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News from the sustainable research center

  • Recent Posts

    How many times do you use your hay?
    Hay How many times do YOU reuse your hay? For me it’s 4 times. First: feed it to the goats, Second: what falls to the floor becomes bedding, by spring a thick layer that quickly absorbs urine ( I only clean the goat barn once a year!) Third: rake up some of the hay for […]
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  • Recent Posts

    Dead Trees?
    Well, 6 out of 12 apple trees are alive. The other 6 are still alive, only the root stock. I will monitor them and see if they will make a tree someday. Then I can chip bud some good apple branches onto them. Here you can see how the main trunk is dead, but they […]
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  • Recent Posts

    Desiccant=you don’t eat it.
    I want to clarify something. A desiccant is a chemical or process used to dry things or to keep them dry. We do not eat them, or do we? Wikipedia says: A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains a state of dryness (desiccation) in its vicinity. Commonly encountered pre-packaged desiccants are solids […]
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  • Recent Posts

    Home Made Bedding
    Believe it or not we even make the bedding for the nesting boxes for the chickens. Beautiful, fresh, sweet smelling wood shavings come from our planer. Every time we process wood to use in the house I carefully sweep up the shavings. Sometimes we run out and I use dried grasses , or spent hay […]
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  • Recent Posts

    Winter Digging
    Every truly addicted gardener should have an indoor garden when they live in a cold climate. Besides, it sure keeps you in shape for digging! I used to can and freeze food, but now we eat fresh year round, even when it is -20* and 4′ of snow on the ground. I am amazed that […]
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    Recent Posts

    Chicken Coop/Greenhouse
    “We have a new greenhouse”, say the little red hens! A chicken coop sharing a common wall with the greenhouse. Not a new idea, but new to our neck of the woods. Windows in the shared wall allow air to flow. Warm BTU’s from the chickens at night, sun warmed air from the greenhouse to […]
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    Aphids, White Fly and Parasitic Wasps…Oh My!
    The days are getting longer. The Plants in the indoor garden that have fed us all winter are hammered but still producing. The short daylight periods and cool temperatures near the windows have taken there toll. Solar homesteading does not allow for space heaters or high powered lights to supplement the photoperiod. Normally it would […]
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    January and the seed catalogs are arriving.
    Ever consider growing all your seeds? Well, at least some of them? Here in Southwest Montana  we grow about 75% of the seeds we use. Each year they seem to be better and better, adapting to our harsh, high altitude climate. Many times I grow the plants I need seed for indoors, or bring them […]
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    Recent Posts

    Solar, whats your angle?
    A client requested a consultation recently. He was building an out of state vacation home and it was time for solar. He had several quotes in hand for fixed panel roof mounted PV systems that were confusing. It seems these days every one needs a gimmick to sell their solar systems. Special panels, racks, etc. […]
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    Recent Posts

    Life Above The Clouds
    Once or twice a year we get this effect. Weather conditions push the clouds down below our level. Livingston is down there somewhere socked in. I know its just water vapor but it feels like being on the ocean. The Bear Tooth Plateau, the largest expanse of land above 10,000 ft in the continental U.S.A. […]
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    Recent Posts

    Local Sunday Brunch
    Its the Sunday after Christmas. Michele’s at her Moms. There’s a raging blizzard right outside the windows. No sun for two day but the batteries are full from the wind generator cranking full out for hours. Bare ground in the outdoor garden a week ago has been replaced by three feet of snow. Moving around […]
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    Recent Posts

    Winter Solstice
    Winter Solstice, Time to Thin the Onions! We have the challenge of growing food all year long. That is the goal. No frozen food, no canned food, no dried food. Well, at least not too much. So this year I planted some onions and beets later in August and left them under the protection of […]
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Earth Wind and Fire

A full service solar and wind power company offering design, installation, sales, service. Call for a free consultation.This is not a store front. All of our systems are custom designed after thorough site assessment. Installing renewable energy systems and teaching sustainable practices for over a decade. Based out of the Earth Wind and Fire Sustainable Research Center, an off grid, Bio-intensive mini-farm where we produce most all of our food and power. Tours of the Research Center by appointment only, late Spring through early Fall.
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    Woodwork
    Random woodwork, cabinets and built ins by Earth Wind and Fire.
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    Costa Rica Hydro
    We can only take credit for supplying the equipment and consulting on this one. The crew from Harvey Mudd Collage did the real work and ended up with a good looking PowerSpout hydro power Install.  With no previous experience they took on this project with little more than a couple conference calls and a boat […]
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    Sheepherders Wagon
      One of the most unique and the smallest job we have ever done! Authentic sheepherders wagon remodeled for a bed and breakfast type farm stay. With integrated seasonal tilting rack, LED lighting and a 12 volt outlet for charging phones or laptops. The interior is beautifully redone to rival most hotels. Sheepherders…..eat your heart […]
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  • At the dig site

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    Field Palaeontology Lab
    Museum Of The Rockies Field Palaeontology Lab Array: Suniva 2250 watt Power Center: OutBack GVFX 3648 FP-2 Battery: 16 – U.S. Battery AGM L-16’s Voltage Out: 120/240 volts Output: 7200 watts continuous Type: Off grid / grid tie capable Mount: Standard RV type flat roof mount Back Up: automatic generator start When Jack Horner and […]
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    P.P.I. Remodel
    When the folks at Paradise Permaculture Institute  found a near perfect property to operate out of they needed some help. The residence needed work to accommodate offices and classrooms for the new non-profit. Several improvements where also needed to accommodate the many people they would have coming and going. Walls and doors and landings where […]
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  • Testimonials

    Attention to Detail
    Chris has been instrumental to our success while we made the transition to the off-grid lifestyle. Not only is he an amazing solar expert but his attention to detail and quality construction is phenomenal. We have used his skills and abilities on many projects ranging from foundations and fireplaces to solar power. I strongly recommend […]
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  • Testimonials

    Clear Communication
    Chris, my husband and I both appreciate the work you have done on our home. Your attention to details, thoroughness and integrity is unsurpassed. We know whatever you do it will be done with clear communication so we will have the job completed in the manner we desired. We also appreciated your suggestions on making changes that […]
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  • Testimonials

    Sheepherders Wagon
    The sheepherder’s wagon is almost complete!  My dad just left today after a 16-day remodel marathon!  It’s looking so awesome and I can’t wait to show you all!  We are hoping to have it up for rent before too long. I also want to thank Michele Evans and her VERY patient husband, Chris!  They have been […]
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  • Testimonials

    Flawless
    I have a grid connected, 115/230volt PV Solar system with battery backup, consisting of 48 AP-100 Solar Panels (rated at 89 W each in standard sunlight). It was installed in year 2000 and has reduced our electric bill over the years to about one half. There was some difficulty getting it to work properly at […]
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  • Testimonials

    Integrity
    Clark and I are extremely pleased with the quality products you used for our solar energy as well as the professional installation. Your quick response to our phone calls and after the sale guidance proves your integrity and we will highly recommend you to others. Thanks again,       Clark & Debbie Hoffpauer
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