Sunday, January 4, 2009

What I'm looking for

Getting some land and putting some type of cabin on it has been something that I've been thinking a lot about for a while now. I've been pricing out land. I've been looking at potential areas where I'd want to buy. I've been researching a lot of different types of cabins and homes. I've been watching craigslist just in case a really tempting deal on a travel trailer or something like that pops up. This has been going on for the last couple of years but I've always had more important things to spend my money on. I'm getting to the point now where I'm comfortable with the preps that I have at home so it's time to take it to the next level.

I'm not looking for a piece of junk land but it does need to be affordable. I'm only looking for 5-10 acres. If the world never ends I still want to be able to enjoy it. I don't want to have to haul water so it needs to have a viable water source nearby or I need to be able to dig a well fairly easily/cheaply. I want relatively easy access to firewood. It needs to be sunny and windy enough that a few solar panels and a wind turbine hooked up to a battery bank are a viable power source. I want it to be remote enough that few people will know about it unless I want them to know about it. I want it to be accessible enough that I can drive my car or motorcycle there. It needs to be close enough that I can go there for a weekend whenever I feel like it instead of having to make a planned and organized trip out of the ordeal. It needs to be far enough away that I actually feel like I'm away from it all while I'm there. Of course, it also needs to pass the "golden horde" test. Obviously having enough space to grow a good sized garden and raise some livestock is also a necessity.

We'll see what concessions I have to make when I'm forced to find that perfect balance between price and "survival potential". I've got a good idea of where I'd like to get my land. The area that I'm really interested in seems to meet a lot of my criteria and the prices seem reasonable but I'm guessing that the prices will go up fast as more of my criteria are met. There's also another area that I'm looking at that's twice as far away but at least 1/3 the price. From what I can tell it's not much more than a desert, though. I need to visit the area first hand and get an idea of what I'm really going to get for my money.

As for the actual building I've done a lot of research on everything from earthships to monolithic domes to dozens of different designs for conventional cabins. I'll probably start with a shack with a wood stove. Putting something together that's big enough to be comfortable shouldn't cost more than a couple grand. If I decide that it'll work for me then I'll start making additions. If I decide that one of the more unconventional, super energy efficient, easy to hide designs are a viable, economical option then I'll just use the shack until work on the real house is finished.

I'm very interested in earthships but it'll really depend on how much it costs, how much of it I can get away with doing myself and how much maintenance is involved with keeping them operating properly. I just haven't been able to find out enough details about them. I really like domes but most of that build would have to be contracted out. Cost, once again, becomes the primary concern. A stick built home would be the easiest to put up and probably cost the least. To be honest that's what it will probably end up being. I could also go with concrete block or brick but that would start getting pricey fast, too.

It'll be a while before I start seriously considering my options what to build. The land is the first step. Hopefully by this time next year I'll be asking for advice on what to build, how to build it, what mistakes not to make, etc. First of all I want to start thinking about it way ahead of time. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I wish I would have done it differently" or "if I knew then what I know now then I wouldn't have made this or that mistake". Hopefully I'll get some good advice and won't make too many mistakes.


Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Hey urban,
Dn't know where you're located or where you' like to be, but ckeck out This is who I'm purchasing from. Tx is nice, and has a long growing season, but i want four distinct seasons, and more privacy. I want the hills...
Anyhow, sounds like your head is taking the steps to follow the heart. Best wishes in the coming endeavour, brother...


Anonymous said...

As far as shelter,look into shipping container's! Heavy steel,can survive anything short of a nuke,weld a few together as you can afford,make your own modular home!

Anonymous said...

Consider earthbag construction. Inexpensive, load bearing, energy efficient, bullet proof, hurricane proof, termite proof, pest proof, and can be easily upgraded to be a fallout shelter.

I drive my tractor in pearls... said...

We used ICF - its a styrofoam product that you put rebar and concrete inside of - its easy - the blocks snap together like Legos.

I blog about it...and in my post for today, post a link on a forum that tells all about it.

We are affiliated in any way with any company that makes the product - we just bought and used it.

Since you house is basically concrete, it has great thermal mass properties, bug/fire proof, and stops bullets :)

Sorry to go on - we are just real pleased with the final outcome.

And thanks for the blog - I printed out the directions for the can stove - EXCELLENT!

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