Weeeekend Supplements.

Continuing with the new tradition of passing along a recipe on Weeeekend Supplements posts, we present you with another relatively simple breakfast beauty:  French Toast.  Let's roll up the sleeves and get into it shall we?

Ingredients (yield of 4 slices)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (add more milk for softer / not as egg-like french toast; or add less milk for firmer, more egg-like toast)
4 slices of bread (It is ideal to have a solid loaf that you can cut your own thick pieces off of, the bread is real important, so get a quality loaf)
A good amount of butter for greasing the pan (or oil)
Optional (but recommended):
1/2  teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 - 1 teaspoon nutmeg cinnamon (or both)
1 teaspoon of sugar

  1. In a bowl mix eggs and milk, and optional ingredients as desired.
  2. Heat up a frying pan, skillet or griddle to a medium-low temperature.
  3. Use butter, margarine, or cooking spray on the pan.
  4. Soak a slice of bread in the egg-milk mixture and place on pan; repeat until pan is full.
  5. Get a nice golden brown hue on both sides of the French toast.
  6. Serve on plates, usually two slices per person, with toppings as desired.

 If you're looking to take it to the next level you can make French toast sandwiches with a variety of fillings in between two slices such as Nutella & banana, cream cheese and berries, but make sure you involve butter and maple syrup too.  So now a nice mellow song by MF Love (downloadable) to play during prep and some pictures to distract you. 

One of the coolest and most clever alarm clocks I have ever seen, hopefully you didn't have to use one of these today!

To the left we have a sweet mini hedron planter.

To the right is a sharp looking example of a tree house-jealous?

Lastly is a sweet little 'cave' made out of CNCed plywood.  To check out the full article from JUXTAPOZ magazine, click on the image.  That is all for today, but check back tomorrow for some pics of the recent SuperAdobe action on site (some pretty crazy pics of the steel tamper we broke (yeah we're that strong)).  Stay excited, and keep moving!


Post Carbon Institute & Visual Candy

No matter what your personal beliefs are on 2012, the end of the world, or the possibility of Dick Cheney becoming dictator/evil emperor of the world after his invincibility surgery - one thing is for certain: carbon based energy will be taking its leave from the world energy scene within the century.  On what scale of time and proportion this depletion occurs is debatable, but come the year 2100, the chances of seeing SUV's rolling around on gasoline is highly unlikely.  If you haven't heard of the Post Carbon Institute it is high time you got acquainted (click the link), it's a near guarantee you will become good friends.  Aside from publishing thought-provoking and educational articles, they also have recently put together a well done 30 min segment on the benefits, consequences and general relationship between man & oil.  Please check out the link here to visit the page on the Post Carbon Institute's website (they provide information on presenting it to your local community if you're feeling especially pro-active), or just check it out right here @ the bottom of this post. 

Now for a couple sweets for your eyes.  At the top of this entry is a photo by Jan Kempenaers.  Over the past few years he traveled throughout former Yugoslavia and photographed old abandoned war memorials.  To view more click on the photo at the top for a link to a site.

Next treat comes from Dutch artist by the name of Ron van der Ende.  He salvages wood pieces from scrapyards and dumpsters and after working them and painting them, pieces them together to create amazing bas reliefs.  Here is a piece of meat he created out of wood that is nearly 6ft. long! click on the image to be taken to his site.

And finally is another appropriation art project that was spotlighted by Juxtapoz magazine.  Entitled "The Boneyard Project", a handful of painters and graffiti artists went down to Pima Air Force Museum & Depository in Tuscon, Arizona and some how managed to gain permission to paint a few old fuselages- pretty rad stuff.  Once again, click on the image to be taken to the article by Juxtapoz magazine to see more.

Well, thas about it for now, but be sure to go to the postcarboninstitute.org site and take a nose around, and set aside a half hour to watch the video they produced below.  Keep on rocking in the free world.



