Posts in SUSTAINABLE LIVING
Trout Lake by Olsun Kundig
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The buildings recall the agricultural forms of the local built environment, but as is our nature in our designs, we sought to take that context and evolve it to a more emphatic modern language. We sought to design something that was exquisitely proportioned in a quiet, agricultural way.” –Tom Kundig 

This stunning property is located on eighteen acres of rural agricultural property in Trout Lake, Washington. The minimalistic yet rustic design style was built with intention to integrate indoor and outdoor living; a sense of being none with the surrounding landscape. The exterior style of house takes after agricultural structures, with elements of minimalism incorporated in its design, form and materials used; most of the house is finished in low-maintenance concrete, plywood and steel.

Photography by Jeremy Bitterman

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Northwest Foraged Eats; Salmonberry Pie
  Northwest Foraged Eats; Salmonberry Pie. Photo by   allergic adventures

Northwest Foraged Eats; Salmonberry Pie. Photo by allergic adventures

During late spring and early summer, salmonberries are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Everywhere. And they often go uneaten (by people, at least). The berry itself, part of the raspberry family, is sometimes called the Alaskan Salmonberry and is native to the entire west coast of North America. Taste is something between a tart raspberry and a sweet huckleberry. We highly recommend to take a minute if you spot some, easily found on the side of many PNW trails. While the berries are delicious fresh, if you're fortunate enough to collect a bucket full this early summer pie is a refreshing twist. 

Salmonberry Pie Filling

4 cups salmonberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Mix together all filling ingredients & let sit in bowl, while you prepare your crust.

Pie Crust (if you are gluten-free, there are several alternative crust options)

1 cup flour
1/3 cup shortening
dash salt
ice cold water, as needed

3. Mix together all ingredients, until it comes together in a ball.
4. Roll out into a thin piece of crust & place into a pie pan (this recipe is enough for one crust, which you can see on my topless pie, is all I made last night).
5. Poke the crust with a fork & bake for about 4-5 minutes.
6. Pour filling into pre-cooked pie crust & bake for about 35-45 minutes.
7. Remove pie from oven & let set for about an hour, if you can wait that long!

  Northwest Foraged Eats; Salmonberry Pie. Photo by   allergic adventures

Northwest Foraged Eats; Salmonberry Pie. Photo by allergic adventures

*We encourage all ingredients to be local, organic and sustainable. 

Recipe by AllergicAdventures 

A Touch Of Green; Indoor Spring Gardening For Small Spaces

Small spaces don't always provide ample room for indoor gardening. And whether there is or isn't room, bulky planters aren't always desired indoors. The Scandinavian inspired Sky Planters are a great way to ease into spring gardening - absolutely no green thumb required. With endless options to plant edibles right in your kitchen such as rosemary, fennel, mint, parsley, strawberries, basil, thyme and even red chillies. Enjoy your organic, local mini-mart. 

 Via  8footsix

The versatile planters can also be used as a base to start your plants before transferring them outdoors; with the added bonus that once planted each Sky Planter is self watering and made entirely from recycled plastics. And while it is only a small step on the sustainability ladder, growing your own herbs not only promotes healthy eating while supporting the 'real food' movement, but also shines light on eating (very) local and seasonal. 

Get your Sky Planter here.

Pushing Beyond Nature's Limits

It has become common knowledge to most of us that at the rate things are going the Earth, in the coming decades, could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings and our animal kin. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world. According to the article, we have already crossed several "planetary boundaries". Meaning that with our common practice activities - economic growth, technology and rapid consumption - we are pushing the limits of the natural global environment necessary to sustain life as we know it today.  

"If you really think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while you count your money." - Dr. Guy McPherson

The effects of these activities have and continue to increase destabilization of our environment by means of ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution, freshwater use, ocean acidification and introduction of toxic chemicals and modified organisms. It seems we have already steadily begun to cross four of these “planetary boundaries.” They are: the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean. Persistent crossing of these boundaries is predicted to lead to an uncertain state of our planet. And while there is no guaranteed certainty that catastrophe will follow, there is something unpromising and ominous about contaminated waters, dying animal populations and constant toxic emissions.

