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thalassa
09 Oct 2010, 08:16
Okay...this is probably one of my favorite threads from pre-crash. I am attempting to salvage what I can from Google cache, so some of the material posted may not have been from myself originally. Wherever possible I will credit the original contributor, but me thinks we will be needing to create much of this thread from scratch again (which stinks because it was a fairly long thread).

Any ideas, pics, links, books, resources, etc on natural or alternative building techniques and systems from rain barrels and greywater treatment to cob and swimming ponds are welcome in this thread!


PBS's Building Green series via Hulu (http://www.hulu.com/watch/65873/building-green-breaking-ground#x-0,vepisode,1)

thalassa
09 Oct 2010, 08:31
Stuff I Posted:

Compressed Earth Blocks
http://www.earthblockinc.com/images/wall-detail.jpg

So I think these are totally cool. Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) are similar to adobe, but are made without the sun baking, and leave a smaller foot print than conventional adobe homes. Like cob, they act as thermal mass and (usually) can be made from (mostly) on-site materials, however they are more similar to bricks in use. Most importantly, perhaps, CEB's are covered under most building codes as adobe or unfired clay masonry. On the downside, CEB's reqire specialized equipment--which you either need to buy, or hire out a company for (which is generally limited by geographical availability). I really think these would be AWESOME for interior walls...


E-logs
http://www.e-logsiding.com/images/e-log-energy-efficient.jpg

I have always wanted to live in a log cabin, ever since I was a little girl and read Little House in the Big Woods. But, as beautiful as they are, in this day and age they aren't exactly cheap, and I'd rather keep my trees in the ground and growing. Though the EPS (expanded polystyrene--the infill in these "logs") is a petroleum product, from what I understand of SIPs (structural insulated panels), the composition of EPS is about 98% air (the average SIP home saves nineteen times the energy it took to make the EPS insulation in the first year of installation). Additionally, e-logs can be manufactured at an ratio of 80 e-logs to one conventional log...and, depending on the size of the log, has a much higher R value than conventional logs, making it more energy efficient. E-logs are about the same cost as a mid to hi grade vinal siding, and cheaper and easier to build with than a conventional logs. I do have some misgivings about the green-ness of this particular innovation, but it is something to keep in mind.


Recycled CD/DVD Shingles

http://www.instructables.com/image/FQLBHVJG61AVS6U/CDDVD-Roofing-Concept.jpg
from http://www.instructables.com/id/CDDVD-Roofing-Concept/

I had thought about using split soda cans for a metal roof, but this is pretty cool too....now I just need a yard to build Tesla's recycled dog house

B. de Corbin
12 Oct 2010, 04:00
Have you thought about old fashioned sod (turf) for the doghouse?

I'm not sure I'd want to cut all that sod for an actual house, but it might work for a doghouse.

I built my compost bin out of turf I cut when I was clearing the garden. I didn't think it would last very long, but, even in rainy Michigan, it's held up for five years (it's not very big - only about four feet by four, and three layers high).

Raphaeline
13 Oct 2010, 16:25
(As far as "living off the grid", this might mean different things to different people (http://www.livingoffgrid.org/what-does-living-off-the-grid-mean-to-you/).)

Do you homestead? Do you grow/raise your own food? Did you build your own home? Do you renewable energy sources? Are you a nomad, a gypsy, or part of a hippie commune? Any of this stuff? (http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/DC_ss_thingsyoucando.htm) If you do, have done, or also have an interest in this type of thing, this thread is for you ;) I want to learn about the ways other people live and change the way I do a lot of things I'm just not happy with.

I'm interested in the simple life - by which I mean not complicated, basic, and - at least in my own sense of it - natural. I don't live in a place where this is common or encouraged, and there aren't a lot of examples to learn from.

I eat organic and local whenever possible and I do not compromise when it comes to meat, milk and eggs. We've adopted the family bed and our bedroom no longer looks like a traditional master bedroom with a four poster bed - it's now on the floor and will soon be joined by a twin bed nestled beside it. We use oil lamps instead of electric lights after dark. We use a clothesline.

I'm definitely not where I want to be, but I'm making progress. I'm studying to raise my own chickens and I've found someone knowledgeable around here to help me learn what I need to know. I'm learning more about gardening (my first garden was, for the most part, a failure) to prepare for next Spring. I'm still trying to master the sewing machine and am determined to make my own clothes. Long term, my husband's pretty eager to try solar energy and we're really hoping to build a cob house together sometime in the future.

Anyone else have an interest?

Oh, and...
http://fuckyeahgypsydens.tumblr.com/ has a lot of photos with ideas for decorating and designing a home. I'm crazy about this blog. Where do they find this awesomeness?

thalassa
13 Oct 2010, 16:28
I did bring back our fave thread... http://www.paganforum.com/index.php?topic=86.0

...except it looks like we get to start over...

Raphaeline
14 Oct 2010, 11:30
I did bring back our fave thread... http://www.paganforum.com/index.php?topic=86.0

...except it looks like we get to start over...


I saw that! I should have put the Gypsy Dens link in that thread instead, shouldn't I?

XD

In the meantime, does anyone here raise their own chickens? I'm trying to get some advice from the experienced before I start in on this project.

thalassa
14 Oct 2010, 11:33
I saw that! I should have put the Gypsy Dens link in that thread instead, shouldn't I?

XD

In the meantime, does anyone here raise their own chickens? I'm trying to get some advice from the experienced before I start in on this project.


I thought B did...but maybe that is ducks.
???

Dez
14 Oct 2010, 11:45
I thought B did...but maybe that is ducks.
???



I have no personal experience, but if I have have a chance to have poultry, I may favor ducks to chickens, simply because the eggs are bigger, and they're slightly less likely to destroy a garden if they get out :P

B. de Corbin
14 Oct 2010, 11:52
My commune days are (thankfully) well in the past!

However, while we are currently raising ducks, we've raised chickens before - for meat and/or eggs (and as pets). Which are you thinking of, Raphe? If you want to do eggs, consider ducks instead - they seem to lay more eggs. But for meat, it's definitely chickens. Duck is kind of greasy, and not one of my favorite meats.

Both meat and eggs are definitely much much much better quality than general grocery store fare, and costwise, they can be comparable, if you feed them mostly scratch, and either free range them or use a chicken tractor. - A chicken tractor, if you don't know, is a large cage easily built of two by fours and chicken wire that can be dragged around the yard. It keeps all the birds and eggs together, and provides protection against 'coons. it provides both the benefits of keeping them cooped with the benefits of free ranging. Right now the ducks are just wandering around the house - we'll shoo them into the coop before dark.

You really can't go wrong with poultry - the biggest rpoblem is with predators.



I have no personal experience, but if I have have a chance to have poultry, I may favor ducks to chickens, simply because the eggs are bigger, and they're slightly less likely to destroy a garden if they get out :P


Yup - go for ducks. I can't tell the difference between the eggs taste-wise, but they are bigger, they are said to have less cholesteral, and the ducks usually only mess with the garden when the plants are seedlings. And - because people ask - you don't need a pond.

thalassa
14 Oct 2010, 11:54
Yup - go for ducks. I can't tell the difference between the eggs taste-wise, but they are bigger, they are said to have less cholesteral, and the ducks usually only mess with the garden when the plants are seedlings. And - because people ask - you don't need a pond.


I've read that Indian Runner Ducks are a good choice--versatile for both mean and eggs and relatively easy to care for...do you have any preferences?

Rafe, here's the one of the links I had bookmarked on heritage breeds http://www.albc-usa.org/

Dez
14 Oct 2010, 11:56
Corbin, that actually raises a question for me-- if I eventually keep poultry, I would want to do so for both eggs and meat. Did you dispatch your own? And if so, how do you learn how to do so humanely and quickly, as well as all the cleaning required?

thalassa
14 Oct 2010, 12:11
Corbin, that actually raises a question for me-- if I eventually keep poultry, I would want to do so for both eggs and meat. Did you dispatch your own? And if so, how do you learn how to do so humanely and quickly, as well as all the cleaning required?


Scott duck hunts, he's done tons of that--learning the cleaning and whatnot could be easily done from someone that hunts. Also, from what I understand from my grandmother, its not that difficult to kill them--you grab 'em by the feet and either wring their neck or chop their head off...those are both the quickest way to do it.

Believe it or not though, you can google "how to kill a chicken" and there are youtube instructions (I did not link them for obvious reasons)

Dez
14 Oct 2010, 15:13
Wow...now that is something I never thought to check on YouTube for...I gotta hand it to you, Thal.

B. de Corbin
14 Oct 2010, 15:20
I've read that Indian Runner Ducks are a good choice--versatile for both mean and eggs and relatively easy to care for...do you have any preferences?

Rafe, here's the one of the links I had bookmarked on heritage breeds http://www.albc-usa.org/


Runners are great looking ducks - very funny to watch them run - and wifey keeps looking at them, but she's never actually gotten any, so I don't know. By the way, they don't swim at all. They drown if they get into deep water ::)

Our ducks are all mutt ducks. They're mostly Rouen (the ones that look like mallards), but so mixed that they range in color from dove grey to brown - and several have rings around their eyes. Very cute animals.

I really like fancy breed chickens though. Iíd really, really love to get a Golden Phoenix when we get room in one of the coops. Hereís a link. This hatchery also has a HUGE selection of poultry breeds: http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/phoenix.html



Corbin, that actually raises a question for me-- if I eventually keep poultry, I would want to do so for both eggs and meat. Did you dispatch your own? And if so, how do you learn how to do so humanely and quickly, as well as all the cleaning required?


Now itís time to confess that Iím a sissy. I really donít like to hurt animals, so I wonít kill them (I donít hunt either. Iíll shoot a weasel or martin when I have to, but would prefer not to). When we had meat birds, we sent them to the Amish people for the execution. They do it for a dollar per bird (apparently, Amish people have a lot of repressed hostilities and enjoy killing chickens). Also, there is the chicken killing bus that comes around. Itís a truck outfitted with an automated killing and plucking system. You wonít want to watch it in operation - itíll put you off meat. I think it is actually more humane to do it by hand.

If you live in a farm community, it shouldnít be too hard to find somebody who will show you how to do it. Most people buy straight run chicks (mixed gender) in the spring from the local farm supply store (usually around a dollar per), then butcher all the cocks when they get big enough to eat, and keep the hens as layers.

I think ringing their necks is the preferred method because they donít run around afterward (no joke. They really do run around sometimes after you cut their heads off).

Celest
14 Oct 2010, 15:54
CHICKEN KILLING BUS?? :o

Raphaeline
14 Oct 2010, 16:39
Whoops... by the time I got around to answering the thread (it's been open all day) there are three new replies. I'll handle this first, though. :)

I want chickens for meat AND eggs - I plan on taking the chicken to a butcher to slaughter. But I primarily want to focus on eggs. What I'm thinking of doing is getting breeds that are dual-purpose ... although I kind of dread the idea of getting used to them, raising them, feeding them, and then eating them. I mean, that's the whole point of this change, to get connected to my food a little more, but still, I'm wary.

I'm thinking we might have a building we can use as a coop, otherwise we'll have to build one. Still working on what we're going to do with them! The person I'm going to see sometime soon has a pretty interesting set up, I'm hoping to kind of imitate what she's got going on (a coop and fenced in area) but make it more secure because we live in the woods - plenty of predators around. My mother's guinea fowl wanders around, but they're down to six from about twenty last Fall.

thalassa
14 Oct 2010, 16:42
Rafe...I'll have to check...I might have ditched it in the Great Book Purge for the band fundraiser...but I have a book on raising animals

catsraven
14 Oct 2010, 16:46
I have chickens and a garden. Im still trying to get a milk cow.

Dez
14 Oct 2010, 18:45
They do it for a dollar per bird (apparently, Amish people have a lot of repressed hostilities and enjoy killing chickens).


That just made me laugh so. hard.

The local CAL Ranch store was selling chicks at Easter for 50 cents each, so I know there have to be some people who know how to do it...I'll just have to find the right people to ask :)

B. de Corbin
15 Oct 2010, 02:11
I want chickens for meat AND eggs - I plan on taking the chicken to a butcher to slaughter. But I primarily want to focus on eggs. What I'm thinking of doing is getting breeds that are dual-purpose ... although I kind of dread the idea of getting used to them, raising them, feeding them, and then eating them. I mean, that's the whole point of this change, to get connected to my food a little more, but still, I'm wary.

That's my problem. We treat them more like pets than livestock. Fortunately, we're not farmers, so it isn't a problem. My dad's advice is "Don't give them names."



I have chickens and a garden. Im still trying to get a milk cow.


How about a goat? They give more milk than cows, and are very easy to take care of.



I'm thinking we might have a building we can use as a coop, otherwise we'll have to build one. Still working on what we're going to do with them! The person I'm going to see sometime soon has a pretty interesting set up, I'm hoping to kind of imitate what she's got going on (a coop and fenced in area) but make it more secure because we live in the woods - plenty of predators around. My mother's guinea fowl wanders around, but they're down to six from about twenty last Fall.

We have a lot of problems with Ďcoons here, and occasional problems with martins or weasels. You can keep the Ďcoons out with a physical barrier - a fenced in yard (you have to fence the roof as well), but weasel-like animals have to be killed because they can squeeze through very tiny holes. Itís also useful to get a big, mean goose, especially if you have ducks. The goose will do itís best to protect them, and leads them around like a herd. If you have chickens, keep the biggest and meanest cock - heíll also try to defend his ladies - but neither a goose nor a cock are proof against a hungery mother raccoon.

B. de Corbin
15 Oct 2010, 03:26
Oh - P.S. Deseret - when the kids are old enough, consider getting them into a 4H group. It's a great program, the kids will have fun and learn stuff, and you'll be able to meet good people who can teach you how to do pretty much any farm chore you might need to learn.

Amber
15 Oct 2010, 06:25
This is something I've always been interested in but living in the city I'm not sure if I can even have chickens :'(

We will be renting my grandmas house in a couple months (She passed away this summer) and hopefully will be able to buy it in a few years. While renting I KNOW I can't have chickens (had to beg to keep my cat) but I might when we buy it because A. chicken prices in the stores are REDICULOUS and B. I feel better knowing what has and hasn't gone into my food.

Then tho there is the coon and possom problem in the city as well

Dez
15 Oct 2010, 06:47
Oh - P.S. Deseret - when the kids are old enough, consider getting them into a 4H group. It's a great program, the kids will have fun and learn stuff, and you'll be able to meet good people who can teach you how to do pretty much any farm chore you might need to learn.


I've been looking at 4H out here, and you're right, it's excellent. Girl scouts, too, which you can't find anywhere in Utah.

catsraven
15 Oct 2010, 15:51
B. de Corbin I like goats milk, but no one else dose. Its also very difficult to make butter with it.

AlabasterBuffalo
19 Oct 2010, 04:36
Recycled storage shed container homes are probably the most innovative thing I have seen in awhile. Not only are they cheap but durable and the design is only limited by your imagination. At around a 1000 USD a storage container the sky is the limit for possibilities. http://green.yahoo.com/blog/daily_green_news/8/twelve-amazing-shipping-container-houses.html

Dez
19 Oct 2010, 06:51
B. de Corbin I like goats milk, but no one else dose. Its also very difficult to make butter with it.



That's because the chemical makeup of goat's milk is very different from that of cow's, with a smaller fat globule structure. This article (http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/1975-05-01/How-To-Make-Butter-From-Goatmilk.aspx) might be helpful, if you haven't seen it before.

Madness
22 Oct 2010, 07:04
We have chickens, ducks, guineas, goats, sheep, and a donkey.

For eggs and meat, look into getting hatching eggs or straight run chicks. When you can start to tell the difference between cockerels (males) and pullets (females), butcher the cockerels except one. Then let the roo fertilize eggs and hatch out another batch. That way you don't get too attached to them - and if you do, just wait until you have 10 roosters and trust me, you will be wringing necks yourself. Wyandottes are a good dual purpose breed (originally called Winnebagos which is what I still refer to mine as - they are HUGE).

We have some Indian runners. While absolutely hilarious to watch run around, the Khaki Campbells lay more eggs. But runners eggs are slightly bluish/greenish which is cool.

We make goat milk butter. You can either get a cream separator or let the milk sit undisturbed in a shallow vessel for 3 days - then you can skim the cream. There's also another way to do it with a sun tea jar but I haven't tried it yet.

Er, what else? Can't think of anything else to add right now!

Sparrowings
28 Oct 2010, 19:26
I'm a big fan of earth lodges and viking pit houses. Yet, dirt floors are hard to keep clean though...

http://www.fotevikensmuseum.se/Photo/art17/P0011574.jpg

The viking pit house stays naturally cool as it is basically a pit with the upper half of a house built over it. The vikings used some of these in the summer, though it might be pretty cold in the winter...

http://motorcyclinglewisandclark.edinboro.edu/images/s_MandanEarthLodgeKnifeRiverND.jpg

Also quite nice, the Mandan earth lodges were a little bigger than the pit houses, but needed to be re-built every six or so years.

I wonder how difficult it would be to build one now. If the Mandan could do it with no heavy machinery, maybe I can build one in my backyard...? ;)

B. de Corbin
29 Oct 2010, 06:46
I'm a big fan of earth lodges and viking pit houses. Yet, dirt floors are hard to keep clean though...

http://www.fotevikensmuseum.se/Photo/art17/P0011574.jpg

This is really the kind of thing I want to build for my studio. I'll have to open up some skylights for lighting, but it's just the kind of thing I've been thinking about. I'm thinking that if you lay down heavy sheets of plastic on the roofboards before you cover it with soil and sod it'll prevent rot over the long term. The dirt floor's not a problem. If you nail a cleat to he inside near the dirt floor, you can lay joists across it and put in a raised floor.

Soil is a good insulator, so as long as you have a heat source inside (like a wood stove) it should be easy to heat.

I have two sites picked out on the back acres... all I need now is the energy.

Sparrowings
29 Oct 2010, 09:58
Dirt floors might be ideal for a studio, if you make a mess you can jusr sweep it away!

The only problem I forsee with this is when it rains you might get an indoor pool if it's not built on high enough ground. I wonder if putting in a cement wall lining around the pit would help prevent that, or if the cement would also break down eventually too... None of the articles I've read so far describe how the vikings kept their pit houses from becoming waterlogged, so maybe it just wasn't a problem for them.

volcaniclastic
29 Oct 2010, 10:03
I'm a big fan of earth lodges and viking pit houses. Yet, dirt floors are hard to keep clean though...

http://www.fotevikensmuseum.se/Photo/art17/P0011574.jpg

The viking pit house stays naturally cool as it is basically a pit with the upper half of a house built over it. The vikings used some of these in the summer, though it might be pretty cold in the winter...

http://motorcyclinglewisandclark.edinboro.edu/images/s_MandanEarthLodgeKnifeRiverND.jpg

Also quite nice, the Mandan earth lodges were a little bigger than the pit houses, but needed to be re-built every six or so years.

I wonder how difficult it would be to build one now. If the Mandan could do it with no heavy machinery, maybe I can build one in my backyard...? ;)


That would make a badass wine cellar.

Raphaeline
29 Oct 2010, 11:13
http://www.fotevikensmuseum.se/Photo/art17/P0011574.jpg



I have to make this because it's awesome.

B. de Corbin
30 Oct 2010, 06:57
Dirt floors might be ideal for a studio, if you make a mess you can jusr sweep it away!

The only problem I forsee with this is when it rains you might get an indoor pool if it's not built on high enough ground. I wonder if putting in a cement wall lining around the pit would help prevent that, or if the cement would also break down eventually too... None of the articles I've read so far describe how the vikings kept their pit houses from becoming waterlogged, so maybe it just wasn't a problem for them.


Site location would be important. I've been thinking of different ways of avoiding flooding, but locating the building correctly would be the best bet. I'm lucky (if you want to call it that) that the area I live in is mostly sand, so it would drain pretty well and pretty quickly, as long as I don't make an attempt to waterproof it - any attempt to keep water off the floor would also work in the reverse and keep water inside. By raising the floor slightly above the level of the dirt I could allow small amounts of water to accumulate, which would almost instantly be drained into the sand.

I've dug test pits to check on drainage, and none of them will hold water long enough to form a puddle.

Sparrowings
31 Oct 2010, 09:24
Site location would be important. I've been thinking of different ways of avoiding flooding, but locating the building correctly would be the best bet. I'm lucky (if you want to call it that) that the area I live in is mostly sand, so it would drain pretty well and pretty quickly, as long as I don't make an attempt to waterproof it - any attempt to keep water off the floor would also work in the reverse and keep water inside. By raising the floor slightly above the level of the dirt I could allow small amounts of water to accumulate, which would almost instantly be drained into the sand.

I've dug test pits to check on drainage, and none of them will hold water long enough to form a puddle.


That's exactly my problem, the area I was hoping to work with has done really poorly with perk tests. I don't know enough about construction to know how to build basements and etc. I should get some books...

picaboo
09 Dec 2010, 08:28
The last few years I've been stuck in apartment-land, so I haven't had a whole lot of choice as far as gardening and goat-raising goes. As soon as I can though I'm going to set up a garden that will provide most of our fresh food, can a bunch of it for winter use, and get some bees. I really really want some bees. And a clothesline.

magusphredde
09 Dec 2010, 13:00
If you live near dairies then you could probably get a few 3-day calves ... Name them Sir Loin and Mister T Bone ... I had a few Jerseys which are not really beefy, more milk cows ... But in 9 months they made good veal ... A pleasant change from the 200 pounds of salmon, clams, oysters and sturgeon I had ...

LadyGarnetRose
26 Dec 2010, 23:47
Some of you know, my husband and I finally got our homestead last year.

This is what it looks like out the back door...

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a387/ladygarnetrose/homestead/2_4_2010a.jpg

picaboo
27 Dec 2010, 09:45
Love it. That looks like the area I'm in now. I do miss having things to do in the city though.

magusphredde
27 Dec 2010, 18:45
Looks like prime banana and coconut weather ...

magusphredde
30 Dec 2010, 14:17
I have sand too ... But with a water table around 2 feet down in the winter and maybe 5 feet down in the summer a septic system can be a pain in the patootie ... Standing water for a few weeks while it rains is not uncommon ... Oh yeah ... I think my floor is about 4 feet above mean high tide mark ...

magusphredde
30 Dec 2010, 14:19
Some of you know, my husband and I finally got our homestead last year.

This is what it looks like out the back door...

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a387/ladygarnetrose/homestead/2_4_2010a.jpg
Let me guess ... It is not white sand ...

LadyGarnetRose
31 Dec 2010, 10:25
Let me guess ... It is not white sand ...


LOL you would be correct!!

magusphredde
31 Dec 2010, 18:24
Well ... If you can I would suggest a subterranean home ... One either dug into the ground, dug into a hillside or built at ground level then back-filled over it with at least 2 feet of soil on the roof ... That would help keep your heating in the winter minimal as the earth stays around 50F or so ... Or maybe a rammed earth home ... Or even hay bales ... I was thinking about going to military surplus sales and building inside walls of ammo cans as they are fairly uniform in size and if you orient the lids you get built in cabinetry ...

LadyGarnetRose
31 Dec 2010, 20:16
Well ... If you can I would suggest a subterranean home ... One either dug into the ground, dug into a hillside or built at ground level then back-filled over it with at least 2 feet of soil on the roof ... That would help keep your heating in the winter minimal as the earth stays around 50F or so ... Or maybe a rammed earth home ... Or even hay bales ... I was thinking about going to military surplus sales and building inside walls of ammo cans as they are fairly uniform in size and if you orient the lids you get built in cabinetry ...


Actually our heating bills aren't that bad. The energy bill goes up $40 even in the coldest. That is though including cooking indoors because in the spring through fall we grill a lot of our food.

Hawkfeathers
31 Dec 2010, 20:35
I have friends outside of town here who live completely off the grid, power-wise. They have a solar water heater and a shed with all sorts of generator stuff. Other friends I have use provided electric but have lots of land, an orchard, big garden, chickens, cows, horses, etc. and grow/kill/preserve most of their own food, which is all delicious.
Me - I'm in a typical suburban 3 bedroom ranch just like the one I grew up in LOL

magusphredde
31 Dec 2010, 20:57
Currently I am in a one room studio cabin with friggin' brass monkey cold drafts coming in around the door ... Unfortunately the door in question is a metal one that was busted in at one time and is a bit sprung so that it does not line up square in the frame ... One good thing is that the hot water heater acts as a radiator heater ... It has minimal insulation ... All my lights are small spiral florescent types ... Takes them a minute to heat up and reach max output but that is no big deal ...

Hawkfeathers
31 Dec 2010, 22:28
Currently I am in a one room studio cabin with friggin' brass monkey cold drafts coming in around the door ... Unfortunately the door in question is a metal one that was busted in at one time and is a bit sprung so that it does not line up square in the frame ... One good thing is that the hot water heater acts as a radiator heater ... It has minimal insulation ... All my lights are small spiral florescent types ... Takes them a minute to heat up and reach max output but that is no big deal ...

Those compact flourescent bulbs make me nuts. The colors in the room are all weirded out, and they make a noise I can hear.

Celest
03 Jan 2011, 05:14
Those compact flourescent bulbs make me nuts. The colors in the room are all weirded out, and they make a noise I can hear.


my hubby can hear a noise from them too, ( I thought he was a little crazy when he told me ;D ) oops

magusphredde
03 Jan 2011, 13:00
I am currently siytting in a room about 30 foot by 60 foot with 26 flourescent fixtures that have 3 bulbs each and I can't hear a thing from them ... But I can hear a cat walking outside in the gravel parking lot ...

Hawkfeathers
03 Jan 2011, 13:53
It's something about frequency. I don't remember the science of it.

thalassa
03 Jan 2011, 15:25
Those compact flourescent bulbs make me nuts. The colors in the room are all weirded out, and they make a noise I can hear.




It's something about frequency. I don't remember the science of it.


Yup...they emit a high frequency, most people can't hear it...but most dogs/cats can (http://www.science20.com/science_amp_supermodels/cfl_bulbs_save_planet_make_your_pets_insane). Besides, if anyone gives you carp about it...just tell them that you have chosen to forgo mercury contamination in favor of expending more electricity overall (http://www.science20.com/news_releases/cfl_bulbs_are_we_trading_energy_conservation_for_t oxic_air_emissions) while you wait for practical household LED lighting (http://www.science20.com/welcome_my_moon_base/what_state_solid_state_led_lighting).

thalassa
16 Jan 2011, 19:23
Not terribly certain about the fire retardancy of this, but its pretty cool none the less:

http://inhabitat.com/amazing-building-made-from-7000-recycled-phone-books/




...also, ideas for lamps (http://webecoist.com/2009/03/08/reuse-recycled-lights-lamps-designs/)

Lunacie
27 Jan 2011, 10:41
I simply have to share. The town where I grew up, Greensburg Kansas (I have family still living there) was 95% destroyed in May 2007 by one of the largest, most powerful tornados ever recorded. Was there enough town left to rebuild? That was the big question. Once that was answered with a definate YES, the question became HOW to rebuild. And the answer to that was - build green! Not the whole town, but most of the public buildings and quite a few of the new homes.

One of the very few building that was left standing, but damaged, was the county courthouse, where people took shelter from the tornado in the basement. Because the building was built in 1914 before the advent of electricity and air conditioning, it was built to take advantage of natural light and air circulation. So it was built green all those years ago and just needed some modification to reach the LEED gold standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Of course, all the wonderful shade trees that had been growing for a century were destroyed, which changes the look so much from the wonderful building that housed the public library in the basement when I was a kid. That was one nekkid town the first time I saw it with no trees at all. Kudos to the people who cleaned up and started rebuilding with no shade from the scorching summer sun.

For more information on how they've made the court house even greener, check out this web page: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/corporate/47780.pdf

LadyGarnetRose
04 Mar 2011, 19:06
Weird winds caused this on our side lawn area http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a387/ladygarnetrose/homestead/IMG_0248.jpg
we have a fence there so we can let our dog out ... and yes we have to replace a window that shattered when the temp hit -28.

magusphredde
05 Mar 2011, 18:02
Looks like the fence kept the snow drift at bay too ...

LadyGarnetRose
05 Mar 2011, 20:39
Looks like the fence kept the snow drift at bay too ...

You can't see it in the pic, but the drift goes right through the fence, across the dog's yard, and out the other side.

thalassa
01 May 2011, 13:02
I found this site today...http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

thalassa
01 May 2011, 13:08
this is more a landscaping thing...but for people that don't want the conventional (and environmentally unfriendly) conventional lawn, you can certify your yard as wildlife habitat (http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife/Create-a-Habitat.aspx?CFID=20780777&CFTOKEN=ef6f1c1b48074d31-2B3FD9B8-5056-A84B-C3F74B869893644A)

B. de Corbin
02 May 2011, 07:38
this is more a landscaping thing...but for people that don't want the conventional (and environmentally unfriendly) conventional lawn, you can certify your yard as wildlife habitat (http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife/Create-a-Habitat.aspx?CFID=20780777&CFTOKEN=ef6f1c1b48074d31-2B3FD9B8-5056-A84B-C3F74B869893644A)

I should do that - my yard pretty much is a wildlife habitat already, what with the bear and deer and other critters...

thalassa
16 Sep 2011, 18:06
this is so cool....soda bottle lights (http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOl4vwhwkW8&

B. de Corbin
17 Sep 2011, 04:26
That is so very, very cool!

LadyGarnetRose
05 Nov 2011, 21:30
I found this site today...http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

Even though I'm not urban, I love Urban farm, it's a great magazine.

DanieMarie
06 Nov 2011, 07:07
I found this site today...http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

Haven't checked this thread in a while but I just saw that...what a great site! It's funny because I was thinking about this concept today and wondering how it might be possible to start some sort of urban farming collective here, with gardens, chickens, ducks, goats and the whole deal.

So much great info on containter gardening too, which is what I do.

Raphaeline
06 Nov 2011, 07:50
Since we're looking into moving into the city, this is a useful link to have! Thanks, Thal :)

B. de Corbin
14 Nov 2011, 05:18
I think I may take up poaching to keep us in meat this winter. Anybody got any links on trapping rabbits?

(deer are too hard to butcher)

LadyGarnetRose
14 Nov 2011, 20:26
I think I may take up poaching to keep us in meat this winter. Anybody got any links on trapping rabbits?

(deer are too hard to butcher)

Raising rabbits is pretty easy actually and can be done in a garage, plus domestic raised rabbits have fat on them which makes them a heck of a lot healthier than wild rabbit.

thalassa
15 Nov 2011, 03:54
And the best part is...the breed like rabbits!

:p


I couldn't help it...

B. de Corbin
15 Nov 2011, 08:42
Raising rabbits is pretty easy actually and can be done in a garage, plus domestic raised rabbits have fat on them which makes them a heck of a lot healthier than wild rabbit.

Yeah, I know... But I don't want to get all involved in setting something else up - I don't have time to maintain the projects I have running now. And honestly - the lack of fat doesn't matter that much, unless you are trying to live off them exclusively.

I'm currently seriously looking at harvesting road kill... I looked at snaring rabbits, and don't think it's for me.

LadyGarnetRose
16 Nov 2011, 06:03
And the best part is...the breed like rabbits!

:p


I couldn't help it...

LOL yup and much easier to care for than a lot of other animals.



Yeah, I know... But I don't want to get all involved in setting something else up - I don't have time to maintain the projects I have running now. And honestly - the lack of fat doesn't matter that much, unless you are trying to live off them exclusively.

I'm currently seriously looking at harvesting road kill... I looked at snaring rabbits, and don't think it's for me.

Personally I can't recommend harvesting road kill that you didn't hit. It's a good way to get very very sick. If you look into what it takes to keep rabbits, you'll find it's a lot less work and energy than driving around looking for road kill. I know folks who have up to 20 rabbits, and it takes them maybe 10 minutes a day to take care of.

Not only do you get rabbit meat, you get really good grade fur off of them for future projects of yours :D

B. de Corbin
16 Nov 2011, 06:47
LOL - Lady Garnet Rose, you're trying to make me work... Now you want me tanning rabbit skins...

I had a friend who worked on a road crew. He told me that the time to harvest road kill is in the winter - the theory is that if it's still warm, it's still fresh.

I could pick up a coon or 'possum or two every week just by walking to the end of my driveway in the morning.

I think I'm going to shelf the project though... Wifey turns out to be picky eater.

My hillbilly brother in law likes to sit on his porch and shoot the coons that climb his bird feeders. Maybe I'll just ask him to save them for me. Coon is supposed to taste like bear, which tastes like pork, which doesn't taste like chicken. 'Possum, on the other hand (I'm told) needs special treatment.

Maybe I should just take up hunting.. But I really don't like killing things.

Oh well... There's always going vegetarian (again).

Hjarrand
11 Jan 2012, 01:14
back on topic:

I have really no idea how to help you with alternative materials, but i know many, so called, crazy designs for the house. Not to mention i am planing to make my house to look like a modern Gothic cathedral with old elements, tall entrance room with staircase at the left and right of the doors, so when you will be entering you would get a pretty much such compilation of ideas in your head: (1)Oh my, that looks.. exquisite.. and made by someone with too much money... (2)entering the house, noticing the tall room with staircases for the upper floors. Only a jawdroping. and my favorite: (3) funcionality of modern house system :) So it will be basicaly a normal house with unnormal look :)

Laketear
22 Jan 2012, 08:40
I read someone's reply just now and they mentioned an underground house which is exactly what I plan to build one day sometime hopefully before retirement. Although I have no idea how you would go about building an underground house I do know however it's very easy on the heating and air bills I've even got a rough kind of blueprint too. I've always wanted a Hobbit House ever since I watched Lord of the Rings and now it really seems like a possibilty although finding the right hill/plot/piece of land is probably going to be quite difficult but I'm still so excited but I've read somewhere that the round door is a bitof a problem ue to the hinge. But yeah I really like the idea of retiring one day and settling down and having a few animals like rabbits, ducks, chickens, and even a cow living off-the-grid that really appeals to me.
I'll admit that the idea of killing an animal is...unpleasant but humans have to eat to and I for one LIKE MY MEAT!! But I'm kinda reassured in a way because it's also part of the wiccan way to respect all life and if you need to take an animals life for food then it's not a bad sacrifice I'll just have to find a use for all the parts of the animal. Even if I can't find any use for say the bones I'll just bury whatever I can't use and give it back to the Earth and when I comes time to kill the chicken or duck....well i get to that bridge when I get there, lol.

Laketear

Laketear
22 Jan 2012, 08:43
I just thought of this after I posted but I know there's some people who live without energy through like solar power and being green but say you ha an underground house how would you get power for things like your washing machine or refridgerator or your shower??? Is it possible to use like a water wheel or something?

Laketear

B. de Corbin
22 Jan 2012, 09:10
Yes, it is possible to harness energy with a waterwheel. If you want to get complicated, you can gear it directly into whatever machine you want to run. The easier way is to connect it to a generator and battery system.

You can use solar panels to power an underground house - the panels have to be exposed to light, but they can be wired into batteries that are wired to the house.

Another possibility is a windmill system, or a diesel (or gas) genarator.

If I were interested in"going off the grid," I'd start with the diesel generator while I was building whatever other system I wanted to use, and then keep the generator for back up and emergencies.

Laketear
22 Jan 2012, 12:52
Thanks Corbin, I liked the idea of having a little underground cottage and a waterwheel for some reason altough I don't think I'd ever actually be able to incorporate something like that into my actual house design...though it would be soo cute. :D But I do agree with you it would definitly be a good idea to have a back up system in case of emergencies.

B. de Corbin
22 Jan 2012, 14:11
Yup - that would be a nice house!

My fantasy house is the Viking Pit house, in the "alternative building" thread just below this one. I've got the spot picked out, plans drawn up, and a materials list...

I just need a shovel and lumber...

Louisvillian
30 May 2012, 21:40
When I get a home of my own, I'd greatly like to grow some food in a garden and maybe keep poultry.
But otherwise...yeah, I like living on the grid. I like having electricity, wireless internet, clean running water, and living in the suburbs near a city where I can do a lot of things in my leisure time. Don't get me wrong. I like some aspects of the off-the-grid idea, like having more self-sufficiency and reducing one's environmental impact. And I'd love to know more about how to do those things in a suburban or even slightly-rural environment. But there's too much gridded stuff that I like, and most rural areas I've been to are utter hellholes (granted, this is Kentucky I'm talking about).

lorraine02
01 Nov 2012, 00:17
I looked at snaring rabbits, and don't think it's for me.

lorraine02
07 Nov 2012, 23:35
so , this is a problem, but I didn't meet it in my daily life , good luck .

Ula
15 Nov 2012, 09:31
1227

I love the shipping container homes.

Lawtan
21 Dec 2012, 04:24
Here's something on buildings - Futurist structures.
Anyone want to mix this with natural/alternative structures, or is that just me?
http://www.thevenusproject.com/

thalassa
13 Jun 2013, 15:22
This is just a cool little idea from a cool little company (http://www.gardentowerproject.com/)...when I again have outdoor space, I want one for my herbs!

Rae'ya
14 Jun 2013, 05:11
My parents are semi-self sufficient and working on complete self sufficiency. I've been bought up with a lot of the simple things, and lived with them up until three years ago. My husband and I currently live in a rental house, but when we get our own we will be doing pretty much everything my parents do, depending on the land we get. We'd really like to homestead.

My parents practice aquaponics, which is a self contained system where you have a tank of fish (it also works with yabbies) that is hooked up to a hydroponic vegetable garden. The fish water is what feeds the vegetables, and the vegetables filter the water, which is then sent back to the fish tank and is cycled all over again. You can have very simple systems, or complicated ones. The only thing that my parents have to add to the system is pH balance - otherwise they just feed the fish and that's it. No other chemicals, no extra nutrients for the plants, nothing.

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/ is the main website and http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1959 is my parents' system (the linked forum thread has been going since 2007, with photos and evolution of the system almost from scratch). They recently had to empty it all out and start again, as some tree roots got into the plumbing and tore it up (also damaged the house plumbing).

Otherwise they also have a normal dirt veggie patch (or... a veggie yard - there are multiple beds and pots as well as the greenhouse that houses the aquaponics - my parents don't have any lawn or grass, just veggie patches) where they grow just about everything - they don't buy vegetables. They grow blueberries and strawberries but otherwise do buy fruit, because there's not enough room in the yard for fruit trees. They also don't raise livestock as it's an urban yard and they aren't even allowed chickens. They compost and recycle. They have solar panels and feed so much back into the energy grid that their last electricity bill put them in credit with the power company, which means that if they had it wired straight into the house they would be self sufficient for electricity. They have rainwater tanks, though it's not piped directly into the house yet. My mum also cans and preserves her own fruit and veg (and the trout from the aquaponics) and sews and knits. When I was growing up we lived in the country and raised sheep and chickens.

My husband and I plan on most of this when we have our own house, though we would like property so we can homestead properly and raise livestock as well. I'd like to raise sheep (or maybe goats or rabbits) for their fibre too, as I spin. We don't own a dryer - we use a clothes line or indoor clothes horse. We recycle, which is actually ridiculously easy here in Adelaide because we all have a recycling bins along with garbage bins and green waste bins - my family has recycled for about 15 years though, even when it used to be bundling up the newspapers and bottles into batches with twine. We only have one car and I use public transport when I need to. I've had a rainwater tank for as long as I can remember (as far as I can tell this is an Australian thing) except in this current house. We plan on having rainwater tanks plumbed into our house, as well as solar panels (when we get a house lol). I also plan on a self-composting toilet, though I'm not 100% sure how Torey feels about the matter lol. We will use our grey-water. We use fabric shopping bags - again, ridiculously easy here as Adelaide has actually banned plastic bags at supermarkets (they are still allowed in retail) and so Adelaidians all have to buy fabric shopping bags or try to carry their shopping in their arms. We also use fabric bags for buying fruit and veg (as in the individual bags you put them in to weigh them). We use recycled toilet paper, tissues and paper towels. We never use plastic plates etc. We use a dishcloth instead of paper towel to wipe up spills. We use eco-friendly and grey-water-safe washing detergent and shampoo. We practice a million little water-wise techniques, which started mostly because of the permanent water restrictions that South Australia had during the ten year drought. Some of these things are just second nature to me, and I take them for granted. I remember when I went to America (my husband is from Louisiana) I felt actual physical discomfort at throwing used bottles and cardboard in the garbage, because recycling is just so ingrained into my nature that I don't think twice about it. We even recycle at work and bought a second recycle bin out of our own pocket because we produce more recycling than waste! I remember feeling like his family were just so wasteful and out of tune with how many resources they consumed. Sometimes being eco-aware and eco-friendly is not about the big things like homesteading or self sufficiency, but the little things.

volcaniclastic
14 Jun 2013, 06:24
That sounds awesome, Rae'Ya!

Shahaku
14 Jun 2013, 07:13
This is just a cool little idea from a cool little company (http://www.gardentowerproject.com/)...when I again have outdoor space, I want one for my herbs!

This is so cool. It kind of reminds me of what a coworker did. He took a swing set minus the swings and hung three beds from it. They weren't allowed to plant where he was living so he came up with that idea. He says he get a lot of food from it to.

Heka
21 Jun 2013, 05:57
Living in south Australia just makes some things easy doesn't it Rae'ya? Rebate on cans and bottles, 3 bins, banned shopping bags, rain water tanks (ours are plumbed in, we don't have mains, and it finally rained! Yaaay!).

Rae'ya
23 Jun 2013, 05:02
Living in south Australia just makes some things easy doesn't it Rae'ya? Rebate on cans and bottles, 3 bins, banned shopping bags, rain water tanks (ours are plumbed in, we don't have mains, and it finally rained! Yaaay!).

It almost feels like cheating sometimes lol "Yeah we do this, this, this and that, how cool are we?" and then you stop and realise that it would be harder NOT to do it!

My husband, sister and I were in Mildura (Vic) for the weekend and saw plastic bags on offer at the supermarket for the first time in years. It was almost painful to accept one! lol

Though I have decided that solar panels are a mixed blessing. In the weekend that we were there, my dad (who we went over to visit) washed and dried our bath towels and my niece and nephew's clothes every day. Every day! His reasoning is that he has solar panels and thus it costs him nothing to do it because he feeds so much power back into the grid. Totally missing the point of environmentally aware alternative energy systems!

Heka
23 Jun 2013, 23:30
It almost feels like cheating sometimes lol "Yeah we do this, this, this and that, how cool are we?" and then you stop and realise that it would be harder NOT to do it!

My husband, sister and I were in Mildura (Vic) for the weekend and saw plastic bags on offer at the supermarket for the first time in years. It was almost painful to accept one! lol

Though I have decided that solar panels are a mixed blessing. In the weekend that we were there, my dad (who we went over to visit) washed and dried our bath towels and my niece and nephew's clothes every day. Every day! His reasoning is that he has solar panels and thus it costs him nothing to do it because he feeds so much power back into the grid. Totally missing the point of environmentally aware alternative energy systems!

I always get so confused when I go interstate and they have plastic bags! But I think they get confused when I'm all like 'um, no, use my green bags please' haha

I can imagine that problem with solar panels... I'd probably be prone to that as well... But they we don't have a drier so I have to hang everything outside anyway!

Starling
25 Jun 2013, 08:49
It almost feels like cheating sometimes lol "Yeah we do this, this, this and that, how cool are we?" and then you stop and realise that it would be harder NOT to do it!

My husband, sister and I were in Mildura (Vic) for the weekend and saw plastic bags on offer at the supermarket for the first time in years. It was almost painful to accept one! lol

Though I have decided that solar panels are a mixed blessing. In the weekend that we were there, my dad (who we went over to visit) washed and dried our bath towels and my niece and nephew's clothes every day. Every day! His reasoning is that he has solar panels and thus it costs him nothing to do it because he feeds so much power back into the grid. Totally missing the point of environmentally aware alternative energy systems!

Don't his water costs add up then, though?

Luce
25 Jun 2013, 17:28
Don't his water costs add up then, though?

Also this:

http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/solar-panel-toxic-manufacturing-byproducts-product-disposal-needs-greater-oversight-report-urges.html

- - - Updated - - -

Better source:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5650

Rae'ya
29 Jun 2013, 20:03
Didn't ask him about that! My dad couldn't give a stuff about the environment and that was kinda my point... 'free' renewable energy can just lead to over-consumption of said energy, which I think misses the point of 'free' renewable energy. At least for those of us who actually care about our consumption... my dad just sees that he doesn't have to pay for his electricity and he's happy.

My mum and my stepdad are the ones who run the self-sufficiency and eco-aware systems.

- - - Updated - - -


Also this:

http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/solar-panel-toxic-manufacturing-byproducts-product-disposal-needs-greater-oversight-report-urges.html

- - - Updated - - -

Better source:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5650

This is very interesting... from the article I gather that only some manufacturers have this problem? So it would depend on who you bought from as to what the impact of this would be.

But on the flip side of that, how does it compare with the impact of current electricity providers? I've never looked into it in depth, but solar power is an alternative to traditional fossil fuel derived electricity, which has it's own negative environmental impact. Are we really just looking at the lesser of two evils here? Or the lesser of... four or five evils when you factor in other alternatives.

Of course, her in Australia most solar systems actually just feed energy back into the grid - your house isn't wired directly into the panels unless you specifically have that done (which is costly and only really viable if you build a new house designed to draw straight from the panels) - you draw energy off the traditional grid, and feed energy back in, thus negating your costs and reducing the amount of energy that the electricity companies draw from fossil fuel sources.

In Australia, some of our electricity companies are also starting to draw power from wind farms as an alternative, which you can support via who you have your account with. So it becomes a complex decision when you scratch under the surface.

