The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “the southwest”

How To Make Flour Tortillas

Here’s a step-by-step on how to make flour tortillas.

The poster, abrahamdiaz writes “This is the traditional recipe made in northern Mexico. Ingredient measurements should be followed exactly as shown in instructions; water quantity may vary depending on desired mixture texture. This recipe makes about 18 tortillas.”

His recipe uses vegetable shortening – since that’s a modern product – that wouldn’t be traditional. Maybe in the past they would have used lard. But he anyway, gives a substitution measurement for vegetable oil.

Here’s mszeineb’s veg oil version:

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Navajo Weaver Clara Sherman Cards and Spins

Navajo weaver Clara Sherman shows us how she cards and spins the wool she uses to weave rugs.

Rainwater Harvesting

Brad Lancaster from Tucson, Arizona talks about what got him interested in harvesting rainwater and some of the solutions he’s learned. Brad talks a lot about needing to develop secure water and food systems and relearning an interest in local foods and local resources (he gives the example in his area of the mesquite tree).

“Part 2 – developing a ‘resilience basket’ of local food with rainwater harvesting earthworks on neighborhood commons – greywater as an important household strategy and the successful Arizona code model”

Passive Solar Earthship Homes

This video (in English, despite the title in Russian which translates as ‘house build from tires’) takes a look at “Earthship” houses in New Mexico. The houses are designed to be stand-alone, self-sufficient, off-grid units.

In this case, the “Earthships” have thick walls that allow for passive solar heating formed from rammed earth in recycled automobile tires. Empty aluminum cans and glass bottles also provide filler for the walls.

The thick walls can store so much solar heat that the inside temperature is easily a stable 70 F without additional heating, even on freezing days.

So, heating = solar passive via thick walls and window siting, energy via solar panels and wind turbines, water and waste = special filtration and septic systems.

Straw Bale Build in Fairview, Utah

“When this home is finished and you walk into it , it will be like putting on an old pair of Levis. It’s just extremely comfortable and personnable.”

This (4H?) video shows a straw bale house under construction in Fairview, Utah. The house is a wooden post and beam house that uses straw bales as in-fill material (versus a structural straw bale house that would use the bales as support for the structure).

At the time of the video all or most of the straw bales are in place between the wooden joists and the all-ages work crew is focused on finishing the interior walls with a home made plaster (a mix of mud, sand, wheat paste and straw).

Straw Bale, Adobe and Post and Beam House in New Mexico

The following videos feature a small (800 sq ft) “hybrid” house built by designer Ted Owens in Corallis, New Mexico, near Albuquerque. His house uses post and beam construction (he got the lumber from salvage yards and home renos), straw bale and adobe with mud used as plaster. The house draws its electricity from photovoltaic solar panels.

The house also uses sunlight, heavy materials (adobe walls and concrete floors) and shifts in temperature (passive solar concepts) to keep the inside temperatures comfortable. Windows are also carefully placed to maximize comfort in the house.

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