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Dollar Stretcher "Silly Questions" thread

34280 Views 538 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  MaggieTru
I had a thread at the dollar stretcher about stupid questions I get regarding living off grid. Some people had been following and posting to it helped me think things through so I'm going to try that here even though I think there are fewer people interested.

So, I'm living off grid in an illegal shed as I try to get an offgrid legal small house built.

Sometimes I buy things for my imaginary future home. I have been looking for something cool to use for silverware and small items in my imaginary future kitchen (which will have 17feet of counterspace...sigh...right now I have 0' of counterspace because I have no kitchen at all).

So...I found and spent too much on this:

It cost a bit much but I'm already getting a kick out of it. Each door (ok...except for 2 of them) has a safe-deposit-box type metal box inside so anything stored will be rodent-safe. The locks all turn and latch and have keys.

It will be so amusing to me to have someone ask for a fork. I'll have to go unlock the door, pull out the box, open it, get the fork, close box, close door, lock door, then come to the table. "Slow silverware"...the next big thing in "slow food"
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What a great find for your new kitchen! When are you planning on starting to build your new house?
According to the builder, I've been 10days out since last july...and then it froze so I have to wait until spring. I asked the builder to be on his April schedule thinking maybe that will get me in there for May. We'll see. I have a contract and have paid a deposit for the foundation and slab. I'm doing it without debt so it's taking forever.
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Did you say this builder built your shed, and the shed was full of mice and bugs? Are you sure you want to continue working with those people?

Just curious, because you bought that really cool cabinet anticipating you will need mouseproof storage. I can't figure that out.
THe shed isn't full of mice, bugs yes. It is an unsealed/rough shed. You can see daylight through the rafters a little bit. It is SOLID as all get out. That was my priority. It isn't a finished "tiny home" sort of thing. It's on skids and can move around as needed (with a decent truck and people who know what they are my subaru!). The bugs, and fresh air, come in through the gaps. It's all real wood, no plywood, no foam insulation to seal cracks.

I want to work with the builder because ...SOLID and they will do non-standard construction. The next home is supposed to be a post-n-beam framework with cordwood and cob infill, sitting on a rubble trench foundation (drainage and it spreads the weight of a very heavy wall). THere aren't other builders in the area that I trust with this sort of thing. They also give me a price, and stick to it. No changes, no add-ons that I pay for unless I agree in writing to pay for them (and the builder tends to add on to make things pretty).

As for the matter what I build it will be sitting in what was a hay field for 100+ years because that is the land I bought. There will be mice. Mice are a thing in the country and especially where I am. I have mice in both vehicles...and mouse traps/poison in both vehicles. In 3 years (4 winters) in the shed, only 2 rodents inside. Both came through the solar wiring conduit. I try to keep it blocked but shrews are determined little beggars. Easy to catch.
I avoid cooking and eating in the shed because that is the number 1 way to attract mice. In the real home, I will be doing my usual epic amounts of canning and cooking so I assume there will be mice.
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Mice can get anywhere! We have never had mice in our house, but have had them in the attic. How in the heck did they get up there?! We have never figured it out.
I understand mice. We live in the rural woods and have plenty of critters of all kinds. I won't put up with mice inside. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out where they're getting in, but we booted them out of the house, cabin, camper, and van which has been a struggle at times. Still working on keeping them out of the truck bed. They come in under the big garage door and then into the truck and I'm still working on that. They can be kept out, but it's a challenge sometimes.

We considered nontraditional construction when we moved out here, but in the end decided the climate wasn't right, among other problems.
Rabbit, it took us a while to figure out where mice were getting in our cabin, too. We finally found out they were crawling under the rubber roofing and getting in through an opening where the front and back sections are joined, in an interior doorway. It was a relief to be rid of them.

