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Title:Root Simple | low tech home tech
Description:Root Simple is about back to basics, DIY living, encompassing homegrown vegetables, chickens, herbs, hooch, bicycles, cultural alchemy, and common sense.
Keywords:age of limits, animals, appropriate technology, aquaculture, bean fest, beer, bees, bikes, biodynamics, body care, bread, calendula series, cats, chickens, cleaning, composting, design, domesticus, events, fermentation, fitness, food, food preservation, foraging, fruit trees, garden design, gardening, goats, herbal medicine, herbs, hops, how-to, humanure, insects, lawns, lead, least favorite plant, miscellaneous, mistakes, mushrooms, native plants, permaculture, pests, picture sundays, podcasts, preparedness, publications, rainwater harvesting, recipes, resources, reviews, rocket stove, rooftop gardening, saturday linkages, seeds, self watering containers, shaving, soil, solar, squash baby, straw bale gardening, thoughtstylings, tomatoes, tools, transportation, trees, urban farming, urban homestead trademark dispute, vegetable gardening, vermiculture, vertical farming, videos, water and power, water conservation, wheat
Root Simple | low tech home tech
Root Simple
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Picture Sundays: Squash Baby Harvest
Mr. Homegrown
December 22, 2013
Gardening, Picture Sundays, Straw Bale Gardening, Vegetable Gardening
Our straw bale garden yielded a couple of these monsters, a squash variety called Lunga di Napoli (Long of Naples).
Here #8217;s where you come in #8211;what do I do with all this squash? Suggestions?
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Saturday Linkages: Holiday Edition
Mr. Homegrown
December 21, 2013
Saturday Linkages
RLeave a comment
How Children Demanding Play Streets Changed Amsterdam
Overpriced, useless, or just plain bizarre: an anti-garden gift guide聽鈥
Half Of Supermarket Chicken Harbors Superbugs, Consumer Reports Finds聽
Why LA #8217;s local water strategy is like #8216;Superman 3 #8242;聽鈥
Bike helmets and safety: a case study in difficult epidemiology #8211; Boing Boing聽鈥
Avoid Antibacterial Soaps, Say Consumer Advocates聽
Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum 2014聽
Practical Permaculture #8211; Planting Under Fruit Trees聽
For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:
Follow @rootsimple
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Fruit Tree Maintenance Calendars
Mr. Homegrown
December 19, 2013
Fruit Trees, Gardening
1 Comment
Where we live, it #8217;s the time of year to prune and deal with pest issues on fruit trees. The University of California has a very helpful page of fruit tree maintenance calendars for us backyard orchard enthusiasts. 聽The calendars cover everything from when to water, fertilize, paint the trunks and many other tasks. You can also find them in one big handy set of charts in UC #8217;s book The Home Orchard.
The permaculturalist in me likes our low-maintenance pomegranate and prickly pear cactus. But I also like my apples, nectaplums and peaches #8211;and those trees need the sorts of interventions described in UC #8217;s calendars. Time to get to work . . .
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Reforming City Codes
Mr. Homegrown
December 18, 2013
On my high horse pointing a finger.
In response to my intemperate use of the word #8220;bureaucrat #8221; in yesterday #8217;s post on the city of Miami Shores #8217; crackdown on a front yard vegetable garden, a Root Simple reader DRBREW responded:
I hate to do this, but in defense of City bureaucrats (of which, I am one) and code enforcement people (of which I am not)鈥︹ Most of those citations are complaint driven, it is the code enforcement person鈥檚 job to uphold the City Code (they don鈥檛 have to be such a jerk about it though), if they don鈥檛 do their job, the person that complained will just go higher in the government structure until they get satisfaction (these people that file complaints are usually victims of someone else that complained and now they want everyone to suffer, it鈥檚 a vicious cycle). Most code enforcement people are not actively seeking out violations to write citations on, that鈥檚 why she was able to grow her veggies for 17 years without a problem, once the complaint is filed it must be addressed (even as a City bureaucrat, I have been a victim of anonymous complaints on my own property about trees, shrubs, you name it鈥︹.). I say this: Change the outdated codes that were enacted as a response to someone鈥檚 suburban utopian nightmare of manicured lawns and gumdrop shrubs! This is probably what will come of the Florida case. My City recently tried to legalize backyard chickens, someone started an anti-chicken campaign and the City Council lost it鈥檚 nerve and voted the amendment down鈥︹︹︹.Sometimes you just can鈥檛 win鈥︹..
DRBREW makes a good point. The City of Los Angeles just started a comprehensive review of the city municipal codes to deal with years of contradictory and outdated rules. It #8217;s a process that will take years. Both Napoleon and the Roman emperor Justinian inherited law books so bloated that they used their dictatorial powers to sweep them away and start fresh. We can #8217;t do that in a democracy.
I owe and apology to the many civil servants who, DRBREW points out, have to enforce contradictory and nonsensical codes. A few years ago I was part of a group that helped change the code in LA that made it illegal to grow and resell fruit, flowers or nuts in a residential zone. It was legal, for some reason, to grow and sell vegetables. City staff were very helpful in changing the code. They knew it didn #8217;t make sense and were just as eager to change it as we were.
As DRBREW points out, these ridiculous laws tend not to be enforced at all until a feud begins between neighbors. To prevent these situation we can all help create more cohesive communities. It can be as simple as throwing a party. Our neighbors used a new social networking website called Nextdoor to organize a neighborhood party. I realized at that party just how important it is to get neighbors to chat over food and beer. If we #8217;re all friends, we #8217;re less likely to start calling city inspectors on each other and more likely to resolve disputes face to face.
Another step would be to create city codes that work as guidelines, something like Christopher Alexander #8217;s Pattern Language, rather than proscriptions. Take parkway planting regulations, for instance. Put together a group of landscape architects, gardening enthusiasts, native plant experts and come up with a guidebook rather than a list of rules. Ultimately, a human being is going to have to make a judgement call on whether something is a nuisance.
My error with yesterday #8217;s blog post was pointing a finger, rather than seeing our communities as as system. That, and blogging while quaffing a beer #8211;how ironic that #8220;DRBREW #8221; would point out my error.
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Front Yard Vegetable Gardeners Fights Back
Mr. Homegrown
December 17, 2013
Gardening, Thoughtstylings, Vegetable Gardening
Hermine Ricketts, vegetable gardening outlaw. Photo: Greg Allen, NPR.
I #8217;ve got a tip for to city bureaucrats. Bust someone for growing vegetables in their front yard and you #8217;ll be held up for ridicule around the world.
This time it #8217;s the city of Miami Shores #8217; turn to make fools of themselves for forcing Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll聽to tear up the front yard vegetable garden they #8217;ve tended for 17 years. NPR has the details here. Listen to that story and you #8217;ll get to hear an especially ridiculous grilling from a code enforcement official.
It #8217;s absurd when city codes single out #8220;vegetables. #8221; Broadleaf plantain is a vegetable and anyone who has a lawn is probably growing it. Many flowers such as calendula are edible. Broccoli is a flower. I could go on.
Let #8217;s just say that we wish Ricketts luck with her lawsuit against聽Miami Shores.
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New Project: Making Bitters
Mrs. Homegrown
December 16, 2013
Domesticus, How-to
Our friend Emily Ho over at The Kitchn recently posted a good set of instructions on how to make homemade bitters. Bitters are made up of various aromatic substances tinctured in alcohol. These flavorings can be used to concoct fancy artisanal cocktails. True bitters are made with sharp, bitter herbs, like wormwood and dandelion #8211;their original purpose was to stimulate digestion, and you #8217;ll find them used often in appertifs. But the definition has widened to include all sorts of aromatic flavors, from resinous flavors, like pine, to sweet, mellow flavors like vanilla, to floral notes, like lavender.
