New Farm

Rebooting the Farm

New Farm

As I look back on Suburban Stone Age over the last seven years, I realize we have been through many stages of growth.

The first three years we were getting established.  I was home full time, and invested in the long-term foundations of the farm, such as planting fruit trees.

The next three years, I went back to work at an office job full time.  Also, the worst drought in California’s recorded history peaked.  The results on the farm were that because I did not have the same time to devote, nor the water to spend, the farm contracted and simplified and went into survival mode.  Outwardly, it looked more like a leisure garden than a working farm.

But survive we did, and now I am  back on the farm full time, now and forever. It has taken several months of reorganizing, soul-searching, planning, failing, and trying again to get to a place where I’m ready to launch.  But we are there.

I will be rebooting the farm, and bringing you along for the ride.  Buckle up and hang on, we are going to have some fun proving sustainability works!

More to follow, stay tuned.

 

DIY All Natural Hair Conditioner – Yah, It Works

I have the whole, entire house to myself for the weekend – and you know what that means?  Aside from being able to walk around naked whenever I want, it means I get to try out old-fashioned beauty treatments that would otherwise be too messy, weird, and drippy to use when there is a house full of men getting in the way and asking awkward questions.

So today, I am treating myself to a DIY all natural hair conditioner to see if it really lives up to the hype.  Ever since my mom chopped my hair to the shoulders when I was six because I would never brush it before rolling out of bed to go play in the dirt field, I have wanted long hair.  LONG hair.  Like to my butt, at least.  But alas, after all these years, I have never been able to grow it past my bra strap. I’ve been on a mission for the last two years to break my hair record, and experimenting with age old hair-nourishing beauty treatments is part of the program.

All Natural Ingredients

Taking a tip from the ladies of Youtube, I decided I’d try some kind of blend of protein, oils, and acids that I could find around the house.  Here’s what I could find:

  • Yoghurt, plain.  A fistful is a good amount.
  • Coconut oil. I have it around for… reasons.  Conditioning my long hair has now become one of them. Use as much as you think might make a nice sized spoonful of ice cream.
  • An egg.  Sadly, not from my own chickens, who are still too young, but one from the store.  Use whatcha got, we can get fancy later.
  • Juice of one lemon.  Thankfully my neighbor has a lemon tree that has been dropping lemons on my side yard for months.  So I was able to scrounge the least offensive looking one from under the boat and juiced it. Worked great.
  • Now, blend. Nuff said.

Applying Conditioner to Hair

I reasoned that the ends of my hair awere in the worst shape, so I grabbed them up in a bunch and dunked them into the mixture as if they were a big, fat frazzled paintbrush.  Amazingly, the ends soaked up a lot of the goop and it didn’t drip off too much.  With what was left in the bowl, I massaged my hair working my way toward the roots until the goop was all gone. Finally, I wrapped my goopy hair in a towel and let it marinade while I walked around the house naked and did whatever.

Rinsing

When it’s been a good 20 mins or so, or you’ve run out of things to do naked, wash the goop out under the faucet.  Then shampoo and condition your hair per usual. Easy.

Results

If you wash it well, your hair should not be greasy, or eggy, or dairy-y.  In fact, my hair came out very soft, although it seemed to have a little “heavier” of a texture than usual.  Not that I mind.  I enjoyed how soft my hair had become, how easy it was to braid, and that warm, fuzzy feeling I got when I knew I had done something nice for my hair AND found a DIY all natural treatment that actually seems to work.  I’ll be coming back to this one for sure.

Try it!

Give the above treatment a try and let me know your thoughts.  Or, if you have an all natural hair conditioner secret to share, I’d love to hear about it (and even try it!)

Here’s to long flowing locks to our butts and beyond!

 

Fresnel Lens – Solar Cooking will be happening at Suburban Stone Age

What do you do when you have a bum shoulder and can’t dig your pond? Why, you buy a death ray on eBay so you can melt glass and cook food, of course!

Let me explain…

A Fresnel lens is a thin plastic lens made of small concentric grooves on one side that focuses light like a magnifying glass. You’ve seen them around – they are those plastic sheets that are used to magnify text, and on a large scale are what’s in a lighthouse to create that beam of light.

When you use a Frenel lens to concentrate sunlight, you take the warm embrace of gentle sunshine and focus it into a face-melting, unholy death-ray. Seriously, if you do it right, that spot of light is strong enough to melt steel. Wow!

So naturally I HAD to have one.

Why? Well, to my mind, this Fresnel lens unlocks a whole wealth of possibilities using only the power of the sun. I can cook, disinfect water, start fires easily, and even go to new places such as metal cutting, welding, and making homemade obsidian. All from the benign power of the sun! Which, by the way, will still be available in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

And so enters a new Era of solar cooking and more at SSA. On the way are two Fresnel lenses, one spot and one linear, plus a parabolic mirror just for funsies. I’ll do my solar cooking and experimenting while my shoulder heals, then go back to finish digging my pond before spring.

(Side note – guess what the pond can also be? An emergency store of water for a disaster. Which I can distill into safe drinking water using the Fresnel lenses and only the sun. A beautiful thing, no?)

I’ll keep you posted!

Edible Landscaping Under Trees: A Cautionary Tale

overwatered tree damage edible landscaping suburban stone ageI’m learning a painful lesson right now about edible landscaping. This picture is of a patch of dead leaves that has been steadily growing on my Chinese pistache. Underneath this tree are several tomato vines, pumpkins, basil, lettuce, and melons.

In my eagerness to try out some edibles in the former lawn under the tree, I recently transplanted some vegetable seedlings. Why not try to maximize the space with food, right?  Trouble is, Continue reading “Edible Landscaping Under Trees: A Cautionary Tale” »

(Journal) Documenting the day to day life of a suburban homestead

As the years roll by and Suburban Stone Age matures, I felt is was important to capture the thoughts and feelings that went along with building a more sustainable modern life. Not everyone may be interested in reading the “touchy-feely” parts all of the time, so I made a special blog post category just for this purpose.

This has been a very special journey and I felt documenting the real-life early years was important for the future. You never know, in 100 years from now, there may me some mundane detail buried in the archives that turns out to be important. Or not. Either way, the story should be told. Continue reading “(Journal) Documenting the day to day life of a suburban homestead” »