Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finding Your Way

Tiny Yellow Teardrop has a good article on why you shouldn't rely exclusively on your GPS.  She recommends instead to use:

  1. Google Maps and Google Earth
  2. Paper Maps
  3. Ask the locals

Those are all fine ideas.  Another service to use is MapQuest. They generally give you a choice of routes (frequently they are: quickest, shortest, or simplest). And if you aren't satisfied with any of those, you can generally pick a point in the middle of the route and move it over and MapQuest will snap to an alternate route. And once you have settled on a route, you can print out directions, including both route map and optional turn-by-turn maps, or you can send yourself a text.

But you know what I really like to do when I am traveling a route to a destination that I frequent (and I'm not in any hurry)? Turn my GPS off and deliberately make a wrong turn and then see if I can find my way back to my route, without making a U turn. (If at some point I decide I'm truly lost, I turn my GPS back on.) I see a lot of interesting things that way.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Nature Art for Kids

HomesteadLady has an interesting article on making Botanical Prints with kids.  It looks fairly simple, requiring only heavy artist paper, a mallet, parchment paper, and of course colorful plant material.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Farming the Forest

"Forest gardening" and "food forests" have been popular concepts in permaculture for a long time.  They are getting to be more mainstream now - Cornell has an online introduction to forest farming.  This looks like an interesting series of videos to watch.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

DIY Instant Oatmeal

Root Simple has a recipe for making your own instant oatmeal.  The key is precooking it in a dry oven -- I'll bet this is an excellent application for a solar oven; with all dry ingredients, you don't need to worry so much about undercooking.  I especially look forward to experimenting with different flavors and especially natural sugar substitutes like stevia.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

When You Can't Afford A Berkey....

Water is a basic need, and dirty water kills lots of people every year. Luckily there are lots of ways to make water drinkable.  No-Tech Magazine has a good review of OHorizon's open-source biosand filter plans.  It is a relatively permanent solution, with a concrete case, yet only costs a few dollars each to make in quantity, as the form is made of wood.  If you want the plans directly, go to OHorizons and fill out their form.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Greenhouses without Glass

You may be familiar with the espalier pruning technique where trees are made to grow flat, but did you know that greenhouses had their origins from the same way of growing stuff in climates that were too cold: Fruit Walls.  Low-Tech Magazine has an in-depth article about this technology from the Renaissance.