A Bat Roost Registry, the First Full-Size Cordless Blower, and More

A school teaches participants how to build a log home, the American Bat Conservation Society needs help finding bat roosts, a guide to kids' catalogs makes mail-ordering easier, and the first full-size cordless blower goes on the market.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
June/July 1992
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Bats are some of nature's most effective bug-zappers.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Learn How to Build Your Own Log Home

Many of us picture log-cabin builders as big strapping men clad in flannel and workboots. But anyone can do it, including you—and the flannel is optional.

But it sure seems overwhelming. That's why Bill Lasko and his wife, Julie, have started The William M. Lasko School of Log Building, a non-profit organization which offers courses across the country. No anxiety necessary—Lasko will teach you all of the basics: how to locate timber for your home, construct it step-by-step, and prepare yourself financially.

Lasko started this school in order to "help others see their way to debt-free living. There are enough people pointing out the errors in our ways, we want to offer some viable solutions." If you want to build a house in Indiana, for example, you can purchase the logs for as little as $300 to $400. He will also teach you how to build and sell two to three smaller cabins, so that you can afford to buy materials to build your own log home.

Skeptics may argue that taking a class is very different from actually building a home. Right you are, and that's why the course is designed to offer you hands-on experience—you and your fellow students will build a structure starting from scratch. When it's complete, it will be donated to a worthy cause: a home for an unemployed family, a building for a Special Olympic equestrian, a boy scout meeting shelter, etc. These classes are limited to 20 students or less, so that everyone can participate.

Lasko plans to settle down. He will open his school at a permanent site in 1993 near the west side of Indianapolis, Indiana. Until then, courses will be offered in Oregon, New York, and South Carolina.

American Bat Conservation Society is Looking for Bat Roosts

Your assignment: To find bat hangouts.

The American Bat Conservation Society is on a mission. They're looking for bat roosts. And they need your help.

First, some background information: America is home to 40 species of bats. They are not flying mice. They are not rodents. And to set the record straight—bats do not take pleasure in flying into a human head of hair and getting tangled. They are tiny flying mammals that spend most of their day asleep. And when they awaken at night, bats are one of nature's most effective bug-zappers. They kill off such night-flying insects as mosquitoes, Japanese beetles, and moths. Unfortunately, the bat population is drastically declining, and we need to help save them.

Should you find a bat roost (a wooden box built to attract bats), report it to the American Bat Conservation Society at once. President Tom Valega has organized a computerized bat-roost registration project to determine where bat colonies are hanging out. If enough people spot roosts and volunteer information about them, the society may be able to protect these areas from pesticides, construction, and other hazards. The society also hopes to determine whether or not roosts are really attracting bats in the first place.

One last tip: Roosts can often be found under rocks, in attics, on buildings, and behind shutters. Good luck.

[Editor's Note: For more on bat roosts, see "Build a Bat House for Natural Pest Control."] 

Kids Catalog Collection Compiles Mail-Order Information

Parents, you have two consumer choices when it comes to shopping for your child: You can either lug your protesting child through a cluttered maze of merchandise, or you can pay a babysitter to eat through your groceries. (Either way, you still have to shop with everybody else's protesting children.)

But now there's a way to shop for kid's items in the privacy of your own home. Jane Smolik, mother/shopper, has put out The Kids Catalog Collection, a selective guide of more than 500 mail-order catalogs and brochures for children's items.

Say you have to buy a gift for your boss's child, a mission which could easily swallow your weekend. If quitting your job seems tempting, whip out this handy-dandy guide and look for a gift: sporting goods, party supplies, models, and toy trains. Need a more creative gift? How about a custom-tailored wetsuit, a collection of one-act plays, or a build-your-own erupting volcano? (Note: your boss may not be thrilled with the erupting volcano.)

From there, it's simple: Under the gift item you select, you will find the manufacturer's name, address, and phone number. There's a short description of the catalog, and its cost. Then just mail-order away. No shopping mall stampedes, screaming babies, or obnoxious salespeople.

First Full-Size Cordless Blower on the Market

Why sweep the leaves off your deck when you can blow them off? Weed Eater manufacturers is making spring cleaning a breeze with their new cordless blower, the RB 90.

This year-round cleanup tool may not be the first cordless blower, but it is the first full-size one. It's ideal for clearing grass clippings and leaves off of paved surfaces after mowing or edging. But that's not all—it's also designed to sweep decks, patios, entryways, garages, and shop floors. And you don't have to worry about an extension cord being too short or tripping your loved ones. What more could you ask? Well, it has a built-in rechargeable battery and charger, and it's lightweight—the RB 90 weighs in at 10.5 pounds.

This blower is sweeping the nation. So look for it in spring 1992 at leading lawn and garden outlets, and hardware stores nationwide.


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