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.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn Update

Wow, its been awhile!  The big update:  we were featured in an episode of a great PBS show called Growing a Greener World:  Episode 416: Sustainable Homes  I'm actually using these episodes in my high school science elective this year as they fit into the curriculum perfectly!

My cousin, Jon, did an awesome video update in early September.  Unfortunately I cannot embed the clip here so go to the source:  http://vimeo.com/77143056 

We've spent much of late summer/autumn finishing some concrete/masonry work outside.  We poured a walkway and entryway at the West entrance (our main entry from the driveway) and finished the brown-stained cement finish coat on the East end.
The greenhouse is still productive...peppers, citrus blossoms, and sauce tomatoes.  Our banana tree is finally starting to bloom too!

We've been using the wood-fired oven for a lot of our cooking so far.  It takes awhile to heat up but it eventually doubles as a great heat source as well.  We've had a couple nights in the 20s and as long as it is sunny during the day, we don't have to start a fire.  On cloudy, cold days we usually start one but it easily brings the place up to the lower 70s.  The greenhouse has been a lot warmer so far as it wasn't fully insulated last winter.

We hosted a tour of Groton Middle School students via an after school teen program with the Groton Public Library.  Its a shame there is no funding for field trips anymore.  Luckily this grant-funded program was able to provide enrichment for about 15 students....and....Pizza!

Winter Projects:  Finish the other bathroom (shower), build the second hallway closet, tile mosaic in the West entryway greenhouse area, and plaster the back hallway.

Spring Projects:  finish East and West patios, final masonry coat on West end, and finish garden

Stay tuned for a Kickstarter Campaign for our spring/summer project!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Freeville Earthship Internship

September 2nd-6th we will have two Earthship Biotecture crew members here to work on plastering the final two bedrooms, back hallway, and hopefully the entryway and back patio walls.  People who are interested in working alongside them are welcome to email me at courtneyjdevoe@gmail.com.  On-site camping is available for those who would like to stay the night!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Growing a Greener World

Last week we had Joe Lamp'l, host and executive producer of Growing a Greener World® and his cameraman/director Carl Pennington from Georgia over for the day to tape a segment for their show.  We had a lot of fun with them and can't wait to watch our episode on October 19th!  They have a really great show about sustainability and gardening, and are on their 4th season.  All of their episodes are worth checking out, and are posted online here:

Joe and Carl preparing to tape the introduction to the episode
Carl setting up the living room for our interview
the promotional picture of us and our earthship

Thursday, August 15, 2013

July Updates

As you can see the Airbnb advertisement located on the upper right corner on our blog, we started renting our master bed and bath as an earthship bed and breakfast.  Throughout July and now into August we've enjoyed hosting about a dozen different parties (individuals and couples).  It's been neat to share our space with interested people, answer their questions, and tell stories about what we've been through to get to this point.  Sign up to stay with us by clicking on the Airbnb image!  

Here are some pictures from around the house, including our ever-growing greenhouse plants:
finished the bottle wall over the living room entryway

chicken coop and fruit orchard (should produce fruit next summer)

cucumbers in the back branch-trellis planter

watermelon growing on the wall of the back patio

bell peppers

we grew a red pepper right in the greenhouse (it was green for at least 3 weeks!)
San Marzano tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes

herb garden

I'm painting the entryway a terracotta orange


Ellie and Darwin enjoying the evening sun

Chad pollinating the tomato flowers with a small paintbrush

huge basil harvest! (turned into pesto) 
pumpkin growing outside
garlic harvest from our outdoor garden

Another big project we've been working on is our back patio.  I had a vision of a mosaic-ed wall, wrap around bench, unique bottle fence background, and a fire pit.  It isn't done yet, but it's coming along!
tire wall to form bench, can wall fire pit

posts added to support the bottle fence 
20 pieces of rebar set vertically will form the posts on the bottle fence
whole bottles with labels removed and holes drilled through the bottom will slide onto the rebar forming a bottle fence

my Kokopelli mosaic so far (one blue one left to go!)

And finally, Chad's been chipping away at his brick oven.  He adds rocks on the outside almost every day, and started lighting some curing fires.  And then, we finally started cooking some food and some pizzas!  It is soooo good!

Chad added copper tubing to the dome which will heat water to be pumped through the floor of the back hallway.
rock work

Light a fire,

watch the smoke get sucked up the chimney.

Once the bricks get to 900 degrees you push the coals to the back of the oven and wipe down the surface with a wet rag.
Then slide your pizza in with a peel!