Why You Should Have a Thermometer in Your Refrigerator/Freezer

...tor/freezer thermometer. Freezers should be kept at 0ºF (-18ºC). At that temperature most frozen foods will keep for a year. The refrigerator should be below 40ºF (4.5ºC). (Source: Food Safety Advisor) After picking up an inexpensive thermometer, I discovered that our old fridge/freezer was simply not keeping low enough temperatures. I made the mistake of replacing it with a used fridge, which also did not maintain low enough temperatures. Nor di...

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Our New Earth Oven and How We Built It

...have come out on that day, but we decided that the dome was still soft and decided to leave most of the sand in for another week, just to be extra safe. Next we mixed a coat of earth plaster–again, basically the same ratio of sand, clay and straw we used for the adobe bricks–with the addition of two stabilizers to help repel water: fermented prickly pear juice and wheat paste. The prickly pear juice we made by chopping up some cactus...

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Natural Dyeing with Woad

...vated and the leaves picked in the first year. The leaves are crushed and, originally, left to ferment in a vat for over a year. The pH of the vat was maintained with the urine of the male work force. The woad industry of the past supported what I imagine to be a coveted job of drinking beer & urinating. The fermented leaves were then dried into woad ball that were later pounded into a powder used for dyeing. During the elaborate cultiv...

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Stencils as Garden Art

...find a suitable image. This tutorial shows you how to use Photoshop to make your stencil. Materials and tools I used acetate, but it’s expensive. Bruce used old manilla folders. A cheaper alternative is freezer paper. I cut my stencil using an exacto knife. Painting First I spray the surface I’m stenciling with some Krylon Easy-Tack. This temporarily holds the stencil down. The rest is easy-peasy and the stencil can be used many tim...

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A Primitive Bow Workshop

...the class and help us all shape our bows. The first step was to find some suitable wood. We used willow, a wood used by Native Americans in our region. It’s plentiful and makes an acceptable if short lived bow. Ash and oak and bay trees are local woods which are better for the purpose, but our goal for the day was a quick and dirty bow. These bows aren’t bowyers’ masterpieces. They are survival tools, and th...

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The Whip: A Homemade Moisturizer How-To from Making It

...fective. It’s so basic and natural that you could eat it! You might find it heavier than what you’re used to, because it doesn’t contain all the chemicals that the store-bought stuff employs to make it absorb fast into your skin (see the Skin Deep database for the scoop on what’s in your favorite moisturizer). But I promise you that if you use it for a couple of days you’ll get used to the difference–and then y...

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Daikon Radish Pickles

...e pickles. They’d get stronger flavored, and softer textured as the year went on, but they lasted. We look forward to trying this with cucumbers, but for this first experiment we used a big, pretty daikon from the farmers market. The entire process is amazingly simple: Stir up a brine solution of 2 Tablespoons sea salt (un-iodized salt) to 1 quart water. Note that you must use salt that has no additives-check the ingredients of your salt to...

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We Grow Houses

The last time a television news crew showed up near our domicile we were living in San Diego for a brief stint in grad school and those dozens of microwave relay trucks that showed up were beaming vital information about the former apartment of Gianni Versace assassin and spree killer Andrew Cunanan. So when we spotted a NBC news truck near the Homegrown Revolution compound we assumed our Los Angeles neighborhood had produced a new celebrity kil...

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Choosing the Perfect Tortilla Press

...s will last several lifetimes. And their heft helps when it comes time to press the masa into discs. And I opted for the smaller, 6 1/2 inch press as small tortillas are used in authentic Mexican street food. Making corn tortillas is much simpler than I expected. All you do is get masa harina (a limed corn flour), mix it roughly 50/50 with water and let the dough rest for a half hour to an hour. Next, you roll the masa into little 2 inch balls an...

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Make Your Own Damn Cheese

...f the milk in this country figure that they don’t have to be clean since they are pasteurizing everything. Fortunately raw milk is available at health food stores–we used a brand called Organic Pastures. Making cheese is actually fairly simple and can be done with just milk and rennet, also available in the baking section of health food stores such as Whole Foods. One other nice thing for the vegetarians out there is that you can use...

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