alternative energy (45)

SolFest On Again This Year — Saturday August 17th

This event hasn’t happened for several years. It was so popular and crowds got so large that it put a strain on the town of Hopland (California). Now it’s back, for one day only — Saturday, August 17th. We’ll have a booth, selling books, and I’m doing my presentation,”The Half Acre Homestead” at 4 PM.

   Hopland is about 2 hours north of San Francisco on Highway 101. The Hopland Brewery is apparently closed now, but for great beer/dinner on the way back south, the Ruth McGowan Brew Pub in Cloverdale is a winner — you can see the beautiful copper and stainless brew kettle and tanks from the bar, and can take home a growler or two of fresh brew.

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Useful Homesteading Tools at Mother Earth News Fair, Puyallup, Washington, June 2013

“Take what you can and let the rest go by.”

                                                        -Ken Kesey

This fair is a good-vibes event with many useful tools for homesteaders. This isn’t a comprehensive report; there lots of things I just don’t have time to cover, but here are some items that caught my eye in two days wandering around at the fair. Note: there will be two more Mother Earth News Fairs this year: Sept. 20-22 in Seven Springs, PA, and October 12-13 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Yurts made in Mongolia Unlike any of the US-manufactured yurts I’ve seen, this one has a hand-crafted look when you step inside. “The hand painted rafters and natural wood latticed walls covered with a clean white wool felt create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The thick felt dampens outside noise, holds heat in the coldest of winters and keeps heat out in the hottest of summers.…” https://www.suntimeyurts.com/

Bamboo Clothing Beautiful fabric, soft as silk, some 100% bamboo, other items bamboo/organic cotton combo. I bought 2 T-shirts, pair of shorts. Wayi Bamboo Apparel, click here.

JapaneseTripod Ladders Never seen ladders this sturdy or sensible, and I have lots of ladders around my place (like maybe10). I don’t know about the logistics of getting one of these shipped, but they’re a notch above (sic) any ladders I’ve seen.

Olive Oil From Greece Unique organic olive oil and olives from a family estate in Sparta, Greece. www.oleaestates.com

Chicken Butchering Tools The stainless cones make for a neater way of offing chickens than chopping heads off and having them thrash around like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off. The other tools, like the rotating tubs with rubber fingers and the scalders are for larger-than-homestead size chicken operations and are a whiz bang way of plucking feathers. www.featherman.net
Rototillers In the ’70s, I had a Troybuilt rototiller. It was a much-beloved serious gardener’s tool that came with a brilliant manual that told you how to do just about anything with it and how to fix just about anything that went wrong. Like a Model A Ford. These days it looks to me like the BCS tillers (formerly Mainline) are the next generation. All gear drive, automotive style clutch, a lot of possible attachments. www.bcsamerica.com

Scythes These guys from British Columbia offer a collection of beautiful scythe blades. Some of them are shorter than scythe blades I’ve seen. European scythe blades, ergonomic snaths and sharpening accessories. https://scytheworks.com/

Composting Drum Sun Mar makes two sizes of these drums and they look sturdy and animal-proof. Being able to turn the compost is a big advantage over stationary piles. These would work well in cities as well as country. www.gardencomposters.com

Water Pump This is a different principle than the ram pumps I’ve seen. They say it will put 200 to 1500 gallons a day in your tank with no fuel or electricity and “pumps from 100 to 1,000 feet high depending
on your water source.” Click here.

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Culture Shock: Manhattan to Rural Washington-The Mother Earth News Fair

Boy, what a difference. From the intensity of NYC to a laid-back medium sized town in farmland with wide streets and houses with porches…I got here (Puyallup, Washington) yesterday around noon. About half an hour in my rented Ford Focus south of Seattle. Town of about 35,000, Puyallup is in a fertile farming valley. With about 5 hours sleep in 2 nights (haven’t I said this before?), I checked into hotel and went to The Mother Earth News Fair in the giant (“6th largest in world”) Puyallup Fair Grounds, got sucked in and stayed all afternoon (rather than taking a nap).

   I absolutely love this fair. Totally up my alley. First thing off, I went into the chicken building, where they had some 500 chickens on display. Chicken aficionado’s paradise. I lost track of time looking at all  these beautiful birds. Rest of afternoon: prettiest yurts (for sale, made in Mongolia) I’ve ever seen, a tiny high-tech exquisitely built stainless steel stove, tons of tools, ideas, inspiration for gardeners, builders, homesteaders…

   Writing this on rainy Sunday morning from the Anthem Cafe in downtown Puyallup with a triple shot (very good) latte and heated cinnamon bun, getting ready to go down to the fairgrounds, wander more, shoot more pics, and get ready for my “The Half Acre Homestead” presentation today.

   I’m way backed up on photos to post, will do so when I get time. Experiences too like last night’s fish and chips and 2 pints of Irish Death chocolately dark porter at the TK Irish Pub & Eatery with 6 sports TVs going, good hometown bar ambiance and some pretty drunk Puyallupers cheering on Seattle’s soccer team and singing one song after another…

   I just handed one of the Tiny Homes mini books to a little curly haired lively looking 4-year-or-so-old boy in the cafe here and he’s been thumbing through the pages for several minutes…

Chicken pictured here was listed as: “Classification: Modern Game; Variety: Brown/Red. Elegant little bird.

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Compost Heated Shower

From Mike W this morning:

“I thought this was pretty ingenious.. several others on the same YT page…skip the ad in 3..2..1…”   “This is an example of a compost heated shower, built by Geoff Lawton for the students of the Permaculture Research Institute’s 10 week internship. The shower itself is a temporary setup while the student centre is being built but the water temperature is excellent and is almost too hot. It’s been going for 3 weeks now without any sign of giving up and all completely free!”

In all these years of composting, why didn’t I think of this? -LK

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Flat-Pack Urinal: Composing Straw Bale for Outdoor Events

When I was hitchhiking in France (in 1957), a truck driver that had given us a ride stopped, got out of his truck, walked over to a fence by the side of the road, and took a piss. So simple; why not? He was facing away from traffic, unit not visible. In this country (or the UK), it’s not de rigueur for some reason. The French don’t seem to have that Puritan body-as-shameful attitude.

   Here, from Mike W., is a great alternative to toxic chemical toilets for males (at least for urine) at outdoor events. Totally makes sense. Save that nitrogen!

   “It is inefficient and unsustainable to haul human waste back in from remote festivals and other places typically populated with port-a-potties. So why not use on-hand materials to make something simple and green?

   Thus L’Uritonnoir by Faltazi which turns an everyday farm item into a urinal by means of simple funnels attached on various sides and connected via a loop running around the perimeter. The composted results can be recycled right back into the local land. …”

Click here.

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SunRay Kelley’s New Lightweight Electric Bike

Hi Lloyd,

This is the video link

to SunRay’s latest project. It is pretty cute. We are taking a trip to Seattle this week to get Ray the materials he needs to finish the sexy body shell for the SunRayzor.

SunRay just got a motorcycle wheel with a hub motor in it from this amazing designer builder Mark Gelbien and his company EnerTrac Corp. SunRay is conspiring to use this new hub motor to power a multi-person runabout electric vehicle. We will keep you posted on his progress.…

Love,

Bonnie

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