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Thread: Self-Sustained Living

  1. #1
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    Self-Sustained Living

    So my wife and I have been discussing life in our cabin, that is when ever we get around to building it. And we were thinking about how nice it would be to live a totally self-sustained life, ideally having no bills (no job ;-)), and really not being dependant on society like gas and electricity and such. We figure that people have been doing it for thousands of years, so why can't we? But aside from farming crops/animals, what is a good way to go about other essentials like power and water. A fridge would be nice for longevity of foods and waterfront property is usually very expensive, so how about running water without the city? I don't mind doing things myself and I am quite crafty and actually enjoy making things instead of buying them, just need to be lead in the right direction. I know my thoughts are random and discombobulated, but that's how my crazy brain works. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    LHBA Member rocklock's Avatar
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    a few thoughts about Self-Sustained Living

    Just to start, you need land.. How much depends on lots of stuff... Some place like Southern Oregon or Northern California (North of Sacramento) you might need less than some place like Montana where there are serious cold temps.
    You need time to learn all the stuff you need to know about being sustained. Just a note, it ain't easy. Also, its just plain hard work.
    You need some personal infrastructure, like relatives, friends or something like that, or lots of money.
    You will need stuff to last while you are learning.
    IMHO, you need a focus of what you will try... like organic _____, or hydroponic ____, or doing hunting and gathering.
    I am not into being Self-Sustained, but I want to concentrate on Berries and developing an entire line of sugar free jams and other food stuffs. I want to grow my own garlic (I planted about 30 bucks worth of bulbs last October).
    So, there are a few starting points. Its too bad that you don't have a relative or friend that has some kind of farm, but the owner is getting too old to do the work. Maybe you could advertise or do a search on the internet. I did see one opportunity on Craig's List that wanted help to work on Whidbey Island, Washington, but that was last year.
    Just a note... I have been to Fort Irwin. Barstow is not the place to start this journey.
    Note two, we have a member whose wife made soap so well that a major retailer bought her out. Then she has a cow and has sold shares to her neighbors, bakes bread, runs chickens has a hog or two and a bunch of other stuff that still amazes me. I think they have about five acres here in Washington.
    Note three, in addition, being prepared is necessary. I just ordered one years supply of food, that I hope to turn into a new kind of lifestyle that has fishing, hunting and bartering.
    Last edited by rocklock; 03-21-2011 at 07:28 PM. Reason: add note three
    Dave
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  3. #3
    LHBA Member Mark OBrien's Avatar
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    Start simply and keep it simple. One of the most important aspects of self sustenance is growing your own food. Start a garden, do your homework and see how much food you get out of your garden. Learn to cellar, can foods and other methods of preservation. It is hard work, as Dave says, and it is tedious and monotonous, but it is essential if you are going to live the lifestyle. If you can, raise a cow or a hog and when the time comes, butcher it yourself. See if you can handle the blood and guts of an animal you were tending to yesterday. That cute calf is now a pile of steaming guts and meat and body parts on your butchers table. That is a big test to see if you can self sustain.

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    for the tenderhearted or vegetarian beans grow well store well in many locations, and no blood and guts.lol. just saying.

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    I have no issues with hunting and had intended on raising animals for feed. Butchering doesn't bother me, and neither does the hard work. The dream of this is that I would not be stuck in this "american dream" bust my hump working, making someone else rich so I can barely provide for my own. I know it will be hard work, but I think it will be so much more gratifying to know that all my effort is for my family. My biggest hurdle is finding out how to do it effectively and inexpensively. With luck water is high enough I can dig a well, wind to power a pump and maybe even some electricity. Like these cabins, people have been doing it for little moeny and no contractors so I feel this too can be done the same way.

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    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    It's getting harder and harder to live self sustaining. Why? Let me give you a few examples. I just started researching what it takes to get a house number assigned to a property. While it may not apply to my state, I was reading where one state issues a house number when you apply to have electric connected to it. So, what happens if you build off-grid? Hmmmm.
    Another example which will apply to me. My state now requires fire sprinkler systems. So, if I don't have city water, I have to have a holding tank, pump and power to run it. Will the state tell me my solar equipment is insufficient to run the pump? Hmmmm.
    Speaking of requiring power, the septic must be a pressure type system. No gravity feed systems are allowed in PA anymore. I haven't even tested the waters yet (pun intended) about rainwater catchment. The state may demand I use public water or drill a well. (and back to the power thing)
    For heat, they won't allow only a wood burning heating device. (the one true independent heating source) I have to install something that will require it's energy from an outside supplier, whether that be gas, oil, or electric. (though, the law doesn't say I have to use it)
    I also know they are running public water and sewer by my property, and wonder how long until it will be required that I'd be tied into it.

    It's sad to say, but true, independent, self-sustaining lifestyles will be phased out whether we like it or not. I don't see any way this will be avoided. There simply aren't enough people willing to live such a lifestyle to oppose the loss of independence's being forced upon us. The best we can do is get built ASAP and grandfathered in before it's no longer possible.
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  7. #7
    LHBA Member StressMan79's Avatar
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    indeed, or tell the inspectors to come back with a warrant. That is what I intend to do.

  8. #8
    LHBA Member edkemper's Avatar
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    It's all about what the government wants to know. It's illegal to keep more than a certain amount of cash on hand. Why? Because the government is unable to track your activities. The claim is that it's all about the illegal drugs. Yet few of us are part of that system and yet we've lost our privacy because drugs are the excuse. As I'm learning about Canada, I can never get away from U.S. Taxes. Even if I move to Canada, work in Canada, invest in Canada, I still have to file U.S. Taxes. Living off-grid, how are they going to charge you for being here and using the U.S. owned sun? A recent trial proved that anything you buy with your credit card is public information available for use to file criminal charges for anything they find.

    It's getting harder and harder to remove yourself from the hustle and costs of government.
    Last edited by edkemper; 03-24-2011 at 09:30 AM.
    edkemper

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  9. #9
    LHBA Member BoFuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rreidnauer View Post
    It's getting harder and harder to live self sustaining. Why? Let me give you a few examples. I just started researching what it takes to get a house number assigned to a property. While it may not apply to my state, I was reading where one state issues a house number when you apply to have electric connected to it. So, what happens if you build off-grid? Hmmmm.
    Another example which will apply to me. My state now requires fire sprinkler systems. So, if I don't have city water, I have to have a holding tank, pump and power to run it. Will the state tell me my solar equipment is insufficient to run the pump? Hmmmm.
    Speaking of requiring power, the septic must be a pressure type system. No gravity feed systems are allowed in PA anymore. I haven't even tested the waters yet (pun intended) about rainwater catchment. The state may demand I use public water or drill a well. (and back to the power thing)
    For heat, they won't allow only a wood burning heating device. (the one true independent heating source) I have to install something that will require it's energy from an outside supplier, whether that be gas, oil, or electric. (though, the law doesn't say I have to use it)
    I also know they are running public water and sewer by my property, and wonder how long until it will be required that I'd be tied into it.

    It's sad to say, but true, independent, self-sustaining lifestyles will be phased out whether we like it or not. I don't see any way this will be avoided. There simply aren't enough people willing to live such a lifestyle to oppose the loss of independence's being forced upon us. The best we can do is get built ASAP and grandfathered in before it's no longer possible.
    We have every intention of being self-sustaining and off-grid. I have a rented propane tank for now to heat the trailer and run the refrig, but as we build the log home, we will add solar power and a wood-burning stove. We should start well-drilling in another month (when it's not too muddy to get in and out) and will go with a solar water pump. We are planning on 2 or 3 green houses as well as a garden and at least 2 root cellars. Probably 3, as one will be for storing fuel. Like food, fuel keeps longer at cooler temperatures and we can hit in the 90's in the summer. Eventually we will have a wood stove to heat the green houses so we can extend our growing season. I think AZ is getting picky, but compared to CA and PA, it sounds like a breeze.

  10. #10
    LHBA Member edkemper's Avatar
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    I've considered being grid tied while producing my own power but am rethinking being connected. Even if I produce as much power as I use and have no power bill, I will still be charged fees. Monthly service charges, extra taxes and such. So independent power is looking better all the time. I'm hoping the only regular fees I'll have to pay are the property taxes.

    Bo, consider a good area away from the house for an extreme compost pile. You may be able to arrange others to "donate" compostable materials. Instead of paying to have it hauled off and disposed of, maybe a free place to dump it would be of interest in these tight financial times. Black compost will help growing crops and far cheaper and friendlier than pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Imagine every square inch of your dirt being black, fertile and full of bugs, worms and beneficial bacteria.
    edkemper

    Class: Valentine's Day weekend 2009

    Feel the Bern!

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