Thursday, May 8, 2014

Practical tips, tricks, and information about solar power and going off grid

Doing solar power on a budget can be challenging, but not impossible. The very first thing I recomend is taking on the mindset of Quakers about electricity. Of course, I do not know exactly what that is, but there is a peace that rises when electric consumption declines. Or so it seems to be.

This how-to is for off-grid. Many people I spoke with over the past few days agree, they would rather throw the electric onto the ground than sell it back to the power companies.

There are three parts to solar power
The solar panel, the charge controller, the battery , and the power inverter.

The best how-to video I have seen so far is from Growing In Simplicity

He explains the basics very simply.

My goal was to keep the most basic needs up and going. It was a pressing issue. I had to decide what was most needed. Of course, communications was at the top of the list. The next most important is very small freezer. The theory there is, if you have a freezer you have a refrigerator because you can make ice.

Another goal was to build a portable unit that was also expandable.

I started building backwards. I have a battery in my car. I assume most at this point have not given up their car. I needed a power inverter.

The Power Inverter

The power inverter the most important aspect of the solar power generator. Get the best and biggest you can get. You will be expanding from this key unit. I bought an off the shelf unit from Walmart.
This one to be specific

I did replace my car battery. I figure if I was going to ask it to pull double duty replacing it with a fresh one would be smart.

The power inverter could not handle the small freezer. It is less than one apms, but I do not know the other stats on it off the top of my head. It inverter shut down right away. That is where I conclude the best inverter is the most important part. I do not have the battery bank, nor solar panel at this point,  but even if I did I would not be able to run the freezer.

So invest in the power inverter.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pure Energy

This is part of the vision I envision for the homestead. I would rather be careful with eletrical use than to have to import it to the homestead. :)
If you haven’t heard of the QEG (Quantum Energy Generator) then this is going to be a nice surprise for you. This device is based off of Tesla’s work where he built a resonance generator that required 1KW input to produce 10KW output. This device works in the same way and was built after his patents were released into the public domain. Years of testing and adjusting was done to make the device possible and available for others to build. This new device will require 1KW of input power to get the core resonance up and then after it is producing 10KW it can be unplugged and an inverter is attached so no input power will be required.
qeg2Yes, this means what it is saying, after a short period of input power, NO INPUT will be needed to supply 10KW of power. As stated by HopeGirl who released the plans open source to the public “The QEG belongs to humanity now. Many will make further improvements and we will all co-develop this practical bridge technology together.” Beautiful words as this world doesn’t need to be built off of money, greed, patents, ownership and power. These are archaic egoic concepts that we can evolve out of quite effortlessly.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cooking With Wild Mushrooms

While hiking into a 5000 acre lowland forest I cam across some shelf mushrooms. Not just some but a lot! All of them were young making them extra scrumptious! Of course leaving them be to mature is a good option too. And that is what I choose. Well at least until I can find the rules about harvesting forage from the state parks!

And find the rules about forging wild mushrooms! I was pretty certain these were ok to eat. Then I thought, "Let me double check myself and find some data. "

I found some awesome data!

Field Guide to Common Macrofungi in Eastern Forests and their Ecosystem Functions (PDF) 

The Field Guide to Common Macrofungi in Eastern Forests and their Ecosystem Functions, (whee that is a mouthful!) is 90 pages chalked full of useful information and great photos. 

But what it did make me do was doubt what I had found!

I needed more information. I needed more data! 

I found an what seems to be a pretty nifty guy, Steve Brill. He has a tweeter so Let's ask him there and see what he has to say! Plan A
I also emailed a mushroom club with the question of , What the heck is it and can I eat it?" who knew there was such thing as a mushroom club? Plan B

And we wait! 

In the mean time, here is an awesome recipe I am planning to cook these fungi in! 
White Mushroom Gravy
Created by AndrewM, Thursday, 17 October 2013

  • 1/4 C. butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. chopped or sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, minced (optional)
  • One shallot or 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t. dried thyme, tarragon, dill or poultry seasoning
  • 3 C. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 C. cream
  • 1/4 C. white wine, sherry or dry vermouth (optional)

  1. Saute mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter over medium heat until dry without browning until dry.
  2. Add flour, herbs, salt and pepper. Saute stirring frequently 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth, cream and wine. Bring to a simmer, and continue cooking and stirring 10-15 minutes until thickened.
  4. Adjust seasonings and consistency.
  5. Serve warm.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Biomass Briquettes: An Alternative Fuel Source Made From Paper

This article originally appeared on Ready Nutrition 

Biomass Briquettes: An Alternative Fuel Source Made From Paper

We are dependent on fuel sources to provide power to run our homes and businesses, help us maintain our body temperatures in extreme weather and provide energy to prepare food. Emergency organizations suggest each household having an emergency supply of fuel stored away, but there is always a chance that we haven’t stored enough.
Many rely on having cords of wood to use, but those in population dense areas may not have the availability of wood to use for fuel, or they could have been caught off guard by an emergency and were not able to get to the store to purchase charcoal briquettes or propane for their grills.
Have a Back Up For Your Fuel Supply
Learning how to make alternative fuel sources using the items you have around is an essential survival skill to learn. Biomass bricks and/or briquettes are an alternative choice to charcoal briquettes and other emergency fuel sources. They are also considered a green fuel source and burn efficiently.
In 2006, the U.S. produced more than 227 billion kilograms (kg) of solid waste; this equates to approximately 2.1 kg per person per day, where approximately half of this amount is in the form of paper and horticultural rubbish. Conversion of these wastes into combustible biomass briquettes would provide a means to satisfy individual energy needs while alleviating landfill use. (Source)
What Are Biomass Briquettes?
The biomass briquettes are comprised of compressed compounds containing various organic materials, including corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Developing countries use other materials such as rice husks, bagasse, ground nut shells, municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, or anything that contains a high nitrogen content.
Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources when burned in an oxygen-rich environment comparable to unmodified wood and wood pellet stoves, fireplaces, patio heaters and charcoal grills. This alternative fuel source could easily be used for rocket stoves, collapsible stoves and small grills.
How They Are Made
Essentially, you get your materials and cut them up into small bits or you could use a blender and add them to a large container (a 5 gallon bucket is perfect) and allow it to soak in water for three days until it’s completely saturated and broken down and have the consistency of mush. Then you form the briquettes by compacting them in a tube or container and forcing all of the water out.
Compaction is the key to achieving a successful briquette. The reason being is because compacted materials burn more efficiently. They shape of the brick or briquette can also make a difference. Studies have shown that when biomass briquettes molded into a hollow-core cylindrical form exhibited energy output comparable to that of traditional fuels. There is aspecial lever that many use to compact the briquettes; however, some people have successfully made them from old cd or dvd cases and by poking holes in the side for the water to drain out. In the video below, he used a caulk gun.
Start thinking outside of the box in respect to preparedness. In emergency situations, we must modify our thoughts and adapt to the change itself. Chances are, if we are successful in this, we will find a way to survive.

Additional Video: