Self Sufficiency Ideas and Tips

It's about time we started a forum topic to gather all these wonderful resourceful ideas for self-sufficiency ideas together.

Please post anything, resourceful, clever, simple and any tips and hints that help towards self-sufficiency.



This looks like an excellent idea to build on for keeping your room warm on only 8 pence a day using a couple of plant pots and some tea light candles. I think I'll try this and see what happens...

I am putting this here for me really (not sure that anyone else is interested :) )... this is something that I would LOVE to do. It is so resourceful. It's a really efficient stove that maximises the use of heat by running the pipe through a storage mass before letting it go out the final chimney entrance.

Anyone else into this sort of thing - let's be buddies!

Great images here etc...…

Hi Trinity - I was really hoping there would be lots of ideas from people here, I am sure that some Openhand bods must have some tips?

I liked the flower pot heater - that one seems simple to do, the rocket stove seems quite a project (well for me anyway).

There is a very interesting place called 'Centre for Alternative Technology' (CAT) in Powys, Wales. Its an educational and visitors centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability. I visited many years ago and found it fascinating. They cover aspects for green living, environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management, renewable energy, energy efficiency and organic growing.
Love Myra

In reply to by Myra

Thanks for sharing Myra. I was hoping too ;)

I visited CAT about 14 years ago. A good educational resource.

Another online resource (UK based) that offers a wealth of information, factsheets, publications and courses etc. is LILI (Low Impact Living Initiative)

I often find myself on their website when researching things for our projects here.

Hi All!

Learned how to build a rocket stove this awesome for outdoor cooking and very useful should there be no electricity. It can also be hooked up to a pipe to direct the heat to an intended space. Uses very little wood (just small thin twigs and water boiled in about 5 minutes.

Seen them and used them - fantastic!

The most perfect thing I witnessed once was with Trin in the Sinai. We made Bedouin 'Pizza Bread' - made a fire from sticks, burnt it to coals, moved them aside, then buried the dough underneath them. We had a wonderfully tasty and crisp bread under the stars. Ah yes!


How cool is that Open!!? Love it!

I just checked the website that Trinity posted above on Low Impact Living... ...oh wow! What a great resource - it's truly unlimited the ways we can explore and dig deeper to challenge our conditioned ways of living and find a simple and yet exuberant joy in living. x Jen

Jen - I am in awe that you are doing all these incredible things.

Haha - I remember that Sinai experience well. I love the simplicity of it. Much that we can learn from simplicity. Ahhhhhhh. Keep it coming!

Yes I agree - amazing doing what you're doing Jen.
Just let me know if you want to zip over here to the UK and help us finish our straw bale/cob walls!


Now we're talking!! I would soooo love that if I was closer by...exactly how I would love to learn. <3

I am sure many of you already know this, but using your own pee on your garden is the best fertilizer. I have gotten in the habit of keeping a jar in the bathroom...I just fill it up and walk it outside and dilute it with rainwater (9:1 ratio, water: pee), and pour it on the soil. Tomatoes will need to not have fresh diluted pee poured on when flowering/fruiting as all the Nitrogen encourages leaf growth, however older pee will have a higher ratio of phosphorous and potassium and will encourage fruiting. Container gardens, potted plants and delicate plants/seedlings will need to have an even higher ratio of water to pee 20:1 or more.

You can also really speed up the decomposition of compost materials by adding undiluted urine to the pile...though it may get smelly if it's done frequently.

Happy's really just giving back to the plants/ourselves...symbiosis! =)

An article for you to reference...I was taught 9:1 was fine - article says 20:1...see what feels right for you and your plants!…

You are a mind full of knowledge Jen. I was indeed aware of this pee thing, although had no ideas of these ratios. Thanks for the info and link.

It grosses a lot of people out because humanity has become so far removed from nature and can't stand the thought of it (despite the fact that every other creature on earth pees outside :D ).
OMG we waste so much good stuff!!!

I just LOVE that you are sharing this here.
You are fast becoming our chief self sufficiency facilitator.
Big Love

Funny you say mind of knowledge because that has been a sticking point for me up until more recently. I have always been a bit of a researcher/collector of information... There would be a spark of interest... Something I would be drawn to, but I would get overwhelmed with so much info that I did nothing with it and any flow of creation would hit a wall. Now I find great joy in putting the information into practice...I have less fear around making a mistake and just let myself try things and engage with the feedback loop that is created. So, here's to knowledge, but let's put it into action =)!!

Yes I have had first hand experience with people's response to pee in the garden...apparently they'd much prefer it in the water supply??! But I do recall a time when this would have been an "out there" idea to me as well - when we really connect to our interconnectedness, it just makes sense.

Much love,

Yeah, its just crazy that all that liquid gold goes down the pan each day!
Our garden and compost heap does pretty well for natural fertiliser, I'm happy to say.
Fruit trees need lots of nitrogen, so be generous with them!
Love the tip about spraying for fungal diseases in the link Jen, hadn't heard that one. The book I read (which I think may have been called something like Liquid Gold) recommended a dilution ratio of 8:1. I reckon that pee isn't standard anyway, it depends how hydrated you are. So just diluting until pale is good enough I reckon. Trees seem to hold their own with doses of neat pee.


This is such a cool way of saving water - especially in hotter climatic zones (which could be for any of us in this day and age).

Ollas are a self sufficient buried clay pot irrigation system that ensure the plants stay hydrated and get only the water they need...

Reckon you could do something similar with plastic bottles if you pricked holes in them with a needle and put some water in when you buried it to make it sturdy while you packed the soil round. Not so attractive, but much cheaper!

Wonderfully resourceful Lesley.
You can also use clay pots too - somehow - I saw that too. Wouldn't it be cool to have a pottery wheel - could make our own :)

I tried the clay-pot room heater (the top video link you posted), the first post on this thread - it does make a difference to the room temperature, though won't make it really hot. Perhaps if you had a few in one space it would. You can feel the heat coming out the top though, like a mini-radiator!

Apparently you can use two clay pots as an outdoor refrigerator too, called a 'zeer'.…
What a versatile product. I like this thread. :-)

Yes, Trin, that we would be great! You can also hand build pots by putting coils of rolled out clay on top of each other, then kind of smoothing them together. We are so blessed here in somerset to have gardens that are naturally full of clay. We could even build a little cob kiln to fire our pots in. I did that once with a local potter, it was amazing! He built a willow frame (willows are very plentiful in the native wetlands of Somerset), then we covered it in cob and set fire to the frame to burn it away and set the cob firmly. Then he fired his pots in it. A lovely thought, that as yet I don't see happening, but one day..... ;-)

That's nice to know Ben - thanks for sharing the link for the electricity free fridge.

I'd love to have a little clay oven in the garden Lesley... awesome that you got to experience the making of one with a local potter. I wish I had a potter friend. I get a bit tired of teaching myself absolutely everything from google ha ha ha (although I am not knocking it!!!) - now I'd love to have more friends who can show me cool stuff like that :)

Now, a clay oven I could see appearing!
Pizza and jacket potatoes are more motivating than pots for me at this stage ;0)