The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the tag “the southwest”

How To Make Flour Tortillas

Here’s a step-by-step on how to make flour tortillas.

The poster, abrahamdiaz writes “This is the traditional recipe made in northern Mexico. Ingredient measurements should be followed exactly as shown in instructions; water quantity may vary depending on desired mixture texture. This recipe makes about 18 tortillas.”

His recipe uses vegetable shortening – since that’s a modern product – that wouldn’t be traditional. Maybe in the past they would have used lard. But he anyway, gives a substitution measurement for vegetable oil.

Here’s mszeineb’s veg oil version:

Using A Navajo Spindle

joyofhandspinning (Tulasi Zimmer) shows us how to use a Navajo spindle. Navajo spindles are large, relatively heavy support spindles used by Native peoples in the Southwest US. The spindle is supported by the floor/ground and your thigh.

Theresa demonstrates spinning on a Navajo spindle.

Rainwater Harvesting

Brad Lancaster from Tucson, Arizona talks about what got him interested in harvesting rainwater and some of the solutions he’s learned. Brad talks a lot about needing to develop secure water and food systems and relearning an interest in local foods and local resources (he gives the example in his area of the mesquite tree).

“Part 2 – developing a ‘resilience basket’ of local food with rainwater harvesting earthworks on neighborhood commons – greywater as an important household strategy and the successful Arizona code model”

Straw Bale Build in Fairview, Utah

“When this home is finished and you walk into it , it will be like putting on an old pair of Levis. It’s just extremely comfortable and personnable.”

This (4H?) video shows a straw bale house under construction in Fairview, Utah. The house is a wooden post and beam house that uses straw bales as in-fill material (versus a structural straw bale house that would use the bales as support for the structure).

At the time of the video all or most of the straw bales are in place between the wooden joists and the all-ages work crew is focused on finishing the interior walls with a home made plaster (a mix of mud, sand, wheat paste and straw).

Straw Bale, Adobe and Post and Beam House in New Mexico

The following videos feature a small (800 sq ft) “hybrid” house built by designer Ted Owens in Corallis, New Mexico, near Albuquerque. His house uses post and beam construction (he got the lumber from salvage yards and home renos), straw bale and adobe with mud used as plaster. The house draws its electricity from photovoltaic solar panels.

The house also uses sunlight, heavy materials (adobe walls and concrete floors) and shifts in temperature (passive solar concepts) to keep the inside temperatures comfortable. Windows are also carefully placed to maximize comfort in the house.

Cooking with the Sun on the Navajo Reservation in Utah

This was a really interesting entry. Here several Navajo students from Paul McCarl’s class at the Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah present their solar cooker projects.

Especially interesting is a Fresnel lens cooker the students built in order to be able to fry the popular Southwest fry bread.

As one of the student notes, you don’t see too many solar cookers that will fry.

The students introduce themselves in Navajo and then go on and explain their projects.

Barrel Cactus Candy

Barrel Cactus - photo by Vegan Feast Catering on Flickr

From Cooks.com

BARREL CACTUS CANDY
Take the barrel cactus and cut off around until you get to the white meat. Do not use center of cactus because it’s very hard to slice.

Start by slicing one inch strips of cactus. Soak in cold water overnight. Next morning drain and slice into one inch cubic squares.

Cook in boiling water until tender.
For two quarts of cactus cubes, make the following syrup: 1 c. water 2 tbsp. orange juice 1 tbsp. orange juice 1 tsp. orange peel

Stir and dissolve syrup over low heat until thoroughly dissolved. Put in cactus and cool slowly until syrup is absorbed. Roll in powdered sugar.

Vegetable Garden Fact Sheets and Guides from Texas A&M University

This is a treasure trove of information about vegetables and vegetable growing. If you don’t live in Texas you’ll benefit from the general information, if you live in Texas or in the same region you’ll be able to take advantage of the region-specific information they give.

Vegetables covered in detail are artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, cilantro, “cole crops” (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), collards, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, melons, okra, onions, peppers, Irish potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips and mustard. There are also guides for fruit and herb growing.

Other topics include composting, disease management, fertilizing, harvesting and handling, insect control and so on. There is a variety selector that divides Texas up into regions and shows you good selections for each area along with days to harvest for each vegetable and variety.

I noticed that they list both conventional and organic insecticides in the insect control documents, though I thought they might have written about methods like companions planting as controls for insects. So, they don’t offer a wealth of info on organic gardening, but if you’re just getting familiar with the plants, this collection is a good starting point.

Oh, don’t want to forget, they offer a link to a journal article by George Washington Carver, the great American horticulturalist, entitled “How the Farmer Can Save His Sweet Potatoes and Ways of Preparing them for the Table.”

These are high quality PDFs that you can download and print, even use to create your own reference binder.

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