Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for November, 2009

Barrelponics pics are online

We are publishing our pictures that we have been taking this week as I type this. They are found at I’ll be publishing some tutorial videos this week as well. Trav and I have been having a bunch of fun working together. Once the fish are in for the winter, we can can finish the green houses and get the grow beds back in operation. We also have a veggie gen that needs to be torn down and cleaned. Pictures of that are also in the barrelponics photo album. I’ll be updating the album on a regular basis, so stay tuned.


“Green” Blown Insulation

We just finished helping Travis blow insulation into the attic space above the fish tank rooms. The insulation is 80% recycled fibers, and cost about $10 per bale (we installed 20 bales). The blower was free for 24 hours with the purchase of the insulation. The product is called Green Fiber, and is non toxic, non itch and easy to install. I’ve got tons of photo’s to upload later today.


Settled in at Barrelponics Central

We are settled in here in Andrews SC. I’ve been busy setting up IBC cubes as winter fish tanks, filling them with water (240 gallons), building bio-filters, and will be setting fish in them this weekend. We will be observing thanksgiving with Travis and his family this year. I started on a solar heated hot tub today, and hope to have that finished next week. I’ll be posting pics shortly.


We are off to SC, and going aqua

Tomorrow at 9am we hit the road in our solar electric camper and veggie fueled suburban to South Carolina, to work with Travis Hughey and his aquaponics systems. You can read more about his combined hydroponics and fish farming system using barrels, which he calls barrel-ponics, at We will be documenting our work there with aquaponics, methane digestion, solar-hydrogen, and much more. Stay tuned.


Living a Mobile Lifestyle

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Do these words stir a fire deep within you, awakening a spirit of wanderlust and travel? Maybe you were a gypsy, vagabond or hobo in a past life, but you think you could never afford to live the life of freedom you long for? Maybe you are a survivalist, or just want to drop out of society but don’t know how. Perhaps you are just sick of the rat race and want to simplify your life. We have good news for you, you can, and we are here to show you how! The key is eliminating the single highest expense most of us have, our housing. We will do that by moving into our vehicle (see the page How to Make A Camper Van) and “boondocking.” By that I mean living in your vehicle without paying for a camp site. Go to the boondocking page for a full explanation.


Hydrogen – Oxygen Generator (HHO, Hydroxy Gas, Brown’s Gas)

Producing hydrogen / oxygen mixed gas for the purposes of heating, cooking, and absorption refrigeration.

There’s a lot of pseudoscience surrounding the production of a hydrogen oxygen gas mix. Sometimes called Brown’s gas, HHO, and other terms, it’s been assigned mythical properties by many.

Joe Cell –
Stanley Meyer –

Some actually believed, or attempted to get others to believe, that a car could run on water, using an on-board electrolyzer powered by the engines own alternator.

Others believe that drastic emissions reduction and mileage gains can be had by make a hydroxy gas booster for a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle.

We will attempt to carve off the pseudoscience, and document the actual processes involved, including the power consumed in the the process, and the amount of gas produced, for the purpose of eliminating our propane consumption and replacing it with a gas we can produce ourselves from non-fossil fuel sources.

Our source of power, by necessity, is 1200 watts of solar panels, with a set of two 420ah 6v batteries for storage. This will allow us to continue to produce gas even when the sun is not shining.

My initial design will be 2-3v per cell, using stainless electrodes. Not necessarily the most efficient, but good enough for initial testing. This will be a poor man’s DIY project, as cost is an issue.

Stay tuned.


USPS Going Electric


This isn’t the first time the USPS has played with electric vehicles, but never before has there been this size of a commitment:

With consumers largely avoiding electric cars due to their shortcomings (range, charging infrastructure) the United States Postal Service is already undertaking the electrification of their current Long Life Vehicle (LLV) model to contribute to the green movement. AM General and Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) will be teaming up to complete this project in converting all 178,000 LLVs currently in use.


The World According to Monsanto

The World According to Monsanto is an in-depth Documentary that looks at the domination of the agricultural industry from one of the world’s most insidious and powerful companies.We are pleased to bring you the full documentary in 10 parts.

This is one of the most powerful, must see films for anyone interested in the behind the scenes world of the food industry, and how just one world dominating corporation holds the keys and patents to much of the worlds food supply.

Monsanto, which started out as one of the planets largest chemical companies is also responsible for such chemical compounds as Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, PCBs and genetically-engineered crops.

Also see:

The Future of Food (watch the video)
King Corn (watch the video)


New Rocket Mass Heater Plans

Hermon HeaterHermon Heater Plans
All-Brick Rocket Mass Heater. Walls are 4.5″ thick. Wood box / air intake opens @ 4.5″ by 9″, same for burn tube, heat riser & initial exhaust. 10 Bricks per layer in the heater, 16 layers high. Around 180 brick in this heater. One bag of masonry heater mortar. Absorbs lots of heat and gives it out for hours after heater shut down. Cad drawings done with Google Sketchup. Electronic delivery $40.

Visit for discussion of Rocket Mass Heaters and Rocket Stoves.