All “Practical Skills” Posts for 2021

All "Practical Skills" Posts for 2021

Here you'll find everything I wrote in 2021 in the category of "Practical Skills." There's also a companion post that lists all the 2021 posts in my "Empowered Thinking" category.


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Use the links in the box below to jump to a collection of posts, or scroll down the page manually and browse through them all. To read an overview of this post category, go to the Practical Skills for Sustainable Living page.

I hope you find something to enjoy, and thanks for reading along this year. I'll be back with more in 2022!


"Practical Skills" 2021 Post Collections

(This category was previously called "Sustainable Living")

DIY Bathroom Basics

Loofahs are easy to grow. You can eat them when they’re small, and if you let them get big they make great bathroom sponges. They also make pretty good kitchen sponges. Best of all, when they wear out you can compost them to feed next year’s loofahs.

Loofah – Grow Your Own Sponges

Our ancestors’ ingenuity and know-how kept them alive for untold generations – long enough for us to come along. Everything they knew is still available to us. We’re just not using it because it’s gone missing from the stories we tell ourselves.

Let’s Choose a More Empowering Story

Home-based herbal medicine is an easy, accessible practice. Here are 9 quotes from herbalists about the oldest and simplest medicine in the world — so simple, a child can do it.

The People’s Medicine

Switching from synthetic personal care products to simple, natural alternatives means giving up superficial attributes like foam, fragrance, and texture​, which are achieved using toxic ingredients​. This article explores how we got so dependent on these products and shares 3 ideas we can rely on in our efforts to get back to natural.

Transitioning from Toxic to Natural

Essential oils are highly concentrated and extremely powerful, are harvested and processed on an industrial scale, have big impacts on plants and communities, and should be used sparingly, with caution and respect.

Essential Oils: Some Things to Consider

Tooth cleaning did not begin with plastic toothbrushes or medieval concoctions. We’ve been cleaning our teeth since probably before we walked upright on two legs. Here’s how it was done (and in many parts of the world, still is).

Nature’s Original Toothbrush

How I came to swear by yarrow (Achillea millefolium) for oral health care and particularly for gum health.

Yarrow for Oral Care

The herb yarrow (Achillea millefoleum) has many uses. Its particularly well known for its ability to quickly stop blood loss and help heal wounds.

Yarrow for Wound First Aide

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Growing What We Need

The kids’ll be up soon and looking for breakfast. The cow needs milking and the calf pen needs cleaning. I just have time before all that starts, to show you some pics of the new calf, our recent veggie garden harvests, and the chickweed in the lawn that we’re putting into salads.

Farm Update: New Calf, Chickweed Salads, Veggie Harvest

Long, flexible mulberry branches + pieces of old veggie net = caterpillar-proofed veggies.

Irrigation for our Modular Veggie Garden

How to build a pond for tadpoles and frogs that will ​also grow food-producing water plants and edge plants. Includes diagrams, pictures, plant list, and frog resources.

7 Steps to a Frog Pond that Also Grows Food

Long, flexible mulberry branches + pieces of old veggie net = caterpillar-proofed veggies.

How to Make a Frame for a Veggie Net using Mulberry Branches

Ideas for modular gardening — smaller, easier, more enjoyable.

Modular Veggie Growing with Cut Off Barrels

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Plant Profiles

Ginger has thrived at our place since I learned to think about what it gives and what it needs in terms of its connections to the other plants around it, to me as the ginger-grower, and to me and my family as the ginger-users.

Ginger in a RealFood Garden

Loofahs are easy to grow. You can eat them when they’re small, and if you let them get big they make great bathroom sponges. They also make pretty good kitchen sponges. Best of all, when they wear out you can compost them to feed next year’s loofahs.

Loofah – Grow Your Own Sponges

Yacon tubers are sweet, crunchy, and delicious raw or cooked, and are a firm favorite in our family. This post is a quick introduction to yacon and my experiences with growing and eating it.

An Introduction to Sweet, Crunchy Yacon

Some of what you might want to know before choosing if and how you’ll use stevia-based sweeteners, along with tips on growing and using your own stevia plants.

The Stevia Dilemma

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RealFood

A “RealFood garden” is a garden that’s easy to maintain and meets real, basic, every-day needs for food and medicine. Plants in such a garden are connected to other plants and to the gardener’s kitchen and healthcare needs in mutually beneficial ways.

Connections in a RealFood Garden

Pesto can be made with any herb or combination of herbs and even leafy vegetables. When all you see in your garden is edible leafy greens, pesto is a great way to serve up all that nutrition in a form that’s easy and appealing to eat.

Herb Pesto (and Mulberry Milkshake)

Here are two ideas for preserving leafy greens. The first is a bit of an experiment. The second is a tried and true favorite in my kitchen.

2 Ways to Preserve Leafy Greens From Your Veggie Garden

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