Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

DIY Rickshaw from a Trike

This is a clever adaptation of an “Adult Trike” commonly seen in retirement communities. Now you can safely give a small child a ride in this DIY Rickshaw. Now, to electrify it, with a solar canopy!


This bike started as a way for me to take my daughter on a ride and still carry groceries or diapers. Never liked the original dark blue color but lived with it. We then had another baby and this bike sat outside for a few summers. I thought I could build a larger basket for it and take both of them on rides. But first a color change was needed. The bike felt like everything was a quarter turn too tight from the factory so a full strip down was necessary. I took a rough pad to parts for painting, cleaned them and let them sit in the sun before paint. Sprayed a few coats of paint and put them inside to dry. It’s hard to let things dry for a few days but I held strong and waited. Started putting it back together and was surprised how nice it was looking. This is becoming a totally different bike from a color change.

Built a simple wood basket out of plywood, trimmed it out and stained it. Next was the seat. Ripped some ¼” oak into 1” strips cut them all to length and primed and spray painted them. Lightly sanded the lifted grain off and did one more coat. Stapled them onto basket and borrowed some seat belts form our wagon. Nice and shiny and the white seat shouldn’t get too hot in the sun.

Time for a shake down. Rode to the store with the girls, everything was going good until I realized I had no way to carry stuff other than my girls. No problem I have a huge basket in my shed I will add to the bike. This basket is very big and very silver. It’s all I see when I look at the bike. Hopefully a little more spray paint will help tone it down. Ahh that’s better. One last thing for this project an umbrella at a yard sale should add the finishing touch and turn this once ugly bicycle into a full on rickshaw.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures it has been a fun project. I even get some thumbs up from people when we go on tour.



Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis

by Peggy Layton

What if your life was disrupted by a natural disaster, food or water supply contamination, or any other type of emergency? Do you have the essentials for you and your family? Do you have a plan in the event that your power, telephone, water and food supply are cut off for an extended amount of time? What if there were no medical or pharmaceutical services available for days, weeks, or months? How prepared are you?

With this guide by your side, you and your family will learn how to plan, purchase, and store a three-month supply of all the necessities—food, water, fuel, first-aid supplies, clothing, bedding, and more—simply and economically. In other words, this book may be a lifesaver.

Inside you’ll find 10 steps to an affordable food storage program plus how to:
• Prepare a home “grocery store” and “pharmacy”
• Use what you store and store what you use
• Store water safely and provide for sanitation needs
• Create a first-aid kit, car kit, and 72-hour emergency kit for the whole family
• And many more invaluable hints and tips

“This clear, concise, step-by-step program is not only affordable and doable, it’s essential in these uncertain times. Now, everyone from apartment dwellers to basement owners can store a three-month supply of the essentials, including peace of mind!” — Joni Hilton, author of Once-a-Week Cooking Plan and Cooking Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis


Will the Real Organic Granola Please Stand Up

I’m sitting here this beautiful Thanksgiving morning, eating breakfast. Already feeling bad for what I’m going to consume later today, I thought I’d eat something healthy to balance it out. I grabbed some Grandy Oats Granola out of the cupboard, and started chowing down. Now it’s very tasty, but not everything tasty is good for you. Something I try not to do, is look at ingredients while I’m eating, but since I grew up with homemade granola, knowing everything that went into it (peanuts, honey, oats, raisins, etc.), I was curious. So many of the commercial granola’s have a lot of crap in them, like Bear Naked (Kellogg), Mother’s (Pepsico), Back to Nature (Kraft), and other “natural” products that contain or are produced with genetically engineered ingredients, toxic pesticides, sewage sludge, fumigants, and petrochemical solvents.

Well not Grandy Oats. Since 1979, in the White Mountains of western Maine, GrandyOats has made the tastiest granola by hand, in small batches, using the finest organic ingredients. GrandyOats now makes more than 40 unique handmade granolas, trail mixes and roasted nuts. They never use refined sweeteners or any artificial ingredients, only 100% organic ingredients that you can understand and pronounce.

