Tuesday, June 30, 2015

retreat now! 1


Thanks to Idaho Homesteader’s helpful suggestions for article ideas, today we answer one of about five questions from her.  Now that I am in town, do I still recommend that others live at their retreats/homesteads/junk land hovels now rather than later?  Of course I do.  Let me fill you in on my current situation, as updated since we last found out that I was “betraying the cause and moving back to town”.  To be honest, I felt I was taking a step back, not forward.  I was nervous all the time, by being closely surrounded and hemmed in and at the mercy of the economy and the banker pukes holding the girlfriends mortgage.  So, as is my wily way, I have been working on the girlfriend about moving out to the country.  Well, she is in pretty good shape for an old gal, but she still is at that age where she doesn’t want to rough it too bad.  My first suggestion was to duplicate the apartment ( actually a home, split into her living quarters and two rented units ) square footage.  We drove out to my second uninhabited section of land ( less built up, less neighbors, more natural panoramic views.  Alas, three extra miles commute and three  extra miles to the river ), which she got excited about.  But upon reflection decided I was a complete dumbass to think I could dig a ten by fifty pit six foot deep.  She didn’t want to undertake that level of commitment at our age and with my current job physical requirements ( when I dug the pit with the current underground dwelling, my job entailed far less exertion and I had energy to spare then ). 


It didn’t take me long to admit she was right.  I’d probably die before digging was done.  Next up, I talked to my guy I know with a backhoe, as he only charges $50 an hour ( good for this area ).  He estimated two grand, baring extreme hard ground ).  The girlfriend thought this was a much better idea, since slapping eight by eight walls together is far less demanding ( I refuse to put money into something NOT underground.  This is an investment on surviving post-petroleum, not a current consumable expense ).  However, she wasn’t completely sold on the idea.  A major upheaval and a complete unknown for her.  So, we easily compromised.  We will build a much smaller unit, a ten by ten pit with a subterranean eight by eight cube and a story above that exposed to the elements ( one fear is a dank and dark, uninviting home ).  This will be our camping home for the weekend.  If she likes it, we move out of the apartment and use that rent money to build more.  Into a permanent home off grid.  With her paying half.  What more could I possibly ask for?  More next article.

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  1. Glad you found a compromise with the new significant other. I'm sure your luxurious hair helps sway her opinion. You could probably ask for almost anything and she would be happy to accommodate you.

    I have to admit,I have never regretted hiring a backhoe. They can do so much work in such a short amount of time.

    The way we have worked when hiring heavy equipment is to have a budget -- let's say $500 -- hire the backhoe and have them work until the money is used up.

    You could hire your backhoe, have him dig until he uses up his allotted money. (And if you are nice and have some ice cold lemonade or beer, he may just dig a little bit longer to reciprocate.....hint.....hint....hint). Then based on the size of your hole, you figure out what size building to make.

    So you may end up with a hole big enough for a 12 x 12 "pit of doom" instead of an 8 x 8. Maybe you'll even end up with a 12 x 16. And as you know when building small, even a few more feet seems like a LOT more.

    On a related note, I put in a solar tube light in a little cabin I was building. They give off an AMAZING amount of light. Might want to look into those.

    Idaho Homesteader

    1. Good advice on budget and beer. The tube light is already a given.

  2. I think that you might find the below link to be of some use James? I haven't read through most of it, but from what I gather, the gist of it is that we're a planet running on finite resources, that will soon be expended.

    “Can the World Get Richer Forever?

    Shame on you for even asking.  Of course not.  At present population levels, we are putting unprecedented pressure on finite resources.  We are conducting a grand-scale, unauthorized experiment on the 4.5 billion-year-old planet.  The fact that we have not hit the bounds in a few generations of outrageous growth should not be taken as evidence for our long-haul prospects.  We live like kings today, on the backs of roughly 100 energy slaves each (human metabolism is 100 Watts, but Americans enjoy 10,000 W of continuous power).  Our richness is very much tied to surplus energy availability, and that so far has been a story of finite fossil fuels.  But even under solar power, we can’t continue our track record of 3% energy growth per year for even several hundred years!  Global physical limits—thermodynamic, energy return on energy invested, finite arable land, water, fisheries, climate change, etc.—are all asserting themselves to remind us that nature doesn’t care about our dreams.  The other point to make is that even if we capped physical growth due to finite resources, we cannot expect to continue getting richer indefinitely.  This would necessarily take the form of non-physical exchanges of utility/worth, but to keep growing these activities would have to eventually utterly dominate the economy—rendering the finite and essential resources effectively free.  And tell me how that makes sense.”


    1. We are already seeing a contraction in supplies. Silver, gold, copper, oil ( what keeps the supply steady is increased supply of Fake-Oil to counteract a decrease supply on conventional petroleum ), iron ore even. Yet everyone assumes both that the supply won't run out and neither will our national allotment. We are being warned, now! Stock up and learn to do without. Denying the reality is silly, folks. Use this to your advantage to beat the crowd.

  3. For extra storage space, maybe a concrete septic tank buried with top level with top of grade ? Help with keeping your living space larger.

    1. Ground is too dry here to worry about that kind of structure. A buried wood cube would suffice.