“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday

I finally got a chance to watch two episodes of  the Outdoor Channel's Off Grid, America Unplugged I'd taped.

They were both good. One was about a fellow in Alabama who built everything he needed out of scrap or surplus parts. A sort of latter day McGyver, he'd made himself a beautiful and self sufficient homestead out in the Alabama pine forest. His philosophy of life had some common points with mine. He mentioned several times that the further away from human habitation he was, the more comfortable he felt.

The second episode was about a German, who had bought himself some land in the high desert north of Santa Fe.  He'd built an absolutely amazing home out there, doing the work himself and buying few of the materials he used.  This guy recycled everything. I mean, everything.  He was completely self contained. Apparently he traveled all over the world, including some pretty dangerous places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then he found his spot in New Mexico.  I was very impressed with how beautiful his land was, how functional his house and outbuildings were. The man was even growing vegetables in the New Mexican winter (it can go 25 below where he is) in special "pods" he'd built. If you get a chance to see this show, either on the net or tv, this has been the best episode so far.

One thirty in the morning here.  I've been sitting out on the porch. It's almost cold out there tonight, dead quiet, and no light yet. I thought the moon would light things up but it must be behind the trees still. The creek rushing is about all you can hear.

Things are moving along slowly and steadily.  The good weather has given me time to work on some projects, including my test garden. It isn't going to be very impressive to look at but it's just to see how and if I can grow food here on the mountain.  Doesn't need to be on the cover of "Hobby Farm."


17 comments:

  1. I always wonder about those places I see supposedly built from scavenged or scrap materials. It always comes off to me like a millionaire who claims he started his business with $200.00 kinda of thing. Either he is outright lying or it was such a special set of circumstances the planets will never line up like that again. Had A guy up here that claimed he built his barn from scrap lumber only to find out he had an inside connection to a bit of property that had been seized... I mean condemned by the local government that had an old barn on it. Apparently the county clerk (his brother) left the bid announcement for the tear down up at the court house a whole hour on Sunday morning before he found a low bidder.

    Ya start small and see if things will grow but I think it is important to keep a good idea of how much you get and then estimate what you would need in numbers to produce enough for a year too. Not saying you need to produce that much but just get a general idea of what it would take.

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    1. I think this German was legitimate. He had that air about him, you can tell someone who is a true believer. For him, it wasn't at all about money, which apparently he had. It was about wasting nothing, and I mean nothing. He didn't even waste the effluvia from his sanitary facilities. There certainly are a lot of smoke blowers and B.S. artists out there, but I don't think this guy was one of them.

      Mainly, this time out, I just want to prove I can grow food if I need to. If I do get the plants to grow, then perhaps next Spring I'll actually try to grow food in quantities that matter.

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  2. Oh yes, sounds like a programme I would watch too. .. what do you remember most about the German guys recycling?

    Am looking forward to seeing your garden progress and no, I'm not expecting it to appear on any magazine cover. My vegetable patches couldn't either. All we need from them is food, not fame ;)

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    1. It was amazing. The guy had a use for everything, and it was a use that was practical. He used rocks that soaked up the sun during the day to keep his growing pods warm at night. He used gray water from his rain run off on his plants. He built a lot of the equipment there on his own, and had an amazing solar power system. His house was not beautiful to look at, but it was highly practical. He made his own adobe bricks, popular in the S.W. because they keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. He had chickens, used the chicken manure to make methane, which he then burned in his heating unit. The thing that boggled the mind was how well planned out, and how well executed it all was. The again, he was German so I would not have expected anything less.

      I went out back of the barn to burn the trash today, and there was a bear by my garden spot. He wasn't digging it up, he was just sitting there. Maybe he was trying to gauge when the things would be worth coming back to eat!

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  3. This show sounds awesome! I don't suppose it's on DVD? I can't watch streaming (we're too far off the grid ourselves) and we don't subscribe to any tv channels, so all I can do are DVDs I check out of the library (or buy from Amazon).

