How to save tomato seed

Seeds fermenting in water. Not pretty, but pretty important! The jar got shaken up while walking it outside for its photo op., so it looks a little cloudy and messy. In your jar, you should see a layer of scum on top of the water. I can’t believe we haven’t posted about this before–it seems like we have, but I can’t find the post if this is so. Perhaps we wrote about it in one of our books…the old...

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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...

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How to Make Stock

...broth, add some stew meat to the mix along with the bones. Roast all of this in a roasting pan in an oven set to 400F for around 40 minutes. You want it to brown but not burn. Transfer the meat and veggies to a soup pot. See if you can deglaze the roasting pan and transfer all those tasty little brown bits to the pot, too.  Add water to cover all the bones. Maybe add a cup or so of red wine. Add lots of peppercorns. Add a bay leaf or two. And sal...

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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

...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 methods for urine colle...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...ndula 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, top it off with oil, and let that sit in the sun. The resulting oil is medicinal. It can be used straight on the skin, or fashioned into salves and balms. I’m particularly fond of Calendula. As a skin treatment it...

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What laundry detergent should I use for greywater applications?

...ich 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 tea–and then dump the water and the bag into the wash.  Other people stew the nuts in water and...

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Out of Water!

...atter. Late last Thursday night our water pressure began to drop. By Sunday night nothing more than a trickle of water would come out of any of our faucets. We checked the little spinning red triangle indicator on the water meter to see if water was flowing (and perhaps leaking somewhere) but the triangle was motionless. We checked the shutoff valve at the street, turning it off and on, also to no avail. One of the few sensible things the previou...

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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...

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Making Beer in Plain Language

...e Chicken Foot, kills some time while the grain steeps. 3. After soaking, the liquid is drained off and more hot water is added. The liquid pouring into the pot on the ground contains sugar from the grains. 4. The extracted sugars are boiled with some hops for an hour. 5. After boiling for an hour you cool down the liquid as rapidly as possible. Here comrade Ben uses ice and a coil of copper tubing with water from a garden hose flowing through it...

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