Living Sustainably

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Hot Offgrid Showers – Hurricane Matthew

p1050116When the hurricane hit, everyone on our road lost power when trees brought down the power lines. We decided to set up a public outdoor shower for our selves, neighbors, and whoever else needed one. A tree came down on the neighbors wooden swing set / gym, so they donated the materials, which I assembled into the outdoor shower. I used our Eccotemp L7 portable tankless propane water heater ($140), a 20 lb. grill bottle, and ran a extension cord from the generator to the well house so we would have water. Nice long hot showers for everyone! Video below:



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Hot Water for the Cabin

eccotempl7We wanted something that would be energy efficient and frugal to produce hot water for the cabin. We picked up a inexpensive tankless propane water heater, which easily runs off a 20lb grill bottle and uses batteries for ignition. The Eccotemp L7 supplies 1.6 gpm of unlimited hot water (as long as the fuel holds out) for those needed satisfying showers after working out doors all day. Comes with a showerhead and propane regulator. The next step is to construct a solar hot water preheater to save on propane in sunny weather.


You Can Believe The Flexseal Hype!

flexsealWe bought a used travel trailer to live in while we prepare the cabin for living in. Then Hurricane Hermine hit. Boy did we find leaks in a hurry, over the bed, around skylights, etc. I took a chance on a late night TV hawker, and got two cans of White Flex Seal. It sprays on like spray paint, but it’s liquid rubber. It sealed those leaks quickly (front and back ridges, plus two skylights, in less than 15 minutes), and no more leaks. It’s flexible, so it should stretch without peeling or pulling. It’s made me a believer! Also available in larger cans and colors for larger jobs.


Cabin delivered and set!

14203578_10206588272856679_2041309997_oThe cabin arrived and was set yesterday. Lots of issues with soggy ground from last week’s hurricane, but finally got it in place. The delivery truck got buried in mud, then so did the “mule” used to set the cabin place. A winch got the vehicle unstuck after a bit.

This week I’m installing the breaker box and some of the interior wiring, then will start on insulating and interior wall coverings. Insulation will be Great Stuff Pro and then I’ll be using pallet wood for the walls.







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Moving into a Tiny House

lofted-cabin-porchNext week our Tiny House is being delivered. It’s a common 14′ x 28′ wooden shed that we will be converting into an off grid home. These sheds sell for about $8000, and include a steel roof and pressure treated 2″ x 6″ floor joists, decking, and T-111 siding. We will document our progress converting this shed into a Tiny Home, and will be using a variety of environmentally friendly and energy efficient materials and processes to keep our costs and energy use to a minimum, even here in hot and humid South Carolina. We have started with a radiant barrier in the roof,and will follow with sprayed closed cell foam in the walls. The interior walls will then covered with recycled pallet boards, stained and sealed. Stay tuned for video and other documentation.



Remove Radioactivity from Water?

Pure water can not become radioactive or carry radioactivity. Dissolved particles in the water carry radioactivity. A water purifier that prevents the passage of these particles eliminates the hazards of drinking radioactive contaminated water. The Berkey purifier elements in our DIY filters accomplish this easily.

From New Millennium, the suppliers of the Black Berkey elements:

When it comes to drinking water, how do you know that your water is actually safe? Who decides when water is drinkable? An article by the Las Vegas Review Journal[i] reported that the water in the Las Vegas Valley area was deemed safe according to the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act[ii]. However, this report also stated that the water tested positive for radioactive materials like uranium. This radiological contaminant can be found in groundwater, bedrock, and in dissolved minerals containing uranium. This element has been known to cause kidney damage, cancer, and even death[iii].

If this water meets the quality standards of the federal government, and yet still contains contaminants such as uranium, how can you be sure that the water that you are drinking is doing more good than harm? If municipal water is only doing the bare minimum that the EPA requires, what can you do to ensure that your water is clean and safe?

The Black Berkey® Purification Elements are rated to eliminate at least 97% of uranium from your water, along with other radioactive contaminants. These purifiers are rated to clean your water down to the viral level, while still allowing safe and beneficial minerals to pass through. The Black Berkey® Purification Elements provide a layer of protection and ensure that the water you are drinking is not only safe, but is also clean and pure tasting.


Gene Logsdon has passed away

My first experience with Gene was 40 years ago reading Homesteading: How to Find New Independence on the Land. I still have that book, although it’s pretty dog eared, from reading it over and over. It was a primary inspiration for our own move offgrid over 10 years ago. Gene lost his battle with cancer today, and will be missed.


RV Off Grid Solar Guide – Free

Want more freedom when camping? Solar is a great way to providing lighting, charge your phones and reduce your fridge’s propane usage. If  getting great views is your goal, a powered site isn’t going to get you there. Here is a free guide for sizing, installing and maintaining a off grid power system. Did I mention it’s free? We recommend it!



Make Crockpot soap in 24 hours

Ever wanted to make your own soap? Thought it was too slow or complicated? Here’s a fast and easy method using a “hot process” in your typical crockpot. A cheap digital scale for about $15 and you are in business!

All-natural soap is actually surprising easy to make. 12-18 big bars of organic soap are made with ingredients that cost less then $10 .


Speaking Appliances for the Visually Impaired

We are working with an organization that provides adapters and converted equipment to announce status messages by speech instead of visually. We have speech enabled shop measuring equipment like calipers, micrometers and dial indicators, weather stations, and thermostats, and are working of speech enabled appliances, motion sensors, and other common gadgets. To help fund this endeavor, we have reduced the prices of all our ebooks at to $10 each.

To see a bit of what we are working on, see: