renewable energy

The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes In March

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite of Chicago (first blogged about here in January 2014) will be offering instruction in “window farming” and solar electricity next month. From their website:

DIY Solar Electricity
Thursday, March 2, 2017
7:00pm -9:00pm
Green House Loft (map)

Class Info

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

As I type this, 11 spots are still open for the class. Cost is only $30.

Regarding that window farming class:

Window Farming for Beginners
Sunday, March 5, 2017
3:00pm-5:00pm
Green House Loft (map)

Class Info

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1hr introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming and seed cultivation followed by a thirty-minute workshop. In the workshop you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you. Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

What to bring

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

As I type this, 11 spots are still open for the class. Cost again is only $30.

For more information about the instruction and how to enroll, head over to The Green Suite website here. You can also register for classes on the Dabble Chicago website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Project Prepper, Part 41: 2016 Status Report

Last week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I recapped what the series is all about for those who didn’t already know.

Today, I’m going to talk about where the project stands a little over three years in the works.

Originally, I decided my preparedness education and activities would focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat-tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). That included:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

In May 2015, I split up “Security” into “Physical Security” and “Financial Security” (following Spirko’s lead). The revised list now looks like this:

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

After its adoption I blogged on May 20, 2015:

“Physical Security” is still priority number one because I predict the push for more gun “control” will continue while crime simultaneously gets worse. “Financial Security” breaks into the list at number two because the most likely disaster I see on the horizon is an economic one. “Shelter” now brings up the rear as I’ve completed that move from my Chicago apartment to a house in the suburbs (plus there’s my family’s place in Wisconsin where I spend time).

In my last “status report” (December 10, 2014), I wrote:

Decent strides have been made in the area of security… Physical security on the exterior/interior of the new house has been improved, particularly with landscaping, lighting, and locks. Personal safety gear, supplies, and tools have been acquired, with training having commenced a few years back.

Concerning water, the foundation for an emergency water supply is now in place. While utilizing some water storage containers I had prior to this project, I’ve acquired additional containers. To maintain the quality of the water for an extended period of time, I purchased aerobic stabilized oxygen. I’ve also kept a couple of cases of bottled drinking water on hand, along with an emergency water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh water in a bathtub standing by in the wings. At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

Concerning food, the foundation for an emergency food supply is also in place. Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Concerning shelter, purchasing that house last spring was a pretty big “prep.” And it was certainly an improvement over the multi-family housing arrangement where my girlfriend and I used to live. As much as I love the city of Chicago and would have liked to stay in our northwest side neighborhood, my girlfriend and I are much better off here in a close-by suburb, all things considered.

Concerning sanitation/health, not much work has been done in this area yet. As health is concerned, I’ve acquired a good deal of basic first aid supplies and instructional material in the last couple of years. But it’s been too long since I’ve had any training in this area. It’s one of my goals in 2015 to complete an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class and build a comprehensive first aid kit- as well as having the knowledge/skills to use it. In addition, while working around the house has been good for the body, I really need to improve my physical fitness. Not only will it help me cope with the difficult times I see coming down the pipeline, but hopefully it will keep me from having to rely on our floundering health care system as much as possible.

On sanitation, an unforeseen (and somewhat costly) improvement was carried out late last year on our sewer line going from the house. I’ll spare readers the details, but a new cleanout was added on the front of the home, and with it, a check valve. Should the city’s sewer system fail for any reason (extended power grid failure?), the valve should prevent sewage from backing up into our house and through the toilets. At least, that’s how I understand it should work. When it comes to people having to “go to the bathroom” in an extended grid-down scenario and dealing with the waste, I’m already researching a number of possible solutions.

Finally, as energy is concerned, for short-term blackouts I’ve been looking at portable generators to use at first until my girlfriend and I can afford a standby generator that can be hooked up to the natural gas line coming into the house. I’m also exploring if we can’t utilize renewable sources of energy somehow. I really hope so, because it’s probably what we’ll be forced to turn to in a long-term grid-down situation. That being said, we are limited by what we can use due to our location in a major metropolitan area.

So that’s where I stand with “Project Prepper” as 2014 draws to a close. Decent progress has been made in tackling those “innate survival needs,” but there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done. Hopefully, time and money will be on my side in the new year.

“Hopefully, time and money will be on my side in the new year.”

Regrettably, “time and money” were not on my side. That being said, I was able to make some progress on “Project Prepper.” Going down that revised list of “innate survival needs”:

1. Physical Security: Additional lighting has been added around the property to illuminate the exterior of the house. More personal safety tools and gear have been acquired, along with training material purchased from affiliate marketing partner Paladin Press.

2. Financial Security: No progress, although efforts have been ongoing since 2004. More on this another time.

3. Water: Additional water storage containers have been purchased and acquired. I bought one Reliance Products Aqua-Pak 5 Gallon Rigid Water Container
via Amazon.com to try out (review forthcoming), and have been stockpiling empty 2-liter plastic bottles.

4. Food: Nothing’s been added to the existing emergency food supply. Although regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember the “experimental” food garden my girlfriend and I grew last year using heirloom seeds from My Patriot Supply’s Survival Seed Vault.

