Saturday, November 26, 2011

The basics of the first encampment.

A tent, large, to sleep in and to protect tools which are vulnerable to the elements, with a rocket-stove to stay warm by and to cook with.

Garb for multiple weathers with good boots, good sandals. SOCKS

Cot, and sleeping bag.

Food, mostly rice, flour, beans, lentils for bulk. Also seasonings and various other things to compliment. Coffee? Supplement of wild forage until the crops start growing in a couple months.

A composting shitter. large bucket, bench, hole in bench, tarps, sawdust, tp.

Tools, Shovels, picks, hoes, machete, maul, wedges, sludge hammer, hatchet, two bit ax, bow saws, pruning saw, leather man, survival knife, digging knife, draw knifes, hand drills with bits. Rakes, forks, scythes. Rope. cord, blocks,

Files, sharpening stones.

Water filter

Cooking rocket stove. metal barrel, a few feet of chimney with a chimney joint, cob.

Cooking equipment, dutch oven, frying pan, utensils, my mug, my bottle, my bowl.

Electric source, power converter from a farm truck if there is one, or a bike generator.

Laptop, lights, camcorder, notebooks, pens, classic books (Going full Thoreau). Chest to keep these things safe from rain and such.

Chain saw, and saw mill. full personal protective gear. chaps, helmet and ear protection. a dolmar--a type of gas can that also has a reserve for bar oil. files, and a couple extra chains. there is specific chain called ripper chain for the saw mills too. two cycle mix, wedges. spair parts: air filter, chain tensioner, sprokets, needle bearings, e-clips. a scrench and a raker gauage and the special small flat file stihl sells ot file down your rakers.

Seeds, much more on this topic in another post.
Maybe sapling, get some food trees started early. something to protect the trees when they are young.

Pigs, electric fence, moving pig shelter, water source.


  1. Sounds like a rough pioneer life. Why not build small permanent shelters and move them onto the site, be more comfy from the get-go? Less site disturbance, too.

  2. The first thing that will need done is clearing brush and trees, to have a place to build shelters. The tent I am talking about is a 900 square foot "M.A.S.H. style" army tent, so with some slight home touches it should become fairly comfortable. And as I have been thinking since posting this there are several things I didn't mention, most notably lots of plastic 5 gallon buckets.

  3. Lots of the supplies listed are things I already have access to, to an extent this represents the minimal necessary equipment for homesteading undeveloped land. Funds permitting there are lots of "would be nices" I could add to the list, but this post is "basics of..."

  4. Oh, so you have in mind sort of a longhouse model, with everybody in the big tent?

  5. For the first season I will likely be the only person living on site full time. Matt has to care for a young daughter, so until we have a couple of basics built up he is likely to rent an apartment in the area. There are two other could be long term residents who may be living on site full time, but that's still up in the air. And several supporting friends will be coming and going. But basically until after the first winter it will be a very skeleton crew. By that time we will be working on some more permanent buildings. A main house to meet in and cottages around it for living in.

    At Earth Mountain farm, in the Sagre de Cristo mountains, I wwoofed living in a tipi for the first summer I was there, and last summer I shared a 6*8 tent for two months. As long as you have stuff to do all day, tents are find for starting. As George Carlin observed, if we didn't have so much stuff, we wouldn't need houses, we could just walk around all the time.

  6. The accommodations we're planning, though rustic, are already nicer than (to hazard a guess) what 70% of the global population currently enjoys. When one considers that the UN projects that over a third of the earth's population will live in slums in a couple of decades (and that's not taking peak oil, climate change, soil depletion etc. etc. etc into account) one can only think of one's self as sitting pretty as long as there is a sanitary place to go to the bathroom, clean water, a warm place to sleep, good food, and safe surroundings.

    My plan is to have a place in town the first winter, and this is for the sake of my daughter (I for one don't mind--I've worked on hotshot and helitack crews where sleeping in a tent is a luxury!) However, I'm more concerned with the abruptness of the transition from her current life to a rustic life in Oregon in the middle of winter, than in its inherent hardships. We'll move to the land in the spring when it gets sunny and nice, and spend subsequent winters there as well--and I don't think she'll be worse for the wear. In fact I worry much more about over reliance on artificial comforts that have many drastic hidden costs (viz. energy, environment, and the global inequities.) I don't want her to need things that aren't inherently necessary and compromise her freedom, financial independence, and ability to enjoy a simple life, as well as placing her in the moral predicament of a world of precarious and shrinking privileges.

