Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

December 23, 2019 by  
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Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is jumping on the tiny cabin movement , and it’s “alright, alright, alright” with us. The famous actor has teamed up with Australian travel company Unyoked and Wild Turkey to build The Reserve — a tiny, off-grid cabin that operates on solar power. We already know that McConaughey is a huge fan of the outdoors, and regularly disconnects from the hustle and bustle in places like his beloved, restored Airstream . His latest tiny cabin venture follows his passion for both simple living and eco-friendly design. Located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, The Reserve is a tiny home that was built entirely with sustainable materials. The off-grid cabin, which runs on solar power , was designed to offer guests a serene retreat to rejuvenate in Australia’s incredible landscape. Related: This off-grid tiny cabin in the Australian wilderness is just what you need for a late summer getaway The dark wood-paneled cabin is a rustic, yet sophisticated retreat that offers an off-grid experience without sacrificing comfort. Here, the typical modern amenities of Wi-Fi and flat-screen televisions are replaced by large windows and a firepit. The cabin still includes the basics, such as a queen-sized bed, a gas stove, plates, linens and even a concealed bourbon bar. Working with the team from Unyoked, McConaughey added several personal touches to the tiny cabin . For those struggling to leave their smartphones behind for entertainment, guests can read some of McConaughey’s favorite authors, such as a collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and works by Og Mandino. For music-lovers, there are cassette tapes of Bob Dylan albums that can be listened to on a vintage stereo. As the sun sets, guests can warm up with a nice, toasty glass of Wild Turkey at the bourbon bar. Built as a part of Wild Turkey’s Thanks initiative, the proceeds from cabin bookings and $1 from every bottle of Longbranch sold in November and December will go to the initiative’s charity partner, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. “I’ve always been in awe of Australia’s natural beauty,” McConaughey said in a statement. “My hope now is that The Reserve by Wild Turkey x Unyoked cabin will inspire Australians to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the frenetic pace of life.” + Unyoked Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Getty Images via Unyoked

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Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

Research raises animal welfare concerns over "humanely" raised turkeys

November 18, 2019 by  
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While many meat eaters don’t want to think about the actual slaughter of a turkey, they might comfort themselves with the thought that their Thanksgiving dinner was humanely raised. Think again. The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has just released a new report showing that poultry producers are deceiving customers by making unfounded animal welfare and environmental claims. The report used Freedom of Information Act requests to procure the USDA’s label approval files, then analyzed them for supporting evidence regarding these claims. Unfortunately, things haven’t improved since the AWI petitioned the USDA in 2014 to require third-party certification of animal welfare in order to earn the “humane” label. Related: Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk? “The system is easily manipulated by producers who want to make higher welfare claims on their packages and charge a premium without improving the treatment of animals raised under their care,” said Erin Sutherland, staff attorney for AWI’s farm animal program. “Because of the USDA ’s lack of oversight, consumers are often thwarted in their attempts to use labels to guide their food-buying decisions.” In its new report, the AWI evaluated label approvals for claims like “humanely raised,” “free raised” and “sustainably farmed” on 19 poultry and meat products. The AWI concluded that the USDA failed to enforce labeling standards and that producers’ definitions were often vague and irrelevant. Using its own scoring tool, the AWI gave 12 of 23 claims an F score. Two turkey product lines, Diestel Turkey Ranch Organic Turkey Products and Empire Kosher Natural Ground White Turkey, fared slightly better with D grades. The AWI pointed out that the current label approval process harms honest farmers , because producers who make false claims can undercut them by selling inhumanely raised turkeys disguised as humanely raised at lower prices. Part of the problem is that the USDA doesn’t visit farms to see if practices conform to the claims made on labels. Instead, the USDA relies on information about animal treatment provided by the producers themselves. It’s ironic that while meat producers lobby against “deceptive” fake meat labeling, they’re practicing some fakery of their own. + Animal Welfare Institute Image via SJ Baren

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Whiskey spill in Kentucky kills thousands of fish

