Current Projects & Experiments

Projects and experiments we are currently working on.
Alternative Energy Club
In January 2006 we helped found the Concho Alternative Energy Club. The club meets monthly to share information and personal experiences of alternative energy technologies.
Building a Solar Panel
Alternative Energy Club Project - August '06
Building Our Solar Shower
In August my mom Joan and her partner Rich came to visit us in Arizona. We worked on several projects including a picnic table, a shade canopy, and an outdoor shower. They also helped us with renovating our office trailer. We had a very productive week with fantastic results. View the following photo galleries to see construction in progress.
Custom LED Lighting
Lighting can be a major consumer of electricity in an off-grid home. We've replaced many of our incandescent lamps with home-built LED replacement lamps to keep our night time energy use as efficient as possible.
Drilling Our Water Well
We hired Willis Drilling and Pump to drill a fresh water well for our off-grid homestead. We hit water at 200 feet and drilled to a total depth of 280 feet. We will be installing a 12 volt DC solar powered well pump soon.
Garden Irrigation
We recently automated watering in the greenhouse and garden with new irrigation systems. In the garden, water is now delivered to a sprinkler system by series of solar powered irrigation pumps. And in the greenhouse we've installed two drip irrigation kits that are working well with our 12 volt system.
Garden Photos
Our organic gardening project is underway and we have many colorful garden photos showing the fruits of our labor. As you can see in our garden photos we've been blessed with a bounty of garden fresh vegetables and delicious greens.
Geodesic Dome Assembly
A step by step guide to building a geodesic dome shelter from steel conduit (EMT).
Geodesic Dome Construction
We've been throwing around the idea of building a geodesic dome since we first started traveling together. In March 2006 we purchased the materials and constructed the frame of our first geodesic dome.
Geodesic Dome Cover
This is the story of our custom built, form fitting geodesic dome cover. It was handcrafted with silver tarps and vinly cement in May 2006.
Homestead Utility Photos
These photos were taken while we were creating the utilities infrastructure for our homestead. This photo gallery includes installation of our solar powered submersible well pump and 1600 gallon water storage tank, as well as septic, phone, data and Pex water lines.
Hydrogen Generator
Through this project we hope to learn enough about creating and storing hydrogen gas that we will be able to utilize it as a power storage medium, as well as in a soldering torch. We also hope to store hydrogen as a source of backup fuel and power.
Installing our Phone Line
In order to save a significant amount of money, we opted to trench the line and run cable for our phone ourselves.
Installing Our Well Pump & Fresh Water System
We recently developed a solar powered fresh water system for our homestead. We first installed a Sun Pumps submersible pump in our fresh water well. Our fresh water system includes a 1600 gallon water storage tank, a pressure pump, a pressure tank and an underground water manifold.
Official Land Survey
Our official land survey is finally complete and we've picked up our survey maps from the engineer who prepared them. The bearings and distances that Patrick calculated were fairly accurate, as was the total acreage of our parcel.
Organic Gardening
As part of our plan to grow our own fresh fruits and vegetables we've undertaken a number of organic gardening projects. We've recently created several new fruit and vegetable patches to complement the existing raised garden beds in our desert garden.
Passive Solar Greenhouse
Using UV protected glazing recycled from old greenhouse kits, plywood, and traditional insulation we turned an ordinary greenhouse into a structure with passive solar qualities. Our passive solar greenhouse now has a well insulated North side which helps the structure to absorb solar energy and passively retain heat, while the Southern side allows ample light to penetrate.
Solar Hot Water Batch Collector
In November 2005 we built our first Solar Hot Water Batch Collector. At present this is our only source of running hot water.
Solar Hot Water Update
We've made several improvements to our homemade solar water heater over the last year, including installing a tempering valve to prevent scalding. Both the summer's intense heat and the freezing cold of the winter have posed challenges to our solar hot water heating system.
Staking Out Buildings
Once we prepared the map of our off-grid homestead on paper, we wanted to see how our house plans fit the landscape. We took our surveying tools up the hill, measured actual distances, and staked out future buildings.
Surveying and Mapping the Land
In order to divide our land from Troy and Phaedra's property we've performed a basic survey and we're now creating computer based scale maps of the new parcel and the surrounding land.
Trailer Skirting
Steps for building an RV skirt out of plywood. If you want to winterize a travel trailer, skirting the base is essential. It's sure to cut your heating costs and improve energy efficiency overall.
Winterizing Our Travel Trailer
Tips on how to winterize a travel trailer including, installing a plywood trailer skirting, insulating windows, replacing curtains, and building homemade vent pillows.