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    1. I tell you what. I am going to buy it on DVD if it ever comes out, and I promise to lend it to you. I taped the shows on my satellite receiver, maybe I can figure out a way to hook it up to a DVD recorder. I have lots of shows on that piece of gear I want to keep so I was planning on doing that anyway. I need my son to visit to help me figure out what to buy and how to hook it up.

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  4. Harry I will check out the show. It finally warm here upper 80's. Still not even close to the terrible heat of Florida. Should be great for the crops to get caught up on their growing. Have a great week ahead.

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    1. Rob, I think you will like it. It's been warm here, in the high eighties, but not too hot.

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  5. Very interesting. We don't have TV, but you say this show is available on the internet?

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    1. Leigh, I don't know if the Outdoors Channel will put it on the net but it might be. I will try to check and see. It's a good show, not full of idiots like "Doomsday Preppers."

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    2. I meant the Sportsmans Channel.

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  6. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I know the area up north of Santa Fe. Cold and dry......

    On John Wells blog (The Field Lab.blogspot) The post last night was on some prepper stuff and stuff on pretty much everything that gets discussed on this blog. I think John Wells has shifted more over to the prepper side a little bit seeing whats going on in this country.

    People think I'm nuts, but I can make a paradise out in the desert (with a little work and some smarts)

    In regards to some of the other post's back. I don't have any illegal alien problems in my neck of the woods. They are all being shipped to a town or city near you (out of state)
    The border patrol just picks them up, packages them and ship's them out (kinda like UPS)

    Down here myself and friends of mine are working 'circling the financial wagons' even though we are going through one hell of an oil boom (and there are job openings all over the place) When the bottom falls out Its gonna be bad. The Stock market hit 17000 points the other day and that not a good sign.

    There's a military base in a town not far from here where they used to fly the T-28's (Harry's been there I think) and I suspect that base will close down because of the BRAC (base realignment and closer) program and that will be a big financial hit to property owners in that area.
    There are what' 47 million on food stamps (EBT's) or so. In a way its another food line or bread line of sorts. We are still in a recession (the entire country) and when the financial bottom falls out a depression may be the end result when our currency is 'deemed worthless' thanks to quantitive easing.

    On a side note. What is the definition of poverty??

    If a person has a roof over there head, running water, food and some other basic amenities. I would not classify that as poverty. Electricity is something in rural area that someone could live without, albeit it would be uncomfortable.

    In regards to the pictures 'Harry of your area in the previous post. It did not look like the true poverty I've seen in East Africa or some other places I have been. In this country, poverty is seen as not having a car or television of whatever sort.

    Owning land and growing food is key to survival in most third world countries. I think that's the best collapse proof way to live. It may be a meager, hard existence but it is existence never the less.

    The problem in this country is the property taxes and losing land because low income people can't afford the taxes. What that builds in the long run is a class of rural (landless) people that start insurrections like we have seen world wide.

    When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

    I fear this will not end well.....

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    1. Hell no. If this area looked anything like Africa I wouldn't be within a thousand miles of it. By American standards, there are a lot of poor people here. If you live in a broken down, leaky trailer, have no car, and don't have enough to eat then I figure you are poor. There's not necessarily any shame in that, sometimes it just happens. We aren't third world here though.

      Are you thinking of NAS Kingville or NAS Beeville? I don't know if they are still in use or not.

      In 1986, I think it was, the stock market broke 1900 and it was a big deal. Now it's at 17,000. The balloon is going to pop, that's for sure.

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    2. Hey Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      Beeville NAS is no more......

      Kingsville is still going strong..

      On the poverty thing, what I was getting at is what we consider poverty is living well in Africa.
      Standards vary from culture to culture.

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    3. I'm sorry to hear that NAS Beeville is no more. Lots of the bases I knew back in the 70's and 80's are no more.

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  7. I love watching people make things out of practically nothing. I read a few articles online about people making houses out of dumpsters. Dumpsters cost around $2,000, so they buy one and make a great home out of it.

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  8. I know some people buy Conex boxes, those big metal shipping containers, and put them underground to live in. I think it would have to be under ground to help with insulation, otherwise you'd roast in summer and freeze in winter. People display a lot of ingenuity these days, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see some kind of dwelling, or part of dwelling, made out of big commercial dumpsters.

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