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Thread: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Alternative Building Ideas

    Okay...this is probably one of my favorite threads from pre-crash. I am attempting to salvage what I can from Google cache, so some of the material posted may not have been from myself originally. Wherever possible I will credit the original contributor, but me thinks we will be needing to create much of this thread from scratch again (which stinks because it was a fairly long thread).

    Any ideas, pics, links, books, resources, etc on natural or alternative building techniques and systems from rain barrels and greywater treatment to cob and swimming ponds are welcome in this thread!


    PBS's Building Green series via Hulu


    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative Building Ideas

    Stuff I Posted:

    Compressed Earth Blocks


    So I think these are totally cool. Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) are similar to adobe, but are made without the sun baking, and leave a smaller foot print than conventional adobe homes. Like cob, they act as thermal mass and (usually) can be made from (mostly) on-site materials, however they are more similar to bricks in use. Most importantly, perhaps, CEB's are covered under most building codes as adobe or unfired clay masonry. On the downside, CEB's reqire specialized equipment--which you either need to buy, or hire out a company for (which is generally limited by geographical availability). I really think these would be AWESOME for interior walls...


    E-logs


    I have always wanted to live in a log cabin, ever since I was a little girl and read Little House in the Big Woods. But, as beautiful as they are, in this day and age they aren't exactly cheap, and I'd rather keep my trees in the ground and growing. Though the EPS (expanded polystyrene--the infill in these "logs&quot is a petroleum product, from what I understand of SIPs (structural insulated panels), the composition of EPS is about 98% air (the average SIP home saves nineteen times the energy it took to make the EPS insulation in the first year of installation). Additionally, e-logs can be manufactured at an ratio of 80 e-logs to one conventional log...and, depending on the size of the log, has a much higher R value than conventional logs, making it more energy efficient. E-logs are about the same cost as a mid to hi grade vinal siding, and cheaper and easier to build with than a conventional logs. I do have some misgivings about the green-ness of this particular innovation, but it is something to keep in mind.


    Recycled CD/DVD Shingles


    from http://www.instructables.com/id/CDDVD-Roofing-Concept/

    I had thought about using split soda cans for a metal roof, but this is pretty cool too....now I just need a yard to build Tesla's recycled dog house


    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative Building Ideas

    Have you thought about old fashioned sod (turf) for the doghouse?

    I'm not sure I'd want to cut all that sod for an actual house, but it might work for a doghouse.

    I built my compost bin out of turf I cut when I was clearing the garden. I didn't think it would last very long, but, even in rainy Michigan, it's held up for five years (it's not very big - only about four feet by four, and three layers high).
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

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    Supporter Raphaeline's Avatar
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    Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    (As far as "living off the grid", this might mean different things to different people.)

    Do you homestead? Do you grow/raise your own food? Did you build your own home? Do you renewable energy sources? Are you a nomad, a gypsy, or part of a hippie commune? Any of this stuff? If you do, have done, or also have an interest in this type of thing, this thread is for you I want to learn about the ways other people live and change the way I do a lot of things I'm just not happy with.

    I'm interested in the simple life - by which I mean not complicated, basic, and - at least in my own sense of it - natural. I don't live in a place where this is common or encouraged, and there aren't a lot of examples to learn from.

    I eat organic and local whenever possible and I do not compromise when it comes to meat, milk and eggs. We've adopted the family bed and our bedroom no longer looks like a traditional master bedroom with a four poster bed - it's now on the floor and will soon be joined by a twin bed nestled beside it. We use oil lamps instead of electric lights after dark. We use a clothesline.

    I'm definitely not where I want to be, but I'm making progress. I'm studying to raise my own chickens and I've found someone knowledgeable around here to help me learn what I need to know. I'm learning more about gardening (my first garden was, for the most part, a failure) to prepare for next Spring. I'm still trying to master the sewing machine and am determined to make my own clothes. Long term, my husband's pretty eager to try solar energy and we're really hoping to build a cob house together sometime in the future.

    Anyone else have an interest?

    Oh, and...
    http://fuckyeahgypsydens.tumblr.com/ has a lot of photos with ideas for decorating and designing a home. I'm crazy about this blog. Where do they find this awesomeness?



  5. #5
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    I did bring back our fave thread... http://www.paganforum.com/index.php?topic=86.0

    ...except it looks like we get to start over...
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  6. #6
    Supporter Raphaeline's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=256.msg2342#msg2342 date=1287016106]
    I did bring back our fave thread... http://www.paganforum.com/index.php?topic=86.0

    ...except it looks like we get to start over...
    [/quote]

    I saw that! I should have put the Gypsy Dens link in that thread instead, shouldn't I?

    XD

    In the meantime, does anyone here raise their own chickens? I'm trying to get some advice from the experienced before I start in on this project.

  7. #7
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    [quote author=Raphaeline link=topic=256.msg2665#msg2665 date=1287084635]
    I saw that! I should have put the Gypsy Dens link in that thread instead, shouldn't I?

    XD

    In the meantime, does anyone here raise their own chickens? I'm trying to get some advice from the experienced before I start in on this project.
    [/quote]

    I thought B did...but maybe that is ducks.
    ???
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  8. #8
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=256.msg2668#msg2668 date=1287084817]
    I thought B did...but maybe that is ducks.
    ???

    [/quote]

    I have no personal experience, but if I have have a chance to have poultry, I may favor ducks to chickens, simply because the eggs are bigger, and they're slightly less likely to destroy a garden if they get out :P

  9. #9
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    My commune days are (thankfully) well in the past!

    However, while we are currently raising ducks, we've raised chickens before - for meat and/or eggs (and as pets). Which are you thinking of, Raphe? If you want to do eggs, consider ducks instead - they seem to lay more eggs. But for meat, it's definitely chickens. Duck is kind of greasy, and not one of my favorite meats.

    Both meat and eggs are definitely much much much better quality than general grocery store fare, and costwise, they can be comparable, if you feed them mostly scratch, and either free range them or use a chicken tractor. - A chicken tractor, if you don't know, is a large cage easily built of two by fours and chicken wire that can be dragged around the yard. It keeps all the birds and eggs together, and provides protection against 'coons. it provides both the benefits of keeping them cooped with the benefits of free ranging. Right now the ducks are just wandering around the house - we'll shoo them into the coop before dark.

    You really can't go wrong with poultry - the biggest rpoblem is with predators.

    [quote author=Deseret link=topic=256.msg2675#msg2675 date=1287085539]
    I have no personal experience, but if I have have a chance to have poultry, I may favor ducks to chickens, simply because the eggs are bigger, and they're slightly less likely to destroy a garden if they get out :P
    [/quote]

    Yup - go for ducks. I can't tell the difference between the eggs taste-wise, but they are bigger, they are said to have less cholesteral, and the ducks usually only mess with the garden when the plants are seedlings. And - because people ask - you don't need a pond.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  10. #10
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Homesteading, Living Off Grid, and Other Alternative Living

    [quote author=B. de Corbin link=topic=256.msg2682#msg2682 date=1287085923]
    Yup - go for ducks. I can't tell the difference between the eggs taste-wise, but they are bigger, they are said to have less cholesteral, and the ducks usually only mess with the garden when the plants are seedlings. And - because people ask - you don't need a pond.
    [/quote]

    I've read that Indian Runner Ducks are a good choice--versatile for both mean and eggs and relatively easy to care for...do you have any preferences?

    Rafe, here's the one of the links I had bookmarked on heritage breeds http://www.albc-usa.org/
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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