Zombies vs. The Joy of Canning: Motivation in the Productive Home

Blanching Tomatoes

“Hey, we were planning on getting together later today, right?” I asked my friend. “Yeah, but after dinner.” “Can we push that back to later in the week?” I was exhausted from Can-o-Rama and the idea of a social commitment after dinner was more than I could handle. “Sure. What’s up?” “I’m pretty tired. I [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...]

7 Ways To Save Money On Seeds – Without Saving Seeds

Onion Plants

Vegetable growing can be a great way to save money on food, but it can also be a dang expensive hobby in its own right. One of the biggest expenses edible gardeners run into is the cost of seeds. If you’ve been at this for awhile, you’ve noticed that the cost of seeds in the [Continue Reading...]

The Real Bounty of The Coop (Hint: It’s Not Eggs)

Chicken Litter Compost

Chickens have changed the way I think about gardening, and I’m not just talking about bull-rushing a garden bed to shoo the little cluckers out of my arugula. Again. No, something is happening to the way I think about garden inputs and outputs, and it all hinges on chicken shit. Before we got our hens [Continue Reading...]

Brew Or Buy: Is It Worth It? It Depends.

Chow recently kicked up some great discussion in the homesteading community with their article “DIY or Buy?” I’ve gone through this exercise quite a few times with my homebrewing, pricing my expenses vs. the cost of running out and buying a sixer. And my results may not be what you expect, regardless of what you [Continue Reading...]

Negabucks – What’s Your Hobby Time Worth?

I love food, gardening and economics, so it follows that I’m interested in looking at gardening from an micro and nano-economic perspective. As someone who gardens on a scale large enough to make a pretty significant dent in our family food budget, my gardening hobby is intimately tied to our household budgetary realities. Just another day at [Continue Reading...]

Is DIY Kitchencraft Really Worth It?

Sometimes when you are up to your eyeballs in berry juice and the whir of the food dehydrator has been going on so long you are hearing noises that aren’t really there, you gotta wonder – is it worth it? Is it really worth it to, say, make your own jam when you could just [Continue Reading...]

A Time And Motion Study Of Strawberries

The ol’ homestead is not yet up to growing all the strawberries my family will eat in a year. We used to have an enormous berry patch and could barely keep up on the harvest, but these days we have one main berry bed that’s situated in far too shady a spot for berries. There [Continue Reading...]

Of Watts and Watt-Hours

This post has nothing to do with gardening – but it does have a great deal to do with sustainability and environmental awareness. It follows up to Erica’s experimentation with the Kill-A-Watt with a (brief) engineering lesson. Please, don’t be scared. I studied engineering for three years before realizing I hated it switching to English [Continue Reading...]

Friction: Lessons From The Dot.com Days

Fuel prices are up, food prices are up: pretty much everything except for a Costco hot dog costs more these days. So thrift is on our minds – the Northwest Edible Life Facebook page recently posed a question: with food prices on the rise, what are people doing to try and keep budgets under control? [Continue Reading...]

Raised Beds and False Economies

False economy is when you think you are saving money but you aren’t. One of the classic false economies is when you buy a lot of something (say, broccoli at Costco) for a very low per-unit price but then due to spoilage end up throwing away half of what you buy. The effective per-unit cost [Continue Reading...]

When Is A Hobby Not Just A Hobby?

Hi, I’m the Homebrew Husband, Nick. I’ve had the good fortune to be married to Erica for coming up on ten years now, and to be her partner in this pathway towards urban homesteading and all that means for our family. She’s been kind enough to encourage me to share some of my own thoughts [Continue Reading...]