Mice are one big reason I will be so happy when the ceiling gets installed in the garage this year. They will not be able to get into the rafters where they like to nest. Squirrels, too. We'll be adding catches to all cabinet doors, too, so they can't get in there. Everthing I planned for storage out there has been designed to minimize the rodents in there. If I could only figure out a door seal for the overhead door that they couldn't chew through, it would help so much.
We never did figure out how they got in the attic. It was a one time thing, years ago and we have never had them back. As far as the pole barn and garage, when you live in the country it's not a big deal, you just deal with it.
Yeah, it's a lot harder out in the country, especially since we feed birds. That means the mice have an easy food source, too. We noticed the mouse population seemed to go down a couple years ago when we had to start bringing our bird feeders in at night due to bears. The mice don't come to our feeders during the day.

We have snakes in our garage, too, thanks to the mice. The babies are so cute but they freak out Husby. The squirrels chewed through the hollow rubber seal on the bottom of the big door. One day, Husby pulled up the door and a 2-foot snake fell out of the seal and hit him in the shoulder. I thought he was going to die of fright. I thought I was going to die laughing. 🤣
MT - that will be a beautiful addition to your kitchen!

I'm interested in off grid living to an extent, to the extent of actually giving up electricity :smile2: I garden, can, quilt, learning to raise meat animals and learning to forage. I try to make as much as I can from scratch. Hubby was a carpenter and can fix/build a lot of the things around the house/property. This spring we are going to get meat and egg laying chickens. I look forward to hearing your story.
Thanks...I am loving it.

Living off grid is pretty nice. I realized this morning that I was actually smiling (not something I usually do as a midwestern german raised by protestants) as I got in the car at 6:45am. By then I had snowshoed down my hill. Spent an hour and 15 minutes digging out the car (10 feet from the highway...heavy deep snow fell overnight) and it would have been longer but the snowplow dude working on the highway stopped and pushed the main berm over for me. I used to hate shoveling. now I see it as a good way to avoid the gym. I must say, my lat's were so pumped this morning I couldn't put my arms down.
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Reactions: 1 NOW someone OVERPLOWED my driveway. It's actually HARDER to snowshoe to the car because the person trespassed and plowed most of a quartermile of driveway. 1 lane wide. I guess I could back in all the way from the highway, or back all the way out if I drive in. somehow the plower missed the point of me parking by the highway. I think they assumed I was poor or incapable of dealing with snow, not that I make a conscious choice to hike to the road on my snowshoes. I am not keeping it open or driving on it. We've had another 8 inches of snow and probably a foot coming tomorrow. It takes me about 3 minutes to snowshoe the extra distance to the highway where I park 10 feet off the road, vs snowshoeing to the bottom of my hill where the gravel drive starts (ends?) on my property . As of this morning there is enough snow to keep the snowshoes on but I had to break a new trail up the drivewy and climb over the giant berm they left.

I know the intentions were good, but seriously, perhaps ASK before crossing the clearly marked "no-trespassing" signs people. It also gave me nightmares of people trespassing. I know no one is going to hike through all that snow up to my place but if they could drive on the plowed drive and only hike a little bit, I'm feeling less safe. I hope I can catch whomever plows, they did this once last year too, and let them know that someone else would appreciate their kindness in ways that I do not.
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Maybe you put in a couple of stakes and some of that yellow HAZARD tape across the driveway when appropriate?
Yes. Hope to do that. Right now the snow is so high and the ground completely frozen. the slope on the drive (the highway is higher then the property adjacent to it which is headed down toward the creek) would put that tape about 10 feet in the air. I will figure it out tho. I'm thinking of a tripod maybe that I can set on the driveway until I get a proper gate or find a way to string that flagging tape across.

i did figure out who was plowing. It's a very nice dude who mows for me in the summer. I thanked him and asked him to stop it. He has several kids and is trying to make a living farming. I'd rather hire him properly and pay him if I decide to have the road plowed.
Anyway, at least I know who it is and that it wasn't someone creepy.

It was below zero over night the last two nights but friends of mine in town have been gone and invited me to use their house for a few nights. NICE.
I had the carcass from a smoked rooster I'd helped a friend butcher and used that to make some killer soup. Work lunches for the week! I left them a pan of soup and threw in some wild rice. I did warn them that this was an elderly rooster. Even after being slow smoked, and boiled a couple of times, the meat-bits are still tough and flavory. This is NOT canned soup.

