Between Beavers and Termites

hunting and gathering T-shirtThanks to PBS I’ve discovered that my humanly talents at home building reside somewhere between that of a beaver and a termite (the termite being more efficient, the beaver less). Said dreary program also informed me that “all homes are unsustainable.”

I mean, crap. Just because it’s true in a “we’re all going to die eventually” sort of way doesn’t mean I want to smoke it on a Wednesday evening. Then again, there might be something to this whole naked foraging/hunting and gathering thing. Maybe our ancestors gave up on that too easily.

But I’m not the kid of guy to take such a PBS pimp-slap sitting on the sofa. A termite? I’ll show you, Betty White, who can build a more sustainable home than a termite! (As long as no termites are around to mess it up for me.) [Read more…]

Build your Post-Apocalyptic Compound with Hemcrete

by Miroslavk82When acid rain starts to fall, mutant scorpions attack and marauding wackos try to eat your flesh you don’t want to find yourself holing up in a ramshackle farm house or an abandoned flat in NYC or London. You’re going to need a practical yet functional fortress to weather the decades of madness until the dove returns with the olive branch in its beak.

To build said fortress you’ll need to consider security, self-sustainability and endurance. The answer to all three is, you guessed it, hemcrete. (Start bugging your representatives to legalize the growing of hemp now, so you can start construction before the end comes.) Hemcrete is a bio-composite building material made by mixing specially prepared hemp shiv with a lime-based binder (Montana Hemp Council Magazine, Vol. 4, 2011).

Basically, this means hemcrete is made from cooked lime and ground up hemp stalks. But the result is as zombie proof, fire proof, mutant bug proof, bullet proof, mohawk proof dwelling. [Read more…]

Non-housing Alternatives

Movie poster for Swiss Family RobinsonWhat could be better than to live in a sustainable dwelling that, as far as the government is concerned, isn’t even a dwelling? You’d have no taxes and very little zoning codes to deal with, while at the same time treading lightly on this whimsical little sphere we call Earth. “Wow, RedneckGranola, how can such a thing be possible? Since you are so often full of organic manure, I just can’t believe you.”

Yes, yes. I know. I too was once skeptical, as yourselves, until I realized all you have to do is be considered a nutjob and such a storybook living can be within your grasp. I’m not talking about living out of a Vanagon or VW bus (I said nutjob, not hippy freak!). For starters, I’m talking about tree houses. [Read more…]