Jimmy Pardo

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since Nov 05, 2008
Pacific Northwest
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Recent posts by Jimmy Pardo

Hello from Portland, Oregon
Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight...

My wife, 2.5 year old son and myself are returning to a life closer to the land and water. We've been looking at rentals and work-trades along the PNW coast, areas around the Puget Sound and ANYWHERE that would bring us closer to a community that values nature.

After 2 years in an off-grid, work-traded cabin and 4 years before that working with Forest Recreation we shifted to the city (1.5 years ago).  My wife's family lives nearby and we've both enjoyed the work we've been doing in the city. Still I always knew we would return, sooner than later, to a home and community with stronger ties to nature.

The care taking position I held while working for our off-grid cabin included...

light carpentry,
fence repair,
structure repair,
weed mitigation,
maintaining spring water and propane lines/appliances
general labor/tree felling/bucking/chopping wood.

We used two 100 watt solar panels and rotated a few deep-cycle batteries for lights and a dsl modem that was linked to a phone line we had dug, via the phone/internet company (dug free of charge, it being less than 1000' from existing lines). Otherwise we lived by candle light with no cell service.

In the Winter we would snowshoe 1 mile up/down an unplowed timber road, sled in our supplies. It was a great meditative work-out that brought us face to face with all our furry forest friends and being under the moon looking at the snowy meadow across our cabin, after a hike, was always bliss.

My wife, who is a nurse and a Certified Lactation Consultant, made our cabin... a home. Her work as a nurse primarily has involved family planning, MSS, WIC programs, but has also worked in Oncology and doing home-care. She is also an avid gardener and loves to knit! Although this was her first time living off-grid, she immediately started our own garden and became an excellent fire tender, chopping wood and helping with every project.

This was on 70+ acres of wild forested private property. It was a dream and I knew the moment we moved there that it would leave a lasting and wonderful impression, one that would be difficult to leave behind. Our son lived there for the first year of his life. He bears the name of the valley where we lived and his first "words" were bird songs. This was such a blessing to be able to provide such an environment for him.

Caring for an infant and maintaining the property became a balancing act. The risks there were manageable for us adults, but became greater as our son gained mobility. His first belly rolls took him right of the newly constructed porch, inspiring the new porch railing. We were putting railings on everything! With two open sleeping lofts, our one room cabin was becoming a job in itself.

While digging an irrigation ditch, the seasons first rattlesnake came for a drink and slithered past my son who slept in a hiking carrier. Moments like those definitely had us thinking about making a change. Aside from our kind land lady, we had no close neighbors or families with children and though we enjoyed the solitude we also wanted community. So to the city we went and we know it well.

Despite the "easier" living and the great number of people, community can be scarce. We love and care for our little apartment. Though, I always find it funny that apartments are named things like "Deer Creek" or "Garden Hills" without having one or the other. Or son is getting to an age where he can understand potential dangers and is learning so quickly about everything around him.

Environment is everything and without bashing on city life too much... I want to put my life, my family, my energy in an environment that works/lives close to nature. I want to celebrate the seasons, be a hopeful beacon for younger generations and to continue learning from elders. I want my son to know how to grow food and the importance of a healthy ecosystem. Being around a loving and creative community that seeks growth, in their plants and themselves, is what we're looking for. Otherwise, I'm open to a wide array of possibilities/locations. Even if you have recommendations on connecting with certain communities I'd love to hear from you. I've been looking in all the usual places for general rentals and thought... the Permies community are the right people to ask. At the moment I'm hoping to get a sense for who's out there and whats possible.  

If you've read this far, thank you! Feel free to respond here or if you have more in depth questions about us, please email me at pappapardo@gmail.com.
6 months ago
Wow, that's the first positive insight I've gotten regarding growing potatoes like this. Thank you so much!
12 years ago
So my buddy bought some organic potatoes from the grocery store. They've been sitting out for a while and now have sprouted leaves and whatnot. Against popular opinion he's going to attempt to plant them. Has anyone ever heard of a successful potato growth of this kind?
12 years ago
uh...just some super-rough funky drawings.

Not to scale. 
12 years ago
straw bale/passive solar home - I dig it. Lot of ups.

Although,  I hear you need a whole bunch of friends to help built it or a lot of free time. Are they expensive?

Concerning the PSP Container thingy...

