As a commercial contractor, I have spent years working with clients who wanted to do something different with their building structure. Many wanted to implement sustainable facilities and green materials as part of an eco-friendly business plan. Today, the worldwide market for green building materials is at $116 billion. However, it’s projected to more than double by 2020 becoming a $254 billion market. As the world progresses towards eco-friendly changes, it’s important for homeowners and businesses to work together to invest and participate in green building and materials.

Millions of visitors swarm the Las Vegas strip looking for entertainment, world-renowned casinos and luxury restaurants. However, one of these hotels offers a better eco-friendly experience than the rest. The Las Vegas Palazzo Hotel and Resort was awarded the most eco-friendly hotel in America award because of its commitment to sustainable facilities and green practices. One way that the hotel changed its policy was by including water saving methods in its landscaping regimen. While the Palazzo is a big resort, some of its landscapes are made entirely of artificial turf grass, and all of the other areas are watered by drip irrigation systems that have moisture sensors. This prevents unnecessary watering throughout the day, and ultimately, the Palazzo has saved eight million gallons of water per year with these methods.

Homeowners can use the same techniques and a few others to conserve water. Drip irrigation systems are more commercial and affordable for home use. You can also collect gray water from laundry washer machines and showers to water gardens. Tankless water heaters are available that don’t require a tank of water to be stored at all times. There are also low flow toilets and shower heads that you can implement in the home to better conserve on water.

Natural lighting and heat sources are another way that people have been able to conserve energy. Solar panels are now built on roofs as shingles, which allow both businesses and homeowners to save on energy and even sell energy to local utility companies. Natural lighting in businesses is even more profitable. By installing skylights, high efficiency windows and sun-rooms, you can cut back on your need for fluorescent and incandescent lighting.

Homeowners are going beyond recycling and up cycling. Many people have found great value for their homes by building outdoor living areas like decks and porches. These are wonderful areas to have around the home that are naturally lit and don’t drain on resources needed for the home. Sun-rooms are also a great area to have in a house, particularly in the wintertime.

The innovation being done by businesses such as the various Las Vegas hotels as well as homeowners is extremely encouraging. It is important that this continues and is done throughout the globe.


This is a guest post by Sam Marquit, an independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value. You can follow him at http://fmarquitv.tumblr.com/

 

“I think I’ve lost my car’s registration papers.” she said. “I’ve been looking for it all over the place for the last couple of hours and can’t find it.”

“Stop stressing yourself out,” I said, “and stop looking for now. You’ll find it when you stop looking!”

It happens so often that we misplace or lose something and then go looking for it when we need it the most. More often than not, we tend to ignore the most obvious places where we might have to look. What is funny though is how when you find what you were looking for, it somehow always appears to make the entire search operation somewhat silly!

We definitely are in the process of losing something extremely important for the very basis of our existence. The rate at which forests are being wiped out trying to cater to the ever-rising demand from the lumber and mining industry, we will soon be looking for alternative solutions. In fact, there are a few amongst us who have been aware enough to start the search. The solution, like always, is all around us, waiting to be found!

Bamboo, the fastest growing plant (true grass) in the world can sometimes grow at the rate of 100 centimeters in 24 hours. Producing about 35% more oxygen than other trees and being a more effective binder of the soil preventing erosion. The possibilities for using bamboo in everything from creating household products to actually using it to build simple and complex structures are infinite. Bamboo naturally has greater tensile strength when compared to steel and can withstand compression better than concrete.

It would be wrong to say that we’ve been totally ignorant of the possibilities that this magnanimous plant provides. A few examples of organizations which are either involved in researching and exploiting these possibilities or have benefited from them are listed here. These should help get a better understanding of the advantages of Bamboo.

1) Green School, Bali, Indonesia

One of the most stunning examples of bamboo architecture, Green School is an institution that takes its stand of sustainability very seriously. The school doesn’t stop at being an example of sustainable building and existential practices; it goes a step further and is pioneering in sustainability within education.

Green School, Bali

Green School, Bali

Green School, Bali

Green School, Bali

Green School, Bali

Green School, Bali

2) Chiangmai Life Construction (CLC), Chiangmai, Thailand

CLC is one of the organizations at the forefront of research and construction using bamboo along with mud as the only media. The philosophy is to increase the quality of life of the client by using natural materials combined with modern, light and clean architecture. They specialize in adobe, wattle & daub and rammed earth walls, rammed earth floors, bamboo roofs, bamboo structures, bamboo pavilions. CLC designs and builds houses, schools as well as office and factory spaces.

