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Best Clothes Drying Rack?

Part 3 of our non-electric laundry series.

A friend of ours has one of these Clothes Drying Racks, and swears by it. I believe it’s a good addition to our non electric laundry series. Check it out and tell us what you think:


Grinding grain, and non electric clothes dryer

UPS arrived today with two packages (an ordeal in itself as our “address” doesn’t appear on their records). One is a new hand cranked grain mill from Lehman’s, the other two new drying racks from Best Drying Rack. I will be doing a video on both this weekend. A new podcast will be posted as well.


The DIY Cider Press

ciderPressWe have an awesome freebie for you today! Detailed plans for building your own apple cider press.

There are few drinks so satisfying as a well-made home-brewed apple cider and the process is a simple one. You simply grind the apples into a pulp that you then press to extract the sweet, flavorable juice. You can grind small batches in a blender, or buy / build a grinder for large batches. This free DIY article explains how to make an inexpensive press.

Cider Press Excerpt

For this project, and 24 more awesome DIY Self Sufficiency Projects:

Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency

1. Cider Press

2. Herb-Drying Rack

3. Solar Oven

4. Solar Fruit Dryer

5. Backyard Fire Pit

6. Firewood Shelter

7. Frame Loom

8. Solar Still

9. Manual Laundry Washer

10. Pet Door

11. Metal Kit Shed

12. Post & Board Fence

13. Cothesline Trellis

14. Two-bin Composter

15. Basement Vermiculture Bin

16. Potato-Growing Box

17. Soil Sifter

18. Octagon Strawberry Planter & Cover

19. Teepee Trellis

20. Jumbo Cold Frame

21. Raised Bed With Removeable Trellis

22. Pallet Planter

23. Chicken Coop

24. Brooder Box

25. Bee Hive



Heated Vegetable Oil Fuel System Facts

Our buddy Melvin Martin sent us this fact sheet he’s written for his demonstration of his veggie powered truck at the Local Living Festival in Canton NY

Toshiba Exif JPEGToshiba Exif JPEG

Heated Vegetable Oil Fuel System Facts

Heat in tank causes condensation/water. Water in fuel causes bacteria. Heat in tank can cause “waxing” or “drying” which = plugged pipes.

Too much heat on filter isn’t good. Diesel fuel loses its lubricity when hot. Cold vegetable oil is thick. Therefore heat your fuel only when you need to.

Injector pumps have very tight tolerances. Thick oil can seize metal with tight tolerances, especially at high speeds and pressure. Cold diesel in injector pump = cold injector pump even if the engine is hot. Hot vegetable oil pumped into a cold pump = cold oil = thick oil = possible seizing or severe wear of pump.

This truck is equipped with a dual tank vegetable oil fuel system

One tank/fuel system is designed for diesel fuel. The other one is specifically designed for running used vegetable oil.

It starts on pure diesel fuel. When it’s hot enough, it can be switched over to pure vegetable oil. A few minutes before shut-down, switch it back to pure diesel. The basis changes from original is a second tank and fuel system, and a method to switch between the two fuel systems. The vegetable oil fuel system is heated with engine coolant and has larger sized pipes and filters.


Do’s and Don’ts:

Do switch to diesel before shut-down and run on diesel on restart until the engine is fully warm. It gives easier starts, less fuel system wear from cold oil, less gumming of engine, and less gumming, sticking, and corrosion of fuel system parts from prolonged exposure to vegetable oil.

Don’t rev engine right after switching to vegetable oil until the injector pump has warmed up. Extreme pump wear can result even if the engine is hot.

Do use a strong dose of injector cleaner and lubrication fuel conditioner in the diesel system. Also consider using a anti-bacteria fuel conditioner.

Don’t spill vegetable oil without cleaning it up. In time it makes a terrible mess.

Do work the engine hard. Hard working engines run cleaner and have much less trouble with carbon buildup.

Don’t let the engine idle for extended periods of time, especially on vegetable oil.

Do enjoy the ride.

Don’t put dirty oil in your tank


The Down Side To Vegetable Oil

1. you can’t start the car or truck when it’s really cold out on it.

2. It can seize up your injector pump.

3. You have to have a diesel car or truck to make this work.


The Good side To Vegetable Oil

1. It saves you money on gas.

2. It’s fun to find out about how it really work’s.

3. Good for the diner’s to get rid off their old used oil in a good way


The Jujube Tree, and it’s many uses

Jujube was domesticated in South Asia by 9000 BCE. Over 400 cultivars have been selected.

The tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, though it requires hot summers and sufficient water for acceptable fruiting. Unlike most of the other species in the genus, it tolerates fairly cold winters, surviving temperatures down to about −15 °C. This enables the jujube to grow in the mountain desert habitats, provided there is access to underground water through the summer. The species Z.zizyphus grows in cooler regions of Asia. Five or more other species of Ziziphus are widely distributed in milder climates to hot deserts of Asia and Africa.

Medicinal Use

The fruits are used in Chinese and Korean traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate stress, and traditionally for antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antispastic, antifertility/contraception, hypotensive and Antinephritic, cardiotonic, antioxidant, immunostimulant, and wound healing properties. “The jujube-based Australian drink 1-bil avoids making specific stress-related claims, but does suggest drinking 1-bil “when you feel yourself becoming distressed”. The plant may help prevent impairment of hippocampal memory. A controlled clinical trial found the fruits helpful for chronic constipation. In another clinical trial, Zizyphus jujuba was proved to be effective against neonatal jaundie. A leaf extract showed anti-obese activity in rats. In Persian traditional medicine it is used to treat colds and Flu in combination with other herbal medicine.

