Kids and Other People

This Spring Ampersand is blooming with children. I enjoy their enthusiasm and lack of focus (which sounds weird right? More on that a bit later). Great local families showed up for our Community Homestead Day. A bunch of… Read More

Spring Planting

Raising young plants from seed is maybe my favorite thing to do in life. Tending plants is a task that never makes it on my to-do list. The plants seem to be an extension of myself. If I… Read More

Solar Cold Frame

Ampersand’s cold frame is usually the favorite stop on our site tours. If you have ever grown in one, you know that a cold frame is a season extender. It’s a way to create a milder climate so… Read More

Signs of Spring

Yes, I agree.  It’s a little early for spring.  But when the Apricots are blooming, it’s undeniable. I grafted another apricot variety (Scout) onto one of our volunteer apricot trees.  It turns out these grafted branches bloom sooner… Read More

Water Collection

[youtube=http://youtu.be/AOWlRyQk5iY]This video is of our trial run for the new rain catchment system on our shop. The shop structure was originally conceived just for getting more water into our cisterns. But we stalled on the rain collection aspect,… Read More

Appropriate Technologies and Crowd Sourcing

I’ve always loved the term Appropriate Technologies. It evokes ram pumps that use the force of the water to do the pumping, low tech solar water heaters you can make yourself, and bicycle powered washing machines. Wikipedia says… Read More

Thermal Awesomeness

Adam Rubinstein rents a cozy house that is unburdened by an abundance of insulation. Fashionably warm in summer and cool in winter, like so many houses. But Adam is not your typical anybody. For one thing, he is… Read More

Snapshot of a Solar Stew

Until recently the questions that guided my cooking strategies were: How many dishes will I have to do? Can I do something else while I cook this? How do I cook it with sunlight? Can I fit fairly… Read More

The Solstice Tree

We carefully built our house without disturbing surrounding vegetation. Like that one Juniper tree just a few feet to the south of the building site. I had carefully calculated the distance from the tree to the bottom of… Read More

Community Homesteading

When Andy and I came back to New Mexico in 2002, there were a group of us old friends. We went to the Lama Foundation’s Build Here Now program, and tried out the community living and natural building… Read More