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What's New on our Websites?


New Articles Online!
- Neofeudalism and the Overlords of Montana
- D-Day Every Day
- Montana Rail Trails
- Dry Cold Permaculture Homestead
- Building a Modernized Earthlodge

New Books from HOPS Press, LLC!

Berrigan's Ride Novel.

Berrigan's Ride
A novel by Jan Elpel

      Berrigan's Ride is a novel of love, abandonment and acceptance set primarily in Hot Spring District, Madison County, in southwestern Montana (Norris), 1866 - 1868, and a drama of symbolic healing between North and South after the Civil War. Paperback. 284 pages. September 2016. ISBN: 978-1-892784-37-7. $16.00

From the back cover:

      Kent Berrigan never expected to fall in love with raw, remote Montana Territory. He recognizes himself in the night flight of wild horses running past his shack in the gold fields of Madison County, 1866. "His pulse stimulated to breaking in this land of intemperance, temper, and indifference with an edge on its own terms. He yearned to run with the herd-as with the horses, another life formed a past he ran from, or a future he was running toward..."

      Kent settles on Norwegian Creek with other Rebels, a dog and a captured wild horse. After a friend was murdered, he follows his heart to California gold camps in pursuit of Marion Patton, an independent woman with a vision for the country, if not of her own destiny. Eventually, an Alder Gulch mine tragedy near Virginia City forces Kent to confront his unresolved relationship with the North. Read More...

>La Búsqueda de Shanleya: Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años. >Author Thomas J. Elpel and Translator Janeth Warg.

La Búsqueda de Shanleya
Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años
Escrito por Thomas J. Elpel, autor de Botany in a Day
Ilustrado por Gloria Brown. Edición Española 2016, traducido por Janeth Warg

      En un mundo mítico donde el Tiempo es un líquido que cae en forma de lluvia, Shanleya remó su canoa hacia "Las Islas del Árbol" para aprender las tradiciones de las plantas de su pueblo. Cada isla es el hogar de una familia diferente de plantas y de un Guardián inolvidable, con lecciones para aprender acerca de la identificación y uso de esas plantas.

      La Búsqueda de Shanleya es un libro único verdaderamente educativo, que presenta conceptos botánicos y habilidades de identificación de plantas en un formato metafórico fácil y divertido para los niños y adultos. Read More...

Stone House: A Guide to Self-Building with Slipforms.

Stone House
A Guide to Self-Building with Slipforms
By Tomm Stanley
(Now distributed by HOPS Press, LLC)

      Born and raised in the USA, author Tomm Stanley hopped around the world working in Antarctica, Australia, southeast Asia and New Zealand, where he found a partner and settled down. Tomm and Sabrina had lots of rocks available on their land, and so slipforming was the obvious choice for building their dream home. Thomas J. Elpel had the good fortune to meet Tomm Stanley while vacationing in New Zealand and was privileged to receive a personal tour of the house.

      The slipforming method they used is similar to early slipforming methods used in North America, with one significant improvement: Instead of wire ties to hold the forms together, Stanley ran threaded rod through plastic sleeves, and used wingnuts on the outside of the forms to tighten the forms. The plastic sleeves stayed in the wall, but the threaded rod could be used again and again. Read More...

Hobbit House.

Spring 2015

New Articles!
Botanizing New Zealand: Plant Identification Down Under
Posted: Please Trespass: The Green Post Campaign to Reclaim Everyman's Right to Roam
Hobbit Architecture: Building with Soul

Winter 2014-2015

Updated and Expanded Check out the new pages and content.

Dirt Cheap Builder.

Fall 2014

Updated and Expanded Check out the new pages and fashion gallery!

Braintan Buckskin

Limited Time Offer
2014 Holiday Discount!
Package Deal. Classroom in the Woods: Primitive Skills for Public Schools.

Save $45 on this special holiday package discount!

-Participating in Nature
-Foraging the Mountain West
-Botany in a Day
-Classroom in the Woods DVD
Price: $70. Total Savings = $45!

Spring 2014

Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.

Foraging the Mountain West
Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat
By Thomas J. Elpel and Kris Reed

      There's food in them thar hills! There is also food in the valleys, meadows, swamps, and all around town, too... maybe even in your own backyard. Foraging the Mountain West is a guide to harvesting and celebrating nature's abundance. Reach out and explore the world with your taste buds. Discover new delights you will never find at the store. Connect with nature on a deeper level by meeting, greeting, and eating the plants, fungi, and creatures that share the neighborhood. Become a little more self-sufficient, and a lot more aware.

