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What If....Remote Living

Discussion in 'Survival Topic of the Month' started by Dunerunner, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    1. What if... You, and your family of four, choose to move to a 50 acre piece of unimproved land to better your chances of survival in an increasingly unstable world, but the cost leaves you but $25,000 of your savings after paying off the land with your equity from the sale of your home. Your monthly income is $6,000, Net and your 4X4 3/4 Ton crew cab truck is paid for.. The land has a year round stream with 10 foot of fall across 40 acres of your property, and 10 acres of harvestable timber but everything else has been logged off with nothing remaining but random piles of smoldering stumpage. The cleared area gives you 120 degrees of clear line of sight, center, right and left: across nearly 40 acres of cleared land and backs up to the 10 acre forested area. There is a ½ mile private dirt road with year round access to the property across a portion of the cleared land and the property is in a median climate with 4 seasons. Annual rainfall is 70 inches and historically 12 inches of snow over three of the Winter months. Winter temperatures reach into the low teens and Summer highs in the upper 70's and low 90's. You would have no neighbors for 20 miles in any direction as you are surrounded by property owned by the timber industry, total isolation; but you know that someone would find you, eventually. You can telecommute for your work, but there are no services, well, septic, telephone or electric, on the property. What do you do to improve the property to make it livable and what are your priorities for immediate and extended survival?

  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor Site Supporter+

    I am sure other may see things different, and we don't know your proposed AO. I am guessing NW. Base camp at location near stream, but on high ground so floods are not a threat. WATER to drink and a small weather tight shelter (consider possible future uses for shelter) at least 12 X 16 or bigger. Well should replace large double filter Berkley asap. Does stream freeze solid in winter. Stream water when not frozen can be used for irrigation of garden and orchard. Planting properly placed windbreaks of trees and bushes could be a benefit. Consider how snow drifts form from windbreaks. Solar on ground frames, inverter, and battery bank. Waterpower from stream (small dam and water wheel maybe). Cell service? Ham radio? Small livestock and fencing and shelters. Chickens and rabbits certainly. Eco composting toilet.
    In summary to me: locate your building site or base camp 1st, then Water, then Shelter, then consider food storage and future food. Followed by local power and coms.
    Ganado, chelloveck, Motomom34 and 3 others like this.
  3. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    A water wheel for electricity is practical with a year round stream with that much fall. A ram will pump water to your home site. Assuming there is a road of some sort to the property, a small travel trailer or two, build a room between them from a few of the logs left on the property. Use the RV for bedrooms, cooking and refrigeration. Convert RV to led lighting. Add a few more batteries to the battery bank on each trailer. An inverter will convert 12 volts to 110, so you can use small appliances like microwaves. In the daytime, I was even able to power a bread oven from my solar panels without hurting the batteries.

    Use a composting toilet, much more cost effective than a septic system, and lots less labor too.

    Dig a root cellar, they're helpful for food storage.
    I'd plant fast growing poplar trees on about 10 acres that have been logged off. Poplars will grow from a stump, so you would be assured of a supply of firewood for heating. Use the room connecting the trailers for the woodstove . Get one that you can use for cooking as well as heat. If it has a glass front door, that gives you the ambiance of a fireplace too. You would need axes, saw, and splitting tools.
    Find out what food plants are native to the area, and get some growing on your property. Get some berries going, and plant some fruit trees. Once you have apple trees, if there are any deer around, you'll have some on your property. Same thing with bears and berries.

    Raise a garden, grow what you will eat, learn to can food. Your chickens will love scraps from your garden. (you are planning to have chickens right?)
    If it seems like I'm speaking from experience, you're right, my wife and I did most of that before she passed away. Now I mostly just give advice, though that will change once I get moved to my nephews new homestead in the PNW, where I will get to do most of that again, while teaching the young folks.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  4. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    An income of $72,000/year after taxes plus being debt free places one in a very favorable situation. One could easily afford to install a well & septic, have a robust off grid power system, and build permanent structures.
    Motomom34, oldawg, techsar and 2 others like this.
  5. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    I agree, it is a question of what would come first, second, third, etc. You have $25,000 of seed money to start, your wife and two teen children to educate and support, property taxes to pay, and equipment to purchase. Just an exercise in prioritization and innovation.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    First I'd determine site where house, sauna, cistern(s), outhouse and future septic, future well, barn, garden, orchard, shed to serve garden and orchard and chicken coop should go along with the driveways and future pond site, stake them out.
    make some firewood.

    cut in driveway, lanes between buildings as sited. improve base with large stone 1-4" diameter compacted into bulldozed lane, then covered 3-4 inches of coarse stamp sand (crushed mine rock) compacted and then 20AA road gravel on top.

    then build the sauna.
    make some firewood

    build a simple run in to store truck, gas, tools, simple work bench etc.

    build a power house for solar array that would be purchased and able to power homestead
    build outhouse ( using best sanitation engineering .. away from water supply and below house)
    make some firewood

    build or acquire cistern (to be placed on higher ground than buildings for gravity feed)
    make some firewood

    build or acquire a ram pump to move water from creek to the cistern
    make some firewood

    build garden shed and chicken coop acquire poultry/fowl, knowing Missus VT, she's gonna find a couple of goats so they are going to go in with the chickens or take over the garden shed.
    make some firewood

    then cut the garden and orchard and plant (make goat proof fence)
    make some firewood

    then build house with accommodations for existing cistern water supply and future well, grey water and septic systems. Kids will be real happy we moved out of the sauna because spending the first winter in there trapped with dads snoring was almost a breaking point. Missus VT was also debating a separate room for herself in the new house for the same reason.
    make some firewood

    then build barn
    make some firewood.
    get a pair of pigs and try to move the goats into the barn there because they've destroyed the garden shed twice.

    then comes the fencing.
    add well and connect to house and outbuildings.
    make some more firewood.

    dig a pond .. or maybe not.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Go to Blogs Sub-forum, and find my Alaska Wildreness Building BLOG... Read that, and then formulate your plans from there...
    Gray Wolf, Gator 45/70 and VisuTrac like this.
  8. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Good advice from all so far. Just a question here , if you don't mind my asking. And it's definetly none of my business , but I've considered a similar move,,,, but . What is your age ? At my age , with having to work to keep the income coming in , I don't think I'd have much energy left to improve the property to my desired level before I started becoming worm feed. I'm trying to have a few relaxing years before then , if possible.
    Gator 45/70 and Dunerunner like this.
  9. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Ha! :D I'll be 70 by the end of this year. The key in this scenario is that this father can telecommute to conduct his business, but; he will have to install the infrastructure at this new location to facilitate that. He will have to buy or rent a dozer or backhoe or contract with someone to develop the land to make it suitable for a dwelling and crops, greenhouse, barn, etc.

    BTW... Relaxing is overrated.
    Motomom34, Ganado and SB21 like this.
  10. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    If we have to go in order,
    Shelter is first.
    Water is next, then get your garden started. While it's growing, work on adding chickens then,
    Power and heat, and
    Get your orchards growing.
    While that's going on, develop as many other food sources as you can.
    Seawolf1090 and Benjamin A. Wood like this.
  11. Big Ron

    Big Ron Monkey++

    Consider what kind of future temperatures you will have to deal with before buying the property. Strangely enough, I keep reading on Alaska being a temperate place in the future. I think we entering a global cooling period with an out of wack jet stream. I think folks up north will get hammered as the years go by. We will see if I am right. My future cabin build will include plenty of insulation!
  12. oldman11

    oldman11 Monkey+++

    Look at the ground,you need ground you can work soon after it rains. Right now it’s time to plant Irish potatoes in N La. and you cannot even get to the garden without getting wet. Look for sandy loam soil well drained with open spaces on a small hill. You will be ahead.
  13. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Pretty much described my place and how it started other than there are 2 neighbors within 2 miles and closest small town is 7 miles. Started with $278,000 I had saved. Paid $71,500 for 40 acres, $1000 for a semi decent 1974 mobile home and another $4300 to make it better than decent, a old 1975 MF 285 bucket tractor at $5500, Round baler, Square Baler, Rake, haybine and Rhino disc mower came in at $44,000, 24x42x12 carport/steel building $6500, Hud-Son sawmill $10,700, 12x32 portable building (Repo) $3200, 30KW Solar/wind hybrid system $38,000 , Shallow well drilled and cased $3500, Disk and seed drill $8500 , SHipping container 40' hole to put it in and structural reinforcement $7500, pair of 30x96 high tunnels and a 24x48 greenhouse $30,000 and $9000 for start up breeding livestock, $15,000 in T post, woven, electric and barbed fence. Already had two newer trucks, Oliver 1755 tractor, 30' GN trailer, stock trailer, 2 20' cargo trailers and 3 16' utility trailers, large selection of bullet pushers and bullets, and a full shops worth of mechanic and wood working tools. And 4 horses and tack. 2007 through 2010 were pretty lean years before the land started generating significant income, kept around $11,000 to live on during the leanest patches. By 2010 the land was bringing in $50,000 per year net and started paying back the Loan to myself at $25k per year (The $278,000 was mostly a 401k I cashed out) Married the wife in 2010 which aside from benefits and headaches brings in another North of 70k net household income from her job. Farm, investments, land, and businesses have all done well and we are in the 250k ish range now after taxes. Both myself and the wife have fully funded retirements hers from a pension and a couple of side investment. Mine in a 401k, a IRA and leased out Ag land that is easy enough to liquidate. I work April through October pretty much full time with all of the overtime I want on the farm and the various businesses that sell what the farm produces. The wife is going to retire in 14 Months and then we are getting the hell out of IL. Bought a new 188 acre place that is much more isolated than this one surround on 3 sides by National forest, with a 22 acre pond, a 7 acre pond and a 5 acre pond with a rock/sand bottom river that runs adjacent to it. 59 acres of it is old woods 30 acres of woods logged 30 years ago and the rest pasture/hay land on gentle slopes. Went with a place that already has a nice 3200 sq foot house, 2 barns and machine shed already on it. Although I intend to move my 16x46 portable building cabin and if nothing else keep it as my *Man Cave* and place to hide when I piss the wife off. Will probably keep raising a small herd of hogs and cattle and move the greenhouse and high tunnels and keep them going and running the Chuck Wagon food trailer, although I am seriously thinking about just going the brick and mortar restaurant route.

