haul four bags of groceries, the same amount we used to carry in my car...

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Revolution: A New TV Series About Extreme Suburban Homesteading

This review is by Erik, but Kelly has a few comments of her own to make, in the form of end notes. A few weeks ago I spotted an ad on the side of a bus that appeared to show a number of good looking people armed with crossbows and wandering a post-apocalyptic landscape. For you, our readers, I broke my ten-year TV show fast1 to find out what this was about. The show is called Revolution and you can view the pilot episode here. Plot summary The...

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