I think a cutting torch should make windows pretty easy. As far as smell and rust goes...
Just pick out the right one since there are many to choose from. Sure some were used for garbage and who knows what else, but if it's going to be my home I would probably pick a not so stinky, not so rusty one.

metal cave? If you just plop it down and stick a bed in it, I guess, but I see a lot more. I was imagining a very aesthetically pleasing interior with all kinds of storage space. You could easily build a supporting rack that would span the length of the container walls and bam, you could set up a storage/loft, suspend your bed all bunk style, cabinets, you name it. I don't need to much to live comfortably. That's why I was thinking just one would be sufficient. If you have a lot of stuff or just need more room, buy two, three. These things can stack like nine high.  Check out the concept image I attached. That thing looks radical. I want to live in that.

As far as soil and the Polyethylene liner, I think careful installation of several layers along the sides and roof would be plenty to keep the container dry. The weight of the soil though is a concern so perhaps instead of shoring up dirt all the way up to the roof one could just have the side hills at 4 to 6 feet?
12 years ago
Again it all depends on your expectations. I think many generations have lived happy comfortable lives without medical/dental or even an accredited education, but that's all beside the point. In many cities across the globe there are organized groups of street kids the meet up each week for an urban harvest. They discuss what shops are trashing all kinds of good food. They divy entire cities between squad sized teams to harvest unused food and materials. The majority in the US that I'm aware of are educated citizens that are pioneers in a quickly changing economy. So yes, there are things we can learn from the homeless.

Dumpster Diving for Fun & Profit
12 years ago
So there's a bunch of established designs for alternative housing, but each has it's own pros and cons. I thought it would be interesting to try to list the popular concepts alongside it's benefits and shortcomings, perhaps even the concepts compatibility. I think future shelters will be quite unique, each being a hybrid of the best ideas concerning the structures stability, insulating properties, water-proofing/catchments, and so on.

Depending on your region you might be more interested in certain shelter types.

I live part of the year in a very dry and hot place and the rest of the year in a cool and wet place.

Shelters I'd consider for the dryer and warmer places? Leah had mentioned shipping containers and I think there's mucho potential in that, but I haven't had first-hand experience with them. I hear they get really hot during the summer and pretty cool during the winter, but I think if you were to keep the sun off the metal with.....I don't know.....(this is where you guys chime in) a layer or two of polyethylene? Then shore up dirt on both sides(15-35degree hills)? Grow some crops on your new insulating hills that will potentially be getting the occasional rainfall. Perhaps not so deep as to crush the container, but burying the container two to maybe four feet would lower the roof and make the side hills/insulators/gardens not so steep. I see these hills coming just up to the roof of the container and maybe a roof patio of sorts right on top of the container with a canopy to pour rainwater right on your garden...hammock, grill, sliding roof for warm stargazing nights. Yeah, I dig it. But I'm sure there are some holes in this concept. What do you guys think? For a semi-dry, warm place is this a viable concept?

Where do you live and what special needs does you region require?
12 years ago
I was curious why shipping containers wouldn't do well buried in soil? I feel like there would be cheap ways to solve the "soil contacting the container" problem. PSP shipping containers? I guess it just sounded like a cool concept and I feel like we could come up with different ideas to make up our own theoretical hybrid.  Wait a tick...



New Thread: Shelter Brainstorm Bucket.

12 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:
Anybody have a suggestion on how one improves FM radio reception without spending a bunch of money?  The radio in question has a wee little whip-type antenna. 

Hey Paul,
I found this...might be of some help.
FM Radio Antenna PDF

I'm actually really interested in building a radio(AM or FM receiver) from semi-scratch. Like maybe a glorified crystal radio. Do you know anything about making either FM or AM transmitters? Perhaps short wave radios? I'm curious as to which would be easier to build, but more importantly which would be a more valuable communication device.
12 years ago
Word Alexis,
I dig where you're coming from. There are lessons to be learned from the "Homeless". Not all homeless people are on drugs or thieves. In fact most of the homeless in Yosemite are Physicist and authors that just decided they rather climb and sleep in hills. I can't point fingers, but we all live short hard lives. Not just the homeless. It's what we already expect from life that makes it hard or kooshy. I'm not trying to be homeless, but if I can live without certain things and still be happy, I've lowered the amount of impact on the greater society, and maybe then there will be some bread left for my neighbors and vice-versa.

Really I think the main point isn't, "Hey homeless people got it figured out", but "Wow, maybe I can survive if I eat smaller meals or leave the heat off and just pile on the blankets." If anything is a great excuse to cuddle.
12 years ago