Welcome to the GeoPathfinder homepage
Earth-Centered Resources for Sustainable Living (and beyond)
Simply put, we are a couple of people who continually experiment with things to make our lives more sustainable, durable, stable, and more survivable (for the past 30+ years). We are seeking a better path for ourselves on this planet, a "Geo-Path" if you will. We can't tell you what to do, but we can show you what we've done and why. We may not try to convince you of what we consider "facts" or convert you to some particular way of thinking or doing, but we hope to inspire you to be less fearful about doing SOMETHING.
Some say that we must have lots of money in order to do all this stuff. VERY incorrect! Others say that we must have lots of training or education. Other than reading what interests us at the moment, wrong again! No Doctorates, Masters degrees, or even careers here, just plenty of pondering coupled with trial and error.
For those of you who are fortunate enough not to have noticed, the economies and political systems of this planet have become increasingly controlled by the ultra-rich and their corporations. This plutocracy ensures a high standard of living and a life of leisure for a few. This leaves the rest to fend for themselves, often in a very degraded environmental situation, competing for limited jobs and supplies, and doing work that merely advances those who are better off.
We prefer to support win-win strategies, not win-lose. Since working hard to buy what the biggest trans-national companies produce only makes them stronger, we have always worked smarter and less, learning as much as possible, consuming fewer non-essentials, and doing what we can to produce what we need for ourselves while helping others of low means do the same.
"Once you SEE the change you want to BE, you need to BE the change you want to SEE!"
As scientist, author, poet, and eco-speaker Sandra Steingraber says, "It's time to play the Save the World Symphony". We don't care what instrument you use or how well you use it, but for everyone's sake it is time to start making some noise. We started out with little money but we were willing to do whatever it took to supply our basic needs. Think of wilderness camping, but pursued as a very long trip. We slowly learned how to provide for ourselves, using very little in purchased materials, adding "frills" to make life slightly more comfortable, but never compromising our goal of remaining as Earth-friendly as possible. Now, over 30 years down that timeline, we just like to try innovative things that further reduce our earthly impact and, given our experience level, we are not terribly afraid to fail. That gives us an education which is not soon forgotten. Along that path we have learned a few things that we would like to share.
We have heard that some folks have a difficult time finding links that they may have stumbled over while reading that they would like an easier time referencing at a later date, without rereading all of the text leading to it. To make this easier we have organized every link on every page into a categorized listing at the bottom of this page.
And if you are looking for our web pages about Earth Energies and the Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation, they are now on our sister-site, GeoPathfinder.net. You can find updates about what we are doing here, at our Blog.
Products & Services
Yes, we do offer some stuff for sale! The rationale? If something helps you to save on energy use then it keeps more coal-fired or garbage-burning electric generating stations from being built. Many lower-income folks live in these high-pollution industrial areas. They don't necessarily get to "vote with their dollars", as many environmentalists urge us, to buy the energy-saving stuff that keeps additional sources of pollution away. But maybe you do! We handle some stuff (mostly self-published how-to books and stainless steel screens) that helps lower energy use, and if that helps both the "haves" and the "have-nots" it's a win-win situation.
We are Larisa Walk and Robert (Bob) Dahse. We have been together since 1982. We live in the rolling hills and temperate, humid climate of southeastern Minnesota in the "upper Midwest" of the United States. We work for wages as little as possible, maintaining a "poverty-level" income. We prefer to work for our subsistence instead of paying for endless wars and a bloated, deficit-based federal budget. Needless to say, we are both the "black sheep" of our families! We have been living with off-grid, solar electricity (and sometimes with wind electricity) for nearly 30 years, using rainwater collection for all of our water needs. We compost all of our kitchen and bodily "wastes", along with those of our two pet sheep. We grow most of our food and use organic methods learned from childhood (along with plenty of reading along the way), honed through over 5 years of soil consultation and testing that we provided nationally through our former business, "Underfoot Soil Consulting Service".
