That's a useful resource for

That's a useful resource for identifying plants that have surprised you in your yard.  

Some plants are only considered weeds because of overly fussy adults who freak out if anything but grass comes up in their lawn.

I love to go outside with my kids and see all the different "weeds" and wildflowers that have snuck into our yard.  We have lots of broadleaf plantain and dandelions.  Both of those are listed as weeds.  Why?!?  They're both edible and medicinal.  Plus, remember pulling the seeds off plantain stems and scattering them to grow more when you were a kid?  How about picking dandelions to give Mom flowers?  Blowing the seeds across the yard?  Smearing your name in dandelion yellow on the sidewalk?  How can a plant that brings children such happiness be a weed?  Some adults have gotten way too boring and have forgotten the simple joys of life.

We also have tons of clover, both red and white.  It's taking over the yard, which is great!  It's actually replaced large patches of grass.  We have some plants I think might be some kind of mallow, but I need to get out my plant identification books and positively identify them.  There's another plant that isn't common purslane, but reminds me of it.  Maybe it's golden purslane?  I need to look that one up too.

Best of all, there are buttercups growing in my yard!  I've always loved them, and now it's like a gift to have them so close.

Garden Housewife

Medicinal lawns

Yes, indeed! By allowing clover, wild onion, sorrel, purslane, dandelions, and several other low-growing 'weeds' you could completely replace a 'lawn' without trying. Sorrel and dandelion are edible in salads. However, if you live in a suburban area, you might have to forego harvesting if your neighbors use chemicals on their lawns. .

"you could completely replace

"you could completely replace a 'lawn' without trying"

Actually, I am trying.  :-)  And by letting plants that are not grass grow in our lawn, that's giving me a huge head start on it.  

There is a very steep hill on one side of the house and an even steeper bank on the other side of the house.  The bank drops off at almost a 90 degree angle.  I want to eliminate mowing and weed eating entirely on both the bank and the hill by planting groundcover on the bank and permaculture type plantings on the hillside.  

For the flat part of the yard, I'm doing raised garden beds and letting plants like clover, dandelion, and plantain spread at will.  The flat part is kinda small, so even if I didn't replace the lawn there, it could easily be mowed with one of those old time human-powered push mowers (can't remember right now what they're called).  Even clover needs to be mowed occasionally to keep ticks at bay.

Maybe I'm weird, but I like the look of clover better than grass.  When I was a kid, I loved watching bees buzzing around the white clover.  Bees and clover make great honey.

I've planted six mint root plants in three different places on our hillside.  Next month, I would like to plant a couple fruit trees.  I have to decide which kind, plus berry bushes and hazelnuts.  It's probably going to take several years to get everything in place on that hill.

I also planted one sea kale root beside the house.  It's only been a week and a couple days, but there are already a few leaves pushing up through the soil.  Very thrilling.  Plus I found a good place to order bulbils to plant for Chinese yams (a.k.a. air potatoes).  They should arrive by the end of this week.  I'm going to plant them along the fence.

Obviously, I'm very excited about all this.  After all the delays of the past two years involving moving, young children, deer eating everything in sight, cats using our yard as a litter box, etc., it feels great to finally be able to get started on my plans for our yard and garden.

ETA: I found yellow wood sorrel in my yard today when I went to check on my sea kale and mint root plants.  There's wild onion too.

Garden Housewife

Pedal Power Book

Here is a link to a free pedal power book, including making your own bicycle powered generators:

Low Tech Magazine

Hi, I recommend Low Tech Magazine for reviews of all kinds of proposals for energy alternatives. They do the research and crunch the numbers on how viable these things really are.

It turns out that direct use of the rotary power is great but generating electricity is not so great. Of course they are not costing it out using salvaged alternators from old cars either.

Human-generated electricity is expensive (but batteries moreso).

In round numbers, you can literally crank out about 100W for about 10 hours per day, so a good day's labor is 1 kiloWatt*hour (kWh), and you'd have to pay about $100 in wages for the crank-turner.  (That seems to me like a reasonable amount of energy to expect from a home-size wind turbine, too.)  From the grid, we currently pay about $0.15 (fifteen cents!) for that much energy.

An "AA" alkaline battery, for which we pay $0.50-$1.00, is good for about 1 Watt*hour (or at least $500/kWh). 

My "5 kW" solar array, on a sunny day in December, is putting out about 10 kWh ($1.50), but put out a little more than 30 kWh ($4.50) on a sunny day in June. (Installed cost, with no energy storage, was about $15,000 in 2014, before subsidy incentives.)

Lathe Chuck, AB3NA

Thanks for this

What an amazing book. I now have it as a PDF file on my computer, and will hopefully print it out.





Contraception, Natural - post peak oil

Cooking with wood - adobe ovens, rocket stoves

Only the first Link works

Only the link to the first pdf works. All the other links fail, by returning me to the Green Wizards Introduction page - this seems to be the behaviour whenever a link is non-existent. Can somebody correct the links please or put the files where they are expected. Thanks.

gaiatechnician youtube channel for new alternative sustainable stuff.

This is not really a plug for my youtube channel.  Several of my projects have won prizes and one of them is on wikipedia.  Plese check out for a new pallet garden concept, the lean away greenhouse, dripper (not drip) irrigation, the pulser pump and various videos about windowfarms, solitary bee habitat and solar cooking.  It is aranged in playlists and I think the playlists are by far the best way to access the informatio that you want.

Almost all my stuff is new. You will not find it in any book but it is all real. Some of it is there in more detail under the same username on


Brian white

Great Fruit Tree Book: Pacific Northwest

If anyone is looking for a great book on how to grow fruit trees in the pacific northwest--from the Bay Area to Vancouver--I just found the best little book: FROM TREE TO TABLE, by Barbara Edwards & Mary Olivea.  Not only does it give you excellent advice on which trees do best in the climates and soils of your area, it helps you figure out how to trouble shoot any problems you're having as they grow.  It discusses everything from pruning & pests to how to preserve or cook your sweet bounty.

JMGs Original Master Conservers PDF link

Here is the new link to the original files of JMG's Master Conserver notes, first posted on his Cultural Conserver's site.