Monday, January 4, 2016

Building An Outdoor Kitchen: #1 Concrete Sink And Countertop



This is the first of a 3 part series on building the outdoor kitchen that you see above.
In this first post we will take a look at the block work 
and forming and pouring the concrete countertop.
Please read on.

This 3 part series to date:
Please read on.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Make Your Own Solar Oven- A New Improved Oven



It was over 3 years ago we made our cardboard solar cooker 
as a prototype for a more permanent cooker as we profiled in the post:


This past spring we finally made the permanent one (above).

We adopted the plans from:


and plans included in the 1992 book,
 Cooking With The Sun (Morning Sun Press)
 by Beth and Dan Halacy.
(As an aside, as I was researching for this post 
I noticed that Beth Halacy died earlier this year,
Dan had died some years earlier.
Many thanks to them for there contributions to the passive use of solar energy.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Building An Adobe Wall: #6 Plastering And Creating The Designs



In this post of our series I want to take a look at how we plastered the wall 
and Allison will explain how she and her sisters made the designs, such as you see above,
 out of adobe mud and mineral pigments.

 In the photo above Cynthia used caliche, a clay slip, and oxides on her burrowing owl 
with earring eyes hiding under the Mexican Hat flowers Allison created earlier.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Building An Adobe Wall: #2 Getting Started



After the first post in this series
where we looked at how to build the stone foundation for our adobe wall
we will now take a look at making the "gringo blocks",
 and setting up our mud mixing area for making the adobe mortar that will be used with our bricks
as we go through all the steps for building the wall you see in the photo above.

All of the posts to date are:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Reusing Glass Bottles For Landscaping



For as long as I can remember I have tried to creatively reuse materials,
especially recycled lumber.
In this post let's look at four ideas for reusing glass bottles.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tips On Building A Dry Stack Stone Wall #6: Steps



In this post I want to go into how I build stone steps in the landscape
 as part of the dry stack stone walls that I have already shown.
We will look at how I selected and installed the three steps you see above.

For safety one should never attempt building steps, inside or out,
without a firm basis of the terms, theory, and practice of this craft.
There are many books which provide more detail
 or a search of the internet will yield many results.

The posts to date in this continuing series for the owner builder are:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tips On Building A Dry Stack Stone Wall #4: Why They Work



In the last post I did for this series on tips for building a dry stack stone wall 
I showed how I go about building a dry stack wall.
This time I want to drive home a few of the principles that I think explain 
why these walls work the way they do and are fundamental to the success of a wall.

The posts to date in this continuing series geared for the owner builder are:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tips On Building A Dry Stack Stone Wall #2: Getting Stone



In the previous post we took a look at the need for erosion control in our project area
 and the tools that we would use in building our dry stack stone walls.

The posts to date in this continuing series are:
This series is directed to the owner builder rather than the professional stone mason.

Let's look now at the stone we are using, where it came from, 
and how we determined where to have it dumped,
so that it would be readily accessible but not in our way.

In the photo above we are well into our project
 and we have just gotten the last of our three 14.5 ton loads of stone.
I have created a pathway where I can easily use the hand trucks to carry stone
or roll it down the hill if they are too large for the hand truck.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tips On Building Dry Stack Stone Walls #1: Project, Tools


This is the first in a series of tips on building dry stack stone retaining walls for landscaping,
gained from my personal experience and particularly aimed at the owner builder.

In future posts I will be discussing topics such as how to build durable walls and steps,
how to design the layout for a project, theory on dry stack walls, 
 stone as a material and what stone works best in each part of the project, site management,

 The photo above shows the finished project which gives you a feel for the scope of this work.