DIY greenhouse provides 365 days of personal gardening bliss

The Greenhouse of the Future is a new design by a new designer (Francis Gendron), but it traces its pedigree directly to sustainable living guru Mike Reynolds of Earthship fame. Gendron was the first graduate of Reynolds’s Taos, NM, Earthship Biotecture Academy and has obviously taken a considerable amount of inspiration from Reynolds’s work.

Aside from giving you a nice vegetable garden, the greenhouse puts a tropical getaway just past your door.


Gendron took solar heating as a starting point and expanded on it to develop a passive, sustainable greenhouse that’s built of natural and recycled materials and stays warm year-round. It’s set into the ground so that geothermal energy supplements the sunlight, and utilizes aquaponic gardening to increase productivity and reduce inputs.

A good day to be inside – and thanks to the solar/geothermal combo, it’s still warm in there!


A team effort always makes things easier.


Highly functional, but not just functional. With a little attention to detail, the greenhouse looks great.


Grow your own pineapples and bananas!


Turn A Pringles Can Into A Lean, Green, Hot Dog Cooking Machine

If you have a hankering for a roasted hot dog but you don’t have any fire, and you left your solar oven behind, you might still be in luck, assuming you have an empty can of Pringles laying around. This quick and easy DIY will show you how to re-use the empty can to heat a hot dog (or anything else you can skewer) up to 170 degrees in the sun.

First you need to outline the panel on the can


Cut the panel out and save the piece of cardboard to use as a stand.


Get a skewer and poke it through the end cap.


Drill a hole in the bottom of the can to place the other end of the skewer into.


Voila! A DIY hot dog roaster is finished.


Use your cut out panel to make a stand, and set it in the sun, where the highly reflective interior will warm up to a toasty 170 degrees.


10 Things Only Someone From Michigan Understands

1. “UP” doesn’t refer to a famous Disney movie


Source: Wikimedia Commons use Magnus Manske

2. You can experience all four seasons in 24 hours.



Rain in the morning, snow in the afternoon, and maybe a burst of sunshine in the evening. Nothing unusual about that.

3. It’s the only place you can visit Paradise, and see Hell freeze over in the same day.


4. Feeling ill? Have a Vernor’s Ale.


Source: Flickr user Ron

It’s no secret that ginger ale helps you feel better, but there’s really only one choice when it comes to the brand that works best.

5. UM/University of Michigan is the only rivalry in sports that matters


Source: Wikimedia Commons Michael Barera

Choose your side wisely and pray you don’t have two children that go to each school.

6. It’s perfectly normal to get Canadian coins as change


Source: Flickr user Shawn Carpenter

Given the proximity to our friendly neighbors to the north, you shouldn’t be surprised if half your change ends up being Canadian. Don’t worry though, it works just the same as ours.

7. That craving for venison meat

learnliving-michigan-12Hunting deer is a big thing up here, and pretty soon you’ll develop a taste for it.

8. It’s pronounced “Mackinaw”


There’s really only one true way to say it, “mac-in-awe”, but you can bet any outsider will screw it up.

9. Western Michigan might as well be a second Netherlands


Source: Christian Reformed Church in North America Facebook

The Dutch have a strong presence in this area, so don’t be surprised if you can’t remember whether your neighbors are the “Vanderwidens” or the “Vandercamps” or some other similar variation.

10. The Michigan left


Every state has it’s own driving nuances, and it’s no different here, where the “Michigan Left” is just part of the routine.

What do you think best defines your state? Let us know in the comments and we will add it to the list!

She Transformed A School Bus Into An Artistic Ecovillage Dwelling

Once a perfectly ordinary yellow school bus, Aubergine is now an unusual tiny house in an unusual community, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri. Dancing Rabbit is a commune with a focus on ecological sustainability, so when their bus reached the end of its mobile life it was only natural to find a new use for it. In contrast to many bus conversions no attempt has been made to retain a bus aesthetic, and the bus itself has all but disappeared behind a sheet-metal roof, earthen berm and adjacent greenhouse.

Here’s Aubergine, getting towed into her final resting place…


There are good practical reasons for all of the add-ons. The roof diverts rainwater to a collection system, the berm protects the bus body from the wind, and the heat from the greenhouse radiates so well to the living area that the woodstove inside is only needed at night.

Rainwater from the roof fills the blue plastic barrels, and the simple sun porch looks like a great place to read a book.

Aubergine 1Aside from heat, the greenhouse provides kale, horseradish, and strawberries.

Aubergine 6With the greenhouse on one side and an earthen berm on the other, Aubergine stays in the high 60s even when covered with snow.

Aubergine 5The drawback is that the interior’s rather dark, but colored glass bottles serving as small windows brighten it a bit.

Aubergine 4Katherine’s workspace – and coworker looking less than enthusiastic about the photo op.

Aubergine 3There’s no bathroom, but plenty of space for working, relaxing, and sleeping.

Aubergine 2

Dancing Rabbit residents built Aubergine over several years at a cost of about $6,000, and it’s now home to eco-artist Katherine Hanson, who’s even found room for a small studio workspace inside the 150-square-foot bus frame. If you’d like to learn more, check out the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage website.

