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pollinator
Posts: 290
Location: Southern Finland zone 5
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I too admire Bill's creativity and resourcefulness. I'm probably too much of an idealist to do many of the suggested things, but I still enjoyed Bill's story. And let's face it, there aren't many 100 percent ethical and environmentally friendly ways to beat our system.

Permies is the place where you can find solutions that are about approaching that 100 percent ethical & environmental ideal
Still, I think the most important thing is starting somewhere and doing what you can now, today.
 
Posts: 174
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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I previously posted this picture in the "Garden Picture Exchange" thread. This is my current house in the Dominican Republic, until I can come up with enough money to build a "better" one. It has two solar panels, enough for the light fixtures and to charge the computer and phone, but it has no WiFi (there are Internet cafes in the towns for that). If the days are overcast, I might not have electricity until the sun returns. It is one room inside, concrete floor, chaise lounge for a bed, and a one-burner propane cook top on top of a table my friend built out of coconut wood. Thankfully, the tropical climate means I need neither heating nor insulation. Inside are shelves where I keep my provisions and other things.

I find this setup a bit too spartan for my liking. For one thing, I would like to have a WiFi connection, and room for my library. Still, it isn't bad -- I weathered two hurricanes inside this house.
 
Posts: 89
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Greg Mamishian wrote:Absolutely.

AM radio was our only source of fire information. We have an old large hand crank radio like this one.

Our local news radio station offered excellent 24 hour fire coverage.



Before we moved out to the boonies, I bought a handheld scanner because it also had wx aka weather stations and ran on batteries and I knew we'd be off grid for some time. My autistic son still finds the robotic voice of the National Weather Service to be a soothing sound. We had a little generator that we ran in the evening in summer to run a small window a/c unit to cool things off enough to sleep. Our off grid years included two years of record setting heat wave with temps over 100 for days in a row. We were happy to get the camper to 80 degrees and running it before the sun went down was a futile effort. During the middle of one of the 108 degree days, my daughter, being the social type, said; "We live way better here than we ever did in Florida" We were interacting instead of each of us looking at a different tv/computer screen. We played cards and board games to pass the time.

Doing laundry by hand just sucks. I'm still hunting for a wringer washer as they use less water than a regular washer and don't need water pressure.

Having our vehicle decide to not start one day brought quite a feeling of anxiety.

We have electric now but were off grid for five years total.

Our charge controller went out but we still have panels on the roof and golf cart batteries. Everyone said we'd burn those up in two years but we ran them for 5+ years charging off the sun. We still run some 12vdc stuff including LED lighting. Our inverter went out too but we used to keep our cordless phone and dsl modem/router on it so even if the electric went out, we weren't in the dark and still had phone/internet if those weren't down. They run phone lines underground here so those are more resilient. We've got an electric range but still have the camp stove and a full tank of propane just in case. I cooked dinner on the wood stove last night. I built an offset smoker with two cook chambers last year. Our 12vdc fridge went out on us. The Spring water we get is 45-50 degrees so putting cooked meat in a zilpoc and submerging it would probably help. When we get goats, I'll probably pressure can some of the meat. Canning meat looks like something sitting on a shelf in a medical science lab but it's good stuff.

When we moved half way across the country to the off grid boonies, we probably brought 4-500 lbs of food with us and that came in handy. We almost went broke by the time we found some property to buy. Took us two years to find it. It's hard to find a decent small piece of land at a decent price. Found plenty of West or North facing slopes, land too steep to do anything with, land that would have cost $15,000.00 to get utilities brought in etc.

I need to stock up on diesel fuel for my little tractor and we need to get our food stores built back up.

and holy shit, we have a survival forum now
 
pollinator
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John Paulding wrote:

Greg Mamishian wrote:Absolutely.

AM radio was our only source of fire information. We have an old large hand crank radio like this one.

Our local news radio station offered excellent 24 hour fire coverage.



Before we moved out to the boonies, I bought a handheld scanner because it also had wx aka weather stations and ran on batteries and I knew we'd be off grid for some time. My autistic son still finds the robotic voice of the National Weather Service to be a soothing sound. We had a little generator that we ran in the evening in summer to run a small window a/c unit to cool things off enough to sleep. Our off grid years included two years of record setting heat wave with temps over 100 for days in a row. We were happy to get the camper to 80 degrees and running it before the sun went down was a futile effort. During the middle of one of the 108 degree days, my daughter, being the social type, said; "We live way better here than we ever did in Florida" We were interacting instead of each of us looking at a different tv/computer screen. We played cards and board games to pass the time.

Doing laundry by hand just sucks. I'm still hunting for a wringer washer as they use less water than a regular washer and don't need water pressure.

Having our vehicle decide to not start one day brought quite a feeling of anxiety.

We have electric now but were off grid for five years total.

Our charge controller went out but we still have panels on the roof and golf cart batteries. Everyone said we'd burn those up in two years but we ran them for 5+ years charging off the sun. We still run some 12vdc stuff including LED lighting. Our inverter went out too but we used to keep our cordless phone and dsl modem/router on it so even if the electric went out, we weren't in the dark and still had phone/internet if those weren't down. They run phone lines underground here so those are more resilient. We've got an electric range but still have the camp stove and a full tank of propane just in case. I cooked dinner on the wood stove last night. I built an offset smoker with two cook chambers last year. Our 12vdc fridge went out on us. The Spring water we get is 45-50 degrees so putting cooked meat in a zilpoc and submerging it would probably help. When we get goats, I'll probably pressure can some of the meat. Canning meat looks like something sitting on a shelf in a medical science lab but it's good stuff.

