The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “save money”

Compost Heater How-To

Chris Towerton, in Australia, shows us an experimental compost heater he build to provide heat for at least two hours per day for up to 9 weeks. He’s using his system to heat one room in his house with a hot water radiator.

Happily, he talks in detail about what he did – so if you’re interested in doing something similar, this is a good starting point.

Helpful here too are Chris’ comments about how long the process took to ramp up, how long the effects lasted, etc.

More on the Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator

The Rojases at Green Power Science, in Florida, give us more info on the pot-in-pot refrigerator. They highlight the need to be aware of your surrounding humidity levels. If the humidity is above 75%, they note, the zeer pots won’t work because they require evaporation to work and that’s a no-go when it is very humid out.

Small Scale Ethanol Production Demo

Jim Yager and Jim Baker, retired engineers in Alabama demonstrate their fuel alcohol still. To cut their costs they’ve used mostly PVC piping (traditionally copper would have been used throughout). They estimate that their PVC design costs about $150 to build.

How to Clean, Dress and Filet Fish

How to Clean, Dress, and Filet Fish…and the tools and utensils needed:

This last part is just the credits.

Cultivating Mushrooms On A Hardwood Log

Kenny Point of www.veggiegardeningtips.com, demonstrates how to grow your own crop of gourmet mushrooms through hardwood inoculation.

He says this works better, is cheaper and produces better yields than buying a mushroom growing kit.

For this project you’ll need a drill, a hardwood log, mushroom inoculant, wooden dowels, wax and a way to melt the wax and keep it warm (Kenny uses an old crock pot).

Biogas System

This is the best small farm biogas system video I’ve seen so far.

As with many other useful technologies, we don’t hear much about biogas in this part of the world while it’s being rolled out extensively in the developing world and is a technology that could be universally useful.

Here a small farmer, Edward, in Uganda shows us his underground biogas system. It’s actually pretty elaborate and if maintained properly, he says should last about 70 years.

Edward keeps cows and sheep but seems to just use the cow’s dung and urine for the biogas system. He says that he mixes one part dung and one part water or urine and lets this mixture drop into a digester.

From the digester the digested solids and gas are separated in an underground dome (7 feet deep and 14 feet across).

From there the gas is piped into the farm house to the stove (which looked pretty much like a normal propane stove to me) and to fuel one gas lamp (which I found produced very dim light, but before they probably had no light at night or used kerosene lamps, so for them it’s a huge improvement).

The digested solids, now good for use as fertilizer/compost, drain out into a kind of pond area.

Edward notes that the covers to all of the biogas system access points are very heavy concrete to prevent children or vandals from fiddling around with them and either falling into the dome to their deaths or letting the precious biogas escape.

As he shows us his biogas system, Edward also points out his 10,000 liter rain water collection cistern.

Note that this system only uses waste from livestock but that other systems would also use humanure.

John Njendahayo, a Ugandan engineer, explains more about this kind of domed biogas system. Cue the following video to 4:25 where he starts to talk about the system itself. He covers the sizing of the systems, the relationship of input to output and what you can run on the biogas (including a modified paraffin fridge).

The system uses dome shapes so that none of the gas gets trapped in corners as it would in a rectangular digester. He notes that the reason for burying the digesters is to keep the temperature constant for the bacteria.

Here he talks about being able to sell the compost the digester produces as fertilizer and about needing to clear the pipes of condensation and how the gas is piped into the house.

Cultured Pickling

“Heres the clichĂ©: Alex Hozven craved pickles when she was pregnant with her first son, 12 years ago. And the twist: She started her own pickling business. The Cultured Pickle Shop sells pickles ranging from classic sauerkrauts to unusual kimchees and Kombuchas—way beyond the sour dill. But its the experiments, like the mysterious nuka pot or pickled blood oranges, that really get Hozven excited. Theres plenty of zing, zest, pow in all her pickles, though.”

Alex’s shop is in Berkeley, California.

Raising Guinea Pigs for Meat

A couple in Queensland, Australia talk about keeping guinea pigs for meat. They decided on guinea pigs because they had limited space and keeping rabbits in Queensland is illegal. They eat the males and keep one male and females for breeding (they have about 20 guinea pigs). They have plans to set up an aquaponics system that would incorporate droppings from their guinea pigs.

Here are details on raising guinea pigs for food, how to set up a herd and living spaces for the pigs, how to sex and breed them, etc. from Lisa F.

Making Halloumi Cheese

How to make halloumi cheese at home, simply presented by Guru Ted in New Zealand.

I had no idea it could be so easy — and inexpensive — to make.

Here’s halloumi being produced on a larger scale in the traditional manner in Lysi, Cyprus. Notice how they use baskets as molds.

How to Produce Biodiesel from Vegetable Oil

Lance Hall shows us how to make biodiesel (he uses it for his car and tractor) from vegetable oil. Lance recommends biodiesel.org for more info on biodiesel.

Lance covers making biodiesel manually and making it with a reactor. He has quite the set up.

This is a dangerous process, in which he uses methanol (“wood alcohol” -a poison that can be absorbed through your skin) and potassium hydroxide (an extremely caustic chemical). It seemed to me that Lance probably should have been wearing longer, thicker gloves and protective eyewear, but…

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