Zachary Morris

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since Jun 15, 2013
Just a young guy trying to make the simple, sustainable life happen.

I work other peoples land to earn a living, I'm hoping to transition to creating a living on my own land in the near future.
Southern Oregon, 6a/6b
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Recent posts by Zachary Morris

Yup! I've seen that exact one!

That's precisely what I've got in mind except that I don't know that I'm going to bother with the full WOFATI system as I live in high desert and it just seems over kill for a place to nest.

As anyone attempted this on a smaller scale? For rabbits/chickens n' the like?
7 years ago
I've been digging around trying to find someone who's already done this, I'd like to give my chickens a sort of earth bermed roost, getting eggs means bending over, but the trade off for temperature buffering and natural environment seems well worth it in theory.

Has anyone else done this??


I have a 6'x6'x6' chain link cube that i'd like to build this within and my chickens are allowed to free range during the day. I know I'll still have lost eggs but there's a hyper abundance of forest grazing and chicken grubbin' around me that I'd like to take advantage of.

Any suggestions/comments are welcome!
7 years ago
Has anyone raised any piglets indoors with dogs n' some manners?
We raised our kids (goats) indoors with our pitbull puppies and had great results, would like to do the same with my pigs to socialize the group.

Any relevant first hand experience would be appreciated.

7 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:We have a lot of roads that are currently in terrible shape. It rained a bit the other day and a lot of spots became quickly impassible.

Out on my last farm I had a 45hp tractor and a back blade. I think I did a really good job of keeping the roads in good condition. A gully washer of a rainstorm caused huge damage on the county road and most driveways, but my half mile of driveway was fine.

I suppose roads could be maintained with nothing more than shovels. But that seems like a lot of work. Maybe some spots will need to be managed with shovels and 95% could be managed with something simple.

I would very much like to avoid getting a tractor. Eventually, I would like to be able to do pretty much everything with an electric UTV. And I've seen equipment for the UTVs.

Here is one that looks like it would be pretty useful:

This one looks like what I had on my tractor:

The problem with this is that the wheel base on the utv is so short that every time you hit a bump, the blade gouges the road.

Another view of this type:

Here is a full on video of something called "the gravel rascal"

The downside of this one is: $2000. Another downside: I don't see it doing a standard angle blade that is needed to move gravel back onto the road (the middle) after the winter of clearing snow (and pushing the gravel to the edge).

Anybody have experience trying this sort of thing?

People have a way of making things so complicated! I'm a neighbor to a multi thousand acre cattle ranch, they drag trees up and down the roads twice a year, they look like county maintained roads, except maintained better. I do the same thing, branches for pathways and full size trees for the roads.

That said, another neighbor has been seen dragging all sorts of metal objects behind his garden tractor. We've also got one of the standard ATV graders in the neighborhood, think it's actually still on my dirt, but it's too aggressive. I believe I've tried all the things mentioned on this thread, and I still prefer a good ol' tree with a chain, more economical, clean finish.
7 years ago
Other than what I just listed this is the most economical in my experience. The next step down is to do it with a full size truck and cut some of the larger surface roots to release it. I've ripped out 14" diameter stumps with my 4x4 V6 Exploder, you should be able to do some pretty sizeable stuff with a one ton pick up and some roots cut.

Rich Pasto wrote:dude if you are cutting a driveway an operator can do it without going more than a few feet off the road. Ive cut many roads through the woods from New york to hawaii without a 'large area of effect'.

the lowest impact method is to fell the trees but leave a high enough stump to wrap a chain or rigging around. Then pull that sucker out with a D6 dozer.

the shoulder of your driveway will recover quickly if you grade it out and seed it. maybe some nice clover, wildflowers and yarrows

7 years ago
It seems to me the obvious solution here would be to just dig about 6 inches of soil and debris from around the base of the tree, and cut it flesh with the ground, or within a few inches such that you could drive over them, and just let it rot at you make use of the drive way over the years.

