Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Search Results

DIY Well Drilling at Green Trust, Oct. 25th. (updated date)

Come stop by Green Trust, and learn how to drill a well, yourself. Nathaniel Burson, from is coming to give a class. You will learn how to make the drill, drill for water, and pump it to the surface. It’s easy, and a whole lot cheaper than the big guys. Be in control of your water! Make money drilling for others. Admission will be $60 and will include a free set of plans and DVD and a $40 coupon off kits from Classes will be held Thursday (the 25th) afternoon/evening, and then all day Sunday and on Monday night if the well isn’t finished Sunday. The class will feature a complete well drilled from start to finish using our new affordable system. All attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience drilling their own well. We will have info available on DIY pumps designed by Jim Juczak from Boondocking is available. You can contact Steve at 315-328-5726 or Nathaniel at 903-576-6800.

93 Sheldon Rd.
Winthrop, NY 13697

Map and Directions:


Drilling your own (pirate) well

I’ve been discussing water a lot recently. From our DIY Berkey filters and rain water harvesting kits, to deep well hand pumps, maintaining your water supply is a important part of personal survival and preparation. You can see some of these ideas on our products page.

But what about drilling your own well? Do you live in the city where a commercially drilled well would be denied? Do you have a outbuilding where you need water (animals, cabin in the woods, etc), and no way to get it there?

I offer these resources on producing your own well:


Drill your own well, save thousands!

A friend of ours has developed a new method of DIY well drilling. Inexpensive, easy, and a good match for the homebuilt pvc deep well pump Jim Juczak of has developed. Check out Nathan’s compressed air drilling outfit he developed at using a compressed air drill, a lethal looking bit for sand, clay or rock, and water.


Start a fire with a hand drill

This is a lot easier than the old bow drill method, but does require you to pack a small hand drill in your backpack. I’m still a believer in having a grill lighter on hand, but they eventually run out of fuel. It’s a cool exercise in what’s possible, and offers another option.


Build the Green Trust Compost Bin

For under $15, you can have a very nice compost bin. Get a used 55 gallon plastic drum (removable top is best, but you can cut out the top of a closed top drum), and about 7′ of 3′ wide wire mesh (your dimensions may vary, see instructions).


  • 1- 55 gallon plastic drum that has been cleaned out very well, especially if it contained something inedible
  • ¼” square galvanized hardware cloth or other welded wire mesh(1/8″ to 1/2″ is ok)
  • Tools:

  • Drill, preferably electric because you will be doing a LOT of drilling
  • Drill Bits:
  • ½” normal twist drill
    2” hole saw, Size may vary from 1-3”, adjust instructions below to suit the size you choose.

  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers (to bend down any sharp points on the wire)
  • Gloves (because hardware cloth has better teeth than piranhas)
  • Steps:

  • Wrap string around top of barrel, mark where end meets
  • Measure from the end of the string to the mark, and write that down
  • Divide the measurement by 20 (at least an even number), call this “X”, and write it down
  • Mark the string every “X” inches. If this is an non standard (not on your ruler) number, and you want you last set of holes to look right, use a digital caliper to make a set of marks on a board to transfer to the string.
  • Wrap the string around the barrel again, marking the barrel at every “X” mark
  • Repeat 1-5 at the bottom lip or bottom rib if you don’t have a lip, be sure that your #1 mark lines up on both sets of string. I start at one of the seams, and go to the right for the first line, then flip the barrel over, and start at the same seam, and go to the left for the second line. This way if your lines are not evenly divisible all the way around, at least the marks are straight.
  • Connect your top and bottom sets of “x” marks with lines and number each line.
  • Measure down 2“from the top of the barrel, and mark this level on ODD NUMBERED LINES
  • Measure down 4” from the top of the barrel, mark this level on your EVEN NUMBERED LINES
  • On each line, measure down 4” from the marks you just made, and make another mark
  • You should have a staggered pattern of marks till you get within 4” of the bottom of the barrel
  • Drill 2” holes at each mark you made
  • Drill ¼” holes in bottom of barrel for the drains. See pattern in image below. It’s not critical.
  • Measure the inside height of your barrel to the top of the top row of holes. Cut your welded wire about 6” longer than the middle of the barrel measurement, and 1” wider than the height measurement.
  • Drop the wire into barrel.
  • Optional Improvements:

  • Add a pan or other container under your barrel to catch good compost tea
  • Add Earthworms
  • Ad Nasuem (User imagination required)
  • Images by Byron Morgan


    Rainy Days at Green-Trust

    Fortunately we are getting rain today. I say fortunately, becuase it means our existing well is getting recharged. It does mean we are taking a break from drilling the new well. We have been running into issues as our sandy soil is filled with glacial till, which causes the drill to move back and forth as it hits these small round rocks, and we end up with a uneven drill hole. Solid rock would be easier to drill through.

    I did get the new Outback MX-60 MPPT Charge Controller installed this morning, as well as 550 watts of PV, connected serialy for a 100vdc input. The MPPT controller matches this to our 12vdc battery bank.

