Cargo Bike Roundup

...ntion of the Xtracycle “FreeRadical” back in 1998. The FreeRadical extends the back wheel and allows for the installation of two huge pannier bags and a seat. You provide the bike–I used a cheap 1980s era hardtail mountain bike. I’ve had my FreeRadical since 2006 and can’t say enough good things about it. I can easily pack four bags of groceriesin the generously sized bags and still easily glide through traffic in Lo...

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Saturday Linkages: Forklift Furniture and Pickled Turnips

...il we figure out what the problem is. Cookin’ Kabees El Lift (Pickled Turnips) http://wp.me/pWGRR-YU  DIY Forklift Furniture: 10 DIY Projects for Used Wooden Pallets | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/forklift-furniture-10-diy-projects-for-used-wooden-pallets/ … Champions of wood planing: http://boingboing.net/2013/02/08/champions-of-wood-planing.html … IKEA Hackers: IKEA featuring JBL http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/01/ikea...

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Earth Based Finishes for Walls

...ng stabilizer when mixed with adobe. The mucilaginous texture of prickly pear gives adobe a stability that helps it resist water penetration. To extract the cactus juice you chop up prickly pear, put it in a bucket with some water, and let it ferment for a few weeks. We used a prickly pear stabilizer in a mix that covered the top of a cob oven. If you’re interested in learning adobe techniques Kurt Gardella will be coming to LA to teach a...

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Michael Reynold’s Beer Can Houses

...painted concrete. Unskilled labor and the cheapness of materials will allow the structure to be built as much as 20% less than conventional housing.” Caption: “Exterior of an experimental all aluminum beer and soft drink can house under construction near Taos, New Mexico. This shot was taken two months after the foundation was laid. the wood forms on the top will be used to pour concrete beams.” Interior view of the all al...

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Mistakes we have made . . .

...ve more instructional value than our successes. And oh, how many blunders there have been in the past ten years. It’s about time to round up the top 6. I’m sure there are many more that I’ve forgotten, but here’s a start. 1. Installing a water garden. That water garden looks great in the picture above. That was before the neighborhood raccoons spent several nights a week treating it like rock stars used to treat hotel room...

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What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

Root Simple’s new composting game for your Xbox! I wish I could source compost pile materials from our yard. But lead and zinc contamination in our soil make that a dodgy proposition without doing a lot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) str...

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How To Design a Garden Step III: Pathways

...17;re designing a public garden where wheelchair accessibility is an issue make the path no smaller than 3 feet. For two people to pass each other you need 5 to 6 feet, though a path that big would be for a larger piece of land than we own. Consider the size of any tools or wheelbarrows you might need to accommodate. Materials I’m fond of mulch. It’s free, easy to maintain and breaks down into soil. I’ve used gravel in the past...

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Chicken Guantanamo

...d they will munch and scratch down every plant they find edible behaving, as the Petaluma Urban Homesteaders put it, “like a pack of delinquent teenagers”. Our chicken housing consists of three zones. Zone one is the hen house–that aluminum structure on the right in the photo above. It contains a roost for the chickens to sleep on at night and a nesting box for the hens to lay their eggs in. Zone two is a secure run covered in...

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Build a Ghetto Solar Cooker

...sed on plans from Backwoods Home Magazine, the Dwell of the Ted Kaczynski set. We just substituted an old cooler for the cardboard boxes, and we finished it off by using one of Los Angeles’ ubiquitous abandoned car tires as a cradle to keep the cooker oriented towards the sun. It ain’t pretty but it works. In our first test we reached 160º inside the oven, but we think we can do better with some refinements such as finding a black pot...

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Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent or LED?

...an make a room lit with them seem dimmer. In some situations incandescents can be a better choice. LEDs are good for task lighting due to the directional quality of LED light. They are not so good for lighting an entire room. Many compact florescents (CFL) will have short lifespans if you put them in sealed, enclosed or recessed lighting fixtures. You also have to check the label and perhaps even call the manufacturer to figure out if a CFL will...

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