Native Plant Workshop

...t novice gardeners about native plants: 1. If you use native plants the whole garden has to be natives. In fact, it’s great to mix natives with non-native plants. The natives bring in beneficial wildlife, are hardy and are efficient in terms of water use. Flexibility is key here–go ahead and mix natives with vegetables, fruit trees and other climate-appropriate plantings. 2. Natives aren’t edible. Many natives yield edible and m...

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Bicycles and GPS

So at a time when the whole hipster stripped-down fixed-gear bike phenomenon has just passed its inevitable pop cultural zenith, this post will come across as impossibly nerdy. Yesterday I finally got around to strapping my small handheld GPS unit to the handlebars of my road bike and I can say that this particular combination of 19th century technology and 20th century electronics rocks. The only sane way to get around Los Angeles and most lar...

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Apartment Parking Lot Gardening in East Hollywood

...h with pure tung oil from Jill’s paint in Atwater. Each planter gives me 5,  12 x 12 inch sq. ft. spaces for growing. These boxes take up a small amount of space and fit easily in the area  ( about 2 feet wide) between the parked cars and the back wall of my apt building. The area gets about 6 hours of sunlight so it is ideal for growing. This is my second year of growing and I am a new gardener but I am happy with my...

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All Natural No-Treatment Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center

...erstand the basics of bees, all natural beekeeping methods, tools, materials, and techniques to get you started. It’s said that beekeeping, or apiculture, began with the Egyptians whom used logs, boxes, and pottery vessels to make their own bee hives. Today, the practice of beekeeping lives on. Help save a dying species, encourage pollination in your garden, and enjoy raw, organic honey! In this workshop, come together with Erik Knutzen of...

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The canning lid conundrum

How do you guys store your used canning lids and rings? We keep a lot of them around because we use canning jars for so many things other than canning: dry goods, leftovers, food-to-go, body care, etc.  My collection is driving me crazy. Never was there a set of more awkward objects than a pile of slippery, jangly rings and lids. Ideas? [Mr. Homegrown in my Master Food Preserver mode chiming in here--as per USDA advice we use...

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Sourdough Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...ng less money. Become a baker and join us for a weekend of heart-healthy, bread baking workshops: Saturday, June 21, 1-3 to make Sourdough and/or Sunday, June 22, 1-3p to make Sourdough rye! Topics discussed will include: How to make your own sourdough starter (also known as a levain) Types of flour How to simulate a commercial bread oven at home Hydration ratios Kitchen tools for bread baking Shaping a boule Working with whole grains Troublesho...

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Sourdough Rye Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Learn to bake the healthiest bread on the planet: a 100% whole grain sourdough rye. In this class you’ll learn how to start and maintain a sourdough starter and how to work with whole grains. We’ll reveal the secrets of whole grain baking, plus you’ll learn how you can grind your own grains. In the end, you’...

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Our Grape Arbor

...olished a crumbling addition to the house (a room you had to go through the back bedroom to get to) and replaced it with an arbor. Our neighbor generously gave us the columns that used to be on her front porch and I added a plinth to make them taller. In the background are two apple trees that provide some privacy. It’s taken a couple of years for the grapes to cover the structure. One reason is that we lost two vines to...

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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

...ared visual vocabulary. Sorry about the dim photo–the sun was setting–but I think it gives the general idea. This brings me to the new landscaping at our local Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LA DWP) distributing station. I believe it used to have a typical sickly lawn in front of it, but last time I was in the neighborhood I saw it had been rejiggered to be a low water use landscape. And that’s goo...

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Fashion on the Homestead

...from an unexpected source, the Chilean avant guarde filmmaker and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. He says, Clothing used without consciousness is a mere disguise. Holy men and women do not dress in order to appear, but in order to be. Clothes possess a form of life. When they correspond to your essence, they give you energy and become allies. When they correspond to your distorted personality, they drain your vital forces. And even when they are you...

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