low tech home tech

low tech home tech

30 years ago there was an elevated freeway in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building – we most definitely can and must retrofit our cities for a healthier, more sustainable future pic.twitter.com/laoA7nzexI

— CreateStreetsAmerica (@CStreetsAmerica) March 8, 2019

Cardboard Cactuses For Your Home Decor https://t.co/TJnGeKaam1 via @iRecyclart

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 9, 2019

Kimchi Kraut! https://t.co/og1x4tenop

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 9, 2019

Build a Border Wall? Here’s an Idea That’s Better for Communities and the Climate https://t.co/uLJ6KbXkpa

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 9, 2019

I’m a sucker for simple, traditional Midwestern architecture –

It’s still beyond me why we stopped building this stuff.

Here’s where to buy prints: https://t.co/GU0X0ESg8W pic.twitter.com/zvNxNkdr25

— Nate Hood (@natehoodstp) March 8, 2019

@rootsimple I saw this and thought of you and your plan to make a uniform –https://t.co/79OrLIN1nP

— estuvam_nunez (@estuvam) March 5, 2019

The Captain Hindsight Award https://t.co/e1XfKCVXh7 via @wordpressdotcom

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 9, 2019

This is the kind of thing a big share of our affordable housing dollars should be spent on: acquiring existing housing and keeping it affordable for the long run. Forty units for $7.1 million — $178k per unit or about 1/3 what we pay for new-build. https://t.co/8XgUxacf70

— Shane Phillips 🚶‍♂️🏘🌳🌇🚉🚲🛴 (@ShaneDPhillips) March 9, 2019

Trying to imagine what it would be like to have a mayor who even acknowledges traffic deaths https://t.co/erGRICVzwO

— Alissa Walker (@awalkerinLA) March 9, 2019

Glad that scooter problems can now be reported on the @MyLA311 app, but why can’t the piles of trash, palm fronds, and wayward couches that block LA’s sidewalks also be picked up within two hours? https://t.co/G2FDYjkvxE pic.twitter.com/SiLZyuVMhX

— Alissa Walker (@awalkerinLA) March 7, 2019

Watch the moment a paraglider makes a safe landing only to then be attacked by a kangaroo. Straya! pic.twitter.com/nqStQnV9gk

— SBS News (@SBSNews) March 8, 2019

What if you could get around quickly and reliably in a state-of-the-art vehicle that you didn’t have to drive, park, fuel, or insure? No, it’s not an Uber or a self-driving car… it’s the bus! Our latest episode, “Making the Bus Sexy Again,” is here. https://t.co/Qn6WT81cQU pic.twitter.com/xxdXriepKI

— The War on Cars (@TheWarOnCars) March 7, 2019

I quit as a math teacher in the public schools in America when I realized I had to choose between doing the BS to prove I was doing my job, or actually doing my job. Complying with the BS made real teaching impossible. My wife’s last day in public ed is March 15, similar reasons.

— Jonathan Webster (@JonathWebst) March 4, 2019

Alleopathy–a chemical inhibition used by a plant to reduce competition–can be used as a design tool to suppress weeds. Wonderful groundcovers like Antennaria plantaginifolia planted underneath established perennials can help to reduce weed pressure. https://t.co/PG56m0hpdU

— Thomas Rainer (@ThomasRainerDC) March 4, 2019

Alias: a smart-speaker “parasite” that blocks your speaker’s sensors until you activate it https://t.co/uvSQXWz9kK

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 4, 2019

Goodbye Sidewalk Trees https://t.co/6MmMq42ay7

— Benjamin Vogt (@BRVogt) March 3, 2019

Haha. Our neighbours just accidentally connected the porn film they were watching to one of our Bluetooth speakers.

— Jonathan Healey (@SocialHistoryOx) March 2, 2019

i’m struck by how many readers get trained to read poetry as a decoding process or a riddle-solving. rather than “just” enjoying language and imagining what’s happening on the page. a deer can be a symbol of something “profound.” or it can be a deer. the sound “deer.”

— Chen Chen (@chenchenwrites) March 2, 2019

#RT A NEW #RaspberryShake RS4D #seismograph monitor is online in- #Alaska!: AM.R2683

Detect #earthquakes #volcanoes and more from home. Become a #CitizenScience “Shaker” today: https://t.co/EJKlmcHPV4

— Raspberry Shake (@raspishake) March 2, 2019

“We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes.”

