Relaxshax's Blog

A Salavaged-Materials Greenhouse (from a book purchaser)…
April 29, 2010, 9:53 am
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Received this email the other day….

Derek – I’d like to get a copy of your book, Humble Homes.  It reminds me of my “recycled” green house…… let’s call it a project.
Items include old windows from the attic of the house I bought, the plate glass table for I window I had from my younger days, pallets from work,  and a screen door off my ex-wife’s house.  The screen door sort of put me over budget if one were to use actual costs but let’s think of it as a gateway to freedom.  -Scott

Its a cool looking little greenhouse, and reminds me of one I built onto the side of my own house a few years back under the same concept- use as many FREE materials as you possibly can (used sliders, windows, and apartment domed-skylights in my case).

The whole base of Scott’s greenhouse, is built off recycled forklift pallets, of which there’s about 5001 uses.


A kid cabin, that could be tweaked for adult use…
April 25, 2010, 8:19 am
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     Well, aside from the obvious fact that you’d literally fry in the sun inside this thing (unless situated in the shade), I do find it to be a cool little, ultra-simplistic design, and one that could be built in a day or two with many (or ALL) salvaged materials. The hardest to find FREE would be the metal roofing, although not impossible.

Its doesn't get much simpler than this one- and it'd be beyond easy to build, even on remote sites.

Again, Episode #3 of “Tiny Yellow House” for is sloooowly in the editing process, so hopefully we’ll get it up soon (we had a TON of footage to sift through). Jay Shafer of The Tiny Tumbleweed House Company is also being interviewed in an upcoming episode later in May.

‘Dem tiny veggie-oil plans are comin’- but here’s its origin…
April 22, 2010, 7:16 am
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Plans/sketches of the vegetable oil stove/heater will be finished soon, and I’ll send them to Kent Griswold of who will also post them as well- and perhaps Michael Janzen of will as well…again, if you remind me, and pick up my “Humble Homes…” book, I’ll make sure to send you the plans, etc with the book as well, in thanks.

The redneck-deck chiminea- keeps flies (and guests!) away....(made from an old lp gas tank)

Meanwhile, here’s a shot of the intitial d.i.y. (not fully assembled/completed in this shot) woodstove I was building for the micro-cabin. Its made from an old gas-grill tank I yanked from the recycling depot. Currently, with a piece of stovepipe inserted into a welded collar, it serves as a redneck chiminea on my deck, and works pretty well.

I’ve also seen several d.i.y. videos and ideas for making woodstoves out of metal mailboxes! A great idea on a budget, and I might have to try it soon.

And because it got burried so fast, for those who haven’t checked it out, or are wondering what I’m talking about (the veggie oil heater)

HERE’s the video…

The Vegetable Oil Heater/Stove in the TINY YELLOW HOUSE TV episode…
April 15, 2010, 10:40 am
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Thanks to all who have checked out (scroll to the other most recent entry below) the latest edition of “Tiny Yellow House” TV. As of my last check, we’ve received over FIVE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED views in a mere 48 hours or so.

The Vegetable Oil Cabin Heater. Since I go through cymbals like toiler paper, I incorporated/re-used one as a heat reflector in this stove design (my VT cabin utilized a CAR hood from a junkyard).

 (If you want sketches/details/material lists on this stove, read on further below)

First, a huge thanks, again, is owed to Stuart Pollack, at, who more or less made the episode possible, by helping out and backing what I do. I’ve planted some of his seeds some time ago as well, and they’re doing GREAT! Update/photos to come…..and yes, we’re still looking for people to help back some future, already slated episodes, so we can afford gear rental, and so on. for info.

Upcoming- Solar Cooking/heat episodes, one with Jay Shafer of the Tiny Tumbleweed House Company, another on a brand new Clark Junglehammock ( ) I picked up (the thing’s awesome!!!- its a tree-hanging TENT!), and perhaps one on Martha’s Vineyard and the gingerbread cottages over there.

Anyway, thanks to all the people who emailed, most inquiring about the Vegetable Oil Heater (woodstove alternative) in my little cabin (“The gypsy junker”). Several readers from Michael Janzen’s, and from Kent Griswold’s contacted me, asking for more details on the stove.

Long story-short, we initially planned on shooting the stove in more detail, but with time and budget constraints (I had to squeeze TWO shows into one day), we had to put it off until later. But, all along we have planned on doing a more-detailed shoot on this tiny, ALL-JUNK heater….so we’ll get crackin’ on it, once we get some time.

Kent Griswold has also, graciously, gone so far as to ask me to be a guest writer for his site, where I’ll soon post sketches, and a detailed run/listing of how this little hunk-o-junk was created- MacGuyver Style!

So, keep checkin’ back- AND, as the schematics of the stove were intially planned to be released in my follow up book (to “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks…”), for any of those who order my existing book in the meantime (and ask/remind me)- i’ll add the addendum drawings and plans for this stove, in thanks- even though they were meant for a future tome.

The book can be ordered with the info on the righthand column of this site…



BRAND NEW- Episode #2 of Tiny Yellow House TV (the gypsy junker shack/cabin)
April 13, 2010, 11:12 am
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Shot from Episode #2 of TINY YELLOW HOUSE TV....


Here ya’ go! The follow-up episode is now up and running. Again, MEGA thanks to Stuart Pollack of (a good man, with a great company) for all his help, backing, and expert advice- which will play into a few future episodes- already in the works. If you’d like the help/back/sponsor these videos/shoots and reach TENS OF THOUSANDS of people in the longrun….email me at . These vids get dang expensive, so we need the support to keep it happening, and in turn, will make sure you get a TON of new exposure to whatever you do.

Again, any authors (esp. INDIE ones)- we’ll soon be incorporating related-book reviews into future episodes, so shoot me an email if you’re looking for some possible coverage.


Save EVERYTHING! Well, not literally…
April 8, 2010, 9:27 am
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Drumsticks gettin' a second life- and keepin' my keister warm!

Here’s a shot I took on a whim (and what might stand as the last woodstove fire of the season up here in MA- it was 84 degrees yesterday!).

     I play in a tribute act/band-, that doubles as an originals act “A.G.E. (Any Given Enemy), based out of Boston, MA. We play out in clubs fairly regularly, and I always make it a point to save ALL of my broken drumsticks, and the broken ones other drummers leave behind (which they do ALL the time). This way, instead of cluttering a landfill, they warm my house- at least for an hour or two. I stumbled into another drummer at a gig recently, who did the exact same, so I guess I’m not THAT weird.

This shot doesn’t do the pile justice….there’s about THIRTY broken sticks in there! Some of them are from a recent recording session myself, and guitarist Bill Bracken, did with vocalist-Gary Cherone of Extreme/Van Halen/Tribe Of Judah- fame over at White Sight And Sound Studios in Framingham, MA. The song will be released semi-soon (Prob on too), but that’s not of importance now.

Also, all you eco-musicians, while in practice, or at gigs, I always make it a somewhat-unconcious habit to toss my empties and recyclables (esp in RI, where there is NO redemption, and beer bottles end up in the trash!) into a drum-gear bin I have. Sounds petty, tedious, and pointless, but it DOES add up afterawhile, AND you’re not leaving a mess behind on stage- which most club owners really appreciate. Hey, remember, I pretty much funded the entire first run of my indie-book, and MORE, on recycled cans, to simply make a point- while cleaning up local hiking trails.

It can be done.

Meanwhile, been growing some apple trees from saved seeds, and I’ll be yackin/typing about that soon…

Age Against The Machine- live from Boston at the famed Cask N' Flagon/Oliver's at Fenway Park. Photo by Bruce Bettis


A NEW sketch (of many) for another tiny house/living book (in the works)
April 7, 2010, 2:28 pm
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Its the same format (mostly-with some improvements in clarity, layout, etc.) as my currently available book (See photo in the left column of this page), but I’ve already been long at work on a follow-up to my independently released, trash-funded, book on cabins/forts/shacks/cottages, and tiny homes/houses. And again, inspirationally it owes alot to, and should be right up the alley of fans of David and Jeanie Stiles, Lloyd Kahn, Lester Walker, Dan Price, Jay Shafer of The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, D.C. Beard, Gregory Johnson, Michael Janzen, and so on…

One of the goofier, less-serious entries in my in-the-works follow-up book. Don't worry, I'll have plenty of less-FORTy shacks, shelters, and cabins too!

Hey, if you happen to order my current book- I just may toss in some brand new, unreleased addendum-drawings, if you ask me.
And I’ll be droppin’ some new designs and sketches in this blog here and there…but not TOO many so as to spoil the book…