Brian Rodgers

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since Jan 15, 2012
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TechHippie. I live with my wife Nell on 200 acre land trust. I've lived a life of crazy projects out here in the mountains. We're living in our second self-built home. When I was younger my favorite projects were salvaging vehicles to keep our fleet of junkers running with parts from different types of vehicles. Learned bio-diesel, got a diesel car built a processor and ran it on restaurant grease for ten years. Built an axial-flux wind turbine with the help of the Dans from Other-Power. Currently we're in our third year of earth-sheltered greenhouse aquaponics, raising Brook trout.
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northeastern New Mexico
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Recent posts by Brian Rodgers

I've hunting for improved earth-sheltered greenhouse design. This time around I want the greenhouse to able to hold a small orchard. My previous greenhouse design was  based on The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike OEHLER.
One that really inspires me is from Fruits without bordersFruits Without Borders (Facebook) and   Human Wisdom
1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:I am glad to know that you have a plan.

Manufactured homes are a good route.

I have owned two that were very well-built.

Since you seem to understand construction, take some time to find the homes that are better built rather than the ones that look pretty.

Best wishes for your future.

This is great advice, thank you Anne
1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:I was saddened to read about what happened when you firstwrote about this happening to your home.

Having a chainsaw mill is a great start so that you can mill your own lumber.

I am guessing that you want to start with the home first.

This thread might give you some inspiration to get started:

When you do get started you might want to start a thread in the projects forum:

Please ask some specific questions so we will know how to advise you.

At 69 and seventy years old my wife and do not have time to rebuild our house. The one that burned was the second house I built took us 25 years to build. We will buy a new single wide modular home. We got help from Neighbors Helping Neighbors foundation which was used to excavate our earth-sheltered home and aquaponiic unheated attached year-round greenhouse in order to place our new home once FEMA gets off their collective behinds and pay us what we deserve for destroying our house.

Next on our shopping list is a massive contractor built greenhouse to enable us to grow food in this wind blown wasteland.  Onne these two things are in place and we own a small excavator and skid steer we're planning on creating a large huglecultur  mound greenhouse capable of growing an orchard of tropical fruit trees.

For the now devoid of life land around our new home I'll get a surveyor possibly with the help of soil conservation (government agency) if they can play by my rules, to develop massive swales  to slow down rainfall starting at the top of the hill on our property and gently draining from one swale to the next all the way down the hill. In the first portion of this plan we already slowed the water down to a point where there was once a deep arroyo that has filled in with topsoil creating a beautiful meadow.
The second stage will in the adjacent destroyed Pinyon forest. Pinyon pine was our only fruiting trees feeding the wildlife here. Sorry about the spelling of pinyon I always thought it was spelled pinon tree

Here as well I'll create swales unfortunately, my dad called that forest the "rock pile" and I'll need to bring in topsoil from a valley to the west of the rock pile. This is an area where through permaculture observation I posted about a few years ago here that I realized had a watershed of several hundred of acres and it all drained across our property in two placed. S one of the things I am going to need help with designing a concrete dam, which should fill the little valley I spoke of  removing the top soil from for swales in the rock pile. I always loved a two birds with one stone approach The dam will irrigate the swales on the rock pile. This should expedite growth of our new permaculture food forest.
Haha no one ever wonders if I have a plan or a five year and ten year plan. I'm certainly not going to let the government hold me back for long.
We're hoping two million dollars will help this bigger than ever plan come to life. I will need help filling in all the fiddley  bits, as in Hitchhiker guide to the galaxy. They messed with the wrong people.
Lets show them.
Brian and Nell
1 year ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Good lord, what a disaster! Such destruction must be a heartbreaker.

Brian, it sounds like you're the right person to restore the land. I hope you'll continue to share your journey with us.

Thanks Douglas I intend to share my plan. This plan uses the first principles of permaculture; Observation!
1 year ago

Eric Hanson wrote:Brian,

Sounds awful!  Do you have any resources left on the land?  In my head I am picturing 240 acres (at least.  I guess really it would be thousands of acres) of blackened land with a few scorched trunks standing plus a few trees that might optimistically make it.  I assume you don't want to touch those still-standing trees with needles (just how many survived--just asking out of curiosity).  Are any of the burned and dead ones any good for lumber or wood chips or anything?  I don't live in fire country, so I am just not familiar with what is left when these acres burn.  As I said, I imagine a scorched wasteland.  So sorry to hear about it.


Thank you for your comments Eric
Yes we have the best timber in this county. I've visited many properties in San Miguel and Mora counties during my time as rural and mountain WiFi installer and tower tech. As stewards of this land since 1971 we created a highly manicured forest park, enjoyed by hundreds of friends  who've repeatedly attended our memorial Day 4 day camp out during its fifty year run.
I've calculated that myself, my father, brother and son have 45 minutes of attending to each and every tree on this property. This has been certified by the expert witness Arborist who recently spent a full day with me as we hiked our property documenting the condition of the property prior to the fire. He said he saw no evidence of dead and downed trees anywhere in our forest.

Unlike all the neighboring which hadn't had any forest stewards with similar age 90 year old Ponderosa Pine trees over there were forty feet at most, ours were 60 plus foot tall gorgeous specimens. I have not counted the trees affected by the fire. However the arborist has. He said the timber was worth a million dollars and I was correct to add 45 hours of work at $35.00 an hour to create such a beautiful forest.

