DIY Outdoor Shower

...ep in considering whether to build an outdoor solar heated shower is to take a step back and consider boring old conservation. Shower less and make sure that your domicile is equipped with a low-flow shower head. Not only 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&#...

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Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

...s, and Erik only has so much pee. My contributions would be useful. Plus, this method of gardening is undeniably water hungry. I feel like we should partially offset this expenditure by conserving water as much as we can. One simple way to save water is to stop flushing the toilet so much. And if all our pee went outside, it would not only save water, but it also would add water and nitrogen to the soil. Win-win. Now, I imagine our more feisty re...

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Out of Water!

...f 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 lights and our kitchen mixer, electricity is not something we’re big users of and, thanks to the many camping stoves we have, we’re prepared to go without natural gas for a while. But water is a different matter. Late last Thursday night our water pres...

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What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

...slin bag (which comes in the box), and throw that bag in the wash with your clothes. They activate better in hot water, so some people will opt to soak the bag in a cup of hot water first–like making tea–and then dump the water and the bag into the wash.  Other people stew the nuts in water and make soap nut tea, which can then be used like liquid soap, for both hand washing and laundry. There’s lots of info online about soap nu...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...meats oxidize after they spend some time in the air, so if you want to keep the meats pale, toss them in a bowl water as you shell them. Consider how you plan to use your shelled acorns At this point you need to pause and make a decision about how you plan to use your acorns. There are two types of leaching: hot and cold, and which one you choose depends on how you plan to use the acorns. You use cold water leaching to make acorn meal suitable f...

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Beans 101 (Return of Bean Friday!)

...and cook them the next morning. Soak your beans: Pour your beans into a very large vessel and cover with lots of water. Beans swell like crazy. There’s no need to be stingy with the space or the water.  Just leave the bowl on the counter. No need to refrigerate it, or even cover it. If you soak your beans and find you don’t have time to cook them after all,  just pour off the water and put the beans in the fridge. They’ll keep a...

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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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Rain- The Best Gift of All

...home made rain barrels and I have lived and learned from my mistakes. But I do get to harvest a decent amount of water and it feels very satisfying to see that barrel full after only a light rain. So due to the mosquito issue, I use my harvested rain water as soon as possible. Once the soil has dried out, usually just a couple of days later, I attach a hose to the barrel and let it drain. I will set it in the garden and move it around to a few...

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Return of Bean Friday: Bean Broth or “Tuscan Crazy Water”

...’s sort of in between. According to Caspar, Tuscans like to cook beans with plenty of aromatics in lots of water, and then reserve that water as a broth. The bean broth is called Acqua Pazza, crazy water. “This soup is a revelation” is how she opens the recipe. And later she claims it could be mistaken for chicken broth. That might be the problem–I was expecting twinkling lights and perhaps a chorus from a boys’ choi...

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Remember to Label Those Jars!

Label, label, label!” This was one of the most important lessons I learned in my Master Food Preserver training. You’ll note, from the jars above, that I’m not very good about this. When were those jars canned and what’s in them? I have no idea. They were probably the result of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.”...

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