human powered tools
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
TrikE, an electric-assisted human powered vehicle (HVP), provides weather protection and storage while maintaining all the benefits of a bicycle.
A recent trip to Vietnam presents an opportunity to study people-powered devices and transportation.
The United States has one of the lowest rates of active transportation in the world, leading to poor cardiovascular health and other diseases.
A look back at how we’ve become addicted to electricity and its conveniences since the Great Depression.
Human-powered generators cleverly derive electricity from something we already use in abundance — human movement — offering an easy way to tap renewable energy for anyone interested in a low-impact lifestyle. Two creative generators caught our attention: a merry-go-round that supplies light for poor Ghanaian schools and a revolving door that lights up a train station.
Most Americans use vehicles to travel less than three miles, a distance that can easily be walked. Choosing active transportation over vehicles can improve your health, decrease your spending and minimize all that time you spend at stop lights.
On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
Composting doesn't need to be complicated. It's time to throw out the guide book and start letting nature take its course. Meat? No problem. Bread? Don't worry about it. Human waste? Why not? It's easy!
This week is the 12th annual National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
If you’re considering taking measures to control wildlife in your area by relocating wild animals, you may want to think twice. Start by learning about what happens to wild animals after they’re trapped and released in a new location.
Human hair contains significant amounts of nitrogen and makes a great replacement for traditional fertilizers.
How to safely dispose of or make use of human waste is becoming a hot topic.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
Here’s a method to quickly put a razor-sharp edge on chisels, planes, knives and carving tools. This sharpening technique is based on electric-powered buffing wheels that polish tools to a keen edge. The hardware is simple and quiet. A small electric motor spins a hard felt buffing wheel that’s covered with a fine, waxy abrasive. Use a softer, cloth wheel for concave surfaces on carving gouges.
Use your extra screwdriver bits to build stubby screwdrivers suitable for small spaces.
We’re here to confront our own biology, the essential nature that tells us to keep reproducing and expanding. If you could view the entirety of human experience from the dawn of our evolution to the present, if you could pick the human century you’d like to witness first-hand, you might choose this one.
While conservation is neccessary for providing for an ever-growing human population, it alone cannot solve our problems. In fact, it may distract us from the real issue at hand.
But it’s not our nature to sit around complacently waiting for the asteroid, not while we have this miraculous opportunity to preserve and enhance our planet. Just as we once visualized the first irrigated field, invented the first wheel and dreamed of machines that fly, we can visualize the earth as a beautiful and productive garden where millions of species thrive. Then we can build it.
The third and last of a three part blog on chemical herbicides.
The role of natural cycles and anthropogenic forces on the climate are explained. We also demonstrate that the current global warming trend is happening at a faster rate than earlier periods and humans are responsible for the current warming trend.
Many farms of the 21st Century are, comparatively speaking, biological wastelands. Plowed, fertilized and cultivated from property-line to property-line, much of the world’s most productive land has been stripped of its wildlife.
Our innovations have made possible a rapid expansion in the quantity of human life on earth. But the same technological foundation is used, with equal facility, to improve and sustain the quality of human life.
Environmentalists should strive to understand the joy experienced by the race fan, the motorcyclist and the snowmobiler, and we should use that understanding to stimulate the human imagination in ways that benefit the planet.
Human history gives us plenty of evidence to support a pessimistic outlook, but history also gives us plenty of reason for optimism. On the humble foundation of skin clothing and bone jewelry we have built a wondrous technological superstructure.
An alien biologist visiting from a distant planet might look at the remarkable similarities in our physiology and conclude that chimps would live pretty much as humans do, only more simply. But there’s something definitively, well, human about us.
Environmentalists are better leaders when we can better love human ingenuity. We will need to form partnerships with the natural world, to ingeniously utilize its resources in ways that preserve its natural productivity.
Most people have at least heard of Habitat for Humanity. But when I dug a little deeper and sifted through the ol’ letters in the attic of the house (so to speak), I uncovered some interesting details.
Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.
Propelling a vehicle with air or water is possible, but whether it’s practical is another story.
Readers share reports about their favorite specialized kitchen utensils.
Advances in technology, beefier construction, and radical updates for increased automation result in Wood-Mizer’s most productive & high-tech industrial sawmill ever
Get organized and improve workshop efficiency with this nifty project.
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
Keeping your garden tools organized can help you be more efficient in your work in the garden.
David Goodman tests the Meadow Creature broadfork on his Florida farm and finds it to be amazing as heck.
If you're looking for a new lawn mower this year, consider buying a zero-turn lawn mower, which will really help you maneuver around obstacles such as trees and bushes.
When you need tools for low-impact living, where do you go to find them?
Readers share their favorite durable, long-lived, sturdy and well-made kitchen tools.
Here are some resources where you can learn more about how a scythe can be useful on your homestead.
Food is the most universal symbol of America’s age of excess. The average American’s dinner comes from five different countries, with a combined airfreight and ocean freight mileage tab that often exceeds 10,000 miles. At least three-fourths of that meal is processed and packaged, its nutrients stripped away and replaced by texturizers, sweeteners, and flavor “enhancers.”
We are unique and brilliant creatures. Humanity has expanded into every corner of the planet. With our extraordinary tools, we are stronger and faster than any other species. And we are improving.
Humanity has the technological and intellectual capacities to preserve for our great-grandchildren a world teeming with life and human prosperity. Why would we plan for anything less?
In 2010 former horse-powered produce grower Michael Hari launched Equicert, a business that provides services to horse powered farms.
Make your own rotisserie spit that is solar powered.
The Solar Decathletes begin assembly on the National Mall at midnight, Oct. 1. But just getting the houses into D.C. is no simple task.
Keeping the project going is my goal.
The solar-powered tractor was painted Terry’s favorite color—green—before the motor was strapped in. After the motor was installed a battery stand was welded over the top of the DC drive motor which is large enough to accommodate twelve 250-amp deep-cycle batteries. Once the performance controller was installed battery cables were run, linking the batteries together.
Bird-X, Inc., a leader in producing humane pest and bird repellent products since 1964, is raising the bar even higher for the pest control industry, offering ‘green’ solutions for every pest and bird problem.
One locavore takes responsibility for raising and slaughtering her own chickens.
Simran Sethi comes to terms with getting rid of the mouse in her home.
Simran Sethi balances her love of nature with her fear of mice in her home.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
We don’t have a positive vision for our future, but we can picture a lot of different ways in which things may go badly for us. This lack of a positive vision seems dangerous to me because we so often realize what what we visualize.
Today as I was researching Habitat for Humanity, I learned how far its helping hand reaches. Even more interesting to me, though, was that Habitat continues to build in such war-torn counties as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Hoss Seeder's unique features include its all-metal frame and ease of attaching to the wheel hoe.
Kasco Manufacturing introduced a new 10’ wide Vari-Slice seeder at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. The Vari-Slice seeder is suitable for applications including pasture seeding, beef, dairy and horse farms for worked or no-till conditions and where tight germination of grass seed is needed.
Tell us about your all-time favorite fix-it tool.
NeighborGoods is an online community that lets you borrow and lend tools and other items from people in your area.
DIY projects are great fun and can save money — unless you end up in the emergency room.
After decades of gardening I’ve come to rely on a few essential gardening tools.
A review of the Husqvarna hatchet.
Review of a great axe made by Vipukirves.
The Center to Expose and Close Animal Factories employs a strong legal background to take on industrial agriculture. Learn about their plan to clean up the business for good.
With the inventiveness of visionaries like Elon Musk, technological advances can help create a better world, while remaining useful and cool.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
People are traveling fewer miles in vehicles, suggesting more compact communities whose residents choose walking over driving.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
A Danish study has found that concentration improves among students who bicycle or walk to school.
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Black and Decker.com provides project advice, community features and much more.
In praise of the garden fork.
We quarry a granite rock to create a front stoop.
Pick the right dandelion weeder, and ridding your lawn and garden of dandelions becomes more game than chore. Here we hightlight three popular models: the Oswego Grandpa’s Weeder, the Fiskars Triple Claw Weeder and the Garden Weasel Weedpopper Step and Twist.
Try BOGS gardening clogs, a super-comfortable pair of gardening shoes that will stand up to tough wear.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, share his make do tool tips with fellow DIY homeowners.
Cut the confusion that accompanies buying a cordless drill with this information on which drill features and capabilities to look for.
Chainsaw safety equipment.
Green building expert Lloyd Kahn reviews Kevin Kelly’s new book Cool Tools, an amazing book for the homesteader, builder or anyone who likes cool tools.
Black bears and rural living go hand in hand in many parts of North America. So how do you keep bear/human conflicts to a minimum?
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, guides an inquiring homeowner on how to find the right circular saw.
Steve shares 11 years of his experience with the newest mainstay power tool in the world, and offers three free chances to win an impact driver.
We have three big challenges confronting us: preserving our habitat, controlling our population and reforming our economic systems.
Humanity needs a new spiritual vision to cope with its shrinking habitat.
“Do you sometimes feel like your life is a microfield for everything that’s going on today?” scholar, philosopher and researcher Dr. Jean Houston, one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time and a founder of the Human Potential Movement, asked the crowd gathered this morning for the LOHAS Forum in Boulder, Colorado. That got my attention, especially when she went on to say that humans now face “the most profound task in human history—choosing whether we grow or whether we die.”
At this moment, Houston says, many of us are “encapsulated bags of skin carrying around dreary little egos,” caught up in “lives of serial monotony.” Still, she has hope. Humans, she said, have an opportunity to play a role in “the greatest transition the world has ever seen, the most far-reaching and rapid change in our history.”
“We are coded with potentials, few of which we ever learn to use,” Houston said. “We can no longer be half-life versions of ourselves, and something huge is beginning to happen as the world’s mind is discovering itself.”
This posting present comments by leading scientific organizations, individual scientists and government leaders pertaining to human induced climate changes. All agree that climate change is anthropogenic and that it has become a serious problem.
After years of caving to the chemical industry, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has delcared formaldehyde—common in particleboard, plastics and textiles—a known human carcinogen.
We discuss the concept that carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is partly responsible for the current atmospheric carbon overload. We also briefly discuss other human activities that contribute to the atmospheric carbon overload.
Inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk leaves little doubt about how far vision and imagination can take us in addressing ecological challenges.
Only 43 percent of Americans know what smart grid technology is, and of those, 70 percent don’t really understand how it works, according to a survey released today.
CHANNELLOCK, the leader in the design and manufacturing of high-quality pliers and hand tools, today unveiled its latest American-made tool – a fully redesigned, improved website.
The new website offers the home gardener an expanded product selection of useful garden products.
Provide Multi-Purpose Tools For The Jobsite Or Workshop
Blount, the world’s largest manufacturer of saw chain, announces the launch of the new OREGON PowerNow 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
The last week of the month has been a busy one with are preparations for the ending of winter and the start of a new growing season. We've got some details on a new cover crop and why we choose and simple composting toilet system compared to others.
A summary of our quest to find non-medicated chicken feed that has higher quality ingredients than the typical feed store bag of chicken food.
Mark fenced in a new chicken pasture in the hot sun, an experience that was made possible by his homemade solar fan hat. Meanwhile, I played with scythes and bees and maps.
Noting the time and marking its passing, keeping us in the present.
Our Vegetable Garden Planner assists you in planting your fall garden by giving you planting dates specific to your location, projected harvest dates and more.
I keep a kit of handy garden supplies waiting in my car, so I can head straight to the garden and take advantage of as many sunlight hours as possible right after work.
Weather.com now features customizable local weather applications, including an Agriculture Application with great tools for farmers and gardeners.
Rechargeable tool packages use the same battery to power multiple tools: saws, drills, drivers and flashlights. What are the benefits of these systems?
Green building guru Lloyd Kahn recounts his favorite new discoveries from the Puyallup, Wash., MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, raves about his favourite hand held torch tool, the BernzOmatic Quickfire Hand Torch.
Steve Maxwell spotlights the three myths that prevent people from realizing the full value of the self reliant lifestyle, and how to dispel them
As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.
Looking at all the wood powered cars
Walking School Buses make a big impact by improving health, building community and filling in where school budgets fall short.
Saying ‘Yes’ to a cross country bicycling trip
was easy. After I fully realized what my
mouth had done, my brain had second thoughts.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Adzes and broad axes have been used for centuries in log cabin building. Learn a bit about what these tools do and how to use them.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
The perfect partner for pruning, weeding and harvesting.
The American Garden Tool Company is an online source for American-made garden tools, products and accessories.
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
A quality product made in the USA
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
Finally getting the barn roof repair project started was a big deal for us as well as a few other things that are worth checking out if you are interested in modern homesteading.
Completing tasks in preparation for a few days away from the homestead
Natural Home bamboo kitchen tools are made without formaldehyde or other harmful additives, through a process that eliminates waste.
Chinese worker Chen Shun Qun says she is paid and treated fairly at the factory that makes Natural Home bamboo kitchen tools.
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
We have developed two customized search engines that make it easier to locate companies that offer specific varieties of seeds and plants, as well as organic garden products and tools.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.