Sourdough Pancake Recipe

l that tangy delicious starter to make pancakes. For years we’ve used Nancy Silverton’s recipe. Basically, the starter fills in for the flour and milk used in standard pancake recipes. That’s all there is to it. The only downside to the new way we feed our starter is that I don’t make these delicious sourdough pancakes anymore. You could, of course, still make them by building up more starter the night before. But make sur...

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Arduino Homesteading Projects

An Arduino-based chicken coop controller on Instructables. At the risk of putting high tech in our low tech, I just took an introductory Arduino class at Crash Space along with the folks at Zapf Architectural Renderings. An Arduino is a simple, low cost microcontroller thingy. It’s got a bunch of digital outputs, analog and digital inputs and a programmable microchip. You download a program onto the chip (either one you’ve written yo...

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Saturday Linkages: Forklift Furniture and Pickled Turnips

Pickled turnips–photo and recipe by The Domestic Man Having some trouble with our blogging software this weekend–so Root Simple may look a little funky until we figure out what the problem is. Cookin’ Kabees El Lift (Pickled Turnips) http://wp.me/pWGRR-YU  DIY Forklift Furniture: 10 DIY Projects for Used Wooden Pallets | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/forklift-furniture-10-diy-projects-for-used-wooden-pallets/...

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Anne Hars’ Top Ramen Keyhole Vegetable Garden

“I call it my Top Ramen garden,” says gardener, Root Simple neighbor and artist Anne Hars, “I planted things that go well in Top Ramen.” Hars is referring to her keyhole vegetable bed that she created this winter. With the keyhole, Hars has made good use of a very small front yard with a dense planting of Ramen friendly veggies including bok choi, three kinds of kale, sunflowers, carrots, peas, garlic, radishes, spinach,...

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Self-Irrigating Gutter Update

We’ll get back to our thoughts on responses to the Three Headed Hydra of Doom tomorrow, but for today we’re going to take a quick break for a practical post: Self-Irrigating Strawberries! This spring I built a self-irrigating gutter (SIG) using two gutters based on a video by Larry Hall. You can see my original post about this project here. Essentially, it is a gutter filled with potting mix, sitting on top of another gutter filled...

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The tale of the worm bin celery

This is related to my recent post about our flowering radish. It’s a tale of botanic dumpster diving and another reason why you should let your food plants go to flower when you can. Last year I threw the crown (which is to say, the bottom) of a celery plant in my worm bin. I probably should have chopped it up for the worms’ sake, but I didn’t. Later, sometime in the fall,  I rediscovered the celery crown. Instead of rotting...

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A Self-Watering Container in a Pot

...orm moisture level. We also made a video about them that we’re amused to report has been “favorited” on Youtube by pot growers. You fill SWCs up via a pipe and they can go at least a week between waterings. It is, in our opinion, the only way to grow water-needy vegetables reliably in a container. We have used them to successfully grow eggplants, tomatoes, collard greens and blueberries (note to the DEA: no cash crops at the Ho...

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Pooh Power!

...system we’ve ever offered. Each sealed kit contains: 1 waste bag with Pooh-Powder, 1 zip-close disposal bag, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and instructions. The amazing pooh-powder actually gels liquid in seconds, while it neutralizes the odor (no perfume cover-up) and the catalyst starts the decay process. The Black degradable poly bags are environmentally friendly and can be disposed of in trash containers. Can be used with any portable t...

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Bucket Crapping

Those ubiquitous five gallon buckets we’ve used to make self-watering containers are good for another purpose– an improvised crapper. When the shit hits the fan, you’ll need a place to shit and thankfully the fine folks at the World Toilet Organization have come up with a clever design for an improvised flush toilet using just a five gallon bucket, a coat-hanger, and a plastic bag. Now, not to be too graphic, but thanks to the...

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DIY Outdoor Shower

...y will you be saving water and burning less fossil fuels to heat that water, but your body odor will soon separate your real friends from superficial hangers-on. But we urban homesteaders don’t need to be stinky since it’s possible and easy to build an outdoor solar shower. There are two reasons this makes sense, particularly in a place with as warm a climate as LA. First of all, you can direct the water straight into the garden and...

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