Tippy Tap, Beta Version

A tippy tap is a water-saving handwashing device developed for use in areas where there is no running water, usually fabricated out of simple found materials. Erik and I both love appropriate tech, and this is a really good example of the form. The tippy tap literally saves lives by allowing people to wash up after visiting the bathroom. Erik included a tippy-tap, a rather fancy version of one, it turns out, in one of our lin...

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Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...the addition of wax. I prefer beeswax salves, though there are vegan alternatives, like candelilla wax. They are used similarly. Of course, you don’t have to make salves with infused oils. Plain olive oil and beeswax are a powerful healing combination on their own, great for a no-nonsense lip balm or hand treatment. You can also use essential oils to bring herbal essences into a plain salve.  Once you know how to make salve, you can not on...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...y the leaves to make up that lack. Given a choice, though, I prefer the flowers, just because they’re good for cooking and decoration as well as my salves. People used to eat Calendula leaves (they’re known as “pot marigolds” because they used to go into the cooking pot), but I’ve tasted them, and I don’t think I’ll be making them part of my diet unless I have to. To harvest, I either pinch off the head...

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Salvia Means Salvation: White Sage

...te sage should never be burned thoughtlessly, like incense, because it is their most sacred plant. A better use for white sage is in your water bottle.  Cecilia recommended that we (the class, aka people with interest in plant healing) drop a single white sage leaf (dry or fresh) into our water bottles and so drink a bit of its essence every day. She uses does this herself and takes it further, keeping a leaf in the 1 gallon bottles she uses for...

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Cargo Bike Roundup

...s to use to deliver produce to a local farmer’s market. Go Russell! We had to plead ignorance never having used one of these things, but as long as you don’t have any big hills or angry motorists it should work just fine. Sadly in our corner of Los Angeles we have both big hills and angry motorists, which is why Homegrown Evolution uses the amazing Xtracycle for our cargo trips since I can’t imagine riding a wide cargo trike in...

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Moonlight Medicine Foraging Expedition!

...neproject.com/events/2009/12/02/echo-park-medicinal-forage-with-nance-klehm/ ************** Echo Park Medicinal Forage with Nance Klehm Wednesday, Dec 9th, 20097-8:30pm Cost: $15/person >>>> An after dark exploration of the sidewalk cracks around Machine Project for local medicinal plants, led by Nance Klehm. Get ready for the long winter dry, cold haul with simple knowledge on how to identify common wild plants that can be used in herbal remed...

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Borage: It’s what’s for dinner

...mess of stiff, prickly borage leaves. The prickles vanish on cooking. Some sources say only to use small leaves for cooking but I say fie to that. I used leaves of all sizes and after cooking there was no difference between them. Borage is actually rather delicate under all its spikes and cooks down considerably in to a very tender, spinach-like consistency. Instead of making little tacos with it, we folded it into tortillas with a bit of goat&#...

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Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...or large scale (1908) says: Like cork, Broom-corn is one of those natural products that are so perfectly adapted for the uses to which they are put, that no substitute has been, or is likely to be, found for it. In toughness, elasticity, sufficient, but not too great rigidity, lightness, and ease with which it is manufactured, it excels all other materials used for brooms. The first recorded mention of it comes out of Italy in the 1500′s....

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Essential System #7 – Repair Kit and Tools

...n read in the dark without ruining your night vision 2 batteries for LED 6 match heads (sealed in wax) 1 striker for match heads 6 fire-starters made out of lint and wax (we’ll describe how to make these in a future post) 1 tin foil 1 rubber glove – for gathering or distilling water or for one-handed first aid 8 water purification tables (in straw) – see our earlier post on water 6 safety pins – for, among other uses, crea...

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Notes on Mark Bittman’s “Behind the Scenes of What We Eat”

...esity crisis, etc. & etc. (One quick scary fact from the roll of shame: Did you know that 80% of antibiotics used in the US are fed to farm animals? That number has been shooting up fast for the last 20 years. Why are they used on animals? Not so much for illness, but rather to prevent illness in animals living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and to speed growth. They’re prophylactic. Lovely. Antibiotic failure happens to be o...

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