Erik’s 2012 New Year’s Resolutions in Review

...tched to a hands-off approach to veggie gardening inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka. Start a podcast (decided to make it a video podcast). You can subscribe in the iTunes store here (it’s freeeeee!). Clean up the graphic design on the blog and organize information better: Thank you to our book designer Roman Jaster for doing this for us! Return to the fencing strip (I’ll admit it’s a pretentious activity–sort of the artisinal m...

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Building a Makeshift Treadmill Desk

...k twice a day — that was probably as much a precipitating event as anything — I’d been walking 3-5 miles a day with them, but it was no fun walking around town or out in the mountains without them. So, the treadmill desk solved a couple of problems — I could fit exercise in around my day job and during the winters, which typically blow 30-50 mph. I’d gotten lazy about going out for a walk. I hate gyms, walking has al...

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Hoshigaki Success!

I’d estimate that one out of ten new homesteading projects succeeds. Which is why I’m especially happy that the long process of drying persimmons the Japanese way (hoshigaki) has been a big success. The white powder that looks like mold is sugar in the fruit that has risen to the surface. The result is, incidentally, very different from drying persimmons in a dehydrator (which also tastes good but has a much firme...

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What’s Your Personal Food Policy?

...policy, started to sound a bit holier than thou. As Rumi says, Spiritual arrogance is the ugliest of all things. It’s like a day that’s cold and snowy, and your clothes are wet too! One issue, however, that over the years I’ve come to feel strongly about is factory raised meat. I just can’t eat it anymore. It used to be that, out of courtesy, I’d eat anything served to me when I’m a guest at another person̵...

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How to Cook Broadleaf Plantain

...Erik has sprinkled the leaves on pizzas--and I’ll eat anything on a pizza. The seeds can be collected and used in seedy applications. But all in all, the flavor and tough texture of plantain left me uninspired. Trust Pascal to figure out how to cook the stuff. He boiled it, testing often, and found a sweet spot: the exact time it takes to boil out of the bitterness, but still leave the leaf intact. The short story: 3 minutes for young leav...

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Social Media as a Homesteading Tool

...u I recommend going with WordPress over Blogger. We’re going to switch over next month. And set a deadline for yourself–blog at least three times a week. While there are many things to dislike about Facebook (principally that those of us who use it are doing free market research on ourselves), it has proven useful for me on many occasions. I’ve used it to solicit gardening advice, find a place to celebrate a birthday, borrow a g...

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Row Cover as an Insect Barrier

It ain’t pretty but it works. As one would expect, cabbage leaf worms love cabbage and nearly every other member of the brassica species.  Which  is why I’ve become a real fan of row cover material as an insect barrier. The perp in question. It rarely freezes here so I use the thinnest row cover possible, specifically a product called Agribon-15. If you live in a cooler climate and want to use row cover for frost pr...

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That ain’t a bowl full of larvae, it’s crosne!

...for this plant. No crosne banquet this winter. But I did get enough to make a jar of pickles with. I feared that it would be as hard to clean as Jerusalem artichoke, but a few blasts of the garden hose took off most of the dirt. French folks cook crosne in butter. I decided to pickle them in white vinegar using a recipe for Jerusalem artichoke. The recipe I used was a little too heavy on the mustard, otherwise I’d pass it on. The addition o...

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The Fine Art of Worm Grunting

For your Monday viewing pleasure we have two videos showing worm grunting in Florida. Worm grunting is a technique used to lure worms out of the soil to collect as fishing bait. Basically, you take a stick (called a “stob”), pound it into the ground and rub a metal rod (known as a “rooping iron”) against the top of the stob. The deep vibrations are said to mimic the sound of burrowing moles, the natural predator of wor...

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