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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

bob the builder 2


BOB THE BUILDER 2

My original off grid homestead, frugal redneck style, was just a travel trailer pulled into a lot with scrub brush up to the sides ( slowly hacked back by hand over the years ).  I had not enough solar panels and a whole lot of propane tanks and a beat to crap truck that got five miles to the gallon.  I biked to work and once a week we went into town in the truck to do laundry, go to the library, fill up the water jugs, go shopping and throw away our trash and sewer.  That is how we lived for years ( later on I retired the truck and transported everything by bike with a rental car once a month only years after that ).  Four years later, suffering mightily in the winters as propane heating was budgeted for five to ten hours a day max, my land was paid off and with the end of child support I started building the underground hovel to escape the winters ( which was fortunate timing as just months later after building completion we had a record breaking cold spell, fifteen below every morning for weeks, the high in the single digits above zero ).  I had to build cheaply, as the money for lumber and insulation was primarily from withholding buying books for nearly half a year ( oh, how I suffered, the depravation!  The depravation! ).  Then, I never improved on my bare minimum.  I had just completed two decades of supporting wife number two and it was time to spend some money on me for once.  So what did I do?  I didn’t spend money on me but on more preps.  Perhaps I should have improved the luxuries on the homestead, but as this period was the last three years, you should be able to understand how paranoid I was getting.

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Bathing was by a pan of water ( solar heated except in the three months of winter as the old Old Lady was too lazy to put the glass water jars in the heater for me at dawn and they froze over night ).  Still crapping in a bucket.  I was writing on my lunch break at work to conserve electric at the homestead, and the battery was allowed to be discharged not too much more than 50 watts a night as I only had a total of 75 watts in panels ( I bought them when they were much more expensive than they are now ).  I refused to spend $30 a month on propane so we had no refrigeration.  As I was hauling water by bike, water was always rationed ( enough to drink lavishly, everything else was minimalism.  A squirt bottle to rinse off dishes, the dish water was a couple of cups in a pan, etc. ).  As the downstairs was six by twelve for the sleeping/cooking area with an unenclosed by walls additional four feet for stocking supplies, the toilet and in an emergency ( under 55 degrees upstairs ) bathing, when you wanted to get into the sun and not feel the walls closing in, you had to walk upstairs and over to the trailer ( south facing on the wall with the most windows, it almost always was habitable without propane heat in the day even in the winter ) if you wanted to use the living room.  To minimize taxes I had built under the maximum square feet and unconnected building were the answer.  As you can see, it was as primitive of living as you could be without descending into squalor.  As that as a comparison, next article we move into the theoretical improvements.

END

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11 comments:

  1. Now that's hard core -and- why I come to read everyday. You walk the walk, James.

    Idaho Homesteader

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  2. To entice the feminine types, you'll need much better running water. Bathrooms and secondly kitchens must be warm and convenient to get most women interested.
    I still maintain that a cistern system be a high priority. Gotta have it, or inevitably end up having to bug out. In your neck of the woods, you probably need like six months of reserve. Tall order but to be prepared....

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    Replies
    1. I could squeeze by for the two of us, six months, a bit over 300 gallons. Very do-able.

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  3. jeezis h christ on a flaming hand truck already.

    Now, that old slapped together 10'x10' plywood and 2x4's shed down at the end of the property don't look so bad - just have to chase the mices out, and cut in a window to keep from claustrophobing my ass out.

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    Replies
    1. Add a screened porch and you have a complete home.

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  4. Im planning on copying your setup. Trailer for taxman, buried bunker to live in. Thinking concrete block instead of wood. Which would you use?

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    Replies
    1. Our ground here is self-supporting. If yours easily collapses you need brick. I can get by with lumber.

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  5. Good post James. I suppose that in many ways you lived the life of a pioneer and it probably helped to shape you into a pretty hardy individual, as it reflects in your writing. You can't really say that about too many of our males today, many of whom have been reduced to nothing more than effete metrosexuals.

    It's my hope that some day you make it back to that homestead. Civilisation and corporate servitude has a way of ruining a man.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad for a real, positive relationship, but I do miss the fresh air and quiet.

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  6. As a recent newcomer discovering your blog only this past summer, these recent posts are really welcomed by me to get a better feeling of the life you've lived in order to acquire this "flinty hard" wisdom of no frills survivalism. As you contemplate adding future enhancements to your life in the new local remote lot, I'm going to enjoy seeing how you prioritize this little growth in luxury and how your girlfriend responds. The older we get, the more that other soft flesh at night feels so good to sleep next to..... after all, at night when the lights are out and there's warmth under the covers, everyman feels like a king under those conditions! Keep her next to you, oh glorious man of beautiful hair. Just don't let her ever cut your shiny locks away and reduce you to weakness again............

    Bullpasture in Virginia

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    Replies
    1. Well, like I said, I doubt anything changes. Remember, she is eight years older than me, so more attuned to luxuriating old bones on grid.

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