Michael Reynold’s Beer Can Houses

...ump . . . Caption: “Detail of a wall in an experimental home built of aluminum beer and soft drink cans near Taos, New Mexico. for this wall the cans were laid horizontally in two thicknesses which are separated by a vertical sheet of foam insulation. The exterior will be a combination of glass, exposed can ends and unpainted concrete. Unskilled labor and the cheapness of materials will allow the structure to be built as much as 20% less...

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Know Maintanance

...er on the topic of small garden ideas. As we struggle with some design mistakes we made last fall, Rainer’s advice really rang true: Don’t bring a plant into that garden unless it has a striking form (spiky, billowing, vertical spire), strong foliage color (blues/golds/purples, etc), or a long season of blooms (2 month minimum). We had to redo our yard after last year’s lead soil reports (more on that in another post), and the desi...

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Mud for the People! Building an Adobe Garden Wall

This weekend Kelly and I had our first adobe encounter. We were lucky to have been invited to attend a workshop led by Kurt Gardella and Ben Loescher. Kurt also teaches both live and online classes that you can find out about on his website, www.kurtgardella.com. We’ll post announcements for future classes, because I haven’t had so much fun in a long time! This past weekend’s workshop focused on making bricks and building an a...

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Saturday Linkages: Of Sewer Hunting and Fermented Lemonade

Fermented Lemonade: http:// thecultivatedlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/ho-  … http:// Bedroom Almanac: Wall Decor Changes With Lunar Cycle dornob.com/bedroom-almana  … How to Sew on a Button | The Art of Manliness http:// artofmanliness.com/2012/06/28/sew  … Sewer hunting–the worst job ever: http:// blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2012/0  … Silver Lake’s Vertical Garden Gets Peeled Away: http://www. theeastsiderla.com/2012/07/...

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Side Yard Hops Trellis

...ies on the side of the house are Golden and Chinook. Since this blog also doubles as my garden diary I’ll note that the Golden is on the southeast and the Chinook on the southwest. It’s important to keep the bines labeled so when it comes time to make beer you know which variety is which. When I planted the Cascade and Nugget in the ground I got them mixed up. They look and smell different when mature so I’m pretty sure I can te...

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Tomato Report II: Franchi Red Pear

...anding producer of huge (as in 8-18 ounce) very tasty fruit. Great fresh eating. Early for such a large plant (70-75 days).  This is not the small pear shaped tomato called red pear by US Seed companies. Pear shaped with vertical ribs . . . Really meaty containing few seeds. Indeterminate. One problem I’ve had with it is that it’s not super productive, at least in my vegetable beds.  I also think I may have over-watered it this...

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How To Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

...do this you’ll individually quick freeze IQF them. To IQF: Wash, blanch (veggies) and cool . Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for four to six hours. Pack in sealed containers or in freezer bags. Label with date to avoid freezer mystery bag phenomenon. Now when the zombie apocalypse arrives and everything goes Beyond Thunderdome, freezing will not be the best option (unless, like Tina Turner, we figure out how to tu...

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The Organic Minefield: How organic are your organic eggs, soy and dairy?

I wish the label “organic” meant all that I mean when I use the term, but unfortunately organic is not a a guarantee of sustainable agricultural practice, much less humane treatment of livestock. The Cornucopia Institute promotes sustainable organic agriculture and family farms, and helps consumers parse the difference between greenwashed and genuine organic farms and suppliers. They release quick reference charts on various subject...

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Plum Lemon Tomato Power’s Heirloom Tomato

...d those loads of melamine laced pet food from China, they did somehow manage to track 1,840 confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses in domestic tomatoes. Again, urban homesteading revolutionaries, GROW YOUR OWN! We found that label and it’s a tomato called “Power’s Heirloom”. Here’s how the Seed Saver’s exchange catalog copy describes it, “First offered in the 1990 SSE Yearbook by Bruce McAllister from Fr...

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Quince: the “Poster Child of Slowness”

...ctus that is probably competing with it. We’ll hope it does better in the next season. Filling in for my lack of backyard quince, Homegrown Neighbor was nice enough to pop by with some she bought local Asian market. The label must have lost something in translation, but refers to a variety called “Pineapple quince”. Karp points out in his article that this is the most prevalent commercial variety. When picked fresh it could conc...

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