Tag: crazy useful things

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Silver

Silver is a metallic element that has the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. Since antiquity, it has been considered a precious metal in many different cultures.  It has many uses, including but not limited to: bullion coins (such as… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Silver”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Amaranth

The amaranth (Amaranthaceae) family encompasses a surprising and diverse number of useful plants that you see everyday, but probably would never guess are this closely related. For example: Beets (Beta vulgaris) The beet is presumed to have originated in the region around the Mediterranean,… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Amaranth”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Cashew

The cashew (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree in the sumac (Anacardiaceae) family, native to northern and western South America and Brazil, but now widely cultivated in tropical areas around the world.  It is cultivated mainly for its edible seed (the cashew), as… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Cashew”

Masters of Cottage Industry: The Eugene Saturday Market

The Eugene Saturday Market is a treasure trove of Crazy Useful Things.

Word of the Day: Strake

Old wagon wheels with strakes.

A strake is a section of iron laid around the rim of a wooden cart of wagon wheel.  The purpose of the strake is to protect the wooden rim from damage.  The manufacture of the strake is the domain of the blacksmith, where the… Continue Reading “Word of the Day: Strake”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Sorghum

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), also known as great millet or durra, is a domesticated species of cereal crop in the grass (Poaceae) family.  It is the single cultivated species within the genus Sorghum.  Wild sorghum is native to Africa, where it was originally cultivated and… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Sorghum”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Cod

Image of cod

Cod is a name that refers to the two species of fish in the genus Gadus, in the Gadidae family. They are the Pacific cod (G. macrocephalus), and the Atlantic cod (G. morhua).  Of these, the Atlantic cod is by far the most intensively… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Cod”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Mangosteen

Purple mangosteen

The mangosteen is a species of evergreen tree in the Clusiaceae family, native to Southeast Asia, but now cultivated in several other tropical areas.  It is cultivated for its edible fruit, the purple mangosteen.  It is the most widely cultivated species within the Garcinia… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Mangosteen”

Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Alunite

Styptic made with alunite

Alunite (hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate) is a naturally occurring mineral containing alum.  The name “alum” is used for several different compounds, but usually refers to the double sulfate salt of aluminum and either potassium, ammonium, or sodium.  Most commonly, it refers to potassium alum.… Continue Reading “Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Alunite”