Inspiration Matters

Inspiration Matters by mikey and wendy
Inspiration Matters, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
I don't buy original art often. I can't afford it. But sometimes a piece fits or feels like something I lost and on seeing it I realize I found it. This is how it felt to see this painting by my friend Kyle, one of Truth or Consequences newest artist residents. I wooed the piece letting him know that I felt a match for it until the phone call came, "you should come get it." I did. Kyle is worth keeping an eye on if you can find him. You may have to come to Truth or Consequences to his little shop inside Mud Mountain Studios.


Rain Again

Rain Again by mikey and wendy
Rain Again, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

This is sure looking like a good rain year. It already rained once and it is only January. We also picked up a nice day of rain in December. I'm hopeful for a wet summer otherwise it is pure misery down here.

Romano Resumed

Romano Resumed by mikey and wendy
Romano Resumed, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Resumed our hard cheese making since this it requires the least effort. The soft cheeses just take too many hours in a single day.

Alaskan Caught Salmon

Alaskan Caught Salmon by mikey and wendy
Alaskan Caught Salmon, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Got a hookup from a local for 3 lbs of Alaskan caught salmon. We immediately hickory smoked the first 1 lb and just sprinkled a bit of lemon and pepper on it. Yum, it's Sockeye.

It Feels Good to Be Back Home

We have been pretty much unavailable for the last 2 weeks solid. First we went upstate to Pecos, NM so Wendy could do a three day solo retreat. Then we returned so she could lead a 3-day retreat. Inbetween we had the usual travel leave and return catch up stuff and a vistor. Our old friend Harlan that we met at Burningman years ago.

It Feels Good to Be Back Home #2It Feels Good to Be Back Home #3It Feels Good to Be Back Home #4

You Know You are Going to The Maker Faire When...

Wendy had her first Skype meeting of the year for Maker Faire in San Mateo this May. As always she coordinates the Swap-O-Rama-Ramas sometimes remotely and sometimes attending. This year she will be attending.

Scary Steps

Scary Steps by mikey and wendy
Scary Steps, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Our dog Sesame has been skeptical about my favorite running trail. These steps have been installed and she is very cautious on them. She does go up and down them, but only very slowly.


The Good Life Lab Binding

Today the first physical copy of my book, The Good Life Lab, arrived in the mail. It is an early uncorrected, bound proof for sales and promotion. Actual copies will be in stores June 5. It felt awesome to hold it. Alethea Morrison, the art director at Storey Publishing had the idea of an open bind with the signatures showing and stitched together. It makes the book feel great because you can actually open it all the way, even lay it flat. The prototype, I'm told, is messier than the final will be too. Psyched!

The Good Life Lab is now on Facebook, give it a LIKE.

2 - Bind The Good Life Lab


Best DIY Home Heating : Cheap & Easy Passive Solar

Wendy shows how easy it is to open and close curtains for passive solar heating. Our home heating bill has never exceeded $45 for a 1,100 square foot uninsulated trailer. The night time temperature that this film was made was down to 6F with windchill and day time high was only 36F. No heating was required during the day and the home heating unit only kicked on 3 times for 15 minute runs during the night to maintain a stable 60F indoor temperature.


The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living - Available for Preorder

I'm excited to announce that the book that I spent 2012 writing is available for preorder. The official release date is in June. I am writing this post to share with Holy Scrap readers the inspiration for the book and a little back story that is not in the book. It starts like this. . .

Commodification crept into my awareness early. I was in grade school in the 1970s in Nassau County just a short stint from New York City when I first noticed brands. Money earned in Manhattan and spent on Long Island met my consciousness in the form of designer clothing and branded consumer goods. Like the kids I went to school with I knew which brands earned social value. A tomboy, I delighted in torching forts I made of scrap then burned in the woods behind my home. A ratty pair of jeans suited my lifestyle fine. Still I noticed the priorities of my culture and felt the pressure of growing up in a commodified society with an insatiable appetite for more.

In my twenties I wrestled with the commodified world's illogicalities. Searching out a way to earn money I noticed that advancing my career often meant overriding my common sense. Jobs made strange demands: wake before your rested, work when your mind is not clear, eat at a set time and not when you are hungry, lie for sake of the mission of the company, compete, get the best of another, and mostly adapt.

The commodified world never taught me how the real world works. I learned how the default world works and how to work within it. I knew that just outside the boundary of commerce and merchandising the skills I'd acquired to succeed in the commodified world were useless. At the proper point of fedupness I took the skills I honed for my profession,  that I had once used to develop the commodified world, and I turned them around. I used them to dismantle it. This is where things got really interesting and it is the start of my book.

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living is the story of how Mikey and I created another way to live and what we discovered along the way. It is a contemplative and practical guide book for a post-consumer life. A mix of memoir and tutorials. I offer a view of the way the commodified world shapes people, so that we may each discover a way to wrestle free from it. The book is about invention, responsibility, creativity, community, economy, technology and value. It is about being an outlaw when that is the only sane thing to do. I show how to remake the stuff we use in our lives appliances, food, domestic goods, fuel and buildings, better and more responsibly than industry can. Perhaps the greatest of what I have to share has to do with what it is to be alive. I learned that we can tune ourselves to the life of this world. When we do we have a source of wisdom. Then we can do anything.