When we moved half way across the country to the off grid boonies, we probably brought 4-500 lbs of food with us and that came in handy. We almost went broke by the time we found some property to buy. Took us two years to find it. It's hard to find a decent small piece of land at a decent price. Found plenty of West or North facing slopes, land too steep to do anything with, land that would have cost $15,000.00 to get utilities brought in etc.

I need to stock up on diesel fuel for my little tractor and we need to get our food stores built back up.

and holy shit, we have a survival forum now



I am impressed as well. We have been thinking about going off-grid ourselves, but want to at least reduce our children-load from four down to one,, so that will be a few years. :-(

We have a PTO generator here and really like it. If you have a tractor then you can get some serious KW's for very little money. I had mine given to me, but you can buy a 14 KW gennerator for $1200 from Northern Tool. It kind of sucks to always have the PTO available, so I have been thinking about making a set of rolls for it so I can just drive my tractor onto the rolls and power the generator by my rear tires. I could pick a higher gear too, and run the tractor at less rpm and yet still get enough speed for the generator. Another idea is to just power it with a junk car or something.

I also got a wringer washer! Mine is so strange though. It is from 1901, but has two fold out tables then a hand cranked wringer. On each table you put one of those big square galvnized tubs. One has suds, and the other has clean rinse water, and so that is how it is done. You could easily build your own! You can see it in this picture, though it is obscure, behind the plant in the corner of our great room.


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pioneer
Posts: 112
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we are letting go one step at a time...when we moved here april last year....one of our main goals was to well...get away from it all and ride (our horses) we are working on that...but...although marty could spend the rest of his life sleeping on a bed of leaves in the forest (he is a marine vet :)  i am a little more reserved...and have to put my toe in the water before my head :)

first thing to go was my dishwasher and credit cards...i have now been washing dishes by hand since april 2018...and wouldn't have it any other way...no noise...no dishes to have to load and unload...i just wash em and put em up as i cook... and we are still debt free!!!  YEEHAW!!!

second thing to go was my clothes dryer...i have learned (marty taught me) how to hang clothes on the line outside and this past wet winter, i have learned to hang them inside :)

third thing to go was traveling to town every time i needed something...i now live 45 minutes (10 of those minutes are dirt road) into the mountains and have learned that i can live with going to town once every two weeks...sometimes, i even get by with going once every 3 weeks...(excluding our weekly breakfast at the little country diner at the end of our dirt road :)

fourth thing...use wood fuel for heating...check

fifth thing and first for this year is to get my gardens and food plots going...check

sixth thing...and second for this year...is to blaze some horseback trails through the mountains...allowing us river access without traveling by vehicle.  along with this comes starting a few long ride journeys...spending time in the mountains...with only what we can pack in...

seventh thing and third for this year is to start hunting and fishing to supplement our meat intake...ugghh...maybe ill put that off another year :)

so far, we are still alive and still adding to our 'what can we do without'  list instead of subtracting from it :)
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we had to have something quick...electric pole was our only choice, really...LOL...
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first time for everything :)
 
Posts: 497
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
32
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That's lovely, Teri. :  )
Acquiring new skills makes us less dependent. Learning how to live without debt is one of the most vital skills for it is the bedrock upon which everything else is built.
 
Posts: 33
Location: Inland Northwest/Eastern Washington
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Jan White wrote:We've been living without for almost three years now.  No running water, minimal electricity, wood heat, propane burner outside for cooking, and cheating on refrigeration.



Jan I'm really glad I came across your post as it's really helped to both inspire me and to confirm that the ideas I have about making my newly acquired property livable with a lot less are more than doable. I just purchased wooded acreage which has a geodesic dome shell on it and there is a sandpoint well inside.

I braved 3-4' of snow to hike back to the dome last weekend and I could see water down in the well and with the freezing temps we've had for weeks I was surprised to see that. The dome was put up 20-25 years ago and is still standing strong and while there are small signs of leaking in a couple spots, they are very minor. It surprised me considering all I've heard about how geos leak and leak but the wood is sound, nothing rotten and it's dry as a bone inside. Not even a cobweb.

Will likely take the little propane range/oven unit from my old 1977 travel trailer to use for cooking.

I will have a wood stove for heat and plan on just heating water on the stove for bathing and dish washing.

As the property is completely wooded save for a tiny clearing in the front of the property (the dome is half way back on the property, maybe 350 feet from the clearing) I'm not sure how effective solar would be but I'm hoping I can get a small system set up and run mostly 12v and have enough for LED lighting and charge laptop and phone and be able to use my sewing machine for a bit on sunny days.

I'm hoping I can also get some kind of pump and filtration system connected to the sandpoint well and connect that to a small kitchen sink and the bathtub.

I'll have a simple bucket composting toilet.

I have had nothing but bad luck with refrigerators the past few years and honestly I hate them. I hate the noise they make, the room they take up, etc. And I have a small apartment sized one and even that bothers me. I travel to the UK often and every place I've stayed had a small under counter unit and it was more than enough.  So, my idea is to get an old ice box and retrofit it with a closable vent directly to the outside and take advantage of the 4-5 months of winter temps to cool the unit and use frozen water jugs the rest of the year. My folks live just up the road so figure I could keep a rotation of water jugs in their chest freezer.

I would position the bathtub and kitchen sink on opposite sides of the same interior wall and close to the exterior wall in order to have a single, simple grey water drain leaving the dome.

I think it's all doable and the simplicity of it all is something I'm really excited about.
 
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