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.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Installing Large Size Sun Room Windows



After having built and lived in quite a few passive solar sun rooms over the last 40 years 
I have come up with a good way to set the large double glazed glass units
 that are commonly used for such rooms.

About a year and a half ago we purchased a passive solar heated adobe fixer upper
 with a very long 80' sunroom, built in the mid 1980's.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Update On Our Rainwater Catchment System



We have now had our rain water collection system for a year and a half 
and it is time to give an update on how we are using it.

This is a continuation of the post I did over a year ago that you can access at
Designing And Installing A Rainwater Catchment System.

The first year was a bit frustrating as we were in what the National Weather Service 
describes as an "exceptional drought" which is their highest category.
It is hard to store water when there is no rain.
This relates to the topic of how to best size a rain water collection system.
When it is possible to go for more than six months with less than an inch of rain,
 a larger system may be necessary.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Look At Porfilio Bustillo, #3 - Cement Trim As Faux Stone



This is the 3rd post in a row on the work of mason Porfirio Bustillo.

Please refer to the 2 previous posts to more easily follow along:
Now I want to show how he gives his decorative cement work 
a finish that resembles carved cantera stone.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Look At Porfirio Bustillo - Master Mason In Alamos, Sonora



I had the pleasure to meet Senior Porfirio Bustillo,
  a mason in Alamo, Sonora who specializes in fireplaces.

These next couple posts will concentrate on the work he is doing 
on his house which is under construction.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Looking Back At Murals In Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico



I would like to expand a bit the definition
 of alternative building to include murals.

(I want to continue looking back at some of my posts 
from a couple of years ago that may have been missed
 by the weekly readers of this blog,
and this post comes from December 13, 2010.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Faces And Masks - Looking Back At You



It is interesting how we present ourselves to the world.

The mask above is found on a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

(Please note that I am continuing to look at posts 
from a couple of years ago that current readers may have missed
 and this post was originally done in January of 2011,
with several additions we have run across since then.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Look At Domes In Mexico



As the weather turns colder
 it is nice to look back at some of my older posts from Mexico 
and this one comes from December 16th, 2010.

We have visited all these spots over the last five years.

Above is a beautifully tiled dome in San Carlos, Sonora.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Look At Stonework At The Lake Valley Ghost Town




Last fall I ventured by the virtually abandoned ghost town
 of Lake Valley, New Mexico, where I got some photos
of the building above which was the saloon, general store,
 and gas station.

(I first did this post on April 23, 2010 
and I want to highlight some of my older posts that I did in the first year or so of this blog 
that may have been overlooked by current readers.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ruins Of San Juan Parangaricutira Church Revisited



A couple of years ago as we traveled through the Mexican state of Michoacan
 we were advised by fellow travelers to visit the Paricutin Volcano
I am glad we did.

(Please note this is a post I originally did 12/30/10 
and I want to highlight some of my older posts that I did in the first year or so of this blog 
that may have been overlooked by current readers, hope you enjoy it.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Building A Well House #9: Trombe Wall Solar Collector



It was a thrill to finally get to the point in this project 
that I had been most looking forward to 
and that was building the Trombe Wall passive solar heater 
to keep our well house from freezing in the winter.

In the photo above you can see we are pretty solarized with the Trombe wall
 and in the background you can get a glimpse of the attached sunroom on the house
 and the solar batch water heater on the roof, all passive solar use.

To follow along on the well house project: