Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for September, 2009

Barrelponics – Aquaculture and Hydroponics

For more information on grow lights and hydroponics visit Hydroponics Online and PlantLightingHydroponics.

Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture (fishkeeping) and hydroponic (soilless) plant growth techniques. It requires no soil and no chemicals to produce a vast and large amount of fish, fruits and vegetables in a very small space. Fish produce ammonia as waste. Bacteria convert that waste to nitrates used by the plants as the nutrient source. The water is recirculated to the fish clean and aerated. Water consumption is lower and plant density is usually at least twice that of soil based methods. No pesticides can be used as they would kill bacteria and fish in the system. Food produced is thereby pesticide free. Travis Hughey is the inventor of the Barrel-Ponics method of aquaponics and the author of The Barrel-Ponics Manual which is available as a free download from this website.


Conserve Energy, Save Money, Make do with less

In this economy, it’s important to reduce consumption in order to free up scarce funds. Here are some tips on saving energy, reusing old things for new purposes, and other ways of not spending precious cash.
Conserving Energy, Saving Money


Container Gardening

containergardeningGrowing in containers saves space, but it’s also a smart alternative if you are restricted by too much shade, poor soil, too little time, limited mobility or a difficult climate. Container gardens can be much more productive than a regular garden while allowing you to avoid most pest and disease problems. Best of all, it brings your garden right up close, creating a sense of intimacy that you don’t get in an ordinary backyard garden.,default,pg.html


Our Rocket Stove

I fired up the rocket stove and took some pics. You can use scrap wood, twigs, small branches, etc.

Enjoy!  Discuss these stoves at Simply Off Grid, and see the videos at

You can get the upgraded version of ours at





Organic Dinner, on the cheap

Last night I picked up some organic chicken drum sticks from my neighbor. I boiled them in 5 cups of water (with garlic, sea salt, and black pepper) to make a nice broth (keep the lid on). I then removed them from the broth, added two cups of rice, and set that to cooking while my wife pulled the meat off the bones and shredded it into small pieces. I cooked up some corn and lima beans, and when the rice was finished added the chicken and the vegetables back into the rice. All in all, a good dinner, and not very expensive. Easy to prepare in the smaller confines of a camping trailer.

After dinner she made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.

Last week she made a corn and tomato salad that was out of this world. She makes it every year while we are on the road. Here’s the recipe.


Camping: Portable Shower and Toilet

We have been doing some camping this summer, and the question came up about showers and toilets. First off, you need some privacy. There’s a number of tents on the market designed for this purpose. One of the units we used was the Texsport Hilo Hut Privacy Shelter. This tent is high enough to stand up in for a shower, and wide enough for a porta potty. For shower options, there’s the solar method (put the Zodi pump in a black 5 gallon pail), the propane method, and the campfire coil method. One can use a handheld sprayer, or the shower pole. We used a Luggable Loo as our portable toilet, which is a 5 gallon pail with snap on toilet seat and lid, but any camping potty would work. Use a biological breakdown enhancer, not a chemical deodorant.

Zodi Hot Tap w/Piezo Ignition Single Md: 6185

Zodi Shower Pole with Tripod Stand and Nylon Storage Bag

5 gal PORTABLE TOILET Outdoor Camping Recreation

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

See these products and more at the Green Trust Gear Shop.


Emergency Power for Medical Equipment

We are heading into prototype stage on a project we have been working on for quite some time. It’s a portable solar charged emergency power system for folks with medical devices like oxygen machines, CPAP, portable wound vac’s, etc. In a power outage, it would keep these devices powered until help can be obtained or power restored. We need funding for this stage of development, so we can show a proof of concept. We are asking for donations for this project, and in return we have a package of electronic documentation on surviving in the wild (over 200 pages), including bush medical care. If you have different interests, let us know, and we can find something equivalent for you. Please donate at


Gluten Free?

One in 133 American’s suffer from Celiac related gluten intolerance. Many others have other gluten related issues. My research has indicated that enzyme supplements help break down the gluten molecules to help relive a number of ailments including skin rashes, irritability, aggression, moodiness, ‘brain fog,’ cognitive problems, cramping, bowel problems, pain, and sleep disturbances. One of my sources that was very helpful in finding a low cost, low impact solution for poor digestion is (It’s very important that you read this page!). Based on this and other resources, I went looking for a broad spectrum enzyme supplement. The one I found that I feel has really enhanced our life is Kirkman’s Enzym-Complete/DPP-IV. In their words:

EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ is Kirkman’s highest strength, broad-spectrum digestive enzyme. This proprietary product is formulated to support maximum digestive activity for a full range of foods.

EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ is a unique blend of 18 pure, plant-based enzymes that are recognized as essential for the effective digestion of all food groups, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars and fiber, under a wide range of pH conditions. The addition of the dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) enzyme analog supports the ability of the body to degrade peptides formed from exposure to casein and gluten. EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ provides a comprehensive “foundation” of supplemental enzymes to support optimal digestion.

Each enzyme works independently, but also in a complementary role to optimally impact digestion of all dietary components. Kirkman’s EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ provides a combination of proteases, amylases, lipases, disaccharides and cellulases that replace the enzymes lost in cooking, thus lessening the burden on the body’s digestive tract so that it can function optimally, while also supporting optimal nutrient absorption.

My wife and I have felt tremendously better since we started using this supplement. I’m convinced the science is sound, and that the combinations of enzymes works.


Climbing Mt. Marcy

mtmarcyYesterday, our friend Peter Dobo, My son Matt, another friend “Blueberry” and myself climbed Mt. Marcy. The tallest Mountain in NY State, it’s elevation is 5,343 feet (1,629 m). It was the second time for Peter and myself, although it’s been 25+ years, and many pounds ago. It’s about 15 miles round trip, and took us two old fat guys about 10 hours total. The two boys beat us to the summit by an hour, and back to the Loj by 2 hours. Oh to be young again.

It was an awesome hike, great views, and definitely worth the effort (and the pain). Peter and I are bound to be stiff and sore for a couple of days. I think Haystack might be next. In recent past I have done Lyon Mountain, Azure, and Arab, all in the northern Adirondacks.


Can you make, and drive on, your own ethanol fuel?

Can you drive your car on ethanol? Yes it is possible! We used to have a small fuel producers permit. We made ethanol and powered a lawnmower with it. The following resources will help you build a still, produce ethanol, and modify a carbureted vehicle (VW) for ethanol use. You may even be able to fuel some of the newer flex fuel vehicles that are becoming widely available.