  New York by  GABRIELLE ASSAF

New York by GABRIELLE ASSAF

"What you do makes a difference, and You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." - Jane Goodall 

With a growing global population of over 7billion it becomes clear that what we do collectively has the largest impact. Recommending we all go back to hunter-gathers might not sit easy with today's standards of living, however changing even our smallest habits can have significant beneficial outcomes. These current movements of sustainable and organic eating are just a start, shopping and supporting local businesses another. We, as consumers, have a choice - What we eat, how we eat, the lifestyle we live and which companies we support. Through our individual choices and support of this worldwide 'sustainable movement' the collected efforts of everyone making even just one minor change could dramatically shift these unpleasant predicaments. 

 Pro mo t e, conserve and  respect nature. | Wild horses of Iceland.  

Promote, conserve and respect nature. | Wild horses of Iceland.  

Some things to keep in mind when considering a more sustainable lifestyle:

Move closer to work. Or work somewhere in your community. Commuting accounts for more than a third of all car travel. 

Focus on quality goods over quantity. With fewer possessions you can save money, resources and landfill space. This includes buying eco-conscious products and supporting local, sustainable companies and manufacturers.

 Op t for non-plastic products.   Photography by Melanie Jenkins

Opt for non-plastic products.  Photography by Melanie Jenkins

Boycott plastic. Plastic is quite literally at our fingertips all day long. 50% of that plastic we use, we use just once and throw away. More-so, only 5of the plastics we produce is recovered. Avoid disposable plastic items (bags, bottled water, coffee lids, excessive packaging) and seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on. Recycle, if you must use plastic.

Use non-toxic cleaners. Many (if not most) of the large corporations responsible for manufacturing cleaning products are also responsible for excessive plastic packaging, toxic ingredients and environmental pollution during manufacturing. Borax, vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice are among the many natural alternatives. 

 E mbrace smaller, sustainable and more ener  gy efficient  homes. Photography by Simon Wilson for Green Modern

Embrace smaller, sustainable and more energy efficient homes. Photography by Simon Wilson for Green Modern

Move to a smaller, more sustainable home. Living in a 200q ft micro-home isn't right for everyone, but think about how much space you really need. Chances are most of us, especially in rural areas, have far more space than necessary. Other options include making your home more sustainable: Including energy efficiency, how much power you use, considering different energy sources, etc. 

Consider what you eat. This is a big one. And includes eating organic, eating local, eating seasonal and considering the sustainability of the products you consume. Eat lower on the food chain. Meats and dairy disproportionately require more resources to produce than what they return in food value. We're not suggesting everyone become vegan, but we sure don't all require a 12oz steak a night. 

Consider how you eat. While being conscious of the foods you buy is one thing, there are somethings you simply don't need to buy. If you have a garden, try landscaping with edibles. Think kale bushes, cabbages, fruits and nut trees. If you live in a smaller space consider indoor gardening that can provide you with fresh herbs, greens and some vegetables. Some other highly overlooked options include hunting and foraging for wild, local edibles. If you simply can't grow your produce, support your local farmers that do.    

Wild Winter Edibles to Satisfy a Forager's Heart
wild winter edibles; up knörth

Common thought is that the foraging season ends come late fall. Most wild greens and fruits that thrive in the summer months slowly disappear in the fading fall light. While this is true, there are also some hardy plants that continue to photosynthesize even in the winter months; Providing a great source of survival food if needed, or acting as wild edibles to satisfy a foragers heart even in winter. Some of these winter plants include: 

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Rose hips - Not only do rose hips provide a pop of color in the winter landscape, they’re also full of sweet pulp that can be eaten raw or boiled down for syrup, jam or tea. Just boil 12-15 of them for 3-5 minutes, smash them open with a spoon and let them steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve.

Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca)

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Clovers (Trifolium pratense or Trifolium pretens) (red and white) 

Apples and Pears - Apples (and pears) come into season in fall, and if they are not harvested or eaten by animals these wildly delicious fruit can continue to be found on branches well into the winter. 

Acorns - This nut have been called ‘the ultimate survivor food’, packed with fats and nutrition. Along with black walnuts, butternut walnuts, pecans, hickories, beechnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, acorns can be gathered from the ground or tree into late fall.

wild winter edibles; up knörth

Watercress - More flavourful than supermarket watercress, wild watercress actually tastes sweeter in winter. Even during the snowiest days of winter, watercress can be found growing in tight, bright green bunches near water. 