That avoids all the issues you just listed as far as destruction/damage/too much time/pollution etc.

And it takes what? an extra 20-30 minutes per stump if the trees are very very large. Seems like the way to go if you ask me, least it's what I've always done. If you split the remaining stump with a maul a few times it'll rot exponentially faster.
7 years ago
I would consider myself to be in a similar budget situation most of the time, for my trailer with some busted windows we boarded the windows, then once it was water tight I partitioned the trailer with cardboard wrapped in blankets, and did the same thing over the windows. If light is an issue consider using sheets and plexiglass in some areas as the light shines through plenty. Once partitioned into 3 sections I found it much more reasonable to heat, my heat source in the bedroom, then the kitchen/dining/living area/ then the mudroom/exit area, each area a little colder. In addition I would use any sort of debris you have to put around the bus, the metal shell is difficult to work with.

Yulianna Gardener wrote:Hi all,

I am somewhat new here. My name is Julianna and I am living in the high desert off grid in an old 40's school bus. For spring and summer I used two by fours and shade cloth on the broken windows of the bus (the bus unfortnately only has 3 intact windows). Last winter I stayed in another bus with windows and it waqs still quite cold with the stove and went through alot of wood.

My question is if anyone has any good ideas for winterizing a bus SUPER cheap or salvage. Where I live alot of people live off grid and do the salvage thing so materials sometimes are scarce.

I have thought about boarding up the broken windows for winter and putting in a wood stove or the possibility of seeing if a rocket mass heater and learning to build one would work in the bus. We can get down to -20 here at the coldest months.

Any creative ideas would be appreciated. Also, need to use natural materials as possible. I am really sensitive to chemicals/unnatural insulation etc.

So, anyhow let me know if anyone has any inspiring or helpful ideas.


7 years ago

M Turf wrote:Hello,

I own some land that i want to build on, but I can't afford to build until i sell the house i'm in. But i can't sell the house i'm in until i have somewhere to go. The local building department allows for "temporary" housing for a few years prior to construction so i'm trying to research my options since they don't really give any examples.

I have pets, so i really can't go less than 400 sq ft. I need space for the litter box!

I've checked out the Tumbleweed page (and a few other "mobile" home pages) and the mobile units aren't big enough and the cottages aren't mobile (even though they are stinking adorable!!).
I've checked out yurts, but not sure how i feel about them. They really look like tents and i question how warm they'd be in the winter. I'm in Michigan where we get decent cold weather. Does anyone here live in one? Or have lived in one?
I've checked out prefab garages with lofts above, but not sure that will qualify as "temporary" since i would make it part of the primary house when i build. (i'm waiting to hear back from the building department on this one).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for "temporary" housing that could be easily removed (the ordinance requires removal which is why i'm not sure the garage one will work) (or sold i guess) after the primary construction is completed and will make it through a snow filled winter (or two)?


I've designed a sort of a steel framed army cot using t posts and an alluminum bracketing system. With some tin roofing, a wood stove, the t posts, brackets, ply wood it takes about 3 days to put together by one person, and costs from $800-$1000 with limited tools. Mine is 8x16, you can make any size though. It's a design that's easily extended on as well.
7 years ago
So I live in an intensely rural area, no neighbors for several miles in any direction, I've got free range law and am trying to decide on a dairy animal (between a couple goats or a cow), my question is will a cow come back daily at a consistent time if I supply it's only water source?? I've got lots of ways of getting my goats to come back but don't have personal experience with free ranging a dairy cow.
7 years ago

leila hamaya wrote:^^^^^^
yeah this is true, its really very expensive in most places, and oregon might actually be the best place to live in california!
southern oregon is actually just like northern california, but without the hype and without the cost...its the same bioregion though, same kinds of trees, same conditions as the most northern part of california.

theres also a lot of weird things that happen here, its like a bubble, really, theres no where with similar issues and ways. it feels like a different country than america....