Some school strikers have written an open letter.#climatestrike #FridaysForFurture #schoolstrike4climate https://t.co/sf3uOLWQvR

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 2, 2019

If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right pic.twitter.com/eTA6u41uc8

— 70s Dinner Party (@70s_party) March 3, 2019


— Cats (@SpaceCatPics) March 2, 2019

Caption this…🔥🔥🔥

— Kevin W (@kwilli1046) March 7, 2019


— 70s Dinner Party (@70s_party) March 8, 2019

Current Mood pic.twitter.com/Z9AcFLDzKQ

— Damien Kempf (@DamienKempf) March 9, 2019

K-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher. This comprehensive collection brings together the work of acclaimed blogger, writer, political activist and lecturer Mark Fisher (aka k-punk). Covering the period 2004 – 2016, the collection will include some of the best writings from his seminal blog k-punk; a selection of his brilliantly insightful film, television and music reviews; his key writings on politics, activism, precarity, hauntology, mental health and popular modernism for numerous websites and magazines; his final unfinished introduction to his planned work on “Acid Communism”; and a number of important interviews from the last decade.

In addition to sharing a name, Eric of Garden Fork and I seem to exist in some sort of synchronicity vortex. This past Saturday, after I finished teaching a bread class in which I used the same dough to demonstrate how you can make pizza in your oven with a cast iron skillet, I settled down on the couch to catch up with Eric’s YouTube channel. And guess what he was demonstrating?

I first learned about this technique from Josey Baker. Basically, you start the pizza out on the stove top and finish it under your oven’s broiler. I’ve found that it works almost as well as having an outdoor pizza oven and it’s a whole lot easier.

The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture. Christophe Pourny learned the art of furniture restoration in his father’s atelier in the South of France. In this, his first book, he teaches readers everything they need to know about the provenance and history of furniture, as well as how to restore, update, and care for their furniture―from antiques to midcentury pieces, family heirlooms or funky flea-market finds.

My last garden update post might have left the mistaken impression that one can just step out the back door of our humble bungalow into some kind of hipster Versailles. To correct this impression, I took a few more photos over the weekend to show the work that still needs to be done.

The good news is that we had a generous amount of rain as you can see from the photo above. It’s a reminder that Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate and is not a desert, at least not yet. No need for those sparse cactus and gravel landscapes that the house flippers seem to love.

The bad side of the photo above is that, believe it or not, there’s a path somewhere under all that vegetation. A close look will also reveal a whole lot of baby fennel that, unless something called “weeding” is done, will take over the yard by summer. A greater threat is the asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) on the right, a vile and invasive plant that is proof of the fallen nature of this vale of tears. The plant in the center is from Annie’s annuals and I can’t remember the name of it. Kelly knows what it’s called but she’s visiting family this week. You get bragging rights if you call it out in the comments.

Part of the reason for the lushness of the yard is that we divert the rainwater from the roof to a pipe that runs 20 feet away from the house and into the center of the yard. We get a lot of rain concentrated in February and March and it’s a whole lot easier to store it in the earth than to try to capture it in a tiny barrel.

Said pipe awkwardly crosses a path, however, something our landscape professional Laramee Haynes will address.

The pipe terminates in a slightly sunken area that was the quarry for our adobe oven. This is where the rain garden will go. Right now it’s a nasturtium farm. Nasturtium is what happens in our yard if you don’t do something else. We also have a generous amount of nettles this year, never a bad thing. And the artichoke in the background loves the rain too.

This shot shows the main problem with the yard. Marie Kondo would not be happy with the garden clutter. Does this pile of junk “spark joy?” Nope.

Some Marie Kondoing needs to happen in this area, on top of some weed wacking and the deployment of my electric leaf blower. There I said it, I have a leaf blower. Yes, a leaf blower is the gardening equivalent of vaping but it does make cleaning up faster. Don’t worry, I leave the leaves in place to enrich the soil. The leaf blower just helps me clear the hardscaping. There’s actually a nice brick patio under the weeds and clutter here.

Ugh, more junk.

Here’s the nice new patio the Haynes landscaping folks built. The adobe oven is under a blue tarp. Blue tarps are the architectural equivalent of a comb over. The oven needs a little roof which, to extend the metaphor would be the architectural equivalent of a decent wig, if such a thing exists. And, man, do we need some outdoor furniture. Thankfully I came up with an idea for some outdoor furniture that I’ll discuss down the road once I run it past the boss.