    And that all started with 6 acres I bought after leaving the mil. and working crappy jobs to get it going and save money..... my least favorite being a OTR truck driver for a couple of years. But did what I had to do to get where I wanted to be. Not bad for someone that just turned 50 and has never taken taken a dime of welfare ............. Even though I am just a filthy half breed that came from a mixed race family that must have set me up for a lifetime of failure because that what mixed races do according to some of you.
  14. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    We live in a similar climate. I built an earth bermed house and it took a lot of time while we lived in a RV in the barn, this is what I wish I had done.

    Big picture: Build a big earth bermed garage and pull and RV in it. Build the house on top or beside after the garage is done.

    Rough Details:
    Pump water from the creek and filter it.
    If possible, have a bulldozer dig down to bedrock and clean off a place to build, preferable on a hillside.
    Form a footer on the bedrock and pour it full of concrete/rebar.
    Dry-stack concrete block yourself, install rebar as you go, then coat them with quickwall surface bonding cement.
    Pour the walls full of cement as you go or all at once at the end.
    Install steel beams every 5' Pour a concrete roof on top. I used W12x19 beams to span a 18' span with a 4" concrete slab on top.
    Install a wood stove in the garage.
    Insulate any exposed concrete, insulate the exterior not the interior.
    Install 2500w of solar panels.
    Install 300ah LiFePO4 batteries.
    Install a mini-split heat pump/ac unit to keep the humidity down.
    Install your own septic system.
    Install a cistern and store water from the roof run-off.
    Install a small 1800rpm diesel generator.
  15. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    If you want a constant 2500 watts double what you install to 5000 watts. The first solar I tinkered with I went with a 2500w off grid package with 150W 12V BP panels and eight 220AH batteries with a morningstar charge controller (with the digital read out of what was going on) ended up averaging 1100-1400w in reality in a location with good sun. Still have that system and power the well pump and electric fences with it. When it comes to solar it is better to error on the side of making to much rather finding yerself falling short on a regular basis.

    I am redoing that old mobile home and going to make it run completely off grid and move that system over to power it. Basically be running 4 12v fans, a dozen LED strip lights and a dorm refrigerator. Things like coffee makers, toasters, electric griddles or skillets are not a solar system and battery banks friend :)

    Going with a straight line 12V system rather than jumping them to 24,48 etc has one big advantage. I can jump my truck batteries to the solar battery bank and charge them with it, thus making that cummins diesel and 50 gallon fuel tank a big generator. Ice storm of 2009 here, it was 4 weeks before the grid power on my road came back on and 2 weeks before we got the road cleared enough to get out. Didn't take long to figure out the truck burned considerably less fuel than the tractor and PTO Generator or the Diesel generator. Could run the truck for 4 hours and have 12 hours of battery life. Ran either the gas or diesel generator for bigger power things but the truck kept the lights, refrigerator and fans on. Solar was encased in 6" of solid ice and totally useless for two weeks. Dumb Ass neighbor decided hitting it with a mallet was a good idea and shattered one of the panels on the first whack. So with panels that get iced over, take a "God put it there, God will take it away!" approach :) LOL One of those you look over and see what he was doing on the down swing and nothing to do but watch :(
  16. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    The system I listed is what we use for our off-grid house, now that we are getting our hot water from the coil in the wood stove I have only had to run the generator once a week or so. We also have a wind mill that helps a little every once in a while.

    Our system is 24v but I bought 12v panels and wired them in series so I could use them for other things if needed.
    3cyl likes this.
  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Because I am technology illiterate, that seems like a huge problem to me. Some remote areas get horrible service. Running lines can cost more then it is worth plus take time. Working via satellite is not great.

    I believe he is going to have to put some of his monthly income into renting a place while he turns his land into some place that can accommodate his job. His job is key because he needs that money to build his remote home. This land can become what he wants it to be but will take a lot of cash.

    Water, sewer, cellar hole. Planting fruit trees, berry bushes plus cutting in a garden area but only adding soil amendments at this time.
    Gray Wolf and Dunerunner like this.
  18. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Hughs net, 25 Mbps 50Gigs/month, $150/month. Would need power either commercial or solar, shelter and water for sure!
    Motomom34 likes this.
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Correction: Most remote areas have horrible service.

    Solution in our case was build a 100' tower at the top of the mountain and get a local wireless ISP to put equipment on it to serve our rural area. Now we get 100mb speeds, no limit on bandwidth, and they pay me $120/mo + no cost for my service.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    BenP, 3cyl, Dunerunner and 2 others like this.
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