Off the Grid Water Pump – Simple Pump

| January 2, 2015 | 5 Comments
simple pump

simple pump

I was at a party describing our off grid dream when one of the men piped up and said “I know a product you just have to check out”. Hence our introduction to “the Simple Pump”.

We’ve read every part of the Simple Pump website and are very excited to have been introduced to this pumping system that will work very well for our off the grid clean water requirements.

Key Reasons We Like It:

  • The pump can operate on a single solar panel (most competitors products require more power and therefore more panels)
  • It has a hand pumping option.
  • There are choices of systems and none are overwhelming to understand.

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Making a Biodigester

| December 18, 2014 | 2 Comments

Biodigester = Biogas

Part of our plan for a sustainable lifestyle involves the use of a ‘Biodigester‘ to create ‘biogas‘.

biodigesterA biodigester produces biogas by breaking down organic matter in the absence of oxygen.
It is a renewable energy source, like solar and wind energy.

Biogas is produced by the fermentation of biodegradable materials such as manure, sewage and green waste, basically anything that will rot.

Biogas is mostly methane and carbon dioxide.

The methane produced as biogas from a biodigester is burnable and so it can be used as a fuel for cooking. It can be compressed and stored in the same way as propane.

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Building Green Advice

| October 15, 2012 | 3 Comments
sustainable building advice

sustainable building advice

Here’s an amazing site we have just been made a ware of by Angie from Atlanta, Georgia; Considered one of the premier websites for information on building green, it is filled with really useful information supplied by professionals on ways to build sustainably – no matter what part of the process you are in with your project, no matter where you are building and no matter what the climate is.

If sustainable building is something you are exploring, take a moment to look through this site and see how professionals who have done the research and are knowledgeable in the field would build based on the information you give and the research they have done.

One of the best parts of this site is the fact that you can ask questions and receive answers from pros who have already done the research.

This is one of the sites that we will reference when we find the property we want to build on, to help us solve issues and to answer questions we may have. We will cross reference the info we find with other experts and compare notes before we build to make sure we are on the right page before we dig! | Designing, Building and Remodeling Green Homes.

Perfect Off the Grid Property

| October 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

off the grid waterfallWe are looking for a property potentially to go off the grid on and in Ecuador and have put together a list of what we’re hoping the land will look like:

Off the Grid Plan for Land

Running water capable of micro-hydro, which translates to waterfall or fast stream with good, year round flow…

Within 1 hour drive of a hospital

Arable land – good to grow food

Minimum 2 hectares would love more.

Established orchard/gardens

Some kind of shelter/structure

Access road, short path.

Access to telephone hard-line

Off the Grid Homestead

We are planning to create an off the grid homestead. We will be growing our own food – fruits and vegetables in a garden close to the home. We hope to have goats, chickens and perhaps a pig. We will be creating our own electricity via micro-hydro and our own methane via a bio-digester.

We are a family of 3 who are trying to simplify our lives and want to live from what the land offers by going off the grid.  Our intention is to integrate into the local community and become part of a system that works for the people of Ecuador. A local farm community would be ideal for our needs but we are open to your knowledge of the area.

Quito farmland

Quito farmland

Temperature is a factor and we’d prefer to be warmer than cooler.

The hospital is also a factor as we have a health concern that may become an emergency situation, so we need to be located within a one hour drive of a hospital.

We are hoping to spend approximately $30,000 for land that is assessed at $25,000 +, so we may qualify for residency.

This is our ideal list; we will be flexible as we start our search and start to see exactly what is available, but in an ideal world we’d get everything we’re looking for and be able to off the grid …

Build Naturally with Cob – Video

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments
love cob

DIY cob

DIY cob, here is a great site that has several videos that show how to work and create with cob and/or straw bale. Several projects and recipes are shared here so it’s a good place to see how it’s done – step by step.

Think building with sand, clay and straw is too much work or just a crazy concept? Well take a moment and check out these how to videos that share everything you need to know.

This is a great resource for us and for anyone considering building or creating with cob, whether you’re curious, serious or just want an interesting sustainable project, this site will give you the tools you need to make decisions before you build.

Very big thank you to the site Build Naturally. for sharing such useful information and on video to boot!


Cob Houses – Choices and Sustainability in One – Video

| September 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

cob house startedHere’s a video showing a number of cob houses found on the west coast. Lots of variety and designs, these homes range from $900 to $50,000.

Worth taking a moment and looking at the beautiful, sustainable creations and choices cob offers, this is definitely one of the types homes we are potentially looking at building.

Cob uses sand, straw and clay to create an amazingly strong substance.

Enjoy the video!

Cob Houses – Live Debt Free with Sustainable Development – Video


Boat or a House?

| September 4, 2012 | 2 Comments

House or Boat just waitingGrounded boats on the shores of Salt Spring Island that look like they’re just waiting to be turned into a home!

The small one on the left looks like it’s already a home under renovations!

Which one would you prefer?




Wonder Wash Hand Crank Washing Machine – Video

| August 29, 2012 | 0 Comments
wonder wash

wonder wash

A hand crank washing machine? Are we crazy? Not really. This is what sustainability and off grid lifestyle means to us. This is a hand crank washing machine we have found and will be using to do our washing. It uses no electricity and two minutes of hand cranking per load. What this means is that washing clothes will become one of our regular daily chores. We won’t let our clothes pile up. The climate we are going to is such that this will work.

This video demonstrates just how simple it is to use and how little time it actually takes to complete a load.

The Wonder Wash is priced between $42 to $50 online, so is very reasonable considering the task it is helping with … electricity free.

Oh and we’ll use an off grid air dryer to dry the clothes, again electricity free!

thanks for the post to – WonderWash Demo – YouTube.



Outdoor Bathroom

| August 21, 2012 | 3 Comments

This outdoor bathroom is made with recycled glass, bottles and cob material. It is the kind of bathroom we’re looking at making for the composting toilet, shower and potentially a bathtub.

I like the rounded walls with the dappled light streaming in. Our bathroom will be outside the house with the door from the house located between the two bedrooms … that’s the dream at this point anyway!

My thanks to the website here that posted the pics and discusses earth ships …

Would an outdoor bathroom suit you? I want the walls to be rounded like these and the entrance to be sheltered by plant material that will give privacy at the entrance. I think it will be magical to bath and shower there.

outdoor bathroom


Suggestions, questions, and comments are welcome as always;


the Loveable Loo® Number Two – Video

| August 20, 2012 | 8 Comments
loveable loo

loveable loo

We’ll be using a composting system for our toilet. This one, the New Loveable Loo 2, is what we’re considering.

The creator is Joe Jenkins, author of the Humanure Handbook, and in this video he takes us on a tour of how they are made and how to use them for successful outcomes. He gives a very good overview of the system and explains why it is a good choice for composting.

Happy to share this info, it’s a very sustainable, self-sufficient way of dealing with our human waste.

The more we explore solutions and alternative ways of dealing with infrastructure, the more it becomes apparent that waste management is proving to be the biggest challenge.

Eventually we are hoping to use a bio-gas system, but until then humanure composting is the way to go for us.