HOMESTEADING FOR MORONS 3
As I keep saying, and I wish it would become as popular as our good buddy ‘Ol Remus’ “stay away from crowds” popular theme, Homesteading Is As Simple As Camping. You simply pull your RV to the land ( remember, it can be many different shelters-the RV is just used illustratively ), park it on the side of the road and find your corner spots ( GPS or if poor just measure from the road and road easement strip, and allow several feet for a safety cushion-in other words, ONLY build in the middle so a later adjustment is no big deal ).
Now take your saw and bypass loppers and clear a narrow path to the RV spot. That spot should be completely clear so that you don’t have to later try to crawl under the trailer to remove anything. Go park the camper. You are done for the day. I had sagebrush and cleared a fifty foot path from the road to the parking spot, then another thirty or so horizontal to get a southern exposure ( we are colder far longer than hot up here ). It took a solid eight hours. But we were home.
And that was it. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. I had to go into town about three more times for supplies I hadn’t thought of. But mostly what I had planned and stocked for covered most of our needs. And yes, I got a bit of a break on finding the location the week previous ( I drove the Hippie Bread Van up that week, rented a spot for it as I didn’t have the land location yet, rented a car and drove back down to get the wife and RV ) and it was on a easier to find intersection.
The biggest issue was sewage. I spent too much time in the Wally camping section and thought those crapping into a bag of gel that neutralizes the smell was a good idea. No. Messy, gross, very expensive and a terrible idea. So we had to very quickly come up with a better idea ( sawdust toilet, from the Humanure book ). Remember, there was plenty of off grid advice out there. None of it frugal besides the out of print book on $5k travel trailer homesteading ( and that was written WAY before the easier PV panel electronics ).
There is also the Costa Nada book: free here: http://www.ranchocostanada.itgo.com/rich_text_9.html
But I think both Phil and I agree that you could help two brothers out and buy the e-book here: https://amzn.to/2MWj4gT after you see what an awesome book it is. But at the time of my move, the book wasn’t out so I couldn’t get any information like you can. A lot of things I had to learn trial and error. So I think having to make just a few trips to town for overlooked items speaks rather well of my preparations. And I suck at all practical hands on stuff.
I can hear you know. “What? That’s IT?? Three articles just to tell me that?”. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m sorry you spent $200 for the BackWoods Magazine expanded print book super pack special ( I bought that for about $120, back when I was a lot poorer, and I haven’t read 10% of it. It really is Yuppie Scum advice ). It really is as simple as parking. You have propane tanks, water and solar panels with a battery. There is a metric butt ton of 12v appliances out there now, even compared to just a few years ago.
If you can dump some sawdust into a bucket, you can take a dump. If you can hook a red and black wire to a battery, you can have power. If you understand how gravity works, you can have water ( I don’t know why homesteaders think they need a hundred gallon shower or flush toilets. With a three thousand dollar septic and a twelve grand water well, plus a several grand electric pole power hook up, I was quite happy with sawdust toilets, hauling water from town and a few solar panels ).
No one expects you to remain living at a camping level. Just keep improving and adding as cash become available. And plenty of cash should be available because you aren’t paying rent. Or, at least very little compared to in town. I also don’t expect many wives to agree to this. Or older folks. Although old humpers seem to love hitting the road in an RV, so I don’t see the problem. Don’t they sell an attachment to cut limbs for those fancy expensive weed wackers ( I think Ryobi brand )?
I’m not saying you can now all magically move off grid. I’m just saying you can’t use finances as an excuse. I know you have more excuses than Carter has liver pills ( how can he still be alive? Is this proof he is an Alien Overlord? ). And that is okay. So did I. If I hadn’t been Baby Jesus’ favorite, I wouldn’t have been so lucky as to move three months prior to the 2008 meltdown, or get a job two months prior ( fun filled fact. At my old work, they just hired ANOTHER additional person for my old job. Now I did the work of THREE other people ).
