How to Answer the Question, “What Should I Do With My Life?”

...space on my book shelf). Instead I could have jumped ahead to what I’m doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of the books on my bookshelf, now and in the past, are how-to tomes relating to the subjects on this blog: gardening, poultry health, beekeeping, food preservation, baking, cooking and self-reliance. There’s another broad category : books relating to symbolism, Carl Jung, Rudolf Steiner and media theory. The rest are oddball topics:...

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Saturday Linkages: Gourds, Cats and Cider Bread

The Mukombe. Image: Afrigadget. The Mukombe–a hand washing station made out of a gourd:  http://www.afrigadget.com/2014/04/06/the-mukombe/ … Farine: Mike Zakowski making cider bread http://www.farine-mc.com/2014/04/mike-zakowski-making-cider-bread-video.html?spref=tw … 6 Methods for Harvesting Rainwater – Homesteading and Livestock – MOTHER EARTH NEWS http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/...

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Saturday Linkages: Rocket Stoves, Big Cargo Bikes and Shopping for the Apocalypse

Image: BoingBoing. The Flying Tortoise: A Very Gorgeous Little Rocket Mass Type Terracotta… http://theflyingtortoise.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-very-gorgeous-little-rocket-mass-type.html?spref=tw … How to mount staghorn ferns in your garden http://bit.ly/1nosn5W  #diy Getting to the root of gardening’s role in mental wellness | Victory Gardens Blog | http://buff.ly/1o3lIkd  Darrel Morrison’s Addition to the Brooklyn Bo...

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The Other Kind of Fencing

...a’s simplicity. All you need are two sticks and lessons are typically conducted informally in backyards. Then there’s Haitian machete fencing which I had never heard of until I ran across this trailer for a upcoming documentary on the subject. Could machete fencing be the perfect synthesis of gardening and martial arts? What did I leave out? I know many Root Simple readers are passionate about martial arts. Which one have you tried...

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

...California is suffering from drought. In Los Angeles, we’ve experienced back to back two of the driest winters on record (winter is our rainy season). Last year’s rainfall total was under 6 inches. The governor 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&#...

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Decomposed Granite as Mulch: A very bad idea

...whoever is left holding the bag a couple of years down the road will be pulling decaying bits of plastic out of their garden for evermore. What’s a better approach? Wood chips. Pile it on thick. Skip the plastic liner. Eventually your new plantings will cover any bare areas if you space them correctly. It looks good,  and the mulch breaks down and turns into soil. You will still need to weed but that’s called gardening. Save the DG f...

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Cactus Thief Strikes Again

I knew this was going to happen. After the theft of the first of three barrel cacti in our front yard, I knew the perp would be back. Sure enough the second cacti disappeared the other night. Now I’m left with the smallest, and most pathetic of the three cacti. In response I considered rigging up some kind of Arduino based cacti security system that would set off an alarm and flashing strobe in the house. Attach a trip...

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How to Deal With Cabbage Worms

It happens every year. I forget the gardening lessons of the year before. Take my many failed attempts to grow cabbage, for instance. It always gets decimated by the imported cabbage worm (Pieris rapae), a creature as abundant in Los Angeles as aspiring actors. There are several strategies I could use to deal with this pest (cabbage worms, that is–I have no problem with actors). I could spray Bacillus thuringiensis but...

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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

...st. All of the rainfall is captured and instead of being directed to the sewer system, it runs to swales between the houses, to nourish fruit trees. The resulting space is a lush park full of edibles, from exotic jujubee trees to grapes to almonds. Residents can stroll around in the abundant shade and pick fruit at will. Only the almond crop is off limits–the almond crop is harvested every year and sold to support the the gardening services...

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In Defense of the Paper Wasp

Paper wasp building a nest. Image: Wikimedia. I really don’t like gardening advice that divides the natural world into lists of good and bad bugs. From nature’s perspective all creatures have a role, even the much despised paper wasp. Paper Wasp Biology 101 Wasps perform important duties: some wasps eat other insects, other wasps are scavengers, acting as nature’s garbage disposers. That’s not to say t...

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