Ziziphin, a compound in the leaves of the jujube, suppresses the ability to perceive sweet taste in humans. The fruit, being mucilaginous, is very soothing to the throat and decoctions of jujube have often been used in pharmacy to treat sore throats.
Fresh jujube fruits.

Culinary use
Dried jujube fruits, which naturally turn red upon drying.

The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with tea. They are available in either red or black (called hóng zǎo or hēi zǎo, respectively, in Chinese), the latter being smoked to enhance their flavor. In China and Korea, a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruits is available in glass jars, and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, jujube juice and jujube vinegar are also produced; they are used for making pickles in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

In China, a wine made from jujubes, called hong zao jiu is also produced. Jujubes are sometimes preserved by storing in a jar filled with baijiu (Chinese liquor), which allows them to be kept fresh for a long time, especially through the winter. Such jujubes are called jiu zao. These fruits, often stoned, are also a significant ingredient in a wide variety of Chinese delicacies. In Korea, jujubes are called daechu and are used in teas and samgyetang.

In Lebanon, the fruit is eaten as snacks or alongside a dessert after a meal.

In Persian cuisine, the dried drupes are known as annab, while in neighboring Azerbaijan it is commonly eaten as a snack, and are known as innab. Z. zizyphus grows in norhern Pakistan and is known as Innab, commonly used in the Tibb Unani system of medicine. There seems to be quite a widespred confusion in the common name. The Innab is Z. zizyphus: the local name Ber is not used for Innab. Rather Ber is used for three other cultivated or wild species i.e. Z. spina-christi, Z. mauritiana and Z. nummularia in Pakistan and parts of India and is eaten both fresh and dried. Often the dry fruit (Ber) was used as a padding in leather horse-saddles in parts of Baluchistan in Pakistan. The Arabic names Sidr is used for Ziziphus species other than Z. zizyphus. The most expensive honey in the world is produced from Z. spina-christi in the Hadramaut region of Yemen!

Jujube fruit is called ilanthappazham or badari in Malayalam, ilanthai pazham in Tamil-speaking regions, “Yelchi Hannu” in Kannada and “Regi pandu” in Telugu. Traditionally, the fruits are dried in the sun and the hard nuts are removed. Then, it is pounded with tamarind, red chillies, salt, and jaggery. Small dishes are made from this dough and again dried in the sun, and are referred to as ilanthai vadai. In some parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, fresh whole ripe fruit is crushed with the above ingredients and dried under the sun to make delicious cakes called ilanthai vadai or “Regi Vadiyalu” (Telugu).


Propane – The Ultimate Survival Fuel?

Over the years I have been asked how to properly store gasoline and diesel for emergencies. There are methods to extend the storage life, but they are not great long term storage survival fuels. Ideally we wouldn’t need fossil fuels at all, but there are instances where it’s prudent to have some on hand, and propane does store the best.

Propane can be used for cooking, heating (water and space), refrigeration, lighting, clothes drying, and electrical generation. It can even be used a transportation fuel. Electrical generators and transportation consume large amounts of propane, where the other devices use much less. It’s a clean burning fuel, emitting mostly Carbon Dioxide and water vapor. Use plenty of ventilation, and use a Carbon Monoxide and Propane leak detectors for safety.

Theoretically, propane might store forever. The tanks would rust out and the propane would leak long before the propane would go bad, so tank storage is the main concern. Keeping the bottles dry and clean are the first priority, and keeping the bottles cool <100 so the pressure release valves don't release excess pressure. Keep them outdoors, as you don't want possible leaks in the house, and since propane is heavier than air, it would pool in the lowest areas. If you live in a cold climate, propane stops flowing at around -44F, so that may be a concern. I've used a wood fired cookstove and wood stove for heating for many years, but if you don't have a sustainable source of woody material, or are not physically capable of cutting, splitting and hauling, it would be prudent to have a good supply of propane stored just in case. The difference between an emergency and an inconvenience is preparation. -


Canning and Preserving

It’s almost that time of year (or already is for some folks) to get out the canner and start putting away the food for winter. If you have not tried this time honored tradition of storing food for the off season, check out these free video’s and tutorials designed to bring you up to speed, and fill your larder.

Canning Video’s and Tutorials

National Center for Home Food Preservation
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 revision

Full text database on canning, freezing, drying of food.

Self Guided Online Canning Class


Worms, Container Gardening, and Seeds

We recently received our packages of red worms and worm compost from and have set up our worm bins. We used to raise worms when we lived in NY, but have not since we moved to
SC. We will be using the worm compost to make potting soil (combined with recycled coconut coir ( ), and composted horse and chicken manure/bedding), and selling the worms to local fishermen and gardeners.

For folks who are struggling financially, We have been giving away localized (cultural and zone rated) heirloom seed packs from along with above potting soil mix, recycled buckets, and information packs on container gardening, seed saving, and food storage (canning and drying), and rain water harvesting / self watering containers.

For SC specific info, see, but each state has a similar website for their local conditions. Contact me if you can’t find it, as I’m making a list of each states resources.

If you know someone who is struggling financially, and will use these materials to feed their family and teach others, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do. Anyone that wants to start their own service, or support us in ours, I’ll be happy to share our information or accept donations. It’s sort of a modern day Johnny “Veggie” Seed instead of Appleseed.


New episode on the non-electric laundry video series

The bucket press and drying rack in operation conclude our non-electric laundry series. Hope you enjoy.


New podcast uploaded, and pics

A new podcast has been uploaded at, and today’s topics are Watt vs. Watt hours, Green building methods, and the last part of our non-electric laundry series, the Best Clothes Dryer. We also received a new grain mill, so pics of that and the drying rack are at

We also list ways of interacting with this website and others of similar interests. so please check it out at

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