Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Use Of Color In Guanajuato, Guanajuato

If you are looking for ideas on selecting color
 there is no place quite like Guanajuato in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stone And Concrete Walls Made With Forms

 Ever sense I first read about using a form to build a stone wall in the early 70's
 in the book Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
 I thought it could be a good idea in the right situations.

 While we were in Alamos, Sonora recently there was a fellow 
who was doing just that with a  retaining wall 
and much of it would be covered up so looks were not a priority. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I want to show some of the nicer doors we have seen around the continent,
and starting out is this door we discovered in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tips On Building A Drystack Stone Wall

 I spent many years as a self taught stone mason
 doing random rubble dry stack walls which I enjoyed doing 
more than just about any other trade that I have dabbled in,
until my body just couldn't do it any more.

The last time I worked at it was this project
at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon in the summer of 2008.

 Let me caution that stone masonry is hard work 
that requires sturdy boots, gloves and attention to what you are doing. 

It is easy to have serious accidents: 
smashed fingers or hands, broken bones, or worse, 
and what follows is not intended as a complete instruction
 but merely as notes to the process.

A safe work site is essential as well as safe practices.

(Please note that this is a reworking of the post:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Passive Solar- 2 Trombe Walls And A Greenhouse

The adobe house that we had in Santa Fe, New Mexico had two trombe walls
 and one small attached sun room that we added that supplied much of our winter heat.

Above is the living room trombe wall,
 which is basically a solar collector that is put over a masonry wall, in this case adobe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Garden Path

The above path is one of my favorites. 

It reuses cast off stone in an unusual pattern 
and it is not clear where the path leads (oh the mystery); 
and it was designed and built by kids in Seattle, Washington.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building An Adobe Wall

When properly built and protected,
 adobe is a good material for privacy walls.

(Please note: this post is a reworking of the post:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Japanese Style Shed

Not long before we sold our house I wanted to build a "nice" shed,
 not only to have extra space,
 but also to the block the view to the parking area 
and a two story apartment next door.

I decided on a 12' x 12' foot print to avoid getting a building permit 
even though I don't like squares particularly but it solved the permit problem
 and saved waste in the plywood sheathing used under the stucco. 

(Please note this post is a reworking of the post:
Japanese Style Shed from 2/7/10.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tile And Tile Mural In Mexico

Mexico has some of the best tile work
 and I want to show some that we have come across in our travels there.

The photo above shows a work in progress in Alamos, Sonora
with the standard tile that we in the states are used to
 when we think of Mexican tile work, but there is so much more.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making Adobe Bricks In Patzcuaro, Michoacan

A couple of years ago Allison and I stayed at the
and as luck would have it the owners son was an architect 
and contractor with an adobe making operation adjacent to the campground.

Hernan Pimentel concentrated on modern design 
using traditional materials and techniques.

The pit above is in an arroyo which fills back up with dirt 
after the summer rains so each year more adobe dirt.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wood Fired Ceramic Kilns In Mexico

As I continue reworking some of my very first posts 
and since the last post was on brick kilns, 
let's take a look at ceramic kilns, first in the Alamos, Sonora area. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making Fired Bricks In Alamos, Sonora

While we were in Alamos, Sonora a couple of years ago
 our friend David found this brick making operation
 near the campground where we were staying.

Being familiar with making adobe bricks,
 I had always wanted to see how bricks were taken to the next step of firing them,
and the guys working here were more than happy to show us the ropes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One More Gate

I built this gate back before we sold our house
 and you may have seen it in previous posts 
but I have never shown the whole project together.

The earlier posts are:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stone Steps #4

I have been gathering photos for stone steps 
and now is a good time to take a look.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Xeriscape Gardening In The Southern Rockies

When we had a house we had a garden,
and it was comprised mostly of herbs, natives, 
xeriscape perennials, and fruit trees.

Much of the time we lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico
 we were in a severe drought and under, at times, 
stringent watering restrictions,
but we both loved to garden without spending all of our time at it.

To make up for the drought we collected rainwater
 and concentrated on tough, drought tolerant plants, shrubs, and trees.

Above you may notice blue flax, rocky mountain penstemon,
 and orange poppies.

At the top with the reddish leaves is a native chokecherry
 and also a native gambels oak, both young trees  at that time about 5' or 6' high.

Peeking out on the far right is a very young semi-dwarf apple.