Burt’s Bees Co-Founder Lives In A Tiny House

Have you ever wondered who the “Burt” behind the famous natural products company Burt’s Bees was? Perhaps you have, but you probably don’t know much about the reclusive man, and for the most part that’s the way he likes it.


Burt’s Bees co-founder Burt Shavitz may have missed the big payout for the company, but he did get a pretty nice tiny house out of it. He’s still living in it and doesn’t seem inclined to leave – even for a little while.

“A good day is when no one shows up. And you don’t have to go anywhere,” says the famously reclusive beekeeper.”

If you’d like to spend a little time with him anyway, there’s a new documentary about his life, Burt’s Buzz, available for rent on Amazon; you can also watch the trailer there or check it out below.


Watch the video below to learn more about his life

When This School Brought Meditation Into The Classroom, Some Rolled Their Eyes – Until They Saw The Results.

When Vistacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco decided to implement meditation into the curriculum back in 2007, more than a few teachers and parents rolled their eyes at the thought of this new age approach having any impact.

Meditation has been around for centuries, and numerous studies have shown its benefits, but until now we didn’t know what effect it would have in a classroom setting. The school in question had its share of troubled teens acting out, resulting in fights, low test scores, and other disciplinary problems.

Many thought it seemed like a waste of precious time. They were wrong.

“The kids see guns on a daily basis,” the school’s athletic director, Barry O’Driscoll said, adding, “there would be fights here three-to-five times a week.”

After a lot of discussion the school introduced “quiet time” where students put their heads on their desks and practiced transcendental meditation twice each day, for a 15 minute period of time. To counter the lost 30 minutes in each day, the school extended the day by the same amount of time, thus negating any complaints about lost teaching time.

Four years later they saw a 79% decrease in suspensions, a 98.3% increase in attendance, and a 400% increase in GPA. Those numbers proved quite substantial, and changed even the most skeptical teacher’s minds. Today Quiet Time is widely regarded as one of the most dramatically successful initiatives in the Bay Area, and perhaps best of all is that it requires zero resources – all you need is silence.

This sort of approach to mindfullness could easily benefit many children around the country, and with that in mind a new campaign was created to pursue integrating meditation into more classrooms.

Learn more about how you can help fund this promising initiative

Korea Brings Us A Strange New Trend In Canine Fashion – Square Grooming

From sneaker-wearing dogs in Korea to dogs painted with tiger stripes in the Philippines, Asia has long been at the cutting edge of canine fashion. The latest trend, from Taiwan, is doggie haircuts that turn the dog’s head into a cube or a sphere according to the taste of its owner. It’s definitely something to see – but what remains to be seen is whether it will catch on anywhere else.

Well, this one’s actually kind of cute.

Square Hair 1This might not work very well with a hyperactive dog . . .

Square Hair 5Turn him upside down and he’ll be an exclamation point!

Square Hair 2We think the last two want their money back . . .

Square Hair 4Square Hair 3



Washing Clothes Offgrid Just Got A Whole Lot Easier

Washing clothes by hand is difficult, time-consuming work. But then, getting a standard washing machine to run off solar panels is pretty difficult too. So aside from trips to the local Laundromat, hand washing, tiresome as it is, has been the best option for many people who live off-grid.


Now Canadian company YiREGO is looking to change that with a 5-liter foot-powered device that looks a little like a high-tech wastebasket. The size means you can’t wash very many clothes at once, so it wouldn’t work for a family, but for someone living by herself it could probably save a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately it won’t ship until July of 2016, but you can pre-order now to lock in an introductory price of $129.


Move Over Jello Shots – The Bellini Popcicle Is Here

It’s safe to say most adults have graduated from Jell-O shots, and they might be ready for a more sophisticated alcoholic dessert. But a lack of options in the frozen food section makes it tough. Well, rejoice, because there’s a new option that mixes Prosecco with peach schnapps to form something resembling a frozen Bellini cocktail. Each popsicle is made of 29% Prosecco paired with peach schnapps, giving them an abv of 3.8%

Prosecco Pop 1

Currently this delicious offering is only available at a London Italian bar/restaurant named Bunga Bunga in apparent tribute to former Prime Minister Berlusconi. Although we hate to think what he would have done with such an item at one of his infamous sex parties. As for us, we’ll keep our fingers crossed they expan for the Moscato and pops and in the meantime you may want to make your own boozy popcicles.


A Mysterious Hole Drains This “Lost Lake” Every Year

Take a look at this lake, because the next time you see it there might not be any water left. That’s because a mysterious hole in the ground has been draining the lake at a rapid rate. No, the Chinese did not find a way to dig through the earth to suck our water dry. Rather, in a region littered with volcanic activity the phenomenon is most likely the result of water draining through the hole and into the earth through a “lava tube”.

Every winter after the snowpack melts, the lake fills up, and the draining commences. There’s not much to be done, as plugging the hole would cause the lake to overflow, flooding the surrounding area and road. That hasn’t stopped people from trying though, and Jude McHugh, a spokeswoman for the Wilamette National Forest told The Bulletin that numerous attempts have been made, and they even found car parts, including an engine, stuffed in the hole one year.


In fact, the phenomenon isn’t all that unusual, and there are at least 19 other lakes in the state that have the same type of hole, but given the proximity to U.S.Highway 20, this has become the most well-known example.