Working in silence is just about as torturous as working in a water reclamation plant with out nose-plugs- it's crucial to be rocking out and vibe-ing on some quality jams to work to one's fullest potential.  SO, today (as you may have realized from the post title if you're sharp) we have two hi-grade rump-shake inducing tunes that you should enjoy not only during work hours, but early hours on weekends as well.  First is a awesome Meters song all the way back from the late 60's re worked by DJ Yamin.  Secondly we have another rework of a track entitled "Never Too Much" by Forecast .  Both tracks are downloadable, but be sure to at least send some love to the producers via thought power or go and say thank you on their Soundcloud page


The Meters-Hand Clapping Song (DJ Yamin Remix) by DJ Yamin

Forecast - Never Too Much (Shield Your Eyes Re-edit) [WARPed] by shieldyoureyesmusic


Weeeekend Supplements.

As we are about to get back onto the SuperAdobe walls this week, we wanted to provide a link to go and check out what SuperAdobe / Earth-bagging is all about.  In the past we have talked about Nader Khalili and his revolutionary, and awesomely human-scale alternative shelter creating technique of SuperAdobe, but it is just too radical and important of a method to mention once or twice.  Back in 1991 Nader (originally from Iran) founded Cal-Earth Institute in Hesperia, California.  Since then, the institute has been enlightening and training individuals to fabricate shelters out of a rammed-earth type of process.  So without further ado here is the link to Cal-Earth's website - please do divert some of your online time to the exploration of this site!  (Also if you are in the Southern California area- or willing to travel there, the Institute has an open house for visitors the first Saturday of every month, and is always welcoming to visits at anytime).  Here are a few examples of the domes and vault work they accomplish:


Because it is the weekend (and we met our relevancy quota with the above paragraph on SuperAdobe), it is time for a treat or two.  Weekends are about sleeping in a bit later than normal and making killer, un-rushed breakfasts.  We would like to present a simple recipe for crepes (pronounced Kreh-pa for crying out loud!) for you all to enjoy on your days off.  For a scrumptious breakfast within inly 15 min wrangle up these ingredients for a yield of about a dozen 10" diameter crepes :

3 eggs
1 ½ cups of milk
1 cup and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour (or wheat flour)
2 table spoons of sugar
1/2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of melted butter (may be replaced by oil)
Optionally (but highly recommended), we usually add in about 2 teaspoons of Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Making it all happen:
1. Sift flour and mix with salt in a mixing bowl.
2. Make a well and pour in eggs. Beat them silly.
3. Slowly pour in milk while stirring. Keep stirring batter until small bubbles form on the surface.
4. Stir in Butter.
5. Stir in sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Batter = done, now getcherself a 10" minimum diameter pan and put the burner on about 3/4 intensity.  Butter or oil the pan (butter is a bit tastier) so that the bottom of the pan is adequately covered (but not too much) and once the butter/oil is hot, poor in about 4-6 tablespoons into the pan- swirl the batter around so that it spreads thinly and evenly.  Let it cook for around a minute (dependent on your burner) and flip with a spatula.  The other side cooks more quickly so be ready to pull it off in about 30 seconds.  And Voila (vwa-LA)!, you have yourself some Krehps- Uh-ha-huhn! (<--attempt at phonetic French laugh).  Cover and fill with just about anything that sounds tay-shtay- we like to smear on Nutella, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon-sugar, bananas, berries, cream-cheese, peanut butter, jelly, honey.  Here is a picture for inspiration:

If you want to get real crazy into it, there is a video on this website here, that shows an ultra-orthodox version of authentic crepe action, but be warned- it's extreme.

Lastly we bestow a couple (downloadable) musical tracks for you to possibly cook along to.  The first is an hour long mix by a very talented Denver-based DJ by the name of Bobby C Sound TV- it'll get you moving:

Then we have a disco banger rework by Sammy Bananas that will most definitely have you beating crepe batter like a french junky.

 Happy weekend to y'all and Au Revoir!  


Great Links and Fun Visuals!

On the menu today we have quite a few links for those interested in Earth Plaster info as well as a few visual delicacies.  first up are a couple of posts / articles from a great publication that you may be familiar with called 'The Last Straw'.

The first article from their end is a very easily digestible dialogue about why earth plasters are so great and approachable - please click here to be transported there (or right click and choose to open link in New Tab)

The second piece from the fine folk at The Last Straw discusses finishes and ingredients- please click here.

Back in April of last year a few of the AltShiftNZ teamsters went out to visit a awesome house in Hawea Flat to begin training up and gaining experience in the realm of Earth Plastering.  The owners (Nicky & James) have their own blog which is definitely worth a gander please check it out here.

