Low-impact Living at the Eldergrove Homestead

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 have always looked at what we think the world could look like in 30 years based on current trends. We are seeking a better path for ourselves on this planet, a "Geo-Path" if you will. We work mainly with "appropriate technology", a human-scale approach that is not necessarily low-tech,
high-tech, "prepper", traditional, pre- or post-industrial, or Amish/Mennonite. Perhaps "transitional" says it best in that we work judiciously, with what is currently widely available, to design a future where we can lower the amount of technology and energy that we use.

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.

Missing Links?

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 a new page called Unseen Energies, formerly found on our sister, 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. For instance.....

Stainless Steel Dryer Screens

For really quick ordering within the continental United States, just use one of these E-Bay links:

Or we will give you the cheapest possible quote to your address:

We can sell screens for $3.00/ square foot, or $12.00 per 2-by-2 foot dryer screen, plus actual shipping costs to your locale. To get a shipping quote,
  • simply send or e-mail us your postal Zip Code and,
  • the number of screens you would like. 
There is a minimum order of 2 screens, and because it comes off a 4-foot roll we only sell it in multiples of 2 screens (either 2, 4, 6, etc.). For instance, to build a 4-by-4-foot dryer (the minimum we recommend) you will need 4 screens, totaling $48.00 plus shipping.

Buying Screens from GeoPathfinder

Once you have received your shipping quote,
  • If you wish to proceed with an order using PayPal (which accepts all major credit cards, checking accounts, and e-checks), we can either send you a PayPal invoice or you can pay the total with shipping either to our account on GMail.com, listed as "bobdowser".
  • Or, if you dislike paying online and are not in a big hurry, just send a check to:
          Bob Dahse/Larisa Walk
          30319 Wiscoy Ridge Road
          Winona, MN 55987

We ship via USPS using either the slower, cheaper Standard Post or the faster, more expensive Priority Mail. Standard Post orders ship on Fridays, when we take a weekly trip to town. Priority Mail orders can ship on any regular business day since USPS picks these up from our home.

When you receive your screens we recommend washing them in warm, soapy water. Factories ship them covered with a light coating of petroleum-based lubricating oil that is used in the weaving process. It is best to get that off before mounting them in a frame and using them with food.

If you need the screens trimmed slightly to recess the screen edges back from the edges of a 2-by-2-foot frame, we recommend using a metal shears. We use a Stanley model with slightly serrated, chrome-molybdenum steel blades that work quite well. The screen edges are sharp so wear gloves! If you would prefer the screens slightly smaller but you would like us to cut them for you, please mention this in your request.

And if someone reading this gets inspired to order enough materials to organize a dryer building workshop in their own area we'd be happy to post a link here to your website/e-mail address so that others could obtain your leftover screen. For the best price on stainless screens in larger quantities or other widths, you will need to order it in 100-foot rolls. We had been getting it from Cambridge International (formerly Cambridge Wire Cloth, in Massachusetts). To get their most recent price quote, you'll have to e-mail them.  With a 24-screen minimum order this is not the best option for those wanting pre-cut screens.

We currently order 100-foot rolls from a company in Pennsylvania called Darby Wire Mesh. Again, their price on large rolls is good but individual pre-cut screens cost a lot. Another company, in California for those closer to the West coast, is TWP, Inc. Their site, like Darby's, is user-friendly, with direct links to buy the screening. And an e-mail correspondent found another site, City Wire Cloth, with a minimum order of $100. They offer a 4 x 10-foot piece of type 304, .018", 12 mesh.

Either way, don't expect low prices! This is a life tool, eminently recyclable, and will no doubt be usable for 7 generations. If you can find a local metal-working shop that has leftover stainless screen from some industrial contract job, or if you can find some in your local metal "scrapyard", the recycling price will be probably be much lower.


About Us

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 over 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 pet chickens and ducks. 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, by using a masonry wood-stove of our own design (burning about a "cord", 128 cu.ft., of fallen "soft maple" per year), and using solar PV electricity to power conduction heaters connected to the masonry stove. Although we live in frigid Minnesota, we grow lettuces and other greens both in our solar-heated greenhouse and in indoor window boxes year-round. We steam-can, steam-juice, root cellar, "live-store", or solar-dry all of our garden's bounty. Most of our spring/summer/fall cooking is done using a parabolic solar oven or a PV-powered AC electric stove-top. In the winter we cook on our wood-stove or use the AC stove-top and home-built DC oven. We very rarely ever use our propane gas cook-top.

Since we don't like to support senseless suffering or death, we have been successful and healthy vegans for about 40 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 2001 Honda Insight hybrid, converted to charge the traction battery using high-voltage solar PV, and our recumbent Catrike, "tadpole-style" tricycle, converted into a solar-charged, human/electric hybrid vehicle.

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 Honda Insight and bikes are gasoline/electric and human/electric hybrids. Our wood-stove is a masonry/steel hybrid that also heats our hot water, uses excess solar PV as an adjunct heater, 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, home heating in the winter, and also utilizes excess sunny-day input to charge our hybrid electric trike, electric tractor, electric mower, electric chainsaw, etc. The electric vehicles can be directly charged from our solar panels or we can use AC chargers and our inverter. 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 human-scale and appropriate, from an environmental, economic, and sociological perspective. We are not 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. Never fear, someone else will pick up the slack! 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.

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