Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Winston Churchill

"Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong." - Winston Churchill

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sitting Bull

"The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love." - Sitting Bull

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Leigh Hunt

"Colors are the smiles of nature." - Leigh Hunt

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Marilyn French

"Nature is inside art as its content, not outside as its model." - Marilyn French

Friday, December 25, 2015

John Lubbock

"Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven." - John Lubbock

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

George Bernard Shaw

"The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there." - George Bernard Shaw

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dennis Franz

"Coming from Chicago, I like a white Christmas." - Dennis Franz

Sunday, December 20, 2015


"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds." - Aesop

How would chickens l

How would chickens l -

Preserve your harves

Preserve your harves -

What to think about

What to think about -

Overcoming Homestead

Overcoming Homestead -

How to extract the g

How to extract the g -

Interested in fresh

Interested in fresh -

The cheapest and eas

The cheapest and eas -

Put cardboard & comp

Put cardboard & comp -

So you dream about h

So you dream about h -

Growing hazelnuts is

Growing hazelnuts is -

Preserving Prickly P

Preserving Prickly P -

Ever wondered how of

Ever wondered how of -

Rabbit meat is popul

Rabbit meat is popul -

Anyone grow Potatoes

Anyone grow Potatoes -

How to make a Desert

How to make a Desert -

In a long-term disas

In a long-term disas -

How to feed your ani

How to feed your ani -

The Ultimate Homeste

The Ultimate Homeste -

Homesteading Through

Homesteading Through -

Food Web, make more

Food Web, make more -

Why I Love Raising M

Why I Love Raising M -

Murano Chicken Farm:

Murano Chicken Farm: -

How to Grow Mushroom

How to Grow Mushroom -

Get your children involved in homesteading - try these ideas.

Get your children involved in homesteading - try these ideas.

[Hydro Power] High Quality Youtube Channel Documenting a Large-Scale Personal Hydro Plant. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering... it's all here

[Hydro Power] High Quality Youtube Channel Documenting a Large-Scale Personal Hydro Plant. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering... it's all here

6,000 square foot aquaponic growing facility going up at the new Denver Mental Health Facility.

6,000 square foot aquaponic growing facility going up at the new Denver Mental Health Facility.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

V. S. Naipaul

"The world is always in movement." - V. S. Naipaul

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Duke Kahanamoku

"I have never seen snow and do not know what winter means." - Duke Kahanamoku

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Arthur C. Clarke

"Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal." - Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, December 14, 2015

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" - Percy Bysshe Shelley

RMH Bench


A few years ago, we made a Rocket Mass Heater in our living room. There wasn't much space, so the design had to be fairly compact, but it still worked great. We can light a fire in the evening for a couple of hours, and the thermal mass will still be warm in the morning. The only thing we regret is that we hadn't known about the concept of an RMH before we started building, so that we could have put a larger one into the house design.

The town house, on the other hand, has plenty of room, mainly because we don't actually live there. So, we figured we'd use some of the space in its living room to try out a larger design. It is now finished, and turned out really beautifully.

RMH0020It has the wood part in the corner, with an ash box under it. The riser is made out of firebricks and perlite, and it is contained within a 55 gallon barrel, which acts as a very efficient heat exchanger. The heat then travels through 8" stove pipe all the way to the other end of the room and back. This length of pipe is contained within sand under a bench.

We've only run it for an hour or two so far, as it hasn't been that cold. It heats up the room fine in that time, but hasn't yet been able to warm up the whole bench. Although neither of us likes the cold, we're kind of hoping for a front to move in, just so we try out our new butt-warmer.

Check out the full flickr set for a better idea of how it was all put together.

The post RMH Bench appeared first on VelaCreations.

RMH Bench

Saturday, December 12, 2015

John McGraw

"My boy, one small breeze doesn't make a wind storm." - John McGraw



Thursday, December 10, 2015

James M. Barrie

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." - James M. Barrie

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pamela Hansford Johnson

"The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire." - Pamela Hansford Johnson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Andy Warhol

"Land really is the best art." - Andy Warhol

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Loren Eiseley

"One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star." - Loren Eiseley

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Duke Ellington

"Gray skies are just clouds passing over." - Duke Ellington


Friday, December 4, 2015

Nursery continued


Do you ever feel like your husband is trying to plant you out of house and home?



The post Nursery continued appeared first on VelaCreations.

Nursery continued

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jacques Yves Cousteau

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it." - Jacques Yves Cousteau



A couple of years we ago, we made the kids a Funfort in their room (see howto here.). It was awesome and the kids loved it.

The only downside was that it was pretty big and took up quite a bit of the space in their small room. They started bringing more and more toys downstairs to be somewhere with more area to play. So, with their permission and approval, I took it all apart and converted all the lumber into shelving for around their room.

funfortless2The room has now been rearranged to fit the new furniture. There is plenty of space for all their toys (and, of course, all the toys we inherited from Abe's childhood too!). They have joint shelves and individual shelves, so that Leo can keep his stuff as organized as he wants, while Nicky can have his as messy as he wants.

It should work fine until we get to build our room on the west end of the house (whenever that might be), at which time the kids will have a room each.

The post FunFortless appeared first on VelaCreations.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Walter Scott

"We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt." - Walter Scott

Blog Archive