Post image for Willow Branch Hut

The Willow Farm, just south of San Francisco, is where willow is grown and furniture is crafted, in addition to custom fences and ornamental pieces. I came across these whimsical kid-size huts as I was admiring Susie’s dream outdoor spaces. What fun!

Post image for Our Urban Homestead Wishlist

This week’s CSA box contained a cornucopia of locally grown organic produce (rainbow chard, kale, lettuce, beets, carrots, snap peas, zucchini, strawberries, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, and an avocado) and has got me thinking about our home, our yard, and the possibilities for a more self-sufficient future. And, naturally, I made a list:

  • Raise chickens
  • Plant more fruit trees
  • Cook more from scratch & start canning
  • Harvest our food with vertical gardening
  • Set up a solar hot water heating system
  • Re-use our water with a greywater system
  • Install rooftop solar PV panels
  • Heat the south side of the house with solar heating in the winter
  • Create a patio and shade structure for summertime heat
  • Cook outdoors with a solar oven
  • Xeriscape our lawn so that it needs less water
  • Done – Start composting our foodscraps and yard waste
  • Done – Manage our lawn using carbon-free technology
  • Use a composting toilet instead of a traditional one
  • Convert the garage into a studio workshop for making cool stuff
  • Create a root cellar under the house
  • It has been called to my attention that “homesteading” is a term that harks back to imperialism, colonialism and current day gentrification. Check this post for details. Whatever you want to call it, I’m excited to get my hands dirty.

    Post image for Monday Morning Treehouse No. 34

    Cruising through another Apartment Therapy house tour and this little treehouse caught my eye. It lives in Portland in the backyard of this creative couple’s home, built for their 6 year old son.

    Oops, a bit belated on this post. I’m downsizing my office and now running everything completely from my iPad. Thanks so much for the encouraging fan mail. Hopefully will be getting back into the swing of things soon.

    Post image for House Update Weeks 6, 7, 8…

    So… it’s a mess. A blessing: we’ve been living elsewhere for a couple of weeks while we continue work on the house. Just a little housesitting/petsitting gig with our favorite pup.

    • Michael replaced all of the light switch wiring.
    • No more sticky floors. I spent 3 full days scraping the adhesive off.
    • Michael removed the wall furnace and capped off the gas line.
    • By the time it gets cooler in San Diego, we need to decide on our heating solution.
    • Still stripping paint… and getting ready to paint the bedroom.
    • Found a source for non-PVC honeycomb shades. No disgusting vinyl in this house!
    Post image for The Waterpod

    More floating art! The Waterpod project is about self-sufficient living on a 30×100 foot barge. They were using bike power, raising chickens, harvesting rainwater, solar hot water heating, greenhouse gardening, composting, using a windmill, and getting lots of press about it last year. In a New York Times article, John McGarvey describes it as “farm life, minus the livestock — but inside the fishbowl of New York City.” While this is an art project, I’m looking forward to exploring the concept of housing at sea.

    Photo credit: Ian Daniel

    Post image for The Great American Bus Trip

    Photographer Paul Herzoff has 56 prints in the Smithsonian online archives from 1970 – 1973 and I came upon this stash from Sheila Newbury’s blog. These beautiful photographs feature old housetrucks (trucks and buses made into living spaces), craftsmen and the families who dwell within, mostly in California.

    Sheila writes:

    Herzoff frequently trains his camera on the vehicles themselves, as if they were a collection of large, patient carnival creatures, waiting on their masters’ whim for the next phase of the journey to begin.

    There’s a poignancy to these portraits now, over thirty years later: they’re affectionate toward their subjects (not a note much sounded in contemporary photography), admiring of the ingenuity required to live a life of adaptive independence, yet clear-eyed about its fragility.

    Post image for Monday Morning Treehouse No. 33

    Found somewhere in Pennsylvania, this treehouse has a cool bridge, an elaborate entry and an oddly shaped roof. Looks like several trees are going through it. I’m having fun browsing pics in Pete Nelson’s old blog.