Fall 2012 Adobe Classes With Kurt Gardella

I’ve taken three adobe classes with Kurt Gardella–and he built the amazing earth oven in our backyard. Kurt has a couple of classes coming up and I thought I’d help get the word out. He’s a great teacher. From an email he just sent: Dear adobe friends, Intro Fall is a great time for natural plastering and interior finishing work. Interior mud plastering and installing an earthen floor finish the normal adobe house constr...

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SunCalc: A Sun Trajectory Calculator

In attempting to figure out how to align a garden path with the sunrise of the summer soltice (that’s the way we roll at the the Root Simple compound), I came across a neat Google Maps hack: SunCalc, the creation of Vladimir Agafonkin. According to the description on the site, SunCalc is a little app that shows sun movement and sunlight phases during the given day at the given location. You can see sun positions at sunrise (yellow), spe...

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Saturday Linkages: Tiny Houses and Succulent Suprises

Gardening Sunflower sutra | Garden Rant http:// gardenrant.com/2012/10/sunflo wer-sutra.html  … Succulent Surprise http://www. dudecraft.com/2012/09/succul ent-surprise.html  … DIY Build-It-Solar Blog: DIY Insulating Window or Door Shutters Using Astrofoil: http://www. builditsolarblog.com/2012/09/diy-in sulating-window-or-door-shutters.html?spref=tw  … Bikes Cargo cyclists replace truck drivers on European city streets: http://www. lowtechma...

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Hops in Containers Update

...Plus the harvest window is brief and you need to keep a close eye on those cones–when the they get papery it’s time to pick them. I dry them for a few hours in our solar dehydrator, but you could also just let them dry for a few days inside with a fan pointed at them. After drying they go into bags in the freezer. 3. Plant hops in such a way that you can access them for easy harvest. Hops grow upwards of ten to twenty feet and beyond...

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Our Footprint

...n the Low Impact contest is simple. We live in a small house and don’t drive much. That’s just about it. We can’t afford solar panels, and everything else we’ve done, such as the washing machine greywater system, is DIY and un-permitted. We’re sure that many people in our 1920s era neighborhood would have also won this contest. Folks in apartments would have done even better. The average African would do a thousand t...

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The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

I love alternate views of our normal notions of domesticity and home economics. On a recent trip to the book section of a large surplus store I noticed our first book The Urban Homestead right alongside books on burying weapons caches, wiring solar panels, acting as your own dentist and assembling SKS rifles. We certainly have exciting company on this journey. One book in particular caught my eye, The Construction of Secret Hiding Places by Cha...

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Propagating herbs via cuttings

...Or your trusty sage plant is getting old and woody and needs to be pulled, but you wish you could save a bit of it and start fresh. One way to accomplish this is to grow new plants from cuttings taken from your existing plant. This is process called taking softwood cuttings. You cut small bits of plant, dip them in a rooting hormone, then baby the cuttings until they grow roots of their own. Basically, it’s cloning. Herbs are particularly...

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Emergency water storage

...ns per household member. Then be sure to add extra water for pets and livestock. When we considered all of that, it seemed like a 55 gallon drum was not too much for the two of us and our pets. Ideally, we’d store more. It doesn’t rain here 3/4 of the year, and there isn’t any natural water source nearby. A second drum might be in our future. What we’re using: We shelled out the money for a brand new, food grade 55 gallon...

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Pimp My Cold Frame

...d off another seedling crisis I built a simple cold frame. In order to prevent the cold frame from becoming a solar cooker (it can get over 80°F during the day this time of year) I pimped it out with an Univent Automatic Greenhouse Vent Opener . The Univent uses no electricity. As the temperature gets hotter a small piston thingy forces open the window you attach the Univent too. As the temperature cools in the evening, the Univent closes th...

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Chicken Nipple Waterering Systems

...line of nipples (as in the second image). American Preppers Network blogger Stephanie Dayle has instuctions for making a bucket and pipe system here. You can purchase the nipples on Amazon. And the bucket and pipe system pictured above is being sold on Amazon here (I have not tested it). Ideally all the parts should be food grade as I’m not a fan of PVC. Of course the zinc in the galvanized waterer is probably not so great either, so it...

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