Archive for the 'House and Garden' Category

The start of the Underground House

Sep 21 2012 Published by under House and Garden

Around last August we were about done gardening for the season and were ready to move onto the next step of the project: Building our own shelter.

The first step was to come up with a design. We got some influence from a book about underground houses and decided to go with that, since they have good temperature control and we could build with the landscape. The plan was to build the house along the side of a cliff and then cover it with dirt.

I drew up a few 3D models in Maya of the original plan.

The final product (which I’ll post next) wasn’t exactly like this, but it was pretty close. We dropped the top window that you see in the renders and actually added a few extra rooms. Also as it turns out, there was a rock shelf under the ground. By coincidence it matched up almost perfectly with the plan though. ?In retrospect, one thing we would have changed is the position of the windows near the door. We should have had them on the other side to get late day sun.

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Beginning of the Garden

Sep 21 2012 Published by under House and Garden

Since I’m just starting this blog up now, this post has to cover about a year and a half of heavy duty labor.

Basically, about a year and a half ago, a friend of mine told me about a plan he had for a project. Most people would say it’s a sustainable living project, but that’s not really?the idea. His plan was that we would grow our own food and build our own houses and then teach other people how to do it. But the purpose wasn’t?environmental?or sustainable. It’s simply a philosophy about spending less money and being willing to do work yourself instead of spending it to have other people do the dirty work.

The first step was basically to turn the acre of land we had in the?Catskill?mountains?into a garden. It’s really vicious land. The soil is at least 50% rocks. Fortunately we had a former gardner’s tools and advice on hand and slowly we broke the land like pilgrims.

We I say gardening I don’t mean planting things on the front lawn with a little spade like an old lady. I mean hitting the ground with a pick axe and filtering out tons (literally) of rocks.


Yeah. In the beginning we were filtering with a milk crate and a garbage can. It was brutal, but it was good?exercise. Later on we fixed an old wheelbarrow and borrowed?a screen to upgrade our technology.


By the end of the season we had a full garden with squash,?tomato, peppers, corn, chard, kale, and near infinite amounts of green beans that you could eat off the plants. It was a pretty huge accomplishment based on the fact that everyone told us it wouldn’t work on that land.

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