Recipe for the World’s Best Whole Wheat Pancake

...tablespoons safflower or corn oil 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder The night before making these pancakes I take a tablespoon of mature starter and add it to 100 grams of freshly milled Sonora wheat flour and 110 grams of water. This mixture will be the 200 grams of starter you’ll use in the recipe. The next day mix all the ingredients together, fry them up in a pan and get ready to have your pa...

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

...ds recently got me to thinking about the ups and downs of gardening in raised beds. I thought I’d list off the pros and cons: Pros: Keeps roots away from contaminated soil. Good for disabled or elderly gardeners. Neat. If high enough, can keep out some critters–and keep veggies above the dog pee zone. Plug and play–no need to build or improve soil. Keeps roots from getting waterlogged in a wet climate. Cons Requires materials...

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Dudley brittonii “Giant Chalk Dudleya”

Image: Annie’s Annuals. The Annie’s Annuals and Perennials catalog has, as the hip kids say, “dropped.” and I’m wishing we had more space for some of the amazing plants shown on all those glossy pages. One, in particular, caught my eye: Dudley brittonii “Giant Chalk Dudleya.” Just imagine spotting this plant under the light of a full moon. Annie notes that Dudley brittonii requires exc...

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Easter Lessons

...espied a charming post on naturally dyed Easter eggs, I decided to have a go at dyeing eggs on Saturday night.  The eggs our ladies deliver are all shades of beige to brown, so I worried that they’d not take dye as well as white eggs, but the post promised good results with brown eggs, and the dyes were deep and earthy enough that it seemed it would not matter. The technique was simple–a one to one ratio of organic matter to water, b...

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Choosing the Perfect Tortilla Press

...la press. Unlike the flimsy ones I found at our local market, a cast iron press will last several lifetimes. And their heft helps when it comes time to press the masa into discs. And I opted for the smaller, 6 1/2 inch press as small tortillas are used in authentic Mexican street food. Making corn tortillas is much simpler than I expected. All you do is get masa harina (a limed corn flour), mix it roughly 50/50 with water and let the dough rest f...

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Warning: This Blog is Based in a Mediterranean Climate

...rences to plants such as figs, olives, pomegranates,  and grapes. We have all of those plants in our front yard. There’s also one big misconception about Los Angeles: that it’s a desert. Mediterranean climates such as ours get twice as much rainfall as do deserts. But like deserts, we have to be frugal when it comes to water. All the rain we get comes at one time. Between the late spring and early fall there is no rain at all. Those o...

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Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

...erate as many drawings a possible, stick them on a wall and see which ones pop out. I think Kelly made more than the three drawings we saved, but we certainly could have done more–I’d say 20 minimum. Part of what we learn by focusing on quantity is about making mistakes and learning from them. But I think there’s more to it than that. A gifted high school English teacher of mined likened our creativity to a tank of water. Someti...

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Fallen Fruit

...by everyone. Our cities are planted with frivolous and ugly landscaping, sad shrubs and neglected trees, whereas they should burst with ripe produce. Great sums of money are spent on young trees, water and maintenance. While these trees are beautiful, they could be healthy, fruitful and beautiful. WE ASK all of you to petition your cities and towns to support community gardens and only plant fruit-bearing trees in public parks. Let our streets be...

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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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Growing Chayote

...making for a combo that produces many pounds of fruit all summer long. Chayote (Sechium edule), for those not in the know, is a wonder plant of the gourd family 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 ei...

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