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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

frugal living 11


FRUGAL LIVING 11

SHELTER
UNABOMBER SHACK
( unrelated note: Gary-thanks for the card-hilarious!.  And of course, the donation inside which will soon be turned into a book or three )
Another shelter option, or one of a multiple if you are considering adding on to your RV, is the Unabomber Shack- named after our buddy Ted not in admiration for bombing a few Harvard pointy heads ( not that I’m judging per se because I have no love lost for our Ivy League institutions as they have become not about higher learning but merely bastions of political correctness and recruiting stations for a degreed moron who enters our version of the Chinese Mandarins ) because if we let that one go than every swinging dingus and his brother is mailing bombs and Anthrax and I’m sure I’ll be on someone’s short list and we can’t have that now can we, but for his admirable living arrangements which were a model of simplicity.  A few pieces of plywood and some two by four sticks of Canadian pine and you have a shelter against the elements.  It may not be as nice as an RV, but it sure is cheaper, contains far less gene altering chemicals and you can customize and add on a lot easier.  At it’s basic, a Unabomber Shack is an 8x8 cube ( yes, I know the dimensions are slightly less, I’m simplifying ) of lumber and at present has a cost of $300 ( plywood $10, $3 2x4’s, 12 sheets and 48 sticks and nails ).  You can add a lot to that, or almost nothing ( just some tar paper, or some Ferro-cement for example.  The foundation being some rocks or a lot of cement.  The insulation being added later, or none at all if you have plentiful stove wood ),  depending on the weather and your skills, but that is your basic starting cost. 

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Your basic Unabomber Shack is also the foundation of an underground dwelling, but we cover that in the next section.  All I’m saying here is that the start up cost to your sheltering problem is easy-peasy and cheap as can be.  If I, no great skill set even for hammering nails in straight, can build one, anyone including your grandmother or a Goodwill Industries backroom retard worker can.  And who can’t come up with a mere $300?  Now, obviously, you’ll want more.  One cube for each bedroom, one for a kitchen, etc.  But if you add one every payday, cash on the barrelhead-NO DEBT- you will soon find yourself with a home in no time at all.  As long as you start small and don’t get your panties in a bind over sacrificing for a very short period your normal luxuries, anyone industrious enough to hold down a minimum wage job and work a second shift afterwards building can own their own home without debt.  The only thing to beware is your location and its government zoning laws, most being predisposed to screwing over the little guy in favor of moneyed interests that want to see you in debt with both adults in your family working a dead end job that has the overseas Guillotine hanging over it to force worker compliance.  As soon as you forget that most rich people in your town owe their wealth to screwing over everyone else- NOT hard work or intelligence, that is when you get double dog dry dicked.  The paranoid do survive longer.

END

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25 comments:

  1. You can go even cheaper than that if you like to. Rancho Costa Nada (sorry, have not found a free version yet) talks about a sleep box that is about 4x4x8 used to sleep in and some storage. All other activities taking place under a version of a carport or open shed roof. Of course he lived in the low desert and only needed shade and a windblock. Something to think about though.

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    1. If I recall correctly, it was partially dug out with sandbags

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  2. There's retardedly cheap, and intelligently inexpensive, and the diff is in how the whole picture is thought out. Slope that roof a bit, unless you want to replace it in a year, and let the ends overhang the walls a bit unless you want to replace the walls in a year. Ever sit in a chair all day that was on a floor that was 1/4" out of level? Your lower spine will remind you all the rest of your days - make your floor LEVEL for gods sake.

    Yeah, $300 will get you a box worthy of storing the lawn mower in for a few years but if you're talking about the rest of your life think a little longer range and plan it out. Maybe you don't have a few thou laying around to invest in your future, but you will if you are gainfully employed.

    Figure out what you want to have, determine what materials you need, watch for material sales and scarf up what you can when you can and store it out of the weather until such time you can fabricate the parts that you will transport to your site and assemble.

    If you want to add on in the future like Jim suggested, think it out so that the material waste ($$$) is minimalized.

