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How to have a home with no house payments and no utility bills!

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Homestead & Survival

How To Cook Food With A Car Sunshade...

Homesteading / Survivalism

Chicken Coupe!

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DIY Super Efficient Chest Refrigerator (FREE PDF Plan)

DIY Super Efficient Chest Refrigerator (FREE PDF Plan)

It is quite likely that over the year, the most expensive appliance you run in your home is your refrigerator. This shows how to easily convert an old freezer into a refrigerator that will use less than 100 watts a day! It would cost around $5 a year to run and it could easily be powered by a cheap solar system... Find out more!

Make a takedown bow from skis!

Ever notice how the cool action heroes all use bows and arrows these days? Katniss Everdeen, Legolas, Hawkeye, Lara Croft... Now you can join their ranks with this step-by-step guide to designing and building your own bow out of old cross-country skis!
I made this pair of bows at the artist residency, Grin City Collective, in Grinnell, Iowa.

Skis are an excellent material to use for the limbs of a bow. First off, they are uniform. You won’t have to worry about inconsistencies in the material; you can expect both limbs of the bow to bend equally.  This also eliminates the tedious process of tillering the bow.  The front of the skis also already have recurved tips.  All of this means using skis saves a lot of time.

What you’ll need: Materials
Skis – cut down to become the limbs
Lumber – to be carved for the riser.  Either a large block (at least 3"x3"x20") or scraps will do.
A couple of bolts, washers and wing nuts – to attach limbs to the riser
Nylon twine (or any low-stretch string)- for the bowstring

What you'll need: Tools
Hand drill with assorted bits
Chisel and hammer
Wood rasps or file
Assorted sandpapers
Wood finish
Glue or spray adhesive

The following tools are not required to make the bow but will make the process a lot easier if you decide to make a more complicated riser (handle) for your bow.
-Tablesaw                -Band saw
-Hacksaw                 -Planer
-Drill press               -Belt/disc sander        

Skis ~$10 at a yard sale or Goodwill.
Lumber  -- scraps
Hardware --  less than $4
Twine -- $3 for a roll

A Little Girl’s Project Shows Us Why We Need To Choose Organic Produce

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As part of a simple school project a young student by the name of Elise was tasked with discovering how long it would take for a fully grown sweet potato to grow vines. The project itself is quite simple, and is a regular part of many elementary school curriculum’s since all that it involves is the sticking of toothpicks into the sweet potato and the suspension of it into a glass of water. If left near a window that receives sunlight the sweet potato should grow vines, which is the exact process that Elise was looking to monitor. (Click HERE for an exact step-by-step guide on how to do this)
Elise’s discovery however went a lot further than this when she initially purchased sweet potato failed to grow vines after three weeks of following the given instructions. Here is the full video featuring Elise’s discovery:
What initially started as a simple science experiment quickly evolved into a potent and unintentional piece of evidence in support of the purchase of organic rather than conventional produce. As Elise so adorably mentioned as a part of her explanation, the conventional sweet potato was sprayed with bud nip, alternatively known as Chlorpropham. Bud nip is just one of the many chemicals widely used in non-organic farming and agriculture.

What Is Bud Nip?

Bud Nip is a plant growth regulator used for the control of grass weeds on several fruit and vegetable plants. In potatoes, such as the sweet potatoes that we conventionally purchase, bud nip is used primarily to inhibit potato sprouting -the exact process that Elise was looking to create as a part of her experiment. On the surface bud nip seems relatively harmless, however certain studies show that it also comes with a fair level of potential side effects -many of which Elise mentions -that do more than an adequate job at justifying the ‘caution’ warning that it is labelled with.  Bud nip is considered moderately toxic for ingestion, an irritant for the eyes and skin and was responsible for a number of side effects and even death of several of the animals that it was tested on. Despite this, bud nip is regularly used directly on an abundance of non-organic produce, and indirectly on other produce due to its highly soluble nature in both soil and groundwater. This could potentially explain how even the organic sweet potato that Elise had purchased from the conventional grocery store did not sprout nearly as impressive as the final one that she had purchased from the organic food market. Elise’s experiment serves as a simple yet profound reminder of the option that we have to grow or purchase organic produce. It may currently be the more expensive of the two product options that exists, but when it involves our health it certainly cannot be overlooked.
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How To Build Your Own Plastic Rain Barrel System...


The Farm Meaning & Reflections

God Save The Pallet! Reclaimed Pallets Revamped

Used in the shipping industry, wood pallets are typically a low end commodity. Usually, pallets will get reused a few times and then they will either be scrapped as trash or used as firewood. 

Most often made from inexpensive junk species of lumber (whatever is most widely available), wood pallets are the perfect candidate for upcycling. Check out these creative examples of upcycled pallets and I think you'll agree!

Pallet Adirondack Chair

Wall Unit Display Organizer with electric light. Made from Upcycled Wooden Pallets

pallet 034


upcycled pallet floor via arcticplank

Pallet furniture (above and below)

Occasional Table. 24 1/2″ x 14″. Crafted from reclaimed wood pallets and old mine tin. $60

Pallet workstation Pallet workstation Pallet workstation

RECUP GARDEN ': A terrace of '4 As'


DIY garden pallet fence (above and below) from Camelot Art Creations
A great way to hide trash cans or air conditioning units!

Painted wood wall art by Inspired by Charm


make this 

 Pallet headboard

Painted pallet art (above and below) by Pamela Joyce

Wonderful wine storage

in the kitchen

kitchen table upcycle

pallet stairs lead to loft

pallet wood furniture

pallet reuse


via Sunset magazine

wood pallet reuse

It's amazing what a coat of paint can do! Here, a painted pallet is wall mounted and hooks are added. 

Pallet & grain sack sofa via Gibson Germany 

On a final note: A word about safety and wood pallets 
Be advised that some pallets are chemically treated and could actually be hazardous to your health. There are regulations in the US which require pallets to be treated with either chemicals or heat before being shipped overseas. The safest kind of pallets to use for projects are those that are marked "HT" on the wood - that means they have been heat treated by being dried in a kiln.
Aside from chemicals, pallets can also harbor bacteria, insects, and mold. You never know where a pallet has been, or if it could have come in contact with something dangerous, or if it was used to ship a hazardous material such as a pesticide.
Keep these things in mind when considering your pallet project. 


What's your favorite pallet upcycle?

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