    The MX60 also features Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT), which seeks out the maximum power available from a solar array and uses it to recharge the batteries. Without this feature, the solar array does not operate at the ideal operating voltage and can only recharge at the level of the battery voltage itself. The MX60 “sweeps” the array’s operating voltage at user-determined sweep intervals to track the Maximum Power Point (MPP) of the PV array.

    I also set up two web based ip camera systems for a friend to keep track of deer and security at his camp in the woods while in Florida for the winter.

    The rest of the day is dedicated to lectures and assignments in my online Bachelors (Network Management) program from Westwood College.


    Water Shortages

    It’s been a mighty dry month or so. The well has been intermittent at best, and the water quality is substandard. We have been drinking bottled water ($0.25 / gallon in 5 gallon jugs), and limiting our water usage, but it’s time to put in the cistern we have been delaying. I dug up a couple of Amazon gift certificates, and ordered the best books I could find on rain water harvesting and storage. We will be drilling a DIY well on Oct. 25th, so take a look at A local concrete company will deliver into our hole, a 1000 gallon precast concrete cistern for $600. The last item we will need is a Aermotor Wind Pump to top the new well, and fill the cistern, which will also be fed from the roof gutters. Next years Green House will take the outflow of our greywater and use subsurface irrigation for our vegetables. This will require biofriendly cleaners, no chemicals, and careful analysis of what goes down our drains.

    Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 1): Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life And Landscape – Update: One of the best I’ve ever read. Highly Recommended. Very readable, understandable, and applicable.

    Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 2): Water-harvesting Earthworks – Update: Won’t be available until January 2008. Volume 3 on cisterns and tanks is even further out. If they are as good as Volume 1, they will be awesome. See

    Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use–Includes How to Make Ferrocement Water Tanks – Update: Fantastic reference, also a good read, and yet easily implemented.

    Rainwater Catchment Systems for Domestic Supply: Design, Construction and Implementation – Update: Another required reference. Lots of background material.

    New Addition:

    The New Create an Oasis With Greywater: Choosing, Building and Using Greywater Systms – Includes Branched Drains – Art has a way of relating of relaying knowledge to the reader/implementer that is never “Dry”, and easily understandable.

    We will be discussing the details of this project as we progress at, and keeping folks up to date here at as well.

    Also see Dew harvesting and Rain Barrels.


    Bacteria, Cyst & Protozoa Water Filter

    For non-chemically or radiologically contaminated water, this is a better value than our Berkey water purifier kits. This kit is ideal for rain water filtration. It costs less, and filters much faster (500+ gallons per day), and has much longer life (over 1 million gallons).

    The pores are so small (0.1 micron absolute) that no bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E.Coli, Cholera and Typhoid can get through. At 7 log (99.99999%) the filter attains the highest level of filtration available today and yet it has a very high flow rate (500+ gallons per day) due to the large amount of tubes. Each filter is certified for ABSOLUTE microns. That means there will be no pore size larger than 0.1 microns in the biological filter Simply put, it is impossible for bacteria to pass through the 0.1 micron filter.

    Contains everything needed to convert a bucket into a high quality water filter, including the drill bit. Also includes our complete rain water harvesting, solar water heating, and greywater recycling ebook package.

    DIY Green-Trust Water Filter Kit $85 (free shipping, USA) (filter, connector, drill bit and instructions):


    Build an inexpensive worm bin

    Turn your kitchen scraps into valuable potting soil and garden compost. Two plastic storage tubs, a 1/8″ drill bit and electric or hand drill, waste cardboard boxes, and food scraps, a lb or so of composting worms and you are in business. See the step by step video below!

    Worms, Worms Everywhere!
    by Maureen Lucchino

    Worms, worms everywhere!
    Down your shirt and in your hair
    Wait your turn there’s much to spare
    Cures diseases if you pleases
    Very slimy not too grimy
    Castings make your gardens grow real good
    Make them grow just like they should
    Full of water got 5 hearts
    Birds like to put them in their tarts
    Keep them moist and feed them well
    Cause if you don’t the worms will tell
    In their dungeon you will go
    Where the light will never show
    Keep them happy and you’ll see
    You will have your own family!


    The 5 Gallon Chicken Feeder and Waterer

    Ok, first the feeder:

    1 5 gal bucket.
    1 lid for bucket.
    1 24 inch plastic planter base (3″ – 4″ deep)

    Drill 1″ holes all the way around the base of the bucket. Bolt the planter base to the bucket. 5 gal bucket will hold about 40 lbs of feed. Lid keeps debris and critters out of the bucket.

    Now the waterer:

    1 5 gal bucket.
    1 lid for bucket.
    1 24 inch plastic planter base (3″- 4″ deep)

    At the top of the bucket, about 1.5″ below the rim, drill a hole about 1/2″ in diameter or a little less. Fill bucket with water and place lid on tightly (must be air tight). Turn bucket upside down (water will come out as you do this) and set it upside down in planter base.

    Planter base (saucer) can be found at for about $6.

    5 Gallon Bucket and Lid can be found at Lowes for about $4.

    Here’s a slightly different version: