Tag Archive: alternative transportation


Living sustainably could be a way to generate income!

Sol Chariots

For Ripples to be successful, Ryan & I know we need to earn income from home as much as possible, to minimize our commute and the need to own a car, and maximize our free time to devote to Ripples’ work, such as workshops, non-profit support, tours, etc.  Part of being a green entrepreneur, for us, was reducing our expenses in every possible way.  Living in our earthbag home should reduce our expenses even more, allowing us to live on $10 – $20,000 a year very comfortably.

There may be something you are already doing which could generate income for you, too.  I am a writer, and Ryan is a technology consultant for non-profits, thus allowing both of us to work from home as part of our income.  We also do other jobs to make up the majority of our income, but the income we earn from home is not at all trivial.  We can also grow this income over the next few years as our skills improve.  What aspect of living sustainably could turn into a job for you?  Bicycling? Crafting? Lawn care and gardening?

My friend Ashley, who visited Fayetteville with the Summer of Solutions program in 2010, has begun her own pedicab business!  Read all about it in this week’s Free Weekly, and help support Ashley by watching her video and visiting the website for Sol Chariots.  You can show support with a click, too, and like them on Facebook!

UPDATE February 5th 2013: Sol Chariots reached their fundraising goal and even raised more than they expected!  They will be a successful pedicab business, I’m sure!

This holiday season, spend time with family and friends as you carpool rather than drive separately.

From CarInsurance.org, another infographic!

PLEASE PROVIDE ATTRIBUTION TO CARINSURANCE.ORG WITH THIS CONTENT Carpooling Infographic

As Ryan & I decide on our best choice for transportation to & from our Ripples homestead in the future, we have many factors to consider.  The midwest isn’t necessarily the best place to own an electric vehicle, for one thing.  This infographic from CarInsurance.org fascinated me, and pushed me further in the direction of starting a car or truck co-operative among friends to share costs and avoid owning a personal vehicle that wouldn’t be used as often. What do you think? View full article »

Driving is more than a drag on your wallet.

Check out this amazing graphic given to us by College@Home!  Ripples supports alternative transportation options like walking, bicycling, skateboarding, and public transportation (to name a few) that save you money and improve overall health. Thanks Jen for sharing this with us!

View full article »

A photo tour from home into town, through woods, fields, alleys, and streets.

Gateway into the woods along a deer path

I did get a picture of the many robins I saw along the walk, but they all came out like little brown blurry spots because as soon as I snapped the photo they would take off, and I don’t have a high-tech camera.  But it’s still a robin’s neighborhood, thus the name of this post.  Walk with me as I go from our door into town! View full article »

Gushing over the beauty of small waterfalls and streams in the rain!

It’s worth it not to drive a car.  Even though I’m running behind today, I just had to share these pictures taken yesterday of our little waterfalls we pass by on the way into town.  The really pretty ones from the stream haven’t been taken yet because I was up to my ankles in mud and tree cover prevented the use of an umbrella in the steady rain, but as soon as I can I’ll run out to the woods and post some pictures of it soon.  Maybe I’ll even see a frog or snake! Also, superglue is not an effective waterproofing technique for boots.

Waterfall under Rock Street bridge

The stream that follows my path into town

Seeking out alternative transportation for a car-free lifestyle choice.

“And the rain rain rain came down down down…”

Some of my favorite moments from Winnie-the-Pooh are during the flood scene, when Piglet writes a message and throws it out the window, and Pooh uses a honey jar to float along to Christopher Robin’s house.  Now that’s alternative transportation! But a bit too extreme for us, as we don’t fit into a honey jar.  So what can we do when it’s raining for days and days, and Ryan’s commute to Ozark Natural Foods is 2 hours per day walking (in rainy weather) and 45 minutes bicycling?  Shouldn’t there be another alternative to car ownership, rather than walking one hour to work an 8-hour shift and walk one hour back home with wet feet? View full article »

When I open a conversation with someone about building codes in the northwest Arkansas region, it is highly likely I’ll hear the two following statements:

  1. “You should build in Madison or Newton county.  They have almost no building regulations.”
  2. “Don’t build in Washington or Benton county.  You’ll never get around the codes.”

When nudged for details, however, almost every person responds with “that’s just what I’ve heard.”   The story seems so simple, so black and white, that we have almost bowed to the undefined authorities and accepted that, if we want to achieve our dreams while still maintaining a connection to Fayetteville, we’ll have to find a way to do some hardcore commuting.

However, it’s hard for me to accept something without knowing why; there are so many unclear details!  This link claims, in bold, that Washington County does not issue building permits.  Does this mean that a couple could comfortably be septic-system free, raise animals, dig cisterns, protect habitat, and more as an owner of land in unincorporated Washington County?

I eventually got in touch with the Washington County Senior planner, who would probably have the ability to easily answer all of these questions.  I’m hoping she’s super busy, though, because she has yet to respond to our, shall we say, unorthodox questions (it has been two weeks to the day).  Is it weird to ask if a county allows for composting toilets?  In ten or fifteen years’ time, probably not, but perhaps now it still raises an eyebrow or two.

All I know so far is, Washington County regulates splitting of land, wind turbines, and agricultural land use.  I don’t know how it does these things, but none of these should interfere with our dreams… as long as we’re outside of any particular city’s limits.  If we actually wanted to build in Fayetteville, there is a veritable mountain of code to adhere to.  Friends assure me that 60% or 70% of it would not apply to us, but the same friends also have spent hundreds of hours pouring over thick texts laden with city requirements.  I’m not sure devoting that kind of time can be in my immediate future.

If no similar documents or requirements exist for unincorporated Washington County, and if the Fayetteville area doesn’t go all densely metropolitan (which usually leads to defiling huge amounts of natural resources for miles around the city space), we might do well to settle as close as possible.

No matter where we settle, a few questions remain:  What exactly does “no building permits” mean?  Does this just apply to our actual dwelling, and have nothing to do with how we make use of our land?  Also, what if we’re chillin’ a few miles outside of Fayetteville city limits, and then they swoop in and want to annex our lands?  Will we have some kind of weird, paper-heavy, bureaucratic fight on our hands?  Would we be pressured to adhere to the codes of the “conquerors?”  How does this stuff work?

And that’s where my understanding currently stands.  Any ideas?

The journey continues!

~Ryan

Stuff and Raw Ingenuity

As much as we want to assassinate every mote of clutter lurking around our house, we recognize that a healthy, carefully selected array of real-world items will charge our dreams with meaning and purpose.  I’m particularly excited to exercise my creativity in actually fashioning many of these items.  Did you see Amanda’s previous post featuring the 100+ ways to use wooden pallets to craft anything from small tables to whole houses?  What untapped, unrecognized potential nestles in the bottles, cans, cardboard boxes, and hundreds of other “trash” goods we throw away every day?  Heck, TerraCycle has crafted an $8 million+ global business off of random junk. View full article »