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Saturday, June 10, 2017

off grid easy


OFF GRID EASY

Having just read yet another “we moved off grid and it was SOOOOO difficult” from an unnamed Idahoan survival guru site, I must confess my complete consternation.  Moving off grid is so friggin easy it is embarrassing.  And I don’t mean camping nor RV’ing.  I mean, setting up to live in a cabin.  I understand that most readers of aforementioned blog cannot conceive of a life not a duplication of suburbia, regardless of how far away the electric lines are, and I understand that they don’t look under the hood of their Saab’s so they have little understanding of 12v and hence solar power, but it is no loss to the world if those people stay in the city and die with the rest of the millions of mouth breathers.  Anyone with a modicum of common sense can easily transition to an off grid location and be up and running in a few days with little in the way of inconvenience or barbarism.  I read and studied for years, bought the items I thought I would need, and despite a few mistakes I moved off grid site unseen and was barely effected negatively. 

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Obviously, the first thing you do is buy land.  Go online and buy whatever land is offered on E-Bay ( no credit check, owner financed, usually $100 down ) or search in your desired area by searching for “ Texas (or wherever ) land for sale”.  There are plenty of people not on E-Bay selling land now, without the real estate agent headaches involved ( raw land, anyway ).  Check to make sure the state you want to move to doesn’t have too many zoning laws you’ll hate.  Missouri wants you to build a minimum of 1k square feet houses.  Utah doesn’t allow subdivision under an acre ( and they suck allowing to go off grid frugally ).  New Mexico wants you to have two acres prior to getting a permit for septic.  A lot of places try hard to keep poor immigrants out of the countryside.  If you don’t have a dirt road to your property, don’t buy it.  If there isn’t a surface source of water within a few miles, don’t buy it.  Even if you have rain catchment, a three hundred foot deep well as your only back-up source for water is retarded.  Also, is the reservoir too artificial?  There was a big lake north of Pecos Texas, near the NM border.  A nice farming community with affordable lots ( as low as $600 ).  The lake showed up on all the maps.  Until recently.  The drought and irrigation drained the too shallow lake and it never refilled. 

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We’ll just assume that buying land is the easy part.  It is all just diligent Internet surfing.  Well, it is ALL easy, so we’ll just call it the lazy part.  Next, you move to your land.  The town closest to it, have a reserved storage spot for most of your stuff.  It only needs to be there a month or three.  In that town, if you don’t have a pick-up truck, rent a U-Haul for your building supplies.  You can pick and choose from many different kinds of structures but I’d recommend buying a set of metal fasteners that allows you to build a big shed.  They sell them in sets through the mail.  The dome ones are popular and save on material but don’t get those unless you can handle the exact bizarre cutting dimensions of the roof panels ( or have a plan that doesn‘t need cutting wood such as cardboard backing, chicken wire and ferrocement ).  Otherwise just make a rectangle.  You’ll already have a materials list.  Go to Home Despot and buy your shelter material ( probably just start with tar paper for the exterior to save money and time ).  This is far superior to a tent and costs thousands less than an RV.  It goes up in a day even if you are retarded on building like I was.

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This doesn’t have to be your future home.  It is just a small cozy shelter that costs a few hundred bucks, to live in now out of the weather.  Once you build better it can be used as a storage shed.  Me, I’d just add one room at a time until you get a house.  You can use found rocks as a foundation if you are really poor and want to forego cement or blocks.  I lived in RV’s for decades, a great cheap home for a single or couple.  You can move where you want, where the jobs are, anyone can afford one and rent is half to one third that of an apartment.  Alas, Katrina saw FEMA give away trailers like candy and the RV companies saw a federal giveaway and consolidated and jacked up prices and then every swinging dingus out there jacked up their used trailer prices and pretty soon it was no longer a very good Po Boy housing alternative.  It is better to just build your own house now, financially.  And you can nail up a single room in a day.