I just bring that up to explain how I kept my job through the financial crash. Even Misses FussyPants You Can’t Do Enough And I’m Overpaying You On Minimum Wage Even As I Drain The Company Financially On My Own Executive Wage thought I was doing enough extra work to graciously allow me to keep my job. I had procrastinated for a good three years moving off grid and I was lucky I finally got motivated, since it was just in time. If Baby Jesus hates you, will you be so lucky?
But as I said, no judgement. It is NEVER as easy to drop everything and just move like those already having left say, no matter how compelling the reason. Most of those folks preaching mean well, but seem to forget how long it took them. I don’t want to be that guy. Yes, you ARE overdue to move. I can’t believe the global financial slow down hasn’t impacted us more, or we are lasting as long as we have. But I also realize that moving out of the cities and off grid has LITERALLY been a matter of life and death since 1949 or so.
Every year as it becomes more dangerous to live in the cities, more and more we see less and less work available anywhere but those cities. We have to fight an uphill battle. I’m just as guilty as anyone hollering and whining for you to move off grid. I also think I’ve done just as much as anyone teaching how cheap and easy it is ( new minions-check out my web site for plenty of books on the matter. Some are better than others. Some are terrible. Meh. Only donate if you get something substantial from them ).
Just keep in mind that once you move, it really could all fall apart right after that. I wouldn’t move without solid plans and means of living just as you arrived, if suddenly you couldn’t buy improvements. For instance, don’t be relying on more propane than you can store if that is all that is keeping you warm in winter. Can you live with what you have if you were suddenly unemployed a month after you arrived? South Texas and Florida have plenty of their own issues, but at least freezing isn’t one of them.
That is one of the big reasons I moved to Florida two years prior to Y2K. I was broker than roadkill and simply couldn’t further prepare past nickel and dime items. Despite the issues there ( which I erroneously UNDER-estimated so thankfully nothing happened ), it was one of the better places to be when the grid went down in January ( I can’t remember when I first read Oehler click here , but I don’t believe I was thinking of underground homes being cheap at the time I decided on the move ).
I think that should be enough.
( .Y. )
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I bought Costa Nada before I realised that he provided the book for free. I'd still have bought it to show my appreciation for the author.ReplyDelete
I think the free was relatively recent. He has other works also, but alas, none as good or as practical.Delete
I'll be honest. For a while I was thinking he was you or you were him. But his old lady wasn't as mean as yours was, and he was a journalist whereas you had honest occupations.Delete
I must confess to be jealous of how he's set up
An easy "tell" was that he socialized with his neighbors. I just threw up a little just thinking about it.Delete
I believe Phil Garlington has recently passed away. I have the book too - its an awesome read, the profound wisdom of the Demented Vet are worth the cost alone, but the book has many practical DIY ideas for MINIMALIST LIVING in the desert.Delete
I must have read the book at least three-four times. The "Vet" was always the best part.Delete
An underground home in Florida suffers the same problem as an in ground swimming pool that is not anchored securely, in a tidal surge. It becomes a boat.ReplyDelete
Yep. It'll pop right up out of the ground, and you'll have no idea why because the water level below ground (aquifers) rises before above ground level water does.
So that mud puddle in the driveway can look perfectly normal but there your swimming pool is, listing heavily to starboard in the backyard. Since at least 1998 all construction in Florida must be ABOVE 10' NGVD - that is, 10' above mean sea level. Only a licensed surveyor can certify that a building site is in compliance and they ain't cheap.
So if you have a piece of ground and you haul in enough fill dirt to raise the whole thing up above the proposed roof height, then you can go ahead and dig a hole in the middle and bury your crib. Oh, forgot. All fill dirt that reaches a height of 3 feet completed height must be compacted in 12" lifts. Again, not cheap.
Gov't regulations. Most of which commoners never know about. And everybody wonders why new homes cost so much. Get the gov't out of it and home prices will halve over night, and in 6 months competition will cause them to halve again.
Same is true with vehicles. Why does a $10k vehicle cost $40k?
Get the gov't out and vehicles prices will plummet.
Same with every other product out there.
And especially employment.
Can't argue with gov. fist humping the consumer.Delete
Until then, used cars are the best ones, if you must have a car. I'm dropping a grand into the 1995 Caprice 9C1 this week for a new water pump and Optical distributor (OPTI). That is a great highway car that will drive to the end of gasoline or until it saves my life like the 1992 did. This car has been "in storage" since June 2012 when I decided that $4 gas and 9mpg do not go along with my budget like a Fuji or Schwinn do. It will fetch about $4000 now (curiously, about the same as Cash For Clunkers would have credited me on a 2009 Kia Rio that I didn't need) in a running state, but we are coming up on the possibility of getting a Classic Car plate in OR that never needs tabs for $100 One-Time-Ever payment to the DMV, and the accompanying super-low insurance policy at the 25 year mark. Add a Disabled Veteran Parking permit, and there is something Really Worth Having. Caprice is the last of the B-Body GM cars, which are Body-on-frame, rear-drive, 4200+ pound good cars like Roadmaster/Fleetwood/(Oldsmobile?) needing a 300+ foot-pound V-8 to move them appropriately.Delete
Are you being seduced back to the Dark Side of Auto Use? Say it ain't so! You were my only allie against the Happy Motor Minions.Delete
I need to move my book collection (sell 2/3rds) and haul stuff to the flea markets. The Dark Side of Portlandia is that it's too easy to collect thousands of pounds of good stuff for the taking. It will be Unhappy Motoring.Delete
Portland hates cars by ruining gas stations (no new ones, old ones get fines and double-wall tanks or close) and eliminating street parking and as much off-street parking as possible with zoning. I will be able to drive faster on my bicycle than move in a car for about 10 hours a day inside the city. The Caprice also can pull an 18.5 foot travel trailer, a pop-up travel trailer or a 4x8' junk hauling trailer.
The Other Car (1983 MBZ 240D) needs to just be sold at no loss to get yard space back. It's a temporary thing, like paying for a rental storage unit, then back to the usual cheapness.
Gas isn't too expensive right now. Drive for the most advantage while it can be done. Heavy equipment rental is getting more reasonable as the new house market fades. Pre-dug holes, berms and trenches are useful.
Understood. Saddened, but understanding. Sad trombone :(Delete
Site selection. Just like realtors yammering about location, location, location. I would advise minions to spend as much time researching the location as well as how or what to build and do. Some areas may outwardly appear neat and nifty to homestead, but there may be a major detractor lurking nearby that blows it. Caution that one doesn't invest only to find out later or after settling in that it is for naught. (Example, pig farm with waste ponds up wind, etc) if a minionite settles in at a youngish age and the area blows up with yuppie growth or some negative growth forms later as you are getting elderly it will be too hard to flee or move again and you'll have to live with the new neighbors playing circus music until 2 a.m. I prefer an economic wasteland devoid of desirability to keep the unwashed masses from encamping nearby, bothering you or biding time to slay you and take your gear. Think it through folks.ReplyDelete
Yeah, a lot of bad places to settle, mostly due to government regs.Delete
'Urban Growth Boundaries'
Until about 1990 or so, Sacramento had two lovely airstrips so I could earn a decent living as a flight instructor == Natomas in north Sac, and Phoenix Field in Fair Oaks. We often flew to a field in downtown Scott's Valley just outside the coastal resort of Santa Cruz.
All were forcibly shut after nincompoops bought stand-still houses !!! IN THE FLIGHT PATH !!! then whined about those noisy helicopters disrupting their televisionprogramming signal.
* * * * *
On this particular planet, few places appeal to me == watercraft at-whim relocating to fresh beaches, or some remote desert such as Armpit in Australia or Coyote Breath in Baja.
A friendly stand-still community of like-minded folks only interested in my continued well-being? Not so much. They are humans, so inevitably they progress == beneficial rules, roads, a governing committee offering friendly reminders to make your house address visible to emergency responders, minimal fees to protect the air we all breathe.
Civilization. Not interested.
Agriculture. Not interested.
Neighbors? There goes the neighborhood.
