Build a Solar Dehydrator

...t night to prevent mold from growing (a minor inconvenience). We built our dehydrator several years ago and have used it each season for tomatoes, figs and for making dried zucchini chips. You can find plans for this “Appalachian Dehydrator”, designed by Appalachian State University’s Appropriate Technology Program, in the February/March 1997 issue of Home Power Magazine. The February/March 1999 issue of Home Power features a re...

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Artichoke Season at the Homegrown Revolution Compound

...huge plant so make sure you give them plenty of room–at least a six foot diameter circle, preferably more, for each plant. The only drawback is that aphids love them, so they require constant spraying down with a hose to blow off the damn things, not to mention thorough cleaning in the kitchen. Our love of artichokes means that we’ve gotten used to eating the occasional aphid. They may even have medicinal uses according the the Plants...

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A Humanure Powered Prius!

...ning Toyoto Motors announced an exciting new partnership between their Prius division and Root Simple. Toyota is forming a task force, that includes Root Simple, to explore the most abundant fuel source on the planet: gassified humanure. Toyota anticipates a hybrid methane/electric Prius vehicle in showrooms as early as 2012. “We’re accelerating the research and design process and we predict that methane/electric hybrids will be a maj...

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Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands

“The bricoleur, says Levi-Strauss, is someone who uses “the means at hand,” that is, the instruments he finds at his disposition around him, those which are already there, which had not been especially conceived with an eye to the operation for which they are to be used and to which one tries by trial and error to adapt them, not hesitating to change them whenever it appears necessary, or to try several of them at once, even if the...

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Gadget Love: The Johnson Temperature Controller

...probe in the freezer and adjust the dial to the desired temperature. So far I’ve thought of the following uses: Proof bread overnight at 54ºF. I used to proof my dough in my refrigerator, but the chest freezer, running at this higher temperature thanks to the temperature controller, results in a more active proofing. Make lagers (which ferment at low temperatures). Make ales in hot weather. The house gets too hot to make beer in the summ...

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

...he way this city treats its pedestrians. Erik: It’s a stereotype that LA is car-centric. If I had a dollar for every time some out of town journalist drops in here for a weekend and files a report repeating the “nobody uses public transit in LA” mantra I’d be a millionaire. LA has a very extensive public transit system. I will admit that I prefer to ride LA’s expanding rail system (sorry Bus Rider’s Union, trai...

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Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...local restaurant supply chain. I expect it would also come in bulk at grocery warehouse stores. Make a shaker for it out of a jar with holes punched in the lid,  repurpose some other shaker, or buy a sugar shaker from a restuarant supply place. I’d used an old jar for several years before seeing a metal sugar shaker at an Asian market for all of $1.99 and decided to splurge. You can see it in the windowsill of the top picture. You know,...

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Climate Change and Personal Responsibility

...make it a general policy not to engage in politics on this blog. Homesteading is about local and personal change foremost, after all, and it’s a big enough movement to embrace many beliefs. Also, talking politics brings out the trolls, and that’s no fun for anyone. But.  I’ve got to bring this up. And I hope you’ll go along with me and not see this as sort of support or condemnation of any political party, nor an invitatio...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...ed acorns from the first round of processing. Grinding isn’t necessary here, and preserves the acorn meats for uses that require pieces rather than meal. Put the acorns in a pot with plenty of fresh water. You could/should add some salt. Bring them to a boil and let them simmer for 20 minutes or so. As they cook, they’ll shed their skins. The skins are bitter, so skim those off the surface as they rise. After 20 minutes drain the acor...

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Dave Miller on Baking with 100% Whole Wheat

...least a half hour before adding salt. This period gets the enzymes working. The final dough is mixed in a mixer for 5 minutes at the first speed and 5 minutes at the second speed (if you don’t have a mixer, Millers suggested stretching and folding, not kneading). Of course, flours will behave differently, so at all points, including the mixing, Miller uses his eye to judge when the dough appears to be worked enough. The dough sat out for a...

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