Sunday, June 14, 2015

HOW TO MAKE A SOLAR WATER DISTILLER



I have built and sold and installed solar water distillers for years. It is a wonderful feeling to build something that can take nasty or polluted water and turn it into something absolutely pure and drinkable! So how do you build a solar water distiller?

Here are some tips on how it works...

First of all you want to understand how a solar water distiller, also called a solar still, actually runs. It is basically a wide and low-profile 'box' that has glass on top at a slightly sloped (about 10 degrees) angle. The bottom of this box inside will be black so as to absorb as much of the sun's rays as possible. The water is inserted through a side tube (you can use a water hose or gravity-fill using a bucket and tube) into a thin layer, maybe 1"-2" in depth.

As the sun heats up the water it will start to evaporate, and will begain condensing onto the cooler glass above, and then trickle down underneath the glass, draining into a 1" CPVC tube cut in half lengthwise, which acts as a water trough. The condensed/distilled water then drains out an exit tube into your water collection vessel (usually glass since plastic dioxins can be carcinogenic).

That's all there is to making solar distilled water!

However, making the box with food-safe materials is a MUST! There are different ways to do this. Plus the box needs to be insulated well so as to not lose heat. Basically, this is similar to a solar oven design, but holds water, and gets hot enough to burn you if you were to touch it. It does not boil--nor do you want it to boil since that is a forced method and tastes metalic and is acidic. Natural solar water distilled water is softer and alkaline, if not neutral in pH.

There are a lot of tricks to choosing materials, but items ranging from glass to solar kits that have special food-grade silicone manufactured liner are included. You can also use a food-grade silicone in the tubes (special order) and smear it onto the inside of the box yourself. Some people use high-grade stainless steel but this tends to be expensive and can pit/erode over time since distilled water has NOTHING in it, and absorbs whatever it touches.

I cover more details in my book below:



You can learn all about the layers and items needed (plus other solar projects!) in the full intro in my book:
Passive Solar Energy House Projects: A How-To Guide
Hard copy $15.00 / Electronic $9.99 (Kindle)

I no longer sell solar water distillers, however you can click on the links below to purchase them directly from the websites/companies:

Solaqua Solar still produces 1 1/2 gal/day for 1-2 people per still (no electricity, on-site, no running water necessary)

Suns-River stills produce 4x the amount of water than a passive still using the sun and an electric pump - these are excellent for communities

Flo-Onics Stills used to produce 100 gal/day to 250,000 gal/day for communities/groups/towns but last time I checked I think the company was defunked.

For solar water distiller construction plans you can obtain them through the El Paso Solar Energy Association or www.solaqua.com

Enjoy learning more and making your own solar water distiller!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

SEEING SPIDERS AND FORMS



I've been seeing spiders lately, and human forms, but just in my peripheral vision. As soon as I look they disappear. It's a bit ominous, and sometimes I think the spiders are just random bugs.

Of course, my knowledge of shamanistic interpretation bellows in to say these are negative things, whereas my spiritual side insists these are positive things. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with bugs, spiders in particular.

This morning I had a dream of a black widow spider. It crawled down onto my hand and bit me (I'm still trying to remember which hand, but I think it may have been the right hand... no, maybe the left! LOL). But it was so shocking that it woke me up out of a sound sleep. Typically this type of scenario only happens when I have stopped breathing during sleep, due to sleep apnea.

The spider, then, is my messenger to wake up and start breathing again! So it is a warning, but a good omen in the end, because it keeps me alive and aware, and it serves the purpose it was intended for. I could become friends with the spider, but if I lost my disgust of their creepy little bodies with all 8 legs, then I would not have any fear of them and then the dreams would no longer be effective. It is in my best interest to keep the spiders as a sort of enemy, even if it's just for pretend.

So something else has been happening...

The human forms are new. I am not prone to seeing things, but I admit it has been a little unnerving. I wonder what the messenger is trying to tell me when it is shaped like a person? No real gender on this human, but maybe a man? So maybe it has to do with someone else.

Someone I know and love is in the hospital right now, with severe congestive heart failure and a bad valve and blocked artery. Surgery will be needed, if the doctors can get her strength back up to survive the surgery. Any arrhythmia and she could have a heart attack at any time. It's a bit scary. The figure I keep seeing may nor may not have anything to do with her, but the spider connection is there... I will explain...

So I was praying the other night for this person, and went into theta brainwave state, and saw a huge black spider on a web, but its legs were part of the web, it seemed, and it was all-encompassing. It was the mental image manifesting as a representation of the problem that is causing her health issue with her heart. It's a big one. It's black and scary. I am now thinking more and more that I need to pray again and see if something can be done, so that the birds of the spirit can pick away this spider and restore her health. That is my next focus.

It is such a strange thing to not only be bitten by a spider on my hand (deeds) but also to dream of others in similar fashion, overlapping... it is hard to know (especially with me having a similar heart murmur to hers) where her symbols start and where mine end, or where they overlap.

Let's pray that I find out sooner than later. Seeing spiders and forms is no easy matter when it is life and death.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

UNDERSTANDING YOU...



My love, it has taken me some time to understand you...
to grasp your moods without being touched by them so deeply...
to see your pain while witnessing the little boy you still are inside...
to understand your depth that you hide so well...
to kiss the lack of experience, yet still remain the most kissable of all lips, of all time...
to hear harsh words that stab the soul, and become stronger for it...
to be annoyed by grandiose dreams, which will never happen...
to listen to threats, which I know now will never fruit...
to think your love has ended, when you refuse to ever say it...
to know you are true, even though I doubted you...

My dear, it has taken me a great amount of time to understand you just this much...
and I will still need more time to understand the rest of you...
I hope time, we have.
I pray love, we will.

Friday, April 3, 2015

BAHA'I VERSES I LIKE: OTHER WORLDS

I like this! I took a scientific stance over the YEC (young earth creationist) view a long time ago! That's when I started believing that science and religion MUST match up or else I might otherwise believe in folly. Would rather stand for truth than get hung up on dogma that is illogical. We exist. The earth revolves around the sun. There are many suns, galaxies, and likely many universes as well as worlds with intelligent life. And I'm sure those worlds were all made much longer than 6kya too. LOL

“When we contemplate this vast machinery of omnipresent power, perceive this illimitable space and its INNUMERABLE WORLDS it will become evident to us that the lifetime of this infinite creation is more than six thousand years; nay, it is very, very ancient”. (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 108).

RELATIONSHIPS THAT CUT LIKE KNIVES

This story is an exercise in dynamics of control in relationships. This actually happened to someone I know, so I reproduce her story here, names changed. It's a simple story, and is probably rather harmless, but the implications--once magnified and taken to an extreme circumstance--can be dangerous to a relationship.

The questions to ask are, what is the real desire behind why a man would do this? For control? To not feel controlled by the woman's requests in "her domain"? To teach a lesson about life? Or to not care that she could be harmed.

Read the story... then you decide...

RELATIONSHIPS THAT CUT LIKE KNIVES

Tamara always put the silverware with the handles down in the dish drainer, but not the sharp knives... she always put them with the sharp point down and the handles sticking up so no one would get hurt if they were reaching in to get the silverware.

But Brett always put all the silverware with the handles down, including the sharp knives.

Tamara warned Brett that this was a dangerous practice, so showed him to put the sharp blade of the knives facing downward. She said, "I have to reach over the silverware every day to get my water glass and I almost cut my forearm the other day because the knife was sticking up. Can you please point them down?"

Brett said, "You simply need to pay attention to what you are doing. Life has things we need to watch out for, so pay attention so you know what you're doing at all times. Just be more careful."

Tamara thought it was unwise to ignore something dangerous and possibly put others in danger, and why should she have to take extra care every single time she reaches over the dish drainer to grab her water glass, which she does numerous times a day? Instead, turn the knife downward the first time and it saves time and effort and possible issues later.

Time passed, and Tamara mentioned the knife situation again, but Brett kept putting the sharp knives facing straight up when he would help with dishes.

One day, Tamara was busy cooking and realized she had not drank water for several hours, so she reached over to grab her water glass, but a knife was sticking up at just the right angle and it cut a scratch into her forearm near her elbow between two and three inches long, which bled, not to mention hurt.

Tamara was disgusted. She had not learned Brett's lesson about being careful every single time about the knives.

But another lesson she learned was not that she was just not being extra careful, but that she shouldn't have to in her own home. Home should be a place of comfort and safety, away from the dangers of the outside world. Her environment was hers to control, not be controlled by. The kitchen was her domain, yet somehow she had not had any control over this knife issue.

Was she wrong in not taking care every time she wanted water to drink? Was she being selfish?

She didn't think so; the real lesson in her mind now was that Brett had not cared about her. He would rather be right about his own position on the knife being up so he did not have to go to the extra effort to be mindful and point it down, she thought. He was more interested in being right than taking care of her and ensuring her safety.

Brett hurt Tamara, in her view, because he refused to do what she had asked, since it was a safety issue. Yet she did not mention this to him because she knew he would just cause him to yell at her and say something like, "See, I told you to be careful! But you don't listen. You don't pay attention," like times he had said before to her about other things.

Perhaps he was right, too, and it was her own laziness in not wanting or feeling the need to double-check for knives every time. Perhaps she wouldn't have gotten hurt (by the knives or by his attitude) if she would have simply paid more attention each time.

Does this HAVE to be my life with Brett? she thought... will she constantly have to be on the defense with him and watch out for his sharp points that can and will hurt her? Simply because he refuses to care for her by putting away his sharpness so she can feel safe?

