Friday, February 3, 2012

quick images from san francisco

working on a precedent analysis out here, looking at multi-family housing, markets, restaurants, and gardens...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Colorado Springs

I am in Colorado for a few days with my design studio, yesterday was our first day and we have already seen some absolutely amazing art and architecture.

I wish Raquel and Ezra could be out here. It would be so much fun to share this, we are going to have to make a trip out here together soon. (Especially since Raquel's Dad's family is from here) I walked through the farmers market at Colorado College, so many people out with their young ones, it hurt not to have you guys with me. My heart just aches for you.

Here's a taste of what we saw, more to come.
"Stickworks": Cottonwood and Elm cutting sculpture at Colorado College in Colorado Springs by Patrick Dougherty.

"Stickworks" with the Cornerstone Arts Center in the background, designed by AMD architects out of Denver.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


While reading a post from Edible Geography, I was reminded about how at home here at Urban Harvester,GrittyPretty has come up with some pretty fantastic ways of dealing with, you know, baby poop.
The post illuminates not only the courageous life of a "flusher" of London's pipes but also what I think is pretty clear: the concept of "the sewer", not unlike the concept of "away" (you know... the place one throws things?), needs desperately to be rethought, and definitely to be re-designed. Here's an excerpt:
"With the air of a connoisseur, Rob uses his shovel to point out the difference between congealed "old fat" and more yellow-toned "new fat," picking out rats, condoms, and the offending wet wipes, which remain intact throughout their journey, and which, "believe it or not, we have to wash and compact and put into landfill." The rest of the fatberg will be broken up using a jetting unit, which simply "stirs it up and blasts it through."

...If the ways in which a city is supplied with food are often hard to visualise, the infrastructure through which that food, transformed into metabolic excretions, is once again removed are usually even better hidden..."

This reminded me of another post I read recently which illustrates a related point: waste = food. All that fat(oil) could be powering... something... other than the cost of city "utilities". It is completely possible to design our "waste" streams to function like any output does in nature, supplying vital life giving nourishment to a living organism or ecosystem:
"... say your electricity came not from a dirty coal-steam plant but from algae that grew in a wetland cell that treated the effluent from your kitchen and bathroom? Suppose that once you had wrung out the algae mat for its rich gardening nutrients, you separated the oils from the biomass and refined those into fuel for your car. Then you took the leftover biomass and fed it to a pyrolyzing stove, which cooked your meals, heated your house, made your electricity, and left you not with ash but biochar — recalcitrant carbon ready to enrich your garden for the next 1000 years, staying out of the atmosphere all the while. Cool food, cool fuel, cool waste treatment, cool climate."
So while we don't yet have the financing (or the code approval) to install a wetland cell or composting toilet at the homestead, we at least have a good solution for how to avoid the troublesome wet-wipes. So I thought I'd share that with you.
To complement our one-size-fits-all re-usable diapers, GrittyPretty made a whole bag full of cloth wipes made from scrap soft cotton fabric. We get them wet, use them and easily just wrap them up in the poopy diaper and throw the lot in the wash (with some vinegar to help keep things healthy). We use a water efficient Asko front-load washer and a great strong yet gentle biodegradable HE detergent called "Country Save" and have had no problems with either. I can attest to the fact that they work every bit as well, and are even a bit easier than the wet-wipes. And I don't know if Provo City has flushers, but if they do, I know they're not picking wet wipes out from pipes clogged with congealed fat, rats and condoms on our account...

The changing table with bag of clean, reusable wet wipes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

putting together the portfolio

Here are a couple of pages I put together for my grad school portfolio that have to do with some of our projects over the last few years.


It's back to school this winter (for the first time in 6 1/2 YEARS), with physics one and two. It takes me back to when I read the Tao of Physics while riding the bus to work a few years ago - a life changing experience.

I was reading it as part of my study of the use of "pattern languages" in Permaculture design, and have subsequently read several books by the author. Fritjof Capra is right at the top of my list of favorite thinkers. As a writer he has a talent for making science understandable, relevant and soul changing.

I started taking the courses at SLCC, which was rough trying to get to classes on top of work. But Quellie brought it to my attention that I can take it as an independant study!! So now I will be taking College Physics while I ride the bus!

I'm sure the text is much drier than Capra's, but it will get me into grad school...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to my darling Raquel!

The best friend I've ever had,

The best gardening cohort I could ever wish for,

veritable forest sprite,

and best person ever to curl up with.

I love you! Happy Birthday!