Natural Building Progress

Just a quick update to say that the lot we have a contract on is buildable! This means as long as the title is clear and the price (which is based on back-taxes owed since the 1980s) is where we need it to be! Here is a look at the lot and where we want our house via an overhead …

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Straw Bale & Cob House An’at

Our latest natural building design So in an effort to make our house both affordable and ecologically sound we’ve tried our best to shrink it down to a comfy size. The smaller the house the easier it is to manage and pay for up front and over the long haul. Remember that the more surface area between the interior and …

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Walnuts – that is the question

Should we grow walnuts? It’s not an easy question to answer. For us partly because we have a reliable source of black walnuts at my mothers house where she has 3 nut producing trees including one rouge tree that is only about a decade old. It’s not an easy question for lots of other people either even if they don’t …

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Certified Permaculture Designer

Phipps Permaculture Design Course I did it – I’ve been certified through Phipps Permaculture Design Course. What is a Permaculture Design Course? In a nutshell permaculture design is a set of principals that apply ecological methodology to solve problems in a less energy intensive ways through finding and replicating natural patterns, creating feedback loops, reducing or eliminating waste, and by …

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The Sustainability of City Living

Feed the City The city I live in, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has in it 300,000 people (give or take a few thousand) and while we have an amazing market area – a hub – for produce, meats, dairy products, and event flowers in the Strip District much of that food is brought in from far away places. That means that we …

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House update – Jan 2012

So Teresa and I have been shopping for a truck. There is one that I want to buy and I think we’re ready to do so but she needs a bit more convincing because of the width of the beast. We’ve also made a few design tweaks in the past few weeks so I wanted to post a a shot …

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Laundry Hamper

Teresa and I have these mesh laundry bags that sit on a PVC frame (actually we have two). This set up has served us well but since we got Dobby (the cat) back in the Spring we’ve had issues with him shredding the mesh bags, climbing in them, and breaking them. We’ve talked about ways to stop him but really …

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Latest House Ideas

So Teresa and I have done a lot of work studying housing layouts and we decided that the roundhouse design that we liked won’t be the most comfortable or economical. We also decided that since most of the house will be straw-bale and not cob (as we had planned) that it makes sense to square the place off more.   …

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Wattle Fence

In our continuing effort to cut cost, lower embodied energy, and use waste or otherwise unused and abundant materials we’ve stumbled on the idea of fencing our yard with a wattle fence. Why are we even going to build a fence? We have a dog and a cat and they both love to be outside. Without a fence they need …

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Energy Loan Program

If I told you I had an idea that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, would create good paying jobs, would help spur innovation, would reduce individual families energy bills, and wouldn’t cost the tax payers anything would you want to know more about it? Well the White House apparently didn’t. I shared the following idea with them more than three weeks …

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