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Welcome, Mike Oehler, author of two books on PSP

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15607
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have been studying alternative building for 25 years.  Every eco structure has up sides and down sides and often the down sides give the upsides just a narrow margin of benefit over conventional building.  If you paid for the labor, nearly all eco structures would end up costing more than a conventional building. 

Except for PSP.   

PSP is a complete overhaul of many aspects of building structures.  If you embrace one simple idea, the cost of materials and the time it takes to build are cut by a factor of THREE!  Further, no other design aligns with the earth as much as a PSP structure.

Mike Oehler is the inventor of PSP and the author of two PSP books:  one for PSP homes and one for PSP greenhouses.

Mike is going to hang out with us through the end of January.  I hope that folks can come up with some really tough questions for him!  And for those bold enough to ask those questions, we're going to give away four of his books!

Here's the particulars about getting a free copy of one of Mike's books:

      I have a little program that will collect all of the posts to this forum for a date range.  It will then mix them all up and show me ten posts at random.  From those ten, I'll pick out the best four posts.  I'll then email each of those four people to ask for a book preference and a snail mail address and book preference.  I'll then mail out four books!

      I'll do this on the first week of February, setting the program to read in everything from January.

      The more you post in this forum, the better your chances of getting a book. 

      A "good post" is a post that asks a great question, an answer to a question or even just an offering of some interesting information.  Posts that just say "thanks" or "hi" don't count as good posts.


Welcome Mike!

sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
Mike Oehler
author


Joined: Jan 03, 2009
Posts: 60
Location: Bonners Ferry Idaho
    
    1
Thanks for the nice welcome, Paul. I am currently working on a new book, researching another, running my publishing business, starting up HipNet.TV and preparing for the Spring/Summer work period when myself and interns will finish the earth integrated Ridge House. But I will try to find time to answer all reasonable questions. -- Mike Oehler

author of:  The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book and The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book Visit Mike Oehler's Website
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15607
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Congratulations to the four winners:

Susan Monroe

Steve Nicolini

Quittrack

Leah Sattler


I have contacted each of the winners and received their snail mail address.  Each gets their choice of one of Mike's books. 


                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Mike,

I have enjoyed your $50 book for years, I finally bought a copy last year.  I actually had a copy I had already downloaded, but I wanted to have an actual copy, and support you, the author, in my purchase.  Thanks for everything, I will eventually build my own place, and am using your ideas and concepts for inspiration.  I am glad to know you will be finishing the Ridge House, it has been a long time in coming, I am glad your dream is coming true. 

Many thanks, much love and respect to you,

Lauren Neher
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
Thanks for the work you put into writing your great Underground House book, Mike  and also for making the videos.  I had questions as to whether it would really work when I started mine but here, 8 years later I am still sitting in it writing to you using off grid power and the shelter from your design principles.

One of the most important things I found in your book was the engineering tables so I would know what size logs to use to hold up the foot and a half of dirt and horse manure over my head.

I read several of the other books by other authors but your design was the most affordable and had the best ideas.  Just what I was looking for.

Thanks for the insight into staying out of trouble also.  No power companies or ticked off neighbors for me. 


Thanks again,
Your student, Glenn

http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0


- Glenn -
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
I feel kind of goofy (nothing new) when I realized this thread was started in Jan 2009, not 2010.  Sigh.  No real harm done.  Was Mike able to finish the Ridge House? 

Many thanks to you, Glenn, as well, as I have been following your underground adventures for a while now on the Countryplans forum.  You have certainly taken Mike's inspiration and raised the bar.  I am hoping to be able to pay a visit to you at the underground complex one of these days.  My plans so far are much more modest, but are definitely inspired by you and Mike.  They have changed quite a bit from the start until now, and will probably change a lot more before I am able to realize these dreams.  But I guess that is just part of the fun of this process. 

Mahalo nui loa,

Lauren
Jim Argeropoulos


Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 96
Thanks for the images Glenn. Great to see the in progress pictures too.
Jim
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
fardarrigger wrote:
I feel kind of goofy (nothing new) when I realized this thread was started in Jan 2009, not 2010.  Sigh.  No real harm done.  Was Mike able to finish the Ridge House? 

