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DIY Shipping Container Tiny Home – Bye Bye, Mortgage Slavery

We found this inspiring video by Kristen Dirksen that will show you one woman’s journey toward truly off-grid living.

Originally from Argentina, Lulu is a single mom currently living in California who decided to go back to school. Instead of taking on a full time job in order to pay rent and utility bills, she realized that she and her young daughter did not need to live in a conventional (expensive) home. Despite her lack of previous building experience, it took Lulu only one month to convert a shipping container into the 8 by 20 sq. ft. structure that she and her daughter now call home. Watch the video for a tour around Lulu’s property, where she later built a second structure (using a flatbed trailer she found at the dump) which is now her bedroom.

In the video, Lulu also shows off the bathroom, complete with the claw foot tub that she describes as one “luxury” she could not give up in her transition to off-grid living. Other creative innovations add character and charm—such as the placement of windows, allowing for utilization of sun (and stargazing at night).

Lulu also shows off some impressive features of the main unit including a simple yet fully functional kitchen—complete with a propane-powered camping stove and on-demand water heater. She is planning to build a third unit that will resemble a Japanese tea house.

Using only recycled materials, Lulu spent approximately $4000 to convert a shipping container (which she acquired for free) into a perfectly livable home; one which, as she explains in the video, would be considered a very nice house in other parts of the world where the standard of living is not as high. $4000 covered the cost of insulation (recycled styrofoam and bubble wrap), drywall, windows, cabinets, doors, dressers, hardwood floors, bathtub and toilet, as well as sinks for the bathroom and kitchen—and the flatbed trailer for the second unit.

Now how is that compared to a $200,000 mortgage? Plus she gets to spend much more time with family than slaving away.

Throughout the video, Lulu reflects on the choice she made and why it works for her and her family. She believes that children do not have to have a pink room with pink toys in order to be happy kids. This is evident in the film as her daughter and friends frolic around the property, giggling and playing. As Lulu’s brother in Argentina describes it, her lifestyle is como la pobreza con mucho estilio…como pobre elegante (“like poverty with a lot of style…elegant poor”).

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DIY Shipping Container - Tiny Home
Photo – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsVxgOjNLbA

Here Is Living Proof That We Don’t Need To Rely On Fossil Fuels

Here Is Living Proof That We Dont Need To Rely On Fossil Fuels
Images – PD

Can a country operate its industries and power its homes and other establishments without using fossil fuels?

That is no mean feat but Central American country Costa Rica has proven that it can rely solely on renewable energy. According to the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the country surpassed 250 days using only power generated by renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, biomass, and solar. Ninety-eight percent of the developing country’s energy came from these sources.

Costa Rica aims to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2021. The country is relying on three factors to meet that goal; including its size, available natural resources, and electricity consumption. Almost 75 percent of Costa Rica’s electricity came from hydroelectric plants. Geothermal and wind provide 12.74- and 10.30-percent of energy, respectively, while biomass and solar contribute 0.72- and 0.01-percent. Fossil fuels represented only 1.8 percent of the 2016 total.

The developing nation has earned the reputation of being a clean power superstar. Its renewable energy milestone in 2016 is the envy of most nations which continuously depend on fossil fuel power plants which are of course harmful to the environment. Costa Rica also closed 2015 with 99 percent clean energy.

Hydropower remains the main source of energy, thanks to Costa Rica’s vast river system, volcanoes, and abundant rainfall. With a population of 4.9 million and lack of energy-intensive industries, Costa Rica consumes less energy overall than bigger countries.

Is it possible for bigger countries to replicate the carbon-free success of Costa Rica? Yes, but it would require political will, reliable renewable resources, and heavy investments in power-related infrastructures. One of the advanced economies that is increasing its dependence on renewable is Australia, whose 15 percent of electricity in 2016 came from alternative sources. European countries Sweden, Portugal, and Denmark have also taken the initiative to tap energy from renewable.

Costa Rica did not burn oil, coal, or natural gas for a single megawatt of electricity for 299 days in 2015. It generated about 10,713 gigawatt-hours of electricity during the period. By contrast, almost 90 percent of the U.S.’ energy needs were provided by power produced by burning coal, natural gas, and operating nuclear plants. That translates to four million gigawatt-hours of electricity. A scant 13 percent of USA power was delivered by hydropower and renewable resources.

To be carbon neutral by 2021, Costa Rica will not only rely on renewable sources but will also resort to electric and hybrid transportation. The central government will also implement new budgeting, laws, and incentives that will include measures to promote biofuels, hybrid vehicles, and clean energy. The country’s population has to increase its reliance on the public transportation system to lessen the carbon footprint produced by the transport sector. A national energy plan will promote the use of alternative fuels in the transport system, reduce the dependency of hydrocarbons, and improve the regulations for importing new and used vehicles.

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Here Is Living Proof That We Dont Need To Rely On Fossil Fuels
graphic – off-grid.info. Images – PD

Here’s How You Can Grow An Avocado Tree In A Small Pot At Home!

How To Grow An Avocado Tree In A Small Pot At Home
graphic – off-grid.info. Images – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Avocado-pflanze003.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GrowingAvocadoFromSeed.JPG

Avocados are a tropical fruit that originated from Mexico and are more suited to the humid regions of Central America, Africa, and Asia. These pear-shaped fruits have taken the health-conscious community by storm and have become a staple of healthy eating. They contain a similar fatty acid to the one found in olive oil, making these fruits heart-friendly. Avocados are also rich in potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin E, to name a few.

These warm season plants are easily damaged by cold and frost. Also with various rumors of interruption to the avocado supply in the USA, you should know that you can grow an avocado houseplant to enjoy its fruits at home. Yes! You can produce the trees indoors due to the availability of several dwarf varieties, allowing gardeners to grow the healthy fruits in their own home even in temperate or cold climates.

You don’t need an entire backyard to enjoy your own home-grown avocados. You have two options to grow an avocado plant indoors. You can either start with a seed or just use a healthy dwarf tree. For this article, we will be discussing the former as outlined below:

1. Clean off an avocado seed and insert four toothpicks into it, each about halfway down from the top.
2. Place the seed in a cup of water. The toothpicks will keep your seed soaking in an inch of water.
3. Let the seed soak for about three to six weeks until the roots and stem begin to appear.
4. The seed should be placed in a warm area but must be away from direct sunlight.
5. Wait for the roots to thicken before you transfer the sprout to a pot.
6. Do not let your taproot to dry out or unsubmerged. Doing so will lead to the death of your plant.
7. Fill a large pot with soil. The container must be about 10 inches in diameter.
8. Transfer the sprout to the pot, with its seed and roots at the bottom of the soil. Half of the seed must be exposed.
9. Keep the soil moist by watering the plant regularly. This will prevent mold, bacteria, and fungus growth.
10. Regular caring and maintenance are important for your plant to flourish. Indoor plants require cool nights to force blooming and fruiting.
11. Fertilize your plant with water-soluble food or fish emulsion monthly.

You may well have to wait for several years before the plant begins to bear fruit. When it does, you will be enjoying your very own fresh avocados without going to the supermarket or weekly bazaar.

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How To Grow An Avocado Tree In A Small Pot At Home
graphic – off-grid.info. Images – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Avocado-pflanze003.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GrowingAvocadoFromSeed.JPG