Is Kombucha Safe?

...t things. With komucha it’s much more of a crap shoot. Basically, like Stamets, we’re intrigued with the notion of kombucha being tested as a medicine and used with care by both western medical types as well as herbalists. And even if we were guaranteed a pure culture and a solid methodology for keeping the culture uncontaminated, we’d still be too leery its antibiotic properties to consider it a casual beverage. So we just don&...

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Moving Bees Out of a Meter Box

Nuc box (new home) on left–utility box enclosure (old home) on right. I got an email the other day from someone who had a beehive in his electric meter box, a popular destination for bees in this area. It was a very small hive that had taken up residence just a few weeks ago. The house was about to be put up for sale so I had to get them out pronto. I brought along a cardboard nuc box–a temporary hive box used to transport b...

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Summer of Solar Cookin’

...zing at the veritable cornucopia of vegetables before me, wishing someone would harvest them and make me dinner. The solar cooker is perfect for someone like me because I can load it up in the morning, leave it all day, and when I come home I have a great meal hot and ready. So it is kind of like a crock pot or slow cooker, just using solar energy instead of electricity. I’ve made a lot of black beans in it, but I’ve also used it to c...

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Solar Light Hack

...ew entrance arbor. The problem is that most of the lights available are just plain ugly. And the solar panels on the cheaper models are usually mounted on the light itself making it impossible to place them in a shady spot. I came up with a simple solution. First, I bought an inexpensive solar light intended to be mounted on a fence. I took it apart and desoldered the LEDs off the circuit board. Next, I soldered four wires to the former connec...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

...and secondly it prevents siphoning mishaps and washing machine pump burnouts that can happen if you try to move the water directly to your garden through a pipe. Here’s how to create a surge tank: 1. Get ahold of a fifty gallon plastic drum. Most big cities, Los Angeles included, have businesses that resell used drums. Make sure that you get a food quality drum and not something that held toxic materials. The best kind of drum for this pur...

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Make an Aluminum Can Lamp

...Simply rotate the can against the blade a few times and you will get a nice even cut. Precision isn’t necessary for this project (unlike the Pepsi can stove) so you can also do this step with a pair of scissors. 4. Punch out a 1/4 inch hole in the bottom of the can for the wick. 5. Cut a 1/2 inch by 3 inch piece of cotton from an old shirt for the wick. 6. Cut out a 2 inch by 1 1/2 inch piece of aluminum and use it to wrap up the wick tightly...

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Broadleaf Plantain

...ides and lawn care products rich. You can’t eat your lawn folks. You can, however, eat broadleaf plantain. The young leaves are edible raw, but the more mature leaves must be cooked. The seeds can also be eaten either raw or roasted, though we should note that they have a laxative effect (nothin’ wrong with that!). The plant can also be used to treat wounds, by soaking the plant and applying it to the injured area. A tea can be made o...

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Parkway Plantings

...drivin’ sectors of our fair metropolis. We suspect that Agretti is going to be extremely bitter, just like the Italian dandelion greens we grew a few years back. You cook these bitter greens in olive oil and garlic and you get used to the strong taste. It’s a reminder that the bastards who control what passes for agriculture in this country have taken all the flavor out of our vegetables. Rapa da Foglia senza Testa, i.e. rabe without...

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Los Angeles: Swag Town USA

...led off to load their bikes into their SUVs and drove home where, we suspect, many of the bikes will just sit in the garage. The handful of speakers who kicked off the event included representatives from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the MTA, the Department of Transportation, Bicycling Magazine, and a former Bike Town USA contest winner from Irvine. Unless I missed something, none of the speakers even hinted that a bike could be used...

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Leaf Litter

...g over the past year towards integrating permaculture principles. One of our favorite notions in permaculture is the idea that “work makes work”. An example used to be the annual fall cleanup after our two large trees dropped their load of leaves in the back yard. Dave Jacke, author of the massive two volume permaculture guide, Edible Forest Gardens puts it this way, Simply relinquishing a need for “order” and “tidin...

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