Welcome to the Freeville Earthship, located outside of Ithaca, NY! Please feel free to explore our site for thousands of pictures and in-depth posts about our process building an earthship.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Update

We are very happy to see spring approaching.  Its been a cold, snowy, polar-vortex winter here in the Northeast.  The Earthship kept us warm though.  Many people and municipalities experienced burst or frozen water pipes this winter....far above average.  We, however, didn't have a problem in that department.  We had a day of -25 wind chill but it was sunny so the greenhouse was over 80F.  We burned about 2 full cords of wood in the wood-fired oven this winter for cooking and to bring the temp. inside above 70F.  The exterior earth-bermed hoop house performed OK but still dropped into the upper teens inside on the really cold nights.  Its currently on par with Zone 8 but I think i can tweak a couple things this summer to make it better next winter.  I'm excited to grow vegetables and root crops in there this year

25 hens have started laying lots of eggs.

Herbs and sown seeds.  We had tomatoes into Jan last year and plan to grow a lot of annuals alongside the various citrus and avocado.   Between the greenhouse and exterior hoop house should give us some serious food come harvest.


This spring we plan to finish up the remaining plastering jobs inside.  

Under the wood-fired oven proved to be a great place to start seeds.

Solara Jade....9 months in, 9 months out.

50 meat chickens!  First of 3 rounds this year for our newest endeavor: Tapped Earth Farm!  Follow us at http://www.facebook.com/tappedearth for the latest news and pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Want to Spend the Night?


Our Earthship B&B is back up and running with select dates February-June and any date July-August!  This includes a full tour and our time to answer any questions you may have, and a home-cooked breakfast for you the following morning:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1249134


Friday, November 14, 2014

Autumn Update

As we creep into winter, I am reminded how awesome the thermal properties of an Earthship are.  The low sun quickly heats the place right up.  On overcast days, we start a fire in the wood-fired oven.  We cook in it a lot though so its pretty much on every day.  The oven-powered radiant-heat floor in the back hallway keeps the granite slabs in the floor hovering around 80 degrees - warming the rest of the 'Ship.  This saves us around $3000 a winter on heating costs.
In the greenhouse, we're raising this year's batch of egg-layers.  They'll be laying in March.

The exterior greenhouse is pretty much done (done enough for the winter anyway). I need to thank Courtney DeVoe for putting in overtime taking care of Solara while I finished it up. Early data suggests roughly an 8 degree difference in nighttime temperature between the South-end entryway and the earth-bermed tirewall North end. I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs in sub-zero temps. My cold-hardiest citrus (navel orange and mandarin) are already planted at the south end. They can handle down to mid-upper 20s. At the North end will be the more sensitive citrus (Limes and Grapefruit) to take advantage of the passive geothermal heat.
 In the end we used 150 tires, about 2000 cans, and about 2000 glass bottles. Thanks to everyone that saved us bottles. This is also the beginning of a multi-phase farming experiment that will hopefully help establish a college fund for Solara.



The chicks have been moved into the exterior greenhouse until they are big enough to ride out the rest of the winter in the coop.
 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Summer Update

Solara loves to bounce now - 4 months old!

The indoor garden is much more lucrative than the outdoor.


The lemons are just starting to turn!  (Pretty stoked about this.)


The greenhouse has turned into a huge project.  I am scrambling to get the thing enclosed by sub-freezing temps.


The main holdup is acquiring bottles.  I'll go through close to 3,000 by the end.

This year, I will only be overwintering a navel orange and a mandarin - my 2 cold-hardiest.  If they survive I'll plant lemon and lime cultivars as well.  Since there will be no additional heat source, I have no idea how this will work.
My favorite flower so far.








Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Around the 'Ship

Our baby girl, Solara, is loving life in an earthship.  She loves the natural light and colorful bottle walls.  We can't wait to see what each new day brings with her and someday soon she'll be running down the greenhouse hallway.





Also, here are a couple more photos of the wind turbine Chad put up!  It looks pretty cool!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Spring Update

Here is a quick update of some of the things happening around the Freeville Earthship.
Solara is adjusting to her first month of life!
The Greenhouse is alive with Peppers, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Greens, Strawberries, Artichokes, and we have baby Meyer Lemons.  The Avocado tree has put on lots of new growth as well and should start producing next year.  Water flow in the house is so efficient that we find ourselves running faucets to fill the greywater planter this time of year.



Outside we're currently establishing a "food forest" for humans, birds, and pollinators.  Pictured is yellow sweet clover, elderberry, and currants
To supplement our winter energy needs, we're putting up a small wind turbine that should deliver about 30-40 KWH per month
With any free time I'm currently building a 12'x 50' underground greenhouse.  Not knowing how it'll actually turn out, I'm hoping that it stays above freezing all winter long.  More progress pics on this in the future.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter Update

 Things are going well in the Freeville Earthship.  We've taken some measures to eliminate the mid-summer humidity issues, including polyurethaning the pantry shelves and ceiling, and redesigning our walk-through closet, so clothes are no longer against the back wall.  We've found that the one or two times in the summer where it nears 90F with over 90% humidity, we get some "sweating" on the back 1' of floor and bottom 1' of tire wall.  However, most people in our region have similar issues and we can't attribute that to the fact that we're in an Earthship.

If we had sun every day in the winter we could probably get away without any heat source whatsoever.  I don't think its possible for the main living area to get below 55F...unless a door were left open of course.  We easily keep the main room in the mid-upper 60s with the wood-fired oven.  We just got done with -25F wind chills and the greenhouse stayed in the 40s at night.  The radiant floor heat setup coming off of the oven works well too.  After a few hours, the back hallway floor heats up to the mid 70s and sometimes into the low 80s - warming the East end of the Ship.
Our tomato plant is about 2 months away from becoming a "perennial tomato plant."

Our banana tree finally flowered and began growing bananas!






Cooking local.
Southern Tier Chili

We use the oven as much as possible....toasting, boiling, baking, frying, dehydrating, etc.  We had a $200 propane bill our first year and this should help lower that.
Looking forward to lots of canning next year.  I put my Fedco seed order in and we should start seeing the beginning of production from the orchard this year.



In other related news, Courtney is pregnant!  This is how we finished our last bedroom for a future nursery, with a raised-plaster sun, pallet-wood wall, and yellow, orange, and red bottles on the hallway wall:


And the Starry Night room, plastered and painted