The chicken coop ain’t looking so good. One of the reasons I’m not going to replace our current flock is so that I’ll have a pretext for tearing down this eyesore. No more ugly. I may re-purpose the funny sign that I “borrowed” from a auto junkyard in Houston. It’s a joke, by the way. Some visitors to our yard seem to think that I actually electrified the coop with 7,000 volts.

Thankfully, most of the work that needs to be done in our backyard is a matter of tidying up and defining some paths. I suspect our landscapers will be able to do most of it in a day or two and I’ll be able to post some after photos. But then they’ll need to tackle the disastrous front yard which will be the subject of another exposé.

The Boatman’s Call (2011 Remastered Version)

The Hard Lessons of Dianne Feinstein’s Encounter with the Young Green New Deal Activists https://t.co/D6BfviIdGL

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 2, 2019

iPhone debuted in 2007

🤔 https://t.co/bojDcrbSaN

— Erik (@erik_griswold) March 2, 2019

I enabled a bunch of privacy settings and still felt like my Facebook/Insta ads were a little too relevant. So I faked a pregnancy by downloading the What to Expect app to see how long it would take for FB to hit me w a maternity ad. The answer? 11 hours https://t.co/bkCQ71BYOj

— Katie Bindley (@katiebindley) February 28, 2019

The Global Internet Is Being Attacked by Sharks, Google Confirms https://t.co/GFNmHkRPjK via @slate

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) March 2, 2019

New study shows that “epidemic of hyper-competitive and over-involved parenting” is due to economic inequality.

The capitalist system has not only given us a return to extreme inequality, but its results do damage deep into our family relationships.https://t.co/J0g6Ee4tEz

— Richard D. Wolff (@profwolff) March 1, 2019

“You can’t wear regular clothes to bike to work!” say the millions of Americans who wear athleisure clothing to drive to the mall.

— Bicycle Lobby (@BicycleLobby) February 28, 2019

The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America https://t.co/HMfdXQEZyg via @Verge

— Root Simple (@rootsimple) February 27, 2019

If you can’t tie your shoes because they got an update: you deserve this

— Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) February 25, 2019

You know you wanna pic.twitter.com/EKn8ByUGcC

— 70s Dinner Party (@70s_party) February 26, 2019

This is the so-called Hyakumantō Darani, one of the one million miniature wooden pagodas the Empress Shotoku had made and distributed to temples in Japan in AD 770, around 1250 years ago, each containing a dharani, or Buddhist prayer, block-printed from bronze or copper plates. pic.twitter.com/1TdqnVlnpd

— Incunabula (@incunabula) February 26, 2019

Meanwhile life goes on for the squirrel
[BL, Add 18852, 15th c.] pic.twitter.com/ogEYuMLReY

— Damien Kempf (@DamienKempf) February 24, 2019

I had a personal request from über-gardener and plant authority Nance Klehm requesting an update on what’s going on in our garden. So here you go Nance.

A lot like the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous we admitted that we are powerless over doing garden design work ourselves and sought out the help of a design professional, Haynes Landscaping, to come up with a plan and do the hardscaping that we never seemed to be able to get to. Last year, while I focused my attention on the inside of the house, a team of very capable workers removed an ugly patio and put in a new one. In the process of that work we discovered a rotted sill plate that needed replacement and some other structural problems that delayed the project but the patio was finally finished late last year. The Haynes folks will return to install a rain garden fed by the back gutters of our house, replace a failed retaining wall in the front yard, fix the drip irrigation and install some lighting. We will also take out one of two junky pecan trees growing along the fence line.

If I could step into a time machine and advise my former self, back in 1998, about what to do with our yard I would say this:

If our house was not on a hill I would also seriously consider adding a granny flat to the backyard to provide rental housing and/or space for aging relatives.

I’ll post more pictures when the work is done and/or in progress. The photo above is somewhat deceptive and doesn’t show all the junk and weeds in the rest of the yard. That said, we are thankful for the rain that has made everything lush even if there’s a lot more work to do.

I did manage to make a new gate, based on a design by the English architect C.F.A. Voysey.

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.

The Urban Homestead

(Process Self-reliance Series)



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Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo


Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Deek Diedricksen


Nopi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

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.

Creative Commons License

The Urban Homestead

(Process Self-reliance Series)



low tech home tech

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