Happy Homesteading On & Off the Grid

Sister Mag on Flipboard: Homestead Dreams | Homesteading On & Off the Grid


Fire on the mountain | Foothill farm, St. Ignatius, MT


World’s First Dual Purpose Solar System Generates Electricity & Heat

This integrated rooftop solar system could be the future of solar energy. Combining PV and thermal systems creates a dual purpose solar roof which produces electricity and heat for the building. Though it’s in testing phase and not yet on the commercial market, this solar system hold great promise for the future of clean renewable energy.

The rooftop array combines thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with a solar thermal duct system that warms and cools the air. The top layer produces electricity from the sun just as a normal PV panel would, while heat is trapped between the layers and distributed to the home. SOURCE: Inhabitat

If you’re going to install a solar system on your home, it makes sense to combine multiple technologies which compliment one another. The logistical genius of this solar roof is a no-brainer for the distinguishing off gridder who wants more bang for their solar dollar.


Make a Biogas Generator to Produce Your Own Natural Gas

Transform grass clippings, food waste and livestock manure into renewable biogas energy with a homemade biogas generator.

By Paul Scheckel

Photo by Isaac Marquez


Turn an Old Camper into a Recycled Hen House

A thrifty homesteader from Oregon transformed an old, junky camper into a snug hen house.

By Karen Denman 

via Kirsten Dirksen  Jul 12, 2014

After working for years in Afghanistan, Jim Frasche began developing an aquaponics greenhouse in Colorado for communities in both Denver and Kabul (similar high altitude, cold climate regions) where local food wasn’t always readily accessible.

He sells his 500-square-foot aquaponics greenhouse for $25,000 (via Turnkey Aquaponics), but this is an income-producing garden. “Based on allocating a certain square footage of productivity to growing cash crops which you would sell to restaurants or food wholesalers you can cash flow a structure like this in about 2 years while still feeding a family of four.”

The price may be steep, but Frasche explains the idea is to qualify for a loan based on the payback period of the greenhouse.

Turnkey Aquaponics: http://www.fishngreens.com/

* Filmed by Johnny Sanphillippo — more of his stories about urbanism, adaptation & resilience: http://granolashotgun.com/


Excavator Mulchers Swallow Trees in Seconds

Robert Krulwich, Science Correspondent for NPR, featured “excavator mulchers,” astounding machines which can consume a mature 30-foot-tall spruce in 15 seconds. An accompanying video shows Quebec manufacturer Denis Cimaf's DAH Forestry Mulcher in action pulverizing trees from top to bottom. Krulwich, touching on the environmental issues of mass forest demolition, proposes an alternative dream machine, the Forest Tree Plucker. It might deposit trees whole into areas set aside for nature's own “excavator mulchers”moss, beetles, fungi, millipedes, and birdsthereby protecting ecosystems while still making way for that new 9th hole on the golf course…

Oh my. This is painful.


LaMar Alexander at Simple Solar Homesteading recently hosted a tiny house design contest and the entries are now available to review. Pictured here is the entry from Ryerson University, the “µ-haus” Micro-House. See all the entries to the Tiny House Contest 2014 at Simple Solar Homesteading.

Below are direct links to the house designs – in the order they were submitted: