Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Removing Pet Stains and Odors, Naturally!

If you have pets, you know they can smell, and have smelly accidents, usually on something precious, and hard to clean. Instead of using unhealthy chemicals, we came across a natural way to remove these stains and odors (not just mask them). We are so pleased with this product, one lucky subscriber to our email list will receive a free can! Subscribe before October first to be part of this drawing!

Clean+Green natural pet stain and odor removers use a patented Advanced Encapsulation Technology(tm) and an Advanced Eliminator3 Formula that naturally encapsulate and eliminate stain and odor on contact – even skunk odor! – by naturally biodegrading the stain/odor source. The all natural formula – ingredients are cane sugar derivatives, a proprietary blend of botanical extracts, hydrated cellulose, purified water and a natural aerosol propellant (nitrogen) delivers instant results in a safe, non-toxic,
eco-friendly solution. For more information, please visit


Bio-Butanol – The practical replacement for gasoline

By Robert Warren

Butanol is another amazing alternative fuel, because it can be made from things like rice straw and old newspapers. It has as much energy as gasoline (BTU’S/gal), it burns with the same air/fuel ratio, and it will even mix with gasoline which means that you don’t have to drain your tank first in order to use it. You don’t even have to re-tune or adjust your engine. The best part is that it can even be made from lawn clippings and leaves.

Butanol is normally made by anaerobic bacteria feeding on cellulose, and it is damned smelly stuff, stinking beyond belief. It reminds me of toe-jam! But it is also a well-known chemical by-product, and is used for tons of things, especially the perfume industry, but usually in tiny quantities. It is related to Butyric acid, which is what synthetic orange and strawberry flavours are made of. It is hard to believe you make one out of the other, with such a God-awful smell, but then,chemistry is an amazing science.

While I have read various pieces of literature on the subject, I only have personal knowledge of two people who ever tried to make it. The first was Pete Charles, the same person who designed the Charles 803 alcohol still which I have written about extensively. (I have built this still over 130 times.) Pete tried to make it from lawn clippings (ordinary grass). It is a biological decomposition, via an anaerobic process (no oxygen), but the smell was so bad, and extremely difficult to get rid of the smell afterwards. In fact it was a serious nuisance! Several other by-products, including butyric acid, are produced (although in small amounts), but they are can be a serious danger to eyes, nose, and skin. The biological bacteria process is an organic process, but yet it has to be very closely controlled in a sealed environment, preferably sealed stainless steel or very heavy plastic fermentation tanks, with closed pumps circulation for mixing, and large sealed plastic settling tanks. I really don’t know enough about this process to help you make it. But that’s what the Net is for, right?

The other person I met during this period, about 20 years ago, was Dr. Sydney Levi, a former chemistry professor, chemistry textbook author, and holder of many patents involving plastics extrusion processes. He was going to build a huge $3 million dollar plant in Fresno, Calif. and convert rice straw to butanol. He said he had the funding in place and he was working on his proposal full time when I met him. He had made it in his laboratory many, many times. I spent over an hour with him, he showed me the plant diagrams and chemical processes for how the process would work. We discussed many different issues, as I was at that time writing freelance articles for a trade journal, Gasohol, USA. Somehow, the project died, and I moved to Oregon, and I never was able to follow up and find out what happened.

More recently, a US government group in Colorado, NREL Laboratories, has done some research on this subject and has some articles available on the net. I visited their facility 4 or 5 years ago and got a private tour, where they showed me the complex laboratory where they were researching acid hydrolysis in combination with biological decomposition of various lignums and cellulosic materials. They said it looked completely feasible in terms of economics. But doing something successfully in the lab and then making it work in the real world are two different things entirely. You need a lot of money and a lot of scientific knowledge.


Grinding wheat into flour

Here’s the video of our Lehman’s Best grain mill in operation we promised. The smell of fresh baking bread is driving me crazy! Here is the recipe:


Banning Outdoor Woodboilers

You have probably seen them, those yard mounted smoke generators that smell like creosote and consume cords of wood like it’s candy. Many communities are banning these devices. Some companies are making clean burning devices that reburn their own smoke in a process called gasification. With high efficiency, they are miserly on wood consumption. One unit we are familiar with, and approve of, is the HSTARM, now known as BIOHEAT USA.

“Which one is right for you? Home heating decisions that work for today, as well as tomorrow, have become essential in our changing world. BioHeatUSA offers high efficiency, hot water boilers that are economical, efficient, and promote the clean burning of carbon-cycle biomass that is critical to the lowering of net greenhouse gas emissions.”


The Affordable Composting Toilet

This is the best, most affordable (under $900) commercial composting toilet we have seen. It is completely organic, no chemicals are used. There is no water used or plumbing besides a vent, and the vent can be solar or battery powered, or powered with a small transformer. The liquids are separated from the solids so there is no smell. This gives the solids chamber a long interval between emptying, and gives it plenty of time to breakdown into dirt. With quick, simple installation, this unit is ideal for the boat, rv (cuts down on weight, no blackwater tank necessary), camp, or off grid home. Cuts the home water consumption by close to 50%. We recommend this!


Happy worms!

We just added 1000 worms to a new worm bin. One hour after spreading them on top of the litter, they disappeared into the bedding to munch away happily on our kitchen scraps. We are thrilled that we are able to keep up our composting indoors, even when it’s below 0 (F) outdoors. There is no smell other than an earthy dirt smell right near the bins. We cover all submissions with coconut fiber as we add it. No ants, flies, or smells. This picture was taken as we were adding some old stale tortilla shells and a fresh batch of worms. We can send you 1 lb. of worms, 1 bale of coconut fiber, and a manual on worm composting for $99, delivered. You supply a $8 plastic tote (12 – 15 gallon) and you are in the indoor worm composting business. Just drop us a line at