The Panyaden School, entirely built from rammed earth walls and floors, adobe bricks, bamboo roofs and recycled hardwood, is one of the projects executed by CLC.

The Panyaden School, built by CLC

The Panyaden School, built by CLC

The Panyaden School

The Panyaden School

The Panyaden School

The Panyaden School

___________________________

3) Wonder Grass, Bangalore, India

Wonder Grass is an entrepreneurial initiative that strives to bring bamboo based building systems into the mainstream construction industry in India. Their primary work is in the realm of disaster rehabilitation, integrated rural housing, workers housing and rural infrastructure.

QuB bamboo cottage is a result of the research and construction techniques developed by the team at Wonder Grass.

Bamboo cottage by Wonder Grass

Bamboo cottage by Wonder Grass

Bamboo geodesic dome by Wonder Grass

Bamboo geodesic dome by Wonder Grass

Wonder Grass demo unit

Wonder Grass demo unit

4) Auroville Bamboo Center, Pondicherry, India

For the last six years, the Auroville Bamboo Center has been working with local youth and craftsmen from rural Tamil Nadu with the aim of bringing together traditional Indian craft with contemporary world culture. The goal is to be involved in unending research and development of Bamboo for the benefit of local and international communities.

The Verite community dwellings are a beautiful example of the work that is done by the team at Auroville Bamboo Center.

Entrance to the Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Entrance to the Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Store at Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Store at Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Bamboo roof structure prototype at Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Bamboo roof prototype at Auroville Bamboo Research Center

Bamboo housing at Verite, Auroville

Bamboo housing at Verite, Auroville

If you know of other interesting buildings or projects involving creative use of Bamboo as a base unit, do share it here.

Cafe Noir is an upmarket contemporary French restaurant located in the Brigade Orion Mall in Bangalore. The design for the restaurant was carefully detailed with the intention of recreating romanticism from the streets of Paris.

With its heartfelt hospitality and the quality of its traditional cuisine – bread and pastries, Café Noir sets you in a typical bistro ambiance that characterizes every great French city. Here, the duck confit competes with the veggie burgers; the Caesar salad accompanies the fish soup and the homemade sandwiches. The design of the restaurant adds to the dining experience that only Café Noir guarantees.

*All photographs are co-owned by Vijay Nambiar Design and Cafe Noir Restaurants India Pvt. Ltd.

In earlier posts, I have focussed on design solutions that involved recycling and reusing building materials and other products of day-to-day use. These solutions involve the use of materials and products with a limited life cycle and a lot of them would sooner or later end up in landfills and the problem of sustainability would resurface. Reusing or upcycling products primarily ensures an extension of the shelf life, in other words, we would just postpone the inevitable!

In striking contrast, using natural materials already available in abundance in their basic form presents itself as a more intelligent solution to our environment-related woes. Since time immemorial, we’ve used nature in its purest form for most of our needs. Curved branches formed bows, two stones made a fire, vines formed rope to build huts with thatch roofs.

WE WERE MOST DEFINITELY INTELLIGENT.

Even if I take references from closer home and from not so distant a past, in India, till about a little more than a decade back, our milk didn’t reach us in packets or ‘recycled/recyclable’ paper boxes, cola wasn’t available in pet bottles, power hogging machines did not dry clothes and more importantly we never needed to get anywhere fast enough to use fancy looking gas guzzling transport.

WE STILL HAD INTELLIGENCE.

And then the world got smaller, we became citizens of the world. We forgot about how solutions that work in Arizona wouldn’t necessarily work in Bangalore or that homes built in Delhi had to look different from the ones in Budapest. We have now flattened the many dimensions that formed our beautiful planet.

WE THINK WE ARE THE MOST INTELLIGENT!

But we’re not…
In my opinion, the only way to go and saving ourselves from catastrophe would be to get smart and maybe unlearn a bit. Lessons are there to be learnt from the world around us. Lessons from the mistakes that we’ve made and continue making. This post features five creations that involve making use of the resources nature provides and using them in their unprocessed forms. These are intelligent solutions, solutions we can’t ignore any more…

Straw Stool’

Designers: Gina Hsu and Nagaaki Shaw from DHH Studio, Taiwan
Materials: Rice, Grain, Straw, Coir, Epoxy Resin


‘Bent Reed’

Designer: Taylor Mckenzie-Veal
Materials: Reed


‘Kagome’

Designers: PPAG & Simon Oberhammer + Stefanie Mayer
Materials: Willow saplings, Raffia of wood, Humus


‘Loofah Products’

Designer: Fernando Laposse
Materials: Loofah, Wood, Clay, Steel

‘Urushi Lacquer Bench + Stool’

Designer: Max Lamb
Materials: Cleft Chestnut, Urushi Lacquer

          
It’s time we became INTELLIGENT!

Credits: The solutions listed here were sourced from http://www.designboom.com/ 

 

Space dividers play multi-functional roles in an office space. Other than creating spaces within spaces, they act as acoustic insulators, vertical storage units, signage holders or even message boards. Every office design brief today specifies the need to incorporate cabins, meeting rooms and conferences as an integral aspect of the space planning and in most cases, interior designers and architects end up specifying toughened glass, gyp-board or MDF partitions in their design specifications for partitions. The benefits of using these materials are pretty obvious but also extremely over-rated.

The impact that glass and particle board production has on the environment has been widely documented and conveniently ignored. From the mining of sand for the glass industry to the release of potentially lethal gases and VOCs during the production process of glass and particle board, every step is a step towards an unsustainable tomorrow. A rather direct and simple way to tackle these issues would be to simply reuse and recycle these materials. It might not be easy or even practical to completely do away with the standard materials like glass and particle board, but would it do us harm though to think outside the box and look at the many eco-friendly and brilliantly creative solutions that are already available today for the modern office space. Not only are the solutions highlighted in this post simple, recycled, recyclable, they add a lot of character and design value to the spaces they are installed within.

‘Fort’ Acoustic Partition System

Designed by Arihiro Miyake, the individual modules of this acoustic partition system are formed of recycled PET bottle fibre. The assembly of modules is facilitated by integrated high-performance magnets which allow easy modification and unlimited extensibility to this system.

Recycled Water Bottle Partition by Klein Dytham 

Tokyo-based practice Klein Dytham Architecture has recycled used water bottles to create partitions for the office of Danone Waters.

‘Nomad’ system by MIO

Made from recycled, double-wall cardboard, Nomad is a modular architectural system that can be assembled into freestanding, temporary partitions without hardware, tools or damage to existing structures. The modules can be arranged into open or closed configurations creating private environments or light and airy room dividers. The Nomad System can also be configured to create doorways and corners, easily adjusting to any indoor space.

‘Ditto’ by 3Form

Individual cross-shaped pieces combine to create a three-dimensional partition, wall feature or even an art piece. Ditto allows for high design customisation with the low impact of 40% pre-consumer recycled content.  Ecoresin, the 3Form product that is used to make the pieces that form Ditto, is a non-toxic and sustainable material.

‘Tikibaq’ by Bleu Nature

Marketed as an outdoor screen for decks and patios, Tikibaq from Bleu Nature can become a beautiful screen for office spaces. Formed from driftwood and lacquered stainless steel, Tikibaq acts as an interesting space divider.

Barrisol sheets

Providing a variety of solutions for partitions and ceilings, the Barrisol sheet is formed from a co-polymer material which is guaranteed to be lead-free and 100% recyclable. Barrisol takes back old Barrisol sheets after years of use for recycling.

Having lived in your home for a few years now, do you now feel that you need to do something to make it feel new and invigorating again? Do you feel that one bright painting on that wall might lift the gloom from your living room or that a fresh coat of polish might make that dining table breathe life into those dinner parties that you host so often? Being an interior designer, I am constantly asked by friends and family for ideas to make their lived-in homes, warmer and may be a tad bit more alive.

Here are some unique and creative solutions that may help you if you face the same conundrum every time you sit back on your favourite couch after a long day at work. All you need to do is get up and make a start, the world is full of inspiration!

WALLS AND PARTITIONS

The first thing that you think of when you want to make your home look new is paints. Coating the walls with a fresh coat of paint has always been our answer. How about stripping the plaster off the walls and going for a rustic exposed brick look? Or maybe get someone to paint caricatures on the wall. Creating a wallpaper with old newspapers could do wonders too! You could also get creative and create partitions or screens by recycling materials like old beer bottles.

Exposed brick wall with old photo frames

Walls with caricature sketches

Newspapers used as wallpaper

Discarded beer bottle partition

CEILING AND LIGHT

Lights play an important role in changing the aesthetic appeal of a space. It is true that the light is more important than the lamp itself but it would do no harm to have a lamp or lamp shade that in itself could become the pièce de résistance. Lamps could be created from discarded tubelights, bulbs, milk cans, etc. Moreover, the day and age of white gypboard false ceilings is long gone. If you look around with a creative eye, something like discarded pet bottles could become interesting ceiling elements.

Pendant lamp created with discarded fluorescent tubes

Cambell’s soup cans reused as suspended lamp shades

Pet bottles with coloured liquid used as ceiling element

Another view of the ceiling element created with pet bottles

FLOORING AND RUGS

It is not always necessary that making a change or improvement to the existing tiled flooring in your home will cost you a lot of money. There are many ways of doing these improvements at a reasonable cost and a lot of these are Eco-friendly solutions which involve recycling or reusing materials that would generally be discarded. Using reclaimed wood planks for wood flooring is a great idea as reclaimed wood has its own patina and adds a lot of warmth to a space. You could even use a bit of paint and use your creativity to add value to the wood by painting motifs onto the floor. Using old carpet tiles of different colours and patterns to create an area rug could be another way of sprucing things up. Similar rugs could also be made with pieces of discarded fabric woven together.

Wooden flooring with reclaimed wood planks

Reclaimed wood flooring with motifs painted onto it

Area rug for dining table created with a combination of bright carpet tiles

FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES

Reusing or recycling materials or products to create interesting pieces of furniture has limitless possibilities. Old chairs reupholstered with pieces of discarded fabrics, coffee tables made using waste or reclaimed wood, dining chairs created from discarded street signs, the options are infinite. Accessories like photo frames or wall shelves created from reclaimed wood or display units created using old jewellery boxes could all add that zing to your home.

Contemporary urban furniture from recycled road signs by Boris Bally

Discarded skateboards make interesting stools. Designed by Jason Podleski for Deckstool

Chair made with old pipes

Irregular profiles of waste wood combine to form a beautiful coffee table

Antique or old wooden frames have a natural patina that gives them character

Old frames of different sizes and finished create an impact on a white wall

Pieces of old wood fixed to a metal bracket create an interesting wall display unit

PLANTS AND LANDSCAPE

Nothing could possibly breathe life into a space better than plants, literally. Adding plants to an interior space has now become easier than ever. Self-watering planters, recycled pots and similar products are readily available in the market today. Information about the kind of plants that grow in spaces without too much direct natural light and ways of keeping indoor plants from withering are easily accessible on the internet. Having an indoor organic herb garden in your kitchen is now the first step to a healthier lifestyle. Plants in unique and interesting planters or pots have now become the center pieces in homes today.

Inverted planters by Boskke create an interesting kitchen herb garden

Cacti and other plants in interesting wall-hung planters

Moss terrarium in old wine bottle from Uncommon Goods

Inverted planters by Boskke form an interesting suspended landscape

Having had travelled to many destinations across India in the past, the craving in me to find a unique and exciting travel experience had been higher than ever before. The first time I heard about the ‘Off the Grid’ Exploratory trip, I had an inkling that this was going to be all I had wanted and more. It wasn’t too often that one gets to visit a quaint little farm nestled within the forests to participate in a workshop that focussed on introducing hardened city folks to the nuances of building cob structures. In simple words, this trip promised to be muddy, wild and exciting!

It would not be possible to start talking about the trip without talking about our fabulous hosts and the one man who made all the hard work seem so easy.

John Pollard, our host, happened to chance upon beautiful five and half acres of land within the Western Ghats in the quiet little town of Castle Rock in Uttara Kannada. The site, a ten kilometre scenic drive from the Castle Rock railway station, has everything that one might need to call a place ‘heaven’. Blessed with beautiful densely forested hills around it and a perennial stream that also creates a stunning waterfall within the farm, John and his wife Sylvia, a very talented potter, have patiently over the years made this a sustainable ‘off the grid’ home for their two children and themselves.

The accommodation available at the farm consists of two roof top rooms with almost panoramic views of the surrounding greenery, two simple tents with wooden decks looking over the stream that flows adjacent to the farm and two spacious tepees with a small sit-out at the entrance of each. Even during the summers, these options remain very comfortable and the need for fans is hardly noticed.  The small water tank outside the hosts’ house allows visitors to cool off during the afternoons to beat the summer heat. The tank, the opening dining area, the wood-fire oven, the barbecue and the spot where campfires are lit on cool starry nights are all located close by and help create the most beautiful and fun-filled evenings spent listening to the many stories that John and his guests love to share.

John and Sylvia’s beautiful home with the Western Ghats and the beautiful majestic Mango tree forming a stunning backdrop

Tents with wooden decks projecting over the stream and open-to-sky bathrooms

One of the tepees that we stayed in and these also came with open-to-sky bathrooms

Water from the stream kept the tank full and the water clean

Solar powered lights that were used at the farm being recharged

The group of fifteen who were put together by Santosh from Getoffurass got a chance to interact during the overnight train journey from Krishnarajapuram to Castle Rock railway station. The anticipation of this being a great trip was only increased by the fact that the group consisted of a few techies, a photographer, an interior designer, a graphic designer, an artist/educator and last but not the least, our mentor for the workshop, Jackson Porretta, an expert at bamboo and mud structures. Jackson, also known as Mudjack, has been actively involved with rainwater catchment systems, grey-water recycling, micro-intensive gardening, organic design and natural building.

On reaching the Castle Rock railway station, we found our welcoming hosts John and Sylvia waiting for us with their SUVs. After managing to pack ourselves and our bags into the two vehicles, we were off on our short but beautiful drive to the farm. What was unique about this drive was that after having driven a couple of kilometres away from the station, there was hardly any suggestion of inhabitation all along the route. John later told us that this was a very sparsely populated region and the farm was part of a village that was formed by only 3 houses. Being away from the normal barrage of societal interaction that one gets used to in a city was in some senses a very special experience.

Once at the farm, we took a little time to absorb the freshness and tranquillity that the place had to offer. We set our bags in the allocated accommodation and gathered near the dining area where John briefed us about the farm and all that we would need to be comfortable during our stay.  The short informal Q&A session that happened next allowed us to know Jackson better and also understand what this workshop would be all about. We would be building a cob bench, a cob chulha (stove) and a sweat lodge during our stay at the farm. Jackson would guide us through the cob building parts of the workshop and John would lead the sweat lodge building exercise.

Project 1 – The Cob Bench:

The workshop began with the digging and sifting of mud that had been excavated and dumped by John close to where we wanted to build the bench. We needed soil that consisted of slightly grainy mix of sand and silt particles. After having collected the necessary amount, Jackson displayed how by doing a few simple tests, we could check if the collected soil had the right proportions of silt and sand. Simultaneously with this, the area where the bench would be positioned was roughened up with a shovel and then stones of approximately 9” to 12” diameter were placed to form the foundation. The next step was to mix the soil and straw with water on a tarp laid on the floor to create the cob that would be applied over the stone foundation of the bench. This is known as the ‘stir and tread’ process which involves mixing the soil, straw and water by stomping on it with bare foot and then pulling the sides of the tarp to turn the mix over into itself. Repeating this process a few times for every batch gave us batches of uniform homogenous cob of the right consistency.  Once the cob was ready, balls made from this were placed over the foundation and pressed with the hands to help fill the gaps in the stone foundation bed. The pressure applied with the digits also created an undulated top surface which allowed for the layers to mesh well with each other. The layers were added till the height of the seat was around 15”. This had to be left to dry for a week or two before the final finish of smooth mud plaster could be applied and hence it was decided that John would finish this part of the exercise later. The work on the bench was spread out over our three-day stay at the farm and the result was most satisfying. It was great to know that we could actually sit on the cob bench that we had created for our final group photograph that was taken just before we left the farm.

Sifting the soil used to make the cob

Foundation of rocks for the cob bench

The bench taking form and ready to take the first coat of cob plaster

Cob bench backrest detail with embedded wine bottles

Project 2 – The Cob Chulha/Stove:

The requirement for this project arose from the fact that cooking on a low stove while squatting was not easy and there was a need to build something that would allow people to stand and cook. The process of building the chulha was similar to the cob bench, the difference being that the foundation was made of bricks and not rocks. The design allowed for two burners which could be used simultaneously.

Mudjack and the team working on the cob chulha

Creating the base mud mortar to hold the foundation bricks for the chulha

The cob chulha almost ready to take the coats of mud plaster

Project 3 – The Sweat Lodge:

As a location to build the traditional Indian sweat lodge prototype, John had identified a clear piece of land in the small dried piece of paddy field next to the house and close to the water tank. The idea was to use thin but strong and pliable branches of trees to form the segments of the base structure of the dome that would be the sweat lodge. The frame structure would then be covered with blankets, sleeping bags, etc. to insulate the structure and to allow for a breathing structure that would hold steam inside. The important thing here was to use materials that would not suffocate people inside the structure when it was in use.

After clearing the area, we marked the profile for the sweat lodge which would be about 16 feet in diameter. A small 6 inch deep trough of about 2 feet diameter was dug in the centre. This would hold the hot stones that would help create the required steam to make the sweat house work. A channel was made that would allow us to drag the smouldering stones from outside to the centre of the structure. After having marked nodes at 3 feet on the perimeter of the circle, we dug 10 to 12 inch deep holes that would become the foundation that held the structural wood segments forming the dome. The broader end of the branch was then placed into the hole that had been dug and this was then filled with soil and small stones to create a foundation that it was firmly set into. This was done in two diagonally positioned nodes of the marked circle simultaneously. Once this was done, the narrower free ends of the branches were gently bent towards the centre and the overlapping ends were tied together. This created an 8 feet high arch the centre of which was right above the central trough that had been dug earlier. Repeating this process in progression resulted in a dome with the branches acting as the segments. The overlapping parts that were tied at the centre created a strong structure which John tested by hanging from it. We were now confident that if the structure could hold John’s weight, it could withstand everything that nature could possibly throw at it!

Finally, ready to cover up the exposed frame, John and Jackson used up all the available sheets, blankets and sleeping bags and the sweat lodge was finally ready for the smouldering stones to go in. The stones were laid in a pyre with wood logs beneath and above them to heat them uniformly. As the stones were getting heated, John created an amazingly ingenious basket to drag the stones into the structure without having to get too close to them. By the time we got the stones into the lodge, we were already sweating like crazy and couldn’t wait to reap the rewards of the hard work that was put in.

After a short ‘traditional tribal dance initiation ritual’ led by John, all the sceptics (to a certain extent, this included me) followed John and Jackson into the sweat lodge to take our places around the sacred red-hot stones. The steam that filled the structure once the lemongrass oil infused water was poured over the hot stones made everything worth it. It was for sure, one of the best experiences I’ve had. The feeling of relaxing in the cold water in the tank after having sweated inside the sweat lodge for almost 15 to 20 minutes and then repeating this a couple of times has to be felt to be understood. The drinks and the dinner with all the chatting that followed sitting under the beautiful night sky just made the day complete!

Working on the structure for the sweat lodge

John working on covering the structure of the sweat lodge

The almost ready cob bench and the fully functional sweat lodge

Another project that Sylvia guided was to bake some bread. The results of this project were devoured by everyone in a little more than 15 minutes the next morning at breakfast.

Having described the projects that we undertook over the 3 days of our stay at the farm, it seems like I might have projected the workshop as an ‘all work and no play’ episode, but that is far from the truth. The work in itself was a lot of fun which involved getting dirty in the mud and jumping around in slush. But what really made our stay very enjoyable was the fact that amidst all the fun we had doing the work, we managed to swim and have a great time in the waterfall that was close to where we were working. The short early morning trek through the forest surrounding the farm was as refreshing as the unending supply of coffee and tea that was available while we worked. The bread baking, awesome pizzas from the wood-fire oven, the raw mango pickle, the beautifully sweet ripe guavas that were straight from the tree and the time spent chatting after sundown discovering the pleasures of drinking Goan Urak with some great people for company only made the stay more wonderful.

The stunningly beautiful waterfall

Another picture of the waterfall

Crossing a stream while on the early morning trek through the forest

Guavas plucked straight from the trees at the farm

The team striking a pose with the cob bench and the sweat lodge

The one thing that comes to my mind as I end this post and think about the fabulous time spent at the Off-the-Grid farm is a quote by Mark Twain…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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