Our home is owner-built using straw-bale construction and it's heated by both direct passive solar techniques and by using a masonry wood-stove of our own design (burning about a "cord", 128 cu.ft., of fallen "soft maple" per year). Although we live in frigid Minnesota, we grow lettuces and other greens in our solar-heated greenhouse year-round. We steam-can, steam-juice, root cellar, "live-store", or solar-dry all of our garden's bounty. Much of our spring/summer/fall cooking is done using a parabolic solar oven or a PV-powered AC stove top. And since we don't like senseless suffering or death, we've been successful and healthy vegans for over 30 years (each). Our diet is whole-food, chemical-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, casein-free, and primarily home-grown, wild, or shipped-in Certified Organic as a last resort. And our transportation, when we need it, is primarily by recycled 1996 Geo Metro, obtained from a Geo rebuilding specialist, our recumbent Catrike, "tadpole-style" tricycles, now converted to solar-charged, human/electric hybrid vehicles, and (since 2009), a solar-charged electric car, converted from a gasoline-powered, 1979 Porsche 924.
You will note, as you read the various subjects we cover, that many of our efforts involve "hybrid synergy" (except our seed supply; we save open-pollinated varieties for planting) and robust back-up systems. Our former Toyota Prius and bikes were/are gasoline/electric and human/electric hybrids. Our wood-stove is a masonry/steel hybrid that heats our hot water and includes an active solar, air-to-air heat exchanger. Our house is a hybrid of straw-bale infill, "stick-frame", and post-and-beam building techniques. Our sauna is sometimes used as a "summer kitchen" and as a foul-weather food dehydrator. Our photovoltaic solar electric system doubles as a supplier of hot water for much of the year, and also utilizes excess sunny-day input to charge our newly-built electric car, hybrid electric trikes, electric tractor, electric mower, etc. The electric vehicles can be directly charged from our solar panels or we can use AC chargers and our inverters. You get the idea. We like things that do multiple tasks or use various inputs.
Having read all of the above I will assume that you think we are purists, tree-huggers, and neo-Luddites. That's far from accurate. We use technology where we feel that it is appropriate, from an environmental, economic, and sociological perspective. We aren't creating or raising children, and we consider this choice to be the basis of our version of an ecological life. Human life means more than being a DNA copy-machine. There are too many humans on the planet as-is, with plenty more on the way! The few things that we buy we view as tools, to be used for accomplishing specific tasks, and we don't skimp on tools. We typically don't follow directions or dogmas, but stay within the confines of the Law. We've read, and continue to read a lot, and make decisions based on sorting out as much information as we can handle, balancing the rational, logical results with well-honed intuition. We encourage others to do the same. Our choice of lifestyle is political, in that we don't wish to support the Earth-killing decisions made either by those in power in Washington D.C. or more locally. If the only legal way to do that is by living pretty close to the land in a low-impact, low-income, atypically self-sufficient mode, then so be it.
And in case you think we're too serious, we both play the accordion! The only thing serious about it is the volume. For two former childhood organists, playing the right hand sideways, hugging it to produce sound, and using 120 buttons for chords, all without being able to see what you're doing, is a definite re-learning experience! If you'd like to hear a REAL homestead musician, check out our friend Bryce Black's website for numerous humorous recordings about "baler twine", mad cow disease, water-pumping windmills, and prehistoric chickens, among other insights.
The Site-Wide Link Listing
- Free Adobe Reader download to read our many PDF (Portable Document Format) files
- Free Apple Quicktime video player to play some of our video downloads
- The link to our secure GMail e-mail account
- The link to our PayPal donation button, in case you feel inspired to help further our work
- The link to our blog site, if you would like to see what we are currently doing
Books & Literature For Sale
Buying Hard Copies of our books using PayPal
- Buy a copy of "Feeding Ourselves - The Four-Season Pantry from Plant to Plate"
- Buy a copy of "Planetary Patterns - A Dowser's Survey of Earth Energies"
- Buy a copy of "Peoples' Power Primer - Renewable Energy for the Technically Timid"
- Buy a download of "Feeding Ourselves"
- Buy a download of "Planetary Patterns"
- Buy a download of our 50-page Soil Management Information Packet
- Buy a download of our 6-page Geopathic Remediation Techniques document
- Buy a download of our Electrical Unit conversion chart and spreadsheet
Food & Nutrition
- Download the "Feeding Ourselves" covers and table of contents
- Download our MREF Root Cellaring Workshop handout
- Download our 2011 Solar Food Dryer Building Workshop
- Download our MREF Solar Food Dryer handout
- Download our comparison table of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratios
- Download our MREF Summer Solstice Menu example
- Download our MREF Winter Solstice Menu example
- Download our MREF "Alliums Year-Round" Planning Guide
- Download our Sorghum Threshing Guide
- See our YouTube video of sorghum threshing by hand
- Download our Amaranth Winnowing Guide
- See our YouTube video of amaranth winnowing
- Download our 18-page "Soil Dynamics in a Nutshell" presentation
- Food drying information, equipment, and supplies from DryIt.com
- A book about mushroom cultivation from Paul Stamets called "Mycelium Running"
- Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa
- Frontier Cooperative Herbs in Norwalk, Iowa
- Innate Response food-based vitamins and minerals
- The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, which sponsors a yearly educational fair
- Canadian organic gluten-free rice and wild rice noodles from Rizopia.com
- The book, "The China Study" from Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- "Root Cellaring" by Nancy Bubel
- The "gold standard" in ecological farming magazines, "ACRES, USA"
- Stainless "wire cloth" from Cambridge International in Massachusetts
- Stainless "wire cloth" from Edward J. Darby & Sons, Inc. in Pennsylvania
- Stainless "wire cloth" from TWP, Inc. in California
- Stainless "wire cloth" from City Wire Cloth, also in California
- "Is Local Food Better?" by Sarah DeWeerdt
- "Biological Transmutations and Modern Physics", by Dr. Louis Kervran
- The U.N. report about the advantages of eating less meat, from the BBC
- A Washington Post article on the trend toward eating less meat
- Good and Bad Prostaglandins, and other articles from Dr. Ronald Hoffman
- The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation research archives
- Veganpeace.org nutritional information
Peta.org vegan diet information infographics
- Mediterranean Diet weekly menu plans
- The USDA Nutrient Database
- Essential Fatty Acids and other articles from Dr. Udo Erasmus, PhD
- Red Bean Poisoning - Information about why it is so important to cook beans
- Research showing nutrient loss in uncovered sun-dried foods
Homesteading & Homemaking
- Our rainwater collection system
- Our insulating window shutters for our large, south-facing windows
- Our masonry wood-stove details
- Our composting toilet system
- Our home-built Warre bee boxes
- Our neighbor's "tiny house" project
- The book, "Survival of the Sickest", by Dr. Sharon Moalem, about chronic stress and DNA
- The book, "Eaarth - Making a Life on a Tough New Planet", by Bill McKibben
- The book, "End of the Long Summer" by Dianne Dumanoski
- Bryce Black's website - a great musician, fellow homesteader, and distant relative
- A link to an Australian website that sells water tanks of all types for rainwater collection
- The Arbor Day Foundation's map of plant hardiness zone changes
- The "World Clock" showing real-time changes in population, energy, etc.
- A post-2012-election article on why the Government needs to wake up to climate change
- The definition of the term, "hominin", in relation to the human species
- The International Straw-bale Registry listing of our home
- Minnesota straw-bale homes
- Permies.com - a website for connecting to permaculturists and homesteaders
- Homegrown Goodness - a website for connecting to homesteaders and gardeners
- BuildItSolar.com - a great site for design ideas if you're building anything solar-powered
- Sue & Steve in the U.P. of Michigan - fellow homesteaders in an even more severe climate
- John Howe's website - a Vermont homesteader with an engineering background
- Urban homesteading with the Dervaes family in California
- Biobees - a website to connect with others doing natural (not chemical) beekeeping
- Our solar electric system - 30 years of evolution
- Our household electrical loads, all solar powered
- An electrical consumption worksheet to help you see where your power goes
- Our logical flow chart showing how we plan a renewable energy system
- The Homepower Magazine 2011 buyer's guide to wind-turbines
- U.S. average wind speed map at 262 feet above terrain
- Kyocera multi-crystal silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels
- Outback Power systems FlexMax MPPT tracking controller
- Exeltech pure sine-wave inverters
- Xantrex Pro-Sine Inverters
- Energy Efficient Products - dealing in low-voltage and 120-volt LED lighting
- Backwoods Solar Electric Systems
- Home Power Magazine - Renewable energy systems in all shapes and sizes
- The Midwest Renewable Energy Association - workshops, publications, etc.
- Solar system details with great graphics
- U.S. Solar Radiation Resources Maps, by month or annually
- NABCEP Installer's Guide for those who want to get it right the first time
- Compare most PV panel specifications thanks to SolarDesignTool.com
- U.S. map of Annual Cloudy Days per Year, for estimating PV system sizes
- Excellent article from Homepower Magazine on seeing if a wind-turbine is right for you
- Homepower Magazine's hydro-electric turbine buyer's guide
- U.S. average wind speed map at 33 to 164 feet above terrain
- Colorado-specific solar power information
The Wheel Deal - Transportation & Other Moving Things
- Our Quicktime video of Larisa riding her hybrid electric tricycle conversion
- Our electric hybrid trike conversion photo details
- Our "Lithium Lounger" trike conversion handout from the MREF Clean Energy Car Show
- Our "Lithium Lounger" trike conversion project details
- Our 1979 Porsche 924 electric car conversion project
- Our photos of the two-trike car rack we designed for our recycled 2001 Prius
- Our story of how we found and rebuilt a salvaged 2001 Toyota Prius
- Our photos of the 1972 G.E. Elek-Trac tractor we rebuilt and its 36-volt Tripp-Lite inverter
- The "Transition Handbook" by Rob Hopkins - converting communities to a post-oil economy
- "PrinterShare" - A free program that allows you to print documents to and from anywhere
- Catrike Cycles - Florida-based tricycles that are highly efficient, light, and handle great
- The Hostel Shoppe - The Wisconsin-based source for recumbent bikes/trikes
- GrassRoots EV - the Florida-based supplier for electric automobile conversion parts
- Electric Rider - the Kansas-based supplier of electric bike/trike conversion parts
- Sun Bicycles - low-cost, highly utilitarian recumbent bikes, trikes, and upright bikes
- Terratrike Cycles - less expensive trikes than Catrike but don't handle quite as well
- Inspired Cycle Engineering - very nice English trikes, some with suspension systems
- HP Velotechnik - high-quality, great handling, German recumbent bikes and trikes
- Bikes@Work - bike/trike trailers
- KTA Services - California-based electric automobile conversion parts
Electro-Automotive - Another CA-based dealer in electric conversion parts
- Wilderness EV - Utah-based dealer in electric automobile conversion parts
- East Penn Deka - very high-quality lead-acid batteries
- NetGain Motors - Manufacturers of very high-quality DC motors for electric vehicles
- Quick-Charge - low-cost, Oklahoma-based, battery charger manufacturer
- Ener-Trac electric motorcycle hub motors
- GBS lithium battery kits, including battery management systems, etc.
- Elio Motors - Paul Elio's site describing his upcoming 84/49 mpg, 3-wheel production car
- A site which allows you to compute your electric vehicle's range
- The range computations for our Porsche 924 conversion
- Comparison of lithium battery types from IEEE
- A comparison of the three types of lead-acid batteries
- Lead-acid gels and AGM battery specifications
- Frontal areas and drag coefficients
- Tire rolling resistance comparison
- Electric Cars Are For Girls - a terrific website covering all aspects of electric vehicles
- The EVAlbum listing for our "Lithium Lounger" trike conversions
- The EVAlbum listing for our 1979 Porsche 924 electric car conversion
- The EVAlbum listing for Steve Clunn's Porsche 924 conversion
- The EVAlbum listing for Gary Dion's Porsche 924 conversion
- A computation site to compare your fuel mileage to hybrids or other cars