Finally, we have a link to a New Zealand outfit (Solid Earth) that is trailblazing in the application of earthen plaster finishes via spray gun along with many other types of adobe and earthen building processes.  This site has a lot of depth and information to it so make sure to explore and check out the many facets.  The link will take you to a brief historical synopsis of Earthen building techniques, but as mentioned get click happy on the top navigation tabs and cruise around for a while. Check it all out here.

And now to a few entertaining visuals just for fun, and relative in a very convoluted and abstract way!

This is an incredible example of designed shelter.  The main difference here is that this lucky scalawag had it designed and crafted for him free of charge.

Just like in battle, music is crucial for high morale on a build site.

We are all just after a comfortable place where we can all just lay down and read a book.

A good mantel piece motto for every home.

Solar Power Tower - shining a light on alternative energy- or a couple hundred!  (cheese ball line of the year)

Building materials, tools, and craftsmen are all just stardust in a complexly processed and evolved form, so this picture relates to just about everything.

A humorous combination of two must-haves in every home. Just kidding - tea is for sissies!

 When working with sandcastles, the only part of the build you need to budget for is time (and possibly a few cheap tools if you're getting gnarly).  Could this be true for home construction?

Hope this entry brought a bit of illumination and visual stimulation.  Keep tuned for more.



One of our favorite features of this website (besides the vastly more important discussion of alternative building techniques and procedures) is sharing fun tunes with y'all to tap your toes to and get pumped on.  Because there hasn't been a 'Tune Tuesday' post for a long time, we are going to unleash a small herd of ear drum seeking beats and tunes on you to get your week grooving.  First up we got a slight rework of a classic disco track from The Dells called "Get on Down"- so follow their lead and won't you please just Get On Down?

Next up is another hit from 1974 by Rufus (featuring Chaka khan)-"Once You Get Started":

Then we have a great rework of a gem of a hip hop song called "Don't Sweat the Technique", a very representative and symbolic anthem of the natural build process ;-]

We will wrap it up with one last song by a new disco producer by the moniker of Cherokee. The song is called "Mambo Jet" and gud laawd is it a tayshtay jam- if you don't enjoy it you may want to schedule an appointment with an Otolaryngologist.

Most the songs from Soundcloud are downloadable, but if you would like a copy of any of them for your home listening pleasure, please drop us an e-mail at: altshiftnz@gmail.com or enter a comment.  Enjoy, and thanks for tuning in to another Tune Tuesday!! Mo soon,

AltShiftNZ Team


Plaster Blaster.

Just wanted to post a few recent pics of the application of the plaster.   First is an image of a change in level from the primary body coat and the second body coat. 

 In our rendering of the earthen plasters, we have applied three coats so far: a very clay rich and sloppy 'scratch coat' directly on to the bales (about 5-8 mm/ quarter inch thick), then a primary body coat (10 mm/ half inch thick), and the final body coat (20-25mm/ 1 inch thick)  There is still one more coat of Lime plaster to waterproof the walls, but this will not occur for another 6 months or so that the wall may settle completely with the new plaster. 

After applying the final body coat to the East side of the home, we were hit with some very hot and dry weather.  The solar exposure the recently plastered East wall took in the morning was quite large and a few small cracks started to emerge due to a accelerated dry time.  To prevent the wall from drying to quickly we hung tarps up from the roof and sprayed the wall down on two occasions. 

And finally we have a photo of the front of the house just to show its roof lines and front (north) face.


Thanks for stopping by and please do let us know if you have any questions of any type regarding this project- it's all about spreading the experience and knowledge!  Seeya real soon,



Back once again...

A season (or two) has passed since we all last got a good update together.  Now in the much fabled and very mysterious year of 2012, it is high time we got back to talking about the alternative build processes.  Here at AltShiftNZ we are making a personal commitment to update this website at least once every other day- even if it is just sharing a new song or some other visual delicacy not completely related to building (but we will try to keep it as relevant as possible).  We have a big stash of fun music and images so bookmark this site (if you haven't already) and get ready to draw some serious entertainment from this area. 

First up we have a new timelapse sequence from a perspective from a hill behind the home.  The music in the background is "Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys and transitions into "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield towards the end. Enjoy, and looking forward to re-connecting with all of our loyal readers and supporters!!

With much love and excitement,

AltShiftNZ team