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Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy

This article by permaculturist Paul Wheaton tells you everything, and I mean everything, you need to do to have a lush, green, chemical-free lawn.

I don’t have lawn, I have pasture, but the same principles apply, with some modification. Instead of a lawn mower, we have goats, for instance. Instead of a sprinkler, we have rain. Or we’re supposed to, anyway. Rain is at last on this week’s forecast, hooray!

With these methods you will mow less, water less, never buy pesticides and have the best looking lawn on your block.

via Organic Lawn Care For the Cheap and Lazy.

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What is the Paleo/Primal diet?

PrimalDocs featured a wonderful infographic, created by Patrick of PaleoHacks, explaining  What is the Paleo/Primal diet?, which is like a history of human evolution in terms of “what’s for dinner?”

I’m almost finished writing up a post about my own food journey and will be posting it shortly. Today, maybe. Meanwhile, enjoy this.

How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef and Why It Matters

Courtesy of Open Space Meats

“For most of the 6,000 years since humans first domesticated cattle, they freely grazed hillsides, fields, and pastureland. If it’s tasty, natural, and nutritious beef you’re after, two words of advice: Go grass-fed.” —Al Sears, MD, author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure.

Okay, you may be thinking, what is the big fuss about grass-fed this and pastured that? If you’re new to cooking grass-fed meat, be forewarned that it’s truly different from conventional feedlot beef on many levels: the conditions the animals are raised in, the  nutritional content of the meat, and a different fatty acid profile that requires cooking it more gently for best results.

Open Space Meats, a family ranch in Newman, California, that raises cattle the traditional way, had this gem of advice on their website FAQ page:

Eye fillet of grass-fed beef.

Image via Wikipedia

Q. What is the best way to cook grass fed beef?

A. As you may know, the fat in grass fed beef is less saturated than the fat in conventional beef. It is also much higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. That means that this fat will liquefy at a lower temperature. So grass fed beef will cook faster than what you may be used to with conventional beef. It is best to use the rule of 25’s: 25 degrees less heat and 25% less time. That will help you consistently have a great eating experience.

From Open Space Meats – Healthy Grass Fed Natural Beef – About Us.

And of course, tougher cuts of meat benefit from long, low-temperature, moist cooking such as in a slow cooker or in a low oven.

Read more…

12 Things Happy People Do Differently

I love this list, 12 Things Happy People Do Differently, from “Marc and Angel Hack Life.”

Please read the original post for explanation of each item, but meanwhile here’s the list:

  1. Express gratitude.
  2. Cultivate optimism.
  3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
  4. Practice acts of kindness.
  5. Nurture social relationships.
  6. Develop strategies for coping.
  7. Learn to forgive.
  8. Increase flow experiences.
  9. Savor life’s joys.
  10. Commit to your goals.

Some of these, I do pretty well on (you’ll have to make your own judgement!), most are a challenge, but I’m working on it.

Raised Garden Beds: Hugelkultur Instead of Irrigation

Hugelkultur starts like this...

This looks so cool: raised garden beds: hugelkultur instead of irrigation.

For some reason, people around here love to rake up their twigs and branches and whatnot into a big pile and burn it! They just burn it outdoors in a huge pile, in county-permitted burn days. Say, what? I mean, it’s one thing if you’re at least burning it in your wood-burning stove and getting the heat value from it.

And of course, there’s the occasional doofus who burns his plastic trash instead of hauling it to the dump. Read more…

Salmon and Hedgehogs: Perfect North Coast Dinner

Note the butter dish is kept close by in case of emergency

I love having a chest freezer, because it makes a dinner like this possible in January.

David bought a fresh Chinook (king) salmon off the boat last summer, brought it home and cut it up into two-serving chunks, while I packed each in Ziploc vacuum freezer bags and employed one of those little hand pumps. They really work!

So yesterday David pulled a piece of salmon out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. Tonight I pulled it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while I started yellow potatoes and green beans steaming. Then David took over. Read more…

Best Ice Cream Ever

It was summer, I had more chickens than egg customers, and I was looking for delicious ways to eat more eggs. What’s more delicious than ice cream? Ice cream using nine—or more—pastured egg yolks, that’s what. Read more…

Three Good Questions to Have Ready

For when you’re stuck having to make small talk, I loved these ideas on how to make it interesting:

— Observations of change: Ask the person what changes they have seen in a particular area of business, sports, movies or some other topic over the past year. This creates a conversation rather than an interrogation with monosyllabic answers.

— Superlative comparisons: Ask questions with the words “best”, “worst”, “most” and “least” in them. Through these questions, you get a comparative conversation with some intensity and passion in it. You may not like the answers you get, but you will get some engagement and increase the interest.

— Future predictions: Ask the person what they believe will happen in the next year in a particular topic. Sports is always safe and politics usually risky. However, that doesn’t mean that you should stay away from one and favor the other. The point is to create dialogue, and speculation about the future does just that.

From: 6 small talk ninja skills for the socially challenged – Sales Machine – CBS News.

Practical Wisdom from the Dalai Lama

I love this list, and I don’t even know whether it’s authentically from the Dalai Lama, but it reads like the sort of practical advice I imagine he would give, so I’m passing it on.

Instructions for Life by The Dalai Lama

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Follow the three R’s:
–  Respect for self,
–  Respect for others and
–  Responsibility for all your actions.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Read more…

Cal-Mex Tacos—er, Tostadas?

Favorite quick dinner

Once every week or two, we just want a quick dinner with no fuss, and something Mexican sounds right. It’s not authentic, not even Tex-Mex— call it Cal-Mex.

Our favorite garnishes are sour cream, avocado, chopped green onions and cilantro, accompanied by a glass of cold kombucha.

Just a few quick steps and this meal can be yours: Read more…