Essential System #6 – Fire

On the crazy path of life you may someday find yourself needing to build a fire. When it’s wet and when kindling wood is lacking this can be a challenge. Which is why we always have fire starting implements on hand including a butane lighter and waterproof matches. Most importantly we carry something to really get the fire going – our homemade wax and dryer lint fire starters. To make a wax and lint fire starter, save up the ends of...

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Pee on your Compost

Judging from comments and our web statistics you people out there love discussing poo. So it’s about time that we move on to pee. Why waste your perfectly good urine? Indeed, both Ghandi and Jim Morrison drank their own urine for it’s reputed health benefits. But we ain’t gonna go there. Our suggestion for the day is to save that piss for your plants. Urine is a fantastic source of nitrogen and it’s estimated that we all...

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Self Watering Containers

...of the pot and the soil in the pot is covered with a layer of plastic that acts as mulch. Depending on how deep the water reservoir is, it’s possible to go many days without having to add water. This arrangement, combined with the mulch layer on top prevent wasteful over-watering that can occur with conventional pots. Best of all, while commercially made self watering containers such as the Earthbox® are available, it’s possible to b...

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Camping and Solar Cooking

...y much not going anywhere or doing anything. With the carrying capacity of the cargo bike, we can get fancy with the food and libations, allowing us to skip the usual dehydrated camping chow. These sittin’ around type of trips, or even a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, are the perfect occasion to deploy a solar cooker. Best of all you can build a solar cooker yourself for pennies out of cardboard and aluminum foil. For some foods, such as rice, it...

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Greywater Guerrillas in LA this Weekend

...il Matt Moses Space is very limited so register early! Workshop will include a presentation on greywater reuse, the design process of the system we’ll be building, and the construction of a greywater system from the washing machine to ornamental of plants. Activities will involve digging, measuring, cutting pipes, observing, and more! Sunday July 20th: Presentation: How to Disengage from the Water Grid: With Greywater, Rainwater, and Compo...

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Saturday Linkages: Chicken Hot Dogs and Toilet Museums

...nting press made from IKEA drawers: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/05/printing-press-made-from-ikea.html … How to Build a Gypsy Caravan from Recycled Materials… http://bit.ly/S8pABN Gardening Home Depot’s Leaf Bags and their Eco-Terrible “Tips” | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/12/home-depots-leaf-bags-and-their-eco-terrible-tips.html … Design High-Hanging Tea House Offers Suspended Getaway | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dorno...

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Out Of The In Box

While my architectural tastes run closer to Prince Charles than Buckminster Fuller (those damn domes leak!), I have a soft spot for DIY hippie design manuals. I recently stumbled upon Ken Isaacs’ 1974 book How to Build Your Own Living Structures, which contains plans for everything from a simple chair to a multi-level home, all in a distinct modular style. Best of all, it’s available as a pdf for free here along with a couple of othe...

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DIY Christmas Trees

...ing block are celebrity bios and inexplicable runaway best-sellers like the Da Vinci Code and 50 Shades of Grey. These publishing phenomena are like biblio oil slicks, cluttering up shelves and choking out endangered books. Erik’s suggestion is Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust – And How You Can Profit from It: How to Build Wealth in Today’s Expanding Real Estate Market …published in 2006. Written by David Lereah, the...

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Saturday Linkages: Straw Bales and Bike Hacks

Photo by Tracy Walsh/Poser Design Gardening Straw bale gardening in the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/10kt1Hf DIY How to fix a bicycle tube http://www.afrigadget.com/2013/02/22/how-to-fix-a-bicycle-tube/ … Bike headlight displays speed: http://boingboing.net/2013/03/20/bike-headlight-displays-speed.html Build-It-Solar Blog: A Inexpensive DIY Blower Door http://www.builditsolarblog.com/2013/02/a-inexpensive-diy-blower-door-t...

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How To Manage a Compost Pile Using Temperature

...gredients. It will likely be several months before it’s ready to use. I’ve found that I need to turn the pile periodically and add water after the initial thermophilic period due to our dry climate. The mass of the pile is a factor as well–I’ve found that it needs to be a minimum of one cubic yard of material to start with. So I save and scavenge materials that I can use to build a pile all at once. The small trickle of ki...

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