Fashion on the Homestead

...from an unexpected source, the Chilean avant guarde filmmaker and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. He says, Clothing used without consciousness is a mere disguise. Holy men and women do not dress in order to appear, but in order to be. Clothes possess a form of life. When they correspond to your essence, they give you energy and become allies. When they correspond to your distorted personality, they drain your vital forces. And even when they are you...

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Sourdough Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Learn to bake bread the natural way, with a sourdough starter. Sourdough cultures make breads with bolder flavors, a longer shelf life and deliver the health benefits of living, fermented foods. In this hands-on workshop we’ll make a simple loaf using a version of the miraculous and easy Chad Robertson Tarti...

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Sourdough Rye Bread Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Learn to bake the healthiest bread on the planet: a 100% whole grain sourdough rye. In this class you’ll learn how to start and maintain a sourdough starter and how to work with whole grains. We’ll reveal the secrets of whole grain baking, plus you’ll learn how you can grind your own grains. In the end, you’...

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What Epuipment Do You Need to Bake Bread?

...tice of baking boules in a Dutch oven. The technique simulates the humid environment of a commercial bread oven. It works great. For years I used a regular Dutch oven. Just recently, however, I purchased a Lodge Combo cooker, essentially a Dutch oven with a skillet instead of a lid. To bake bread in it you use it upside down. It’s easier to slide a loaf of bread into the pan than it is to plop a loaf down into a Dutch oven. These few items,...

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The canning lid conundrum

How do you guys store your used canning lids and rings? We keep a lot of them around because we use canning jars for so many things other than canning: dry goods, leftovers, food-to-go, body care, etc.  My collection is driving me crazy. Never was there a set of more awkward objects than a pile of slippery, jangly rings and lids. Ideas? [Mr. Homegrown in my Master Food Preserver mode chiming in here--as per USDA advice we use...

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Our Grape Arbor

...olished a crumbling addition to the house (a room you had to go through the back bedroom to get to) and replaced it with an arbor. Our neighbor generously gave us the columns that used to be on her front porch and I added a plinth to make them taller. In the background are two apple trees that provide some privacy. It’s taken a couple of years for the grapes to cover the structure. One reason is that we lost two vines to...

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Artificial Turf: Is It Ever a Good Idea?

...eeping an open mind, I tried to think of circumstances in which artificial turf might be a good option. Maybe if it were used ironically? But I don’t really think its use can be justified. Why? It’s a petrochemical product. It will eventually break down and end up in a landfill or the  ocean. There’s no wildlife benefit. Practically speaking, it also gets really hot on a summer day and you’ve got to hose it down with wat...

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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

...ernor has asked California residents to cut their water use by 20%.  Apparently, we’ve only managed to cut it by 5%. There’s a strange sense of unreality about the drought. I think that’s because we’re just not feeling it in the cities. Our water is cheap, the taps are running, food prices aren’t terribly affected– yet.  So we keep washing our cars and hosing off the sidewalks and topping off our swimming pools...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

...rdeners (a small minority even in rural areas) there was little evidence that people ever went into their yards. It confirms what a UCLA anthropology team discovered when they placed cameras in 32 Los Angeles homes to see how people used their houses and back yards, “More than half of the families in the Los Angeles Study spent zero leisure time (none for kids, none for parents) in their back yards during our filming. In quite a few of these case...

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