How to Process Carob

...nds of pods. Now many of us may have unpleasant associations with carob as a 1970s era chocolate substitute, but the tree has a long history in the Middle East, where it’s used to make a tea, as a source of molasses, as a vegetable and as animal feed. The “locusts” that John the Baptist dined on were not insects but, instead, the pods of the carob tree. After. Photo by Bill Wheelock. In the Middle East carob has a reput...

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Behold the Western Electric 500

...er causing radio frequency waves like cordless and cell phones do. My WE500, a thrift store purchase, sat around for years until I decided to fix a wiring flaw that silenced its bells. The WE 500 should be the poster child for Mr. Jalopy’s Owner’s Manifesto as it adheres to all the tenets:  The case is easy to open, all connections are labeled and subassemblies dissemble with ease. Virtually all repairs can be done with a screwdriver...

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New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a week for formulating New Years resolutions and I have two that stem from reading Ferran Adrià’s A Day at elBulli . Adrià is one of the main proponents of “molecular gastronomy” (though he rejects the term) a style of cooking that involves not just unusual ingredients, but the creation of entirely new forms of cooking. Think dry ice, freeze drying and culinary thoughtstylings such as “Spherification.” B...

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Bare Root Fruit Tree Season is Here!

...tock Panamint Nectarine on Citation rootstock CoffeeCake (Nishimura Wase) Persimmon Saijo Persimmon (pollinator for CoffeeCake) Flavor Finale Pluot on Myrobalan 29C rootstock Santa Rosa Plum on Citation rootstock (pollinator for the Flavor Finale Pluot) Flavor Delight Aprium on Citation rootstock The plan is to follow the Dave Wilson nursery’s backyard orchard culture guidelines which we blogged about in detail here. In short, you plant...

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Advances in Gardening Series: The Perennial Herb Bed, Patience and Plant Spacing and Breaking Your Own Rules

.... First, it makes both financial and horticultural sense to plant young, small plants. Small plants are cheaper, they catch up with the gallon-sized perennials in no time at all, and will probably be healthier in the long run. The second is a question of spacing. Perennial plants used in landscaping tend to be bushy things, plants which will need some room when they grow up. Too often they don’t get the space they need and end up looking pa...

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Kelly’s “EDC”

...ves in a small dedicated pocket. Left to right: Phone, multi-tool, mini first aid kit, lighter, LED light Row 2: The items in this row all fit in the red pouch on the left. These are my personal comfort items. I admit I could survive with just the lip balm if I had to. Left to right: Pouch, lipstick, homemade lip balm (which is also gets used for hand cream and hair control), a small mint tin which carries analgesics of all sorts, comb, flash dr...

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The Barrier Method

...ere, with us only exerting ourselves over particularly problem-prone situations. Nowadays protection is standard for every bed we plant, for our seed starting boxes, and often for new perennials in the ground. The result is peace of mind, better results…and fewer gardening meltdowns from Erik (Squash Baby excepted). We’ve written about all this before in various posts, but here’s some photos to give you an overview of some of th...

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Medlar: The Best Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of

...e for a few weeks to blet. Then, when they’re finally bletted, they’re have to be eaten immediately. There’s not a huge window of edibility. This level of persnickety-ness just doesn’t jive with our industrial food distribution system. Beyond that, when they’re ready to eat, they look like they’re ready for the compost heap–brown, squishy, a little wrinkly. It takes some getting used to–well, it tak...

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Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

A noble Royal Palm tom. This photo by Kevin Saff. The rest are ours. This post is not for everyone, so we’ve concealed most of it behind the jump. This week we helped our friend, Steve, slaughter and dress four turkeys for Thanksgiving. There will be pictures, so those of you who are interested can get some idea of what the process involves. Steve is an especially conscious carnivore, because he raises and slaughters all the m...

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Our Winter Vegetable Garden

...It’s a blessing and a curse to live in a year round growing climate. Winter here in Southern California is the most productive time for most vegetables. It also means that there’s no time off for the gardener or the soil. In the interest of better note keeping, what follows is a list of what we’re growing this winter in the vegetable garden. We’ll do an update in the spring to let you know how things grew. For those of you...

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