Burdock - Known as wild rhubarb, burdock has large, woolly, heart-shaped leaves and reddish stems. The roots can get a little bit woody in winter, but a little extra boiling will make them tender.

 Photo by Kinfolk Mag.

Photo by Kinfolk Mag.

Pine Needles - The tea extracted from pine needles is very high in vitamin C, making it a great remedy for the common cold. It also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene. While most varieties of pine are safe, always make absolutely sure that you don’t harvest the needles from yew, Norfolk Island Pine or Ponderosa Pine, all of which are poisonous. See our recipe for pine needle tea here.

Micro-Spaces; Mobile Cabin by Crosson Clarke Carnachan

On the shore of an idyllic white sandy beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut. The site lies within the coastal erosion zone, where all building must be removable. This is taken literally and the hut is designed on two thick wooden sleds for movement back up the site or across the beach and onto a barge.

The hut is a series of simple design moves where functionality meets minimalistic aesthetic. The fittings and mechanics are industrial and obvious, and was designed to close up against the elements when not in use. The tall windows are constructed to minimize the need for heating; Allowing less sun exposure in the summer seasons while a maximum amount of light is let in during in the winter.

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The tiny home measures in at a mere 40 square meters but is fitted to accommodate a family of five in a kitchen/dining/living area, a bathroom and two sleeping zones; the children’s accommodation is a three tiered bunk. Closed up, the rough macrocarpa cladding blends into the landscape and perches unobtrusively about the natures elements. 

Architects: Crosson Clarke Carnachan

Images © Jackie Meiring

Nature Therapy; It's A Thing

(Most) humans crave a connection with nature. Be it something as simple as a stroll through a park or hiking through mountain valleys. In short, man has found solace in nature for centuries. Ever feel an overwhelming sense of calm and relaxation after a day spent in the wilderness? It's not just us saying, but generations of brilliant minds, naturalists and authors have also documented the endless (therapeutic) benefits of spending time in nature. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), an American author, naturalist, and philosopher best known for his book Walden, celebrated the therapeutic effects of nature by saying, “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." Or the famous words of Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), acclaimed architect and philosopher, advised, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Many strings of research have shown that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual development. Benefits of which include stress reduction, sense of coherence and belonging, improved self-confidence, self-discipline and even a broader sense of community. Aside from stress reduction (something most of us need and will undoubtedly benefit from) being in nature bestows a sense of connectedness, meaning and overall purpose. There is a beauty in the chaotic order found in nature; everything is interconnected, yourself included.  “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” Albert Einstein. 

This Ecotherapy - contact with nature - has been shown and proven as an effective and powerful method of therapy that is being coined 'more effective than traditional medication or psychotherapy'. The moral of this story? Next time you feel anything from depressed to frustrated, stressed - whatever it is - don’t choose retail therapy or medications– put on your hiking boots or drive off into the woods and sit by a campfire. 

Photography for Up Knörth by Julia and Yuriy Manchick | Mr & Mrs Globetrot

224 Sq. Ft. Cider Box Tiny House

Small spaces, when designed accordingly, can be the ultimate luxury. This 'tiny house on wheels' is no exception: The 224 sq. ft space looks open and inviting thanks to clean lines, smart storage and a polished dark wood interior. Imagine having your personal micro-cabin hauled behind your Land Cruiser or Defender - what dreams (at least ours) are made of.

From the builder: "This house was completed for a customer that wanted to utilize their backyard space for full time living.  We worked together on carefully designing and constructing the perfect custom home for their needs.  It is an energy efficient structure using a wide variety of energy efficiency measures--everything from a well-constructed thermal envelope to the appliances--energy saving was on the mind for every decision.  The main floor boasts 162 square feet with a 62 square foot sleeping loft. The exterior dimensions are roughly 22’l x 8.5’w x 13.5’h. It includes a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer combo, lots of creative storage space and a bathroom with a sink, shower & composting toilet. The interior is completely covered in clear vertical grain cedar and has space for a wood burning stove."

Photography provided by Terry Iverson Photography via ShelterWise