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Vertical Clay: Cob classes and construction

Sasha Rabin and Massey Burke teach and build cob works:
"Vertical Clay works with projects from their design conception through their construction. Our designs are guided by the setting of the project, the group that will be building, using and interacting with the project, and our own structural and aesthetic experience. We take particular interest in projects that show off the beauty and versatility of natural building in a public or urban setting. Our projects are built by crews ranging from owner-builders to classes to volunteer crews of widely ranging physical ability, age, and skill set."

Stormy cobbing it up

Email from Chris McClellan a few days ago:
"Last September after Sarah and I saw you, my youngest daughter Stormy and I went to Tennessee to teach a cob building class…
(Here) she is building a cob wall, pushing the lumps of sand-clay-straw into the cottage wall to make it monolithic."

Check out Chris' photo gallery at: http://www.industrialrustic.com/nb/ and his website of green building books: http://is.gd/a9fUa

Joy amid destruction/Haiti ingenuity

NY Times article "The Kite Makers"
Published: March 6, 2010

Haitian improvisation: "…door hinge at the Pétionville Club camp: the torn sole of a plastic sandal, fastened by nails through bottle caps, which act as washers."
Photo: Lawrence Downes

How to Grow Fresh Air

"A recent NASA study has determined the top 10 plants for reducing indoor air pollution.…Dr. B. C. Wolverton rated these plants for removing chemical vapors, ease of growth, resistance to insect problems, and transpiration (the amount of water they expire into the air).…Dr.…Wolverton, researcher and author of How to Grow Fresh Air — 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office (1997, Penguin paperback, $15.95), conducted plant studies for NASA that determined that plants can clean pollutants in homes, offices, factories and retail outlets.…"

Photos of Peruvian Andes/Like Titicaca/Machu Picchu by Bob Harris

There's a wonderful series of photos of a trip to the Peruvian Andes, incl. Machu Picchu, by Bob Harris on boingboing. com. This is a photo of one of the floating houses on Lake Titicaca:

"Lake Titicaca is at about 12,500 feet, about 2.4 miles up in the air. By comparison, Denver is at 5280 feet, altitude sickness starts affecting sensitive people at just 8000 feet, and the MacBook I'm using is only rated by Apple to function up to 10,000 feet. (Above that, the thin air can supposedly cause a dynamic imbalance in the spinning hard drive.) Lake Titicaca is, in a word, somewhat high.

As a result, it's one of the most vividly colorful places on earth. You're missing almost two and a half miles of air that normally stand between you and the sun god, plus you're near the equator, so Inti is bashing you pretty straight on. So the blue is BLUE. The green is GREEN. My camera couldn't possibly do it justice. The colors are so bright they almost vibrate…

And on this beautiful lake -- several kilometers out, just, like, floating out there -- live several hundred members of the Uros, a people whose culture predates the Incas.…"


Poem by Emily Dickinson

Each that we lose takes part of us,
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
-- Emily Dickinson

Old gardner's shed for sale in Wales

Just ran across this in doing research for tiny houses book:
"The Gardener's Shed, The Coombe Estate, Near Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA33 5HP
Of interest to self builders and developers
Situated in a rural idyllic setting. A detached derelict house on a large plot with previous planning for multi dwellings - Vacant.
*   The Gardener's Shed is an unusual detached building
*   The property is currently derelict and therefore in need of complete modernisation and renovation
*   Planning permission submitted for a contemporary dwelling set on a large plot
February 14th, 2010 by Wilco
For Auction with Savills of London"

Large photovoltaic solar panel assembly in Northern Italy

Michael McNamara, one of the builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, sent us this photo yesterday, describing it as: "Solar panels in a sound deflection wall along the autostrada in northern Italy."

Wild woman of the woods mask

Tsonoqua (Wild Woman of the Woods) Mask by Wayne Alfred - Kwakwaka'wakw (Namgis). At Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, BC, Canada
"Wayne Alfred was born in 1958 in Alert Bay (on Cormorant Island — about 3 kilometres off the Northeast coast of Vancouver Island). Alert Bay remains one of the most important artistic and culture centres on the Northwest Coast. Its isolated location protected the community from much of the effects of assimilation and remained not only a heritage village but also one of the most continually developing cultural areas on the coast. It is the home of the largest free standing totem pole in the world and the U'mista Cultural Centre which houses a major historic collection which had been returned from major museums as part of the changes to the Cultural appropriation legislation of the Federal Government."

Rural Studio/Samuel Mockbee/Alabama

"Fine architecture is usually reserved for wealthy patrons or grand civic spaces. But in 1993, Auburn University Professor Samuel Mockbee set out to change that. He founded The Rural Studio, which guides students in the design and construction of homes and community spaces in economically depressed Hale County, Alabama."
-Above quote from: http://www.ruralstudiofilm.com/home.html
-Above photo from:
-sent us by Vaughn Wascovich

Sun setting Tuesday night

On way down to Muir Woods from 4 corners. Hard to believe it was pouring rain earlier in day…