Heka
29 Jun 2013, 21:13
I love wind farms! I think the turbines are so beautiful! The absolute crap and crappy people trying to halt wind farms being created drives me bonkers!

thalassa
30 Jun 2013, 11:18
Didn't ask him about that! My dad couldn't give a stuff about the environment and that was kinda my point... 'free' renewable energy can just lead to over-consumption of said energy, which I think misses the point of 'free' renewable energy. At least for those of us who actually care about our consumption... my dad just sees that he doesn't have to pay for his electricity and he's happy.

My mum and my stepdad are the ones who run the self-sufficiency and eco-aware systems.

Yeah, but if he's using the electricity, at least its renewable. I mean...not watching consumption that is carbon neutral is still better than using fossil fuels for your electricity. Although, since we are talking about doing laundry....hullo, wasting water?!?!

Rae'ya
01 Jul 2013, 03:28
Yeah, but if he's using the electricity, at least its renewable. I mean...not watching consumption that is carbon neutral is still better than using fossil fuels for your electricity. Although, since we are talking about doing laundry....hullo, wasting water?!?!

It's true that over-using solar derived electricity is better than over-using fossil fuel derived electricity, but I still considered it kind of wasteful.

Water... Australia has just come out of a ten year drought cycle, so we've just spent the last year or two going "OMG WE HAVE WATER" lol. We went from having permanent restrictions that meant you couldn't water your lawn or flowers (veggies only - and then only between certain times of the day and certain days) to suddenly having no restrictions at all. It's kind of weird. Obviously my dad doesn't care and is wasteful in every sense of the word... but my husband and I are still like... turn off that tap while you brush your teeth... don't pour that water down the drain, take it out to the garden... wash the car with a single bucket and an Enjo, not the hose... is this washing detergent grey water safe? etc etc. About the only thing we have relaxed up on is allowing longer showers... 2 minutes is HARD when you have hair as long as mine lol.

Heka
01 Jul 2013, 15:57
It's true that over-using solar derived electricity is better than over-using fossil fuel derived electricity, but I still considered it kind of wasteful.

Water... Australia has just come out of a ten year drought cycle, so we've just spent the last year or two going "OMG WE HAVE WATER" lol. We went from having permanent restrictions that meant you couldn't water your lawn or flowers (veggies only - and then only between certain times of the day and certain days) to suddenly having no restrictions at all. It's kind of weird. Obviously my dad doesn't care and is wasteful in every sense of the word... but my husband and I are still like... turn off that tap while you brush your teeth... don't pour that water down the drain, take it out to the garden... wash the car with a single bucket and an Enjo, not the hose... is this washing detergent grey water safe? etc etc. About the only thing we have relaxed up on is allowing longer showers... 2 minutes is HARD when you have hair as long as mine lol.

I can also relate to this. We've had the wettest winter this year in about 70 years (I think it's been about 3 inches). And even though I don't pay for water here, and I live off rain water tanks in my other home (I work away form home) I still tip toe around all water issues. Sprinklers on timers, water the garden from a can, replace lawn with gravel, buying drinking water (cos town water is not fit to drink - yes I live way up in the middle of nowhere haha), not having had a bath in about 5 years... Our tanks are full though now, for the first time in about 3 years... I was in the shower for about 20 min... it was amazing! Then it rained again! YAY!

Though with all these I still don't know if I'd call us out of drought...

Rae'ya
02 Jul 2013, 02:47
I can also relate to this. We've had the wettest winter this year in about 70 years (I think it's been about 3 inches). And even though I don't pay for water here, and I live off rain water tanks in my other home (I work away form home) I still tip toe around all water issues. Sprinklers on timers, water the garden from a can, replace lawn with gravel, buying drinking water (cos town water is not fit to drink - yes I live way up in the middle of nowhere haha), not having had a bath in about 5 years... Our tanks are full though now, for the first time in about 3 years... I was in the shower for about 20 min... it was amazing! Then it rained again! YAY!

Though with all these I still don't know if I'd call us out of drought...

My grandpa is a farmer in Victoria and he told us the year before the restrictions lifted that we were coming out of the drought cycle, and that it happens in cycles that the old farmers tract, but which weather people don't pay attention to. He has rain and growth records from his father and his grandfather who farmed the land before him, and he keeps his own records. South Australia is the driest state in Aus, so I'm not sure that we'll ever have as much water as the rest of the country (especially up your way), but it's still a surreal luxury to not have restrictions lol.

My parents' rainwater tank overflowed this year. Overflowed! They recently bought a new one, set it up, and promptly ordered a second one to cope with the load... and it's only coming off the carport! And when my mum accidentally drained the new one by leaving the tap on, it was full again in less than a week. They have... five now, though I'm not sure how many litres it adds up to as they're all different sizes. One is specifically devoted to topping up the aquaponics... they feed the aquaponics system, the hydroponics and water the dirt-gardens purely off rainwater. When we have our own place, hubby and I want to set up tanks piped into the house. An old workmate of mine had a set up like that and they could switch between mains and their tanks at will. It meant they only had to use mains when the tanks were empty because of lack of rain.

My hubby is American, from Louisiana, and so water shortages are an amazingly alien concept to him. As are rainwater tanks lol

Heka
03 Jul 2013, 04:46
My grandpa is a farmer in Victoria and he told us the year before the restrictions lifted that we were coming out of the drought cycle, and that it happens in cycles that the old farmers tract, but which weather people don't pay attention to. He has rain and growth records from his father and his grandfather who farmed the land before him, and he keeps his own records. South Australia is the driest state in Aus, so I'm not sure that we'll ever have as much water as the rest of the country (especially up your way), but it's still a surreal luxury to not have restrictions lol.

My parents' rainwater tank overflowed this year. Overflowed! They recently bought a new one, set it up, and promptly ordered a second one to cope with the load... and it's only coming off the carport! And when my mum accidentally drained the new one by leaving the tap on, it was full again in less than a week. They have... five now, though I'm not sure how many litres it adds up to as they're all different sizes. One is specifically devoted to topping up the aquaponics... they feed the aquaponics system, the hydroponics and water the dirt-gardens purely off rainwater. When we have our own place, hubby and I want to set up tanks piped into the house. An old workmate of mine had a set up like that and they could switch between mains and their tanks at will. It meant they only had to use mains when the tanks were empty because of lack of rain.

My hubby is American, from Louisiana, and so water shortages are an amazingly alien concept to him. As are rainwater tanks lol

itd be fascinating to see your grandpas records. I believe in the cycles, but I wonder if he's noticed any changes, relating to climate change?

ours overflowed too, and we have 3 (though one leaks, well have to get rid of it). Thankfully there's been almost no one home for the last 4 months, so we never actually ran out, it got close though!


we only have rain water to the house (mains to the toilet). My parents have it all dually linked to the house. They usually have a cocktail - cold is mains, hot is rain.

I should point out here that "mains" is not Murray water, we have a town bore, that is so unfit for drinking, it calcifies the pipes till they have holes, then calcifies the holes back up again.

Rae'ya
04 Jul 2013, 05:11
Ugh I have terrible memories of bore water... my aunt and uncle used to drink bore water at their house... theirs had been tested and was perfectly safe for drinking, just terrible tasting due to the mineral content. No amount of cordial hid THAT taste. lol.

It occurs to me sometimes that country people often live what city people consider 'alternative living' lives, just by virtue of living off the land. I'm reading a homesteading book at the moment, because it's something I'm really interested in (mostly from a self-sufficiency and connection with the landvaettir point of view), and much of it is surprisingly 'normal' to me because I grew up in the sticks. We weren't self-sufficient, but we did have a hobby farm and my family were farmers and my friends' families were farmers or raised stock. We butchered our own meat, we had chickens, we had rain water, we weren't connected to mains but to the local channel via a crotchety old water pump, we didn't have heating apart from a wood fire, we grew veggies, we helped my aunt and uncle move the cattle up the road to another paddock, we had to drive through flocks of sheep that were being moved, we drank fresh milk from the dairy around the corner, we had fruit trees, we made our own jam, we collected snails for the chooks, we chipped burrs in the paddocks, we collected field mushrooms, we used a drop dunny at my aunt and uncle's, we had a septic tank at our own house (and I recall at least once when it blocked)... that was just life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has experienced that lol

thalassa
04 Jul 2013, 05:45
It occurs to me sometimes that country people often live what city people consider 'alternative living' lives, just by virtue of living off the land. I'm reading a homesteading book at the moment, because it's something I'm really interested in (mostly from a self-sufficiency and connection with the landvaettir point of view), and much of it is surprisingly 'normal' to me because I grew up in the sticks. We weren't self-sufficient, but we did have a hobby farm and my family were farmers and my friends' families were farmers or raised stock. We butchered our own meat, we had chickens, we had rain water, we weren't connected to mains but to the local channel via a crotchety old water pump, we didn't have heating apart from a wood fire, we grew veggies, we helped my aunt and uncle move the cattle up the road to another paddock, we had to drive through flocks of sheep that were being moved, we drank fresh milk from the dairy around the corner, we had fruit trees, we made our own jam, we collected snails for the chooks, we chipped burrs in the paddocks, we collected field mushrooms, we used a drop dunny at my aunt and uncle's, we had a septic tank at our own house (and I recall at least once when it blocked)... that was just life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has experienced that lol

Yeah, I lived in town, but we had a garden we canned, etc. My grandparents had apple trees, and we used to pick berries down in "the ditch" (the overgrown drainage area between their row of houses and the folks on the street behind them). And right outside of town, my great-grandparents had a mini-farm--with well water, chickens, etc. Its not that far off from my experience, even as a someone that lived a more suburban existence.

volcaniclastic
04 Jul 2013, 06:58
The bf and I are looking at buying a yurt (http://www.coloradoyurt.com/) from these guys...

B. de Corbin
04 Jul 2013, 08:06
... we had a septic tank at our own house (and I recall at least once when it blocked)... that was just life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has experienced that lol

Off topic and irrelevant...

Our tank froze up a couple years ago & we spent two weeks pooping in a bucket. We had a guy come out & clear the line. He drained the tank, and climbed in with a hose to melt the blockage.

That's a job I'm glad isn't mine...:xD:

Heka
05 Jul 2013, 17:37
Ugh I have terrible memories of bore water... my aunt and uncle used to drink bore water at their house... theirs had been tested and was perfectly safe for drinking, just terrible tasting due to the mineral content. No amount of cordial hid THAT taste. lol.

It occurs to me sometimes that country people often live what city people consider 'alternative living' lives, just by virtue of living off the land. I'm reading a homesteading book at the moment, because it's something I'm really interested in (mostly from a self-sufficiency and connection with the landvaettir point of view), and much of it is surprisingly 'normal' to me because I grew up in the sticks. We weren't self-sufficient, but we did have a hobby farm and my family were farmers and my friends' families were farmers or raised stock. We butchered our own meat, we had chickens, we had rain water, we weren't connected to mains but to the local channel via a crotchety old water pump, we didn't have heating apart from a wood fire, we grew veggies, we helped my aunt and uncle move the cattle up the road to another paddock, we had to drive through flocks of sheep that were being moved, we drank fresh milk from the dairy around the corner, we had fruit trees, we made our own jam, we collected snails for the chooks, we chipped burrs in the paddocks, we collected field mushrooms, we used a drop dunny at my aunt and uncle's, we had a septic tank at our own house (and I recall at least once when it blocked)... that was just life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has experienced that lol

it was never like that for us. Firstly my parents are both city people, and ones a chef, ones a doctor, so none of that farmer related stuff. Also, it is so difficult to grow anything here. Add up shit water with terrible clay soil and temperature extremes and you get a very low yield. I want these things though.

My grandmother is Swiss and was there in the war years etc and she does all growing and canning etc. she sends me boxes do quince paste each year and I eat it like lollies :)

Willow
06 Jul 2013, 07:59
Asked my hubby if we could get some chickens and a goat and he said no. :(

Maybe I can dig into the making my own soap/shampoo/beauty products/household cleansers though.. I'm scared the production processes would destroy my kitchen?

B. de Corbin
06 Jul 2013, 11:34
Asked my hubby if we could get some chickens and a goat and he said no. :(

Maybe I can dig into the making my own soap/shampoo/beauty products/household cleansers though.. I'm scared the production processes would destroy my kitchen?

Here's a Machiavellian trick you might like to try -

Go into cheese making. Once you are up and running, you'll talk him into getting a goat or two, to save on goat cheese production costs. Then, once you have goats, you'll want some free range chickens (or ducks. We have ducks, and they lay really good eggs - so consider ducks) to keep the bugs down...


P. S. don't tell hubby this was my idea. I got enough ladies' husbands chaising me around with shotguns already. I don't need another.

Willow
06 Jul 2013, 13:54
Here's a Machiavellian trick you might like to try -

Go into cheese making. Once you are up and running, you'll talk him into getting a goat or two, to save on goat cheese production costs. Then, once you have goats, you'll want some free range chickens (or ducks. We have ducks, and they lay really good eggs - so consider ducks) to keep the bugs down...


P. S. don't tell hubby this was my idea. I got enough ladies' husbands chaising me around with shotguns already. I don't need another.

hehe I might need to do that. Do ducks fly away though? Or are they penned or... clipped? *scratches head*

B. de Corbin
06 Jul 2013, 14:55
hehe I might need to do that. Do ducks fly away though? Or are they penned or... clipped? *scratches head*

They don't fly - well, most breeds don't, but there are a few very specialty beeds that can fly. Most people who have them clip their wings.

We keep them penned in at night, but that's to keep the raccoons & weazelly things out.

They don't need a pond either, but they like a little kid's plastic waiting pool, or a sprinkler to play around in. A popular breed, Runners, drown.

Willow
06 Jul 2013, 15:06
They don't fly - well, most breeds don't, but there are a few very specialty beeds that can fly. Most people who have them clip their wings.

We keep them penned in at night, but that's to keep the raccoons & weazelly things out.

They don't need a pond either, but they like a little kid's plastic waiting pool, or a sprinkler to play around in. A popular breed, Runners, drown.

Hrm hrm good to know. ^^

Heka
06 Jul 2013, 18:26
I can't wait to get chickens!

Rae'ya
06 Jul 2013, 22:33
Asked my hubby if we could get some chickens and a goat and he said no. :(

Maybe I can dig into the making my own soap/shampoo/beauty products/household cleansers though.. I'm scared the production processes would destroy my kitchen?

As long as you use separate pots and utensils for the stuff, you'll be fine. My mum makes her own soaps and washing detergents. She makes a lot of things from scratch...


Here's a Machiavellian trick you might like to try -

Go into cheese making. Once you are up and running, you'll talk him into getting a goat or two, to save on goat cheese production costs. Then, once you have goats, you'll want some free range chickens (or ducks. We have ducks, and they lay really good eggs - so consider ducks) to keep the bugs down...


P. S. don't tell hubby this was my idea. I got enough ladies' husbands chaising me around with shotguns already. I don't need another.

...cheese being one of them lol. Don't know that this would convince my stepdad to let her have a goat though. Neither of them actually like goats' cheese. They DID buy shares in a cow, though... it's the only way you can get raw milk here in Australia - if you own the cow. Of course, they live in a suburban house with just a backyard so no room for an entire cow. Answer? Buy shares in one http://adelaide-southaustralia.com/cow-share-raw-milk-program-causes-raw-milk-stink/. They own a cow, it gets housed, fed and milked by someone else, the milk gets sent to them, they pay the man for the care of the cow. Mum makes cheese out of the milk.

Anyone who thinks that they can't do stuff just because they live in a suburban area needs to meet my parents.


I can't wait to get chickens!

I miss chickens. I grew up with them, and chickens is one thing that were aren't allowed to have in my parents house here in Adelaide. Local council rules, not ours... to have chickens you have to have consent from your neighbours and theirs are far too close to allow it. We have been bemoaning not being allowed to have chickens for years now lol. So instead we support local free range farms.

Heka
06 Jul 2013, 23:17
As long as you use separate pots and utensils for the stuff, you'll be fine. My mum makes her own soaps and washing detergents. She makes a lot of things from scratch...



...cheese being one of them lol. Don't know that this would convince my stepdad to let her have a goat though. Neither of them actually like goats' cheese. They DID buy shares in a cow, though... it's the only way you can get raw milk here in Australia - if you own the cow. Of course, they live in a suburban house with just a backyard so no room for an entire cow. Answer? Buy shares in one http://adelaide-southaustralia.com/cow-share-raw-milk-program-causes-raw-milk-stink/. They own a cow, it gets housed, fed and milked by someone else, the milk gets sent to them, they pay the man for the care of the cow. Mum makes cheese out of the milk.

Anyone who thinks that they can't do stuff just because they live in a suburban area needs to meet my parents.



I miss chickens. I grew up with them, and chickens is one thing that were aren't allowed to have in my parents house here in Adelaide. Local council rules, not ours... to have chickens you have to have consent from your neighbours and theirs are far too close to allow it. We have been bemoaning not being allowed to have chickens for years now lol. So instead we support local free range farms.

buy a cow? What an awesome idea. It reminds me of some Swiss friends that get huge wheels of cheese for axing for the cows lodgings etc. I wonder if buying a cow would work all the way up here.....

Celliehwyn
15 Jul 2013, 14:25
I really like the goat idea for milk! I really like goat cheese as well, and I would definitely consider keeping ducks for eggs rather than chickens but I haven't got the land for any of it yet so I have time to decide. We are planning on buying a house with at least 20 acres with a well, or a stream. maybe solar panels, maybe a water wheel if we have the stream. But we are definitely going to be off the grid and in a forested area. I've always wanted my own outdoor alter/circle place in a grove of trees ^_^ and my husband is a gun enthusiast so we'll have the land for a private range and lots of hunting. All in all I think it's a great idea, as long as it's not more than an hour away from a hospital and a grocery store I'll be sooooo happy.

B. de Corbin
15 Jul 2013, 15:40
It sounds like you're where we (family) were 20 years ago, Celliehwyn. Good luck! Working to achieve those things you want is the best game in town!

We sort of dropped the "off the grid" thing, just because it requires so much time - we're pretty selective about the tech and other things we allow in our lives, though. And I also have a nice private shooting range out back.

Are you looking for a place in Idaho?

P.S. K'Roe and I are starting to get into making cheese. Once we get a handle on it, we have friends with goats & we'll work out a trade. I absolutely LOVES goat cheese!

