Simple Solar Project Part I


Renewable energy is key to being self sufficient on the homestead. Having an alternative source of energy, such as solar, makes you a little bit more self reliant. Despite the importance of this, many people are intimidated by this topic and never realize that quite often a simple solar project is easily within their reach.

In this video post, I demonstrate how I solved a particular problem with my green house.  The green house sits a 10,000 feet elevation and has been in place for about 3 years.  I assumed that my biggest problem would be keeping it warm enough. However, due to the intense mid-day sun at that elevation, my biggest problem is keeping it cool enough. I tried putting in roof vents, side vents, leaving the door open, and using small 12 volt fans to circulate air. But nothing was working the way I wanted it to. What I needed was a large electric fan to force hot air out through the roof vents. But in order to run a fan, I needed electricity. The utility lines...

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How I Built the Log Cabin


When I was growing up in Georgia and Tennessee I spent an enormous amount of time on the farm, hiking, camping, and wondering through the forest. As with most kids, I also spent a lot of time day dreaming about all the things I wanted to do.  

The main thing I dreamed about was building a log cabin and living out in the forest in the middle of nature.  Not only did I dream about the log cabin, I also read books on different building methods. I took this a step further by learning the different corner notches that were common for log cabin construction.  As if that was not enough, I gather sticks and small logs and built miniature versions of a log cabin. I also practice building small stone fireplaces our of gravel and mud, dried them, this built a small fire to test their function.  

When I turned 18 I moved to Colorado still dreaming of the log cabin.  I managed to purchase a small cabin by the time I was 22 years old.  It was not exactly what I...

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Composting With Worms

sustainability Nov 10, 2020
Although composting has many benefits, not everyone has an appropriate place for a compost bin. Additionally, some people like myself, live in a colder climate which can make composting more difficult. Not only that, I was hesitant to put together a large composing bin due to the local wildlife especially the bears. Consequently, for many years I never composted organic waste. But this all changed when some friends of mine introduced me too composting with worms.  

Benefits of Composting With Worms

Roughly 28% of what we throw away can be composted instead of ending up in a landfill. Most of this is comprised of food scraps and yard waste. These things take up a lot of space in the landfill and contribute to the production of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. However, if you have limitations due to climate and simply available space, composting with worms can provide an easy and efficient way to turn waste into valuable fertilizer. But, there are many other benefits....

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How to Live Off Grid in an RV

There are numerous ways to live off the grid. But I think one of the major considerations for most people is how to do that inexpensively. In fact, I wrote another post about 10 Ways to Test Drive the Off Grid Life Before You Commit  You will learn some good tips in that post.  But, I had never tried living off grid in an RV before this past winter. As is usually the case, I like to write about things from experience instead of research.  So, I decided to give it a try. 

Living off grid in an RV is similar to living in a tiny house except you are completely mobile. Learning how to live in a very small space has some unique challenges.  Even after living in a one room cabin for the past 20 years, there were still some challenges and limitations I had to overcome.

Keep in mind that RV living is not just for retired folks. It is in fact a much less expensive way to live than most people realize. On my 6 month RV adventure, I met several people...

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What Can You Power With a 100 Watt Solar Panel?

When it comes to living off the grid and being self sufficient, having a strong understanding of your renewable energy options is very important. It is possible to live without electricity.  I did it for over 15 years.  However, having a source of electricity was a game changer for me. I now power two cabins, a chicken barn and a 600 square foot green house all from solar energy. But I started out simple and first discovered just what I could power with a 100 watt solar panel.  

But in order to go big, you must start with the basics. Since some of my most recent projects have involved  a 100 watt solar panel, that is why I’ve chosen this as an example. Then you can build on the basics.  So, let’s first develop an understanding of what you can power with a 100 watt solar panel. 

A 100 watt solar panel is inexpensive, easily available, and best of all it is portable.  It has become a popular choice for RVs, camping, recharging portable...

