On miso, caffeine and the search for a morning brew

...white, brown…) Don’t let this confuse you. All are good. Just start somewhere and you’ll sort it out. I’m fond the red. • Proper miso soup is made with the classic Japanese soup stock, dashi. You can make it with any stock you like, or do as I do in the mornings and just use water. It’s important not to simmer miso, because heat kills the beneficial critters in it. If you’re making a pot of soup, add the miso...

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My Brand New Homebrew Soda Carbonator

...217;t cheap — we’ll talk about the price of the parts in the next post. I’m the first to admit it won’t make sense for every household, but it is actually a very worthwhile investment for us. The other great thing about this device is that it will carbonate just about anything you can cram into a bottle.  You’re not limited to just charging water and then adding flavor to it. The mind reels with the possibilities. My...

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June: National Bathroom Reading Month

...omegrown Evolution throne room reading stack. Water Quality Report ’07 from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Every year we get this and pledge we’ll study up on the science behind water quality. Another year has passed and all we can critique about this report is the fact that LA DWP doesn’t seem to know that Silver Lake is two words not one. We could also point out the odd choice of Echo Park Lake for the cover....

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Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

...me of you out of the loop. A hay box aka fireless cooker is a very old fuel saving technology, which perhaps has its origins in Scandinavia.  It is simply an insulated box that you put a hot pot of food into, and leave it all day (or all night) to finish cooking. It’s the forerunner of the crockpot. This cooking technique isn’t limited to hay boxes. The same concept is used by people who put oats and boiling water into a Thermos at be...

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A Fast Bean Friday: Khichdi

...7;s the kind of food that each mom cooks a little different. I’ve been playing with the basic formula, and it’s becoming one of our go-to “fast foods” around here. It cooks up in about a half hour, and you don’t even have to stand by the stove for that half hour. You just saute up the spices, add the rice, lentils chopped veggies and water, put a lid on the skillet and walk away. It’s also a great way to use up...

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How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

...I’ve found that root bound plants are often dehydrated plants, because the pots are mostly full of roots, making the soil hard and water repellant. If this is so, it helps to give the plants a good soaking before you un-pot them by placing them in a bucket of water for a few minutes. Method A) Mildly root bound plants can be helped along by gently massaging the root ball with your hands just before planting to loosen the roots and open the...

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Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)

Via Afrigadget, a visual explanation of how to disinfect water with just a PET plastic bottle. The diagram, developed by Unicef, pretty much speaks for itself. Too much gunk in the water? Let it settle and filter through some cloth. At least six hours of sunlight will be enough UV to kill bad buggies. Using solar water disinfection, or “SODIS”, replaces the need to boil water, thus reducing deforestation to supply fire wood. Obviousl...

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Watering 101

This is watering 101. Those of you who have been gardening for a while have probably learned this the hard way. Those of you just starting out may find it helpful. Soil lies. It looks wet, but it’s bone dry a fraction of an inch beneath. Or it looks dry on the surface, but it’s actually quite wet below. Or it’s wet, but only for one inch down. The only way to find out if you’ve watered your garden enou...

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How to Prep Fabric for Dyeing: Scouring

...f the dye. Cotton in particular needs scouring, even if it is brand new from the fabric shop, because apparently it is full of hidden waxes and oils. In my case, I’ll be using an old top sheet for my experiments, so it certainly needs lots of help. Cotton and wool are scoured differently. I’ve never scoured wool, so am not going to cover it here. I understand it is also a washing process, but done with cool-ish water, so as not to fel...

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Dry Farming

...unken rather than raised beds, those of us in arid climates can grow a surprising amount of food with a lot less water. Clarification: dry farming is not growing during the rainy season (which is called “rainfed agriculture”). Dry farming uses strategies to store water in the soil during the rainy season and then grow during the dry part of the year. Though controversial, dry farming traditionally involves tilling.  It also requires m...

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