Plastic or Wood?

...l blankets instead of Polarfleece blanketsDown filling instead of polyester filling (even for allergy sufferers)*Silk and wool fabrics for athletics instead of petroleum based technical fabricsSigg bottles instead of plastic water bottlesSturdy reusable shopping bags instead of disposable shopping bagsWashable dish cloths instead of cellulose spongesGeneral avoidance of plastic packaging at the supermarket. *Dust mites breed in much greater prof...

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Growing Chayote

...ily hailing from Mexico and Central America. It has a mild slightly sweet cucumber-like taste. They can be boiled, pan fried, steamed, baked, pickled or chopped up and tossed raw in a salad. Though requiring a fair amount of water, it grows like a weed here and one vine can easily produce eighty pounds of fruit. Another mark in its favor is that Chayote is a perennial and, to top it all off, the young leaves and root are also edible and the toug...

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A Bicycle Powered Washing Machine

Homeless Dave’s Bike Powered Washing Machine Of all the potential bicycle powered applications, other than the primary one of simply gettin’ around, washing machines seem the most practical to us. With the bike powered wash cycle, someday spin class and laundromats could co-locate. In the meantime, if you’ve got the space, a BPWM can also water your garden while giving you a chance to loose a few pounds. There are a couple o...

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We Are the Festival!

Here in Los Angeles we’ve got a number of lame Christmas traditions including the low-rent Hollywood Christmas parade and the L. Ron Hubbard Winter Wonderland (no joke). But the lamest of all has got to be the Department of Water and Power’s annual Christmas light show, which turns one of our few parks into a exhaust clogged traffic jam during the holiday season. Worst of all the city bans bikes from the light festival in spite of t...

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Kent’s Composting Tips and Secret Weapon

..., but mostly it’s the usual veggies, fruits, paper napkins, etc. Though experts say no fats should go in, I’ve yet to see (or smell) a problem. Each time I add new kitchen scraps, I add 1-2 shovels-full of dry leaves and some water if needed, turning and mixing the old and new stuff with a cultivator or shovel to aerate the pile. The proportion of dry to wet material is important. There should be enough dry leaves so the compost is kinda’ fluffy...

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Dramm’s Breaker Nozzle: My Favorite Watering Implement

I can’t count how many cheap watering implements we’ve gone through since we bought this house fifteen years ago. Big box store watering widgets seem to last just a few weeks before heading to the landfill. I think I’ve found a solution. During the Garden Blogger’s Fling I attended back in June there was a demo by a Dramm Company representative. What impressed me most at the demo was Dramm’s simplest products, the...

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Bad Forager: Mistaking Hemlock for Fennel

...8221; At this point I’d already swallowed or spit out the seeds. You know, whichever. I said, “Oh…um…I just ate a couple of seeds.” The rest of the class made noises of dismay. Someone offered me water. It was really embarrassing. Dosage is everything with poisons, and I was not worried about two or three maybe-swallowed-maybe-chewed-and-spit seeds. Especially not dried up, sun baked seeds. Pascal wasn’t worrie...

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New Phoebe Update/Question

...is down. I thought that maybe a long sleep would put her to rights, but she’s acting just the same this morning.   She’s moving slow, staring into space, doing odd things like hunkering down with her head over her water dish and just staying in that position, not drinking, not doing anything.  She doesn’t want to interact with us at all. Still, as far as I can tell, she’s not struggling to get enough air, like she was befo...

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

I’m thinking of throwing out all my picking and preserving books. Why? Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving blows all those other books out of the water bath. Full disclosure here: I’ve tasted a lot of West’s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around t...

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