July 10, 2019 by  
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Two Jim Beam warehouses in Kentucky erupted in flames last week, spilling nearly 45,000 barrels of bourbon into the Kentucky River. In an apocalyptic scene, the fire spread to the alcohol on the river’s surface, consuming all available oxygen within the water. The fire, alcohol content and lack of oxygen resulted in the death of thousands of fish . But this isn’t Kentucky’s first rodeo. In fact, the state has had so many whiskey spills that it has specific protocols for this type of disaster . The Louisville Water Company issued a swift announcement letting the public know that the water is not a health concern for humans. Related: Two thirds of world’s rivers are contaminated with drugs “We’ve had several occur in this state, so when this one occurred, we were just ready for it and knew what the actions were to take,” said Robert Francis, the manager of Kentucky’s emergency response team. When the Jim Beam warehouse was struck by lightning in 2003, 800,000 gallons of bourbon spilled out into the a creek in Bardstown. Just last year, the Jim Beam warehouse went up in flames again and spilled 9,000 barrels. In 2000, Wild Turkey spilled 17,000 gallons of bourbon in Frankfort, Kentucky and killed about 228,000 fish . In 1996, the Heaven Hill distillery spilled 90,000 barrels of bourbon after a warehouse fire. Firefighters from four counties rushed to the scene to extinguish this year’s bourbon warehouse blaze, and emergency teams continue to monitor the river to assess the impact. The Kentucky River is approximately 24 miles long and moving at a speed of less than a mile per hour. The alcohol is expected to have reached the Ohio River and be diluted enough to cause no further threat. Wildlife crews also helped aerate the river water via barges, which helps to replenish the oxygen and prevent further fish kills. The emergency responders will leave the dead fish floating in the river to decompose naturally, as they pose no threat to humans or other wildlife . Via The BBC and The Courier-Journal Image via Bruno Glätsch

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Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk?

November 15, 2018 by  
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are planning meals centered around a turkey. But a new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and its partners at the Food Animal Concerns Trust says that you could be putting your family’s health at risk by eating turkey because of the way American meats are produced. Just last week, NBC News reported an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella that is linked to raw turkey , and it is still spreading. So far, the outbreak has made 164 people sick, and one person has died. According to experts, at least 2 million Americans suffer infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria each year — resulting in more than 23,000 deaths — and those numbers are rising. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving If you are wondering what that has to do with your holiday planning, the NRDC analysis says that turkeys are given antibiotics more intensively than other livestock in the United States. The U.S. livestock industry raises animals with an intensive use of antibiotics, with most of the medicines being fed to groups of animals that aren’t sick to compensate for stressful and unsanitary living conditions. However, this is not necessary. Several European countries stopped this practice years ago, and last month the European Parliament voted to ban such practices. Using antibiotics this way is driving a crisis in antibiotic resistance, and the World Health Organization warns that if we want antibiotics to remain useful for treating people when they are sick, we have to use antibiotics more responsibly. So if you are buying a turkey this Thanksgiving, look for labels like “Animal Welfare Approved” or “USDA Certified Organic.” These certifications mean that the turkeys were raised without antibiotics or growth promoters. Also, be sure to properly handle and cook your turkey. It is in your best interest to choose a turkey that has not been fed antibiotics. In the future, maybe the turkey industry (as well as the American beef and pork industries) will figure out a way to protect the consumers who buy their products. Via NRDC and EWG Image via Shutterstock

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Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk?

12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

November 15, 2018 by  
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For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a turkey on the table. But with diet trends turning toward vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism , people are starting to break away from the traditional turkey dinner for health, animal welfare or environmental reasons. Luckily, there are amazing plant-based dishes that you can prepare for a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast, making it easier than ever to skip the turkey. Here are some ideas for main dishes that will replace the turkey on your table, plus some side dish and dessert ideas that will keep the food at your celebration completely plant-based. Main dishes Classic seitan roast Forget the tofurkey — try this basic meat substitute for a savory, meaty main dish that you can use for Thanksgiving day, and any extras will be perfect as salad toppers or sandwich fillings. This recipe comes from One Green Planet , and it does have an involved process. But the results are totally worth it. Seitan pot roast Another idea from One Green Planet , this recipe is not the traditional pot roast your mom would make, but it is the perfect recipe for a large Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest plus about this dish is that you make it in a slow cooker. Just throw everything in the pot, and let it cook while you make your other dishes. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Lentil shepherd’s pie This recipe from Plant Based Cooking is perfect for picky eaters, vegan or not. Lentil shepherd’s pie is loaded with mushrooms, carrots, peas and garlic mashed potatoes, and you can easily refrigerate or freeze it. Vegan lentil loaf with gravy Perfect for the holiday season, this recipe from Vegan Heaven is easy to make, super healthy and beyond delicious. You will impress your family with this main dish, which takes a little over an hour to make and bake. Vegducken This is a vegetable main dish that will have your family and friends talking long after Thanksgiving is over. This recipe features roasted butternut squash stuffed with eggplant, zucchini and whole scallions. Then, you layer it with a puree of sautéed mushrooms, red onion, chickpeas, scallions, red lentils and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Side dishes Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing with gravy You might be able to skip turkey at Thanksgiving, but no one can live without the stuffing. This delicious vegan recipe from One Green Planet takes a little time to make, so you might want to prepare it a day in advance. Vegan pumpkin biscuits Free of dairy , egg, corn, soy and yeast, these pumpkin biscuits from Vegan Richa are easy to make and perfect for any guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. They feature fresh sage and thyme, and they are a savory side dish that is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Buttermilk vegan mashed potatoes Who says you need dairy products to make fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes? This recipe from The Vegan 8 calls for just eight ingredients to make creamy mashed potatoes that are full of flavor with a buttery taste that comes from apple cider vinegar. They will be one of the most-loved dishes at your Thanksgiving dinner. Smokey maple roasted carrots with lemon thyme drizzle If you are looking for an easy side dish that you can throw together, try this recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite . Not only is this carrot dish loaded with flavor, but the lemon thyme sauce will make you want to lick your plate clean. Related: The best in-season veggies to buy at your local market for Thanksgiving dinner Vegan green bean casserole This casserole is so creamy that you won’t believe it doesn’t contain dairy. Using raw cashews, unsweetened almond milk, bread crumbs, onions, garlic, flour, EVOO, mushrooms, white wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper, this dish from Hummusapien will be so good, no one will know its vegan. Desserts Vegan pecan pie This recipe from the Center for Nutrition Studies is a healthy, vegan alternative to the popular holiday dessert . It is decadent, but not too sweet, and it is gluten-free and soy-free. Chocolate ganache mousse pie If you want to add a chocolate dessert to your menu, here is a delicious option that has a cookie crust and light filling that will make any chocolate lover happy. Images via Pixabay and Shutterstock

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How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