Ultimately Tamara found a different way to solve the problem... she simply put her water glass on the opposite side of the counter after that, away from the dish drainer, and away from Brett's upward facing knives.

Tamara pondered if avoiding Brett would follow, in order to save herself from being hurt.

*******************

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Which is the more important life lesson... realizing that life can hurt you and to be careful at every turn, to be aware of everything around you? Or realizing that people can harm you and that perhaps we sometimes need to be careful of their own "sharpness" that can "cut" instead?

In this case, Tamara found another way out... but is it indicative of her ultimately just finding a solution somewhere else so she didn't have to deal with a man who would rather see her risk harming herself than to actually care about her welfare MORE than being right?

I guess one has to ask if putting her in harms way was really worth the lesson he was trying to "teach" her... in Tamara's eyes, she merely learned that Brett represented the knive that could cut her.

Friday, March 20, 2015

BECOMING BAHA'I

It's funny how memories can surface, after the fact... this happened to me recently as I was in the process of becoming Baha'i (more about that in a minute).

I remember taking a cultural anthropology course in college and learning about different religions and religious views. At the time I was a fairly new Unitarian Universalist and had Christian roots, yet was interested in many spiritual paths. I had, many years before, heard about Baha'is but I did not know anything about the faith. But in class as a mature adult I remembered distinctly that I was familiar with the name "Baha'i" and that it had a favorable feeling in my soul, yet I had no idea why.

There I sat, reading about the Baha'i faith in my college textbook... about the universalist principles of love for all mankind and overcoming prejudice, and equality of the sexes, no proselytizing allowed (totally agree!), there is no clergy (spiritual education is the responsibility of the individual, although there are many functions and classes and books!), education is highly promoted (there is a saying that if you have two children, a boy and a girl, and only enough money to educate one of them, you should educate the girl because she will teach her own children), there is a strong interfaith stance, the concept of Satan is that of man's lower nature rather than an actual imaginary being, the promotion of world peace instead of war, a united planet and positive one-world government (not the fear-based New World Order that some fundamentalists teach), the avoidance of politics, concepts like Progressive Revelation, spiritual leaders coming in and going out and being replaced by people more appropriate for each age (whether Adam, Zoroaster, Abraham, Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus, etc.), and even being open to other worlds existing in the universe. I agreed with all of these concepts.

Yes, I was a Baha'i at heart. I thought to myself, "I'm already a Baha'i and didn't even know it!"

I decided right then that if I ever stepped off the agnostic fence and chose the path of no god, then I would become Buddhist, but if I chose the path of a God (and although I know there are many gods, I am inclined towards monotheism as a greater power of spirit/energy that pervaded the universe(s) and beyond) then I would become Baha'i. However, I sat on that fence yet another 10 years.

Then I met my present husband, who happens to be Baha'i. Fate? A manifestation of my own subconscious, since even while agnostic I sometimes caught myself praying to or complaining to the God I said I didn't believe in? The Buddhist route just never took hold anyway, for whatever reason (I did manage to go to a Buddhist temple once with a friend and enjoyed it immensely). But the powers that be, whether from within or without, took hold of my path and set me on it.

So back to how memories can surface when you least expect it. I was recently watching the film "To Light a Candle" about the Iranian Baha'is who were being kept from a college education, yet they studied and learned anyway. Many eventually fled Iran to other countries because of the religious persecution. My heart went out to these people who have experienced this, and then, while hearing--during this film--about the Ayatolla Khomeini, who in 1979 led a revolution and took over Iran from the Shah, a blast of memories of my dad watching the news (he loved politics and world events) popped up and suddenly I remembered the Baha'is and who they were! I did not like politics as a kid (or an adult) but I watched and kept up with what was happening at the time. I understood and my heart had reached out as a 10-to-12-year-old child to these people.

Today, although far from being oppressed, I am one of them. I am proud that today I will be declaring myself as a Baha'i on Naw Ruz (Baha'i new year at spring equinox) so it is very fitting. I have been learning, watching videos, reading books and scripture, talking and meeting with friends, going to gatherings and participating in devotionals, learning Book 1 (Ruhi), and attended my first feast and practiced the fast.

So now I feel I have finally come home, full circle, to where I had learned about Baha'is as a kid, then about what the faith was really about as an adult, and now am learning what it means to be Baha'i and practice those ways. Next I get to do what I was meant to do, and be a part of a much bigger plan.

No religion is perfect, but the concepts and matters of faith that are part of the Baha'i path are more in unison with what I already believed, and has a beautiful image and focus and actual plan to bring in God's desires for humanity and an ever-advancing civilization towards world unity--and although I am not perfect either, all of this is intrinsically and together a big part of who I already am.

This time, "I am Baha'i and I know it."

The best is yet to come!

Friday, February 27, 2015

WAITING FOR THE NEWS...

I know something.
Something that happened today.
By June I will be able to tell people if I was right.
Waiting sucks, doesn't it.