Practical guide for Planet Friendly, 21st Century beings


FREE Water ! FREE Water !
July 26, 2006, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Articles of Interest, Energy, gardening, Green, hippie, hippy, New age, recycle

Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library

  Ok folks, today we’re going to talk about FREE water for your home, farm or cabin.

The first point I’d like to make is that IT’S FREE !!!!

The second point I’d like to make is that IT’S EVERYWHERE !!!

Not only is it FREE but it’s also FREE of contaminants that continually seep into the underground water aquifers.

If you currently have a well, the water is probably stinky and mineral laden ( iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell )) and may require filtering to remove these elements.

If you have a municipal water hookup then you’re paying for the local water treatment facility to find water for you, clean it, filter it, add chlorine to it and pump it to your house. In other words, a bill every month for someone else’s water ( a bit simplistic but you get the point? ).

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about by now but just in case you don’t, it’s called RAIN WATER.

Note: There are airborne pollutants that can affect the quality of rain water so you should check out the air quality standards and proper drinking water filtering and purification methods in your area before drinking the local rainwater.

You can collect it and use it to supplement your current garden watering needs including water features and bird baths using rain barrels (pickle barrels) or you can go all out and install cisterns (big giant plastic storage tanks) and filter it for grey water usage (washing dishes, showering) and drinking water (if properly purified), more about this later.

Add solar power and wind power to this setup and you’re ‘off the grid’ ! I can’t say enough about utilizing natural resources that remain untouched by human hands before we use them.

Rain water is as free as sunshine and windy days. It just needs to be collected and treated and that is where technology comes into play. There are many ways to collect rain water and the best one is the one that fits your lifestyle the best.

 ‘Rain garden’ technology; walk around your property during a rain storm (not a thunderstorm please) and look for low spots on the lawn or grounds where water naturally collects into puddles. You can use these low spots to plant bushes or trees that would basically water themselves if you have enough rain. The water would pool in the low spot then filter down through the soil/compost/sand mixture, used to fill in the depression, in sufficient quantities to maintain a healthy root system. Using this principle you could probably also build a sort of looping ‘French drain’ system around planting areas to collect water and moisten the ground right at the level of the root systems.

Rain BarrelRain barrel’ technology utilizes pickle barrels with a filter on top and a pump (sometimes a sump pump motor or submersible pond pump is used) to extract the water to the garden areas. You can also use manual (gravity) methods to extract the water via a hose connected at the bottom of a rain barrel on a raised platform or even a simple bucket method to scoop the water out. This is a great way to get started and to figure out what works best for you. You could also replace the electric motor with a solar pump if you wish?

‘Rooftop Rainwater Collection Systems’ capture rain fall from your roof, channel it through a series of downspouts into a giant cistern. The water collected is then processed through a series of filters according to it’s usage in the household. No sustainable home building architecture utilizes this system better than the Earthship Biotecture. Earthships and Earth Homes also utilize solar, wind, insulation design and lot placement to create self sustaining house designs that sever the ties between free human beings and the corporate power conglomerates.

There are lots of great books on Rainwater Harvesting out there so, just pick your preferred method of rainwater collection and distribution system and see how much FREE water you can collect and utilize. You’ll be saving yourself some money, helping the planet and feeling much better about your role as a planetary being. Not a bad payoff for utilizing a FREE resource?

FREE WATER! FREE WATER! PART II

More information on rain water collection :

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: This agency’s excellent Web site has much guidance, many links, an instruction manual (with suggested planting plans) that can be printed out and ideas for involving kids. See www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/nps/rg/.

Rain Gardens of West Michigan: A Grand Rapids-based coalition of environmental groups has advice and instructions at www.raingardens.org.

Friends of Bassett Creek: The Web site of this Minneapolis river conservation group has a good short primer and plant list: www.infinetivity.com/(tilde)stack/rain/index.htm

Maplewood, Minn.: This city’s Web site offers ample information, including suggestions for different types of sites and plantings: www.maplewoodmn.govoffice.com/index.asp

Rain Barrel Gadgets. An Excellent source of Rain Barrels, Kits and planet friendly products.  http://www.naturalrainwater.com/order_rainbarrel.htm

Earthship Biotecture http://www.earthship.org/

The Natural Home Building Source http://www.thenaturalhome.com/index.html

Davis Caves Earth Sheltered Homes http://www.daviscaves.com/index.shtml

Green Home Building http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/conservewater.htm

Sustainable Village http://www.thesustainablevillage.com/servlet/display/products/toc/ 

Rain Barrel Guide http://rainbarrelguide.com/rainwater_collection_links.html 

Rain Barrel Tutorial http://www.geocities.com/rainsystem/howto.html

The Path to Freedom http://www.pathtofreedom.com/newsletter/thepath_13.htm

Drinking Rain Water http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00044.htm 



Recycled Solar Light, broken ground stake
July 17, 2006, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Articles of Interest, Blogroll, gardening, recycle

A Creative Alternative to Tossing Broken Solar Lights

I have a beautiful back yard (by my standards) and covered patio which my wife and I have renovated to provide a measure of privacy for reading and eating as well as some greenery to soften the cityscape around us. We have lots of solar lights which illuminate after dark and function as a landing strip for any creature that may get lost in the night. They are very pretty and don’t use a single watt of power line energy.

Recently, I discovered a way to recycle them when the ground spike, usually made of plastic, breaks off and can no longer be used to anchor the light in the ground.

Most people would throw the whole thing away but not us. I drilled four opposing holes in the cover and used twine to string them up on a shepherds hook. It looks very unique now and works just as well if not better than before. At least now I don’t have to worry about running them over with the lawn mower. Lokks kind of like a lighted parachute when it’s hung and when it’s really dark the light just hoversover the flagstone like a UFO.

Here are some pics to illustrate how the project turned out. Pretty well if you ask me!

Pic-1: Gnome on his own.

Gnome-1

Pic-2: Solar Light Modified.

Modified Solar Lt

Pic-3: Solar light strung up on Shepherd’s Hook before the evening magic.

Gnome and Unlit Solar Lt

Pic-4: Viola! Night falls and the gnome is illuminated by a salvaged solar light.

Gnome and Lit Solar Lt