This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Guest Post: Going Off Grid - Montana Style!

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt-Market

Going Off Grid - Montana Style!

The concept of off-grid living is often encumbered by numerous false assumptions and associations.  Many think that to delve into the lifestyle you must be either a grizzled anti-social mountain man, a pompous starry-eyed hippie, or, a criminal on the lam.  The spectrum of characterizations range from “kooky” bunker building militia members to spoiled Al Gore worshipping vegan hipsters out to prove they are better than everyone else by reducing their “carbon footprint”.  The point is, for the average television-fed American, the idea of off-grid life automatically conjures visions of the extreme. 

I believe this reaction is due in large part to our society’s obsession with feeling “connected”.  Ever challenge a friend or family member to go without touching their cell phone for a day?  Ever ask them to shut off their TV and see if they can find other ways to occupy themselves?  Ever ask them to leave modern conveniences behind, if only for a weekend, to take part in some simple camping?  I can say that in my own experience, nine out of ten people will stare at you pale faced like you just kicked them square in the loins.  For them, leaving behind the buzz of our make-believe culture is the same as stepping outside of time, or abandoning one’s very identity.  The whole suggestion is alien.

Luckily, here in Montana, I’ve encountered far hardier souls than in most other places, and the pursuit of an existence disconnected from dependence on the system is not treated as quite so outlandish.  In fact, many here have taken the leap into self-sufficiency and gone 100% off-grid.  I was lucky enough to meet one of these pioneers recently, and take a tour of his farm, but what interested me most about him were his origins, which were rooted about as far away from his current environment as you can get…

Rich Scheben was once a highly respected sales associate in the world of big-pharma, who had spent much of his life in the urban landscape of New York.  He received accolades for his performance working within titanic companies like Merck and Glaxo, but his dream had always been to pursue a career in forestry.  Despite having a degree in the field as well as a long history participating in wilderness sports, he soon discovered that affirmative action quotas within state and federal institutions were stringent.  His applications were passed up time and again while others with little to no experience or training were hired immediately because of their politically designated victim-status.  The corporate world too was rife with people who climbed upwards on the efforts of more worthy employees, or who were given positions of prominence based on their willingness to schmooze with management, rather than work hard. 

Finally, when Rich noticed troubling health difficulties creeping up on him, a fateful doctor’s visit revealed severe damage in his spinal column.  The company immediately found out, and sidelined him.

These circumstances led Rich not only to question the structure and meaning of his efforts within the circus-like corporate framework, but to also question the structure and meaning of modern America.  Today, he is an avid supporter of the Liberty Movement, a devout Constitutionalist, decidedly anti-corporate oligarchy, and even anti-big pharma.  His day-to-day financial existence is built upon savings, sound money, and living below his means.  His health habits have taken a 180 degree turn, and he is now subsisting on largely organic and home grown diet.  Everything has changed.

Rich Scheben holding a bull trout caught in his backyard

In a beautiful corner of Northwest Montana, Mr. Scheben found a sizable plot of land to begin his off-grid adventure.  He recommends varied terrain, rather than flat.  The more rough the terrain, the more resources are generally available, and the more privacy you are usually afforded.  With hills, valleys, gorges, and even a river, Scheben has an incredible array of land types at his disposal.

The main cabin is a straightforward structure without a lot of the elaborate design often seen in average suburban McMansions.  Electricity is provided by a small solar array and a minimal battery bank.  I have always said that it does not take much in terms of solar power in order to adequately supply an off-grid retreat or farm, and Rich’s system is a perfect example.  With only four deep-cycle batteries charging on a minimal array, Rich is able to fulfill all his electricity needs.      

The cabin itself is heated by a single wood stove, which is fueled by cords of wood from timber growing on Scheben’s land.  Water is supplied by a well and pump, which is then hoisted to a large tank on the second floor.  The tank uses gravity to feed the faucets on the first floor below.  Bathroom cleaning is handled in a number of ways.  Hot showers can be had using a solar shower filled and placed near the wood stove to warm.  Water can be heated and poured into the bathtub.  Relieving one’s self is handled in a good old fashioned out-house.

Scheben's wood stove, which adequately heats his entire cabin

Though Rich still stocks bulk foods from town, his farm is completely capable of providing enough food that he would never have to leave if he so desired.  His garden area is not immense, and can easily be worked by hand.  In fact, it does not take much space at all to grow more than enough produce for a family if needed, and Scheben’s lifestyle proves that if every landowner used a corner of his yard for a garden, centralized farming and food production would disappear.  Livestock rounds out the food necessities of Schebens farm, including chickens for meat and eggs, goats for milk and cheese, turkeys, etc.  With land surrounded by Montana wilderness, wild game is abundant, and there is little to no chance of Scheben ever going hungry.

Scheben's homemade greenhouse with bathtub for summer bathing

Wild elk roaming through Scheben's property

One issue that is constantly raised when discussing Off-Grid living is that of cost.  The problem is that so many people only consider the initial expenditures involved when diving into this new life, but never take into account the extreme SAVINGS involved after they have settled in.  Scheben’s daily costs are next to nothing.  His land provides nearly every essential imaginable, and the financial drain after setting up shop is minute in comparison to the average suburbanite.  This is what preppers in the Liberty Movement need to understand when uncertain about the Off-Grid strategy.  Ultimately, it is about providing for yourself for next to nothing what you once had to pay out the nose for!

Going off-grid also does not necessarily mean abandoning technology, and I was glad to see that Scheben felt the same way.  He uses LED’s, not hurricane lanterns.  He surfs the internet and keeps up with news events, instead of isolating himself in the backwoods from the concerns of the world.  He rides ATV’s back and forth across his land, not horses (though horses are great if you can keep them).  There is a serious misconception out there that going off-grid or living through a collapse will automatically necessitate a return to a pre-industrial 18th century type of existence.  This is simply not so.  The technological advances of today should be mixed and melded with the agricultural skills of yesterday.  Neither should be hastily cast aside if we are to find balance once again in our culture.

In light of our current chaotic economic situation, as well as the potential for social breakdown, energy crisis, hyperinflation, freight disruption, and global war, the off-grid life is not just a hobby, but a valuable form of insurance.  There may come a day when, whether we like it or not, we will all be forced to survive off-grid.  Some will be prepared with the expertise required to make it work.  Some will have at least a practical understanding of the methods and philosophies that drive decentralized and independent living.  Others will not. 

Frankly, if a former New York big-pharma salesman like Rich Scheben is able to wake up to the social catastrophe looming in our country’s future, and the extraordinary significance inherent in off-grid knowledge, then anyone can, and the dismissive excuses I hear so often from those who can’t wrap their heads around the importance of this step in the realm of survival, now tend to ring lazy and hollow…


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:10 | 2159407 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

This guy has the idea life for my retirement (if I even get to retire by the time I get old enough). It sounds horribly cliche but catching your own dinner is extremely satisfying and makes the food taste so much better.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:43 | 2159417 Bumblebee Tuna
Bumblebee Tuna's picture

You are a sovereign citizen.  Please report to your nearest FEMA camp.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:06 | 2159658 trav7777
trav7777's picture

that off grid dude sure has a lot of shit built in on-grid factories.

TRUE off grid is that guy who decided to move to alaska, but even he had tools brought from the lower 48.  At least he built his own cabin but he did use a rifle to kill animals to eat

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:09 | 2159670 tmosley
tmosley's picture

"You are not allowed to use existant capital to create a self sustaining system."

So sayth the mighty Trav.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:20 | 2159709 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Apparently, one can go off a grid only if they've never been on it? *head asplodes*

Only Robinson Crusoe types need apply.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:58 | 2159820 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

"he is now subsisting on largely organic and home grown diet"

Boris is remember Chernobyl go off grid. But is not eating "organic" foods, only is get heavy metal foods from Actinoid family of elements.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:32 | 2160284 MBOB
MBOB's picture

Organic produce in mid winter Montana? Huh? Last time I was up I heard about towing a hay bale loader behind a pickup at 30 mph in November (early winter time) to unstick the solid frozen grease in the axle hubs.


"How would you like the rutebega tonight, hun?"

Been heating with wood for going on 40 years now. Can be done, just most people won't. It does take up time, even w/chainsaws, splitter, front loader.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:12 | 2160403 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

I'm a couple zones colder in northern Alberta, and am still eating carrots, parsnips, onions, turnips, squash, potatoes, cabbage, beets and radish that I harvested and stored from my garden, not counting the stuff I preserved or dried, or the trays of greens I grow in my windowsill all winter long. I don't do any forcing of things like belgian endive, but there is a whole other bunch of veg that you can eat fresh in the middle of winter. So there is actually a lot of variety available, even in the far north, but it takes a fair bit of planning and sweat equity, there are no magic bullets. And it gets even trickier when trying to save your own seed.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:21 | 2160612 smiler03
smiler03's picture

DCFusor, this thread is over to you ......................

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 04:00 | 2160857 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

What does it say about a society where the value proposition is so lopsided that people think it is better to fend for oneself in middle of nowhere Montana than to be in the system of facism?


But man cannot prosper alone.....good luck when you get cancer.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 06:21 | 2160958 antaresteleko
antaresteleko's picture

AldousHuxley... What's your point? Going off-grid does not mean you have to go back to middle age. Anyway: life kills. I have lived in an amazonic area and there you simply accept the fact that you may get bitten by a snake and die because there is no helicopter/plane at hand. So what? Are you so scared of life? What prevents you from being run over by a car while walking on the street?


I do think that there are maybe too many people in this planet for most of them to be able to go off-grid. Sad but true. It's a matter of resources and space.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 10:43 | 2165655 mendolover
mendolover's picture

'Good luck when? you get cancer'?  I'd rather die in the woods then be a guinea pig at Yale New Haven!

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:45 | 2160797 dolly madison
dolly madison's picture

We are growing near our windows too, and we still have many fresh winter squashes left from the outdoor garden.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:29 | 2160411 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

Here's someone in north Idaho that grows their own food, and I guarantee they have a better diet than 99% of North Americans.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:28 | 2160620 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Read Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest. There are also plenty of people on the net demonstrating how to grow the whole year in North America. It is all about timing the seeding. There are about two months where the plant is dormant - mid Nov to mid Jan, then the position of the sun begins to start more plant response. Generally, it only takes two layers to protect many types of vegetables down to 0. Also, as mentioned, root cellars are fairly easy to store lots without power. Folks have been using these concepts for a long long time.  

Anything to fuck with the banks and Monsanto  

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 10:44 | 2172759 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture


The guy lives in at LEAST a zone 5a.  Montana covers some serious area/terrain.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:10 | 2159859 trav7777
trav7777's picture call this guy's shit self-sustaining?  And the laptop guy downthread, too, huh?

You're a fuckin idiot.  Self-sustaining systems are for THOSE THAT WORSHIP BALE.  Because BALE is the god of notgrowth.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:27 | 2159925 tmosley
tmosley's picture



Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:30 | 2160275 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

Yep. Gotta go old school o-t-g.

Grizzly Adams style, bitchez.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 04:27 | 2160876 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Westerners got is ALL wrong!


Examples of true off grid living:


Mongolian herdsman and mobile yurts....NO 30 year MORTGAGE slavery...


Inuits in the artic circle who eat raw meat...NO overpriced cooking wear or artificial sweetners


Amazon Indians....Not much need for clothes...just bow & arrows


You are overestimating what you REALLY NEED.


NO social security or medicare taxes just to have old folks die just die off clean without enslaving the next generation.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:47 | 2159988 centerline
centerline's picture

I could care less.  But, there is a difference of getting off the grid for a period of time for a reason - and anything made on the grid is fair game to get through.  Not sustainable in the true fashion of the concept of sustainability.  

And there is Grizzly Adams - which probably isn't "all the way" either (I recall he had pots and pans, etc.).  Shit, to go all the way I suppose you have start naked with a pointy stick and work your way up.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:17 | 2160080 malusDiaz
malusDiaz's picture

NO!  All of that survival knowledge... did you get it from experience? How about someone teaching you? Where they "On-the-grid" at any point, because then you can't use that knowledge...


Ok, ok, so if you take a nakid baby, and drop it in the woods... then and only then will it have the possiblity of growing up with out the contamination of the GRID!


FFS if you use your knowledge to survive the apocolypse (because thats what all the doom shit is about), then you win! 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:23 | 2160100 HoofHearted
HoofHearted's picture

Why do some dumb asses think we have to reinvent the wheel.

Sorry, that isn't true off -grid because somebody else already invented the wheel...bitchez.

Who gives a flying fuck what is real off-grid and what isn't. I'll just enjoy being able to eat without all the work once or twice. And you can watch me. So call me a wimp if you feel the need. Fucktard. Like we give a shit what you think.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 04:41 | 2160887 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

because they would feel smart as if they invented the wheel?


like how Columbus discovered America?

like Survivor show in the Amazons where native live?



Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:00 | 2160184 Rynak
Rynak's picture

trav in another bullshit spree, demanding that you either subscribe to black, or white.

HELLO trav, the whole point of this is NOT an entire society sustaining itself this way completely, but instead to show that for a lot of things, you don't need what supposedly "civilization" is needed for.

There is this bipolar ideology, that either EVERYTHING has to be provided for by "civilization", or NOTHING of it is required and you're TOTALLY selfsustainable.

Trivia.... how much of current civilization overhead (read: infrastructure spending) would be needed, if people plain and simply needed replacement of hightech once in a while, and pharma-tech for ONLY extreme problems? Oh wait, let me guess.... isn't this close to the state of a hightech country, that simply "builds" for reliability, instead of "repeated purchases because the products suck".... on steroids?

Perhaps, what those MODERATE "off-the-grid"-folks want, isn't actually complete "off-the-grid"-lifestyle.... but instead simply not being in a CONSTANT dependent-relationship with the sellers, by "buying for keeps"?

And if we were to talk about supposed "ideal free-market service", isn't the THEORETICAL best service that one, that provides you with the highest reliability and performance, short- as well as longterm, for the lowest sustainable price? Or has price/quality-ratio gone kinda "untrendy" by now???

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:08 | 2160394 Socratic Dog
Socratic Dog's picture

I think the point Trav makes is that a guy like this is only able to live "off grid" because he is sustained by an "on grid" community.  If the on-grid community suddenly ain't there, as in TEOTWAWKI, then your precious off-grid lifestyle suddenly has a few problems.  He's not as off-grid as he thinks he is.  Lead-acid batteries last 20 years max, if they're the real expensive type,  Solar panels?  I dunno. But I do know he won't be buying new ones if TETWAWKI happens.

It's a valid point to make.  That said, I would prefer to be where this guy is than where I am, in the event of TEOTWAWKI.  He has a far better chance of surviving it. 

He needs to get some fertile pussy in.  There is no point in survival if it's not used to pass on your genes. 

He better be able to protect it all, too.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:19 | 2160429 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

There is no point in survival if it's not used to pass on your genes.

One point would be to postpone the chapter of your life that's nasty, brutish, and short.

But point taken on avoiding the solitary part.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:19 | 2160606 tmosley
tmosley's picture

And just what do you think the likelihood of a 20 year long anarchic situtaion is?


Those types of situations last a few days, or a few years under the absolute worst case scenario (nearby war, beseigment).  That ain't happening for most people, certainly not those living out in the country.  For him, the worst that happens is some pitched battle takes place on or near his land, but there is warning for things like that, and time to flee.

