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Thursday, September 11, 2014

a house divided


A HOUSE DIVIDED

Most folks, buying land with cash or very short term financing to stay out from under the yolk of the banks and then moving there with a starter shelter, later add on to that shelter as cash flow permits.  I won’t get into the whole part about you more than likely not having time to fiddle-hump around like that anymore, the collapse having jumped up in velocity.  I assume you can all take that into account and plan accordingly as you wish.  Let’s just say that if the collapse doesn’t happen on schedule you can play off-grid living by the old school method.  If time permits, you add on to the original small space.  Examples are a travel trailer that has an added enclosed porch which allows a wood stove addition, an added bedroom, a roof over, etc.  Or, a single wide mobile home you slowly but surely add stick lumber rooms to  expand.  Or, a small shack that grows with your budget.  Or, you dig a hole, cement block it, then slide the mobile over for a enclosed basement.  What I would like to propose is a concept of separate shelters rather than continuous ones.  A house consisting of many separate outbuildings NOT together but separately.  You might argue against it, saying you need more building material, site the lack of interior spaces not needing as much energy for heat, wonder why folks would want to travel from room to room in inclement weather, etc.  And normally you would be correct.

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But separate shelters for separate rooms does solve separate problems.  In a lot of cases, living in low everything else tax  but high property tax states, such as I do in Nevada, if you build anything the bastards delight in humping you at 3% of assessed values.  You might build cheap, but they tax at regular building costs.  Then you must fight to get that lowered.  By using belowground shelter and above ground RV’s and enclosed vehicles on axles, my taxes stay at raw unimproved land levels.  If I started joining those shelters together with roofed and sided lumber, or enclosed them for solar envelopes, BOOM.  Taxes out the wazoo.  I also save money by not building.  At first, we were in a quandary about this, which mainly revolved around our cats needs.  As it turned out, the cats had much less problem walking outdoors than we did.  And, we’ve gotten used to it.  Since we dress for the season, layers of sweaters in winter with beanie hats, and shorts in the summer, moving outside from the bedroom ( the underground hovel ) to the living room ( the large RV ) to the book room/food storage ( the small RV ) is not uncomfortable.  No one shelter is good for everything, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Underground is comfortable year round without heating or cooling ( or, worst weather, very little heating outside coffee and dinner cooking ), but it is cramped and claustrophobic.  The living room has great solar gain and is comfortable with easy-chairs, but is for sunny days only in the winter.  And the small trailer is too cramped for anything else but keeps our other spaces clutter free.  As a bonus, besides needing no investment in building material, should one shelter burn down or get damaged from an asteroid ( I’m thinking the odds are much better burning, but you never know ), there are others to go to.  If they were all joined together, all your eggs are in one basket.  Just food for thought.

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18 comments:

  1. Exactly why I read your stuff, little nugs like this.

    Thanks

    -Sumdude

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it, it was just a butt-pullage topic at the time

      Delete
  2. Setting up an outbuilding as a power shed, solar panels, batteries, generator, is a lot safer. We repurposed a freind's ice fishing shack as a power shed. We positioned it in the sun and set the skis up on blocks. No foundation, no taxes.

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    Replies
    1. I just placed a wood pallet against a plastic tote with the battery in an insulated ice chest. It ain't pretty, but it was cheap and also tax free.

      Delete
  3. To back up your philosophy of multi-buildings, look at how the pioneers did it.
    The built their initial hovel, then an out house (or the other way around) then a summer kitchen, then a barn, then a tool shed, then a better house. Around here anywhere they haven't been torn down you see old homesteads with at least 3-4 buildings, usually more.
    There is some savings in sharing walls, heating, etc. But anything that doesn't need much heating can be built as a separate structure as money and space allows. And it is easier to dig a separate hole and put in separate heating/ventilation systems, than it is to build earth sheltered that allows for easy underground growth without special tools.
    Me? I am building the toilett room first. Then the washroom and kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I had an underground tunnel borer. That bad boy would dig some serious living space.

      Delete
    2. Tractor with front loader (and mower, and snow blower) cost $4000, available to use when ever we want, just the cost of gas and minor maintenance beyond its purchase, and those only when we want to use it. Around here that is the best affordable option (you lose 2 days trying to get to and from a place to rent, and hiring someone for 8 hours with their equipment costs @$1200)
      In your area if you have an equipment rental place that you can get to and from, you can easily rent a backhoe or skid steer etc. for cheaper than the cost of your labor. Including possibly a machine to help bore the holes between some extra BPOD's.
      Just don't neglect the shoring when you build the tunnels.

