Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bear Ridge Project Update

The Bear Ridge Project is my journey to move from a consumer driven life style to a self sustaining off grid existence.

I will be moving to Bear Ridge permanently on January 1st 2009. The original plan was to be at the cabin full time by June 1st. Obviously this did not happen. Money and time were not on my side but things are now happening as planned and the cabin and I are nearly ready. To be honest I could have moved in June but life would have been terrible rough.

I didn't have the proper heat or power in place or any protected growing facilities for indoor crops. The power system was weak and the foundation unstable. I now have a big wood stove for primary heating of the house and water and have standardized on propane for backup. I decided on an Eccotemp L10 on demand water heater and a Mr Heater Big Buddy unit for backup heat. Both work great at my altitude and have no problem staying lit. The stove and backup generator also run on propane.

The power system has grown from the small portable two battery unit with a 230 Amp/hour capacity to a much larger array sized at 1600 Amp/hours. They are charged by six 130 watt solar panels which replaced the small 45 watt 3 panel array. A small 3500 watt propane generator is used for backup. I may still add a couple more 130 watt panels before the first.

The big sun room will be finished this weekend and the greenhouse portion of the project hopefully done next. A shed with large south side greenhouse will be built in December weather permitting doubling the growing space. I plan on starting my winter tomatoes around the first of December so they can be moved to their final home after the first. The goal is to be able to survive and thrive on around $100 per month. So the produce is very important.

January is not the ideal month to move but hey you have to get through it anyway might as well start off with the worst. I am very excited and will keep you informed.

16 comments:

Jeregrine said...

I've been reading your posts for a while. Man your living the dream, keep on writing :).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update!...have any fresh photos of the cabin's progress?

Anonymous said...

What are the odds of both of us posting at the exact same time...

BigBear said...

Since the break in earlier this year I have been hesitant to put photos of the place up here. That will change when I get moved in and you can expect alot of pictures at that time.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you again. Man, $100 a month is very enviable, and a great goal.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you in the comming months! I appreciate your sharing your journey with me!

doctorzero

Anonymous said...

What do you use for a freezer or refgrigerator - propane or electric or?

(and, a useful site for cabin construction and related items is countryplans.com - seem to be like minded folks as well for the most part)

BigBear said...

It will be electric if I get one. I shouldn't need one until late spring at the earliest.

mockum said...

$100 a month ain't much. Maybe you could write up how you expect to spend $100? Like, $20 for food, $30 for beer, $10 for gasoline, etc.

Mayberry said...

Congrats Big Bear. I'm jealous.....

The Hermit said...

Congrats on all the progress! you're going to be very glad to have all the power coming in.... I'm looking forward to having you in the neighborhood on a permanent basis!

I made it a year and a half without a refrigerator... I'm really glad to have one now... having ice and ice cream in summer is a treat not to be underestimated, but you've got a neighbor (me) who will be happy to make ice for you...

Congrats again!

BigBear said...

Hermit

I love my ice cream. Talk to you soon.

Fred said...

Congrats man. Go live the dream! Do you have any thoughts/goals about how you want to spend your days at the cabin?

The Other Mike S. said...

I would be very interested in knowing your plans for animal protein. Will you be hunting/trapping/fishing?

What is your intent for preserving food? I just picked up the book, "Preserving food without freezing or canning". Some good ideas to give some variety in your foods. It's weak on meat preservation, though.

Lastly - and I understand if you don't reply - how do you intend to earn income? Will you be living off of previously saved funds, or will you have some sort of job (if I remember correctly, your cabin is pretty remote).

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

He works on the internet for income- if I remember correctly.

Yes, I'd like to see a break down of expenses too.

When do you expect your first snow?

What are you burning in your stove? Where are you getting the fuel?

BigBear said...

Fred,

There is still ALOT of work to do inside the house I have been putting off most of that work until I get moved in.

the other mike,

I have been putting back canned meat products spam sausages and such have about 3 month supply at this point should increase to 6 months by the end of the year. Hopefully will pick up some rabbit hunting skills this spring and there are many places to fish.

I am looking at canning and dehydration for preserving various foods. Possible smokehouse for jerky. Also plan a root cellar but have not gotten to it yet.

The cabin is remote with no real prospect for conventional job. If I can really keep my expenses down then I should be able to get by on the advertising from this site and a few others I work on. Been testing over the past 6 months and it should be easily doable. If not fall back on savings until something comes along.

There is about 6 inches of snow on the north side of the cabin, it is still real warm. Burning white pine and cedar mostly.