off grid community

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by leo, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. leo

    leo Monkey

    hey guys im start an off grid community on a 40 acre plot
    its heaviky wooded right now and in northern nova scotia let anyone interested we would be starting from scratch
  2. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    You think this out much ? Kinda far north for solar PV pamels. How's the wind ? Any possibility for Hydro ? Growing season's kinda short up there too.

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  3. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    I was looking at the temperatures and it seems alot like here actually, not that bad. People have sustained here for thousands of years without electricity or hydrophonic growsystems, so it's doable I reckon. A bit far for me though :) But I'm thinking about this myself and I'll share what I've come up with.

    Solar and wind combined would be the way to go if you must have a TV and computer and whatnot. Frides and freezers indoors during the winter never made any sense for me even when on the grid. Must be the stupidest thing ever, to bring something in from the cold into your warm home and then waste energy cooling it down? Who came up with that? Eat fresh during the summer.

    What does one really NEED electricity for and is it worth the hassle of having all panels and the like installed for it? I lived many years with just charging my phone in the car on the way back and forwards to work and I did fine. But that's me of course and different people have different needs.

    Wood stove for cooking/Warming water for hygiene and warming the house. Lots of stone around the fireplace to keep it warm so you can get a couple of hours of good sleep before the cabin goes freezing in the winters. Cooking outside in the summers/using a solar oven and when possible try and eat raw foods during the warm(er) time of the year.

    A WELL. Of course, as always, water is top priority and fresh, drinkable water on freeze-free depth is something to think about too. Bringing ice in and melting it for water on the stove soon loses it's charm. It's doable, sure, but living somewhere, anywhere should giva a person some comfort.

    Your growing season there are about the same as mine and good enough for a decent crop of basic vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, some herbs and spinach and so on. A deep enough cellar is a good way to preserve foods during the winter, but not deep enough to ge water-filled during the spring. However, preservation of foods is an essential skill to have.

    Livestock will demand that you or people in your community are skilled with this. I am no expert here but they do need somewhere warm to go and needs looking after.

    Fish would not be a problem in NS, right? Same here, I put alot of energy into fishing during summers when small and frequent catches are what I'm after. I sell all I can't use in 2 or three days. During the winter I can store fish so I don't fish nearly as often. I get approx a ton of edible fish every trip if I have the maximum of nets out.

    Hunting, here I hunt for small game and elk-season is only one month (soon, whoho!) and restricted to one elk on my grounds. But one elk gives alot of meat. I hunt mostly during the fall, and allthough I get some meat for the table most times it's not at all as productive as the fishing. But it's fun, and a human needs a bit of that too.

    Firewood, now that's where the works at for me atleast. 300 hours or thereabouts sawing, chopping, cutting and sweating with the logs during the summer to stay warm in the winter. If you do it like people do nowadays as a general rule, with machines, you could cut that time to a fraction. If you had a modern system for heating and preservation of heat, you could cut that time alot more.

    So, excuse my English if something didn't make sense and good luck, let me know about your progress!
    Sapper John and BTPost like this.
  4. Oddmar

    Oddmar Monkey+

    Recently i got a hernia and i'm not going to be much use to anyone or myself with regards to physical labor. Hurt every day and it's going to need surgery to fix.

    What i can offer is knowledge.

    Some of this is personal experience, trolls please hold your breath for at least 5 minutes if you haven't actually done the exact same thing yourself for real...not just heard about something similar on the internet. Willow Ulfgood voice, "Trolls! I hate trolls...!"

    Some i admit is just extensive research, but i wouldn't offer it as advice if i wasn't planning on doing it myself in the near future. After the suture. No, i am Not

    Solar and wind power is definately necessary...unless you like living in a cave and eating grubs. My ancestors may have been cavepersons but i am not...

    There are good deals on PV panels right now, 290 watts for $280.00 Astronergy CHSM 6612P 275-, 280-, 285-, and 290-watt solar modules
    Stay away from Harbor Fright PV equipment...thin, fragile panels and lousy charge controllers. Battery chargers that smoke after 1 hour and inverters with no heat sinking. Not that they don't have some good products, like an all-metal right-angle drill attachment for $15.00, better than the cheap plastic $30 one at Sears, or a racheting chuck (for a tap-and-die set) for $20. But you really have to pick through the Chinese junk.

