Walkabout Update 6 Off Grid Living

Dateline: Fiddletown, CA

For info about how you can support me visit My Support Page – It’s all about value for value for value.

I’ve been alone here on the Fiddletown property now for 17 days. It’s taken me a little bit to get into a groove, there’s a lot of “ins and outs an what have yous” to get used to here.

Solar Power / Generator / Battery Backup

I have a 600W solar array that feeds 4 deep cycle batteries. The batteries are several years old and they’re at the end of their life. I guestamate that I get about 200wh from the batteries at night. Which means that the 12v refrigerator that I have kills the batteries very quickly. Adding a laptop, cell chargers, internet hotspot, and lighting, I only have about an hour or 2 of usable electricity when the sun goes down. So I decided to not use the fridge, now I can watch Odysee and youtube until about 11pm. In the morning I fire up the generator for 30min or so to get enough charge to piddle about on the internet before heading off to work on the property.

Internet

I basically have no cell coverage here so I had to get a wifi hotspot. It uses the AT&T network and I get about 8MB down and 4MB up. It’s not terribly consistent but it does suffice. Unfortunately it costs around $140 / month (donate).

Water

Without water there is no life. In order to have water I need to fill a 600 gallon storage tank which then gravity feeds the trailer. The process involves me hauling the generator up a hill so I can power the well pump. I only need to do this once every 10 days or so depending on my usage.

Filling the well using the generator. Can you spot a Thanksgiving treat in the picture?

The well water has been tested to be safe, but just to make sure I use the water filter I bought for my trip. I modified it to work as a gravity fed filter by using a 2 liter bottle. I then use it to fill a 5 gallon carboy.

Macgyver’d water filter, works great. Notice I have a washing machine and a gas stove.

Cooking

I like to have a nice cup of coffee in the morning and I don’t like to waste propane. There is a seemingly endless supply of wood here on the property so I decided to make a rocket stove from some bricks that were already here. It takes about 30 min to boil water. It’s not very convenient but it’s free!

Rocket stove made from 28 bricks and 4 rocks. Free hot water!

Staying Warm

For the most part the nights have been warm enough to be comfortable but there have been about 5 nights where it got into the low 40’s. On those nights I’ve made a fire using the little wood burning stove in the camper. It works great as long as it’s not windy. There was one windy night where smoke flooded the trailer. It was not fun. I need one of these Vacu-Stack Chimney Cap (donate)

I also have a little propane heater that works great. I try not to use it because I don’t want to waste propane, but it does work in a pinch.

Building a Woodshed

Staying warm requires wood to be burned. Dry wood burns best so I decided to make a woodshed to keep my wood dry. This is my first time building such a a structure so it took me a long time. It was more work than I anticipated but I’m happy with the results. All the wood came from the property except for the pallets of course.

Getting the site prepped and peeling the poles. Peeling took forever as they were all dried.
Thanks to a donation of $50 from Grant E. I was able to buy a post hole digger. Thank you Grant!
I saved the bark shavings for use as mulch. thanks to a $100 donation from W. I was able to purchase some much needed tools and concrete. Thank you W.
I used a propane torch to char the ends, also borax, diotomaceous earth, and gravel in the holes to prevent rot.

I probably should’ve leveled the ground but the roof is level.


My crude joinery. I learned how to do this by watching Grey and Dez at Paul Wheaton’s place
Thanks to a donation from Amay (more about that later) I was able to purchase a chainsaw and start filling the woodshed. Thank you Amay.

I’m still not sure how I want to do the roof. I’d like to make it from what I have on the property but for now a simple tarp will do. I kinda want to do a terracotta roof, but I don’t think the current design will hold up to the weight.

Playing in the Mud.

After watching a bunch of Primitive Technology videos I got to thinking that maybe I could make things from the natural clay on the property. I decided to see if the dirt I dug up for the woodshed posts had any usable clay in them.

I separated the clay from the dirt and it seems to be usable. Now I need to build a kiln 🙂

Wildlife and Future Dinners!

There is a lot of wildlife here on the property. So far I’ve seen quail, wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, owls, lizards and a whole bunch of birds I can’t identify.

There’s about 20 wild turkeys that roam the property. They are so lucky that I don’t have a freezer.

Next Project, A Proper Deer Fence for Garden

The deer have completely eaten down the garden so I need to make a proper deer fence around it to keep them out. The design that I’m thinking of will take about 30 – 40 poles. Now that I have a chainsaw I should be able to make that happen much easier. Thank you again Amay.

Damned deer.

The Universal Woes of Money

These last few days have been quite stressful for me. I didn’t expect my journey to land me here in Fiddletown. My bank account is shrinking and my bills are coming due. I have a storage payment for all my stuff in WA. I’m under contract with Comcast so I have to pay for internet that I’m not using. I have another internet bill here, a cell phone, gas, propane and I also need to eat.

There are jobs in the area but most require you to be masked and / or jabbed, these are not for me.

Patronage

It is thanks to your kind and generous donations that I have been able to stay alive during this surreal experience of mine, and I thank each and every one of you who have donated to me from the bottom of my heart. Please see my Thank you page.

The day before yesterday I got a $1,000 donation from Amay. That donation lifted a huge weight from my soul. I now can pay my bills for another month as well as buy a chainsaw. But wait, there’s more..

I had a great conversation with Amay and he has offered to help pay my bills so I can stay on the property and transform it into a permaculture paradise. After our conversation he sent me another $1,000!!!! I don’t know how to process this. I am so happy and grateful that there are people out there who are willing to help me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You

Amay shouldn’t have to shoulder all the burden and there’s a lot to do that requires money so, I ask all of you to please help and return any value that you receive from my adventures. Value doesn’t have to be money, it can be Time, Talent, or Treasure. See the support page for definitions. Spread the word, share my site with everyone you know. Every little bit does help!

For info about how you can support me visit My Support Page – It’s all about value for value for value.


All Walkabout Posts, in order
I’m Going on a Sabbatical
The Journey Begins
Intro to Paul Wheaton and his Permaculture Properties
Walkabout Update 2 Wheaton Permaculture
Walkabout Update 3 Wolf Flats Idaho
Walkabout Update 4 Great Salt Lake Area, Utah
Walkabout Update 5 Vegas and Fiddletown CA
Walkabout Update 6 Off Grid Living
Walkabout Update 7 Lots of Rain and a Deer Fence

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