The Vermont Sail Freight Project

Vermont farmer and baker Erik Andrus not only uses draft horses on his farm and to deliver baked goods, but also plans on reviving the lost art of shipping freight under sail power. Andrus has a Kickstarter going to fund the the consturction of a 39 foot sailing vesel, the “Ceres” which will carry 12 tons of rice and other shelf-stable goods from Ferrisburgh, Vermont to New York City. The Ceres is already under...

Continue reading…

Doing the doo-doo with you

...#8220;Illumipotty”), he suggested teaming up with Yoko Ono. If that reality show ever happens with Yoko as the co-star you can bet that Homegrown Revolution will hook up the TV again. Part of Dundon’s justified paranoia stems from his multiple run-ins with the “Man” over the past few years. Dundon ran afoul of the law and neighboring yuppies for tending what he called Zeke’s Heap, a 40-foot-high mountain of compost in west...

Continue reading…

A Backyard Bioshelter

Jonathan Bates of Holyoke, Massachusetts has a nifty greenhouse he calls his “backyard bioshelter.” He uses it to grows veggies year round in a climate that often goes well below 0°F. An aquaponics setup and a worm bin are also integrated into the shelter. And he’s even trying to grow avocados! You can keep up with what he’s doing on his blog at permaculturegreenhouse.com. Thanks to the Natural Building Blog for the li...

Continue reading…

White Sage and Bees and our other sage friends

...lowers, but bigger. This particular shape seems to make bees giddy with happiness. Above are the big fuzzy leaves and a flower that has yet to open. And below is the shape of the flower spikes. The spikes stand chest high, but like to fall over, like this one: Clary sage has medicinal uses, but I’ve not tried it for anything myself. I’ve also heard you can make fritters of the leaves….whic...

Continue reading…

Low Tech Solar Heating with a Thermosyphon Collector

Yet another great post from the folks at Build It Solar: a simple and low tech solar heating system called a thermosyphon collector mounted in the wall of a garage. It uses the same principle as the solar dehydrator we have on our garage roof–basically it’s just some clear plastic and a heat collector made out of black window screen. If your climate is cold and sunny (think Colorado) this would work nicely. Read the post to see a r...

Continue reading…

LA Times Calls Vertical Gardens in a Dry Climate a Bad Idea

...eement with Green and wrote about this silly trend back in July. Says Green of a garden in Culver City that uses the Wooly Pocket vertical system, “The concrete wall behind the bagged-and-hung garden is wet with runoff from an automated drip system. The sacks are calcified with irrigation scale. Even in an open-air setting, get close and there is a whiff of mold. It’s hard to imagine a less savory or more whimsically destructive system...

Continue reading…

Gift Suggestions, from the Other Half

...remember me writing about them earlier.  Apologies for the California bias: Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, by Celia Garcia and James D. Adams, Jr., Abedus Press, 2009 Co-authored by a Chumash healer and a USC pharmacology prof., both of whom write for Wilderness Way magazine. A fascinating resource documenting both historical uses and current scientific opinion on our native plants. My post on it is here. Tending the Wild: Nat...

Continue reading…

Testing the Lead Testers

...lead results from three different labs and I’d like to be able to write about soil testing methods. Two of the labs we sent samples off to (UMass and Timberleaf Soil Testing) use inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP) to test for lead. Wallace labs uses an extractant, AB-DTPA (ammonium bicarbonate Diethylene Triamine Pentaacetic acid). Here’s how Wallace described their lead testing techinique, We use AB-DTPA (ammonium bi...

Continue reading…

Cast Iron Cookware Class at Winnetka Farms

...class. I can’t say enough good things about cast iron–we ditched our Teflon years ago. Here’s the 411 on the class: Cast Iron Cookware How to use, maintain and restore. History We’ll start with a short history of cast iron cookware. Techniques and use of cast iron There will be cooking demonstrations (tastings) and discussion of the special techniques and uses of this timeless kitchen tool. Cleaning and Maintenance Ve...

Continue reading…