Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Composting Humanure with Worms

A few years ago we were composting our food scraps in plastic tubs indoors, as winter in Upstate NY can get as low as -40 degrees. We eventually had eight 52 quart tubs going, and started feeding the worms the output of our Jenkin’s Bucket Toilet. We used coconut coir as our cover material. The worm compost was used in our Square Foot Garden beds, and grew some wonderful crops. We made a video describing the bucket toilet on Youtube. I recently found others who do a similar process as we did. It’s a good read, and an important part of closing the nutrient cycle and eliminating pollution, as well as reducing your water usage. It’s a great complement to rainwater harvesting.


Gardening and Energy Improvements

This weekend, Dan and I planted cucumbers, corn, a lettuce medley, carrots, and squash. The potatoes and tomatoes are doing very well in the manure filled Square Foot raised garden beds.

We also poured more concrete for the Listeroid Veggie CoGen project, and mounted the solar hot water panel on the house. We had pressure tested the panel, and while we were mounting it, steam started jetting out the fittings as the sun hit the panel.

For those who have not been following our adventures, The Listeroid is a 6hp, 650 rpm diesel that runs on used fryer oil. We will be heating our hot water for our house from the engine coolant, as well as keeping the battery bank charged that runs our house power, though our Xantrex Prosine 3kw SW Inverter.

We watched a video on MIT’s 2006 Alternative Fueled Vehicles Design Summit, and have been reading an excellent book called “Slice of Organic Life“, which is a great idea starter for small things you can do to be more ecologically and self sufficiency minded. Many of the mini-articles do not give a lot of detail, but it’s a starting point for doing your own research.

We spent a few hours on the trampoline, both exercising, and pontificating on projects, resources, and justification.


Gasoline to Propane to Bio-Methane

The journey to homemade fuels is ever progressing at Green Trust. This weekend we installed the tri-fuel conversion on our backup generator. We so rarely use this engine that storing gasoline wasn’t practical. Since we use propane for other uses on our homestead, it made sense to convert this engine, looking forward to this summer when we switch from propane to methane from our digester. Today the propane guy came and made the final connections. With a little experimentation of the load block, and a call to tech support, it finally sprang to life on propane. We still have the gasoline option, and plan on trying ethanol in this unit sometime soon. We ran for 6 hours today on propane, just to see how it runs, and declare the conversion a success. Now we need to put our energy into getting the compost bin built, the new raised garden beds/cold frames, and soon the new digester.