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:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Jean Giraudoux

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life." - Jean Giraudoux

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Andre Norton

"There's no night without stars." - Andre Norton

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Edna St. Vincent Millay

"God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gustave Flaubert

"I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings." - Gustave Flaubert

Sunday, January 24, 2016

D. H. Lawrence

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure." - D. H. Lawrence

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ansel Adams

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." - Ansel Adams

Don't spend a bunch

Don't spend a bunch -

There's always somet

There's always somet -

Pomegranate is one o

Pomegranate is one o -

The Many Benefits of

The Many Benefits of -

Why are my leaves tu

Why are my leaves tu -

You'd like to grow t

You'd like to grow t -

Square Foot Gardenin

Square Foot Gardenin -

Not only is bucket g

Not only is bucket g -

How to Get Rid of Ra

How to Get Rid of Ra -

11 ways to be self-s

11 ways to be self-s -

Tips for Butchering

Tips for Butchering -

Make your own chicke

Make your own chicke -

How to Get Rid of An

How to Get Rid of An -

Rabbits: What they a

Rabbits: What they a -

Survival Skills for

Survival Skills for -

Want better tasting

Want better tasting -

Porn for beekeepers (SFW) - HONEY BEES 96fps IN 4K (ULTRA HD)

Porn for beekeepers (SFW) - HONEY BEES 96fps IN 4K (ULTRA HD)

Fish poo from rainbow trout powers organic farm at Loomberah in New South Wales

Fish poo from rainbow trout powers organic farm at Loomberah in New South Wales

This is the best site I have found for info on aquaponics. Tons of blogs and videos, if you are reading this you NEED to check this out.

This is the best site I have found for info on aquaponics. Tons of blogs and videos, if you are reading this you NEED to check this out.

Alley Cropping

Alley Cropping

Wooden Expanding Table: 600+ hours into this project

Wooden Expanding Table: 600+ hours into this project

Dumpster diving documentary

Dumpster diving documentary

Thursday, January 21, 2016

James Agee

"This continent, an open palm spread frank before the sky." - James Agee

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Malcolm de Chazal

"The flower in the vase smiles, but no longer laughs." - Malcolm de Chazal

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Martin Luther

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars." - Martin Luther

Monday, January 18, 2016

Philip James Bailey

"Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art." - Philip James Bailey

Starting a Science Fair


Something that I've been very busy with recently is the set-up of our area's first science fair. It's a project that I'm super excited about and one to which I am more than willing to donate my time.

Last year, I sent a document to the supervisor of our school district, outlining the purpose and process of a science fair. She not only approved it, but also forwarded it to several other schools in the area, many of which will be holding their own fair. We hope that in subsequent years we'll be able to hold a regional event.

I then got some money from the local government to buy basic lab equipment, and I have gotten donations from local businesses to help with any costs and smaller prizes. A few close friends and family have donated first prizes (laptop, ipad, phone) to each group. We hope to have enough money to get every kid a participation prize, and then bigger prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. If any of you would like to donate something to this cause, please let me know :)

On Friday, I held a three hour long class for the whole school. We watched some videos, went through the basics, and then did several experiments (using our new equipment). It was awesome, and the kids are very excited. Each kid now has one week to come up with three different ideas for a project, and the teachers and I will then help them to select their best idea.

Because this is something new and unknown, we will be walking them through each step of the process, giving a week or so to complete each of the tasks (hypothesis, list of materials, step by step instructions, analysis of data and so on). We're encouraging simple ideas for this first year, with the aim of performing each experiment (or part of it) in class. The event itself will take place at the end of April or beginning of May.


The post Starting a Science Fair appeared first on VelaCreations.

Starting a Science Fair

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Robert M. Pirsig

"The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there." - Robert M. Pirsig

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Stewart Udall

"Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man." - Stewart Udall

Thursday, January 14, 2016


"The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together." - Saadi

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pierre Bonnard

"Art will never be able to exist without nature." - Pierre Bonnard

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lucy Maud Montgomery

"Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star." - Lucy Maud Montgomery

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lao Tzu

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." - Lao Tzu

Friday, January 8, 2016

John James Audubon

"During all these years there existed within me a tendency to follow Nature in her walks." - John James Audubon

Thursday, January 7, 2016


"The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone." - Lucretius

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." - Aristotle

Christmas Visit


I know I haven't written in a long time, and have probably missed posting about a ton of projects we've been doing, not to mention kids' Christmas parties, etc. However, only one thing has been occupying my mind recently, and that was my mom and Bob's trip to see us this Christmas. Although we see them every year, it has been more than a decade since we've spent a Christmas together, and I was just too excited to do things like blogs!



We had a great time, with only one downside... the weather. Our winters can get a little cold, with an occasional freeze, but it's usually calm and sunny, which takes the edge off the chill. However, for the duration of their trip, we had several hard freezes, snow (!), gale force winds, and almost permanent cloud cover. It was a real shame, as our hiking opportunities were limited. But we made it work by baking tons of cakes and cookies, playing lots of cards, and Bob got to enchant the boys with his amazing story-telling ability. Of course, now that they're gone, the sun is back out and everything has warmed up again!



One of the things that Abe and I enjoyed most was getting to show off our food collection. We had the usual home-grown rabbit, chicken, and Muscovy duck, which are pretty much always tasty, no matter what you do with them. We also had the prosciutto and lonzino (cured duck and rabbit) that Abe has been working on, the jellies we made this summer, and our new batches of cider (which turned out fantastic!).

We also managed to slip in a couple of cookouts, in between the worst of the weather conditions. We had a BBQ and Disco (our personal favorite).



From Janet's perspective, the highlight would probably have been the puppies. We had to bring them inside on several occasions due to the cold and it became Jan's job to feed and cuddle them, a job which she took very seriously. Even when they went out during the day, she would often sneak out there to do her "work".

Most of them have now gone to their new homes, with only a couple remaining (both of which have several interested parties).



The boys and Bob were most excited about the hiking. Whenever the weather would clear even a little bit, the big boys would don their woolies and go for a hike. On the last day, the sun was out all afternoon, which allowed us all to go for a long walk around our surrounding hills. It was really fun, and we all got to climb a bunch over jagged rocks and boulders.


Unfortunately, they have now gone, and the house feels a little empty. School is starting back though, so there's not much time to feel sad before the usual routines take over. Click here to see all of the photos from the set below.

Past Trips

Just to see how my boys are growing, here's a couple of pics from previous visits (2011, 2013, 2015).


Hope you all have a wonderful 2016.

The post Christmas Visit appeared first on VelaCreations.

Christmas Visit

This Israeli start-up is breeding grasshoppers to fight famine

This Israeli start-up is breeding grasshoppers to fight famine

Researchers see evolution working faster than expected (in chickens)

Researchers see evolution working faster than expected (in chickens)

5 great examples of passive housing

5 great examples of passive housing

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Henry Morton Stanley

"The sky lovingly smiles on the earth and her children." - Henry Morton Stanley

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Edwin Way Teale

"For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature's finest balm." - Edwin Way Teale

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Andy Goldsworthy

"Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality." - Andy Goldsworthy

Friday, January 1, 2016

Anatole France

"Nature has no principles. She makes no distinction between good and evil." - Anatole France

Blog Archive