• fall-leaves-frame-the-roadway

    Finding our Magic Land

    We had just finished our 2nd cross-country bicycle ride (from San Francisco to New York City) in August when the Realtor called to say he found a buyer for our cottage in Fort Erie Canada.  The bad news was that  the buyers wanted to expedite the closing and we were stranded on Stanton Island — in a broken down vehicle — hundreds of miles from home.   We bought the Canada cottage a few years earlier and tried living the snow-bird lifestyle, residing in Florida over the winter and Canada in the Summer.  But what we really missed were the seasons and therefore wanted to relocate to a place we…

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  • Journal

    Trained at the Carpentry School of Hard Knocks

    I started building things when I was in my mid-twenties. I tried my hand at making molds, stained glass windows and model houses. I also decorated my home with crazy things like curved walls and vertical shutters made out of 4 inch floor molding in a living room that was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. This was before vertical blinds were invented. I started doing my own repairs after paying a fortune to a series of repairmen who either did inadequate or incomplete jobs on various projects in my house. This was my first house, which I now call ‘carpentry school’. It was an emotional buy – I liked…

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  • before-the-built

    Before the Build

    It’s mid-August, hot and humid, with record temperatures in the upper 90’s. We’ve been terracing the hillside, digging out for the waterfall and filling the retaining wall tires. Hoping to stay a little cooler, today, we decided to take a break from digging and write bit about the house building. We bought this land in the fall of 2004, a 6 acre pie-shaped, wooded parcel on the side of a mountain. Since there wasn’t even a driveway onto the land, we decided to go back to Florida and stay that first winter, near the grandkids. Before we left we were able to contact a local guy who owned a backhoe…

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  • quote-by-martin-luther
    Recycle Blog

    A Realistic Cost-Benefit Analysis of Natural Resource Extraction in WV

    As a citizen of West Virginia, I want our state to have a vibrant economy so that every person living here is able to provide for their families. Equally important to me is the ability to breathe clean air and drink safe water, for what is the point of making money if you destroy the very essence of life? In the rush to take advantage of the so-called Marcellus shale economic boom, WV lawmakers must weigh the value of a short term boost to the economy against the long lasting contaminatio to our air and water supply. There is a test to determine whether a WV lawmaker is sincere in…

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  • oil-catastrophe-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-
    Alternative Energy,  Recycle Blog

    Don’t Just Gripe, Do Something!

    As I am writing this post, oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico (resulting from the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig) at a rate never before seen.  The environmental consequences from this one disaster are probably too vast to comprehend. At the same time, coal continues to be extracted miles beneath where I am currently sitting in rural West Virginia, and just a short distance away, they are blowing the tops off of beautiful and ancient mountains — just to remove more coal. What may be even more devastating than the negative environmental impact of oil drilling and coal extraction is the talk of building new nuclear…

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  • tire-woven-from-recycled-bicycle-inner-tubes

    Area Rug Made from Bicycle Inner-Tubes

    Danish designer Annemette Beck creates textiles from recycled materials such as rubber, paper and metal.  Her line of woven products include rugs, upholstery, fabrics, runners, blinds and even room dividers. Beck’s experimental textiles showcase materials that can be salvaged and re-used.  The photos show area rugs made by weaving recycled bicycle inner-tubes and tires. You can read more about Ms. Beck’s designs here.

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  • the-house-that-trash-built

    The House that Trash Built

    Mahatma Gandhi advised his followers to “be the change you want to see in the world.”  We decided to take Gandhi’s wise words and apply them to our own lives.  We hope our example will inspire others to do the same. We hope this website will inspire you to take matters into your own hands – to live a sustainable lifestyle, eat what you grow, get off the grid and do your part to heal the planet and yourself. We are living at a time where gas and oil reserves are beyond peak… when our very way of life has an immense adverse effect on the health and well-being of every…

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  • tree-in-hand

    The Solastalgia Project

    Solastalgia describes the grief felt by those of us who care about human-caused, catastrophic environmental damage. Don’t waste your time arguing with global warming deniers and waiting for politicians to pass clean and renewable energy legislation. It is better to put your energy into changing your lightbulbs or planing a garden.  If building a house is beyond the scope of what you can or want to do, please consider taking some action in your own life. If everyone reading this takes responsibility for one small piece of the planet, your own house and yard, your community and your own lives, together we have the collective power to create the positive change…

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  • papercrete-recipe
    Recycle Blog

    Our Papercrete Recipe

    When we were researching papercrete, we found many different recipes and mixer-types. After trying various recipies and because we have a clay-based soil on our land, we settled on the following papercrete recipe: 5 parts drained paper mulch 5 parts sifted clay 1 part Portland Cement 1 shake of Borax Soak newspaper and magazines in water for at least 24 hours (the longer the better). Sift dry clay (or other soil) on a screen of 1/4 inch hardware cloth to remove the larger lumps and rocks. After it has soaked in water for at least 48 hours, place the newspaper in mixer, add water and mix well until paper pulp is…

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  • Design

    Human Powered Lawn-mower

    Ted Wojcik of Ted Wojcik Custom Bicyclesdesigned and built this pedal-powered lawn mower with a fixed gear in it so it can go forward and backward — which is essential when using a push-mower. When you stop pedaling, it stops moving so it doesn’t require brakes. I doubt if it would be a good gadget here in West Virginia, where we use a regular old push mower, but it might be useful for someone with a really large, flat-ish yard!

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