      Foraging the Mountain West is a hands-on manual for identifying, harvesting, and preparing real food. It is written for the backpacker who would rather bring more knowledge and fewer provisions into the wilderness. It is intended for the happy homemaker who wants to eat well and spend less. It is ideal for the creative chef who wants to explore new ingredients and impress diners with novel dishes. Read More...

Outdoor Skills Special Discount
The Art of Nothing: Wilderness Survival Video Series, Vol. 1. Stone Age Living Skills: Video Classics Series on DVD. Save $75! Order all four Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series DVDs plus all three Stone Age Living Skills Video Classics Series DVDs for $100! Total Savings = $75.

Winter 2012 - 2013

What's New on the site?

Too Many Jobs? What if the path to prosperity called for less work and fewer jobs?
Article by Thomas J. Elpel

Lythrum salicaria flower.

Fall 2012

What's New on the Wildflowers and Weeds Site?

50 New Wildflower Photos!
Plant Families Wildflower Gallery

      Are you still thumbing through hundreds of pictures to identify wild flowers? That's the way I started learning plants, but now there is a much easier way! Plants that are related to each other have similar characteristics for identification. Botanists have simply looked for patterns in plants and created groups called "families" according to those patterns. In the northern latitudes where there are hard freezes during winter, there are only about 100 broad patterns representing tens of thousands of plant species. Once you identify the family your wild flower belongs to then you can still use your color picture book to identify the species, but now you only have to look through a few pictures to find a match, not hundreds. Read More...

What's New at Green University® LLC?

Break Free from the Machine! Article by Thomas J. Elpel.

Summer 2012

What's New in Sustainable Living Skills?

Castle playhouse or guest room.

Castle Construction
Building our Little Castle / Guest House
by Thomas J. Elpel, Author of Living Homes

      It all started with the satellite dish. It was one of those big, old-style, clunky dishes from the early hey-day of satellite television. It was handed off to me when its owners upgraded to a new dish. They somehow imagined they were doing me a favor, that my life would be better if I installed the ugly thing in the yard and had access to five hundred channels of nothing. But we have three channels via the antenna, and that is more than enough of nothing already. On the other hand, I didn't want to just throw the satellite dish away. I don't like throwing anything away. And I thought maybe I could make something interesting out of it someday, such as a solar cooker or maybe even the roof of a playhouse or something. So the satellite dish just sat behind the house for fifteen to twenty years. Then we had this idea to turn it into a castle. Read More...

Spring 2012

Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace DVD.

Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace DVD
With Builder and Author Thomas J. Elpel
Video Companion to
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction

      Build an authentic masonry fireplace with the efficiency of a masonry stove! The baffle system in this fireplace extracts heat from the exhaust, warming up the thermal mass of brick and rock. The masonry fireplace can radiate heat for three days after the fire is out!

      In this instructional video, Thomas J. Elpel demonstrates the step-by-step process of building a masonry fireplace, starting from the foundation and ending with the chimney. Elpel shows how to lay up the brickwork for the core of the fireplace, how to build the arch, and how to build the baffle system. With the brickwork complete, Elpel demonstrates freehand stone masonry, using natural rock to lay up the stonework around the brick core. DVD. 2012. Read More...

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

Tom's Camping Journal: -Carp Hunting the Upper Missouri

Fall 2011

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

-Grass Ropes: The Human Rope-Making Machine

Be sure to subscribe to Tom's YouTube Channel:

Family picture in front of Stone and Stawbale home.

What's New on our Websites?

Summer 2011

What's New in Sustainable Living Skills?

Check out this House of Stone and Straw
Built by Jordan and Amy Lentz, using Tom's book Living Homes.

      "This is the story of our house and farm. Jordan and I designed the house, and Jordan (with the help of family and friends) built it from the ground up. It is a "green" house, which means that, wherever possible, the materials we used were natural, local and safe for the environment. [Read More...]

Pedicularis groenlandica flower.

What's New on all our Websites?

Spring 2011

What's New on

Updated and Expanded!
Plant Families Gallery Now with 750 wildflower photos!
Resources to help identify your wildflowers.

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

Two Articles from local newspapers:
-Outdoor Classroom
-Working with Kids

Winter 2010 - 2011

What's New from Thomas J. Elpel?

We now have an on-line video clip from Volume 4 in
The Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series:
Canoe Camping - on a song and a paddle

Also be sure to watch:
Wilderness Survival with Lynx Vilden, Part 1

And: Wilderness Survival with Lynx Vilden, Part 2
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

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HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
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Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2015 Thomas J. Elpel