"DO More, With LESS"

I wanted to start a topic section for myself and others to put up their DO More, with Less living doings.

This has been a lifelong passion of mine in all things.
Personal examples: my personal vehicle transportations evolving. People carrying - 8 cylinder to many 6 cylinders to many, many different four cylinders. All of these four person capable, with modest luggage. Motorcycles? Yep. 2-3 in my past. Broke the rule of people carrying SAFELY, Sanely, with reasonable comfort! The fender bender bumping in a full four person vehicle, becomes a lifelong maiming/killer event on a two wheeler!!

My Use One GGE a Day to learn topic was on theme of my passion of DOing More, With Less.
DO use that ~120,000 BTU equivalent daily, step be step learning to squeeze as much useful use out of it.
Purist saying, “I use NO gasoline (diesel, propane, street gas, ect), I bicycle!” means you did not work to learn to get the maximum benefit from these use-once-and-gone resources. This is my youngest sister. Ha! Ha! And I find in my family and circles of acquaintances many energy-use Purist think little of world “exploring”, “visiting” hopping onto a jet airplane coming and going. Now that is a huge carbon-foot print beyond the actual jet fuel used for the huge airports infrastructures. That same youngest sister.

So first guideline of this topic is to be FIRST DOING some thing.
Then use this actual DOing to learn to get MORE done with less.

My current do-more with less is our vegetable garden. How to get the most, best benfit from the ~4 hours a day I am willing to “work” it. How to get the best benefits form using the least amounts of supplementary watering.
When the two folks were alive, well and able to kick it we had three cultivated gardens totaling ~6,000 square feet. With two separate berry patch areas.
They each would stoop-labor hand weed and cultivate four hours a day. Wife and I were able to contribute after commuting home from works at best only another combined four hours daily. So with 8-12 hours inputs daily “wee” as a family had weed-free contests with other old line families. And gardens watering came from a six cents a kW/Hr on property deep-well.
That a was then.
Now it is just me for at best four hours a day and mandated three Tiered-priced public water.

Long handled stand full up right back-less-pain shuffle hoe.
A new to me Italian grape hoe. Works great.
And a new ergonomic long handled six tong spring fingered isle deep digger tool.
TWO, 2 gallon watering cans now supplied out of 300 feet of black hosing to warm and row, spot plants water.
We dry fluffed dirt “mulch” to have the least maritime rain-forest climate molds, fungus and creepy crawling bugs problems.
No water - no weeds.
Ha! half and inch of rain predicted upcomning Thursday. Be weeds by two days later. Scuffle hoe will get most. The deep-digger will re-fluff after the rain beat-down for loose roots optimal conditions.
Wife will stoop labor scoot-sitting get the close-in and in row weeds on the weekend. She likes the feel of the loosened dirt between her toes. She subscribes to the get/stay “Grounded” theory for human health.

The most valuable resource is your daily time. Only so much you can put to use in any 24 hour period.
Only by DOING first can you then work-use learn to maximize the best befits of your daily time.

A lazy ass gets some-else to do it. Pays a price in poor health. Pays a price in Sheeple disconnectedness from Maslov’s real needs.
Too many Priests, artists, entertainers and Presidents get served-all, and so know little about real human needs and values. Turn everything into negotiable commodities. Their daily time “too valuable” to humble down for stoop working for their daily needs. Slave out other for their core needs.

FIRST Do. Then evolve to do-more with less.
J-I-C Steve unruh


Hi Steve U i like your beleive in waist not want not type aprotch, even if global warming is a hoax of the real science. The polution is everyware, farm feild cemicles you name it is happening. I am headed out too get at my new light weight gasifier build, i was wondering ruffly what you are doing too dry wood in your closed system as you had talked about.Are you drying green wood while heating with the wood you allready dryed in your heating system, if this questain in out of sink with this post let me know i will move it else place, Thanks.

This is why I fell in love with this site in the first place - looking into Wayne’s world of salvaging material and making something useful. I just can’t look at a broken piece of machinery and call it junk when there is nothing wrong with 99% of it.
Also why the most expensive car I’ve owned was 1500$. The foot print of fabricating a new car is 20 times larger then the foot print of the gasoline used in its lifetime (Hubendick, 1980).
So, woodgassers! If your reasons to DOW are enviromental, do it in junk vehicles. The result of your effort will multiply.


If it gets done what needs too do and leaves less time cutting wood and still time too rest after working. I know they say cows have bigger grean house effect than vegi’s though the fast food farming or comerciel farms dump way more toxic waist an the feilds too make money than a cows polution print, its allways being twisted as too ware the foot print is. Nice too see you 4cyl guys getting things done with wood as well.

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Kevin, if you’re not in hurry and have a working gearbox the number of cylinders doesn’t matter :smile:
(Do more with less)

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Not off topic at all.
Wood stoving for space heat I “cheat”. Cheat said this way is American cultural english meaning jumping out side lines of conventional dictates. Not following the rules of constraint.
Once by learning to burn more completely, cleaning with no chimney tars creosotes and smoke. Later learning how to a percnet actually gasify burn in a wood stove. I was able to cut daily fuel wood consumption use in half. The I was able to wall stack along both sides of the wood stove 24 hours woth of fuel wood splits.
This wood then radient heat and air flow dries down hanidlile from a wet season 20-30% by weight moisture to an easy to busrn clean controllable 10% by weight for just-in -time-use direct use. No more on stove top humisifing steamer pot allowed anymore!
Yes. Yes. Most woman would/will complain about “dirty wood that is supposed to be outside” that is supposed to be outside, cold, wet and heavy on the inside of their house. Use some nice smelling wood to please. My wife - buy her scented ambience candles. My wife - then I must sweep and clean religiously.
Worth it for the better wood use performance.

Wood gasifier for engine fuel?
Again I “cheat”.
I am stationary power only for wood fueling. Use screened metal baskets hanging along all of the sides and across the top of the engine/gnerator. The heats and air flows are enough to reduce down in an effnect-use system the fuelwood chunks from again seasonal air dried 20-30% moisture by wiegt to a loving-it under 10% warned moisture weight for just-in-time hopper dumping.
40-60% by weight moisture wood chunks possible but then ALL gasifier/cooler/engine/gen-heads heats must be used for that amount of drying down. Gets complicated to do that even on a stationary system.
My VictoryHearth hopper is single wall, tall and non-condensing. Simple direct use fine for 10% and under moisture fuelwood chunks.

My most significant “cheat” is I only use design for those willing to up-ass move out Rural and actually grow, harvest and use their own site made fuel woods.
Not being an energy missionary, a save the world changer makes things much more direct DOing reasonable.
I believe all other wood-for-power approaches are fantasies.

Driving around? I burnt that possibility for myself out decades ago with emissions inspections systems “cheating” to keep family and friends vehicles on the roads; and them out of must-get newer vehicle payments. Poke the legal-Bear enough times and he will bite down hard.
So now I just still legally drive less, use less, pump dino fuels for my retired man driving around.
Until. Come the day. As it will. . . again. When the Top-Down pumps go dry, again. And then ANY way to keep foods and necessary needs moving will be fair-game appreciated again. Back to the Future.

I think the agricultural tractor wood power workings here on the DOW is the wonderful and very relevant.
The charcoal guys garden tractor/rototilling/wood chunker powering are wonderful and very relevant too.

J-I-C Steve Unruh


I am off to annual re-new the licensing on the old 1994 Ford pickup truck.
My middle sisters 2015 new aluminum body Ford pick up truck with a much smaller V-6 dual turbocharger engine gets no better fuel use. Same carbon foot print.
These will haul the same capacity.
Newer is better? Newer IS better for the bankerman, and financiers, eh yeah.

As ChrisKy says if no one bought newer, then there would not be the used older for us to get cheap to use. Plenty of folks out there US/Canada willing to put new vehicles onto the face of the planet.
Ha! I just have chosen for my new purchases to be putting more, better efficient small electric inverter-generators, woodgas generators, and left handed bypass pruners, left handed scissors and left handed rifles onto the face of the planet. My bought new can then be some cash-poor left-handers golden used find someday. My left handed cousin has an old left-handed percussion cap muzzle loader.
Left-Handers: the RIGHT-brained people. The most ignored minority across all religions, cultures, societies. Gets damn dangerous and ease-of-use-frustrating living in a right-hand dominated world!

J-I-C Steve Unruh


Thanks steve i know what you were saying about how your set up, I need too get my wood burner replaced with one more like the newer style type soon just too save wood. I am well aware of the insurence co. Prices for industrial equipment if it was used for buisnes use.mostly, Thats not for all the choice of driveing with wood. I am glad i moved out of the emmisions test countys years ago…And heating with all you have too dry the wood i get that, liveing in the north, short summers for drying wood,see who has any new thoughts for useing less petro.If i have much trouble keeping my hopper heater cool i can allways just insulate Hopper and make another WK heat exchanger drop box i suppose.Thanks man.


Learning to use an axe. Never knew there was so much to it. Never liked them until now. My Council Tool showed up a few weeks ago. I think i’ll skip the crosscut. Still will use a chainsaw for the larger stuff.

Sold the electric compressor and built the engine air compressor. Still have a few more things to finish it. Can’t see doing the garden any more in the near future, demands at work go up and I keep getting older and less energy but keep plugging along. If I had my choice I would almost never travel but stay on the homestead and get err-done.

On the pole wood skidder I replaced the electric winch with a homemade driven off the engine direct design.


Good subject Steve.
I’m sure I’ve said before in this forum. One day, about 5 years ago, I realized how dependent my life was on the outside world. Mortgage and vehicle payments, heat and electricity, and my food. Fortunately in the city I lived in then, I could raise up to 16 chickens at once and I did, to see if I could do it. I planted a garden and preserved some of those veggies. I discovered wood gas and this site. I really realized how much I didn’t know. I spent my free time googling and learning. When the opportunity opened up for me to live in the middle of where, I jumped on it.
One doesn’t know what they’re capable of until backed in a corner. When I lived in the city and backed in a corner, a quick phone call and a check, the problem was solved. I have had to reprogram myself up here in the Northwoods. Now if I make a phone call, it’s to a neighbor of whom I’ve helped before. I now live on a fourth of what I needed to live on before. This is dropping as time goes by.
I now challenge myself to build or make something and spend the least amount of money as possible. Bartering for this sawmill now will allow me to make my own lumber for projects. More self sufficiency. Maybe some day I will make a bigger sawmill. Whether I build one or not, difference is, I am certain I can.
Everyday I am learning something. I purposely go out of my way to learn something new. Fixing my old trucks, skid steer, etc. Foraging, making syrup, raising pigs, bees, etc. The key for me is to start with something that is low rick and a good chance for success. Next year, I can step up my game and get a little more involved if I choose. I can say, today I am more self reliant than I was yesterday. I don’t owe anyone anything. Today my existence isn’t dependent on the outside world.
Best of all, I don’t have a lawn to mow. Best achievement to date. I couldn’t stand having to keep my yard pretty for the neighbors or city.


Love you Steve. You are the real deal, like Wayne n many on this site.

To break it down to solid simple, how many calories are created per calorie of input?

I think it was somewhere in reading Mollison thoughts on permaculture that indigenous farmers walked thru the gate and produced net of 70 calories output to one calorie input.

That is real wealth ; ~ )

Modern subsidized agriculture produces about one calorie of energy per six calories of energy input or likely much worse.

That is real debt ;!)

Cheers to creating wealth from the ground up!


Thanks for the topic. I love reading how others are DOing more with less.

I drive a 1987 toyota pickup that was totaled. I put a chain around a tree and used the trucks own power to pull the front end back into drivable condition. Do all my own repairs including tire changes with simple hand tools. We heat with wood, mostly from what we pick up along the road from blow downs and wood pallets. My wife loves to play with fire. We grow some food in 2000 square feet of compost fed garden. No tilling. We use a broad fork and raised beds. Our favorite crop is heirloom fairy tale pumpkins that are deep orange and keep well. We can various juices and vegetables. We put out taps and buckets to make maple syrup. We forage for berries on nearby hillsides. My wife makes our whole grain bread. Our lawn is ugly or beautiful depending on perspective. It is very biologically diverse-- must be 200 variety of weeds in the parts we mow. We are very wasteful in so many ways, but are looking for more ways to conserve. We purchased used 6.5 KW of photovoltaics for 5 watts/$1 and 4-30,000 BTU solar hot water panels for 1000 BTU/$1 that are waiting for me to install on the barn and house. We have a backup generator that is charcoal fired and a !976 MGB that was given to me and I converted to run on charcoal. I’m putting the finishing touches on my retort that makes charcoal fuel from wood chips that are free from a tree service company. We still flush upstairs, but have a urine diversion waterless toilet of my own design in the basement. It’s byproducts are high nitrogen fertilizer/biochar inoculant and charcoal briquettes.


excellent topic …thanks

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Bruce, maybe this fall or winter I could talk you into sending me a few of those pumpkin seeds?


Give me your address. I think we have some extra. If I space out and forget, please remind me.

Hey DougB
Try a current article here:

“Self-Sufficient Nutritionist for Life” by Chrissie Sugden. A readable linked download.
Same quarterly issue on this publications (not unsubscribed readable) is “How to Growers are Adapting to Climate Change”. Covers means and techniques, real, on-the-ground being developed to foods-grow on the marginal upland and islands in the UK.
I find that this UK publication more closely matches my cloudy, rainy maritine region than the other California or even mid-US, east US/Canadian publications/books and grow-your-own efforts.

All of the good growing I-5 cooridor flat land here are super expensive now as suburban in-fill developed, industrial-park and Malls developeable, or set aside as Nature conservancy buy-offs paid for by the boom&bust developers.
I actually live in a very poor soil, weather marginal area as an in-mountains trapped small valley.
These the lands anymore affordable, available for back-to-the-land homesteading out here.
Ha! Ha! Goats and sheep still can eat here 9 months out of 12. Chickens and geese scrounge and graze fine for 8 out of 12 months here. Common breed cows? Horses? Have to supplementary feed for half the years. Some top of Yacolt Mountain friends been trying Scots Highlander cows for rough country grazers. We get gifted form them cow livers every Fall. Look healthy. Tastes wonderful. They have NO hay land possible. Buy out only a few months worth of local grass hay.
Your home supplying food garden only has to be just so big.
Five acres wild growing stuff can sure enhance a garden plot wonderfully. Don’t have to feed the world. Or the nearest shit-city. Just feed your own world.

J-I-C Steve Unruh


The sidewalk the horse is standing on used to be a concrete slab we cut up and layed like stepping stones. Then we poured in between with some quickcrete. (next picture-sorry, pics out of order) That was early in the spring. We sowed grass around it so we’d not have mud. It finally got to be time to mow so today while we were working nearby by we tied the horse on the area. No need to mow now, or buy feed for the horse—or fertilize for that matter. You can’t really see the solar over behind the horse but on a day like today we could have cooked a turkey. Made it about 15 years ago out of a metal dishwasher housing, some styrofoam and some fridge drawers. Added an ironing-board-shelf to the side a couple years ago…


Real proud of my boys today. The family got the roof framing finished on the teaching pavilion after lunch today. 25 trusses, 12 rows of 2x4 lathe 48’ long. We are buying the metal for this one so it won’t be as cheap as the junk barn. But then it will look a lot better too. Naomi cut the lathe, Poor Jesse toted a lot of lumber. But then he insisted on going up top toward the end of the day. By the look on his face, I’m not sure he was convinced he had made the right decision once he was up there…: Our dinner bell is made out of an old rusted-through acetylene tank and a 1 7/8" trailer ball (who uses 1 7/8" anymore anyway—why do they keep making them?)



Never ceases to amaze me that critters like squirrels, rabbits, coyotes n deer live well right where they are planted without inputs from halfway across the globe. For some reason modern humans can’t ;~)


Hey Bruce, I am laughing very loudly…hahahahaha. I love the diversity in your lawn… You really think you have 200 diffeent kinds of weeds. I bet they would give you an award for that…hahahahaha…

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I would rather hoe than mow. The wife usually mows, but I’m glad that we have naturally occurring green stuff instead of grass. Lots of little flowers and odd-shaped leaves everywhere. So much better than going around and around staring at the same useless, boring grass. I should gather the trimmings , cook them down into a paste and market it as Bruce’s Organic Backyard Balm.

Looks like your boys are doing some big work.