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Fill up your water containers in town at the city park or the gas station.  The easiest are the big plastic three to five gallon ones.  I started out with the Wal-Mart $10 Jerry-Can looking containers but they didn’t last all that long.  Since they all had leaks, I just went with five gallon buckets with the add-on twist tops.  They also leaked but they’ll never crack or split.  Once I went to hauling water on my bicycle I used one gallon juice jugs, a VERY good plastic that almost never leaked ( not until six to twelve months later, after daily use, and then a pinhole leak rather than a seam crack ).  Storing water at home I just filled soda two liter bottles.  If you live in an area good enough to garden in, a roof rain catchment should deliver plenty of water ( you should also have one in the desert but you may not be able to garden.  If you can, metal roofing is cheap enough, especially compared to $50 a foot well drilling, so you can have a lot of roof to divert rain ) and I see no great issue with the simple expediency of hauling water prior to a metal roof installation.

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If the wife is such a princess she needs faucet running water, just build an elevated water tank.  It doesn’t have to be huge, or expensive.  It can be up in the rafters if you get too cold of weather ( braced for the extra weight, of course ).  RV stores sell smaller water tanks perfect for that.  For a shower, have an elevated platform next to the shower area, just a bracketed towel shelf if sturdy enough, to keep from looking ugly, and fill a bucket with stove heated water for a shower.  You just need a flexible hose with a shower head on the end, and a shut off valve for Navy showers ( how about a sink hose if they sell them long enough? ).  Long hair can be washed in the sink.  Hopefully you are moving in the Spring or summer so you can perform these washings outside until you get set up and organized and learn from any mistakes.   I preferred whores baths, just a container of hot water and a very thick and large washcloth.  I started at my head and worked down, wet and soap and rinse, the falling water wetting the next section, leaving the ass for last.  You can easily and comfortably wash in less than a gallon.  Gals can alternate days between hair and body and guys can alternate days bathing and shaving.

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To preheat water I built a simple solar water heater.  Take a sturdy box and dig a shallow hole at an angle, south facing near the surface sloping down towards the north.  Place the box in, the south side lip about at the surface.  Pile dirt up all around to all four lips, completely surrounding the box so that a pane of glass will cover the open top and sit flush on dirt on all sides.  Have a way to hold the glass down such as a bungee cord ( the wind will pick it up, even a framed sheet of glass, even at ground level ).  Fill Mason jars to the point water won’t slosh over when set at an angle down into the box-they rest on the bottom so that the side is facing south, for solar exposure.  If the bottoms are too far in shadow, your box is too deep.  Prop up with pieces of wood.  The box works best if painted flat black on the inside.  Even in winter, you can somewhat pre-heat water for a bath, or cooking.  In the summer, the water is completely heated.  Have an oven mitt and a basket to retrieve the jars, they will be hot.

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For water catchment inside, shower standing inside a thick plastic tote.  In time you can install proper plastic walls and drains.  All your water is caught, mixed with urine and safely dumped anywhere on the property ( just don’t use the same spot every time ).  Dishes are washed by filling a pot with soap and hot water ( heated on the stove ).  Soak the cooking pots, wash everything else one item at a time from a small pot.  You don’t need a sink full of water.  Rinsing is done using a twenty ounce soda bottle with a hole drilled in the cap.  Squeeze and rinse.  Very little water is needed for washing dishes.  It can be done in a small plastic tub.  You can cook everything atop a propane stove.  Buy the cast iron camping stove from Sportsman’s Guide.  It is only a bit more than Wal-Mart’s sheet metal piece of crap that won’t last six months.  Get the propane hose from Sportsman’s or at the RV store.  Place the hose through the wall to the outside and put your propane tank in a shelter of some kind, such as a wooden box with lid.  This keeps it from rusting or from ice forming ( which can lead to a fire or explosion-I’ve seen it happen, so the warnings aren’t just hyperbole ).

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Do not exchange propane tanks for a refill.  That costs $20.  Getting it filled yourself at a dealer/supplier is half the price.  It can add up.  Only use five gallon tanks.  The disposables are $3 each and a new refillable is only $30.  And do NOT get one of those deals that refills a disposable from a larger tank.  It hardly fills it, the little tanks rust easily and you waste gas in the transfer.  Better to just buy a new appliance that uses the smaller diameter hose ( the larger diameter hose was what the older BBQ’s used, and is what the disposables hook up to.  Plus, the larger diameter has the gas regulator in the appliance, the first thing to break, whereas the smaller hose has a regulator built on the hose.  Safer and lasts longer and if needed you replace the cheap hose rather than the expensive appliance ).  If your home is insulated well, you can also use your stove as a heater.  I had a old small cast iron skillet that had no seasoning on it I placed on the stove top under a low flame for heating.  Under no circumstances should you buy a “Mr. Heater” brand propane heater.  The company started churning out trash years ago.  They do not last long anymore.  I finally gave up after the second or third unit and just started using the stove.  Since I never do much more than an hour at a time I never have an issue.  I don’t leave it unattended, such as overnight ( we’ll cover that later ).

