When the Crate’s Better Than the Chair

Steve Badgett of the design/art/architecture collective Simparch tipped me off to Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld’s set of chairs built out of crates, done back in the 1930s. As Rietveld put it, “A piece of furniture made of high-grade wood and manufactured completely according to traditional production methods is transported in a crate to avoid damage…no one has ever ascertained that such a chest embodi...

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Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

There’s an old saw, probably apocryphal, about a ceramics teacher who divided her class in two, made one half spin as many pots as possible while the other struggled to create one perfect pot. The students who were graded by quantity rather than quality made the best pots. I’ve noticed, from the years I used to be in the art world, that he most talented creative folks I’ve met crank out lots of material. So how do we apply the...

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Picture Sundays: A Handy Handyman

Kelly found a soggy flyer on a sidewalk near our house. The front showed a picture of a man with a mullet hairstyle holding a trophy below a headline “Best Handyman.” On the back said handyman promised the services you can see above. I laughed, then realized that it was my exact jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none set of skills. Well, except for “hydrophany” and gutters. And you’ll have to go to Kelly for both the fi...

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Saturday Linkages: Whole Systems, Critters and the Most Beautiful Garden in the World

Art by Casey Cripe Casey Cripe’s “whole systems” collages and illustrations: http://boingboing.net/2013/02/27/casey-cripes-whole-systems.html … Turn Down the City Lights and Make Streets Safer http://bloom.bg/XuXeCi  Coping with Critters http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Protect-Your-Home-From-Critters.aspx … Is Antibacterial Soap Bad For You? (Part 1) http://shar.es/jrPgV  Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens...

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The Strange World of Artificial Plants

Ikea’s Fejka. On a recent pilgrimage to Ikea, I ended up staring at a large display of fake plants while Mrs. Root Simple found a replacement for our kitten-shredded drapes. Viewed from a distance Ikea’s plastic plants were realistic, though seemingly outside of any known plant genus. I found myself pondering the question of what permacultural context in which these plastic plants would be an appropriate design solution. I couldnR...

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A Warning About Straw

Claude Monet used straw (or is that hay?) for art. We use straw to catch chicken droppings! Straw is a very inexpensive and useful material for composting, mulching and animal bedding (we use it for all of these purposes). If you use it for mulch you’ll probably get some seeds that will germinate, but I’ve never found it to be a big problem in a small vegetable garden. I get my straw from the feed store, but you can often get it fo...

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A Homemade Mattress?

The Princess and the Pea by Edmund Dulac This is the story of my life. I read about some old domestic technology or product that makes a lot of sense. Perhaps it is obsolete. Or perhaps it is only done/made in more enlightened countries. Nonetheless, I want it. So I have to make from scratch. Yesterday we met a great couple, Renae and Dimitri. Renae mentioned she was thinking about making her own mattress. I was intrigued because just that morni...

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Bushcraft Video

...while-driving music video producers, I’ll be laying low, watching bushcraft videos on YouTube. We may as well give up our Netflix subscription because this YouHole is bottomless. I’ve discovered there are hundreds of men roaming about the woods with their video cameras in one hand and their survival knives in the other, ready to share their knowledge with you. And they are almost all men. I’ve only found a couple of women who pu...

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Greywater Workshop at Good Magazine

We’ll be doing a greywater workshop at Good Magazine this Wednesday May 27th from 7 to 9 p.m. Directions and RSVP info are here. We’re going to focus on what I consider to be the easiest way to reuse your greywater: hacking your washing machine. We’ll take a look at a couple of approaches including our surge tank, pictured above, which we just got around to elevating with scrap lumber to get a gravity assist. We’ll also...

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The Sami Way

What’s more impressive? That humans figured out how to live in the arctic or that we figured out how to collateralize debt obligations? As we deal with the consequences of the latter it’s nice to reflect on those thousands of years spent herding reindeer. It’s also comforting to know that there’s still some folks left who know how to take care of reindeer even if they now use snowmobiles. Homegrown Evolution had the privi...

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