November 9, 2018 by  
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If you live in a tiny home or apartment, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a daunting task. A few hundred square feet, no dining furniture, small appliances and limited seating can definitely present some challenges. But if you have a plan, you can throw a successful, delicious feast, even in a tiny house or micro apartment. Here’s how to do it. Make a detailed plan for the menu, and keep it simple The items you need for your Thanksgiving dinner can overwhelm your small space, so you want to plan ahead and develop a strategy for your shopping and cooking . Private chef Amanda Elliott says to keep things simple and stick to four homemade dishes, including the turkey. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need for your menu, and think about your refrigerator and pantry space. If you have a large oven, the turkey is going to take up this space for most of the hours before the meal. Choose side dishes that you can make ahead of time and reheat just before the dinner or ones that you can prepare on the stove. You can also choose menu items that can be served at room temperature, like salad. Related: How to cook and enjoy 10 types of squash other than pumpkin If you have a small oven, you can purchase a prepared turkey from a local restaurant or grocery store to avoid cooking the turkey yourself. There are amazing options out there, just be sure to order it well in advance if that’s the route you want to take. If you have your heart set on making your own turkey, you can cook it outside in a deep fryer or on the barbecue, so you can use your oven for other things. If you would like to have more than four items on your Thanksgiving menu, ask your guests for help. There is no shame in requesting assistance with your menu items. Consider asking one guest to bring a dessert and another to bring an appetizer. Just remember to be specific about what you need, and avoid saying “bring whatever you want.” You don’t want to end up with multiple green bean casseroles or macaroni and cheese dishes. When it comes to serving the food, make your kitchen counters and stove a buffet, and let guests serve themselves. Get creative with seating If you don’t have a large dining table and a lot of seating, don’t panic. A casual dinner where guests can eat wherever they please is just fine. People can sit on the couch and the floor — just be sure to provide guests with trays to hold their plates, cutlery and glasses. Use things like step stools, ottomans, lawn chairs, desk chairs and pillows for extra seating. If you still don’t have enough tables or chairs, you can try renting some from a local party store. Be sure to remove all of the clutter from the space. Clear off all flat surfaces, so people have a place to put their drinks. If you want to do some decorating for the occasion, one statement piece with a couple of decorative elements works well for the festivities without adding clutter. Have a plan for coats and bags. The easiest solution is to keep them all in the bedroom, so your guests aren’t taking up valuable living room space with their bulky outerwear. Have everyone help with the clean-up When you send out invitations, ask guests to bring their own containers to take some food home at the end of the celebration. This will prevent you from getting sick of leftovers, and it keeps food waste to a minimum. Consider asking your guests to help take care of their finished plates. You can do the scrubbing later, but getting help with clearing the tables and throwing away the trash will quickly free up space and give you a little time to make room in your belly for dessert. Experts also agree that the key to keeping your sanity in a tiny home at Thanksgiving is to clean as you go. While you are preparing your food, tidy up the work space throughout the process, and don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. If cleaning as you cook doesn’t work for you, hide the mess by piling all of your dirty dishes in the bathtub and draw the curtain. Then, clean everything after your guests leave. Finally, don’t stress! Sit back, relax and enjoy the day. If you are super stressed, your guests aren’t going to have any fun, either. Put together your plan of attack, and if things don’t go perfectly, it’s okay. Just smile and enjoy some red wine (white wine takes up too much space in the fridge!). Happy Thanksgiving! Images via Shutterstock

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How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

Endangered green and loggerhead turtles make Mediterranean comeback

August 17, 2018 by  
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For 10,000 years, green and loggerhead turtles have been nesting on the Mediterranean coast of Cyprus. In the last 100 years, they have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Thankfully, due to pioneering conservation efforts made by Cypriot marine biologists, these endearing reptiles have seen a promising bounce-back in numbers, pulling them away from the brink of extinction. Related: Turtle hatchlings spotted on Mumbai beach for the first time in nearly 20 years For thousands of years, the turtles have hatched on Cyprus’s Lara Beach, fighting the waves as they make their way to the ocean and begin their lives. The reptiles return 20 to 30 years later to lay eggs and bring about the next generation of turtle hatchlings. This phenomenon is a result of the turtles’ own biological programming, which calls them back to the same beaches that their ancestors chose long ago. Conservationists have been working tirelessly to save the endangered green and loggerhead turtle populations for four decades. Their efforts began in 1978, when only 300 turtle nests remained on Cyprus’s shores. The result is “quite spectacular,” according to Andreas Demetropoulos, founder and co-head of a turtle conservation program overseen by Cyprus’s Fisheries and Marine Research Department. His program reported approximately 1,100 nests last year alone, over three times as many as there were at the program’s beginning. Related: Sea turtles appear to be “bouncing back” from the brink of extinction The green and loggerhead turtles only nest in two countries, Turkey and Cyprus. Of the 1,500 egg-laying female green turtles, approximately 200-300 return to Cyprus to lay their eggs. More than twice as many loggerhead turtles do the same. To protect them, Cyprus’s government began its conservation program long before any other EU country, and in 1989 it passed legislation that protected two beaches that the turtles use as hatching grounds. Prior to this, residents would use the beach without regard for the turtles, but in the intervening years a conservationist culture has arisen. According to the program’s other co-head, Myroula Hadjichristophorou, “When people come [to the beaches] with their families, their children, they see the babies coming out of their nests, this is something that they will never forget.” + Sea Turtle Organization Via Phys.org

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Endangered green and loggerhead turtles make Mediterranean comeback

Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

February 20, 2018 by  
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If you feed your doggo and puppers foods made by the J.M. Smucker company (and the list is long), you are definitely going to want to read this. The company has recalled several brands of food because they are contaminated with a drug used to euthanize pets. In case you are thinking to yourself, “haven’t I heard this before?” – yes, you have. A different company had the exact same issue last year. The FDA states that a small amount of pentobarbital was found in foods like Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits and Skippy (see the whole list below). According to the FDA, “Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia.” If you’ve fed your dog one of these brands, the FDA says it is unlikely that the amount of the drug found in the food will make your dog sick, but watch out for “drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand.” If your dog shows any of these symptoms after ingesting any of the contaminated foods, it’s best to get them to the vet to be safe. Related: The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue “We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, President of Pet Food and Pet Snacks. In case you were wondering how the heck a drug like pentobarbital is making its way into dog food, it is likely from contaminated cattle meat – all the more reason to take a good, hard look at what you are feeding your pets . The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include: Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541 Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542 Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647 Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380 Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250 Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245 Via Gizmodo Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 and 2 )

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Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

Take a stargazing getaway in a translucent bubble tent in Australia

January 29, 2018 by  
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Sleeping under the stars is easier than ever thanks to Bubble Tent Australia . The glamping retreat lets adventurers stay in one of three translucent bubble tents tucked deep into the wilderness of Australia’s Capertee Valley – one of the most stunningly scenic landscapes in the world. Mayu Iwasaki and Sonny Vrebac were inspired to found Bubble Tent Australia after they took in a meteorite shower on a clear night at the Mt John observatory. After the experience, they returned to their roofed accommodations still wishing they could lie underneath the starry skies. Bubble Tent Australia, therefore, was born out the desire to let others enjoy non-stop night views in a stunning location. Related: Giant bubble “greenhouse” covers this lush new retail center in Turkey The tents come with all the basics to provide a perfect off-grid escape into nature. A large bed makes up the main bubble, while an attached smaller bubble houses the bathroom with composting toilets . All of the sites come equipped with outdoor kitchens and open-air seating areas with telescopes for optimal star gazing over the valley. The glamping bubbles are located in strategic locations overlooking Capertee Valley, the world’s second largest canyon. The Leo tent is located at one of the highest points in the entire Valley and the Cancer tent is tucked into a stunning gully surrounded by cliffs. But if you’d like to really splurge on your trip, make sure to check out the Virgo, which comes equipped with a warm wood-fired hot tub, private herb garden and a beautiful outdoor seating area. + Bubble Tent Australia Images via Bubble Tent Australia

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Take a stargazing getaway in a translucent bubble tent in Australia

Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

January 29, 2018 by  
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The Dovecote-Granary in Portugal is a temple in the trees where people can reconnect with nature and themselves. The simple structure stands on the granite foundation of what was once a 19th-century maize granary. Tiago do Vale Arquitectos took cues from traditional local architecture while reconstructing the rotting building as a place of serenity and contemplation. The structure combines three vernacular typologies: granary, dovecote, and drying shed. It is built out of oak wood in the same style as the granaries that stood there for centuries. Sadly, the wood of the granaries had rotted beyond salvage, so the architects documented the existing structure and re-constructed it out of fresh wood. By documenting the original building in its entirety, as well as the building techniques used in its construction, the architects managed to successfully re-create the building stronger than it was originally, while preserving its spirit and giving it new life. Related: Salima Naji’s Preservation of Sacred Moroccan Granary Sites Nominated for Aga Khan Award With farming disappearing from the area, the original function of the structure became obsolete. This prompted its current use as a kind of temple, a sanctuary among the tree canopies, and an iconic shape in the rural landscape of the Minho region. The architects reconstructed the two granaries on the original foundation to act as the walls of the new building and topped them with a dovecote, while the interior re-creates the traditional drying shed. + Tiago do Vale Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photos by João Morgado

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