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urban homesteading

Cradle to Cradle: RTH April bookclub selection

Book Club, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Random Fun Stuff By April 28, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

cradle to cradle

Do you guys ever read a book with ideas in it and think, “Why the hell aren’t we already doing this if it’s so simple?”

That was my over all impression of Cradle to Cradle. And The Upcycle, which is the sequel that I went ahead and read as well because Cradle to Cradle was short. You didn’t have to read the sequel if you didn’t want, but if you liked Cradle to Cradle you would probably like The Upcycle so check it out.

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Lets Talk Mulch

Gardening By April 18, 2016 Tags: , , , , 1 Comment

Lets Talk Mulch

Mulch is one of the most important things you should be doing in your garden. If you aren’t mulching, you need to be, no excuses! Mulch is vital to keeping your soil and your plants healthy. It can keep moisture in the soil, prevent erosion, add nutrients, stimulate healthy micro flora development, discourage weeds, boost harvests, and even gussy up the looks of your beds, depending on which mulch you use. It’s pretty much awesome. But mulch is also complicated, at least, picking it out is, and often that can stop people from choosing a mulch. I’m far from an expert, but I’ve picked up a thing or two in my decades of gardening and months of working towards a degree in horticulture, so maybe I can help you sort it out.

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The Soil Will Save Us: RTH March bookclub selection

Book Club, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Gardening, Random Fun Stuff, Sustainable/Resilient Living By April 4, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

The-Soil-Will-Save-Us-400

This post is late because it’s spring and this is a homestead. I’m pretty busy.

So, what did you guys think of The Soil Will Save Us? I was interested in this book because I am interested in both using tools to combat climate change, and sustainable meat production. This book had a lot of information in it, and it made me want to look into the scientists interviewed in it, and their work in general. There were quite a few scientists and prominent environmentalists interviewed, as well as a bunch of farmers. I wish there had been more practical information about soil carbon sequestration and how to do it yourself in your own environment, but over all I felt like I learned a lot and that is awesome.

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Indoor seed starting: How to prioritize when space and time are limited

Gardening By March 28, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , 7 Comments

Indoor Seed Starting: How to prioritize when space and time is limited

This weekend I finally got around to starting some seeds. I’m not super late for Colorado. Our last frost date isn’t until mid May, but I like to live dangerously and get some things in the ground a bit earlier if I can. Our growing season is so short, I like to do whatever I can to extend it. This means utilizing things like row covers, wall of waters, and early seed starting.

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An ode to clay soil

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Gardening By March 16, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

An ode to clay soil

Everyone in Colorado has clay soil. Okay, fine, maybe not the whole state, but most of the front range, particularly the Denver Metro area, is clay. I’ve lived all over this town and never have I dealt with anything else. It’s clay, clay, clay everywhere you go.

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Official Polyculture Lawn Plans

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Gardening By March 14, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments
Apparently this polyculture lawn is from a park in Missoula Montana. It looks pretty awesome, doesn't it? Hoping for a similar effect in mine! Image obtained here.

Apparently this polyculture lawn is from a park in Missoula Montana. It looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Hoping for a similar effect in mine! Image obtained here.

I discussed the concept of polyculture lawns earlier, but here are my actual plans for my lawn. Some of this stuff might not work out in the long run, but there’s only one real way to find out, so I’m giving it a try. To recap, my goals are increased carbon sequestration and improvement of biodiversity through cultivating a multi species lawn.

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Edible Landscaping: The RTH February Bookclub Selection

Book Club, Gardening, Home cooking By February 29, 2016 Tags: , , , , No Comments
The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

What did you all think about Edible Landscapes? Personally, I think this book is going to be an invaluable addition to my collection. The index of plants was spectacular, didn’t you think? And the accompanying photos were breathtaking. I got a ton of ideas about stuff to plant after reading this!

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No, I’m not a militant vegan. Yes, I do reduce my meat consumption.

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Food Producing Animals, Home cooking By February 22, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments
Here's last nights puritanical, militant vegan dinner. (Insert sarcastic eye roll here) Notice how there's more vegetables than meat on this plate? That must make me a commie vegetarian. We splurged on steak last night, something we don't do often, for both environmental and financial reasons. It was on sale.

Here’s last nights puritanical, militant vegan dinner. (Insert sarcastic eye roll here) Notice how there’s more vegetables than meat on this plate? That must make me a commie vegetarian.
We splurged on steak last night, something we don’t do often, for both environmental and financial reasons. It was on sale.

When I was 20 years old, I was deployed to Guantanamo Bay in the Army. One night we went out for dinner to celebrate the birthday of a person in our unit. There are a few restaurants in GTMO, and we went to one of the fanciest, the one attached to the Officer’s Club. It was pretty lush compared to the chow hall fare I ate for most meals, so I decided to go all out and order filet mignon, just how I like it, rare. Everyone at the table gasped in surprise. “I thought you were a vegetarian!” one of my fellow Soldiers exclaimed.

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A Valentines lesson in conscious consumerism

Conscious Consumerism, Holidays, Parenting By February 12, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments
Elijah's Valentines this year

Elijah’s Valentines this year

I have never been big on Valentines. I don’t know why, I used to claim that it was because of feminism or commercialism, and even that it reminded me of the pain of growing up not being conventionally pretty and not feeling like I had the hope for romance the holiday celebrated, but maybe it’s just that I don’t like this time of year. Its cold and snowy and I just want to start planting stuff so bad. Who’s bright idea was it to put a holiday exclusively about romance in the middle of a season where it’s too cold to wear anything pretty or sexy on a date? (Probably someone who didn’t live in USDA Zone 4-5, I guess) It just seems like a holiday that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, like St. Patricks Day or Groundhog Day, but that people get waaaaay too obsessed over. As an adult, the part of Valentine’s Day that bugs me the most is the school party. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about holiday parties at school, but I just don’t like Valentines Day. The era of Pinterest has only made school parties higher pressure than ever, and I can manage that at Halloween (because I love Halloween), but Valentine’s Day? Blech.

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Poverty fetish: Pros and cons of trendy simplicity

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Community, Social Justice By February 1, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I recently read this article about poverty appropriation, and it brought up a lot of feelings in me about the rise of trendy simplicity. I grew up fairly poor. Not super poor, probably on the richer end of poor, always hovering just around the poverty line. We also lived in fairly wealthy neighborhoods. My mom worked her ass off (often in multiple jobs) to keep us living in those parts of town, even though we could have likely afforded much more in other parts of town, because the schools were better in the wealthier ends of town, and probably because of some sort of internalized classism my mom felt. Because of this, I always felt I was in some uncomfortable middle area between the middle and lower classes. I was definitely dramatically poor at home, and did not fit in with peers, but in other parts of my city, I felt like the bougiest poser on earth. To this day, I have weird class issues, many of which have only been exacerbated by having married into a more middle class family.

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