Many thanks to you, Glenn, as well, as I have been following your underground adventures for a while now on the Countryplans forum.  You have certainly taken Mike's inspiration and raised the bar.  I am hoping to be able to pay a visit to you at the underground complex one of these days.  My plans so far are much more modest, but are definitely inspired by you and Mike.  They have changed quite a bit from the start until now, and will probably change a lot more before I am able to realize these dreams.  But I guess that is just part of the fun of this process. 

Mahalo nui loa,

Lauren


You are quite welcome, Lauren, and thanks for watching my experimentation.

Most of this information is pretty obscure due to America's system of building for profit.  Things that do not cost money or increase the tax base are discouraged.  I remembered learning about our natural resources when I was in school and wanted to get back to using them rather than financing a home for hundreds of thousands of dollars and being in debt for it clear past the grave.  It made me angry that our children are unable to afford a home under the current  system of rules and regulations for taxation and profit for the corporations.

Like Mike, I also wanted to share that information as I recovered it or even made it up. 

John on CP forum asked me to teach others what I knew - answer questions about my underground house when I first contacted him... He was an associate of Ken Kern.   I said I would and the rest is history.  He is very much into owner builder education like Paul here, even if he does not get rich from it. 

Changing plans... I have changed styles, plans, methods etc oftener than I change underwear.... figuratively speaking of course...

"The man who finishes his house dies" .... Chinese and others have this saying.

Whitlock got me started here so I try to squeeze out some time and answer questions here too.
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
Silver wrote:
Thanks for the images Glenn. Great to see the in progress pictures too.
Jim


My pleasure, Jim.  People expressing an interest in learning alternative building make the time spent worthwhile. 
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Glenn,

I was wanting a house of my own for years, ages now.  I have watched house prices go up into the ridiculous zone, and even after the housing market tanked,  a decent house remains far more than I am willing to pay.  I do not appreciate a life of servitude to pay for an overpriced house on a postage size piece of land. 

Mike Oehler's book was wonderful, even if it may not exactly be code.  Then I found your inspiring story online, and I realized even that is not insurmountable.  I am willing to buy my piece of land, out of town where I can build what I want, away from the man and his insufferable rules and regulations. 

Keep on keeping on, you are an inspiration,

Lauren
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
Thanks, Lauren... now you are inspiring me.

It's great to know there are a few who see things the same as I do, and just need direction to get away from the brainwashing that has been slipped in slowly over the years.

You will get caught... for what?? Exercising my God given right to provide shelter for myself and my family? 

This thinking has been so browbeat into the sheeple that they are afraid to try to build for themselves on even a remote piece of land without ratting themselves out.

I have gone the other way.  I have posted Constitutional No Trespassing Signs all over access points to my land and will attempt to invoice and collect from the individual lawbreaker, inspector etc. if they dare violate my civil and God given rights.  Supposedly the county will not pick up the tab as it is the individuals choice to trespass in violation of the law. I haven't had to follow through from my end because no one seems willing to test me.  I do know that officials have questions about their legality regarding the sign as in one instance a Sheriff called in an unmarked car to take the sign down at a distant neighbors before he would enter.



Am I crazy  I hope they always continue to think so.

During last year's fire a call went out over the radio from the firefighters that there was a crazy man with guns and a tractor on the hill.  That was me.

The Sheriff had tried to run me out against my will.  I was staying, I decided, so came back in and loaded my shotgun and .380.

The law will not protect you if you don't know it.  Once they realized I knew it and was willing to die to preserve my rights they were agreeable.  They apologized publicly at a town meeting for times they were out of line.  I was not there as I had to remain on my property to be within my rights.


http://www.landrights.com/    Good site that the sign came from.

The cities are just the cattle pens of the elite.  Stock pens for growing bodies to supply their manpower  for the  conquest of small relatively defenseless resource rich countries.  There is never enough money for the rulers of the world.

Owner builders are a bit more out of control than they like to see, hence it is sometimes better to forget to ask than to have them delve into their millions of reasons you can't do it.  Getting into lax code enforcement , or no code areas helps immensely.

I cannot condone following my example as you will run your own risks but the more you educate yourself the better your chances are.