    For small scale housing you have to rethink the way you view things, for example, in a say 16'x16' crib you won't be installing a standard 30" kitchen range, full size fridge and dishwasher, so figure out what you WILL be installing.

    Consider 1 burner cookplates at Walmart for about $20 or a small propane stove, again at Walmart for about $20. Black n Decker makes a toaster oven for about $30 and microwaves are almost free, in fact, they are free on craigslist all the time. What are you gonna do for a shitter? How are you gonna scrub your goat smellin ass?

    Thinking these things thru up front will save you long green in the long view.

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    1. I'm not sure anyone would want to use the cheap shelter long term. If they do, they can't care too much about niceties. On the other hand, if things go south quick, they have more than a tent.

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    2. A technology that has long been on sailboats is the foot-powered water pump. Here's the most expensive one:

      http://www.amazon.com/Gusher-Galley-Foot-Pump-III/dp/B000FHQL6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423070411

      and here's the one that came in the mail last week:
      http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Manual-Galley-Water-Caravan/dp/B00F1J2UZS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1423070583&sr=8-3&keywords=5+oceans+galley

      Both have re-build kits available, but you won't need one for years unless pumping sand with water.

      Functionally identical, although your cramped install may require the expensive version with both heads on one side or the other. I like having a pump and 2 spares for the same price as one Whale. Quality is what I expect from our not-Communist Chinese friends on Formosa. Good vacuum and good flow. Installation quality makes all the difference. Barbed hose connection AND ss perfect circle clamps. Leaks are bad, and avoidable.

      Water and electrical don't get along very well. If they do, it's only due to waterproof materials, good seals, and regular maintenance. Why not not have power with your water? It's one less copper line to run, one less fuse/breaker, one less expensive switch, fewer Amps drawn, less noise.

      Foot pump at a hand washing station or galley (err...kitchen) will save many gallons of valuable water and still provide near-municipal usefulness. When you stop pumping, water stops flowing, but when you pump it's pretty good 4 gpm. It is also a useful filter of character and intentions of visiting ladies. Is she too lazy to push a lever with her foot to get water?

      pdxr13

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    3. Have you met any female ( or male for that matter )? Lazier than a flat turd in the middle of the road.

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  3. Heck, you can go 12x 12x 8 for not much more expensive- 12 foot lengths of 2x6 are easy enough for one person precariously perched on a ladder to handle, I speak from experience here. Measure the average bedroom in a cheap apartment and you will find it right around those dimensions. Go luxurious and make it 12x 12x 12 if you have a tall enough ladder. It took me 3 weekends in winter weather to do 24x 12x 10 un-insulated shed, and that was because I was using scraps of a previous project. The hardest part is the roofing. A simple single slope shed roof is the way to go, overhanging the walls by a good amount. Place it above the lowest point around, and seal it for water. Ta- Da!.
    Of course Jim went dirt cheap and left out the door, screws, window(s) waterproofing etc- but that is all budget and scrounging reliant, and not so essential you cant do without them in a pinch (nails can be pulled out of old pallets if you are that cash poor).

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  4. "One cube for each bedroom, one for a kitchen, etc.  But if you add one every payday, cash on the barrelhead-NO DEBT- you will soon find yourself with a home in no time at all."

    Good article James. I'm always trying to come up with ways for a simple, no nonsense shelter, and this provides some food for thought?
    In many area's, in order to circumvent the codes, many will do just as you have described above. That is, a separate building for dining, sleeping, or washing. Just be sure and abide by the legal offsets to the property line, and between the individual buildings, as there is a minimum proximity that they can be with regards to one another. Find out what the maximum size is before needing a permit (in most areas it's 120 Sq ft ). You still have to be careful because such a structure is still not considered to be a legal residence, at least not in my area, and I suspect in most? Better to not have any neighbour's in close proximity in this situation.

