Lifestyle change, Montana...

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H8PVMNT
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Location: Highwood, MT

Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:15 pm

So we were looking over our taxes and trying to figure out why we make plenty in our business but always seem broke... We determined it was all a combination of erratic payement from various clients with large droughts in income with alot of crap debt and the typical mortgage, etc with alot of expenses to stay in business. Now a smart fella would probably just throw in the towel and go get a regular job, but we've put alot into our appraisal business and it could, in theorey provide a quality of life most 9-5ers can't get because in theorey I can work whenever I want and bug out whenever I feel like it as long as we can eat and pay the bills.

We took a good look at our layout and we have ALL the peices of our ideal lifestyle, they just aren't in the right order. There are several folks looking for a house in our community and nothing for sale, so we can sell the house easy enough and pay off all our junk debt with cash to spare. We have about 5 acres along the creek here that paid for and I've been lucky enough to do a ton of appraisals on cool off grid cabins out here. Typical invenstment of generators, solar stuff and battery banks is 10-15K for a viable, house running setup. It would cost about 10K to get grid power to our site anyway, so we were sold. We want to build with alot of passive solar features like a big sun room with a slab, etc. Power bill will be gone...

We burn wood for heat anyway so we are good there. We sold our Celicas to start paying things off and I guess commiting to the project was the right thing to do because were were imediately blessed with a 1500+sf set of square hewn log walls for FREE! We just had to take them apart and strip the place to the foundation. This was a failed rec cabin project where the contractor split town, left his wife and a bunch of unpaid bills. They were going to pay someone to tear it down anyway...

A buddy who I do some Toyota favors for is helping us out with our foundation. We have some left over steel roofing from another project, almost enough to do the whole house. We took the money from one of the cars and bought a mill to finish up our timbers and any lumber we need with local free wood from our rancher buddy who wants land cleared. Another contractor buddy is doing a remodel on a fairly new place up at the lake and we get all the windows, which are fairly new good stuff for, that's right FREE. It's crazy and it's all just working out. We hope to be in a dry, paid for box with a wood stove buring in it by winter.

I might even get to go wheeling more often.

:beer:
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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n16ht5
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by n16ht5 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:46 am

right on, I think you are headed to a great fresh start

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Nobody
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by Nobody » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:03 am

Good luck! Sounds like you have all the pieces to make it work. I often think about what it would take to go off-grid. It seems it takes a lot of cash up front. And you'd probably need a pretty decent stash to cover emergency repair/replacement of whatever power and heating system you use.

I'd love to have what you have now, 5 acres on a stream, and the freedom of working for myself!
WINTER IS HERE

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H8PVMNT
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:10 pm

We figure we have to go all in on it to make it work, no mortgage, no credit cards and all that. Everythng paid for, everything in the future bought with cash. Right now we have a milk cow, chickens and raise, grow or shoot most of what we eat anyway. When we get it all running we can keep about 65-75% of our income whereas right now we keep about 0%, or just slightly less of it. So cash reserves will be no problem, but they do need to go into an accout for replacing batteries in 10 years, udgrading solar cells etc. Our winter power bill here is over $400/month so it starts to pencil real fast. If you think about it people loved for thousands of years without "the grid". Farmers out here ran off wind and batteries until the about the 50s. The only thing I have to do since we build all our on vehicles is get ahold of a HUGE generator to run a shop. That's the only aspect of our life that requires that much electricity. Everything else we do can easily run of a modest solar setup with plenty of batthery bank storage.
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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Nobody
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by Nobody » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:16 pm

I grew up primarily on wood heat. My dad heats the water via the wood stove in the winter months. He's still a wood burner, but wood is getting harder to find cheap enough to make it worthwhile. And just this year my dad had an injury that has left him unable to stock up wood this year. So off-grid, it seems some alternative source of heat would be a good, be it propane or whatever. Sounds like you've got everything pretty well thought out though.
WINTER IS HERE

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H8PVMNT
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:50 pm

That's cool that he was heating his hot water with wood heat. How did he work it out?

I'm not sure how effective it will be because I've never been around it but we are really trying to work in the passive solar thing with alot of glass on the south side and masonry or slab extending into the main part of the house. Some folks are even heating their water this way with black tanks under the glass in a sun room. I guess it's pretty effective but we will start with some kind of on demand propane water heater and mess with the passive solar hot water in the future if the passive solar heat/slab thing works to heat the house at all. One thing good around here is that wood is still cheap and plentiful, mainly thanks to the pine beatle in the hills.
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by Nobody » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:05 pm

I don't know exactly how it works, but the core of the system is piping the water through some copper pipe inside the insert and some special valves, that I forget the name of. He has two water tanks in the system. Endless hot water! He did say these systems were pretty common at one time, but they are considered illegal nowadays and he'd have to remove it if he were to try and sell the house.

My dad also has some passive solar water heater panels that he never got around to installing.
WINTER IS HERE

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H8PVMNT
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:18 pm

Started setting piers today!
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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H8PVMNT
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:37 am

Neighbor at the end of the road is tearing down a house tomorrow to make way for a new construction project. The windows in the place were completely replaced about 3 years ago. They called this morning and said we could have them all for free if we come get them today. We just have to haul them about 1/4 mile across the mud with the Toyota to where our site is!
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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H8PVMNT
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Re: Lifestyle change, Montana...

Post by H8PVMNT » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:22 am

We have our piers set and all leveled. We also ended up with a perfect sized set of new trusses we traded strait accross for a mule. The community at large is attempting to shut us down though. We are in the county where no permits of any kind have to be pulled, but after numerous phone calls from concerned citizens who don't want anyone to build anything new in this region we may be hitting a stone wall with the powers that be. They apparently don't like any kind of allternative or off grid stuff, composting toilets are out.

We have to move further out to accomplish want we want, time will tell.
Wake Up, It's 5:29, time to go wheeling!

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