Category Archives: Equipment and Gear

Resources & Notes for Off-Grid Living

During my time this summer at Two Fish Farms,  the alternative energy system was not fully installed (a windmill and second solar array are now up and running), so all power use had to be very carefully managed. Irrigation was the primary power draw, and ensuring the pressure tank remained pressurized without stressing the batteries was key. Continue reading

Inoculating Mushroom Logs

MorelNorthwest Michigan is something of a mushroom paradise.  This spring, I’ve already enjoyed several different foraged mushroom species:  morel (Morchella spp.), dryad’s saddle (aka pheasant’s back, Polyporus squamosus, which is not considered a choice edible, but is worth trying), and oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.).  And I got to enjoy the first shiitake (Lentinula edodes) harvested at Two Fish Farms from logs inoculated last year. Continue reading

Horizontal Top Bar Hive Construction

Steller Apiaries in Jackson, Michigan hosts horizontal top bar hive (HTBH, aka Kenyan top bar hive) building workshops the first Saturday of the month  February through April, and my sister and I attended the March workshop.

HTBH assemblyWe’d already taken Steller’s introductory course on HTBH beekeeping and put deposits down on starter nuc colonies from Steller, so we were anxious to get our first hives built.

Keith and Jessica Steller are both very friendly and knowledgeable, and are a great resource for alternative beekeepers in southern Michigan. Continue reading

Great Lakes EXPO

I attended the Great Lakes EXPO in Grand Rapids, MI the first week of December as one of the greenhouse industry speakers.  (You can grab handouts of my talk on Seed Plug Production here at  It’s a somewhat unique show, as it combines greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit horticulture topics and vendors. Continue reading

Rocket stove review

I picked up a couple of rocket stoves from StoveTec in Eugene, Oregon this spring, to help with the outdoor camping kitchen at the Two Fish Farms project I’m consulting on.  The owners did a lot of outdoor cooking while their schoolhouse was being gutted. Continue reading