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Solar Homes & Solar Collectors

Solar energy is our birthright like the air we breathe or the water we drink. Solar Home Plans and affordable Solar Hot Water Plans are the gateway into a “Solar Age” of energy independence. Fossil fuels are no longer necessary to keep the wheels of civilization turning. Build your own solar heating system with an MTD Solar Collector Kit. Explore the Strawberry Fields Book Store for more information. Alternative energies like solar energy will increase in value as fossil fuel prices escalate. Solar collectors, solar hot water systems, heat storage vaults, photovoltaic electricity, solar panels, solar greenhouses and solar house plans will become more important in this century. According to Buckminster Fuller “We have wondered too far from the roots.” An energy crisis can only be avoided only if we learn to rely on a diffuse, sustainable resource like the sun. .


Have Wood Will Travel – Complete Plans for the Keith Gasifier

waynekeithWayne Keith has built 5 trucks that run on wood. Each model is slightly more improved than the last. This V8 truck is the 5th generation. It has a series of vacuum gauges that provide information on performance of each part of the gasifier. This truck gets about 1 mile per pound of wood. Wayne has written his entire gasification experience into this book! Complete plans for the Keith gasifier include photos, diagrams, and detailed explanations of every step of the way.

Wayne Keith has spent a lot of time learning how woodgas works. He can answer all your questions and give detailed advice. We have a detailed video tutorial and some written material supporting it. Wayne documented his latest build in depth with video footage, and we’ve posted instructional videos from start to finish. You can follow along with Wayne, from selecting the materials all the way through firing up the truck the first time. Lots of folks have started building, some have completed trucks already. They are actively discussing their projects on the Premium-only Builders’ Discussion forum. Here you can see what folks like you have done and ask questions about the Keith gasifier. There’s also the Ask Wayne and Beta forums. Plus, all premium members get Wayne’s book FREE!


Introducing Easy DIY Chicken Coop Plans

“Who Else Wants the Easy Plans to Build an Attractive & Affordable Long Lasting ‘Predator-Safe’ Chicken Coop from Home That Your Backyard Chickens Love To Lay Eggs In…”

Buying your chicken coop new from the store will usually cost $500.00 upwards! and all you’ll often get is a flat-pack coop that you have to build yourself anyway, you just end up paying for overpriced materials, no fun!

Building your own chicken coop from home is by far the most cost effective solution, not to mention the most rewarding and fun, however…

you need to research and account for the right materials and measurements, nesting boxes, perches and entertainment, lighting, positioning, ventilation, waste collection and of course protection from the elements and deadly predators…

…but planning and doing it all yourself can seem just too overwhelming

Fortunately there’s an easy, cost-effective solution to build your own attractive, affordable & secure outdoor chicken coop from home in mere hours…

If you’re serious about keeping free range backyard chickens, be it out in the countryside, in the suburbs or in the city, you’re about to discover a goldmine…

Check out the Chicken Kit today!


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.


Freecycling and NY BackHome


The Potsdam NY Freecycle Network is open to all who want to “recycle” that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it’s a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you’re looking to acquire something yourself! Nonprofit groups are also welcome to participate too!

One constraint: everything posted must be free. This network is brought to you by The Freecycle Network, a nonprofit organization and a movement of people interested in keeping good stuff out of landfills. Check out for other cities and info on the movement! E-mail us for questions or improvement ideas!

BackHome New York Chapter

We are the NY chapter of BackHome in America. A loose confederation of homesteaders, headed up by Bruce Kilgore.

Focus… simplicity, sustainable agriculture, alternate energy and building methods, autonomy and independance.

There are chapters through out the nation. If you want to see others go to our chapters page.

David Lee’s Build It Yourself Plans and Recycled JUNKYARD SCRAP

If you like to work with metal, this is the WEB site you’ve been looking for.

Everything shown here has been fabricated using the plans, booklets and templates.