More Elko hexayurt ideas...ReplyDelete
Dig your underground shelter inside the floor space of the hexayurt once it's built. All it needs is enough room to sleep and a comfortable sitting chair for the coldest parts of winter, about 6' x 6' x 6'. If you don't have enough room to stand up down there, you'll regret it. The "upstairs" (ground level hexayurt) will provide moisture protection for the underground part as well as light and air circulation. An insulated hatch and stairwell can lead down into it. Once you have that built, go to your local tire shop to get as many free tires as you can. Then as you have time and energy, you can stack and pack them around the 4' exterior wall of the hexayurt. It's now bulletproof, more wind resistant, and less visible, especially if you taper the tire walls outward and plant natural vegetation in them. I don't know if the natural vegetation in the tapered tire walls would conflict with your fire hazard mitigation plan. One way to help keep your mind from thinking about loneliness is to be motivated and in a hurry to get a project done. Try and get some sort of a part time job, even it's only one day a week, that will help a lot.
The Earthship tires are against the pit wall, then you stucco them on the other side. No fire danger.Delete
Good suggestions @ Peace Out, and thank you. Also, good idea on the bulletproofing. Lots of dummies out there that think that firing into what they think is an empty building, is a perfectly fine idea. I think that the minimal subterranean portion, as just big enough to get yourself out from the extreme temperature swings, is a realistic approach as well, since even that would be a godly amount of excavation. I’ve also thought about using earth bags, both for an above ground, as well as a below ground project. With the earth bags, I could excavate below ground about 6’, and from there, just build up to where I have about 6’ below, and 8’ above. I’ve also thought about using tires for an earth sheltered, in a concentric configuration. So in other words, I’d excavate below ground about 4’ down, in a circle about 8’ wide, and then place a wood structure with an entrance hatch over the remainder, and build up around, and cover with light material such as straw, and then lightly over that with earth. It would be a pithouse, is the best way to describe the end result. Earth bags could also be used, but tires might be easier, since you could stack them, and then fill them as you go, as opposed to having to hold open, tamp, and fill earth bags.Delete
So many options, so one really has to think it through thoroughly beforehand. I do know that with my track record of not being able to follow through with anything overly complicated, or difficult, that the simpler the better. But the end result has to be good enough to hold up for a lifetime.
Don't plant natural vegetation in the tires next to the hexayurt, TIRES BURN! You won't be able to extinguish them either. Just caught that as I was thinking about it.ReplyDelete
Always wondered what you were eating, with tire planters.Delete
I have both of the above mentioned Loompanics publications (Travel trailer homesteading and Rancho Costa Nada). I think I got the Rancho Costa Nada book after Loompanics folded. It’s as you say, he (Phil Garlington) has other publications, but he really knocked it out of the park with RCN. I had kind of hoped that he would do a sequel book; “A Rancho Revisited” if you will, but he never did. Though there is a website that provides some updates. And what’s not to like with a cast of colorful characters such as this:ReplyDelete
“The Tukes family, with their fleet of Mad Max sand rails and carts; the irascible J.R and his pack of semi-feral dogs on breakaway leashes; the elusive Mystery Lady; Alba the Dog Woman (Recall that she’s the one who’s trailer was filled ankle high with dog shit :D ) and the ranting Demented Vet.”
The two above books, along with most of the material by Kurt Saxon, are the only materials that I am aware of that are along the same lines of frugality as this blog.
All ahead of their time for frugality. Especially the trailer book, coming out in the 90's.Delete
Quick Question - I finally secured a Bayonet for my Spanish Mauser. It's an Artillery one, you know, the one that's for use against Commies on Horseback https://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l800/pict/401145458689_1.jpgReplyDelete
Anyway - my question is is the bayonet supposed to wobble or have I just lucked out? it's not *to* bad but sheesh.
Big win though was I now have the correct stripper clips. They weren't exactly cheap either but now I have the ability to play for 50 rounds then I'll have to call for time out. LOL. Should I acquire more stripper clips? WWI Commonwealth troops carried 150 rounds. I'm not a soldier nor am I in WWI. Here's a link to a WWI Commonwealth Soldier set up http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-equip/web-1908.htm
Now I've got to play with how I intend to carry everything. Maybe just a belt pouch?
