Besides benefiting the environment by reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills and providing your garden with black gold, composting can build and strengthen relationships with your community.
We built our own clay oven for backyard pizza and bread-baking. One of our favorite things to do is fire up the oven for a weekend afternoon/evening and prepare a variety of meals that will last all week. A bit of work on the weekend provides meals for a week with the unique wood-fired flavor of the outdoor oven.
For several years, we have been trialing eggplant varieties to find one better in hot weather than our favorite 'Nadia', which is great in temperate summer weather. We love the classic pear shape and glossy purple-black skin of 'Nadia', and we want something looking similar, but better at setting fruit in hot weather.
Have you wandered the aisles of your local home improvement store trying to determine what you need for your home’s air conditioning or furnace? If you are unsure about what is wrong with your equipment, get a professional’s opinion or you could be spending money unnecessarily.
How to install chimney pipe through a flat ceiling can be done by any do-it-yourself homeowner. Transitioning from Rock-Vent insulated double wall Class A chimney pipe to black single wall stove pipe through a flat ceiling.
Wood is one of the oldest forms of heat, and throughout the millennia, has been used to keep mankind toasty and defrosted. However, now that we’re an older and (presumably) wiser race, we’re seeing how inefficient and unsustainable this form of heat can be. Rocket mass heaters and rocket stove technology offers the solution, and puts affordable, efficient heat within reach of us all.
This yummy loaf is a little darker than regular oatmeal bread, due to the molasses, which also gives it some sweetness. Once again, I’m using home ground hard red wheat flour, which gives an indescribable flavor. No flour mill? No problem, just substitute regular whole wheat flour and all purpose white, respectively. The blend of whole wheat and white flour makes a lighter loaf than if made from 100% whole wheat.
Installing a Lock Top Chimney Damper is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many times the fireplace throat damper rusts apart and is non-functional, allowing heat and air from your home to escape through the chimney and vice versa. In today's chimney industry, we have top-locking chimney dampers that are easy to install, made of stainless steel, and completely seal a chimney flue when not in use.
European breads are frequently made with an overnight starter, called “Poolish” or “Biga”. A super-easy way of developing dough I learned from Peter Reinhart (author of The Bread Bakers Apprentice) has helped me to quickly put together some delicious, full-flavored sandwich breads. Here’s how.
Installing a chimney chase cover is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many homes were built with galvanized chase covers which rust after a few years – causing leaks and rust stains. Homes that were built with a masonry chimney eventually end up with a cracked and weathered mortar crown, also causing leaks and damage to the home.
This is my go-to recipe for making our weekly bread. It provides consistent, crusty results, uses only three (ish) ingredients, and takes about 40 minutes of active time. It’s also 100 percent whole-wheat/whole grain, which is the rule for bread in our house. Don’t be put off by the 7 hours of time required — most of that is passive time while you wait for your bread to rise.
My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.
This is the final article in a series on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.
There are five main areas of the home responsible for wasting the most energy. At the top of that list is windows, and one of the most effective ways to decrease your home’s carbon footprint is by replacing old, drafty windows with new, air-tight Energy Star-qualified windows.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the amount of energy lost annually through windows costs consumers $35 billion. Heat loss and heat gain through and around windows accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of our heating and air conditioning usage, the largest consumer of energy in a modern home. Here are some ways to make sure your windows are as energy-efficient as possible.
One of the largest energy expenses in a typical home is its water heater. Here are some ways to assess the efficiency of your water heater and decide whether a replacement is needed and if so, what type it should be.
Those who garden know that weeding is often essential to growing good vegetables or fruits. In a forest, sunlight too is a limiting factor. By knowing which tree to cut and which to leave, forest health can be improved. Cutting for firewood can serve as an incentive to "weed" on the ultra-perennial scale.
In order to maintain an internal body temperature of 98.6 F, the body perspires or sweats. As the sweat evaporates off the skin it cools the body. The trouble starts when the humidity is so high that the air is saturated with moisture and sweat drips off of you rather than evaporating. My method for avoiding Heat Stroke is called Getting Grounded in the Garden.
Reader Jenna Winkeller of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to us about a homemade device that can make small-scale wheat cultivation far more efficient: a DIY wheat thresher crafted from just a bucket, drill and chain. Check out a video of it in action, and get instructions for assembling your own version of this wallet-friendly, timesaving tool.
To see how much solar heat could be trapped by glass, Horace de Saussure, in 1767 built a solar hot box that consisted of several glass sheets covering an insulated box. Solar heat accumulated in the solar hot box, reaching temperatures far above the boiling point of water
The invention of clear window glass allowed the ancient Romans to trap solar energy to enhance their gardening techniques to grow vegetables out of season and exotic non-native plants in Rome. A thousand years later, empire builders in Europe rediscovered the trapping of solar heat with clear window glass so they as well could enjoy the foreign plants in their own back yard and grow native vegetables throughout the year.
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
FCX Oil-Fired Condensing Boilers, designed and manufactured by Geminox, provide a reliable and efficient alternative to non-condensing boilers. FCX Boilers feature a steel, non-condensing primary heat exchanger coupled with a stainless steel, condensing secondary heat exchanger.
Talking about carrying in the red roofing tin the old fashioned way due to a broken golf cart and some very muddy conditions. The refrigerator root cellar continues to prove itself as an experiment that seems to be working so far.
WiseWay Pellet Stove is the first and only EPA-certified and UL-listed non-electric pellet stove on the market today. This pellet stove eliminates the need for electricity by using a gravity-feed natural draft to accomplish a high efficiency rating of 75 percent. It’s capable of heating up to 2,000 square feet and able to hold a fire up to 31 hours on a 40-pound bag of pellets. The stove is also mobile home approved.
Take a tour of the mills and mountains of the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas, home to some of the finest remaining historic gristmills that still exist in the U.S.A. Based on the popular Historic Ozarks Mills book created by award-winning photographer Mike McArthy. Hydropower's energy-producing capacity is getting well-deserved attention these days, and these old mills provide inspiration.
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.
This posting discusses how the oceans stores heat and transports the heat to warm colder parts of the planet. The posting uses El Nino as an example on how warm ocean water can have a diverse effect on the climate in different regions of the planet.
Henry Red Cloud moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation 12 years ago and started looking into renewable energy. Since then he has started a solar heating system company and a renewable energy training center to serve the Native American community.
Have you found helpful ways to cut your energy use at home? Whether it's turning down the thermostat or installing new light bulbs, tell us what you've done to conserve energy and how well it's worked.
Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.