I could stay one more night but the weather isn't quite so cold and their smoke detectors were freaking me out. They kept going off at random times and then stopping. Nothing was on fire. No carbon monoxide. I unplugged everything plugable. I don't know what was doing it. I am going to go home and take my chances with a woodstove. At least if there is a fire I know I am the one who set it. I do have a fire alarm and a CO alarm as well.
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Greetings all....I've been busy AND I clearly need an attitude adjustment. I think I've had the adjustment, though I'm still busy. I talked to Mr. Builder and Mrs. Builder...they claim I am NEXT on the list and things will start in MAY!!! WOOHOO! I knew when I insisted on April that it would be a bit later. The ground has been too wet but now it is dry enough to drive on and dig so they hopefully will show up.

I had a younger cousin visit and she thought I was a little to "on the grid" for her taste. I have a compost bucket toilet system. She asked if she could pee outside...I told her to knock herself out. Pee anywhere. 36 acres in bad need of nitrogen.
She works in the wood products industry (I have very little idea what that means). She was in the area for a client (??) and trying to meet up with a fellow wood products guy. This guy can certify special cut timbers! This is important to me because Mr. Builder got a saw mill and wants to cut my beams and posts himself. These won't be the same strength as typical cut lumber and since the strength is an unknown, each one must be certified. The engineer I paid to do and stamp drawings will certify as well, but he lives further away, on grid and will charge more $$. This friend guy lives about 15 minutes away, off grid and likes alternative building. Yay!!! THat visit was very worth it. I hadn't seen the girl but once since she was 8 years old. I think we're the only 2 people in our extended family who would think a bucket toilet was fine so turns out we now have lots in common and she expects to be back. She called to check on visiting, apparently after her grampa (my uncle) assured her I was not scary or mean. I'm a little of both actually, but so is she. She asked if she could hang a hammock and sleep outside. I offered her a square of buggy floor and she took it. I also said that I was extremely busy working the weekend and getting new bees for the hives so if she wanted to see me, she'd have to ride around and help. She did and she was very helpful. No screaming about the bees, very little whining when I forgot to feed her one day (she just went and found some apples and my jar of sunflower seeds and helped herself...good), no whininging about the floor, in fact she wrote down the brand of camping mattress. So, she is welcome back.

Again, sorry for my cranky-ness in a few past posts. I'm working on it. This is my first day off from work in 2 or 3 weeks. I'm not even clear on that. As an introvert, it was tooooo much but I have a job that runs in cycles between full time and too much time so it happens. Mostly it is an excellent job but sometimes overwhelming.

Enough for now.
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Welcome back!

That's great news about the upcoming build, Maggie! Will you be sharing pics? It would be fun to see the progress.

We're watching Tiny House Nation right now. Kind of interesting. My favorites are the ones that aren't trailers. They're able to do so much more with them.
Great news that you are next in line for building, it must be very exciting for you. I for one and excited for you and can't wait to hear the updates. It sounds as though your cousin had a nice visit and she probably feels differently now on what her tastes are! I thought her wanting to pee outside instead of the bucket was pretty funny.
never thought you were cranky maggie! glad to hear that it is starting to come together for you. yes it is annoying when someone thinks they are doing something nice and in a way they are but you want them to ask first! because you didn't want it. I don't like someone doing my thinking for me either most times when a guy does it , it is wrong and I definitely don't like it. I am going away in the summer and worry about my house!
had to re-up the permit again today...25$. I will run through all the extensions and have to renew it before I'm done. BUT 50$/year is WAY less than getting a mortgage.

The builder is still saying around the end of this month they should start....we'll see.
I talked to friends who were having a shop built next to a house they bought. The contractor did it wrong and the contract they all had doesn't allow them to just make him go away! They now have a 2nd contractor out recording errors (the slab wasn't put in right, post-n-beam not done to code, metal not attached to the walls right...CRIPES!. So I guess my delay issue isn't the worst around. Just 1 year late, not 9 months late AND starting to find a contractor to undo what has been done like my friends. They will end up with major legal bills that I won't have.
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