Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction

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Here is an excellently written PDF document on how to build an underground Walipini pit greenhouse. These greenhouses are an excellent technique to use in arid Southwestern climates.

Click here to download the 29-page PDF document on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse.”

Deep appreciation is extended to the Benson Institute, which created the document. The Benson Institute was founded in 1975 at Brigham Young University as part of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences. It was named in honor of Ezra Taft Benson’s service as Secretary of Agriculture during the administration of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Benson Institute strives to teach families in developing countries how to become nutritionally self-sufficient and how to improve their economic circumstances. Participants learn techniques for food production, nutrition, diet, and home food storage. Families learn to grow vegetables and fruits or raise small animals appropriate to their circumstances in order to better provide for themselves.

Find out more about the Benson Institute here.

(This article was originally published on August 26, 2014.)


The post Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction appeared first on The Grow Network.

Doomsday Preppers? You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

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This post was written exactly 4 years ago, on my Facebook page. I still stand by it. Rich Fleetwood – February 7, 2012 · Riverton · Watching “Doomsday Preppers” on NGC this evening, with an as objective as possible viewpoint. I’ve been doing this stuff myself for 20 years, and in my position and experience, with the […]

The post Doomsday Preppers? You’ve GOT to be kidding me… appeared first on SurvivalRing.

It’s An Off-Grid ‘Hobbit Home’ Built Inside A 700-Year-Old Cave

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Man Builds Off-Grid ‘Hobbit Home’ In 700-Year-Old Cave

Turning a cave into a modern home is not easy or cheap, as homeowner Angelo Mastropietro discovered.

He invested £162,000 ($204,000) – and lots of physical labor — to transform an abandoned cave into a state-of-the-art off-grid home. But he says it was worth it.

“In the end I had spent somewhere around 1,000 hours basically breaking rock, cutting burrowing rock,” Mastropietro said. “… Somewhere about 70 or 80 tons of rubble that I excavated out of this rock house by hand.”

The finished home has wi-fi, forced air central heating and a wood stove. There’s an 80-foot terrace around the house, as well as modern windows.

Mastropietro’s house, located in the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire, England, is one of the oldest rock homes in Europe, Britain’s Daily Mail reported. Families lived in the caves for 800 years until the 1940s.

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The cave is located in 50-foot-high sandstone cliffs that reportedly inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

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Mastropietro stumbled upon the cave during a bike ride in 1999. Eleven years later, in 2010, he purchased it for £62,000 ($78,000) and went to work.

Transforming a cave into a home is far from easy. It took Mastropietro 11 days just to cut a door through five feet of rock. He also had to drill a 262-foot deep well through stone to get water. Other modern touches include ventilation channels cut into the floor, and skylights.

The most incredible aspect of the project: Mastropietro is battling multiple sclerosis (MS), which left him temporarily paralyzed in 2007. That disease forced Mastropietro to change his life; he quit his job as head of a successful recruitment company and returned to his native Worcestershire from Australia and bought the cave.

“I have literally been paralyzed before and it does put the fear of God into you really,” Mastropietro told the newspaper.

“I love a challenge,” Mastropietro said of his reason for taking on the project. “Coincidentally, my surname actually means master of the stones, so you know maybe it’s in my blood.”

The cave home, he says, is good for his health.

“MS was triggered by health and lifestyle and that was the catalyst I needed to remind me that I needed to be mindful of my health and be respectful of my lifestyle,” Mastropietro added. “I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.”

He hopes to live in the cave full-time sometime in the near future.

His cave home was featured on a popular British TV show, Grand Designs.

Would you want to live in a cave home? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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He Built An Underground House For $50

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He Built An Underground House For $50

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As someone who lived for more than three decades in an underground house he designed and built for $50 and then later expanded for $500, Mike Oehler has a mission.

Now in his 70s, Oehler wants to convince other people of the advantages of living underground. In an interview with video journalist Kirsten Dirksen, Oehler shared his passion for underground living as he showed her around the homes he has built in Northern Idaho.

Mostly walking barefoot, which he called a lifelong habit, Oehler revealed the aboveground home he first built in 1968 after purchasing his property as a young San Franciscan involved in the back-to-the-land movement. After spending his first winter “freezing to death” in a cabin in the woods, however, he decided to use the earth as insulation.

In creating his first attempts, he fell into some of the mistakes others often make in designing an underground home — most of them centering on not having enough windows or with using basement types of windows only.

“An underground home has no more in common with a basement than a penthouse apartment has with a dark, dusty attic,” Oehler stressed. Explaining that an underground house can have many windows, he proved his point by showing Dirksen the many creative ways he incorporated patchworks of mostly used windows in his homes.

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‘We want a house that has windows on all four sides,” he explained. “Not everywhere on all four sides but enough so that each room has light coming in from two directions. That is very important.”

As he learned more and more about what worked and what doesn’t work in underground home design, Oehler began to find his own comfort zone. He called his inexpensive low-tech approach to building “PSP” for post/shoring/polyethylene, and he is particularly proud of what he calls his “uphill patio.” The uphill patio is a terraced space that allows for light, gardening space, outdoor grilling and water run-off.

Throughout the interview, Oehler mentioned the many advantages of living in an underground home, or what he prefers to call an earth-insulated home. Among the benefits:

  • Less property tax.
  • Warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Serves as fall-out shelter with radiation protection.
  • No foundation needed.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Sound proof.
  • Increased growing space.
  • Fire-resistant.
  • Environmentally sound.
  • Weather resistant

Probably the most striking thing about Oehler’s designs is that they do not have the feeling of being underground. In fact, largely because of their use of natural light, the homes seem traditional from certain perspectives.

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“With an earth-integrated house, you are working with the earth, not overwhelming it,” Oehler said, adding that some Native American tribes saw the advantages of living underground centuries ago.

He finds home sites “by instinct.”

“I will sleep at the site for a while to get a feel for the space,” he said. Although he cannot do the construction of the homes he designs any longer due to health reasons, Oehler said his home sites are all hand dug. He enjoys digging and finds it to be good exercise.

One downside of his underground home in Northern Idaho? It is attractive to bears. Oehler has had more than one very close encounter with a bear who thought Oehler’s abode looked appealing.

Although Oehler thinks the soil in Northern Idaho – with its mixture of sand, silt and clay — is ideally suited to underground homes, he said you can build an underground home anywhere.

Would you live in an underground home? Share your tips in the section below:

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The $30,000 Underground Shipping Container Home

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How To Build An Off-Grid Home Without ANY Construction Skills

Imagine living in a home where it never gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer – without using air conditioning. And during winter, even without heat, it’s always in the 60s.

Sound impossible? It’s not if you live in an underground shipping container home, as this week’s guest on Off The Grid Radio does. His name is Steve Rees, and for $30,000 he built his dream underground home, giving him benefits that a traditional house simply does not bring.

His home is so sturdy that it easily could survive a wildfire, tornado or even hurricane.

Steve shares with us the good and the bad of living underground, and he also tells us:

  • How he uses the sun to light his home, despite being underground.
  • What he uses for electricity and water.
  • Where he bought his shipping container.
  • How he strengthened the container to withstand the pressure of dirt on top of it.

Steve’s house is so hidden that FedEx trucks have trouble finding it!

Finally, Steve tells us what he would do differently if he could start all over. If you love stories about amazing people or you ever have had thoughts of living underground, then you don’t want to miss this amazing show!

The Government Just Admitted It Allowed The Poisoning Of Drinking Water

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The Government Just Admitted It Allowed The Poisoning Of Drinking Water

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The Environmental Protection Agency is not protecting underground drinking water supplies from oilfield contamination and in several instances has allowed companies actually to dump wastewater into aquifers, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report.

The report blasts the EPA for its oversight in California, where, since 2014, the state has allowed oil companies to violate safe-drinking water laws. An AP analysis in 2015 found that California had handed out 2,000 permits giving oil companies permission to dump wastewater into federally protected drinking water. The tragedy impacted at least 11 aquifers.

“It shows a massive failure to protect our drinking water,” Kassie Siegel, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, told AP. “The takeaway overall is that the EPA doesn’t collect and states don’t provide the information for the EPA to exercise the oversight that’s its job.”

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The GAO report found that the “EPA has not consistently conducted oversight activities necessary to assess whether state and EPA-managed programs are protecting underground sources of drinking water.”

“For example,” the report found, “GAO found in June 2014 that EPA does not consistently conduct oversight activities, such as annual on-site program evaluations.”

The EPA mostly agreed with the report, AP said.

The report also found that the EPA did not have enough personnel on staff to inspect the oilfields, and that EPA administrators did not have adequate data about oilfields or aquifers to conduct inspections.

What is your reaction to this story? Share it in the section below: 

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Off-Grid Life In An Underground House

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Living underground may sound like the realm of Hobbits and Hollywood movies, but for many off-gridders, it is day-to-day reality.

These homesteaders and off-gridders have chosen to ignore the conventional path and instead live in earth-sheltered or earth-berm homes, which are covered in dirt, with only one side of the home typically exposed to the elements.

On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we talk to Helen Ettlin, a resident of Missouri who lives in an earth-sheltered home and who tells us all of the benefits and drawbacks of a life “underground.”

Helen shares with us:

  • How an earth-sheltered home saves her family money, not only on energy costs but also on home insurance.
  • Why an earth-sheltered home may be the perfect residence for families who often face threats from tornadoes and other major storms.
  • How her home’s unique construction provides enough indoor sunlight, despite being surrounded by dirt.
  • Why earth-sheltered homes may be the perfect residence for off-gridders who want a house that is not so easily found.

Helen closes the show by telling us why her family chose to live in an earth-berm home, and what advice she would give people who are looking for such a house. Don’t miss this amazing episode that will give you a glimpse of a self-sufficient life underground!

How To Find The Best Place To Dig Your Own Well

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How To Find The Best Place To Dig Your Own Well

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Drilling a well is a rather expensive operation, often costing several thousand dollars. But if you’re going to drill your own well, the first question you’re going to need to ask yourself is: Where? Where is the best place on your property to get what is called “sweet” water, rather than highly mineralized water?

In much of the country, anywhere you drill is going to yield pretty much the same results. Groundwater tends to run in aquifers, which are layers of water trapped in porous stone or sand. But if your underlying geology is rock, it may not be porous enough to allow water to flow through the rock. In cases like that, groundwater is going to be flowing through cracks in the rock, and these cracks are a much harder target to find.

So before drilling, it’s a good idea to do some investigating. That way, you’ll have a much better chance of actually finding water when you sink that hole.

First of All, Things to Avoid

There are a few things you want to avoid in your well drilling. These things can cause you problems, both in putting in your well and in getting clean water from it.

Septic tanks and leach fields — One of the common methods of spreading disease is what is known as the anal-bocal route. Feces from people who are infected with bacterial or viral infections also contain the viruses or bacteria that have infected those people. And bacteria can travel as far as 100 feet underground. So you want to avoid any wastewater to ensure that you don’t contaminate your water supply.

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Rock outcroppings — Surface rock, especially partially-buried boulders, is a great indicator of subterraneous rock as well. Often, the surface rock is merely an extension of what is to be found underground. Small rocks aren’t really much of an issue, but large ones will slow your drilling progress.

Where to Research

How To Find The Best Place To Dig Your Own Well

Image source: Pixabay.com

A lot can be determined by some good old-fashioned research. There’s actually a fair amount of information about groundwater available online. The first source to try is the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). They publish quite a bit of data about groundwater, including a groundwater atlas of the country which shows all the aquifers. There also are a number of maps that can be useful.

The USGS also has a network of several thousand test wells that they monitor on a constant basis. These wells provide data on water table levels and aquifer levels. They can provide you with information about what the exact water level is at the time of drilling and whether it is dropping.

In addition to federal information, many states also have information about groundwater availability. What exact information is available will depend on the state you live in. But many states require a permit for well drilling, which means they have a database of all wells, their depths, the water quality and the amount of water flow they produce. This information can be useful in determining what the average depth is in your area. Simply look for several wells that are nearby.

One way this data may be presented is a “water availability map” which shows how much groundwater availability there is for any one area, as well as the depth of that water. This is the type of information that a hydrologist would use in creating a study of your land.

Of course, well drilling contractors have a pretty good idea about the water conditions in your area, where water can be found, the underground geology, and how deep of a well you’ll need to reach good water. While they would rather drill the well for you, most will act as consultants for a fee.

Water Dowsing?

There is an incredible amount of controversy over the subject of water dowsing, often referred to in the negative sense as water witching. This ancient practice is seen by many to be just to the left of witchcraft. But the practice has been in use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Water dousers use a forked stick, a pair of bent wires, or a plumb bob to find where to drill a well. When using the forked stick, the stick bends towards the ground when they pass over water. With the wires, the wires cross. So there is a clear indication of where water can be found.

The idea has been studied scientifically, with surprising results. A lot depends on how the actual test was conducted. In tests where they are expected to find water in underground pipes, water dousers are unsuccessful. But when they are asked to find naturally-occurring water in the ground, their success rate is much too high to be mere coincidence.

There is a nationwide organization of water dowsers, called the American Society of Dowsers (ASD). The society has more than 4,200 members and may be the best source for finding a dowser in your area.


How To Install Your Own Off The Grid Well

What is your preferred method for finding water underground for drilling a well? Share your tips in the section below:

Clean Water Is Becoming More Rare Than Oil. Read What To Do Here.

How to Build a Super Top Secret Bunker under Your House

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How to Build a Super Top Secret Bunker under Your House Can’t afford a regular bunker? Build a secret one under your own house. This artilce shows you how a man is making a secret bunker under his house. Not everyone can make this type of bunker, but a lot can. Message him with questions if …

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