      Delete
    3. Cost of my labor is $0. Well, calories cost but I'm going to eat anyway.

      Delete
    4. Cost of labor is not $0. you could be instead working a second part time job- or getting twice (or more!) of the productivity out of your time, not the mention the cost of hand labor in tools and health care costs if you injure yourself (*more likely as you get older).
      But the actual cost of your labor is a personal determination. I just suggest that everyone look at the true total cost of their hand labor vs. renting/buying/or hiring machinery to do the work.
      The more work you do yourself, the closer to your own bare hand the cheaper in money it is but the more expensive in time. Imagine digging the BPOD with your bare hands. You could (probably) do it. But you would probably choose to use a rock pretty quickly.
      Mechanization is just a more expensive purpose built tool. And with tool rentals you don't even have to keep the tool.
      Mechanization (and a lot of purpose built tools of any complexity) is going to go away by the time our great-grandkids are looking to build, but there is no reason for us not to take advantage of it if we can afford to. In fact take as much advantage as possible.

      Landscape for defensibility, food growth, water collection, future shelter building, etc.
      Get it all done in just a few months to couple of years (with machines) as compared to generations by hand. Even if the heirs don't need it all or need to change it, it is usually easier to change what is there than to build all new by hand.
      Our societies heirs probably wont see major buildings, vehicles, or fancy machines, but they WILL see (and maybe use) the places where we changed the very shape of the land- blasting passes into mountain sides, etc.

      Delete
    5. Take my writing income ( please! ). Let's be generous and call it $1.50 an hour. Digging the pit cost $200-$300 labor, plus $60 for pick, shovel and wheelbarrow. I couldn't buy the diesel for that amount. I see what you are saying but I think people value their time WAY too highly, which is a trap towards spending way too much for machines. By biking rather than driving, I'm only saving an hour a day in labor costs ( 1 1/2 hour day commute vs, half hour car commute= one extra hour a day in labor ). 20 hours a month biking vs. driving and I'm saving at least $300 a month. I'm being paid $15 to NOT drive in saved expenses. If digging the pit by machine was a grand I was paid $5 an hour in savings to dig by hand. I submit labor pays in savings- you aren't foregoing any lost wages. I don't know if I'm making sense-it's been a long day. For me, manual labor pays and machine labor costs.

      Delete
  4. This is what we always wanted to do. Last place my late husband and I had was a travel trailer with an added front porch. We had a small wood cookstove out there which heated the trailer. We purchased some Forest Service outhouses, which were turned into outbuildings. It worked out pretty well. It's really important to have skirting on your travel trailer! Makes it a lot easier to heat.

    We spent a winter in Spokane in an Airstream with propane heat. We had to put about 6 inches of cardboard on the floor to make the place liveable in the winter and still had to walk around bundled up. Still miss that Airstream--it was a comfortable place to live.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good post Lord Bison. Unfortunately I am required to build at least 800 sq. ft for a residence. I'm looking at a 20x30 plan with a 12:12 pitch roof for a loft. About as compact as I can go. Six-Bears, as usual good input on the power shed idea. I'm still looking at my options for a solar power system. Here in South MS we get plenty of sun. I'm debating between 500 watts up to 1500 watts. Still small by industry standards. I have noticed the selection of panels being offered is dwindling. Not a good sign. .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dag, if you need more than 500 you must be powering a smelter or something.

      Delete
  6. It's been a busy week and I'm just catching up on your blog.

    Back to the e-Gold article. Why don't you start e-Food. You could sell yuppie survivalist pieces of paper saying they have x amount of wheat and freeze dried yak testicles. For every 1,000 certificates, just store 1 bucket of wheat. Forget about even storing yak testicles -- too expensive.

    You could be rich in no time and buy all the books you want.

    Idaho Homesteader

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah, I know the yuppies like Airstreams. But they really are comfortable. Our second travel trailer was a Silver Streak, The tables and counters had square corners. We had to tape foam on them, to keep from banging into them all the time. The Airstream was lightweight and corners were rounded. The overhead compartments had sliding doors. We were full time in that for 8 years. It's still out there, which is more than you can say about most trailers. It was a 1965, and had dual AC/DC fixtures. There's a German made 12 volt flourescent that is expensive as sin but lasts for years and years.

    And, we pulled that trailer in snow so deep that the belly left track marks in the snow. I wouldn't pay inflated prices for one, but there are still deals out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never had experience with pre-76 or 79 trailers so I guess I'm used to them just being shoddy.

      Delete

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