Grandy Oats Cranberry Chew Organic Granola

Organic Oats
Organic Wheat Fakes
Organic Rye Flakes
Organic Triticale
Organic Dried Cranberries
Organic Dried Apples
Organic Honey
Organic Orange Juice
Organic Coriander
Organic Vanilla
Sea Salt


Setback Survival Guide

How to keep going when life kicks you in the teeth!

By Brenda Curtiss (

This way underpriced $10 eBook was written by a good friend of ours. She has gone through some tough times, and wrote a book (180+ pages) on how to not only survive, but excel, and come out the other side a better, stronger person. Everything from dealing with job and home loss, to budgeting, living on the cheap, and working for yourself. Even inexpensive home recipes for food and cleaning solutions. Good chapters on housing, energy,transportation, and low or no budget entertainment area all included. This was one of the best eBooks I’ve read this year, as some of the topics really resonated and hit home with our situation (we full time in an RV). Please visit the site and see if any of the topics hit a chord with you.


The Truth About Vegetarianism


The vegetarian Pied Pipers have the best of intentions. I’ll state right now that everything they say about factory farming is true: It is cruel, wasteful and destructive. But their first mistake is in assuming factory farming — a practice that is barely 50 years old — is the only way to raise animals. In my experience, their calculations on energy used, calories consumed and humans unfed are all based on the notion that animals eat grain. You can feed grain to animals, but it is not the diet for which they were designed. For most of human history, browsers and grazers haven’t been in competition with humans. They ate what we couldn’t eat (cellulose) and turned it into what we could (protein and fat). But our industrial culture stuffs grain into as many animals as it can. Grain will dramatically increase the growth rate of beef cattle and the milk production of dairy cows. It will also kill them. The delicate bacterial balance of a cow’s rumen may become acidic and turn septic. Chickens get fatty liver disease if fed corn exclusively. Sheep and goats, which are also ruminants like cattle, shouldn’t touch the stuff either.


Soap making for beginners

TEACH SOAP is the premier site for soap making instructions, soap recipes, soap making tips and everything you’d want to know about making soap and other handcrafted products including lip balms, lotions, and more.

From beginners to seasoned soap makers, Teach Soap has something for everyone! We cover everything from basic soap making recipes, to more complex cold process soap making recipes and techniques.

More info:


Free Solar Install Guide

Want to get our DIY Solar install guide for free? Visit and try out our new tell-a-friend application. Tell 9 friends about our website, and we will give you our solar install guide absolutely free. So go ahead, with the price of everything including fuel rising these days, take advantage of a free offer.


Richard Heinberg – Keynote Speaker

Richard HeinbergIt was good seeing and hearing Richard again this year. I’ve been to a few of his lectures, have spoken with him a few times, and this year he was even better than usual. His new book, Peak Everything, coincided with our new venture, Resource Peaks. Here is his bio:


Richard Heinberg is the author of eight books including The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society, 2003, 2005), Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (New Society, 2004), The Oil Depletion Protocol (New Society, 2006), and Peak Everything (New Society, 2007). He is a Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators. He writes a regular column for The Ecologist, and has also authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, Z Magazine, Resurgence, The Futurist, European Business Review, Earth Island Journal, Alternative Press Review, and The Sun; and on web sites such as,,,, and He has appeared in numerous video documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour


Organic Cleaning Products

Hypoallergenic and biodegradable, these are the cleaning products we use at Green Trust. For everything from washing floors to washing clothes, even washing our bodies, Vermont Soap Organics keeps us clean and smelling nice!


[Self Reliance in Troubled Times] Down to the Roots – Self Reliance Magazine

We just recieved back issues of Down to the Roots, a fantastic self sufficiency magazine. What makes this one unique is that it’s packed with hands on DIY info, room in the margins for taking notes, and no ads to interrupt the information flow. everything is flowed in an easy to understand “this is how we do it” format. We highly recommend this one!

Posted by Steve Spence to Self Reliance in Troubled Times at 9/17/2006 08:29:00 AM