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The Off Grid living thread (Dropping out the rat race)

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by misteraven, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    Yeah man, follow your gut on that. Appreciate your appreciation for my post and photos. If you ever head back through this way, shoot me a DM. We'll grill some nice steaks and kick it.
  2. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,943 Likes Received: 463
    Yeah, the ballcap might be a bit tight in the last para but as an ex-soldier that has lived off what I can carry and find for long perriods of time the rest makes a lot of sense to me for those who live remotely.

    How big is your chest freezer and what's it like on power? Been thinking of getting one myself for numerous reasons......, one of them being brewing.

    I live in suburbia but still ove building up a wood pile, splitting and seasoning it so I can sit out the back around a fire reading a book and drinking stout in the dead of winter (which only gets to the depths of 20*F, not really comparable to Montana, no snow either). I love collecting and chopping wood, I don't know why, it just feels good.
  3. Dirty_habiT

    Dirty_habiT Administrator

    Joined: Mar 8, 2001 Messages: 18,136 Likes Received: 82
    I've also had my dad encouraging me recently to buy a chest freezer and buy meat in bulk from a butcher. It is a great idea and I'm totally with you on the idea of having five frozen turkeys and not playing the turkey race in the grocery stores.

    I have to say I'm curious about your other hygiene products you're particular about Misteraven. Can you talk about those and why you like them so much? I know you mentioned a lemon bliss soap and the reason I bring it up is because I'm kinda of picky about everything in my life.

    Splitting wood with my dad has been a very fun thing to do. He explained to me that it was therapeutic almost to him to cut up a tree using a chainsaw. I guess we haven't really split the logs but we do a lot of cutting since we have a friend with a pretty sizeable piece of property with oak trees all over it. There is quite frequently a large tree that will fall on it's own during a storm or for some other reason. The guy has more firewood than he can handle as it is so he just calls us since we're old family friends and we go out there and cut up a tree and load as much wood as we can take. We're getting a fallen tree out of his way for him that he doesn't have to cut up himself and we're getting a truck load of firewood out of the deal. A nice chainsaw (I have a 18" husqavarna like the one pictured a few pages back) makes all the difference too.

    I have a pretty sweet Honda EU2000i generator I bought for camping and to run my fish tanks when our shitty power grid goes out in a storm and my battery back UPS run out. I feel like if I had land and built my own house on it I'd want a large diesel generator outside hooked into the power for the home so that we have instant power in an outage like a datacenter has. I realize this will be expensive but I also realize I'm going to find a way to be very comfortable later on in life. I actually think it'd be cool to have some sort of underground bunker too with a tunnel connected to the basement in the house.... or a fuckin sweet ass trap door hidden somewhere in the house. Anyway, I don't want to derail too much. Do any of you have generators for emergencies?
  4. abysmal

    abysmal Member

    Joined: Apr 11, 2000 Messages: 763 Likes Received: 1
    If you're not making your own soap....
    misteraven likes this.
  5. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415

    My chest freezer is the largest they had: 21.7 cu ft.

    All appliances have an energy rating so you can look it up and do the math against what they charge in your area for energy. That being said, I've managed to get my electric bill down $125 a month. I'm not going to go into detail, but I have a very large house and also a guest house / cottage. I have several computers running 24/7 and regularly run strobe lights for photography. This is literally 1/4th of what it used to cost in NYC for a place that was about 1/4th the size of the main house and not counting the rest, so figure 400% difference. Also, Lowes had a deal where they had zero % 4 year financing on washer and dryers. Mine we're fine, but were probably from the late 1990s. I looked up the energy rating for them online, found articles discussing the top 5 energy consumers in most homes (washer / dryer is number 2 or 3 depending on the list with the refrigerator usually taking the 1 spot) and then multiplied against the tiered scale of energy pricing in my area. Turns out the energy saving between the appliances I had, compared against brand new top end, high efficiency Samsung appliances was fairly significant. As such, the energy saving per month, meant that after about 20 months or so, the savings equaled the cost of the appliances. With 0% for 4 years, that meant even with a 4 year extended warranty, the appliances would pay for themselves before I'd ever have to pay more than the sticker price on it.So essentially I got them for free as far as I see it, as lowes handed them over and the payments on them were easily covered with my monthly saving from them during that same month. Win!

    My dishwasher and refrigerator are from about the same era so now just waiting on a similar sale, though I haven't done the math to see if it works out quite the same.

    But yeah, assume the freezer must do well as it had a gold star energy rating and my bill is so low.

    Yeah, chopping wood can almost be therapeutic. Fresh air, hard work swing an axe so you get a little exercise and expel a bit of energy and frustration.
  6. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    Honestly having a stock like that is great. Just always knowing you're covered. People almost unanimously agree that health insurance / car insurance / home insurance / life insurance is a good thing. The responsible thing... Then look at you like a kook when they find out that you decide to keep a few weeks to a few months worth of food and essential product on hand in case it sells out, you're too busy to run out and get it or you find yourself a little tight for a while and can't afford the good (or normal shit) for a period of time. Makes no sense to me. Like I said, in the USA at least, the Fed targets a 4% inflation that they acknowledge publicly. Most consumers will know this is bullshit, but there's plenty of credible economists that break it down and show that its really more in the 7 - 8% range. The Fed doesn't factor in fuel or groceries into their calculations - two of the things most often bought and a significant expense for any independent adult - so its pretty obvious they're playing games with their formula for calculating it.

    This being said, between that fact, assuming you have a reserve that's measure in 6 months or more, coupled with the fact that you're only increasing your inventories when you can get the best possible price on it to begin with, the saving over time is pretty significant. But again, the peace of mind it offers is probably just as valuable. Especially after the first time you suddenly find yourself out of a job suddenly and unexpectedly or that you fucked yourself somehow and have a fairly long recovery. Two possible scenarios that are every bit as likely as crashing your car (car insurance). Probably much more likely than your house being robbed (home insurance) or you finding yourself suddenly dead (life insurance).

    Reality is that the further down the ladder you are, the more likely you'll find yourself in a jam where not having to buy groceries for a month is a huge relief. And like I said, its not like you save $10k and then suddenly stock up... It's more like you like a certain soup or something you buy regularly, then see a huge sale where it's buy 1 get one free, so you throw down what you can easily afford at that time. Incrementally you keep doing this and you reach a point where you've bought more than you can consume within a span of time and before you run out, the next sale is happening so you re-up some more.

    In regards to the products I've mentioned.

    Bliss Lemon+Sage soap: https://www.apothecarie.com/products/bliss-lemon-sage-bar-104-45832?utm_medium=cpc
    LOL, shit just smells awesome. Citrusy and clean. Has oatmeal or something so it exfoliates as you wash. My wife got some for christmas one year from a family member or something and then would buy it on occasion. I always loved it, but its expensive. Then I noticed once they had it on clearance at TJ Maxx so I bought all they had (like 5 bars). Next time I didn't see it and then much later, they had them again so I bought all of them. Now I check it every time I'm nearby and if they have any, I buy all of them. Usually for $2.50 - $4 a bar or so compared to $9 - $12 (they come in two sizes with small being the equivalent of a big bar like Lever2000). Skin is all dry and itchy like I get with regular soap like Lever2000 (especially in very cold climates) because it isn't packed full of chemicals.

    K+S Men's Shampoo and Conditioner: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JB6R7NM/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Think I stumbled on this after looking for Men's Shampoo. Its super fresh and tingly feeling I think from the Tea Tree Oil. Also has a crisp sort of minty / eucalyptus type scent, but not overpowering. Made in the USA and no animal testing. Prevents any itchy scalp or dandruff (again due to Tea Tree oil). Good stuff, but hard to find.

    Ahi Grade Tuna Steak (not linked)
    My local supermarket has specials on tuna steak every so often for $3.99 for about 0.75 lb inch thick tuna steak. That awesome, deep red type tuna that you see in sushi restaurants and that costs a grip every time. Its sold in vacuum sealed bags and freezes very well. I buy almost all of it when I see it on sale, then use a cast iron ribbed pan to sear it. I then out this over fresh salad greens grown organically on my homestead (costs nothing and tastes 10x better than even the local organic stuff because I literally pick it just before making my salad. I mix that with fresh virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon or lime, grate some sea salt a fresh black pepper. Add a black / white sesame seed mix and then drizzle Modena balsamic glaze over all of it. An epic meal that takes about 5 minutes to whip up and is extremely healthy. In total, it probably costs me under $5 a plate with the balsamic glaze and tuna being most of it. (I use balsamic glaze on a ton of stuff. It can be pricey at $8 - $20 a bottle - and though low in carbs is still much higher than normal balsamic - but makes everything taste "gourmet". I also stock up on that when its on sale, but haven't yet narrowed it down to a specific brand. All seem to be really good).

    Pumpkin Spice Cheerios: https://www.target.com/p/pumpkin-spice-cheerios-cereal-12-oz-general-mills/-/A-51111729
    No longer on my diet, but used to love this shit. Maybe it speaks to my inner white boy, but shit is just so good. Usually only sold in the Fall leading up to holiday, so you can get it dumb cheap once the holidays are over. If not opened, it has a super long shelf life.

    Harney & Sons Fine Tea: https://www.harney.com/
    My dickhead ex business partner from England got me on tea as an alternative to espresso. Through him and because I'm sort of like that anyways, I became kind of a tea snob. I don't drink coffee, but do love espresso (espresso actually tastes the way coffee smells) but in both instances if its not quality and specific varieties, I wont settle. Loose leaf tea is far superior as most bagged teas is the shake left over from loose tea, but H&S is next level. Target stocks the bagged kind and its often on sale. Sometimes I can get it on clearance for like 75% in which I'll buy all they have since even the non-favorite flavors are really good and because they make great gifts for that last second gesture when you forgot or overlooked an occasion. The SOHO blend is an absolute favorite: https://www.harney.com/products/soho-tea-blend-chocolate-and-coconut with the Matcha a very close second: https://www.harney.com/products/matcha

    So probably boring you motherfuckers to death with my girly alter ego, so I'll leave it at that.

  7. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    On my todo list actually. Especially if I start raising pigs and need something to do with the excess fat.
  8. det5hit

    det5hit New Jack

    Joined: Feb 18, 2018 Messages: 1 Likes Received: 1
    I just came back to the oonze after many years to check it out. Honestly I probably wouldnt of signed back up (cant access old acct) if it werent for this thread.
    I have since lived in Montana, Missoula and Valdez Alaska.
    I have changed a lot in these past years and have been putting a lot of effort learning to be self sufficent. However, I have always been into camping with everything I need to survive carrying all I need to do so in a bag on my back.
    Here in a month or so I will be disconnecting from the society norm and will attempt to live as a trotter, or maybe a better description will be survivalist.
    Anyways I just wanted to stop in and say hi, I will get more into specifics, talkin gear and posting pictures.
    Talk soon...
    misteraven likes this.
  9. deth5hit

    deth5hit New Jack

    Joined: Feb 24, 2018 Messages: 4 Likes Received: 3
    I realised I had spelt my name wrong, I didn't grow up with the internets so I re-registered with the correct spelling.
    misteraven likes this.
  10. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    Very much appreciate hearing all this. Glad that we’re putting up compelling topics again. Other day I was just telling someone that though it’s a small and select group, it’s really starting to feel like the old 12oz to me again. Honestly I’m just as excited when I get a notification that there’s a new comment in one of the threads I’m watching.

    Two things... Firstly, DM me or email [email protected] because we can recover any and all old accounts. We worked hard to preserve all that data, so anyone lurking that has an old account... Just hit us up with as much detail as you can remember. Secondly, dude... you have to drop some detail... would love to hear more about what led you down that path and especially your experience with it so far. Sounds like you’re a lot further along than what any of us have tried so far, so yeah... Let’s hear some stories about that adventure! Bonus if you can share a few photos as well. What worked, what didn’t. How’s it been going and what’s it like?

    Congrats to you for chasing the dream instead of just talking about it.
  11. deth5hit

    deth5hit New Jack

    Joined: Feb 24, 2018 Messages: 4 Likes Received: 3
    For sure Raven. The dream is almost a reality, thank you. I will be updating soon... First, I have to purchase a few things, buyout my lease, and find a home for almost everything I own then I am on my way. My federal tax return just hit my bank account an hour or two ago so I am ready.
    Fist 666 likes this.
  12. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    Congrats man... Good for you! Do your thing and hit the thread when you come up for air. Looking forward to hearing your story and hopefully seeing some pictures. Good luck!
  13. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    Some shots from last week for those following along.

    Warmed up a bunch, so back into positive digits. Last week we saw 3 or 4 days of negative temps. -11 during the day and -25 at night. For those not familiar with that type of extreme temperature, at about -5 or so, anything exposed to the air either burns or throbs after 10 minutes. When you breath at -10, the vapor in your breath literally freezes on contact so you get this weird crunchy feeling in your nose and throat. Not sure how the wildlife survives it, but my flock of chickens and ducks seem to be coping just fine.

    Posted a picture of my pole barn and a shot of USP making a delivery to give you perspective on how deep the snow is. The drifts in some areas are almost hitting the roof of my house. Everywhere else its even with the bottom of the windows or starting to cover them up. I had to shovel out a trench between waist and shoulder deep so we can get in and out of the house.

    Anyhow, its definitely fun stuff and certainly makes you appreciate the different seasons.

    The other pictures are from close by. A doctor that lives locally (has two teenage kids) got lost in that the Saturday before last. Obviously he's no longer alive, but a lot of teams are out scouring the mountains looking to recover his body. Circling back to the idea of preparedness, a lot of people of that mindset have what they call "go bags" or "get home" bags. Probably best description is a 72 hour bag. Though it's doubtful that you might need one cause the zombie apocalypse kicks off, in a place like where I live, it's very possible to slide off the road into a ditch or into a forest. Being so remote, its also possible to not have anyone drive by for 12 - 48 hours, if that. With as much snow as we get, evidence of that could disappear inside of 15 minutes, let alone what the result would be hours later. As such, everyone here keeps 72 hour bags as you'd be in a world of hurt if you had to spend the night in your car without some basics. Thats just one scenario, but there's a tons of shit that can go sideways on you in a remote area where man isn't at the top of the food chain.

    That said, its just as possible that you can find yourself evacuated (as happened to many in CA this year between wild fires and mud slides). In other places, they've had trains derail that were carrying toxic chemicals that forced evacuations for days, if not weeks. Take a look at a map of your area and see how many nuclear power plants are within 150 miles of you and do a little research on historic wind patterns to see if you fall within a fall out zone. Obviously theres a ton that can go wrong and nobody is proposing that you live your live paranoid, but if you believe enough to have other types of insurance, why not spend a couple hundred on a quality bag and supplies that can make all the difference should something go wrong?




  14. Foggy

    Foggy New Jack

    Joined: Feb 26, 2018 Messages: 1 Likes Received: 0
    Great thread. That last photo is amazing.

    Raven, what made you want to go with Montana? I live in northern California and have been searching for land way up north and in Oregon. I’m not ready to make the jump to remote living just yet but hope to down the road. I’ve ridden freights through glacier and whitefish a long time ago and it was some of the coolest parts of the US i’ve seen. I was a little surprised that land there seems to be pretty pricey though if it’s not just raw land. Did you find that to be the case?
  15. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,013 Likes Received: 415
    It was dumb luck to be honest. I'd narrowed it down to a handful of states, but my plan was to move to Wyoming. Originally, my plan was to stay in downtown NYC and get a hobby farm or something upstate or in PA. After recent changes in some of the legislation in those areas, that in my opinion took a turn for the worse, it seemed to me that things would just continue to move in the wrong direction. I've been going shooting out in Wyoming for several years and had a few friends out that way so that was my goal. Wound up moving to CA because I was weary moving my two kids to somewhere so remote and as a compromise to my wife and hated it. Its a beautiful state, but congested, expensive and even further along than nearly all the others in encroaching on people's individual freedoms. Attitudes often sucked and taxes are among the worst in the nation. Lost the place I was renting when my douche bag neighbor bought it to turn into a gym, which forced my hand. Used that to put up a pretty good argument with my wife to leave the state, considering how little money stretched out there. Anyhow, NW Wyoming is really expensive (Ironically due to so many CA leaving top go there), so she didn't see any properties she liked enough to move rural (at least in our budget). After researching old Western / Cowboy town, our current town came up with all kinds of great reviews and write ups. SO she looked at properties online and stumbled on the place we wound up with. Before moving, we looked at factors like taxes, schools, medical care and a lot of other things and all checked out pretty far above average. In hindsight, we got super lucky. I dont have a lot of experience buying property and wasn't well familiar with the local market. Most of what we did was uncharted territory for us, but in the end turned out to be the best possible move for us. Not sure I could have done it any sooner or any different and not everything is 100% perfect, but I'm totally content for the first time in my life and truly love my life out here.

    On a somewhat related note, my wife sent me this link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/96162418

    Governor of Montana basically told the Federal Government to go fuck in regards to their RealID initiative, so they turned around and said Montana drivers license are no longer acceptable identification for anything federal, including airline flights out of state or entrance to federal building within the state.

    Crazy times man... Hope more and more people wake up and start considering how to put themselves in a stable position before the carpet gets jerked out from under them.