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Thread: Simple housing and what technology to use

  1. #1
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Simple housing and what technology to use

    I'm not sure this is really a housing thread, but I'm not sure where else to put it. If a mod wants to move it I'm totally cool with that.

    Youtube recommended this video for me. Totally makes sense why. I love kirsten dirksen and have watched plenty of tiny house type vids.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE8WMINfSNQ

    After watching the video my initial thoughts were:


    -dude overcooks his eggs
    -dude undercooks his bacon
    -dude definitely knows how to use an axe
    -spending so much time chopping wood would get old real quick, at least for me
    -spending all my time alone would not be for me

    After watching that video I clicked to the rest of his channel and found this video that he did as a response to the countless comments on the first video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-86NFf2VcE

    So much logic in the second video. (and an explanation. He actually has a wife and kids. And works in construction. And isn't extremely remote. Just 20 miles outside Fairbanks Alaska... Etc. So he doesn't just spend years and years chopping wood and making fires and living alone while pushing his cholesterol numbers into the stratosphere every morning at breakfast.) The biggest takeaway from the second video is that he (presumably with support/agreement from his wife) has/have chosen what technologies he/they think help them live the life they want to live, and what technologies they think don't. And only use the ones that work for them.

    A lot of what he mentions in the video all works back to prioritizing spending your time doing things you want to do. And to whether you want to spend your life energy at a job you don't particularly like earning money to pay for stuff like propane (or natural gas) heat for your home or would you rather spend your time chopping wood to make heat for your home. It was very YMOYL in a big picture meta kind of way.

    He's not encouraging everyone to live the same life he and his family live. He's just encouraging people to figure out what matters to them and plan their life accordingly.

  2. #2
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    I know a couple with a wood furnace in a 4000 sq foot home in Indiana. He works as a successful business owner and still collects and cuts his own wood. They just installed solar. They very much pick and choose what they want to support and how they want to save. They also grow and process a lot of their own vegetables.

    But 20 miles outside of Fairbanks is still remote when the temps can be 50 below zero. I went to the university there.

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Wow, just started watching the video, and I'm going to comment as I go along...

    a) Morning fire. I LOVE his technique of making those little curly-qs on the kindling logs. I'm going to try that. Right now, I harvest small branches and twigs from around the yard and keep it in a little basket by the stove. Also, he really packs in the logs. I'm more of slow and steady burner myself. I start with 3 logs--DH tends to do more, but then it usually gets too hot inside.

    b) Off-grid water. It makes me sad that we can't get drinking water from Lake Champlain. Up until two-three decades ago, the people in my community got their water from the lake. I still have the electrical switch for the pump that brought that water directly from the lake into the house. But they converted to town water, and that's what I use now. He also reminded me how much I loved harvesting water in my rain barrel at home.. It's still there, so I'll have to bring it up on one of my trips from NJ to VT.

    c) Refrigeration: Our refrigerator is small, and sometimes we exceed it, so in the cold weather we keep some things in the mudroom because that's not heated. A cooler outside like he has it would work also.

    d) Hot water heater: I don't think I'd have the patience to wait for the wood stove to heat water, especially for my coffee in the morning.

    e) Nature: Love the shots of the moss, fallen leaves, birch trees, doggie. That's what it's all about.

    f) Chopping wood: We buy our cords of wood. When I mentioned in my earlier thread about being a pioneer woman that I wish I were younger, one of the things I was thinking of is it would be hard for me to be strong enough to split my own wood. Maybe I'll try--maybe it's a good exercise plan--skip the planks (the exercise kind, not the wood kind) and just chop real wood.

    g) Gratitude in his simple life: "It's amazing how little you actually need. Last year I didn't have a sink installed. Now that I do I feel like a millionaire. The propane stove--it's a luxury...I don't feel that I'm missing anything."

    h) Wealth: "No matter what we do for a living, most everything we do is to take care of the simple things in life. in my opinion, a few acres of timber and good solid wood stove, that's like a 401k--like money in the bank."

    i) Snacks: Go out and grab a few low-bush cranberries. No check-out line. No packaging.

    j) Kerosene lamp lighting. Nice, but a little scary from a safety perspective. Would rather do solar lighting.

    Very cool video. Now I'm going to watch the second video.

    But as to his objective in getting people to think about tools and technologies that will help them vs distract them from the life they want to live.. yes, very provocative video for that.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    When we were young and lived in upstate New York we had a furnace and a wood stove.My husband would chop the wood. It saved us a lot of money. Now with my asthma I couldn’t have one.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    Ah, this makes me so nostalgic. It's where I started my SL journey, after coming back from a trip where the people were doing very much the same: mindfully picking and choosing, working back and forth between how to achieve ideals and how to live within the means they were willing to obtain, and making their work their play.

    I've spent a long time very frustrated because for me it's a choice between a partner I love, and that kind of deeply examined life. I have yet to make both of these things work at the same time. But thank you for sharing, it's still inspiring and sparks some new creativity to watch him.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I watched the second one. It must have been maddening for him to hear the ignorant comments about what he "should" or "should not" be doing in his personal choices. Like bashing the vegan who wears a leather belt, some people have rule books that they use to dismiss the lifestyles of others, while they themselves do nothing to improve their own lives.

    What resonated with me was the idea that some people yearn for a life in which their labor is satisfying because they are doing things that directly supply their needs--working with their hands, making a direct connection between what they do and how they supply food and shelter, as opposed to working at some soulless job so they can spend a lot of money on modern conveniences and mindless distractions--some of those people might think they are living a "wasted life."

    How you pare down to get to that level of satisfaction on the fulfillment curve that works for you doesn't require a rule book, it requires thoughtfulness and awareness and decision-making as to which technologies are going to support your quality of life and which are going to detract from it.

    I am at the point in my work life where I feel my "life energy" is wasted on too many hours on my "job." I've done my parental duty. I've put my kids through school, I've fed them and clothed them. At this point, I yearn to cut back. It's why I intentionally decided to live in a small "camp" in Vermont--not just as a second home in the summer, but as my home.

    My plan for this year or next year at the latest is to install solar panels. I can continue to heat the place mostly with wood. This video has inspired me to think about all my spending choices and my own inconsistent choices. I really need to examine what I am purchasing that supports my values and what is "wasting" my life energy--

    It all swings back to Your Money and Your Life stuff. I think I need to push the reset button and re-read that book.

    Thanks for this video, jp. I've subscribed to his YouTube channel.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  7. #7
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    Just watched both and I really like this guy! Two comments he made at the end sum it up for me:

    "It is what you make it."

    "It is not for everybody and there is no exact way that it needs to be done."

    Seems like he is happy and enjoying the choices he is making in his life - good for him!
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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