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Sustainability on the Homestead

In my opinion, off grid living, homesteading, and sustainability all go hand in hand.  Yet, believe it or not, I had none of this in mind when I bought my cabin property. All I could focus on at the time was the fact that I’d finally purchased the property of my dreams. Initially I focused solely on being as self sufficient as I could. However, once I got established on the property and achieved some level of comfort, I knew I had to learn how to make my life sustainable. Since that time, sustainability on the homestead has been my primary focus. 

Although I will focus on the homestead life, sustainability is a way of life that applies to everyone. It does not matter where or how you live.  In this post, I will bring down to Earth some basic principles of sustainability. Then I will show you that it is possible to incorporate these practices into your life even if you live in the city.  

What Is Sustainability


You may initially be...

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How to Get Started with Chickens

Not only are chickens truly fun and amazing animals to raise they also provide a host of benefits to the family. The obvious benefits are fresh eggs and meat. Additionally, they provide manure for fertilizing the garden, loads of entertainment, as well as companionship. Raising you own food source will also restore a close connection to your food supply, the realization of which is often lost in our modern culture. But, if you are new at this, then this post will help you to get started with chickens. 

Having grown up with two working farms in my family, raising and processing our own food was a way of life. In fact, I never really gave it much thought. I figured this was what everyone did. It was not until I was in my teenage years that I realized it was actually more common for people to purchase their meat and other staple items from a supermarket. In fact in our modern culture, people think their meat comes from the supermarket, not the farm.  Consequently, it...

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How to Start an Egg Business

money matters Nov 10, 2020

Working toward a sustainable lifestyle is an intricate part of having a homestead. An important part of that sustainability is to produce and manage your own food supply and too effectively manage your income. If you are actively working your homestead then why not use it as a source of income? One easy way to do that is to start an egg business.

One of the best parts of getting started with poultry is that it is easy, inexpensive, and there is a short learning curve. There are a number of different ways to make money with poultry. However, starting an egg business is one of the easiest.  An egg business is easy to mange logistically, financially, and legally. It is also extremely easy to start on a small scale.

Starting an Egg Business

Due to increased awareness of the health benefits of consuming farm fresh eggs, the market for these eggs continues to grow. According to the American Egg Board (AEB) the per capita consumption of eggs in the United States was 279 in 2017. And...

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Making Money on the Homestead: How to Write a Small Farm Business Plan

money matters Nov 10, 2020

Despite your desire to be self sufficient, or perhaps get outside the city, if the money is not there you cannot survive. This is why financial matters must be squared away before you run off to the hills and forsake city life.  But the good news is that there are numerous ways to generate money from the homestead. But like anything else, there needs to be some forethought and planning. It is not that difficult to establish a small business and generate some income.  However, one of the most frequent things that is overlooked is simply having a solid business plan.  At a minimum, it will at least put some sort of structure to your plan to make money on the homestead.

Making money from the homestead can be as simple as producing a few products and selling them at the local farmers market.  Or you can develop a small business that ends up funding most if not all of your lifestyle. No matter what the scale of your business ends up being, it is best to have a plan in...

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Learn How to Fish

As with hunting, if you have never been fishing, this whole process may seem like a big mystery. This sport may seem complicated to first-timers but it truly does not have to be that way.  With some basic gear and the information in this guide, you will be out fishing in no time at all.  Just follow these simple steps and you will learn how to fish. 

Different Types of Fishing

There are numerous ways to go fishing. As with hunting, it is a matter of choosing the type of fishing you would like to do and keep things simple in the beginning. Just to emphasize this point, I did a simple search on the different types of fishing and here is what I came up with: 

  • Angling
  • Bank fishing
  • Bottom fishing
  • Casting
  • Drop linning
  • Fly fishing
  • Freshwater versus salt water
  • Hand lining
  • Ice fishing
  • Jigging
  • Long lining
  • Noodling
  • Slabbing
  • Spearfishing
  • Surface casting
  • Trapping
  • Trawling
  • Trolling
  • Trot lining
  • Private charters
  • Commercial fishing
  • Hand gathering
  • Handling
  • Netting

In case you...

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If you want to know more about sustainable living, being off the grid and having more control over your own resources.....