Income Resilience (Surviving A 20% Paycut)

paycut

Early last week, late in the afternoon just before I, with my farmer’s hours schedule, was ready to sign off from my day job for Anonymous Giant Corporation, I received an email from my boss. It had all the hallmarks of something sent in haste, in response to someone else’s urgent email, also sent in [Continue Reading...]

Seven Solar Surprises!

Three_Month_Solar_in_Seattle

It’s been three months since we put solar panels on our roof, and there have been a few surprises. There were things about ourselves and the technology and physics that we didn’t expect. So, as part of our ongoing look at Project Solar, here are a few things I didn’t expect. 1) For Easy Energy [Continue Reading...]

Does Solar In Seattle Work? {Reader FAQs}

Solar in Seattle

In early April, after about five years of deliberation, we had solar panels installed on the south and west facing portions of our roof. On April 15th our panels “went live” and since then we’ve had a chance to evaluate what it means to be solar powered in Seattle. We’ve been sharing moments of our [Continue Reading...]

Forced Molt: Starving Hens For Profit

Forced Molt

Lets’s talk about molting. Anyone who has ever kept chickens knows about the molt, that egg-production pause where hens shed old feathers and turn into tiny, ugly dinosaurs for a few weeks. During the molt, a natural response to reduced daylight, egg laying stops. Chicken’s can’t throw energy into making new feathers and eggs at the same [Continue Reading...]

The Introvert’s Christmas

Introvert Chirstmas

Hi, I’m Nick. I’m an introvert, and I’m caught smack in the middle of my least favorite time of the year. No, I’m not the Grinch, I’m not a Scrooge. I’m just your average introvert, and I wish to hell that Christmas would just shut up. “Introvert” isn’t the same thing as shy or socially [Continue Reading...]

This Is An Absolutely True Timeline

alarm clock

It is Saturday December 7th. 47.80 degrees North, 122.37 degrees East. It is 22 degrees F outside temperature. This is an absolutely true timeline. 4:15 am I am awoken by Oliver standing in the bedroom door. This is the second time he’s been in tonight. He’s mumbling and twitching with the incoherence of the freshly [Continue Reading...]

Taking The Next Step: All Grain Homebrewing

All Grain Brewing (2)

There comes a time when most homebrewers ask, is it time to go all-grain? A little background for those of you that are not homebrewers: most of us start out making beer from something called “malt extract,” a super-convenient tub (or bag) of grain sugars that is consistent, created by professionals under controlled conditions and [Continue Reading...]

Giveaway: Honeybee Democracy – For Beekeepers And More

Honeybee Democracy

Thomas Seeley’s fascinating Honeybee Democracy has received press in some unusual circles for a book about insect behavior. Everyone from homemade mead-makers to The New Republic has weighed in with glowing reviews on this study of honeybee swarms. The reason for this broad appeal is simple: Seeley does an excellent job describing the how and why of honeybee group decision-making, [Continue Reading...]

Notes From A Synthetic Environment

Notes From A Synthetic Environment (4)

For the past five days I’ve been living in an unreal, unearthly limbo. I’m at a professional conference, in a 34 story hotel, in Chicago. I could easily have no idea what time it is. I certainly have no idea what the weather is like. My menus over the past few days read something like this: [Continue Reading...]

Your Seedlings Hate Your Fancy Window: How Plants See Light

Photosyntheticly Active Radiation

Two months ago, Erica posted comparison photos showing seedlings started in a south-facing window vs seedlings started under full-spectrum grow lights. The results were surprising to many readers (including me!) and at least a few readers invested in grow lights after seeing the difference light makes. There are a few reasons why windowsill started seedlings [Continue Reading...]

Battle Coffee Pot vs. Microwave: An Energy Cost Analysis

In this corner: the coffee pot's keep-warm function!

For Christmas this year I got a new coffee pot. Among the wonders it offered over and above our old coffee pot (in addition to working) was a fabulous keep-warm feature that holds a pot of coffee at steaming hot perfection for four hours! Amazing, what will they think of next? While I love the [Continue Reading...]

Refactoring In The Garden

_MG_2891

2011 was The Year of Additions. We added to our garden: new perennial bed, new mini-orchard, new chickens, two new coops for aforementioned chickens, and a couple new raised beds. We added this blog, and with it a sizable commitment and a wonderful community of like-minded folks. And late in 2010 of course, we had added this [Continue Reading...]