The world isn't ENDING.  It's just CHANGING.  Probably for the better, even if that means going through the worst.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 01:43 | 2160726 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture


The world isn't ENDING.  It's just CHANGING.  Probably for the better, even if that means going through the worst.

Hear fucking hear! 

Suck on fucking lunatic fringe Dick Proenneke wannabes!


Sat, 02/18/2012 - 10:50 | 2172766 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:14 | 2159686 blu
blu's picture

Some hand tools or simple machines are fine. Hell a competent blacksmith can make just about any kind of garden or farm tool given some iron.

It's the 60" flat screens that won't last. And all the plastic crap. And the iGizmos. But I can re-wind an old GE electric motor and make just about any kind of small machine on my lathe. We'll still be hand-crafting the essentials for a hundred years on existing tools and machines, and then we'll make new kinds of machines from local materials and get by with that.

It's not rocket science, as they say. Well in fact actual rocket science is doomed. We'll use an older science -- or an older craft if you like -- and we'll do just fine.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:37 | 2159757 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

In fact, I do just those kinds of things for entertainment - rewinding motors is a bit much work when you can score them in the junkyard or dumpster usually - but it's good to know how.  It's also good to have a stash of spares and parts, which I do.  One of the things I do is collect books from when all this stuff WAS rocket science for reference.  It's amazing how almost all college educated people don't know shit about how things their life depends on work - could be a fatal flaw at some point.

So, as the "Galactic empire" crumbles...I've built the "first foundation".  See Asimov for the reference.  A man has to have a hobby after all, and when I'm not working on fusion, that's what I do.

The result is - I have exactly one bill - phone/internet.  I have to pay PP tax, car insurance and stuff like that too, but that's minimal and not all the time.  That's freedom from wage slavery now - I don't have to wait for all this supposed bad stuff to happen to benefit.

Sure is nice that the grid exists so at least a few of the wiser of us can use things from there to make ourselves more independent of it.  No, I won't forge my own ax heads - no need - one will last generations.  (See Heinlein for that one)  But I do know how.  Why not know, and practice some of this stuff?  It's fun, if you have the right attitude.  I don't have a cel phone - why should I pay for jerks with my number to interrupt me?  I don't need to waste time - I have things to do that create value.  I don't use TV at all, no need, what little I want is on the 'net anyway, and I can do without that if the system fails - I won't be trading stocks anymore in that case, right?


I was recently astonished when a professor from a local tech university needed my consulting firm's help to design a frequency discriminator - you know, the kind that's in every FM radio ever built?  The knowledge is lost, you just buy it from Japan, all made - if what they use in radios happens to match your need.  If not, you can't even find out how to make something common knowedge in 1950, at VA Tech!  That's what's sick about society - or a big part of it.  People think they know their stuff, and they don't know squat in truth.  And they're so papmpered, so far, they don't even find that out - the ones that aren't proud of their ignorance, that is.  Those kind I can live completely without.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:20 | 2160244 Bringin It
Bringin It's picture

Great post.  It's amazing how almost all college educated people don't know shit about how things their life depends on work - could be a fatal flaw at some point.

Americans think chicken is something wrapped in plastic you pick up at SafeWay.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:00 | 2160368 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


"One of the things I do is collect books from when all this stuff WAS rocket science for reference."

I hear that Brother. I've lucked out on a shitload of DIY materials dating back before the forties. Got some nice well rounded works from the late 1800's. Everything from cleaning, to home building and DIY medical.

Got most virtually free from library book sales.

Huge fucking library to drag around with but fuck you kindle nothing beats paper.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 01:36 | 2160717 azusgm
azusgm's picture

Ever pick up a vintage Popular Mechanics? Too fun.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 06:43 | 2160976 antaresteleko
antaresteleko's picture

Great post. You put it with the right words, DCFusor.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:11 | 2159866 trav7777
trav7777's picture

wow, man that's awesome.  You mine and smelt your own copper for wiring?

The electricity for those motors...unicorn piss?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:25 | 2159916 tallystick
tallystick's picture

You just have to find a quality mine like your local metals recycling center.  That's the motherload these days.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:27 | 2160118 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

trav ~ you make a lot of good arguments but ARE YOU FUCKING OUT OF YOUR MIND?

If I kno TS is gonna HTF (or at least worry about it), aren't I gonna take advantage of the last possible bastion of productivity imagineable before it all vaporizes If, in fact, I'm convinced it's likely to vaporize)?

I'm 100% sure that if I didn't (& there were a blog on the other side after it happened), you'd be calling me a DICK because I didn't take advantage of resources at my disposal when I had the chance...


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:31 | 2160125 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

the dude who are OUT OF THEIR MINDS are the ones clicking on the "pre-packaged chicken coop" ads on the side of these pages (unless they're decent enginneers wanting a head start on a basic plan)...

NOT the ones who are stocking up on milled lumber & copper & barbed wire...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:34 | 2160291 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

+1 for "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND" and +1,000 for "vaporize", twice even.


Wed, 02/15/2012 - 06:56 | 2160981 antaresteleko
antaresteleko's picture

Trav, I don't think anyone here is against trading. Maybe it would be more expensive, but if things lasted longer than today's crap there wouldn't be so much need for copper and other raw materials and it would be probably cheaper anyway. Provided that you, within your lifestyle, no matther if it's off or on grid, are PRODUCTIVE and bring value, you should be able to satisfy all your needs. And I mean, real needs, not what you have been told you need because this Ponci economy is only sustainable you you contribute to growing the GDP.

Think about this: how much more productive is a banking (or anything else) employee today than it was in the 50's? Now there are calculators, computers, and the Internet. How much of that real productivity is benefiting him/her in enjoying a better quality of life? When I think about it, there is no doub we are living a scum.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:40 | 2160148 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

I moved off grid this month. Catch my own food and burn Ron Paul posters for heat and cooking. It's a great life. When I lay my head on my silver coin pillow each night I just think of all the suckers out there using all those boring, modern conveniences. Join the revolution!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:24 | 2160250 akak
akak's picture

And instead of using a flush toilet, you evidently use this forum in which to take a dump.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 03:17 | 2160827 dolly madison
dolly madison's picture

Modern conveniences are convenient, trouble is you often have to work full time for them, which makes them much less convenient.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:24 | 2160251 Rynak
Rynak's picture


Well in fact actual rocket science is doomed.

I'm interested in your thoughts why this is so (i think so as well, but am not sure that we agree on the "why?" - thus, the resson why i'm asking.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:40 | 2160303 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

Because when the aliens invade, they'll usher in a whole new level of technology that makes "rocket science" irrelevent???

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:46 | 2160322 akak
akak's picture

Well DUH!

Don't you know anything about Stargates. and transporters, and interdimensional travel?

Some people are just so thick.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:43 | 2159770 ChrisFromMorningside
ChrisFromMorningside's picture

This is about independence and self-reliance, not adherence to some kind of purity test as to what it means to be "true" off-grid.


Wed, 02/15/2012 - 08:31 | 2161092 dolly madison
dolly madison's picture

Yes, for goodness sakes, many pioneers, bought things even.  Plus, the internet is a great thing.  Being more self suffiient is safer, but it doesn't mean we want to give up everything.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:46 | 2159779 pain_and_soros
pain_and_soros's picture

You talking about this guy?

He did make a lot of construction & kitchen tools from scratch

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:52 | 2159793 Dooud
Dooud's picture

wow, synchronicity, see below, note time.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:04 | 2160004 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Poll:  Uprate this if you have noticed a significant increase in odd synchronicities involving ZH-flavored topics.  Downrate this if you don't think there has been a significant increase.  I'll explain later.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:44 | 2160508 Robot Traders Mom
Robot Traders Mom's picture

I wish I had the brain strength right now to try and figure out where you are going with this...

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 07:49 | 2161005 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

From the votes, 13 out of 15 have noticed the phenomenon as of this writing.  It's been slowly building up in the background for over a year, I think.   If the effect is real, then the Universe itself could be starting us on a long, strange trip that ends with a mass awakening and the Satanic cabal in flames.  For more, see this post in response to Jolly.Roger saying: 

Synchronicity dude!

I was re-reading the Doors of Perception this very morning!

Not sure how Huxley' Mescaline/spiritualism quote pertains to finance .. Guess I'll have to read the whole piece ro find out.. 

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 18:04 | 2163729 Idisq
Idisq's picture


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:50 | 2168339 Dooud
Dooud's picture

This is also a manifestation of the singularity.   or along related lines, a global hive-mind.  Far out, man.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:07 | 2160393 captain_menace
captain_menace's picture

+1 for Dick Proenneke!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:47 | 2159786 Breaker
Breaker's picture

What happens when his last chainsaw blade breaks and he doesn't have enough wood for winter?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:51 | 2159794 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

There are these things called axes and handsaws. . .

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:15 | 2160224 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Warms you twice, once while chopping and again while burning.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:33 | 2160478 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Three times, you forgot the stacking....

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:58 | 2160809 deKevelioc
deKevelioc's picture

How dare you use your brain.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:26 | 2159924 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Most people up north stock up for the winter...except for the city folks who would freeze to death if the supply chain ever breaks for a week

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:42 | 2159973 Matt
Matt's picture

You cut up the wood in late spring / early summer so it can dry properly; by the time snow falls, the wood should be stored under cover. It's not part of the "on-demand supply system" where you acquire the resource just before you need it. I know people who have several years supply of firewood stored up.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:08 | 2160211 Pemaquid
Pemaquid's picture

Chainsaw blade? Now there is a real city person!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:25 | 2160262 NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

My thoughts exactly.... Hence the "chain"- saw.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:21 | 2160247 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture



What happens when his last chainsaw blade breaks and he doesn't have enough wood for winter?

What? ….. If you live in a thermos bottle you don’t need a heater / furnace. You could always burn ice cubes like the Eskimos do.



Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:46 | 2160321 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

What happens when his last chainsaw blade breaks...


Easy, he borrows his wife's beaver...that she has for a pet. 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:02 | 2160373 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Chainsaws ain't got blades. Why the fuck you think they are called CHAINsaws?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:21 | 2160433 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

Actually a chainsaw has many blades, do you think it's like a bike chain?? That's cute, but I understand, you've probably never used one.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:27 | 2160460 knowless
knowless's picture

it's actually very similiar to a bike chain, just that each link has a little blade attached to it.. now i want to make a bike into a stationary chain saw.. dammit.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:36 | 2160482 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Hook it up to a generator, and kill two birds with one bike!


Just remember the chain-guard....

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:37 | 2160487 tallystick
tallystick's picture

The teeth get dull, blades don't "break", and there are sharpeners specifically for that purpose.  Even a small file can be used.  A file isn't always a stack of papers in case I'm confusing the mouse mashers.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 01:42 | 2160728 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

For the record chainsaws have teeth not blades.  If one cut relatively clean wood a chain will last some time, i'm guessing 5-10 chords, depending on species and dirt factor.  What will become important is having the appropriate size chainsaw file.  These wear more quickly than the chain and a crucial to keeping the teeth sharp to maximize cutting efficiency. I hate a dull chain and hate dull files even more.  If you have an extremly dull chain you risk blowing the motor because the motor must make up for the dull ness like if you are not fully stuck in the mud with your truck and you step on it.   The problem is the chainsaw is air cooled and cannot take the heat.  Learn how to sharpen properly and keep a good supply of files including raker files. a 100 foot roll of chain is about 400 bucks but do not buy Carlton chain, its low grade shit.  Buy Stihl or Oregon chain only.  If you buy bulk don't forget to get a chain breaker and spinner.  Oh ya.  All the good chainsaw files are from Switzerland.  So these may be hard to get in a crash.  Mind you Stihl chain is swiss too and Oregon is canadian I believe

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 03:25 | 2160834 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

A chain will either rip through 15 cords of softwood, 8 cords of hardwood, or about a thousand chords of Jackal's Lumberjack....

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:48 | 2159788 Dooud
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:29 | 2159938 EvlTheCat
EvlTheCat's picture


Wed, 02/15/2012 - 01:37 | 2160719 Bringin It
Bringin It's picture

On Walden Pond 

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
? Henry David Thoreau

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:24 | 2159913 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

Impossible not to bitch?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:29 | 2160122 zerotohero
zerotohero's picture

trav your growing on me - if I could green arrow button more I would.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:32 | 2160280 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

I like Trav7777 too but JFC can he be positive just one time about something.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:49 | 2160165 Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

That's what I was thinking. A beautiful place with all the modern conveniences of being off the grid. Right.

I was in New Hampshire last summer and met a guy who lived in a teepee. Year round. In New Hampshire. Off the grid.

Wooo. No tv.  No cell phone. Scaaaaary.

A few years ago, it became apparent that the economy was heading south and that family finances would be impacted.  My wife and I sat down with our three teenage children for a brainstorming session on how to cut unnecessary expenses.  We live in a community with all of the modern conveniences of prosperous upper middle income suburbia, and it was easy to come up with ideas for cutting back: 

Dismiss the yard and housekeeping services and do it ourselves.  Cut coupons and shop sales for groceries.   Minimize dining out and cook meals from scratch at home.  Drive an older used car.  Cancel the cable television contract.  Keep a vegetable garden.  Buy clothes at the thrift store.  Buy household items used at garage sales and on craigslist.  Cancel the fitness center membership and costly extracurricular activities for the children.  Go camping locally, or stay with relatives, instead of traveling for expensive resort vacations.  Get a set of clippers and do home haircuts.  Use the library, rather than buy books.  Sell or donate items no longer used.  Combine driving trips, ride bikes and take the school bus to minimize driving.  Cancel the children's cell phones.  Stay home for entertainment, play games and read books. Check videos from the library, rather than go out to movies. 

As we went through this process, we started laughing and were practically in tears by the time we finished. Making the list was an exercise in family comedy because every idea was something that we had always done.  Such sacrifices would probably shock many families in our neighborhood, but it was business as usual for us.

We have no debts and do not fear for our future. (except the proxy debt accumulated by our benevolent federal government)  

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:08 | 2160210 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Miserable life. I feel for your kids!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:48 | 2160329 akak
akak's picture

I have much more pity for yours.

(please tell us you never plan to procreate)

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:51 | 2160337 Tuco Benedicto ...
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez's picture

"I feel for your kids!"

Do you mean that literally or figuratively?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:38 | 2160491 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Must be a TSA-wannabe....

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:35 | 2160637 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

or a congressman

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:23 | 2160252 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

You tricked me good. As I read your story I thought about how my family has lived without those things you came up with to stop etc, and then BAM the punchline. Thanks! Debt free = real liberty.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:05 | 2160381 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Henry Chinaski

"Use the library, rather than buy books."

Always buy books. Libraries close that's why you build your own.

One of piece of advice from survivors of places like Kosovo, is books are good for trade. People get bored reading the same old shit, they need something new.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:37 | 2160488 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Library Book Sales - combines your excellent advice.

I always bring a couple of books with me as I travel, and pretty much always "take a book, leave a book" as I go.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 08:54 | 2161138 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

Amazone Kindel bitchez!

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:37 | 2162474 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

+1 Henry.

Something tells me this will be the model moving foreward as the tribulations intensifty, not the perverted "mad max" scenario so many keyboard barbarians (of which I am assured the majority cannot crack 10 pullups) on here predict.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:36 | 2160294 CH1
CH1's picture

And Trav takes the entire comments section off the rails. The avatar is fitting.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:24 | 2160449 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

I personally know this self aggrandizing POS. You need to get out more Brandon, seriously.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:40 | 2160305 Uncle Sugar
Uncle Sugar's picture

I'm guessing there's no wife here.  It's easier to get the money together to go off grid than find a woman willing to do it.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:41 | 2160505 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I hear the "in theory" in your words - truth is, there are vastly more self-sufficient females than you'd imagine, as many just never accepted the narrow bullshit rules of culturally "acceptable" women - plus they adapt to homesteading better than most men. . . you'd be surprised.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:41 | 2160506 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

My wife is starting to get on me to get solar panels, but those things cost money we don't have right now.


Now, if I can get her to stop buying purses....

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:12 | 2160770 Bringin It
Bringin It's picture

If that's the issue, here's what I suggest.  Go off the grid and find one in-situ.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:17 | 2159435 overbet
overbet's picture

STRONG PASS. I need high thread count sheets and a variety of titties or whats the point.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:28 | 2159501 ihedgemyhedges
ihedgemyhedges's picture

you need a "variety of titties" huh?  don't you see all the female elk???????????

face it, you're not Hugh Hefner............

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:23 | 2159719 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I was unaware that titties were a grid phenomena.

Now, I understand Edison...

...and Tesla??? Was he gay or something?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:29 | 2159504 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

May as well cap yourself now.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:31 | 2159515 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

I call dibs on the sheets!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:09 | 2159669 Agent P
Agent P's picture

Dibs on the titties!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:24 | 2159723 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I can only imagine the results that that Google image search would provide.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:28 | 2159933 DionysusDevotee
DionysusDevotee's picture

Homesteading is completely compatable with hedonism.  I assure you.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:10 | 2160587 Nugents Bastard
Nugents Bastard's picture

True.  Eventually your woodcraft becomes so finely honed that you can rape an elk without it ever knowing you are there. 

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 03:26 | 2160836 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Speak for yerself, needledick....

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:33 | 2159526 blueridgeviews
blueridgeviews's picture

You, my friend, will have the hardest time surviving when the SHTF. So materialistic.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:50 | 2159593 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Being off grid doesn't mean you can never go to the store or the club again.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:56 | 2159615 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

More and more people are going off the grid, and the government is making more and more ridicoulous laws to make this illegal.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:31 | 2159735 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Gee, I clicked your link and saw absolutely NOTHING there in relation to your words.

At least earn your money by linking to something appropriate, please. Oh, and use spell-check, or I'm going to tell Eric!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:13 | 2159869 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

He is right, but sorry I don't have the links handy. There are a lot of local laws that make this kind of homesteading difficult, like requiring that you have electric from the local utility or you can't get an occupancy permitt from the county. My county, which is very rural, has a lot of bullshit laws like this.  


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:25 | 2159915 nmewn
nmewn's picture

And yet, major cities allow urban campers & street urchins...a paradox to be sure.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:32 | 2160281 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

A suburban 18 yo has sex with a 17 yo and is branded a sex offender but middle aged gang bangers in the ghetto turn out 13 yo girls and it's a way of life.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:08 | 2159850 DionysusDevotee
DionysusDevotee's picture

Living out here, we're miles from where anyone can pound on the wall or call the cops to tell us to keep it down, its pretty nice.  Satin...You?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:25 | 2159479 QuantumCat
QuantumCat's picture

Your mind requires retraining.  Will you comply?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:28 | 2159497 Strut
Strut's picture

I'm about to close on my new home nestled deep in the forests of the midwest. Solar install is first on my list, second is a large farm pond for fish and water reserves. I'll still be "on-grid", but can live "off-grid" for extended periods of time if need be.

I love this guys place.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:52 | 2159603 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

Bump the Solar to 9th or 10th..   Get into wood gasification.  Works day / night..

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:32 | 2159741 Vagabond
Vagabond's picture

And it doesn't take 20 years to pay itself off!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:28 | 2159932 nmewn
nmewn's picture

And the fuel source is renewable...its like deja vu all over again ;-)

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:10 | 2160765 azusgm
azusgm's picture

Get into Jean Pain composting. He and his wife heated their water and their house, fueled their vehicle and their electirc generator and their gas stove, and built up the soil for their garden using wood chips made from "slash" (young green tree growth). The chip pile produced both methane (It's a natural fuel created during biomass decomposition. Get over it.) and humus (good for the plants that want to take up the scary CO2).

Just try not to blow yourself up.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:53 | 2160806 Bringin It
Bringin It's picture

Thanks - Any more good ideas?


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 12:50 | 2166145 mendolover
mendolover's picture

Thanks a million azusgm!  Classic example of why I LOVE this site!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:40 | 2159763 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Go for it!  I did in 1979, and it takes awhile to get really good, but it's worth it.

Some stuff there under alt energy.  But I never wrote up the whole homesteading thing - I was busy reading about people who'd actually done it themselves.  There's a ton of BS out there that just isn't good info - FWIW.

It's better to be ready than not.  Nice to be able to keep the neigbors food from thawing when the infrastructure they depend on fails them...and so on.  Out here, we get our own roads plowed long before the state bothers to show up too.  It's a nicer life by far than a sewer rat in a city...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:06 | 2159845 ChrisFromMorningside
ChrisFromMorningside's picture

If you have running water on your property, look into micro/pico hydro generation. It may or may not be more reliable than solar (depends on the climate in your parts) but it certainly is cheaper.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:28 | 2159502 ACP
ACP's picture

Retirement yes. Otherwise, not much split-tail out there for youngsters. Most chicks don't dig dirt.

That is, unless the entire financial system collapses. But that's a story for another time......probably very soon.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:34 | 2159748 Vagabond
Vagabond's picture

So true... it's not easy to find the ladies that are down with dirt.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:59 | 2159825 MissCellany
MissCellany's picture

Maybe not. But we do exist, we chicks who are down with dirt -- but NOT with filth. ;^)

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:27 | 2159926 DionysusDevotee
DionysusDevotee's picture

Well Helllloo.... ;) 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:32 | 2160127 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

heh, beat me to it MissCellany!

I have many friends rural, some off-grid - the majority are female organised, as in: community groupings - there are males too, but they are smart, respectful and use-full.  in other words, they're self-aware, not social tools.

but of course, these females aren't noticed by the boys who need "filthy" - lol. . .

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:59 | 2160362 ACP
ACP's picture

I stand corrected...

...which is why I used the "most" qualification...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:48 | 2160524 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

it's all good - never to late to change your mind with new information - including what you think a "woman" should be, vs. what some actually are.

plenty of examples to support all opinions, but sometimes one can't see what exists because it isn't accepted in the mind.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:10 | 2159855 ChrisFromMorningside
ChrisFromMorningside's picture

This isn't about "dirt," it's about self-reliance and independence and there are plenty of ladies who have that as a personal goal of theirs and who are attracted to men who are likewise pursuing that as a goal. It all depends on where you look. You're probably not going to find them at the club or on your typical liberal arts college campus.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:38 | 2159760 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Love the avatar!  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:58 | 2160328 ACP
ACP's picture

Why thank does represent the current state of the US quite well.

Everyone living in a bubble (literally), so bored that they either get into trouble or just want to die.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:41 | 2159766 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

You'd be surprised how wrong you are.  Remember all those little girls who wanted a pony?  Think about it.

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:41 | 2162490 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Girls like riding things.  No thought needed.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:05 | 2159843 DionysusDevotee
DionysusDevotee's picture

I'll tell my dancer/model wife that right when she gets home.  And the neighbors wives too.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:53 | 2160269 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

BS - plenty of good country/farm girls around, at least here in the Midwest -- mostly tall blonds of Scandahoovian descent...sigh. ;-)

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:56 | 2159617 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Numerous comments like these:

written by DAN DOOLEY , February 14, 2012


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:07 | 2159660 Omen IV
Omen IV's picture

got to say i agree - the house at least 2000 sq ft - two story - i lived in bozeman and went to flathead and whitefish many times - the wind is high up near kalispell and get 20 below - though most of the time around 0 to 20 most days in winter

that stove will not cut it !

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 19:44 | 2159774 juangrande
juangrande's picture

I live at 8000ft in a well insulated passive solar design of 1800sq that is heated with one medium wood stove. we have a good deal of sun but nights of -10 are common and -30 possible. I use 2 chords or less and keep the house @ 63 or higher ( including attached green house, which probably cost me 5+ degrees). Solar and wind powered w/ normal appliances. I use propane to cook and heat water...Achilles heel. Have a well and creek on 5 acres. No broadcast tv.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:28 | 2159934 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

You have it worked out.

The amount of know-it-all's that post here makes me vomit. Truly.

I live at 8,200 in CO

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 21:44 | 2160157 juangrande
juangrande's picture

I'm working it out, thanks. I'm not isolated by any means as we have 1000 or so like minded neighbors( for the most part). Someone was dogging on the hippies earlier in the post. It was the hippies who realized first that the American dream was really the American delusion. The hippies have their fair share of idiots as does any cross section, but they had the balls to "just say no" to the bullshit well before most. Most of the design technology that I used to build my house (out of pocket and with my labor) was originally hippie ideas. An affinity for harmony may not bring you a "reality" tv show or any number of shiny baubles, but I think it is a sign of advanced consciousness. ps. I too live in CO.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:24 | 2160258 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

smart post, upvote for the nod to "hippies" - so many here love to say the "hippies sold out to corporate jobs" - and many did, as normalcy bias in a culture skews roughly 70% minimum. . .

but the original folks who "dropped out" in the 70's are still around, still going strong, still providing alternatives, coast-to-coast, and still sharing ideas for newcomers.  add to that the DIYpunk culture of late 70's, and you've got quite a selection of "alternatives" to look into, all of them designed to free up your mind and days. . .

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 00:47 | 2160655 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

passive winter solar, south windows, big passive slab to soak up the energy and thick well insulated walls.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:07 | 2159849 skipjack
skipjack's picture

That stove will heat 2k sq ft no problem.  Don't you so-called "pioneers" with an opinion know what a wood cookstove looks like ?  It looks like a cast iron stove, which radiates heat quite nicely.Here, try this:

His house seems to be mostly open plan. Heat will travel.  He needs to buy/make a firejacket for his cookstove to heat up his hot water more conveniently.  That's the only thing about off-grid that I dislike; I really dislike washing in anything other than very hot water.



Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:59 | 2160359 delacroix
delacroix's picture

a little bit of coal, supplementing your final stoke of the evening, will keep it toasty till morning. too much, and the back of your stove, will glow orange.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!