homestead (30)

Greenhouse on Our Homestead

Greenhouse on Our Homestead

Greenhouse as shown in our latest building book, The Half-Acre Homestead. Roofing is double-wall polycarbonate, which has a 10-year guarantee and comes from Farmtek Farm Supplies.

Windows are salvaged. Back wall consists of homemade adobe bricks. For these, I used a Cinva-Ram block press: one part cement to 12 parts soil (from when we dug our shallow well). With the Cinva-Ram, you compress each block. The cement makes them water-resistant. The adobe wall retains heat from the day during the night. The solar fan on the roof has worked flawlessly for over 10 years

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The Sculptured House

Hi Lloyd,

We like to inform you about a documentary from Sweden that follows the construction of our little natural house. We decided to put it for free on YouTube for everyone to share, in the hope it will inspire people to build their own natural house. Your books have always been a great inspiration and we often leave them lying around when we have guests to see who gets it 🙂 Thank you for sharing your work and vision.

Regards,
Dennis Rodie & Ayet Alers

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Masked Bandidos in the Chicken Yard

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Two young raccoons got into the chicken yard by ripping a hole in rusty chicken wire the other night. Luckily I went out to close in the chickens in their (secure) coop before raccoons got to them. I have a lot of respect for these guys, called in Spanish mapaches (pronounced mah-PAH-chays). Like coyotes, they’re survivors. I’ve patched the roof.

When you live on a piece of land like this, multiple critters are constantly seeking food. In our book The Half-Acre Homestead, I list all these would-be intruders, along with various methods and traps for controlling them.

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Half-Acre Homestead in Boise, Idaho

Hi Lloyd,

I’ve attached a few pics of our half-acre homestead project here in Boise, Idaho. My wife and I bought a .42-acre lot with a fixer-upper house in the heart of town 5 years ago. We also added two beautiful girls, Willow (6) and Zoe (7 mos).

We focused on the house first, with a goal of having a net-zero house … and we are pretty close thanks to it after gutting and replacing all the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. This includes a bad-ass Mitsubishi heat pump, solar array that is net metered, heat pump water heater, all LED lighting, induction range, and lots of insulation.

My family deserves a lot of credit living thru the remodel process (is it ever really done?) and dealing with their carpenter dad that has big ideas sometimes.

The gas company came to replace our old meter and I just told them to pull it, we don’t need it anymore. That felt good.

The last 2 years we have focused a lot on the food production side, building up soil. We build a hugelkultur bed out of some trees we took down, and this has become a great spot for annuals, zucchini, squash and particularly melons … they love it. It also has a lot of mushrooms that fruit from the rotting wood below when the weather is right.

We get lots of water from our irrigation ditch as this area was all orchards before WW2, and Boise has an elaborate system of irrigation ditches all over town.

After reading The Half-Acre Homestead, I built up a compost area out of job site scraps and just poured piers for our chicken coop/garden storage area. The piers are big because I plan on adding a green roof like your coop.

I could go on and on, but I want you to know that books like yours have been a real lifeline for a builder like me, especially out here in Idaho. Folks like yourself, and Foster, Bruno, et al have been a great inspiration, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

Take care and come visit sometime,
T.J., Missy, Willow, and Zoe Sayles

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Virtual Presentation of The Half-Acre Homestead

I did a virtual presentation of my book, The Half-Acre Homestead on August 20, 2020) at Bookshop Santa Cruz, one of my favorite bookstores in the world. I usually do a bunch of bookstore appearances for each new book; this year I just got the first one done at City Lights, before Covid closed things down.

It was recorded. About 30 minutes are me doing a slide show from the book. The last 30 minutes are questions from the audience — what do I think of domes, A-frames, underground houses? How to build nowadays? Cob and strawbale and Hardy Board? Chickens. My image looks blurry (at least here) and I suspect this is because of our slow DSL connection. (C’mon Horizon, ride to our rescue!)

www.crowdcast.io/e/bookshop-santa-cruz-7

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Louie Frazier and the Connection Between Our Books Shelter and Home Work

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I was photographing Jack Williams’ house in Point Arena, Calif. in 2000, and he said, “There’s someone up here who wants to meet you.”

We drove about 5 miles out of town, down into a riverfront valley, and I saw this beautiful little building. The two doors were open, and this guy, who I’d never seen before came out with an old tattered copy of Shelter, and he told me to crouch down in the doorway and look at the building’s framing. See this? He said? I built it from this painting (of a Mandan earth lodge) in Shelter.

Wow I thought, If Shelter inspired something like this, it’s time to do a sequel.

So Home Work, published in 2004 was born, and it featured lots of buildings inspired by Shelter.

BTW, the other day Louie said that back in the day, the saying was: “Turn on, tune in, drop out, and read Shelter.”

Note: With a 30% discount for 2 or more books, you can now get both Shelter and Home Work for $41 with free shipping: www.shelterpub.com

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