Thank you for reading and participating in many lively conversations on this blog. Many times it was your knowledge that we relied on, tested and proved. In your good company we took chances, made mistakes, celebrated, and had a damn good time. And we are hardly done.

The good folks at Storey Publishing filled my book with beautiful art, the of illustrations of twenty different artists. They printed the book with an unusual open bind making the book a work of art.

If you have ants in your pants and want to get your order in now you can preorder through Amazon (ships in June). If you wish to wait until June the book will be available in all retail outlets on line and off and also through our own Holy Scrap store.

If your on FB please LIKE The Good Life Lab by clicking here.
And if you will . .  . pass it on.!

First Round of Book Flyers from Storey Publishing

These flyers arrived this week for the book.

Super Cold Means Super Broken

One of our rain water tanks sprung a leak this morning. Our nights have been cold with temperatures in the teens and windchill into the single digits. I swapped the PVC handle out. More leaks to come.

Korean Lacto Kimchi (from the source)

I've been selling my Pimp and YATC kits to people all over the world. This means I end up getting into discussions with some of the customers. A recent client from South Korea gave me a kimchi recipe which tastes amazing after just 1 day of being stored at 80F.

(1) Napa Cabbage
(4) green onion tops chopped
(3 T) grey salt
(1) yellow onion (half chopped / half blended)
(3) limes (juice blended)
(3 T) Cock sauce (aka Rooster / Sriracha sauce)
(2 T) Red Pepper Flakes
(2 T) Fish Oil
(1 C) Warm Activated Whey

New to Us Juicer

New to Us Juicer by mikey and wendy
New to Us Juicer, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
Wendy scored a awesome vintage chrome topped "Juice-O-Matic" off Etsy. Our last hand crank squeezer died after a few years of service. We had been barely getting by with a glass version of the hand twist until your arm falls off. This one makes citrus easy.


Skateboard Strap

Skateboard Strap by mikey and wendy
Skateboard Strap, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
My electric skateboard is being used daily. I'm up to 4 miles per charge with it. The most recent addition is a large velcro strap so I can pick it up easier and secure the battery enclosure when on off-road terrain. The hardware store in town sold the strap I needed, but it was way too long. After cutting off 30" and using my sewing machine for a few minutes I was able to size the strap to fit just right. It makes the ride a little quieter too.

Skateboard Strap #2

Sunday Morning Kit Building

We have enjoyed a lovely holiday season of kit orders for our pimp and yatc units. I'm just about caught up on all the backorders. Ashe came over at 9am to help me assemble the last few dozen units.

Mesquite Glazed Sourdough

I've been making some unbelievably good sourdough this winter. I start with slowly adding rye flour and water to my culture. This takes 48 hours at a temperature of 72F (I'm using a fermentation chamber).

I prep the yeast with 2 T honey + 1/2 c of water + 1 t of yeast and let sit for 30 minutes.

Mix the following ingredients with the yeast start and wait one hour:

- 2 c white flour
- 1 c sourdough starter
- 1 t salt
- 1T caraway seed
- 2 t onion powder

Mix dough (again).

Move to baking container, sprinkle on mesquite flour and let rise for another hour. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

Notice the Special

Notice the Special by mikey and wendy
Notice the Special, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
Ahh…How nice to have a special special.

Sesame Got a New Sweater

We are going into the coldest time of year with temperatures likely to go into single digits and windchill below zero in the next week. In order to keep our short haired red heeler a little more comfortable Wendy bought her a sweater from Etsy. Everyone wanted to help her put it on.

The New Food Coop Model

We received our first bulk food delivery from Azure Standard this week. We placed a order on-line the week before delivery for cases of produce, flour, nuts and meats. The order arrived at the usual drop location in front of our house (pure coincidence) and we dragged the boxes in. We had been waiting for the weather to cool down so we could store food without concern of spoilage. Now that we have spent time reviewing their catalog I realize that we could be placing orders year round in small quantity as you are not required to buy large bulk amounts. The truck delivers every month and all we need to do is pay with our credit card on the site. It's nice not to have the complexity of a buying club where all the funds need to be collected and the food broken out from bulk to individual sizes.


Maintaing Yeast Starters with the YATC Temperature Controller (Customer Video)

Nick a home-brewer and recent YATC customer just pointed us towards a lovely video he posted. He not only shows a complete assembly of the YATC temperature controller. Nick also shares how he keeps his yeast starters at a ideal 70F to prevent stuck fermentations.


Chill Out & Spell

Chill Out & Spell by mikey and wendy
Chill Out & Spell, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
For this New Years Eve we decided to host a spelling bee. My favorite thing about spelling bees is they focus a large group on a single conversation. To make the bee more interesting we add one rule, anyone can make up a rule at any time.

Some of my favorites last night were: You can call your mother and ask her how to spell. Someone then made the rule that the best speller in the circle was her mother, then shell called him. Another made the rule, "I get three tries."

Chill Out & Spell

When Things Stop Working

Who cares that this vacuum sealer was $5 at a garage sale, doesn't mean its not worth fixing. The trouble? It stopped sealing, but it does vacuum. Mikey's got it in parts on the kitchen table. Might fix it too! No harm in trying since right now its a paperweight headed for the trash.