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    1. Neighbors will narc you out quicker than cat crap on a hot tin roof. Whoring bastards. At one time I was playing with the idea of a two story "shed". 1st is underground, maybe five foot high. Just the bedroom. Well insulated between floors. 2nd is living room kitchen bathroom. Right below sq. footage needed for permit/inspections ( its double that sq footage, but they don't know about the below ground part ). I also pondered a hidden below ground room as bedroom, covered by a porch offset from trailer.

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    2. I thought about doing the same with a three story shed James. I know in my area, it was just the 120 SQ Ft footprint, and it could legally only be one story, but I put a half story (Really tall pitched roof on my shed) and never heard anything about it? I had planned on going with a full 8' cinder block basement on the next one.

      But I think that I might just go with a pioneer style dugout on the next one for stealth purposes and superior insulation properties. Only problem is that it will likely be picked picked up by a county plane/satellite during the construction phase, so they will still likely know that you have it. But of course the ideal is that they do not!

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    3. Hmm. How about a debre pile nearby and a tarp covering the construction spot? I know, I've been paranoid about this myself.

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    4. Food for thought James. I would really prefer that our government not know the place in which thoust resides. Saw some cheap land in Elko. One parcel had a stream for $6k, which I consider to be very reasonable.

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    5. Seasonal stream? That means water once a year during a flash flood. If that. Otherwise, buy that sucker! Hell, I'd buy it if it was year round.

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    6. Here's the description James:

      " 2.4 Acres of Land For Sale About 9 Miles NE of Elko Nevada with Jackstone Creek Flowing Thru the Property! Jackstone Creek is an Early Tributary to the N Fork of the Humboldt River and I've Seen Little Fish In It!"

      It's actually $7K OBO. I would think $7K would be a bit steep for 2.4 acres 9 miles away from Elko if it was a seasonal stream? But you would know better than I. I could email you the link if you like?

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    7. Can't say I'm familiar with the creek. I'd be looking at a map just like you. The cost is not bad at all for what land goes for here. $3k an acre is about standard for far off grid.

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    8. I saw 40 acres for $12K James, 6 miles south of Montello. I know that sort of goes against what you advocate, due to price and the such. But if it were square, and you were to put your dwelling in the middle of it, you would never have to worry about anyone ever being too close to you, even if it were to build up someday. Thoughts?

      http://smile4uinc.com/listing.php?listingid=713&state=NV&type=listing

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    9. I'd LOVE to both be that isolated, and insulated from intrusion. And a great price. My issue is lack of surface water up there.

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  5. If a person can get the cheap land now, or rfs, he can plan for the current deluxe unibomber shack as well as a good site for a deluxe 256 square foot palace that could host most mod-cons. +1 on the avoidance of modern McMansion-sized kitchen appliances. I've seen walk-in refrigerators bigger than 16x16 in these 3 car garage chipboard financial disasters. You want sailboat and RV technology whenever possible.

    Refrigeration: rocker-pump 4 cubic foot ac/dc reefer. It may have ice-cube-making capability, but it won't keep your chocolate ice cream rock-hard. An efficient model will use less than 400 Watt-Hours PER DAY (45W/hr peak), even in Elco. New, this could be $1200 but I have faith that you will get one for a hunnert bux like me. In Portland, summer, in the direct sun, the Norcold used 320Watt-hr/day, measured on Kill-a-Watt. Two 158W panels, controller, and two 6v GC2 batteries (used golf car batt's) do great here. Oh yeah, tilt the shed roof at the correct angle South so that bracketing is easy. Panels on roof increase panel security as well as reducing thick-copper wire run length.

    Lighting: LED 12v. Security: 12v powered. Comm: 12v powered. Computer: 12v powered. See the trend? Some 12v stuff sucks, like RV 12v drink blenders.

    Sell an assault rifle or registered MG and pay for this easily. Quick before the market floor drops out.

    Backup refer/freezer for cheap: 8 cubic foot model from big nasty leaking moldering 5th wheel trailer. Runs on ac-120/60hz or propane. Efficiency pretty good on propane, a steady moderate load if running a fueled genset for 120v anyway. A HOG if capable of and running on 12v. It may need small 12v to operate electronix board measuring temp/operating gas valve/sparker.

    Stove/heater: rv propane stove/oven because they are so cheap and available. Free if you are scrapping out the above mentioned RV. Convenient as heck, with a thermostat, until the propane/12v runs out.
    Military-surplus beer-keg multi-fuel heater: will burn wood (if you haaaave to) or Diesel/Kero/JP4 or JP8, WITHOUT electrical input for control or pump.

    The RV is a source of opening-glass windows, which should be doubled-up to make an insulating air-gap between them for the cold season. Add Reflectix (metallized insulating bubble sheet) between the windows for even more insulation and darkness.

    Toilet: bucket for cheap. Add $10-$16 for a nice seat that fits on bucket. Next step up is a urine-separating composting model with a fan. They don't stink nearly as much as any RV or marine toilet with a holding tank. Get the bucket and save up for the deluxe no-stink composter to make flowers grow well. Don't put human solid waste on food plants unless you have sterilized it with heat first (expensive PITA).

    Water: covered catchment. Any which way you can, but you have to have water.

    Cheers.

    pdxr13

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    1. Ok, please calm down! :) I am in the process of writing the utilities section of the book and you almost did it all for me there! I'm still going to advocate "no fridge", but will just propose a junked RV unit as BTN even though they use 10 gallons of propane a month.

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    2. RV appliances are designed to be cheap to make and fast to install. They are generally crap, when compared to full-sized house appliances, or marine appliances. RV propane refers are under-insulated and hog propane more than they should. But, they are on Craigslist for cheap.

      If a person has a windfall of cash (bricks of heroin and cash fall off of a truck in front of your bike), buying super-efficient "off-grid" appliances after placing a "lifetime supply" order of ammo and buying more space between you and neighbor would seem prudent.

      Refrigeration is/was important in the extension of life expectancy in the 20th century. Fresh refrigerated food is great! The most efficient refrigerator you can buy for a "normal" price is a chest freezer. You modify the controller to just keep cool, not freeze. The motor is designed to run a freezer, so you have just bought extra decades of operation under very low stress. Top-loading means that the cold doesn't fall on your feet while getting a Coke. Insulation is often over 3" and sometimes 4" on all 6 sides.

      People need a freezer, too. Freezer is a bigger investment in space and power requirement. I would get a crazy-big chest model and additionally-insulate the inside with block foam or aerogel (when it becomes more reasonable) as well as freezing 3/4 full jugs of purified water as a thermal flywheel.

      Placement of refrigerator/freezer is important. They need a cool protected space with good ventilation. I'm thinking that a North side wall is the least that should be done, with the most involving a deep finished basement and waste heat recycling.

      Elk meat has to go somewhere.

      pdxr13

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    3. I would say refrigeration is needed because of our economic system. Folks preserved their meat before it.

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  6. The PV panels should be south facing of course, angled appropriately, and mounted close to the ground and close to the sidewall of the domicile for ease of maintenance, snow removal, etc. The batteries will be close to the ground in an enclosed environment but vented FROM the living area, so the large diameter wire costs would be minimal. Bushes planted in front of the panels, but not tall enough to block the sun, would shield them from prying eyes. Try to avoid roof penetrations at all cost for they are difficult to repair and almost fatal in a small home when they leak. A range-oven is overkill for this sort of installation. In decent weather an outdoor grill would get some good use - everything tastes better on a grill and clean up is easy.

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    1. I do miss outdoor cooking about two months out of the year.

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  7. "As soon as you forget that most rich people in your town owe their wealth to screwing over everyone else- NOT hard work or intelligence, that is when you get double dog dry dicked."

    Truer words have never been spoken. Too bad it took me most of my adult life to finally figure that out.

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    1. I don't know why I've ALWAYS hated Yuppie Scum, really, but it has kept me in fear and loathing of them all my life. I usually get screwed by my own socioeconomic classmates.

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