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...

Continue reading…

Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...some unripe stalks for the lighter colors. How much do I plant? I finally found some good instructions on broom making (links later), long after planting, and those said that you need 45 nice big heads to make a standard flat broom. Each plant yields one head. My harvest was 50 heads total, including scrawny ones. This means I won’t be making a standard broom. Keep that number–45–in mind, and then pad it to make allowance for s...

Continue reading…

How to Make Stock

...regularly and has tips, please chime in! Chicken Stock If you’ve  just had a roast chicken or turkey, save the carcass. Put it in a big pot along with the basic vegetable stock ingredients from above–celery, onion and carrot at minimum.  You can increase the amount of onion and garlic. Add enough water to cover the bones, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 4 hours. Skim off any foam or scum that appears on the top. If you...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

...a cross between a date and a hazelnut. They are full of natural saponins (soaping agents) which are released in the wash. These saponins have been tested and don’t harm soil life. You just drop 3 or 4 of the nuts into a little muslin 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 tea̵...

Continue reading…

Out of Water!

...rdinary day not to mention when a couple of bridges come down in an earthquake. This leaves us pondering keeping water in steel drums, which we first learned about in Aton Edward’s book Preparedness Now!, the first book in Process Media’s Self-Reliance series (our book the Urban Homesteader, due out in May, is the third in this series). It’s one of the more expensive options in water storage, with new drums costing several hundr...

Continue reading…

Lady Urine, Water Conservation and Halfway Humanure

...arts?) This funnel has a handle, which is convenient. But I’m not sure how to interpret the look of the thing. It’s sort of disturbingly medical-techno. The advantage of this type of funnel over, say, a kitchen funnel,  is that it has a very long nose or nozzle. This, she explained, allows her to neatly direct the urine into a watering can. Very smart. I wondered if other female readers out there had tried-and-true...

Continue reading…

How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...this mini series on Calendula (pot marigold). This post will be on infusing oil, and next week we’ll have the one on salves. We’ve already covered the growing and drying Calendula: Why not plant some Calendula Harvesting and drying Calendula Oil infusion is as simple as can be.  Oil infusion is soaking. Think of it like making sun tea. You take a nice clean jar with a good lid, and fill that about half way full of dried herb, to...

Continue reading…

Making It

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Rodale Books, 2011) ISBN-13: 978-1605294629 Buy it at:  Amazon • Abe Books • Barnes & Nobel • Powell’s Making It provides you with all of the tools you need to become a producer instead of a consumer and transform your home from the ground up. Projects range from the simple to the ambitious, and include activities done in the hom...

Continue reading…