most people who live here do not seek regular employment, and theres not much to be had any way, whether they are trust funded, grow pot, made their money elsewhere and then moved here....or theres some people who have some independant businesses and crafters and artists. just in the time i have lived here it has gotten much more expensive, and the kinds of people who have been moving here have changed, so its become much more conservative in the time i have been here. its still pretty much freak central though =)
but previous to it becoming freak central, it was actually very conservative with a lot of loggers, and of course theres the history of the miners.

i have lived here for over ten years now, in the most northern part of california and somehow just keep managing to inch along and find small cabins, cheap rentals, work trade...theres some of this to be found here and some communities too. there arent a lot of situations like this though, or the ones that are here are usually rather closed, or the situations are just weird and off balance, ime.
again theres TONS of pot growers, and the issues that this creates for communities are mighty strange and IMO not very healthy for the larger community. i personally dont mind people who grow a small amount respectfully, but that isnt really what most people are doing, though...there are some people out here who are into growing food, some CSAs and farms- there are definitely people outside of that world- but its pretty epic and strange if you are not used to it! its also made the real estate, rentals and land prices, and especially the economy, weirder.

i personally do not want to live in the desert, but yeah i guess its true theres some desert like land with nothing on it for cheap in some spots.

the best places i have found in northern california, as long as you like being in really remote location and isolated, "middle of no where", is trinity, shasta, and siskiyou counties. theres some cool areas around shasta, and this is one place where theres desirable land for not as much money, like near weaverville and hayfork, and other places like dunsmuir.

futher up north in the remote parts of trinity and siskiyou there used to be more inexpensive situations, i knew some folks years ago who had extremely cheap cabins, very rustic. and not many years ago heard about people buying raw land for much cheaper, incredibly cheap. i suppose it helps to know people, you have to get to know the people and you can find deals. theres a few good networks of people who are involved in the department of fish and game, and wildlife kinds of work, this is one way people network into the communities.... because if you are qualified you can get paid work in this way and get to know people. people will sometimes also hire you to do clearing brush and tree work here...odd jobs and this is actually the only kinds of jobs you can get, at least in the really remote parts.

but a lot of the communities are somewhat closed, so it takes a while to make good connections. the best people hide out in the hills and hardly never come to town ....but if you can hook up with something more like owner contracts, or meeting some folks who will sell you some of their land (which is actually hard here because its hard to subdivide land here)...but if you can hook up with something like that you can still sometimes find affordable land...or situations where you can caretake or work on land for people, make some kind of owner contract, and live in a rustic cabin.

though even these areas have gone way up in price, but its truly the middle of no where with no stores, no services of any kind, no gas stations etc. like hours of driving on crazy dirt mountain roads to get to even a small store, kind of remote. most land here has rivers and streams on it, you cant hardly walk very far without bumping into a huge river.

as far as whatever legal issues, i think everywhere here has fairly strict requirements, theres also a lot of weird things here with all that throughout all of california. theres certainly people who do unpermitted things all over, and you can somewhat get away with a lot just because people dont care to notice...and because its considered more acceptable to do alternative things. alternative things are basically the norm here. =)
and if you are willing to jump through the hoops, its probably more possible to get alternative systems seen as legit.

but technically it is fairly strict, you need permits, etc, and actually theres a lot of weirdness with this, so be careful if you are going to buy cheap land. a lot of it is flood plain, in some places you cant drill wells, etc...

Everything I read here I agree with like 99%, the one thing I'd like to note because of that, is that Oregon has so many fewer pot growers it's incredible. Where I grew up and work in is small town northern California and a huge portion of the local economy relies HEAVILY on the marijuana industry directly or indirectly.

@ James you should know my property is a very short distance and is in the same bioregion as the properties you recommended, the things you're recommending I'm in the process of doing, however it's worth mentioning that anyone who is doing this with little to no experience as in this case is not likely to have the skills or knowledge required for such projects. Not that they're so difficult to acquire, but they do need to be acquired.