Live Like a Stoic for a Week

Image: Rugu. A group of British academics are asking an important question: “Can the ancient philosophy of Stoicism help us to lead better and happier lives?” This week they’ll be providing everything from a Stoicism Handbook to recorded meditations to help wake your inner Seneca. They are also asking for people to participate in a week-long experiment to see what kind of effect Stoic philosophy can have on day to day living. C...

Continue reading…

Bees will love your Coyote Brush Hedge

...tive and non-native pollinators love, love, love! its tiny little flowers. If you want to lavish affection and care on the pollinators in your garden, plant one of these babies, if you can. It really is one of the best plants for the purpose. (For more info on coyote brush, here’s a nice post at the Curbstone Valley Farm blog with lots of pictures. And here’s its page at Theodore Payne Foundation.) What I didn’t realize until ou...

Continue reading…

Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook Giveaway

...mething about your own chickens, or tells us whether you’d ever consider keeping chickens. We’ll draw a winner at random. Here’s one of the recipes from the book: Zucchini and Mint Frittata Mint is not just for iced tea and garnishes on plates! Used in a frittata, it adds just the right savory and herbal note to the vegetables. A frittata can be finished in the oven, or it can be flipped over in the pan and finished on the stov...

Continue reading…

Is Ham Radio Useful?

...io could be. Not only did I get instant information about the earthquake, but I also had access to a network of people who could help me and my neighbors in a real emergency. The cats? Not so useful. It took about a half hour for them to emerge from their hiding spaces. In an emergency it’s a good idea to have a radio and know how to use it. And you don’t have to be a Ham to listen to Ham frequencies. Thanks to cheap imported electron...

Continue reading…

Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

There’s a well defined architectural vocabulary house flippers use in our neighborhood. Flippers buy a crumbling 1920s bungalow, paint the front door orange, add a horizontal fence, redo the interior in a Home Depot meets Dwell Magazine style and then turn around and sell it for a million bucks. When house flippers tackle a yard they tend towards the “low-maintenance” landscape (in quotes because there’s no such thing as...

Continue reading…

Josey Baker Bread: One Bread Book to Rule Them All

I’ve been teaching bread baking for a few years now through both the Institute of Domestic Technology and the Los Angeles Bread Bakers. When students ask what book they should get I have to hold up half a dozen. Not any more. Now I can send students to just one book: Josey Baker Bread. The appropriately named Josey Baker (who used to work with another baker named Dave Miller–who mills his own flour, naturally) has written a perfect...

Continue reading…

A Year after The Age of Limits: 5 Responses to the End Times

photo by Sansculotte on de.wikipedia Ever since Erik and I and our friend John attended the Age of Limits conference a year ago, I’ve been meaning to offer some kind of measured response to the conference.  (The Age of Limits conference is a sort of woodsy fiesta for doomers held annually in Pennsylvania. For more info, follow the link.).  I’ve hesitated to do so, though, for two reasons. The first reason was that I wasn’t sure...

Continue reading…

Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

t started. Beekeeping, or apiculture, is said to have begun with the Egyptians who used logs, boxes, and pottery vessels to make hives. Today, with bees dissapearing at rapid and never before seen rate, the practice of caring for bees is needed now more than ever. Join us for this workshop on all natural, no treatment beekeeping. Learn the basics of beekeeping including makeup of the hive, equipement, types of hives, where to get bees, and reason...

Continue reading…

World’s Largest Kale

The Franchi kale (collard?) “Galega De Folhas Lisas” I planted in the fall of 2012 has reached six feet. It’s a Portuguese variety used in a soup called Caldo Verde. Given that we have such a small yard I’ve really got to stop planting gargantuan vegetables like this and those ridiculous Lunga di Napoli squash. Root Simple is at risk of devolving into a geek with large veggie Tumblr site....

Continue reading…

Composting the Deceased/ My DIY Funeral Fantasies

...rate sufficient heat in an open boat to render the body to ash, so (best case scenario) the body will end up in the water, which is okay (as far as I, the deceased would be concerned, see fantasy #2) but not such a good thing for anyone who finds my barbequed corpse floating about, nor such a good thing in smaller bodies of water, where I’d be a pollutant. A low end version of this would be setting my ashes afloat in a wicker basket and usi...

Continue reading…