Our British Columbia Winter Adventures

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Turns out we're wintering over in British Columbia. After housesitting during the holidays in Victoria, we visited nearby Sooke, Salt Spring Island, and  Shawnigan Lake. We'll be in Bowen Island in March, then Shawnigan Lake until mid-April when we must leave Canada after … [Read more...]

Natural Buildings for Urban Living – The Tour, part 2 (247)

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The Craftsman-style bungalow looks normal on the outside, but the surprise is on the inside: straw bales inside the framing provide super insulation. Natural builder Lydia Doleman designed this 800-square-foot small-footprint house to last centuries, with its metal roof and … [Read more...]

Natural Buildings for Urban Living, part 1 (246)

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Wanting to demonstrate that "cities can be less impactful on the planet," natural builder Lydia Doleman bought and remodeled a Portland house to demonstrate her values. Composting toilets reduce water usage while feeding the soil. Growing food shortens dependencies. Building … [Read more...]

Early Autumn Chronicles from the Salish Sea Coast

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Harvest time.  Gardens putting out the last of the summer veggies.  Early fall rains, harbingers of winter coming.  We're happy hyper-locavores relishing a zero-mile-diet along both sides of the Salish Sea. Tasting resilient, close-to-the-earth food cultivation … [Read more...]

Earth, Wood and Sun – Natural Building, Local Style (239)

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"When we're able to successfully work with local ecologies to meet our needs, we do the Earth a better service. And we are becoming empowered in our own lives." Natural builder Chris Foraker gives a tour of work-in-progress at Aprovecho Center, Oregon. The structure's clay, … [Read more...]

An Eco-Sense House – Natural Building, Natural Living (230)

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The Eco-Sense House is alive! From dream (see episode 103) to reality. Its curving cob walls embrace Ann and Gord Baird's three-generation family. A living roof offers summer cooling and filters winter rains stored for garden water. The composting toilet provides rich soil … [Read more...]

An Earthen House Built by Hand (215)

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"I think it's very very important to know you can provide things for yourself… build your own house… grow your own food… make your own medicine." Walking his talk, Greg Crawford shows the magical wattle-and-cob house he built with hand tools using local materials: alder … [Read more...]

This Old House — Rethink, Reuse, Remodel (195)

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Turn a century-old Seattle house into an efficient, energy-producing home using repurposed materials. Owner-builder Jim Bristow's creativity extends to reclaiming dead spaces, jacketing his house with exterior insulation, and modernizing the kitchen with sleek previously … [Read more...]

We Make the Road by Walking – White Oak Farm CSA

Amidst cob-wall plastering in the background, co-director Stacey Denton relays the story of the first years at White Oak Farm and Educational Center in Oregon: Acquiring the 62 acres of food and pasture and protecting it through conservation easements, and creating a … [Read more...]

Building An Ecologically Sensible Home

Wanting to live a "reasonable, comfortable life" in tune with nature, Ann and Gord Baird are building a near "net zero energy" home on Vancouver Island. Their plans: the first load bearing, seismically engineered, two story, insulated, cob residence in North America. Solar … [Read more...]