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You don’t need a propane refrigerator.  A solar fridge is half the price or less and needs no fuel.  A propane fridge uses ten gallons of fuel a month, $20.  In two years of fuel cost only, the solar fridge has paid for itself.  Go to Amazon and buy a “Johnson Controls A19AAT-2C Freezer Temperature Controller” for $60 or so.  Now go buy a chest freezer, a small one.  You hook the controller to the freezer and your freezer now runs at refrigerator temperatures and uses a grand total of 150-200 watts of power a day ( you need a freezer rather than a fridge for the better insulation ).  Unless your locale is always cloudy, three 100 watt panels should be more than sufficient to keep this powered.  $300 for the panels, $200 or so for the freezer and controller ( inverter extra, obviously ).  Boom, done, a sun fridge.  I’d recommend the panels and battery exclusive for the fridge.  Don’t share them with other power users.  Same for your microwave.

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Nobody needs a microwave but they sure will save on your propane use and so might be worth the investment.  A small 800 watt microwave can preheat water, cook your food, cook your wheat, and only use a few hundred watts a day if you watch your power use.  Every six minutes uses 80 watts and I can cook enough bread in that time for half my daily minimum calories.  Again, if your location is sunny enough for solar panels, 300 watts in panels for $300 ( buy your panels NOW, moving off grid or not.  Who knows how long these prices will last.  They were $4 a watt ten years ago, and now only $1 ) and you can pretty much nuke anything you want.  I’m continuing this tomorrow as it is long enough as it is.  We start with easy peasy 12v power systems, move on to wool and other items.

END

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20 comments:

  1. Well done Oh Great Pomaded one,

    ...not your usual picking fly shit out of pepper diatribe that causes my brain to ache trying to make sense of it all! Please continue future posts in the same vein.

    ALSO...link that temp control on the side of your post so that I can link to Amazon and you will be credited for the sale. I be grateful.

    Spokes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you know you're going to have to put up with a certain number of "fly shit" articles just for the fact that I only have so much of the above material. Not sure what you mean by "temp control". Are you not picking up on the regular three Amazon ads I change daily, atop the post, then to the top right? If you have an ad blocker program you can't see the Amazon graphic ads.

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  2. Oh Great one of the plowing locks...

    In your article you reference a Johnson Controls temp controller to convert a freezer into a fridge. I want to buy one and would be most pleased if I connected with Amazon through your site so you get a pittance of remuneration from the zillionaires at Amazon.

    Now if you would be good enough to add that particular item on your side bar we could both be more pleased with the vagaries of life.

    Spokes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enter Amazon through any Amazon graphic ad, go to the item you want, buy it. I get credit for the purchase as long as you don't exit between first entering and completing the order. It doesn't matter which item you entered on, that is just my commission portal. And I thank you.

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  3. I think he means the johnson freezer control.

    is there some way to link the comments to the beginning of the post, it sure would be easier. [for me, maybe not you?]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I'm maxed out on my ability to control/tweak blogger. Not very good at that kind of stuff. Which is why I won't do Wordpress. Too much I have to administer to. Hell, just linking the blog feed to Amazon author page gave me fits for hours. Sorry.

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    2. https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Controls-A19AAT-2C-Temperature-Controller/dp/B0002EAL58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497272337&sr=8-1&keywords=Johnson+Controls+A19AAT-2C+Freezer+Temperature+Controller

      Got to it through the bison ads - BUT I don't know if following this as a link will credit Jim here. Technically it should, I used his ad and then just did a search for the temp controller- BUT the ad URL had a tag for bison press, and this link doesn't.
      SO I worked a revised link that has bison press in it where it should be and seems to work.
      Let Jim know if you use one of these and they work to let you order the thermostat.

      https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Controls-A19AAT-2C-Temperature-Controller/dp/B0002EAL58/ref=sr_1_1?tag=bisonpress?&ie=UTF8&qid=1497272482&sr=8-1&keywords=Johnson+Controls+A19AAT-2C+Freezer+Temperature+Controller

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  4. Tiny house/shed...I recommend that after you use exterior grade plywood to sheath the building that you wrap the whole thing in the same metal roofing you're using. This adds to the expense obviously, but you can metal-cover the eaves and all exposed wood surfaces to protect from sun damage to the paint, winter weather damage, and fire protection. How are you going to find paint to keep your structure sound after the grid goes down?

