Category Archives for "Solar Energy"

Eco Friendly Showers

We recently obtained a new shower head. Now I know it’s hard to get excited about a shower head, but when you find a good one, a good shower is the only way to start the day. This particular unit saves on water (save more by showering with a friend), yet still provides a wonderful water soaking experience. Good flow, good pressure, and very invigorating. It has 5 water settings, and is direction adjustable.

  • 5 Different Spray Patterns
  • 4″ Spray Head with Extra Wide Coverage
  • Anti-Clog Nozzles
  • Solid Brass Fittings

Read more about the Monarch Maximum Flow Eco-Friendly Showerhead at

Solar Homes & Solar Collectors

Solar energy is our birthright like the air we breathe or the water we drink. Solar Home Plans and affordable Solar Hot Water Plans are the gateway into a “Solar Age” of energy independence. Fossil fuels are no longer necessary to keep the wheels of civilization turning. Build your own solar heating system with an MTD Solar Collector Kit. Explore the Strawberry Fields Book Store for more information. Alternative energies like solar energy will increase in value as fossil fuel prices escalate. Solar collectors, solar hot water systems, heat storage vaults, photovoltaic electricity, solar panels, solar greenhouses and solar house plans will become more important in this century. According to Buckminster Fuller “We have wondered too far from the roots.” An energy crisis can only be avoided only if we learn to rely on a diffuse, sustainable resource like the sun. .

Solar Distilling – Clean water from bad

Greg Lesher sent us his ebook on how to make tire based solar distillers, which work great with seawater or grey water. We recommend it. Here it is in his words:

I have figured out a way to use sea water or worse in the garden. One
could recycle 100% of the grey water from the home as distilled water
using no power or fossil fuels. And make the system using free used
tires and a few other cheep items available anywhere.

I have been messing around with solar stills for years but they are
not cheep to build and to grow a garden, out of the question because of
the cost alone.

Tires are a global problem, now I want 100′s for my use, and they are
more than happy to give them away! I put together an ebook at

Or I can try and explain the process, but a pic is worth a thousand
words as in this case.

How do I go off grid with solar and wind?

We have been getting a lot of requests for information on how to conserve energy, how to go off grid, or even partially off grid with wind and solar. I recommend two things to help educate yourself. First you need to know how much energy you are using. Your monthly electric bill will show you a total kWh consumption, but for tracking individual items for daily consumption, you need a $20 device called a Kill-A-Watt. You plug an appliance into this, and it tells you how much energy you are using, now, and over time. This is important for planning and design purposes. The second item I recommend is Bill Kemp’s “The Renewable Energy Handbook”. One of the best resources for educating yourself on what renewable energy is all about and how to implement it. Another $20 well spent.

Converting the Diesel Suburban to Veggie

The conversion of our ’96 Diesel Suburban to 100% used vegetable oil (not biodiesel and definitely not diesel secret junk) continues. Over the years, we have worked with a variety of parts, always fine tuning and improving the system. Here are the parts for our conversion:

Coolant heated fuel pickup / tank heater –
Heats the fuel at point of pickup, doesn’t require complete tank heating.

Electric lift pump –
Take the load off your injector pump, mount at veggie tank.

2 Heavy duty, high volume 3 port fuel valves –
The most reliable way to switch from the diesel to the veggie system. Stay away from the problematic Pollak valves.

Coolant Heated Filter –
The diesel and vegetable systems are separate, with their own filters.

Electric Injector pump fuel heater –
On startup, there is cold veggie in the lines up front and in the valves that does not get heated. When switching from diesel to hot veggie, this “slug” of cold veggie hits the injector pump first. The electric IP heater mounted right at the input of the injector pump eliminates this possibility.

PMD relocator kit –
Relocating the fuel computer module from the injector pump is a necessity in this model vehicle. There are two 500 watt transistors that produce quite a bit of heat, and the extra heat from the hot veggie is enough to give it fits.

More detail on past conversions and collecting and filtering vegetable oil can be found at