Personally, I #8217;m interested in creating an arsenal of interesting flavors to create sophisticated, adult-palette mocktails by using homemade bitters to add interesting flavor notes to drinks created with fruit juices, homemade syrups, teas and soda water. My first set, a few of which are in the photo above, are currently steeping. In future posts I #8217;ll share the recipes I develop as I follow this path.
In the meanwhile, making your own bitters is really easy.聽You may be able to throw a few experiments together just using things you find in your spice cabinet. Since these are flavoring, not medicine, you don #8217;t have to be as careful with the quantities and timing as you must be when tincturing herbs for medicine. Yet at the same time, it #8217;s a great introduction to that essential herbalist #8217;s craft. Read her post, and have fun!
How to Make Homemade Bitters: Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn.
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Picture Sundays: Outhouse Propaganda
Mr. Homegrown
December 15, 2013
Picture Sundays
Agreed. From the WPA Federal Art Project, (between 1936 and 1941) via the Library of Congress. There #8217;s a high res version in case you need a last minute Christmas gift.
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Saturday Linkages: Teepees, a Preying Mantis and a 1200 Year Old Phone
Mr. Homegrown
December 14, 2013
Saturday Linkages
1 Comment
Pink preying mantis disguises itself as a flower:聽聽鈥
How to Stop Bee-Killing Pesticides? Start with the Box Stores! | Garden Rant聽鈥
Calgary blizzard and brazen mice put teepee life to the test聽鈥
Bad service on your #iphone? Try this 1200 year old phone @NMAI聽鈥
War veteran forced to change bike shop #8217;s name after threat from U.S bike giant Specialized聽聽Update: Specialized has apologized (thanks Max).
For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:
Follow @rootsimple
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Realities in my past
Mr. Homegrown
December 13, 2013
Today, a quote from psychiatrist, neurologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl:
The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?
No, thank you, he will think. Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.
From Logotherapy in a Nutshell, an essay.
Thanks to KMO for reading this passage on his always enlightening C-Realm podcast.
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DIY Funerals Part 2: Swine Composting
Mrs. Homegrown
December 12, 2013
Composting, Miscellaneous
This image from #8220;Composting for Mortality Disposition #8221; by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. I have no idea what #8217;s going on there, exactly #8211;I meanm wouldn #8217;t that pile be as big a house? #8212; but I like that it looks like the聽 Noah #8217;s Ark of Death.
In the comments on my last post, several people pointed out that farm animals are often composted. I did not know this!聽 I #8217;m from the city, so there #8217;s lots of stuff I don #8217;t know. Like the difference between hay and straw. Anyway, this is exciting, because it brings me closer to being composted. (In my funereal fantasy world, at any rate)
One of the commenters, Raleigh Rancher, kindly sent along a link to Composting Swine Mortalities in Iowa, a publication of the Iowa State University Extension Program. Thank you, Raleigh!聽 What a trove of information! It has how-to #8217;s, and a FAQ.
I also googled #8220;swine composting #8221; and found that there is in fact a ton of information out there, and most of it from respectable university extension services, not crazy DIYers like me.聽 And now聽 I truly am confused. If farm animals are getting composted all the time, and that compost is being spread on cropland, why can #8217;t we be composted and put to good use?
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Root Simple is about back to basics, DIY living, encompassing homegrown vegetables, chickens, herbs, hooch, bicycles, cultural alchemy, and common sense. We're always learning, figuring stuff out, taking advantage of the enormous smarts of our friends and our on-line community, and trying to give some of that back in turn. Root Simple is a gathering place for everyone. Welcome.Follow us
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About Us
Root Simple is about back to basics, DIY living, encompassing homegrown vegetables, chickens, herbs, hooch, bicycles, cultural alchemy, and common sense. We're always learning, figuring stuff out, taking advantage of the enormous smarts of our friends and our on-line community, and trying to give some of that back in turn. Root Simple is a gathering place for everyone. Welcome.
Our Books
Urban Homestead
Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City
(Process Self-reliance Series)
Making It
Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
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