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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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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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

...d 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 a low-maintenance garden). One of the favorite tools in the flipper landscaping toolbox is decomposed granite (DG) used as a mulch. Put some plastic landscape fabric d...

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Is Ham Radio Useful?

...the club’s radio room, located in the emergency communications center at the offices of a local hospital. It was fun, but the utility of the exercise was not immediately apparent. The cell phone system is a lot more robust than it used to be and you don’t need a licence to use a phone in an emergency. I got home from the contest around 9 pm and as I began to make dinner the windows started rattling and the house began to roll. It was...

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Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook Giveaway

.... 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 stove. This recipe gives directions for the stovetop version, but you can also finish it in a hot oven as in the prev...

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Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...aterials, and techniques to get 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,...

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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...

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Direct Seeding vs. Transplants

How I used to plant my veggies. An 8 inch spacing guide and some seedlings back in 2009. To direct sow or transplant, that is the question. I’m as indecisive as Hamlet when it comes to this question. Some caveats here: we live in a warm climate where you can direct sow almost anything unless you want to get an early start on tomatoes and peppers. And we don’t have to start seedlings indoors. Another thing to note&...

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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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