Don't freak out or anything but summer is officially dones-ville in just a couple of days.
To help usher in my favorite season, autumn, here’s a look back at 25 of the most popular, most commented on, and most memorable posts that I published this ungodly hot — at least here in NYC — summer. Plus, I added in a few personal favorites for good measure. Perhaps you missed them the first time around because you were too busy having nightmares about bee infestations, rethinking your burial plans, contemplating a move to Tampa, or watching a live cam of a guy squat on a toilet.
In terms of trends in green home and garden-land, it was a big season for net-zero energy housing. And, of course, a perennially popular subject 'round these parts fared well: landscaping and property disputes. One related story, on a guy in Oregon with a whole lot of rainwater on his hands (or in his manmade ponds, rather), proved to be quite attention-grabbing and even garnered me my first piece of hate e-mail in quite some time. From a caps-happy reader in NYC named Jan:
I am writing to you because of your inane article regarding the Oregon man who had "amassed" 13 million gallons of "illicit" rainwater ON HIS PRIVATE PROPERTY. Stop being a BUSYBODY. Does this affect you, Mr. Hickman, PERSONALLY. Do YOU own this man's property? What BUSINESS is it of yours to tell someone what they can or cannot do on THEIR OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY. It is people like YOU that I DISPISE who stick their NOSES into other people's PRIVATE BUSINESS.
This was also a somewhat big summer for me as I took my first proper week off in, well, forever. I embarked on an eight day road trip across New York with stops in the Catskills, Cooperstown, and Lake George. It all ended with a wonderful weekend with friends at a lake cabin in the tippy-top of the Adirondacks. During the week, I hit up a couple of farmers markets, met a couple of Muffler Men, saw a bear cross the road in Bearsville, watched a movie at a drive-in theater, dined at an excellent locavore restaurant, went to a couple of great museums, played mini-golf, hiked to the top of a waterfall, and fell in love with an ice cream joint in Sharon Springs. I've included a few photos from my summer adventures, below.
What’s been your favorite post from this past summer? Was there a particular trend or story that I missed out on that you would like to have seen featured? And are there any hot topics that you'd like to see me tackle this fall and beyond? As always, muchos gracias for reading and if you aren't already, follow me on Twitter to keep up to speed.
• Torn up Tulsa garden results in civil rights lawsuit — A greenthumbed Tulsa resident sues the city after code enforcement officials, acting without cause, send workers to destroy the extensive edible garden in her front yard.
• Building good: Bryan Cranston unveils passive house project in Ventura — Bryan Cranston, the actor behind television's favorite chemistry teacher-turned-meth manufacturer, appears at Dwell on Design to discuss his LEED Platinum-targeting passive house project in Ventura, Calif.
• 9 portable fans to help keep your AC in check — When installing a ceiling fan isn't an option, a portable table or floor fan can keep your body cool and prevent you from cranking up the AC. Here are 9 models with design appeal to consider.
• Party of 5: Trendy Philly nabe to get quintent of net-zero townhomes — Maryland's Nexus EnergyHomes sets its sights north to Philadelphia, where the company plans to break ground on the city's first net-zero energy townhomes later this summer.
• A nest for Rat's Island? — Alex Schibli, the Bronx resident who purchased a private island in Long Island Sound at auction last year for $172K, considers building an off the grid vacation home on his guano-covered 2.5-acre investment.
• Net-zero goes pastoral at Serenbe model home — Located down the road from the 2012 HGTV Green Home in the South's preeminent New Urbanist eco-community, the Bosch Zero Energy Home blends country charm with advanced energy-saving technologies.
• Watch: Retired couple live merrily off the grid in tiny float cabin — Sure, spending your retirement in a remote, solar-powered floating cabin with a composting toilet may not be for everyone, but Margy and Wayne Lutz of Powell Lake, B.C., wouldn't have it any other way.
• In Berlin, a village of impossibly petite mobile 'homes' — For Berlin's BMW Guggenheim Lab, furniture designer Van Bo Le-Mentzel and artist Corinne Rose unveil the One-Sqm-House, a wooden shelter on wheels that makes other tiny homes look palatial in comparison.
• Evergreen homes: House of the Immediate Future — To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, Habitat for Humanity constructs a prefab-hybrid home that incorporates various future-thinking green technologies.
• Pastel power: Frank Gehry-designed duplex unveiled in NOLA — The newest home in New Orleans' Make It Right neighborhood boasts ample outdoor entertaining space, a vivid paint job and a designer that even your grandmother in Nebraska has heard of.
• Feud over edible plot gives new meaning to 'victory garden' — After months of harassment by code enforcement officials, a beleaguered yet determined locavore from Ferguson, Mo., emerges triumphant in the battle to keep his front yard vegetable garden.
• Net-zero housing done right in Dunedin — Marrying ultra-efficiency, altruism and, most importantly, affordability, Green Planet Group and GE break ground on Eco Village at Dunedin, a net-zero energy townhouse community in west central Florida.
• Czechmate: Tiny prefab retreat allows for glorious, grid-free independence — From Czech architect Marek Štěpán comes Freedomky, a stylish prefab retreat that's affordable, easy to install and — thanks to an optional 'independence' package — is capable of liberating its inhabitants from the grid.
• Oregon man in possession of 13 million gallons of illicit rainwater sentenced to jail — An Oregon resident with 3 massive man-made ponds on his property is sentenced to 30 days in jail after being found guilty (again) of collecting rainwater without a permit.
• Wright vs. the wrecking ball: Preservation struggle continues in Phoenix — After failing to find a new owner willing to cough up $2.7M, officials race to designate an iconic Frank Lloyd Wright home in Phoenix as a historic landmark so it won't get demolished by a developer.
• European green cleaning powerhouse Ecover buys U.S. rival Method — Method, everyone's favorite purveyor of nontoxic cleaners that double as 'stylish countertop accessories,' is acquired by Belgium-based Ecover in a move that will yield the world's largest green cleaning product company.
• Lab, sweet lab: NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility opens — Inside a rather humdrum-looking suburban Washington, D.C., home, the typical family of 4 is replaced by a virtual clan as part of a $2.5M effort to test energy-efficient technologies and materials.
• Peep show: Voyeur-friendly 'Bird-Apartment' opens to tenants in Japan — Located in a Japanese nature preserve named for the inventor of instant noodles, Bird-Apartment is a 78-unit tenement treehouse where visitors can get up close and personal with its winged residents
• Kids continuing to eat yummy-looking laundry detergent packs — Colorful, bite-sized and delicious-looking laundry detergent packs are also uber-convenient. However, reports of toddlers mistaking the capsules for candy, eating them and falling gravely ill continue to rise.
• Southern California's first Blu Home prefab unfolded in Joshua Tree — With Sonoma County in the bag, affordable prefab builder Blu Homes unveils its first project in Southern California: a remote, low-impact desert retreat owned by a descendent of Walt Disney.