Thursday, April 21, 2011

the compost toilet

well, since the weather has been bad everything has been put off for another week. we started the compost toilet so i decided to put up the pictures of the progress so far. i am still wood burning the toilet seat lid so i havent included that yet...
we gathered scrap 2x4's and some plywood from another project. the wooden toilet seat was just laying around but i removed the lid so i could wood burn a henna inspired design on it. the bucket is from salt for a saltwater fish tank but a spackle bucket will do, they're the same size.
we built the frame heavier on the bottom for stability
after covering the frame with plywood and cutting a hole for the toilet seat to be attached to, we sanded the plywood as smooth as possible then stained and polyurethaned it so it can be wiped clean easily... pictures of the finished toilet coming soon :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

off grid education!

here is a listing of books that have helped me tremendously, some spark the imagination, others offer technical help. 

1.     if you are interested in a composting toilet, either for off grid living or an extra bathroom in a traditional home, garage or studio, the humanure handbook is invaluable! 

2.     efficient home heating made cheap and easy

3.     the beautiful and creative homes of owner-builders, a wonderful inspiration for a simple backyard retreat or a full blown 4 season home 
             Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter

4.    the title says it all

5. a classic that is amazing to read, it seems as though Thoreau is alive and well now in our times, the problems were the same in his lifetime. this book really makes you think about consumerism and how we are made into sheeple. REQUIRED READING!!!

6.     Travel-Trailer Homesteading Under $5,000

7.     no, i dont own a boat but i DO run some of my gadgets off of deep cycle batteries. this book is awesome for anyone willing to learn, it's written in laymans terms so i didnt get lost and give up! A+

 8.     what do we do with this water?

9.     A good, basic, organic vegetable gardening book

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

political graffiti is my favorite

this job here was strategically placed as it's right in plain view of the natural food co-op in ithaca. geared to the right audience, people who will actually put up a fight!

do you have any pictures of some awesome political graffiti?  email me and i'll post it to share with everyone.  what do you think, is graffiti art, a message or just vandalism???

a GREAT picture sent by Jim! thanks! 
awesome graffiti at the nike base back home in NJ from the movie "the corporation"

here's where we start

hi! today is the start of many things! this blog for one, but also the beginning of my off grid life. i ordered a 30' yurt last month and i'm expecting it to be delivered in the next 2 weeks. i have looked at yurts and yurt companies online for about a year and the decision wasnt very easy. i feel confident in my choice now and i'm at the point where i feel i just cant WAIT ANY LONGER!
a platform has to be built for the yurt, kind of like a foundation. central new york is new to me and i am getting a taste of "mud season". this squishy melting yuck is something i guess i'll have to get used to. the platform construction needs to take place on a week of good weather after the ground has totally thawed and dried up a bit.

i always want everything yesterday but i have to be patient with this because if i rush it, the platform will settle and everything will be out of whack. i would like my doors to open and close properly for many years......patience.

my plans are to have a small off grid homestead on my 20 acres right outside of ithaca, ny. so far i have the yurt on it's way and i have ordered my solar panels, inverter, batteries and all that good stuff.

i will be building a freestanding loft in the yurt as a bedroom for my son, who is 16 and would really appreciate his own space :) i have basic carpentry skills but i have never taken on a project like this, i think we will all learn alot from this experience!
i will have a composting toilet and graywater system, a wood stove will provide our heat. plans for a passive solar addition constructed with straw bales, 2 nice double pane windows my dad gave me and a few old sliding glass doors hopefully will come together this summer. the drive for this addition comes mostly from my desire to build a thermal mass rocket stove. they are so heavy i dont think the yurt platform can handle it so i think it's best to build it on an earthen floor.

eventually i plan on getting into permaculture and having an edible food forest but as of now i just have 4 apple trees, 2 pear and 2 peach. but it's a start! i hope to share my experience with friends and give and gain valuable information on what works and what doesnt. this will be quite a trip i'm sure so this blog will also discipline me (ha ha) to keep a record of what i'm doing with my life at this time.
i totally encourage comments and feedback, suggestions and even just hellos!
have a great day, i hope to hear from you!