Cucumbersaurus Revisited

Cucumbersaurus Revisited: It was DELICIOUS, by the way

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Despite a number of rookie mistakes and other challenges, I’d say it was a success, and I can’t wait to grow another, more expanded one this year.

5. Sanitation and Health: I wasn’t able to take that American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class and build a comprehensive first aid kit in 2015 like I wanted to. I have started a new workout regimen though in an effort to improve my physical fitness. I blogged back on August 26, 2015:

As for the standards I’m shooting for, I’m leaning towards those embraced by Blackwater, Inc. Founder and former CEO Erik Prince talked about them in his recently published book entitled Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror:

Our employees may have been retired from the military, but Blackwater didn’t hire your typical “retiree.” After the eight-week Moyock training programs that turned those veterans into diplomatic security professionals, our final physical fitness test standards required men to run one and a half miles in less than ten minutes, forty-five seconds; execute twelve pull-ups in a row, seventy-five push-ups done in two one-minute sets, and seventy-five sit-ups in two one-minute sets; and drag a 175-pound dummy eighty feet in under one minute

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

6. Energy: No progress.

7. Shelter: No progress. But to be fair, the house in the Chicago suburbs was a pretty substantial prep.

I’m disappointed I didn’t accomplish more since that December 2014 status report. Particularly as I believe time is ticking before the “balloon goes up.” From this point on, I’ll need to get “time and money” back on my side to keep “Project Prepper” moving forward. I’m up to the challenge.

More next week…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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SP Intel Report- November 13, 2015

Chicagoland

DIY Solar Electricity, Window Farming For Beginners Classes From The Green Suite

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite will be putting on DIY Solar Electricity and Window Farming for Beginners classes over the next couple of weeks:

DIY Solar Electricity (class #1)
Wednesday, November 18, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite, 3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago
$30 to attend, 2 spots left as I type this

Window Farming For Beginners
Wednesday, December 2, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 8 spots left

DIY Solar Electricity (class #2)
Tuesday, December 15, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 5 spots left

For more information, head on over to The Green Suite website here.

Cook County Finance Committee Approves Ammunition Tax

It comes as no surprise that Cook County, Illinois, aims to tax law-abiding firearm owners in the county for the actions of criminals- yet again. Earlier this week I mentioned Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle had proposed a tax on ammunition sales in the county. Today, the Cook County Finance Committee approved the proposal. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

The Finance Committee on Friday approved a series of other new taxes and fees. They include… A new tax on bullets- 5 cents per round of “centerfire ammunition” and 1 cent per round of “rimfire ammunition”- to raise $320,000 a year for public safety and health programs.

Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the county could expect a court challenge on the bullet fee, just as it is battling a lawsuit against a $25-per-gun purchase tax that went into effect two years ago.

“It seems interesting that the county wants to go down this road again, because you’ll incur even more litigation with a new suit to deal with this issue,” Vandermyde said, noting the relatively small sum the bullet tax is expected to bring in…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

See you in court? I’d be curious to find out how much that $25-per-gun purchase tax lawsuit has cost Cook County taxpayers to date.

Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Warns Of State Gun Control Legislation

Still on the topic of firearms tonight, gun control is on the march here in the “Land of Lincoln.” And the Illinois State Rifle Association has identified new initiatives that threaten the Second Amendment. From the ISRA Thursday Bulletin’s “Executive Director’s Message” for November 12, 2015:

In Springfield we have a couple of troublesome House Resolutions introduced. The first of these is HR0830 (Flowers, D-31, Chicago). HR 0830 calls for President Obama to hold a National Conference on Gun Violence by the end of 2015, in Chicago. This of course would be a blame the law abiding gun owners conference more than anything else. There are only 49 days left this year so it would have to happen quickly.

The next resolution, (Welch, D-7, Hillside), urges the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to adhere to the clear wording of the Second Amendment, being a right afforded to state sponsored militias, not individuals (this is their wording, not mine). What this clearly points out is that the Second Amendment is under attack. If you are not disturbed by this, you should be…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Thursday Bulletin via the ISRA’s Twitter page here.

International

My thoughts and prayers go out to France this evening. While appalled, I am not shocked to hear of the Paris terror attack however. For a couple of years now I’ve talked about the November 2008 Mumbai, India, slaughter being emulated by terrorists. Almost a year ago to this day I blogged:

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States…

And on January 7, 2015, I wrote:

I still predict major terrorist attacks having the potential of inflicting large numbers of casualties will be directed against America and its allies in the future. The possible culprits being several, but including Muslim extremists like Al-Qaeda and its affiliates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Captain Obvious strikes again? Perhaps. But the notion of a large scale terror attack directed against the United States and/or its allies doesn’t appear to have been registering on the radars of lots of people these days. With a laughable economic “recovery” and plenty of distractions in play by the powers-that-be, who could blame them?

After the carnage in France, America and her allies remain in the crosshairs of the terrorists. Stay safe…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle wins hotel tax, declines to rule out future hikes.” Chicago Tribune. 13 Nov. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-preckwinkle-hotel-tax-cook-county-met-20151113-story.html). 13 Nov. 2015.

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2015 Illinois Solar Tour Tomorrow, October 3

Just found out this morning (I was at my family’s place in Wisconsin yesterday) about a free solar energy public educational event taking place tomorrow around Illinois. From IllinoisSolarTour.org (a website belonging to the Illinois Solar Energy Association):

You’re Invited…

The Illinois Solar Tour, on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 is a FREE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE.

Home and business owners with renewable energy installations will open their homes to the public to share their passion, knowledge and experience of owning and living with renewable energy.

Visit any site at any time between 10 am and 2 pm. Homeowners will be available at each site to provide information, share experiences and answer questions.

Attend the Illinois Solar Tour to:

• Learn how home and business owners are utilizing solar and other clean energies to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and to become energy independent

• Meet people who have renewable energy installations, learn why they did it, the process, what they love about it and lessons learned

• Learn about the different technologies and see how they are installed

• Hear how different renewable energy technologies work together

• Find out all of the ways you can use clean energy to power your life

Regrettably, I’ll be tied up with other things Saturday. However, this sounds like one event I would very much like to attend in the future (2016?).

For more detailed information, visit the 2015 Illinois Solar Tour website here, particularly “The Tour” section accessible via the main menu bar.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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The Green Suite Of Chicago Launching The Green Van Project

I received word yesterday from Chicago-based purveyors of survival and sustainable living-related training The Green Suite (first blogged about here) regarding a new project they’re launching- and looking to fund. From international crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com:

The Green Van Project

One Man, One Van, and a Plan to Save the World.

Since it’s inception, The Green Suite has been on a Mission to save the world. With innovative classes, hydroponic kits and recycled products, Nick Conrad has shared his eco-obsession with countless future green-o-philes in the Chicago area. Despite this success, Nick was looking for a bigger way to expand his audience and have a greater impact. The solution, quickly revealed itself: a DIY, sustainable showroom on wheels. Enter The Green Van Project.

With a goal of 15,000, this eco-prototype will test the limits of a mobile yet sustainable lifestyle. The more money that can be raised, the more features will be added to The Green Van. This project is a culmination of five years worth of R+D in solar electricity and hydroponics and will prove just how far a DIY green lifestyle can take you. Taking the tiny house concept a step farther, the goal of this project is to combine every off-grid necessity into the compact space of a Dodge Sprinter. Once completed, The Green Van will be mobile classroom/laboratory/workshop/micro house all rolled into one sleek, well-designed package.

Plans to include:
• eco-friendly, veggie fuel system to recycle used cooking oil into fuel
• regenerative water system to recycle rain water
• solar panels on the roof to power on-board electrical system
• composting toilet and worm bin to turn waste into soil
• multi-purpose internal furniture for maximum use of space
• sleeping area for up to four people
• roof top deck and storage rack
• integrated soil and hydroponic garden
• compact, propane powered kitchen for organic, on the road cooking
• hot and cold running water system complete with shower

Only with your help can The Green Van Project bloom into a reality. Support today and The Green Van might be rolling to a city near you!

Sounds pretty cool and worthwhile. Head on over to The Green Van Project’s page on Indiegogo.com here for more information and to help.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite of Chicago (first blogged about here in January 2014) will be offering instruction in “window farming” and solar electricity in the coming weeks. From their website:

Window Farming for Beginners
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
7:00pm-9:00pm
The Green Suite (map)

Class Info

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1hr introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming and seed cultivation followed by a thirty-minute workshop. In the workshop you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you. Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

What to bring

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

As I type this, 10 spots are still open for the class. Cost is only $30.

Regarding that solar electricity class:

DIY Solar Electricity
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
7:00pm -9:00pm
The Green Suite (map)

Class Info

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

As I type this, 10 spots are still open for the class. Cost is once again only $30.

For more information about the instruction and how to enroll, head over to The Green Suite website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Thursday, September 10th, 2015 Agriculture, Energy, Farming, Food, Preparedness, Training No Comments

The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes In Late July

The Green Suite of Chicago (first blogged about here in January 2014) will be offering instruction in “window farming” and solar electricity in the coming weeks. From the Facebook page of Nick Conrad and the school on July 9:

So happy to be teaming up with The Shift for our July classes! I will be teaching both my Hydroponics for Beginners (July 21st) and DIY Solar Electricity (July 28th). We still have a few spots left in both classes. Get them before they’re gone!

Per the The Shift’s website for the hydroponics class:

Window Farming for Beginners

$20 Purchase required to enroll

Tuesday, July 21
6pm – 8pm
Led by Nick Conrad

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is an inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1 hour introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming, and seed cultivation followed by a 30 minute workshop in which you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you!

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle (12-32oz is best).

Regarding that solar electricity class:

DIY Solar Electricity

$20 Purchase required to enroll

Tuesday, July 28
6pm – 8pm
Led by Nick Conrad

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

For more information about the instruction and how to enroll, head over to The Shift’s website here under “Events.” And to learn more about The Green Suite, visit their site here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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