Earth Day – free Soil ebook!

In celebration of “Earth Day” weekend, you can get my Soil ebook for free! The Secrets of Soil Building – Learn how to care for the Earth (the soil) today and every day. The coupon code for the free ebook is GJ98G (not case-sensitive). The direct link is https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/566895 This special pricing is good through Friday April

Climate Rally – Feb 3

Help protect our beaches and our climate: So Cal 350 Climate Action is organizing a rally at the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday Feb 3. The rally is to stop offshore drilling. When: Saturday, 3 February 2018 10AM to 12Noon Where: Santa Monica Pier (north – or west – side), Santa Monica, CA 90401 Multiple

It’s Garden Planning Time

I know, I know, it’s the middle of the holidays. But garden catalogs are pouring through my mail slot, and that means it’s prime time for planning your cool season garden.

After the winter solstice, all those cool season veggies will flourish, and you’ll have amazing harvests. Kale. Collards. Favas. Peas. Chard. Parsley. Cilantro. The list is long and yummy!

Here are a few of the garden-planning  tools we offer — all of them customized for our Los Angeles growing conditions!

Greener Gifting

We’re sure that you — like us — have been trying to Simplify your life. Perhaps you’re simplifying because of the economy. Perhaps you’re simplifying because you’ve become aware of the burden that excess consumption is placing on our planet, and on people in third world nations.

This holiday season, we invite you to join us in this different, more meaningful approach.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce recipe

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, several people enjoyed my photos on Instagram of pomegranate processing. Some people begged for the recipe.

The original recipe was something my sister made up years ago, to cope with an over-abundant harvest of pomegranates. Since each of us have pomegranate trees, this Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce has become standard in our family. And boy, is it GOOD!

It does take a bit of labor, however.

To make Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce, you have to start by processing the fresh fruit. Then you have to make the pomegranate molasses. Lastly, you make cranberry sauce.

Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is a staple product in several cultures. Or, pomegranate molasses can be made from pomegranate juice you buy in a health food store; there are several recipes on the internet. But we homemake it from our fresh fruit.

Here’s how to DIY, for those who are still interested.

How to make thermal drapes

The heat wave this past week really got to me. We don’t have air conditioning in our home, and even if we did, it would be great to insulate our windows to reduce the load on the a/c units and power supply. That’s why I got busy yesterday on a project I’ve meant to do for quite some time: making insulated drapes.

As climate change’s weather weirdness intensifies, we’re likely to get MORE of these intense heat days. So now is the time to begin preparing your home. Plan for hotter in everything you do, from which fruit tree varieties you plant, to what drapes you choose, to installing awnings and shade sails. In the coming decades, temperatures will go up! (Here are more low-tech things you can do to prepare your home for heat)

You can buy thermal drapes online, but they’re heavy, saturated with some kind of weird plastic, and they look like a throwback to the 1970s. And they’re expensive. No thanks.

I wanted more interesting fabrics, and a lower sticker price. Luckily, there are several stores nearby which sell end-lots of upholstery-weight fabric. (A fun one is Fabric Planet on Lincoln Blvd. in L.A. They also have it at -urk- Joann’s).

The thermal drape I make is like a sandwich: decorative fabric, thermal barrier, and liner fabric.

A Day Without a Woman – Weds March 8

daywowomanHow does one make an impact on “A Day Without a Woman”? In trying to puzzle this out, I consider many of the roles I have played and currently play.

Who does it hurt?

If you’re a mother of young children, you can’t very well “strike” and leave toddlers unfed, babies undiapered. Sure, some women might have the luxury of dumping the kids on some male, but when my kids were small that was simply not an option. It was more of “the buck stops here,” squarely on my shoulders.

If you’re a homeschooling mom, or an after-school-activities mom, you can’t abandon your kids’ education, nor refuse to drive them to classes and activities. Rather than a political statement, it simply hurts your children.

Cob repair days – March and April

20160423_121558(1)Want to play in the mud? Are you interested in building with cob? (straw + mud combination, a sustainable building method) A small team will be repairing the Westchester Community Oven during selected workdays in March and April.

Damage to the Oven

During one of the fierce January storms, high winds lifted the rain tarp and the Oven was exposed to a downpour.