Solutions for Self-Reliance

What I Found Interesting This Week 12/22/12


It’s heartening to see how many people are using resilience as the mechanism to regain control of life, prosperity, and happiness.

Don’t lose focus folks.  The future is local.  The world will re-organize around us.

Here’s what I found interesting in resilience this week:


Here’s a transformation from idleness to productivity in Maplewood, NJ.   See Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates for more (click to enlarge).

Edible Estates

Yards to Gardens.  Co-gardening matching service in the Minneapolis area.  Want company in your garden?


Yeti solar.  An off grid solar LED that’s pretty cool, but pricey.   Could last 20 years.  Install and forget.  Bright LED light 6 hours a day.

Solar Hot Air.  This system is a pretty simple DIY project that can, if properly designed and sized, can provide quite a bit of heating at a claimed ~50% efficiency.   Scott’s aluminum downspout design is pretty impressive.


Note from the above design:  The collector came to life at 8:15 am.  Outside air temperature was 13°.  I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t put any wood on the fire this morning, and just used solar only for a while.  The inside temp dropped about a degree from the initial 67°, but by 10 am we were increasing.  Our high today was around 31°, and we stayed a comfortable 68° with no other heat source than the collector.  Pretty cool…I finally made a fire in the wood stove around 3 pm to keep from cooling off as the sun dropped.  The collector finally shut down at 3:30 pm.

If you are interested in a commercial solar hot air system, here’s one called SunMate.

A virtual community power company.   In a small number of US states (Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California), it’s legal to create a community power company that negotiates for power from suppliers on the community’s behalf.    This power company doesn’t run the grid, which remains in the hands of the existing utility.  See: The Cape Light Compact for an example for how this works.   The legislation that makes this possible is “Community Choice Aggregation.”

Kitchen Moonshine.  Here’s a product from Denmark called the EasyStill.  It’s a table top still from Denmark.    I suspect this is merely water distiller with a modified the boiling point.  NOTE:  this is both illegal and potentially dangerous.


Visual this:   Here’s James L. Price, a retired Senior Master Sergeant (USAF) standing in front of all the electricity most households will need for the next twenty years.

Price Solar


Inventgeek has a cool DIY floating hydroponics project (1.5 hours to build).  Fun.

Floating Hydroponics


Local Currencies.  The Mayor of Bristol (UK) on why he takes his salary in Bristol Pounds.  Good start.  More needs to happen.  Import replacement.  Tax payments in Bristol Pounds.  Bristol needs to start to use the currency as an economic feedback loop rather than a loyalty program.

Recycling water from an AC system.  Jerry figured out his air conditioning system was dumping at least 350 gallons of water a year (condensation on the coils).   So, he built a little pump system to reclaim that water. Simple way to utilize what should be fairly clean water.  Here’s DIY plans to use it to irrigate a garden bed.

Farmhack.  A caged PVC in ground water tank?  I’m not sure about the stability of this DIY design, but here it is.



Keep innovating,




PS:  Remember,  there’s more than enough room at the bottom to create a new socio-economic reality.

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