You can make anything shown here from scrap steel at a fraction of what it would cost to buy in a retail store if you even could find it in a retail store.

You’re invited to browse through the pages on this site. The plans contained herein were collected from FREE PLANS WEB sites throughout the Internet. To download, first select the classification, then click the plan title, wait for the .pdf to load and then click the “Save a Copy” radio button.


For readers of BACKWOODS HOME MAGAZINE(online or off), practical ideas for self-reliant living.

This list is for people who enjoy BHM and want to have a list to discuss topics, share ideas, recipes, or anything else from the mag. For those unfamiliar with the mag. it is for, self-sufficient living, personal independence(i.e. politics, gardening & true country living, and other topics relating to self-sufficiency)with a Libertarian atmosphere.



Build a Better Greenhouse – Did you ever want a good quality greenhouse? Tired of hauling your wife’s plants into the house each fall or tripping over them in the garage all winter? Or perhaps you want to extend your growing season, start plants several months ahead of the season, or just want to experiment with some of our hydroponic gardening systems?

Well, this DVD makes it not only possible – but easy, fun, and cheap. Building a better greenhouse is something that has needed to be done for a long time. Most small greenhouses (also called hobby houses) are either outrageously expensive, or incredibly low quality – sometimes both! But with this plans-and-DVD set you will learn how to build a better greenhouse – a professional-quality greenhouse at a price that can’t be matched by anyone.

First we lay down professional-grade weedblock for a floor – this is a special plastic fabric that blocks weeds, but allows water to penetrate. Then we take 1-3/8 galvanized tubing – the toprail off of chainlink fence, so you know it’s going to last for decades! – and we teach you how to bend this in three places so it’s shaped like a house.

Then we show you how to build the base and the ends out of treated, 30-year ground contact lumber, and stretch professional quality greenhouse plastic over it – and stretch it without wrinkles.

We teach you how to build the door for the greenhouse, install a fan, thermostat, and shutter, where to get all the materials, and how to put them all together. This plans-and-DVD set contains step-by-step instructions showing you every process. You don’t need any special skills – if you can use a vise, drill, circular saw, and hammer, you’re in business!

The key to a top quality greenhouse is top-quality materials. We buy most of our materials from the same place that the huge greenhouse growers do, and that’s what makes this greenhouse different. We tell you where you can buy the materials you need locally, or we offer a kit that contains all the items you need – everything except the wood, metal, fan/thermostat, and shutter!

The greenhouse structure should last you at least 30 years – I’ve had one up for over 10 years myself. Periodically – every 4-6 years under normal conditions – you’ll need to replace the plastic, but that’s a very simple process – one you’ll know how to do before you finish the greenhouse – and a very small expense. And the best part of that is, when you’re done you have what looks like a new greenhouse – all shiny new plastic for another 4-6 years.

And did I mention that this greenhouse is AFFORDABLE? The last greenhouse I built cost me less than $600 including all the materials – that includes the price of our Build-Your-Own Greenhouse Kit and this DVD!

The greenhouse in the video is 10′ wide and 15′ long, but you can easily make it longer, wider, or taller – of those, it’s easiest to make it longer. Generally doubling the length only adds about 50% to the price – so it’s easy to make a greenhouse large enough for that Ficus that takes up half the front porch!

And the best part of all is that you can use this as a small business – for over 12 years now I’ve been building and installing these greenhouses in my local area, at very competitive prices – and yet at a very good profit, too.

By buying the materials in bulk you can cut your costs down to as little as $400 per greenhouse, and with a suggested MSRP of $999 delivered and installed – a price less than half of any other similarly-sized greenhouse available on the market – you can make a nice side income.

So if you want to have a good greenhouse – a beautiful, upscale greenhouse, one of such high quality that your children can enjoy it years from now – go to our website buy this plans and DVD set. We’re sure you’ll like it – we have.


Sun Ovens – A different approach

As populations increase and forests and fossil fuels disappear, the need for an alternative method of cooking around the world is intensifying. SUN OVENS International is committed to providing an alternative.

SUN OVENS International takes a different approach. We have taken a concept that has been around for centuries, and have combined it with more improved materials to make the most effective solar cooking devices in the world. The SUN OVEN® has been designed to overcome most of the cultural barriers that have restricted the widespread use of the sun for cooking.

The SUN OVEN is often compared with box cookers made out of aluminum foil and cardboard (homemade boxes of various sizes and shapes). See for more details on DIY models. While the energy conversion principles are the same, the materials utilized in manufacturing SUN OVENS® have been carefully researched to include the most efficient materials available. In order to capture the maximum amount of energy, achieve the highest possible temperature, and retain the greatest amount of heat, while minimizing the weight, the materials utilized have been selected based on efficiency and quality. SUN OVENS International is determined to disseminate solar appliances that truly meet people’s needs rather than distributing perpetuating cookers that work only under the most ideal conditions.

The initial price of a GLOBAL SUN OVENS® is higher, but due to its long life, ability to cook on partly cloudy days and allowing food to stay warm for hours, the cost per meal is lower than any other solar cooking device.


Built in thermometer
Attached one piece collapsible reflectors
Spill-proof levelator
Self-contained focusing leg

Reaches temperatures 360 to 400F. Weighs 21 pounds, opens and folds up in seconds and comes with a carrying handle.

See your purchase, and checkout:

Global Sun Oven $239:

Shipping (continental USA) $35:

Shipping (Alaska / Hawaii) $80:

Shipping (Canada) $70:

Morning Hill Solar Cookery Book (Vegetarian Cookbook) $15*:

The Solar Chef (Southwestern Recipe Cookbook) $15*:

A Month of SUNdays (Cookbook) $15*:

* Cookbook Shipping (if ordered without oven) $4:

Round 3-qt Enamelware Pot $11**:

4-qt Enamelware Pot w/Steamer Insert $16**:

Two Loaf Pans (Pans may not be ordered without oven purchase) $10:

Two Cookie Sheet/Brownie Pans $13***:

Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI) $8:

** A combination of up to two 3-qt pots or one 3-qt and one 4-qt pot can fit inside the oven without increasing the cost of shipping. Each additional pot will cost $13.00 to ship.

Additional pot shipping $13:

*** A combination of up to two 3-qt pots & one set of two cookie sheets/brownie pans OR one 3-qt, one 4-qt pot & one set of two cookie sheets/brownie pans can fit inside the oven without increasing the cost of shipping. Each additional set will cost $11 to ship.

Additional two cookie sheets/brownie pans shipping $11:


How to Make and Use The BYU Solar Cooker/Cooler

How to Make and Use The BYU Solar Cooker/Cooler

by Steven E. Jones, Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University (BYU), with Colter Paulson, Jason Chesley, Jacob Fugal, Derek Hullinger, Jamie Winterton, Jeannette Lawler, and Seth, David, Nathan, and Danelle Jones.


A few years ago, I woke up to the fact that half of the world’s peoples must burn wood or dried dung in order to cook their food. It came as quite a shock to me, especially as I learned of the illnesses caused by breathing smoke day in and day out, and the environmental impacts of deforestation -not to mention the time spent by people (mostly women) gathering sticks and dung to cook their food. And yet, many of these billions of people live near the equator, where sunshine is abundant and free. Ergo…

As a University Professor of Physics with a background in energy usage, I set out to develop a means of cooking food and sterilizing water using the free energy of the sun.


The Ultimate in Human Power

Want to be able to produce your own power for very little money? David Butcher has videos showing how he can power a washing machine, a bread maker, and more with the power of the human body. For less than $250, you can run lights, a tv, radio, and more (but not all at once maybe), and get your exercise at the same time. Stay healthy, and save money. What a deal!

“Power From The People!”


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