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

...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 only make skin salves, you can make lip balm and heada...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...8217;t like the idea of Calendula volunteering all over your yard the following year, you’ll want to collect all the heads before they die back. However, you may also want to monitor them carefully and collect ripe seed for planting the next year (you want to collect the seed when it’s brown, not green).  And if you want to keep track of such things, if you make a point of saving seed only from the plants with the best blooms, your fa...

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Cargo Bike Roundup

...sausage and hefeweisen to the local Bier Garten. The bike equivalent of the sturdy old Frau behind the bar at our local German watering hole, the Red Lion. This is Utility with a capital U. Sadly, Mr. Homegrown Evolution has forgotten every word of his college German, so all we can make out is that this bike represents the Grüne Liga, some sort of environmental organization. Don’t know if this trike is an ad, or if the Grüne Liga uses it t...

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Salvia Means Salvation: White Sage

...oto by Stan Shebs White sage is a native Californian plant which is grown in many places, as long as it can grown in dry conditions (overwatering will kill it quick) and the winter temps aren’t too cold. See Plants for a Future Database for details. It has beautiful soft silvery foliage and white to pale purple flowers that bees adore. We’ve got two planted and are looking forward to having our own homegrown supply. After today,...

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Essential System #7 – Repair Kit and Tools

...d the small hearing aid batteries fit in a tiny hole in the side of the Altoid can, thus turning the can into a flashlight – the red bulb is so that you can 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...

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Your Essential Oil Toolkit

argain at twice the price. Best of all, the most useful oils (to my way of thinking) are the cheapest. My picks are: lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil and tea tree oil. These three would make a good starter set for anyone, and are also a good trio to take traveling with you. All of them are on the low end of the essential oil price scale. [Ah! Before I go on, Erik reminds me that not everyone knows what essential oils are. He'd nev...

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Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

Mrs. Homegrown here: This summer I suggested we plant broom corn for no other good reason than I saw the seed pack at the nursery and thought it would be fun to make a broom. (This sort of temporary insanity often overtakes me in the seed aisle.) So without knowing anything at all about broom corn or broom making we planted a block of the stuff. Maybe I should have done a little research into broom making before planting, but I let it slide ...

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Moonlight Medicine Foraging Expedition!

Our friend Nancy Klehm is in town, and next Wednesday she’s leading a wild medicine foraging expedition in Echo Park. If you live in LA, you shouldn’t miss this! Re-posted from the Machine Projec t website. Go here to register: http://machineproject.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...

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

...ssive environmental degradation, obesity 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....

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Borage: It’s what’s for dinner

..., because we’d never eaten our borage leaves–only the flowers. So tonight I went out and cut a whole 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, s...

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