Suburban Stone Age 2018-10-15 16:19:23

(by Rebecca Simpson) Oct 15 2018

Hello everyone and welcome to Suburban Stone Age! I wanted to introduce you to my channel and tell you a little bit about myself, and what the channel is all about.
My name is Rebecca. I started Suburban Stone Age in 2011, and basically my idea was that I wanted to try a little bit of everything to try to relearn a sustainable way of life in these modern times. Whether it was using really old technology, or maybe technology that was only a hundred years old, or even cutting edge technology – by just looking through what we had available and trying to recombine things we can use creative ideas to live a more sustainable life. The goal is to leave this world better than we found it.
I hope you’ll join me on our journey as we explore all the amazing things the world has to offer, and see if we can find a way to live a better life, live more sustainably, and leave things better than we found it for future generations.

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Gigantic Scorpion! In my Campsite! Woman vs. Desert ep. 2

(by Rebecca Simpson) Oct 02 2018

Video Transcript

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Woman vs. Desert – Adventure Calls ep. 1

(by Rebecca Simpson) Sep 27 2018

Mojave Desert CanyonHello Fellow Adventurers!  You are about to see the conception, execution, and conclusion of a real life solo adventure in the desert.  Welcome to Woman vs. Desert.

I’ll bet you have questions up to and including:  Is it safe?  Why are you doing this?  The desert?!?  Won’t you be bored? And hot? And dirty?  What is there to do?  The reasons to follow along with me on this are simple.  You may get answers, and have your point of view shift a little bit. That is the goal.

Here’s what to expect.  I’m blogging to keep track of my details, like a to-do list I’m sharing with you.  Also, to leave a record for the future, because this is the beginning of a teaching series and I want the knowledge archived for myself and others for future reference.  And because I don’t know what is going to happen.  Which is scary and cool. In short, expect the expected, but also expect the unexpected.

Let’s get started.  Time to plan.

Step 1:  Safety First and Always

Get a plan, stick to it.  Spread the word about where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing.  I’ve told family, alerted friends, requested information from experts and received it, put my intentions on my blog – basically I have left a big, fat electronic footprint about this so as to minimize the guesswork if I need help.  Trusted loved ones will have the exact details. Everyone else will have an idea.  I’m building a safety net I hope not to need.

Step 2:  Get Prepared

I’ll list what I’m bringing and post pics, but I also love the intangible wisdom I learn as I follow the process.  I’ll post that as well in the edits. See below for things as they stand at the moment.

  • Lead Time – I need at least 48 hours lead time to prepare to my satisfaction.  Although impulses to adventure are spontaneous, follow through should never be.  This is serious business and has its risks.  Give it the respect it deserves and prepare well. This falls into the wisdom category.
  • High Tech Prep – Assemble cameras and accessories.  Make sure to have backup batteries, and that all batteries are fully charged.  Make sure all SD Cards wiped and ready, have backups if you can. GPS, phone and charger, headphones.  Know where you have phone coverage and where you do not.
  • Low Tech Prep – I can be an old-fashioned kind of girl.  Like 10,000 BCE old fashioned.  So I love to take my low-tech survival gear with me and use it.  Such as my rabbit skin blanket, several types of fire-starting tools, homemade water containers, leather moccasins and halfchaps, etc.  Details to follow in later posts, but I’ll know I’ll always bring along some kind of primitive gear to test and use.
  • Mechanical Prep – Gas in car, tires inflated and inspected, spare located and in good condition, brakes in good shape – car in overall good working order.  For the record, I will not be going off road on this trip, so I will not be preparing to that level at this time. AAA card is in my wallet, just in case.
  • Biological Prep – This includes first aid supplies, hygiene (and water budgeted for that), food, water, clothing, sun protection, and medications (this means coffee, folks.  Caffeine withdrawals will ruin a trip. Avoid.) Wallet, ID, etc.
  • Entertainment – This whole adventure is entertainment for me, but I’ll always bring along pencil and paper, or book, or craft, just in case I’m stuck in the car in a downpour or some such.
  • Personal Safety – Pepper spray, heavy staff, whistle, situational awareness and common sense.

That about sums up the plan for preparation at the moment. I’m going to finish working on it now, and I’ll post edits as I go. Stay tuned for further episodes as we haul off into the wild on our high desert adventure.

Got Ideas? Leave a Comment.

Did I miss something?  Got an idea or concern?  Leave me a comment, let’s talk about it.  It’s all a part of the process, and I want to know what you think.

More to follow!

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How Easy Is It To Plant Garlic? Video

(by Rebecca Simpson) Sep 19 2018

How Easy Is It To Plant Garlic?

Turns out, really easy!  This video explains how to plant garlic quickly and easily.  Use extra cloves from your store bought garlic to get garlic planted in your garden fast and cheap!  Leave us a comment if you have any tips to share on easy ways to plant garlic!

Video Transcript

good morning everyone and welcome to suburban stone-age and today we’re going to talk about how easy it is to plant garlic if you’re like me fall is a really busy time of year and it’s easy to let the fall gardening get away from us but fortunately garlic is super fast and easy to plant and today we’re gonna show you how to do it so you can get your fall garden started as soon as possible before you get started planning just make sure that your bed is prepared so debris is have been removed and your soil is ready to receive the garlic it’s been moistened and turned and easy to plant and once you’ve got that going you’re ready to actually plant your gloves the garlic we’ll be using today is from the grocery store it’s left over from cloves I used for cooking I’ll always set aside just a couple use them use some in my recipe and then set a couple aside to plant and the one that I choose are healthy and big with no soft spots or discolorations so they just sit there dry and wait for me to plant and I’ve been collecting them over the summer and that’s what I’m going to use to plant the garden so the spacing for planting garlic is pretty easy the idea is is that lets say this protective garlic you want to leave one heads worth on one side one heads worth on the other side and basically in all directions so there’s a couple easy ways to measure that out you can either use your hand to space it so it’s about a hand width apart in either direction or I use my garden trowel so I can tell it’s it’s I already have it in my hands and I just put the next one over here this is where I got to put the next clove and I do that in all directions so that’s one way to test far as planting depth is concerned the rule of thumb is that you want to plant it as deep as the clove is tall so that’s about a thumb in depth or you can also use your garden trowel again and as a planting guide so it’s also a convenient way to poke a hole in the soil so you poke it and just kind of jam it down to the right depth you got a nice hole there take the garlic pop it in you cover it up and you’re good to go you can move on use space off to the next one another tip when planting garlic is to make sure that you put the root side down so you can see the little root node here that’s the blunt side and then you point it with the pointy end which is where it will sprout you point that up so that’s the direction that the garlic will go into the ground here’s a quick tip if you have garlic cloves that are too small to be used for cooking or to plant in your main garden don’t throw them away just tuck them in the roots of your fruit cheese and that will help to deter insects and rats once the garlic’s been planted cover everything up smooth off the soil and it’s time to give it a good watering protect your bed with mulch to help conserve moisture and you’re on your way and that’s all there is to it it’s so easy to plant garlic just takes a few minutes and it’s very fast and very simple if you enjoyed this video please give the video a thumbs up subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already and feel free to like this video and leave a comment if you have any tips to share on planting garlic in your garden and how fast and easy it can be for you thanks again for watching and we look forward to seeing you next time

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Top 3 Worm Farm Lessons!

(by Rebecca Simpson) Sep 12 2018

This video describes the top 3 lessons I’ve learned in keeping a successful worm bin over the years.  If you want to know how to make it in vermicomposting in the long run, these words of wisdom may be helpful!

Video Transcript

hello everyone and welcome to suburban stone-age and today we’re going to talk about lessons I’ve learned about worm farming I’d like to introduce you to my worm farm this is built in an old tumbling composter and in it are all my worms and i compost vegetable scraps and all my coffee grounds every morning worm farms are wonderful to have they make a great fertilizer for your soil that you can make yourself for free and you can also do things like make worm tea which is great to feed your plants it’s a wonderful way to turn scraps from the kitchen into something useful so that you recycle and you add nutrition to your soil and that in turn grows better vegetables for you and your family look inside my worm bin it’s been going for about three years now and the secret to my success basically boils down to three quick tips first of all let’s talk about simplicity when it comes to worm farms less is more in my opinion I’ve had other farms that have the stackable trays I’ve done DIY worm farms buckets drilled with holes and all those methods work and they work great but for me they worked for a little while but then the constant having to change the trays add water sift just the extra bit of manual labor that went into it overtime made it harder and harder and harder to deal with so the more simple your setup the the more likely the chance you’ll stick with it in the long run and eventually I came to the point where I just have this pile and my worms grow in it and I love them and they love it too and every morning I come out and I give them coffee and coffee grounds and it that’s it it’s a pile there’s no trays I don’t even turn it so it’s a very simple system but with that simplicity comes longevity so over the years I’ve been able to keep up with that very minimal level of complexity and the worms dude great tip number two about things I’ve learned about a worm farm is to be consistent and consistency in the long run can be really hard unless it’s a good match with your lifestyle so I’ve basically gotten to the point where my worms eat a scoop of coffee grounds and what I rinse out of my French press and that’s the food and the water that they get daily and then two to three times a week whatever kitchen scraps and vegetables I have for them get put into the pile and they digest that and it’s been going all year-round for three years and they do fine but because it’s tied in with something that I’m doing every day religiously anyway which is making my coffee it’s been able to sustain and I haven’t missed a beat it’s a part of my morning habit so I consistently feed them consistently water them and consistently add little extras throughout the year and they’ve just grown and become a stable population without any additional effort from me the third lesson I’ve learned about worm farming is that stability is also important stability in their temperature so you don’t want them in a place where they will freeze or fry although it does get very hot here in Southern California in the summer and they’re in an all black container that has a lid on it they do okay because I think they have time to slowly adapt but it’s also a seasonal change so they warm up slowly and they cool off slowly and they never freeze so some fluctuations okay but avoiding the extremes and having as stable a temperature as possible is very helpful also their location they have become acclimatized to this one particular place generations have grown and died in this one little compost pile so whoever lives here is successful at living here and has grown to get used to it I do try to move them around too much if I’m going to use their byproducts I will take it from the compost pile instead of trying to move my worms because I feel if I move my worms and change their environment too much it could upset the system and I could have a die-off so I recommend you pick a good spot that’s going to last a long time and that stability will be really helpful so in conclusion when it comes to worm farming the things I’ve learned is that basically less is more if you can get your system down to something that you can sustained through major life changes such as gaining or losing a job demands a family leaving for a vacation if you can keep it simple enough so that your worms can do just fine as real life happens all around you that’s what’s going to keep you going year after year and keep your worms happy year after year and it will be a sustainable long term project so I like a lot of the fancier worm bins and stuff they’re really fun but over the long run they just got too labor-intensive for me and this is where I finally settled down is just a pile with my worms in it that I feed with things from my daily life routines anyway on a consistent basis I try to keep them in the same spot all the time year-round in a protected environment where they are sheltered and have a cover and then when it’s time I will come harvest the worm castings I will feed my garden and the cycle will continue so thanks for watching if you enjoyed this video please click the subscribe button and the little bell icon to get notifications also give us a thumbs up if you liked this video and if you’re thinking about having a worm farm for yourself or if you already have one leave a comment we would love to know what you think thanks again you have a great day and we’ll talk to you soon

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Fall Garden Harvest – Today is Squash Soup!

(by Rebecca Simpson) Aug 31 2018

Squash figs onions garden harvest

Today we are eating our hard-won  harvest from the garden.  This year has been quite a challenge.  We have barely been able to gather anything from the garden due mainly to a population explosion of rats.
I’ll be making soup from the squash and onions, with fresh figs on the side.  I am looking forward to it.
Do you have a favorite squash soup recipe?  Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

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Rain Barrels and Harvesting Rain Water – Rain Water Solutions Micro-Documentary

(by Rebecca Simpson) Aug 28 2018

Rain Water Solutions partnered with Suburban Stone Age to film this micro-documentary on the impact rain barrels can have towards making sustainable changes at Home. We have had rain barrels for three years now, and they have been the instrumental in helping us survive the historic California drought. Enjoy this video and please leave us questions in the comments if you’d like to know more about harvesting rain water with rain barrels.

Video Transcript

[Music] sustainable living to me is leaving the earth better than it was when you came here we raise our own chickens we grow our own vegetables we use rainwater to irrigate as much as we can any little way that we can keep the resources from our home within our home and continue to use it to benefit ourselves he is something that’s more sustainable I [Music] first got my rainwater barrels when I was notified in my water bill that the county was sponsoring a rainwater barrel rebate program all I had to do is participate the county helped me step up and do something that was good for the whole community by recycling a resource that may otherwise just go straight to the sewer what I loved about them is that they did all the thinking for me anything that I thought I needed was already thought about in that rain barrel I went inside opened up the little accessory package set it up and I just modified my rain gutters to now shunt into the top of the barrel I did use a little hose so that when the barrel is full I can drain it where I want it also I have a hose for the overflow so that I can collect a barrels worth of water to use at my discretion when it isn’t raining [Music] we get most of our rain during the winter I stopped counting at five thousand seven thousand gallons right in there it’s astonishing how much water you can collect my kids grew up seeing that all the little changes you can make add up to making a pretty big difference making these improvements is really an accumulation of little baby steps as you go a rain barrel is perfect way to start because you can take something that was formerly wasted and you can use it to grow herbs for your salad or a favorite tree that you like or even flowers that are beautiful and make you happy rain barrels make a big difference and it’s something small you can do right away [Music]

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DIY Raisins from Homegrown Grapes