    HELP WANTED!!! Based on your idea of the solar shower setup, I upgraded it (in my mind) and built an outdoor bathhouse. On the roof I put a 10 gallon stainless steel tank with two welded-in connections, one for the navy shower head, the other to feed into a small sink with a slow-flow connection for hand washing. The shed is on a slope, so I can just fill the stainless steel tank with a bucket by leaning over the uphill side of the roof. I painted the tank matte black for maximum solar gain. The problem is, even though it has full sun exposure nearly all day long, I can barely get the water up to almost lukewarm, even when it's 90-100F outside and the tank is full. What did I do wrong? Any ideas on why it isn't working?
    Peace out

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Surround your tank with a wood box covered by a sheet of glass. Insulated would be better. If that doesn't work you'll need to add reflectors. Good point on lack of paint to keep the wood up, but how about stucco? Yes, you need paint, but not all that often. If its cheaper than metal, you can stock paint. I know you can make your own paint but I think it was always a luxury.

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    2. If you have clay deposits you can use the clay mixed with lime to fill in the cracks that the stucco will develop over time. High lime content stucco is the best for this purpose.

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  5. Great post.

    I'm filing away the Solar Fridge idea for when I have money. Actually I do have money but I also have expenses (Non Bison approved expenditure)

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    1. Solar fridge is for off grid living now, perhaps for diabetics later, but not really a necessity otherwise.

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    2. Was discussing with spouse the need for our fridge. "produce and dairy, nothing else NEEDS to be in there, we get the greenhouses up, and the produce can be left on vine until needed, and we don't use that much dairy- a cool buried pantry can take care of that. A freezer until we can get our fresh meats smoked or canned- and fill the freezer with ice from outside until summer hits.

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    3. Unless the power goes in summer...

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  6. "Now go buy a chest freezer, a small one. "

    What size (in litres) do you recommend for two adults and one dog?

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    1. It isn't about what size is best, but what size you have the watts for. The roughly four foot long size is what takes the 150-200 watts a day. Can't imagine how much the full size one wants.

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  7. Here is a study by DHL on different logisitical situations for the year 2050. It's 185 pages long but it seems quite interesting (one involves an "impeding collapse"). Now and then they mention cartridge reloading and local rifle manufacturing.

    Logistics 2050 A Scenario Study - DHL

    https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi2iZnYobXUAhVRY1AKHegDD_IQFghiMAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dhl.com%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2FLocal_Images%2Fg0%2Faboutus%2FSpecialInterest%2FLogistics2050%2Fszenario_study_logistics_2050.pdf&usg=AFQjCNG973UaRc4_4u1FF_7BCczCrNPJEA&sig2=lEO77olX2GX_lgjjrDYLcQ

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    1. Damn, I think I'm getting more books on my laptop than my Kindle reader! Thanks for the link.

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  8. About the document I just linked to, it is written by Deutsche Post in Germany (DHL has merged with them)

    Not only are Germans quite thorough in their stratetgic analysis but in the Interwar Years the Deutsche Post was a dual/hybrid warfare component for the defense of their country.

    They had military-grade trucks, ready for instant mobilisation, as well as weapons and training, as well as uniforms (while postal uniforms, they fit the function). BTW, the Railroad also had the same degree of standardisation, armament and readiness.

    So this study might be more than just the result of very forward-thinking teams, maybe they're paranoid too, who knows ?

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    1. No one can accuse the Germans of having their heads up their ass for too long ( I would imagine they will be taking care of their Muslim problem rather soon, at least relatively )

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I must moderate-trust me. You don't want to see what happens otherwise. Sometimes it takes awhile to respond as I only check two or three times a day. No N-Bombs, nothing to get me libeled. Otherwise, have at it. If you criticize me, make sure to praise my hair first.