    One of the things that got me thinking that this could really work was talking with my neighbor in Westfir, Oregon. It was an old mill town that had burgeoned to 3000 people, only to shrink back down to 300 when they shut down the mills. The fellow said that he and his wife virtually provided all of the food needs for his family of six with a rather small garden plot, supplemented with meat from hunting. But what really got me is that he said that when the mill first opened, the company hired a carpenter and his assistants to build houses for the workers. This, however, ended up taking years to complete, and in the meantime much of the sawyers and mill workers lived in army tents, just as we are planning. When time came for some of the last families to move into their houses (and start paying their mortgages) they didn't particularly want to leave; the tents had become home, and were quite cozy in a place where the winters rarely go below freezing and fuel for heat was in ridiculous abundance.

    The other piece that inspired me is happening upon an account of some folks who wintered in an army Tok, Alaska! Winters there can get to seventy below; in much of Western Oregon the yearly low will be in the high 20's. To put that in perspective...that's almost a hundred degree difference. That's the difference between 0 degrees and a hot day in the desert. That's the diference between freezing and the highest temperature recorded on earth, in the Libyan Sahara! If they did it there, we can surely do it in Oregon.

  7. True enough... although I don't think I am cut out for permanent nomadism... :-)

    I have been thinking for some time that building small wooden buildings that can be assembled off-site, maybe from recycled wood, would mean the community would not have to expend energies on providing housing, and could focus on growing stuff and people stuff right off. Seems to me that communities expend way too much energy on developing the land... and then it just becomes the pioneer hustle and bustle, with the land suffering more and more roads, more and more houses... just a thought.

    Tipis work fairly well for permanent housing too, though probably best for dry climate. I have seen a very comfy tipi with a stove. Yurts are cool too... but most are made from plastic and that kinda turns me off.

  8. We are young dumb and ugly (as Weird Al might put it) and don't mind nomadic accommodations at this point, but by the time that will change, I am interested in building Oregon cob cottages before I reach the age where my joints start moonlighting in meteorology. Fairly small, surprisingly quick to build, and they can last for centuries. But over time I would like to experiment with shelter as diverse as possible, but when I say 'over time' I intend to live for at least half a century more.

    In my opinion shelter is just a place to sleep, keep your personals, and attend to some writing, no need for anything large at all.

    The tent(s) are unlikely to get retired anytime soon, they might at some point be used as dorms for wwoofers or something of the like. Even though Matt and I are both full of ideas for things to build as time goes on, the first couple years are on a slightly more relaxed pace, so we have time to mess around with some of the weirder ideas before we have to start worrying about getting things in order.

  9. Very few roads, in fact I would love to have a parking place at the entrance and call it good. A zone one base camp, and a few places to retreat to for folks that start to feel over dosed on the social life. If we get to having more people then can share a loud lunch conversation (around 12 I have learned) then we might start a second base camp. We like fractals.

  10. You are so on, Raymond. Amazing. :-) Fractals!

    Under 12 better... stay well clear of the Judas Number. Parking place and a path. Yup.

    Cob is good, but despite Ianto building in Oregon, it is not the *ideal* thing for wet weather. Clammy. I would use wood stuffed with wool. Since wood is plentiful out in that clime.

    But hey, you can have both...

  11. But under twelve would require more kitchens. I hope to embody a culture that shares a breakfast (as the wwoof operations I have most enjoyed do) to give most people a chance to orientate and discuss. Also group cooking decreases cooking effort and increases the meal quality, justifying extra courses. Plus its an obtuse number, which I like. Besides, I like the interpretations that say Judas got the bum deal in the history books.

    Judas: If you were me, could you betray your master?
    Jesus: No. That's why God gave me the easier job... to be crucified.
    -Last Temptation of Christ-

    I would be worried about mold building up, on account of the humidity, cob being mostly sand seems less vulnerable. But a light upper loft of wood and wool would be pretty snazzy...