Here are my belt pouches for ammo:Delete
Two of them go on a nylon web belt along with my bayonet. It is "only" thirty rounds but I feel comfortable with that. You could also use a Garand clip belt pouch.
Not that I'd pay that price-but if you come across one at a third of the price. I have one of those for my second rifle, with a bayonet jury-rigged onto it.
You have one of the cooler pig stickers, but I can't imagine it is supposed to wobble. Mine are snugger than a Boy Scout's ass on his first evening camping. Yours sounds like his next morning.
Stripper clips. I got mine free at first ( with the ammo ) and then in the end was paying $3 each. They are nice, and tacti-cool. But I think at a couple dozen I have enough for my basic carry load and extras in case they get lost. Then, I'll just have to carry and load loose. If I make it to that point, I won't need to worry about mad scramblers to get an extra ten rounds loaded. I'll be practiced as a brush ninja, all stealthy. And, ammo by that point will be scarce enough you'll probably only be using what you loaded previously. In other words, clipper strips are to quickly blindly shoot rounds down range in volley fire and that shouldn't be a concern post-apocalypse. Some might be nice to have ( you're cornered and they are moving in and the adrenaline is giving you Fumble Fingers, or something similar ), but I wouldn't sweat it overly much.
Should not wobble.Delete
Well, my bayonet does wobble and I'm increasingly unhappy about it. I mean, it took ages just to find which one I needed because of lack of (reliable) information, even longer to find one because it's a foreign surplus, then it cost me a days pay to buy. I guess I'll be able to trade it in at a LGS when they get one but I'll be dang sure to go there to try it out first! (instead of ordering it from overseas).Delete
Let this be a lesson to other minions going the War Surplus route. Stick with your local armaments (in my defence I went with the Spanish Mauser because a. it was a carbine & I'm thinking I have to carry this sucker and I'm not getting any younger and b. it is in 308, also it cost 3 days pay not bad for a forever rifle). If I had my time again I'd go Lee Enfield because i'm in a commonwealth country & those are dime a dozen. I can even get new barrels and wood furniture.
Thanks for the heads up on the pouches. A couple of pouches for the belt and I should be all good when I think realistically. Have you considered a modern military dump pouch? I was thinking they'd work for gathering tinder & what-a-not but it'd also work for the stripper clips so you can keep them? But if you're pushing the rounds down then driving the bolt forward (thereby causing the clip to fly away) I think you're probably trying real hard to stay alive at that stage?
Still cracking the sads over my bayonet wobbling. I don't need another pig sticker :-(
Stripper clips - I can buy 5 correct ones for an hours wage. Sheesh. I don't want to tell you guys what we pay for Magazines, you'll cryDelete
Well, sure, regrets. We all have them over plans and equipment. But at this point it is doubling down on calories and ammo, so you stick with what you have. By the gov's own numbers unemployment is 10x admitted. Repo'ed autos are three times 2008. Crap gets real fast.Delete
I’m the minion that expressed initial interest in the plywood hexayurt Jim. I just had a look at the construction video, and I ain’t gonna lie; there’s no way in hell that a construction illiterate dude such as myself could ever have a hope of putting that thing together just from watching a video. I’d have to attend a workshop and see firsthand how it’s done, and even then I have my doubts. The thing is, it doesn’t look like it would be any easier than building a stick built using one of those fast framer kits, and in fact, it looks to be a somewhat complicated, and multiple person project, at best. The fast framer kit (again, construction illiterate, and any angles are just going to throw a wrench in the gears for me) has its problems, but it sounds like it’s much more doable to me. You can also do it with the assistance of one, or perhaps two other people. I’ll keep looking through the videos, but as of now, I’d have to say that the hexayurt option is a no go for me. Below is the video that I watched.ReplyDelete
Engineers Without Borders (Sheffield, UK) video shows the entire construction process (25:16)
Still the option for the dome connectors, cardboard then chicken wire and ferrocement. Hell, even I could probably not hump that up ( and my stick built is always far from plumb ).Delete
Have you considered Straw bale walls? Back when i was a wannabe (armed) hippy I looked into straw bale houses. Apparently cheap to construct. Well cheap c.f. modern build. From memory they have to be rendered to keep rodents out but it boils down to having a frame & roof. Then you just plonk the bales down like bricks, render them to prevent rodents and rain & viola. You have an abode that's cooler in summer warmer in winter. It doesn't last *forever* though but with the frame in place you just bang out another. But to be fair, that'd probably be during the apocolypse so straw bales may be a bit challenging to acquire
I’ve had a chance to absorb it a little more since watching it earlier, and I’ll probably investigate it a little further. There are also text instructions available, and between that and the videos, I might be able to put two and two together.Delete
This would have been more likely at the place that I’m residing at now (currently living in an RV parked on my mother’s country acreage). But I’ll probably stick it out for now in the RV, as I do not wish to spend more money than necessary. Once I get out to Elko permanently, I really do not want to try to live in anything less than earth sheltered, as the option to heat a structure adequately, is not within my budget.
Yeah, even worse than "not in budget" is "freeze after heat is unavailable".Delete
Dingo, from what I remember ( yes, dangerous ), straw is NOT cheap here with the distances transported.Delete
Thanks Dingo. I have considered it, and might again at some point in the future. Though Jim brings up a good point about them not being as replaceable at some point down the road, so in lieu of this option, I might also consider sod or earth bags. I actually had an idea at one point, where I had planned on building a stealth straw house, and disguising it as just a stack of straw bales. In other words, when you drive by a farmers field and see those haystacks, I had planned on having a shelter contained within one. I’ve also seen people do this with old water towers as well, to where they create a living space within, but it still just looks like an old water tower. The only problem is that there are idiots out there that are prone to shooting up old water towers, so they must be bulletproof.Delete
Yeah, I got some straw bales a while back for my archery range Jim, and I don’t recall exactly what they cost, but they weren’t as cheap as I was expecting (Somewhere in the $15 a bale range, if I recall correctly?) and I live in an agricultural area.
I'm sure that the ONLY reason they ever became popular was that they were nearly free. Once demand shot up, even a little...Delete
Have you looked at the WWII Anderson shelters? Maybe you can get some ideas from them?Delete
Thanks. Yes, I seem to recall that you, or someone else having mentioned them before, and I looked them up and book linked them. Yes, something like that is definitely a possibility for my Elko land.Delete
I was thinking of the hexayurt as a cheap and simple way to get out of the crappy RV that I live in on the current property (warmer weather state). Since I won’t be living in it long term, I wanted something cheap and simple to put together, hence the hexayurt.
As a positive update, I’ve been looking through the plans below, and while I haven’t read through them completely yet, I now think that I can make a go of it. I just have to decide if it’s worth spending the money for a short term project, or sticking it out in my RV for a while longer.
Re: Phil GarlingtonReplyDelete
I looked, but I can’t find anything to suggest that Phil Garlington has passed away? Does 4:03am by any chance have a link? I did come across an obituary for one Phil Garlington, but it doesn’t sound to me as if it’s the same person.
I know he was big on physical fitness, and had a daily regiment of walking everyday for so much distance. He walked across England on vacation, and camped, but that had more to do with being cheap than anything else. Maybe he would have been more appropriately named as Phil Garlingtonstein :D
No, but in all seriousness, I do hope that it’s a misunderstanding, and that he is still with us.
It didn't seem like he was a very young fellow from his first book, but I could have just imagined it.Delete
I believe he was about 60 at the time that he published the rancho book back in 2003 Jim, so that would make him around 76 today. I just remembered that he went into some screed about health insurance, and that his “health insurance policy” was his daily walks, and he seemed to be very active for his age. Of course, even with all that, sometimes genetics deals the fatal hand. But you would think that there would be some info out there on this event, and I couldn’t find anything on his passing?Delete
Perhaps being semi-free from the grid, he just faded away without anyone officially noticing. Heck, he could be coyote scat already. He probably would have liked that, screwing the funeral industry over at least one corpse.Delete