2011 in Review: Urban Homestead Trademark Dispute

As the year draws to a close I thought I’d review some of our posts from the previous year starting with an update on the trademark dispute over the terms “urban homestead” and “urban homesteading”. In February of this year the Dervaes Institute (DI) sent a cease and desist letter to over a dozen different individuals and organizations including our publisher Feral House/Process Media, public radio station KCRW, De...

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Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading: These Terms Belong to All of Us

Our attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law firm, Winston & Strawn, have filed a petition to cancel the bogus trademark registrations for the terms “Urban Homestead” and “Urban Homesteading.” You may read the EFF’s press release here, and the actual petition here. It is a thing of beauty. We are very fortunate to have access to the talents of some of the best people in this business. We ho...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

This is how I want my yogurt. Dadiah, traditional West Sumatran water buffalo yogurt, fermented in bamboo segments. Courtesy of Wikimedia. Photo by Meutia Chaeran. Mrs. Homegrown here: One reason I make a lot of my own stuff is because I’m trying to avoid plastic packaging. And as I’m sure you know, that’s pretty much impossible these days–but I do what I can. Lately I’ve realized that one consistent source of...

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How to save tomato seed

Seeds fermenting in water. Not pretty, but pretty important! The jar got shaken up while walking it outside for its photo op., so it looks a little cloudy and messy. In your jar, you should see a layer of scum on top of the water. I can’t believe we haven’t posted about this before–it seems like we have, but I can’t find the post if this is so. Perhaps we wrote about it in one of our books…the old brain is getting f...

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Urban Homestead Book Signing and Lecture

We’ll be delivering a lecture and and book-signing on the theme of “Low-tech is the new high-tech” at the Eco-Village Thursday the 26th of June. Here’s the 411: Los Angeles Eco-VillageCRSP Institute for Urban Eco-Villagesand the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalitionpresent THE URBAN HOMESTEADTalk, Slide Show and Book-Signingwith Kelly Coyne and Erik KnutzenThursday June 26th 2008 7:30pmat Los Angeles Eco-Village117 Bimini...

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Out of Water!

There’s nothing like a utility outage to make one ponder the various Mad Max type scenarios that might play out when the power goes out for good and legions of zombified TiVo addicts stumble out onto the streets in search of the last remaining supplies of Doritos. Of all the utility outages we’ve experienced in our shabby 1920s bungalow, this weekend’s water outage was the most annoying. Other than the intenets, a couple of lig...

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Rain Barrels

Constructing a cistern large enough to supply potable indoor water is an ambitious project involving pumps, filters, UV purifiers, and very large and expensive tanks. We don’t want to discourage anyone from making an attempt at it, but for most urban homesteaders it won’t be economical or practical given the space requirements and weight of thousands of gallons of stored water. Thankfully, there are simpler strategies for harvesting...

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Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

I approve of the oval shape of the opening of this funnel– and the sporty color. Fact 1: Human urine is an excellent source of nitrogen for your garden. It can be applied directly to a compost pile, or diluted 10:1 and used on plants. Fact 2: Nature has equipped the male of the species in such a manner that it is easy for him to contribute nitrogen to the compost pile. For women, it’s a bit more tricky. So, how do ladies give back to...

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What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

When your laundry water is going to the soil instead of to the sewer (or a septic tank) you need to make sure that detergent is friendly to soil life. Your big brand detergents are a no-go. And even the various eco-detergents, even ones marked “biodegradable”, are not appropriate for the soil because they are essentially salt-based. They play well with aquatic life, bless them, and they’re a great alternative to more toxic det...

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Start Your Urban Homestead for One Dollar

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising. Want to move to Buffalo, New York? If so the city has an Urban Homestead Program where you can get a house for a $1 plus closing costs. The rules–you’ve got to: Fix code violations. Live in the house for at least three years. Have $5,000 in the bank for repairs. Too cold a climate for me, but you can read more about the program and see some success stories at Buf...

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