    Figure 4 to 7 panels to start, with deep cycle batteries, L16's are nice but big trolling motor ones can be had from O'Rieleys Auto Parts for $85.00 ea. A good inverter and charge controller, plus a solar tracker from , with a welder to build the X-Y panel holders and some windshield-wiper motors to crank them back and forth. Tracking the sun will produce 30-40% more power than fixed panels.

    A good 20' diameter wind generator can be built at home if you follow the plans from 20 foot diameter wind turbine | Otherpower The magnets for the low-speed alternator are the biggest expense. Next biggest is maybe the need to be at least 30' above everything nearby for good non-turbulent wind. Drill pipe is cheap if you live near an oil field. Forget mounting it on the roof...those are just marketing pictures.

    Earth-sheltered greenhouse for year-round growing. Insulate with cast-off fiberglass insulation or papercrete. See if you can find old sliding patio doors for the glass...they are usually double-paned. Craigslist or local paper classified ad. You can keep rabbits above the chicken pens in the next room over, and worm pans below them. Gotta have fish bait, right? I'm not a good fisherman i tend to 'spike' the water then use 'splosives the next day.

    Look at
    Earth-sheltered Greenhouse
    Mike Oehler's a nice guy but like all geniuses he's a bit eccentric. His Underground House Book is neat reading but i've been up to his place and it's alot of work...there are easier ways to build a house. My personal favorite and soon to begin construction... Concrete slab with Earth-bag construction up to 4-5 feet (dirt-filled old tires in a running bond like bricks) with 16" thick papercrete wall slip-formed up to 10' on top of the wall. 16" to 24" of papercrete between the ceiling and the steel roofing. Cheapest super-insulated house you can build.

    A well is mandatory unless you have a year-round crick or spring. But gobs of flow per minute are not. A slow-flowing shallow well with a Solar-Jack pump will slowly fill a 1000-gallon cistern, then the motor-home pressure pump from JC Whitney will pull from the cistern to feed the house. Requires a much shallower well. No need to put the well-driller's children through college.

    Earth tubes 1-2 feet under the concrete house floor can help with cooling if that is necessary and if the air is humid the condensation on the cool walls of the pipes will also slowly fill the cistern. Googling earth tubes was a nightmare so i'll just say, use PVC, 6-8" feed and return tubes, 2" connecting tubes 2 feet apart buried a foot or so down under the house, the whole layout a bit high on one corner, a bit lower on the opposite corner for draining the inevitable condensation. 12VDC computer fan to help airflow as desired. Recirculate inside air, more efficient that way. You want fresh air open a window.

    Composting toilets instead of flush toilets will conserve water and give you good fertilizer for the garden. Put the pipe in the floor before you pour the slab though in case you change your mind later. My type of composting toilet is a bucket in a bench, with a toilet seat and a heavy gasketed lid to keep any stink inside the bench. Vent tube going through the roof. Sprinkle some dirt/ shredded leaves from a container next to the shi**er over your doo to get the composting process started and cut the smell. Not some rich hippies idea of a composting toilet but i'm poor. Empty every week or so into the compost heap/ drum next to the greenhouse. Only use the brown buckets for this, don't use them anywhere else in your projects.

    Hot water, cooking, and heat for the home can all be had easily from a "rocket" style stove. Rocket stove for cooking, Rocket mass heater for heating. Firebox burns at 1500°F, burning ALL the smoke, so it uses very little wood (1/4 to 1/8th the usual amount), keeps the house hot all night after only running for an hour or so. Less wood burned means less wood to gather/ split. Here's a link to my build... • View topic - My First REAL RMH Build I'm building another for my friend's house that will resemble a regular wood fireplace when you are standing in the living room.

    If you need to split wood there is nothing faster or easier than a Supersplitter. They are a tad expensive but i can help you build your own for very little. It splits the wood faster than you can load it, even with a helper. Plenty of Youtube videos. Ignore the Smart Splitter...different animal.

    Talstar insecticide from Talstar One, Talstar P, Talstar Pro Insecticide - Free Shipping is the BEST commercial-grade stuff you can buy. Get the $43 3-quart 96-ounce container for the best value. Kills fire ants in 24-hours. There are ZERO bugs at my favorite woods hangout site. Lasts outdoors for 3 months in heavy rain. Safe for children and pets after it dries. Takes about 4 weeks to kill ALL the roaches though. Visitors brought unwanted friends along. Ugh!

    That's about all i can think of right now. I'll try to awnser any questions.

    Edit: By asking people to refrain from negativity i didn't mean don't say ANYTHING...
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  5. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    My guess would be it was the part about you being sick and tired of people thinking they knew better than you followed by the "keep it a peaceful thread, mmmkay?" But what do I know. Caveman and all.

    Check this guy out:
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Something like this would be pretty nice.
  7. Oddmar

    Oddmar Monkey+

    I was in pain from my hernia and had a headache to top it off...i apologise.

    Recently it seems i give people my best advice and they quickly tell me "that will never work" or "you cant do that, it's not Possible". Since i've done it and it works really well you can see how this wears me down.
    wastelander likes this.
  8. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    I havent see any monkeys fling poo yet. [tongue]
  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'm still building my POO gun. (Based on the tennis-ball cannon concept, and packed with only the finest horse apples, it should be impressive.)....:lol:
  10. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    Some stuff works for some people. I mean, to go to extremes, a cave with a fire would make a cozy home for some people. Many, many people survived like that and I can't imagine them being unhappy about it either. Still today many humans live by similar standards and, well, they might not live as long as we do in what we like to call "the civilized world" or atleast they die from different causes, and suicide or overweight and related causes have to be far, far down on their list.

    For a reason I guess. Life itself is such a challenge that they don't have time for that kind of stuff.

    According to my personal thoughts on the matter it is good for ones personal well being to have problems along the line of gathering food, getting water, having heat and getting some good sleep and really bad to focus on problems outside yourself that does not make any sense, such as paying tax, working at a plant 40 hours a week and be rewarded with paper that you then can trade for food and power and what not that you have no idea where it came from. There's something wrong with me I've heard around the neighbourhood, but still, this thing people call life makes no sense to me. I need a HDMI TV? I need a dishwasher? Really?

    (I do live in a somewhat regular house with a wife and kids and playstations and f* s* today. They are not really loving it when I drag them out to my old cabin but they deal with it for a couple of weeks every year, and I deal with "modern day" stuff the rest of the year. Note that I'm not even 35 years old :D)
    JABECmfg likes this.
  11. Oddmar

    Oddmar Monkey+

    I am 44 yrs old, but act like i'm 32...except for lately learning to live with this hernia, waiting for the day i can get patched back together.

    I believe i should be able to live in a house with hot and cold running rodents,(I mean water), and have 120VAC, 220VAC, and 12VDC power from the battery bank/ inverter for my LED lighting, entertainment system, free-wifi router, and to power the shop tools. I don't NEED these amenities, but they are nice to have. Since i'm intelligent and creative enough to build my own house and wire all this stuff into it, i can do this on a budget most people would find unbelievable. I see no reason to buy new lumber just beacuse the inspectors think i should (I don't care what they think), I build from recycled materials because i've always been poor and it works.
  12. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    You put a refrigeration unit outside in extremely cold weather without a heater, and the oil in the compressor turns to grease rather than oil. Compressors don't last long without lubrication.
    wastelander, kellory and BTPost like this.
  13. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    True what you are saying. I'm lacking in my English. But why would you put a fridge outside in cold weather? Sounds like having a peeing-area in a pool. I haven't owned a fridge in 18 years now, just a cellar. (I have a fridge actually I just remembered, but it's not plugged in. Makes nice shelves though)
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Pre Refer Days, Folks used a RootCellar, dug into the earth to keep Food Products at about 40F thru Ground Heat & Outside Ventilation. In Winter Freezing Temps, Protein Products were stored in the WoodShed After being moved from the Ice Dugout once the Fall Temps dropped below Freezing, Then they got moved back to the Ice Dugout after it was ReLoaded with Ice during the Depth of Winter, once the Spring Temps got back above about 25F.... ....
  15. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Uh....YOU said: "Frides and freezers indoors during the winter never made any sense for me..." I assumed you meant you were going to put it OUTSIDE.
    wastelander likes this.
  16. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    A"refrigerator " cooled by outside air drawn in by small 12v fan powered by a battery / solar cell, wired to a thermostat might work.
    Or you could just dig a root cellar.

    Personally I'd go with the root cellar. We had one when I was growing up , it was dug off the side of the basement the same room also housed the well pump. That room was most likely a "spring room" cooled from a natural spring had once been. This was on Long Island, NY back in the '50's. As the area was developed the water table fell which is why we had to put in the pump.
  17. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    Sorry buddy, language complications due to me. What I ment was simply that I store things that needs cooling outside or in my cellar when its cold out and dont see the point in bringing it inside and then cool it in a fridge. Sorry bout that.
  18. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Cousin in Pittsburg, PA had a box mounted out his kitchen window for winter storage.
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