Charles Marohn is a civil engineer who’s fighting against the suburban sprawl he used to build.
Marohn primarily takes issue with the ﬁnancial structure of the suburbs. The amount of tax revenue their low-density setup generates, he says, doesn’t come close to paying for the cost of maintaining the vast and costly infrastructure systems, so the only way to keep the machine going is to keep adding and growing. “The public yield from the suburban development pattern is ridiculously low,” he says. One of the most popular articles on the Strong Towns Web site is a ﬁve-part series Marohn wrote likening American suburban development to a giant Ponzi scheme.
The Time article mentions Marohn’s non-profit Strong Towns, and the author’s own new book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving. Both look interesting.
I really enjoyed this interview with permaculture designer, Ben Falk.
Rachel Kaplan shares tips for gardening during drought. The gist of which is:
- Use a drip system
- Be selective with plantings
- Consider days to maturity
- Increase plant spacing
- Eliminate weeds
- Use light-weight row covers
- Use shade
- Use windbreaks
- Determine when it is time to water again
Read the full post for complete details.
The course covers:
Unit 1: Why Herbs And How They Work
History; Herbal Healing Philosophies; Homeostasis; Overview of Body Systems; Systems of Energetics, Actions and Constitutions; Medicine Making Review; Side Effects and Safety; Creating Formulations
Unit 2: Food is Medicine
Kitchen Cupboard Herbs; Vinegars; Oils; Honey; Edible and Medicinal Plants; Foraging; Wild crafting; Plant Savers; Gratitude and Ceremony
Unit 3: Digestive System
Alimentary System Overview; Digestive Health as Foundation of Health; Imbalances of the Digestive System and Herbal Remedies
Unit 4: Immune System
Building Immune Health; Prevention; Common Disharmonies; Creating a Materia Medica
Unit 5: Nervous System
The Central Nervous System; The Peripheral Nervous System; The Enteric Nervous System; Stress; Headaches; Sleep; Herbs
Unit 6: Cardiovascular
Anatomy of the Heart; Blood Pressure; Cholesterol; Heart Strong/Heart Health; Herbal Therapeutics; Diet; Glycosides; The Energetic Heart
Unit 7: The Liver
Anatomical Overview; Liver Health; Liver Imbalances; Herbal Treatments; Bitters
Unit 8: Respiratory
Breathing; Asthma; Lung Imbalances; Herbal Tonics; Natural Remedies
Unit 9: Urinary System
Kidney and Urinary Health; UTI; Herbs
Unit 10: Children
Common Discomforts; Formulas and Recipes; Which Herbs are Safe; Dosing
There’s plenty to worry about as an egg or poultry consumer these days. Debeaking, cage conditions, waste streams, and more. How can a concerned egg consumer do their part to change – or at least avoid – these practices. In many countries outside the United States, forced molting through starvation is circumscribed or outright banned. But here, it is the norm for the 75% of egg producers who rely on blackout houses.
A walipini is an underground, passive solar greenhouse.
Rob Avis shares his suggested design improvements for increasing solar gain and decreasing heat loss:
- Dig trenches below the paths to create a cold sink
- Build shed style roof instead of a gable style roof
- Add shallow insulation skirting around the inside perimeter
- Build a rocket mass heater with a giant thermal storage bank
- Make the entrance lower than the growing surface inside
- Use a polycarbonate panel rather than plastic
- Install a gutter on the low end of the roof to harvest rain water
Mavis Butterfield shares her tips for first time gardeners.
[T]he first thing that comes to mind is grow what you will eat. I know that seems obvious, but it’s not. I think a lot of times, first time gardeners think that they “have” to have tomatoes, or whatever, in order to be gardening, but when you get right down to it, their family doesn’t even eat that many tomatoes. So, think about what type of produce you buy most often at the grocery store.
From Northwest Edible Life:
My neighbor, in her 70s and a gardener from way back, assures me every year that she’s never seen weather like this before. Over the fence we engage in old-school weather gossip, pointing out unusual overwintering bugs and strange warm spells and sudden cold snaps and looking at the sky in spring like we’re trying to read tea leaves.
But the data seems to support that notoriously-unreliable gardener “gut impression” of the weather: more variable, extreme, intense weather events are probably the new normal. As a gardener, I feel like I need to be ready for hotter hots, colder colds, drier dries, wetter wets.
I just listened to the Permaculture Voices interview with Geoff Lawton. He talks about the need to teach and help the people who don’t already know about permaculture, but would benefit from it, and to the growing numbers of people living in urban and suburban environments:
We just need billions of people with the same intention moving in the same direction and making the same level of commitment.
What sustainable agriculture looks like from the piece, “Sustainable” Agriculture: often debated, rarely understood:
The core process of agriculture is sustainable - the transformation of solar energy into hydrocarbons and proteins for human use. At this basic level, all outputs from agriculture can be used as inputs to agriculture in an infinitely sustainable loop powered solely by solar energy. A truly sustainable system has no “waste” - the output of every process is an input for another process. For example, animal dung is plant food. The CO2 exhaled by animals is an input to photosynthesis in plants. Dead plant material is food for microbes and animals.
If we want to understand what a truly sustainable agricultural system looks like, we need look no further than the ecosystems that surround us. Ecosystems are not only sustainable but are also accretive - over time they accumulate the ability to capture more solar energy and feed more organisms.
Regardless of what you picture when I write the word “ecosystem,” that ecosystem has a number of properties:
1. It is completely solar powered.
2. Its water is supplied by the natural water cycle (predominantly but not necessarily completely rain fed.)
3. There is no bare soil.
4. All nutrients are recycled.
5. The plants are primarily perennial.
6. There are animals.
7. It is diverse.
Read the full post.
Episode 5 of Suburban Homestead
Last Friday, we quietly launched Steader, opening up invites to the community. Since then, we’ve had 19 people join and over 2 dozen posts! Here are some highlights:
Photos of the week
Several people mentioned deer problems already, it’s clearly a common problem for urban gardeners (it is on my property). I’m starting to do some research for effective solutions and will try to share what I learn.
Good luck with your homesteading projects this weekend! Don’t forget to share what you accomplished!
Just released another small addition. Want to meet new members? Go to Posts > Intros to see everyone's first post, introducing themselves.
Hey everybody, I just launched a small, new feature. You can post a question by simply ending your post title with a question mark (shocking, right?). It will then show up under Posts > Questions in the main navigation. You can keep an eye on all the questions being asked there.
Hey everybody, I'm happy to finally announce the launch of Steader! It's been more than a year in coming and many, many hours of work in stealth mode. It's nice to be launching right in time for planting and I'm looking forward to seeing some great garden shots.
A couple years ago I became really concerned with how unsustainable my lifestyle was. How many resources I used, how dependent I was on cheap and abundant energy, how disconnected I was from nature and from my food. This all seemed largely unavoidable, especially in the suburbs. But then I discovered urban homesteading and folks like the Dervaes family in Pasadena, and it changed my idea of what was possible in an urban context.
From there I started reading books and gardening, but soon became overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and skills I needed and the amount of work that needed to be done. I felt discouraged and alone in my pursuit. I realized I needed to share and connect with other people with the same passion, to learn from them and be inspired by them. That's why I built this site. I want to learn and be inspired by you. I believe people learn and grow in the context of community. It's my hope that this site can be that for you and me.
This site is brand-new so there's bound to be a bug here or there. Just let me know if something doesn't seem to look or work right. I'll be adding in new features over time (I have a very long list). If you'd like to make a suggestion, just send me an email. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I'll slowly release invites to current members to give out, so watch for that on the sidebar of your homepage.
If you have any questions or need help with the site just shoot me an email.