Category Archives: Appropriate technology

A Teeny Tiny Barn

    John’s newest creation is a 6′ by 6′ barn. I call it the Fishing Shack as it overlooks a small pond. The large porch provides shade for those who want to fish and there is a narrow cubby to store fishing poles. The sheep have their own entrance off to the side.     This redwood star was made out of the cutouts from the braces.  The braces are the diagonal elements that stabilize the posts on the […]

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Building the “perfect” greenhouse using recycled materials

      I have been gathering data and resources for making the “perfect” greenhouse for California’s Central Valley. This has been a process that has taken longer than I would like to admit, but consider the constraints:   *       ¾ of the year it must not be warmer than ambient temperature (>100ºF) *       Much of that ¾ is unrelenting, dry solar radiation *       ¼  of the year it must collect as much heat as possible (<45ºF) […]

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Vertical Aquaponics

    The beauty of aquaponics is that you engineer it so it can fit into almost any space you have. If you have limited floor space, perhaps Vertical Aquaponics is for you. The advantage of Vertical Aquaponics is the unmatched number of plants per square foot of space, because the plants grow on vertical towers. You also cannot beat the visual appeal of Vertical Aquaponics. Where else can you check your whole crop from the comfort of your easy […]

Building with reclaimed barn wood

One of the main philosophies on our farm is utilizing local resources. This is mostly out of economic necessity. The price of building materials is often prohibitive if you are trying to make a new venture pay for itself. Our foray into small livestock coincided with a fortuitous procurement of one hundred year old barn wood. Better yet, we were able to make a trade.  We received two loads of barn wood in exchange for fishing privileges. When we started […]

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Chicken tractor from recycled materials

A chicken tractor is a great solution for mobile and secure housing.  It is called a chicken tractor because the birds are constantly pecking and scratching the soil. Soon, the area covered by the run is devoid of vegetation and bugs.   We resurrected an old abandoned farm trailer. We had to repack the bearings to get the trailer to even move.   We welded together a metal frame to which we secured reclaimed barn wood.   Corrugated roofing from […]

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Aquaponics in schools

  Interest in aquaponics is at an all time high.  It has captured the imaginations of people who want to grow their own food in a limited space.  Fish and plants grow in the same water without the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Sanger High School’s Agriculture Department requested our assistance in the design and construction of an aquaponic teaching lab.  The goal was to make a full-proof system that would suit the budget of the average homeowner.  The […]

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Building a “floating” goat house

We needed to build a goat and chicken house that was hard for predators to enter. Since we have abundant water, it seemed natural to build a structure utilizing the pond as a protective barrier. This led to the idea of a “floating” goat house. The goat house appears to be floating, but it is actually anchored to the pond bottom.   When the pond was dry, 18″ diameter concrete pipe was secured into the ground.  The redwood and cedar […]

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