Briar
17 Nov 2013, 13:32
I live on a 652 acre farm in the Wisconsin north woods. I grow and/or raise most of my own food and am off grid, my electricity comes from the wind and the sun. I did not build the home I live in, I inherited it and 250 acres back in 85. I have built two log cabins though, one on the back of the farm and one at a bug out location way up on the Black Jack that you can only get to by canoe.

I love taking care of myself because it not only keeps my mind sharp but it teaches me to think outside the box. I never need to worry about sleep pills because at the end of every day I am exhausted. I train horses for a side business and working with a prey species that is MUCH bigger than I am forces me to think differently than humans or else these large beings would pound me into dust. Having to be in charge of the energy that comes into my house instead of just flicking a switch teaches me how energy works, its dangers and the necessity for me to have it. I am a local healer (though reluctantly) than many here come to for natural healing. I raise sheep and llamas (among other things) and am just started spinning and weaving season. My big loom is sitting right in front of me and I should be stringing her instead of surfing the internet but I needed a new recipe for beeswax soap and I was too lazy to write one up myself. Having not found one I'm going to have to write one up anyway.:p Dang it.

Rowanwood
18 Nov 2013, 08:25
I live on a 652 acre farm in the Wisconsin north woods. I grow and/or raise most of my own food and am off grid, my electricity comes from the wind and the sun. I did not build the home I live in, I inherited it and 250 acres back in 85. I have built two log cabins though, one on the back of the farm and one at a bug out location way up on the Black Jack that you can only get to by canoe.

I love taking care of myself because it not only keeps my mind sharp but it teaches me to think outside the box. I never need to worry about sleep pills because at the end of every day I am exhausted. I train horses for a side business and working with a prey species that is MUCH bigger than I am forces me to think differently than humans or else these large beings would pound me into dust. Having to be in charge of the energy that comes into my house instead of just flicking a switch teaches me how energy works, its dangers and the necessity for me to have it. I am a local healer (though reluctantly) than many here come to for natural healing. I raise sheep and llamas (among other things) and am just started spinning and weaving season. My big loom is sitting right in front of me and I should be stringing her instead of surfing the internet but I needed a new recipe for beeswax soap and I was too lazy to write one up myself. Having not found one I'm going to have to write one up anyway.:p Dang it.

Oh my, I want to come visit. That sounds wonderful. I'm also lifting some weights so I can use my compound bow (like in your photo/.) Apparently, you're the person I want to grow up to be. :)

Briar
20 Nov 2013, 09:07
Oh my, I want to come visit. That sounds wonderful. I'm also lifting some weights so I can use my compound bow (like in your photo/.) Apparently, you're the person I want to grow up to be. :)
First, <blush> thanks. But really you don't want to grow up to be a redneck. Trust me on this. I am one and there are days when I shake my head at myself. :confused::D

Rowanwood
20 Nov 2013, 09:33
First, <blush> thanks. But really you don't want to grow up to be a redneck. Trust me on this. I am one and there are days when I shake my head at myself. :confused::D

Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm already a redneck, I just can't back it up with an awesome place to live. :)

I do live in Sheboygan, after all. It's super weird here.

KahlanAmnell
24 Nov 2013, 10:50
I would love to have a house which is at least partially off-grid. I would like to have solar panels, wind turbines and a well. I wouldn't mind if it is grid tied so I have a backup source of electricity.

kiddycatmeow
23 Dec 2013, 11:45
I would love to live more self sufficient than what we are now. We are doing things little at a time. Gotta start some place right?

We moved back to my home state of TN (hubby born/raised in WV) and bought a little over an acre. Over the summer we were working on getting our trailer set up and all so didn't have time to do too much. Next spring/summer we are going to start a garden. I want to learn how to can food. My grandmother used to do it and I wish I would have taken lessons from her. :( I have some books on it so gonna be trial and error! I learn better by watching it being done though. We have a well out back and believe we have at least 2 springs on each side of the property underground. Hopefully by this time next year we will be using them an can eliminate city water usage. I want to eventually make my own soaps and house hold cleaners and things like that. Eventually we plan in the next 5-ish years to be very self sufficient and sell our trailer or give/sell it to my son or just put it up for sale and buy a camper and travel. Just honestly playing it by ear and doing one thing at a time to be more dependent on ourselves and use the resources that are available out in nature.:^^:

darksyderainmaker
23 Dec 2013, 11:54
My wife and I take small steps. We live in the middle of one of the biggest cities in our country and we're poor. One day I imagine living off the land. For now we do what we can. We have a community garden plot, which goes a long way in helping us access fresh food all year round. Lightens our footprint too, so to speak. There's a whole collective of people here who are trying to live off the grid as much as possible. Collective housing is big here. I lived in one for a couple years before moving in with my wife. I really enjoyed it. Everything shared, everyone helping keep each other on track. Some of the collective houses here are urban farms, keep chickens and beehives, preserve and share food, harvest, save and share seeds and keep a seedbank. It's pretty cool.

DON
04 Feb 2014, 11:23
Mike Oehler has some very interesting work on underground houses that are extremely cheap.
They use the thermal inertia of the earth to stabilise internal temperatures.

There is a building style called wofati, that uses a lot of these techniques.

norseman
17 Feb 2014, 20:46
"[QUOTE=Sparrowings;7874]I'm a big fan of earth lodges and viking pit houses. Yet, dirt floors are hard to keep clean though..."

The way many vikings dealt with dirt floors may surprise you. I believe it was ultra pasteurized milk, a small amount of dung and the top layer of dirt all mixed up and put back down that many folk used and it created a surface that after a while may have been hard and polished enough to sweep like a wood floor. I have seen this mentioned in several if not many articles i have read on the subject so It seems like a fairly probably solution.

Evaine
19 Feb 2014, 10:26
I used to work with an Irishman who grew up in a very traditional cottage. Once a year they would clear everything out of the downstairs, which had a dirt floor, and they would "puddle" the dirt to make the sort of smooth, hard surface that norseman describes. So it was still being done in Ireland in the 20th century.

thalassa
30 Mar 2014, 07:07
nifty tutorial I found... (http://www.howtohistory.com/2010/11/how-to-make-a-hurdle-fence/)

...their site has tons of cool stuff (http://www.howtohistory.com/video-tutorials/)

Ektor
01 Apr 2014, 19:35
Making my own food is my personal life goal. Sooooo hard though, I don't think I'll honestly ever fulfill it.

DON
24 Apr 2014, 04:40
I saw this and thought someone here might be interested:
http://cliffsidekindred.blogspot.ca/2014/04/heathen-homesteaders-wanted.html

It's a heathen community based in the countryside north of Toronto, Canada.

okoserce
10 May 2014, 18:51
Haven't had the chance to read all the other posts but for those that are in a more urban environment you can talk to your local municipal energy company about offsetting your electricity supply with renewables..the best way is to produce your own and sell it back but for those who don't have that option you can buy alternative credits which you purchase in bulk order and use throughout the year to offset your energy use. Bit more of a sting in the summers but you can run your electricity on 100% renewables without too much additional burden.

okoserce
10 May 2014, 18:56
There are also: http://earthship.com/

I've seen a few designs and would love to take some design ideas from this.

thalassa
20 Mar 2015, 03:50
A new, easier beehive... https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flow-hive-honey-on-tap-directly-from-your-beehive

B. de Corbin
20 Mar 2015, 04:05
A new, easier beehive... https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flow-hive-honey-on-tap-directly-from-your-beehive

I've seen that, and am all gaga over it!

If I can ever build a bear-proof barrier and get back into the bee business, Imma gonna play with that...

Willow
20 Mar 2015, 13:48
That is really cool. Then again, I love honey... so honey on tap = win.

Wenny
23 Mar 2015, 11:56
Anyone have build yurts or cobb house?

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Has anyone build yurts or cobb house?

B. de Corbin
23 Mar 2015, 12:21
No, but I did know someone for a while who lived in one.

A yurt, that is.

Wenny
25 Mar 2015, 08:48
No, but I did know someone for a while who lived in one.

A yurt, that is.
Did they get a kit or build it themselves? We looking at a plot of land and either buy a house or build on it. Husband doesn't like cobb because of how much work it seems to be.

B. de Corbin
25 Mar 2015, 09:51
Did they get a kit or build it themselves? We looking at a plot of land and either buy a house or build on it. Husband doesn't like cobb because of how much work it seems to be.

I believe they had a kit. The yurt is nice & big & roomy...

magusphredde
27 Sep 2015, 00:28
If you live near dairies then you could probably get a few 3-day calves ... Name them Sir Loin and Mister T Bone ... I had a few Jerseys which are not really beefy, more milk cows ... But in 9 months they made good veal ... A pleasant change from the 200 pounds of salmon, clams, oysters and sturgeon I had ...
And now I care for 7 chickens, 11 ducks and a goose ... Chicken eggs are good ... duck is better to me ... more and different favor ... less white tho ... Yolks are so thick they don't run like chicken yolks when you pop them ... Goose eggs are great ... if you bow them out you can carve the shes ... make great ornaments and momentos ...

- - - Updated - - -


Anyone have build yurts or cobb house?

- - - Updated - - -

Has anyone build yurts or cobb house?
local state park has 6 yurts for rent ... Year round too ...

thalassa
30 Sep 2015, 07:27
http://www.texascooppower.com/texas-stories/nature-outdoors/keyhole-gardening

thalassa
05 Feb 2016, 20:52
so cool: http://campinglifequest.com/diy/japanese-technique-of-preservingantiquin