As Mike mentioned - the utilities often work hand in hand with the building department.  Be the best neighbor in the world so your neighbor does not generate a complaint that has to be checked.  The building officials here mentioned that they wished some people I know would just leave each other alone because they did not want to go there and check for code violations.

They were feuding and turning each other in constantly for a while.  War by building inspector.

Out in the country, a bit more out of sight, the  individual has a much better chance.  In case the system fails for one reason or another, there is less than three days of food available in the city.  Stores are now simply transfer stations for trucks from distant areas.  No oil, fuel or power... the system fails and it is chaos in the cities.

Grow a garden - have your own water source.  Take care of your self.  Try not to rely on Big Brother for anything.  The farther you advance toward that goal the easier it will be to transition to a time when he is not there. 

Will it happen in our time?  It doesn't matter if we are always prepared.

That is a bit of my insight.  Til later.

Glenn






                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Glenn,

I love that sign.  If I recall correctly, you have it on the first page of your saga on the Countryplans forum.  I made a copy, and made a note where it was, because I am planning on using it myself someday. 

Your house, and your story, have been an eye opening inspiration to me.  I have read your entire blog on Countryplans, and I check back often to see what's the latest.  If you can do it in California, I can do it in Washington State.  I doubt I will have post my story as publicly as you (shh, be vewwy quiet) but I will exercise my god given and my constitutional rights to make a shelter for myself and my family as I see fit, without playing "mother may I" and spending thousands of dollars on permits and such.  I will probably be living on my land before I build in a trailer, while I stockpile goods and building materials, and that much will be easy to find.  My house won't necessarily be as easy to find.  Especially as a PSP house isn't as easy to spot as a regular house. 

I expect to be off grid.  If I do have grid power, it will be going to the trailer.  I can take it from there.  I am leaning more and more towards off grid, though.  I don't need the power company coming onto my land, even to read a meter.  I do have a lot of time to plan this, and make sure that it is done quietly.  As for sewage, I will be using some form of composting for that, and separate graywater treatment~ so I am not planning on a septic tank.  I do not appreciate the government trying to force a septic system on me.  It will work well, be efficient, and it will NOT be a hazard that might contaminate the groundwater.

I am still trying to get my head around the concept of me inspiring you.[/i][/i]  If that's the case, thank you.  I am glad I can give something back to someone I respect and admire so much.  Thanks for talking to me, and inspiring me further.

Mahalo nui loa,

Lauren
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
You inspiring me, Lauren......

So many will ask casual questions but they will never do any more than ask questions and think I likely have a few screws loose... OK --- so I worked hard to make them that way. 

You on the other hand have a genuine interest in building your own shelter and learning all you can to possibly actually use what you have learned in the future.  You may possibly make yourself a safe warm shelter that you could not otherwise afford or one that is not a government prescribed crackerbox. 

Code houses are primarily paper and mud on the interior.... that is what sheetrock is - gypsum mud, cardboard and paper, although they will be the ones to most commonly look down on earthbuilding and PSP building.  That is OK... they are programmed to do that. 

The solid wood and log construction of a PSP building is much more satisfying than sheetrock and joint compound.

Reminds me of Thoreau - Walden..... on his cabin

The north wind had already begun to cool the pond, though it took many weeks of steady blowing to accomplish it, it is so deep. When I began to have a fire at evening, before I plastered my house, the chimney carried smoke particularly well, because of the numerous chinks between the boards. Yet I passed some cheerful evenings in that cool and airy apartment, surrounded by the rough brown boards full of knots, and rafters with the bark on high overhead. My house never pleased my eye so much after it was plastered, though I was obliged to confess that it was more comfortable.


http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/thoreau/walden/chapter13.html

PSP - the best of both worlds - keep the boards with knots and it doesn't leak air if care is taken at doors and windows.  I could work on that a bit more but yet - it is already comfortable enough -- fixing the details can come later.

So, Lauren, you inspire me to keep on spewing my rhetoric in hopes that more people like you will benefit from the work and designs Mike has given us.  It is not all for nothing. 
Glenn Kangiser
volunteer

Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 236
Location: Central California
BTW Lauren, our house is always open for you to come visit.  Looking forward to actually meeting you. 
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Glenn,

Thank you for the invite, I hope to be able to take you up on that.  I did enjoy your reply.  The excerpt from Walden was great.  As I write here, I am surrounded by the natural wood walls in my house.  Knotholes, imperfections, and all.  It is very soothing and satisfying to me. 

The house next door (on the same plot of land) had the entire basement done in the same wood.  At some point, someone decided to paint it all.  They did not bother to do much prep, so all the imperfections that added charm to the walls in their natural state just looked crappy.  I was working to get the house ready to rent last year, and spent the better part of a week spackling the knotholes, cracks, etc, then sanding and painting the entire basement.  It was a lot of work, and though it looked better, it still can't compare to the original natural finish. 

You, have a couple of screws loose?  In a great way, maybe.  I have often been accused of being a bit crazy/odd, but if that means I am not like most people, then I take it as a compliment. 

I do have a genuine interest in what you know and what you do.  And I do like the PSP house a lot batter than the stud and sheetrock "norm".  I think it is much more durable, attractive, and disaster resistant than any stud home could ever be...I have seen way too many pictures of regular homes that were torn apart to ever feel truly comfortable in one. 

So I guess we can be mutually inspiring then.  I do envy you your toys and how they have helped you make your house/garage/pool, etc.  One of the things I have been thinking of is what toys I will need to build my house.  I do have a friend who has a tractor/mini dozer.  He is a bit of a maniac, and he would not only help me excavate, he'd probably be pissed if I didn't let him help!  A good friend indeed. 

My creative urge will be put to good use building my house.  I am currently letting my artistic impulses out in things like earrings and zipper pulls (an original design), my version of the candle heaters (4 so far, sm and med candle, and electric, and a version that uses an oil lamp) and most recently, handwoven paracord belts.  I am looking forward to creating on a much grander scale, creating a work of art I can live in...

So here's to mutual inspiration.  It is NOT all for nothing.  Looking forward to meeting you too.

Many thanks,

Lauren
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
What is PSP?
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
PSP is Post Shoring Polyethelene.  Check out Mike Oehler's website at

[url=http://www.undergroundhousing.com]www.undergroundhousing.com

If this is of interest to you, you have to check out the $50 and Up Underground House Book.  It is a treasure trove of information from the man who developed PSP construction.

For more, check out Glenn's Underground House pages at Countryplans Forum.  It details (in about 78 pages, so far!) the construction of a PSP underground complex in the mountains of California.  Glenn's accomplishments are amazing and his blog there is addictive reading. 

http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=982c97d10e2822f7c68812dfd2012c6d&topic=151.0

If you like it here, there is a lot of good information on the Countryplans forum as well. 

Enjoy,
Lauren
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
O wow. Thanks Lauren.

Sometime back I read about the Walipini.... underground greenhouse. Was fascinated. There is a .pdf here..http://bensoninstitute.org/Publication/Manuals/Walipini.pdf So practical if not rocky terrain. Actually if blasted the sheer rock-face could look superb. But pricey. I have rock.

Went to look at some pics of Glen's cabin. Is super. Bring building costs right down... and heating costs... and so safe in this crazy world cos so little not backed into the earth. Neat.

Chelle.
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Chelle,

You're welcome.  And welcome to the forum.  Thanks for the link as well.  Mike Oehler also has the Underground greenhouse book.  It's a sound concept I am planning on using myself. 

The PSP makes a structure a lot safer than anything I have seen stick built.  It's fun to research and plan a PSP building.  There is a lot of room for customization while staying within Oehler's already researched and tested building methods. 

Take care,
Lauren
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Lauren, do please be VERY careful in WA state -- a friend on another forum has been in several legal battles up there as he tried to do some things on his own land -- nothing harmful, he was, IIRC, actually trying to fix some damage someone else had done.  But the EPA and whatever corresponding agency WA state has got involved and gave him a really rough time.  I think WA state is one of the worst places in the country to try to be 'free' anymore.  I don't want to discourage you from your plans at all, but just be really careful to stay under the radar!

Kathleen
                                          


Joined: Jan 16, 2010
Posts: 46
Thanks, Kathleen.  I already had some idea what I was up against.  I will be very quiet. 
 
 
subject: Welcome, Mike Oehler, author of two books on PSP
 
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