Posts from — March 2012

Cost of being a British prepper
by VEG-HEAD on MARCH 30, 2012 - 2 Comments in SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Timeless Cornwall town is prepper central

Surprisingly, for many Preppers, part of the idea is to live cheaply and well in the event of a breakdown in normal society. But computer repair man Larry Peters, 42, has told his local paper in the UK about his plan for dealing with Solar flares, and its anything but cheap.

Stockpiling food and water and teaching his kids, including nine-year-old daughter Lily, to HUNT and GUT animals is one thing but, Larry has also kitted out his family’s three-bed terrace in Penryn, Cornwall, to cope with every eventuality.

They have splashed out £10,000 on a 4×4 in case they need to flee, spent £1,200 on guns and ammo and filled giant tanks with water to build up a 700-gallon reserve. (more…)

Looking to join a community
by SIMPLE91 on MARCH 28, 2012 - 6 Comments in I WANT TO GO OFF GRID

I’m 20 year old female and I want to join a community in Washington state. I grew up in Slovakia, Europe where I worked on farms and whatnot. I’m a quick learner and a hard worker!

Just want to get away from this materialistic life.

What do I do when I have no work?
by NORMALIFE on MARCH 27, 2012 - 1 Comment in SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Dave, Piper and kid -- just trying to stay alive

Welcome to the world of barter – modern-day traders must be flexible: knitting for tax preparation, yoga classes for massage, a digital camera for a truckload of horse manure.
Piper Lane and Paul Davis are making it in America – says a report in the Roanoke Times – but barely ….. like so many other self-employed folks who have been hammered by the recession.
Before the housing market plummeted in 2007, Davis, 47, had a humming plastering business with 14 employees. His Davis Plastering built the walls for about half the homes in Ashley Plantation, a Botetourt County subdivision in VA, he said.
Now it’s just him and a buddy doing smaller remodeling jobs or fixing water damage. Some weeks he has no work at all.
The couple picks and chooses from the bills they owe, resulting in an end to satellite television, credit problems and Davis’ decimated retirement account. Out of necessity, they’ve forged creative new lines of work, with Davis adding interior painting to his services – often hiring his partner, Lane, 40, to paint over his plaster repairs.
They own the trailer they live in but rent the lot where it sits, surrounded by a cornfield and other mobile homes. (more…)

Farmland price surge leads to even more demand
by VEG-HEAD on MARCH 27, 2012 - 0 Comments in LAND

BOSTON, March 19 (Reuters) – As a teenager in Wisconsin, Perry Vieth spent his summers baling hay in a neighbor’s field. Four decades later, Vieth is farming again. This time, however, the former fixed-income trader owns the land.

“At the end of 2006, I took a look at the markets, didn’t like what was on the horizon and decided to move into hard assets,” Vieth says.

He isn’t the only one betting on the farm these days.

During the last several years, investors have taken notice of the swelling prices and hearty returns that come with productive farms. Individuals and funds are increasingly seeing farmland as an ideal hard asset class.

Farmland generates not only regular income but also capital appreciation and can be used as a hedge against inflation. Another benefit: farmland returns tend to be immune to stock or bond fluctuations, making it a good diversification tool.

“A lot of people like to say ‘It’s gold with a coupon,'” says Chris Erickson, managing director at HighQuest Partners, an agribusiness consulting firm. (more…)

Net zero homes – do the math
by AMY SUAREZ on MARCH 26, 2012 - 3 Comments in ENERGY

Larry and Debbie - happy together

Gary and Bobbie Worker from Portland, had their heart set on an energy neutral home that was as financially-efficient, as it was ecologically effective. “We wanted it to make sense,” said Gary. “And we wanted to approach it from a standpoint of return on investment.” A typical family which clears its electric and water bill and uses an electric car to avoid filling up at the pump, will save more than $800 a month.

Their 2 acres outside Portland has an underground heat pump to heat their space. It also powers AC and ventilation. But they also have an electric car, which sometimes donates energy to the home and sometimes uses it, courtesy of the array of solar panels. At first, they used to see it as a backup power unit but increasingly they depend on the surplus energy it gives them when they drive it home at night after a day charging up in town.
And its proving a worthwhile investment. (more…)

Newcomer need advice
by STUBBINZ on MARCH 26, 2012 - 0 Comments in I WANT TO GO OFF GRID

Hello, im 22 and i want to move off-grid. I have done a good amount of research into alternate energy sources, minimal energy usage, survival techniques, etc. I grew up in the Springs, but i have a Southern family in Arkansas that over the course of my childhood has taught me about hunting, fishing, field dressings, self suffiency, etc. I just don’t really have a good source of income and i was hoping to find someone that was willing to teach me a few trade skills and maybe give me some advice as to where to get started. All the research in the world and i still cant decide where or how to start with such a low budget. I also understand this is not an instant transition and will take time and investment, im just hoping anyone can help me get underway. Thank you.

Powering your cell phone
by KELLY MEAD on MARCH 25, 2012 - 0 Comments in MOBILE, URBAN

Three phones is too many but three batteries makes sense

I know, I know – how do you call yourself off the grid when you have a cell phone so rooted to your ear that you would need surgery to remove it?

Whatever. We take life as we find it, and in most cases these days that means heavy smartphone usage is the norm off the grid. And that means battery maintenance is crucial to our daily peace of mind. And this info is useful not just to off-grid types but to anyone whose life is mobile but who needs to stay in touch via multiple media whilst they are on the road.

Cell phones and tablets have become incredibly powerful over the past few years, but the batteries, sadly, have not kept up. But there are a few ways to keep phones alive long past their normal exhaustion points. (more…)

NPR on Electric cars
by SHANNON on MARCH 24, 2012 - 2 Comments in MOBILE

It was always thus - but at last gas prices stir interest

How would an electric car work out for an off-grid household?  Remarkably well assuming it could be charged up during visits to the grid.  And the car battery would become an important power source back at home base.

Electric cars have to be integrated into the daily pattern of life, just like off-grid homes. A recent discussion on NPR’s SCIENCE FRIDAY, was most enlightening. “You rapidly learned how to integrate that charging in with the rest of the things you do during the day, one contributer told presenter Ira Flatow: (more…)

Unplug yourself movement
by AMY SUAREZ on MARCH 23, 2012 - 0 Comments in SPIRIT

Its easier than you might think

The third National Day of Unplugging, begins at sundown today (Friday).

We’re overdoing it with our go-to gizmos, unpluggers argue. We’ve become distracted, unavailable, oblivious, twitchy, obsessive, needy and, in some ways, insufferable. We need, they say, to give it a rest.

The National Day of Unplugging was started by a New York-based nonprofit called Reboot, which is working to reinvent Jewish traditions and culture in ways that resonate for a new generation of Jews and others. The unplugging idea appears to be gaining traction, says Tanya Schevitz, Reboot’s San Francisco-based national communications manager. (more…)

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