(by Rebecca Simpson) Aug 23 2018

DIY Raisins

Video Transcript

[Music] all right so I’m here processing grapes to be dried for raisins these are homegrown grapes from our backyard vines and here’s a few nobody um tips and tricks that I’ve come across working with these grapes first of all all these little stems that want to be attached and will take forever to remove my approach with that is to get as many off as I can in this pass but I know I will be back to prot you know work with these and kind of move them around they’re going in a dehydrator so I’ll want to switch the trays around and you know turn the grapes make sure that they get even drying conditions and every time I’m in here working with them I will take even more stems off my concern with stopping and doing it all at once right the second is that minute by minute these grapes are getting drier and drier and I don’t want to leave them on the vine I’m gonna get them picked and sorted and all that as fast as possible and get them into the dehydrator so that’s a decision that I made second of all I thought about leaving them on the cluster in the dehydrator as a even faster way to process all the grapes the problem I came across with that is that when they’re in a cluster it’s very difficult to see the bad ones so you are or I feel you’re better off spreading them out picking them off and then you can go through and you can get rid of the ones that are too small or have splits in them or or dirty or whatever don’t meet quality standards so I’m gonna spread out and you can see them it’s much better also a tool that has come in handy is this brush not only to kind of clean the trash out from underneath the tray as it falls through while you’re sorting but as you go through and you want to turn the grapes around it’s a gentle way to sort of flip them around and look for bad ones without being too rough on the grapes and this is nice because at this stage they’re pretty ripe a lot of them and too much pressure you can burst the skin on them and then they’re gonna you know be prone to rotting and not not make a good reason so you know you do it you can do it with gentle pressure you get them off the stem and then you know you go through and you pick out the other ones but this is a nice gentle way to just sort of move things around and get a better view using a brush like this also you can take this in and you can poke it through the trays in the dehydrator or to like get these little ones that get stuck like this one for example here it’s a tiny one I may not want to keep that in as a super small raising when it’s done it’ll be like a little rock so I’m gonna poke it through and then I can get it from this side and then get rid of it so I’m liking this this brush a lot oh another trick by the way is make sure you’re comfortable cuz you’re gonna be going through a lot of grapes and if yours I started standing and now I’m sitting at a table that’s comfortable because you’re gonna be picking through a lot of things so I ergonomics are good make sure you’re in a position that’s comfortable so you’re not you’re not trying to rush you know you do a pretty good job on the first pass don’t crowd the trays make sure there’s plenty of open spaces for circulation so that the warm air can you know come up and around and through also when I first started doing this I did it with a straight trip excuse me with the trays stacked right on top of the dehydrator but pretty quick I didn’t like that idea because all the trash started to fall through the top tray onto all the bottom trays and ended up having to clean the trays twice and it didn’t seem like I was actually saving any effort by doing that plus it made it got to a height where I had to stand to deal with it which was uncomfortable after a few minutes and so I abandoned that that technique pretty quick and now I’m just doing it tray by tray then I can clean the trash falls into the pad below on the table and then I can sit down and be comfortable and work with them and still make decent progress so these are these are grapes grown on my backyard vine which is three years old there are Thompson seedless grapes they’re pretty small they’re not like the grapes that you see in the store the reason is is that I don’t do anything as of yet to try to artificially get them to be larger I was wondering myself why are my grapes as small and so I started looking into it and I found that commercial growers in addition to a technique they called girdling where you cut a trench around the phloem of the plant any way you cut it cut the nutrients off from the plant and it makes the nutrients stay up in the fruit instead of being able to acts like flow down to the roots that’s a technique but also they dust them with hormones which I’m you know I’m not I’m not gonna do and that’s you know plant hormones but still you know I will try it girdling cuz my grape is so robust that I yeah it’ll stress the plant a little bit making to girdle it but it’s so healthy and soda bust that I just think it’s gonna grow it like keep on growing it won’t even make it blink so I don’t really feel I’m gonna do damage to the mother plant yeah so I’m gonna try and future harvests to get my grapes as big as possible because it’s better if you if you’re gonna do the work it’s better to you know have more quality and maybe less quantity I have found when it comes to processing fruit then it is to have a bunch but help them be kind of little and a pain in there you know they’re just they’re not the quality you’re looking for and not you know philosophy also applies to like thinning fruits on your trees which is hard for me to do I don’t like to remove fruit you know it’s it’s it’s tough because you feel like you might be wasting or whatever but you know you do it because it’s better better in the long run at the time of Marvis to have more quality than quantity and your future you will thank you for preparing the way when it’s harvest time and preparation time to make the job as efficient as possible finally another technique to two large grapes is thinning so if you see here this is a really long natural like mine right you see it now oftentimes if you look at the structure of a vine at the store they’ll take it and they’ll pinch off the tip so it’s like a fatter cluster but I don’t you want to do that with sheers you these vines are so tough you never want to twist or yank or pull or whatever we’ll go over that in a different video on how to hand harvest your grapes but but anyway they’ll go through and they’ll trim off this bottom piece and they’ll trim out pieces so that although there are less fruit there is more nutrients available to the fruit that remains and that helps them to grow bigger and juicier and and all those things so I missed my window this year all this preparation happens in the spring when the vines are small you thin the fruit when they’re flowering you know you can trim the vines when they’re when they’re trimmed the clusters when they’re very small and you know I’m kind of getting to it behind the curve now but I pay I’m paying the price so you know my grapes are small they’re they have good flavor and it was definitely time to harvest and you can tell that because the animals start to eat them like the animals are on high alert for for a grape time and they’ll start eating them as soon as the first ones start to get ripe so they’ll tip you off also they get plump they get kind of translucent they get sweet so you’ll have to go in there and taste them once you pick them they don’t get any sweeter so you’ve you got to keep tasting them to sort of you know pull the plug when you think their flavor is as sweet as you want without letting it go too far also the longer you leave them on the vine you know the more risk there is to splitting and damage and blah blah so anyway um so that’s what I’m gonna try next year is how to grow large grapes didn’t get them this year but I I’m going to make use of the grapes I did get we’re gonna learn some things about how to make reasons and we’ll see put these in the dehydrator and see how they do we have some leftovers in the you know the split ones and such that I have kind of a rejects see this is oh never mind it’s gonna say when it looked like that it’s kind of how a trimmed cluster will look will fatten and juicy but not you won’t have that big long tail hanging down like this one has the big long tail hanging down see it there’s like a trim cluster you can tell it’d be more more chunky do the like that look there like that you see the difference okay so anyway so the ones that are left my dehydrator is full right now a lot of these are acceptable but I’m not gonna get greedy I’m gonna run my batch in the dehydrator I think I will make my chickens in my tortoise extremely happy they love these grapes I’m gonna eat some I’m gonna share some with my family and I’m gonna share some with my animals fresh I may leave some for the birds although I did leave some out on the vine just for the birds I always do that as like a little offering the birds in my yard helped me so much with pest control and there’s such a delight for me to watch and I enjoy their company that whatever I grow I will leave a little bit for them so that they and their babies I have so many wild bird babies in our yard you know have have enough to eat it’s like a little you know thank you so yeah that’s our grape harvest that’s us how to make raisins thoughts behind it few little creative ideas and tips and tricks and thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time

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Do Siberian Huskies Shed?

(by Rebecca Simpson) Aug 15 2018

Siberian Husky Shedding Coat

Video Transcript

this is Roxy our a Siberian Husky Buck see hey Roxy cuckoo Danny now and she’s shedding right now it’s spring this is what it looks like you can see the fur crater where all her hair isn’t and then when a husky blows their coat in spring the hair just comes out and it’s so much I brush like a lot oh but you still get hair bombs everywhere it’s just what it is to have a husky and so that you can really see the difference in the in the fur this is nothing left here but like the guard hairs and then all this is that warm awesome double coat you can do Rosie good girl oh okay stop

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Rebooting the Farm

(by Rebecca Simpson) Dec 22 2017

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.


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