What Preparedness Lessons Did You Learn From Hurricane Sandy?

...11;living without power/gas/water for a few days to see what we can improve. Update. On the Root Simple Facebook page reader Josh Barton left the following account: I’m in the St.George area of Staten Island, about a 7 minute walk to the water. I live at the top of a hill, so I wasn’t worried about flooding, but I think I should buy a raft just in case it doors ever flood in the lower parts (Esp if I move somewhere else. So it’d...

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The Rag and Bone Man

...r in the past with organic material on top, but in our dry climate here in LA the newspaper can actually prevent water from getting to the soil when it rains. We’re guessing that cotton might work better. 3. Household cleaning–this is obvious, but we do go through quite a few rags with our too few household cleanings, not to mention keeping the bicycle chains clean. 4. Paper making–one traditional method of paper making begins w...

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Weeds into Fertilizer

...appen to be very good at taking up nutrients from relatively poor soil. The point here is let your weeds rot in water and you get a nice fertilizer. This is better than water into wine as far as I’m concerned. Which reminds me that I want to try making dandelion wine this spring…. So many of the plants that people consider weeds, like dandelion and nettle, are nutritious and medicinal plants. My favorite part is that they are easy t...

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Mud for the People! Building an Adobe Garden Wall

...is to determine the clay/sand content of your soil and to do that you do a jar test. When you mix some soil with water in a jar and let it sit, the clay settles on top, the silt below that, and the sand on bottom. You can measure the sample and determine percentages. At the workshop, held in the high desert town of Landers, CA the sand and clay were sourced locally and from the site.   The clay got sifted through 1/4 inch hardware cloth to get...

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Showers to Flowers

...ywater solutions is simply rerouting your shower straight out a pipe and into the garden. Here’s how to do it: 1. Confirm that your shower is higher than the point you are watering. The minimum fall for waste pipes is 1/4 inch per foot — any less and you’ll risk a backup. 2. Cut the waste line from your shower, making sure that you are cutting the pipe before the point it meets up with anything coming out of the toilet. Remember...

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Farm in a Box

...he planter box via a pump to provide fertilizer for the plants as well as removing nitrogen and ammonia from the water. From the Earth Solutions website: “By integrating fish with vegetables, naturally balanced aquatic ecosystems are established making it unnecessary to add fertilizer, chemicals or remove nitrogen rich water. As in nature, plants, fish and oxygen loving bacteria create a symbiotic relationship; Fish waste is converted by ba...

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Indigo 101

...era suffruticosa, which is native to Mexico and South America. • You can grow your own indigo (any seeds you buy labeled as Indigo will probably be tictorium or suffructicosa). Indigofera is a pretty plant from the legume family. That family is valuable in the garden because it draws nitrogen into the soil. It would be nice to grow just as a conversation starter. I don’t know much about making the dye from scratch, but it is quite possible...

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Stern Sprouted Wheat Vegan Cookie or Health Bar Type Things

...Then let it sit around at room temperature. Give it a rinse every morning and every night until it sprouts. Toss it around a bit so it aerates. Wheat will sprout in 24- 36 hours, depending on temperatures. I should pause here to point out that since this all happens at room temperature, you want to be careful about cleanliness. Keep your hands and tools and containers very clean. Don’t let the sprouts get too long (i.e. too old)  when makin...

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Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...years before seeing a metal sugar shaker at an Asian market for all of $1.99 and decided to splurge. You can see it in the windowsill of the top picture. You know, it was totally worth the $1.99. Using baking soda: The trick to using it effectively is to not use it in a very wet environment. Baking soda dissolves quickly in water, unlike some scouring cleansers. Don’t try to use it in standing water, or even with a very wet sponge.  For...

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No-Knead Artisinal Bread Part I

...ients on a digital scale. While I use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, I’m trying to wean myself of its use. Kneading, it turns out, is unnecessary labor and can be replaced by simply folding the dough a few times during the initial fermentation period. 3. After mixing the dough I let it rest for around 20 minutes to allow flour and water to integrate. 4. Following the rest period I mix in the salt. 5. The dough rises for 2 1/2 hou...

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