BX: Were there stumbling blocks along the way for you during writing the book, with embarking on DIY experiments that maybe didn't work or were too hard?
MF: There were certain things. I was getting interested in alternative energy and there's this group of people who are into human powered energy. They basically build a bike with a giant flywheel and they generate electricity with it. I looked into it and realized that to provide my family's electrical needs I'd have to pedal 1,000 hours a month. I don't want to knock anyone who does it, but for me, it wasn't enough bang for the buck. And the other thing is when my chickens started to get picked off and I was getting desperate to save them. And we were just surrounded by predators: bobcats and raccoons and coyotes. I felt pretty over my head then. We also considered a goat, but someone has to milk the goat twice a day, and I do travel and, I don't know, do you hire a goat milker? With this book I wanted to do things that would enrich our lives and would be possible to do and still work and write and spend time with my family.
UPDATE: Brand X has added a photo gallery of the DIY stuff at my place. Photos by Lawrence K. Ho for the Los Angeles Times.
Also, here are a few recent bloggers' reviews of Made By Hand:
• "Of course it's not merely good, it's foundation-shaking, at least for me." – Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog
• "I read the first chapter and became hooked. I read it cover to cover in under a day." -- Lane Holloway
• "Lucky for Mark Frauenfelder, I liked his book." -- Jeff Cutler's Test Lab
• "It was an easy and pleasurable read." -- NovoKane
• "...the author makes a persuasive case that a DIY approach can help its practitioners achieve "a richer and more meaningful life, a life of engagement with the world." – Hardy Green, DailyFinance
• "...not only was I entertained I was educated on a wide range of topics!" – Recycled Crafts