I've recently attended a town hall meeting where FEMA and the Forest Dis-Service spoke, as you can imagine FEMA spokesperson continually lied trying to get peoples hopes up that they were going to make us whole. Currently FEMA is encouraging people to leave their attorneys and take what they offered, instead of holding them fully accountable.

I contained myself through the FEMA BS waiting to see what the new chief of Mora and San Miguel counties was going to say. It was more insane than I could have ever imagined; He told an audience of around 75 people who lost everything like us that his plan would help seven people!  He had told Those  7 were ranchers who leased public land for grazing cows, that there were too many fences were down in the high country down to safely run cattle, but his plan would solve that problem by creating virtual fences. The forest idiots have contacted those seven lucky ranchers letting them know that all they had to do  was train their cows in the use of...  wait for it...shock collars. I had had enough of this nonsense and stood up and interrupted when he started into his next plan to cut all the trees on all the roads righaways, "Excuse me, but your credibility is at an all time low now and can you tell us what criterion you used in lighting that fire?"   After turning beet red and bowing his head for a moment he said, "I Don't know." adding the same BS they used to start the Cero Grande fire the destroyed the town of Los Alamo, "it was going to burn with one lightning strike..." I interrupted again and let him know that our trees have been struck by lightning many times yet started no forest fires. That shut him down completely. I walked out to the sounds of many people asking similar questions. I was interviewed in the hallway away from the six uniformed state police about what happened. One person I did not recognize, but my son in law did was Brian Colon former  NM state auditor  now working for our attorneys. He said I was wonderfully civilized  and asked a question everybody wanted an answer to.
1 year ago
Good day friends
Sheesh what a nightmare this is... Trying even under these circumstances to find hope that we can start from scratch after the US Forest Service burned our house and homestead and 240 acres of our land to the ground. I probably won't post photos as we don't need others getting depressed over the way the US government does business these days.
To say we have a clean slate to start with on property our family has owned since 1971 would be ludicrous. The entire Ponderosa pine forest  we've been stewards of all this time has been burned. Some of the 90 to 100 year old trees still have needles and may survive or at least that is one of our hopes.

We've felled a hundred os more trees around the RV we're living in in the long drawn out interim before FEMA pays us for the destruction the forest idiots created. I'm not a guy that waits well and waiting for FEMA is down-right infuriating.

Yesterday we had friends ours to try out the new chainsaw mill we setup on a 90 year old tree near where our home used to be. That was a really great day with family and friends.

I'm making plans to rebuild our property using exclusively perma-culture principles. with no trees  or ground cover to block the surface of our land I can see where we needs swales huglecultur mounds and wind breaks in order to make a concise plan for bringing life back to our property.
I need all the help we can get and your comments can add to our lists of hopes and dreams.
Looking forward to hear from everyone.
Brian and Nell Rodgers
1 year ago

Pete Podurgiel wrote:That's horrible, my condolences there any hope of legal recourse/recompense?

I had finally gotten to the point spiritually where I was not going to worry about the direction the government was heading as long as they stayed out of my face, doh! Yes FEMA is here, apparently they aren't concerned with restoring our belongings per se, just the basic necessities. I imagine there are class action lawsuits brewing as we speak. Besides all the regular citizens homes lost to fire a large country club golf course community burned.
1 year ago
Thank you Bryan and everyone. This has been a rough couple of years, coping with bladder cancer and having a neobladder created. Light was shining at the end of the tunnel. We still see the light. In one regard there are so many little issues after having lived in the house we built over the last twenty + years, that I don't have hanging over my head any longer. Don't need to replace the water heater or repair the 800 feet of driveway, etc. Smiles

We are looking at a house in Santa Rosa New Mexico where water is abundant, including a large lake in the middle of town and  Blue Hole  where I could learn to scuba dive right there in the middle of the desert, lol! Gardening will be much easier with all the water as there are many springs throughout town. It is said the Blue hole extends all the way to Carlsbad Caverns. We'll miss our attached greenhouse/ pond room as it provided  food year round and was unheated.  

This new house has already been remodeled. At 68 and 69 my wife and I do not have another house build left in us. Sunshine in Santa Rosa is abundant, Nell's son who is helping us secure the house is an electrician and we're talking about  building a post and beam structure to setup a grid tied PV array to charge the used electric car we'll purchase if FEMA comes through. Albuquerque is around a 100 miles which is in the range of most of the inexpensive EVs we're seen on craigslist. One of the big issues with Las Vegas (12 miles south of the ranch) is a food desert situation. My diet is quite extreme after finally learning what was causing the debilitating joint inflammation that put me down for the better part of three years. This was when I did research into permaculture and met all you wonderful folks.

Once I got better I went back to work as a rural/mountain Wireless internet installer for a couple years. This is why I was absent from here. Then of course COVID 19 hit. I stayed working when most took leaves. It turned out the I had the greatest sonority by ten years over the rest of the crew and COVID bonuses rewarded us well. We setup our house with a mini-split air conditioner and heat pump, so after 50 years living on the ranch I no longer needed to build a fire in the wood heater in the morning. What a blessing that was!

Okay I better get back to work with Nell of the second part of FEMA assistance. After rereading the list of stuff they'll compensate us for a Jewelry studio isn't included, sigh. There is a class action lawsuit developing and we'll get in on that to recover losses like tools, all of the vintage and high  quality hand tools were on the back porch as I was already working on a new much larger garden starting this year.  How does one value an eye hoe with a custom cut hickory handle?
I took extraordinary care of my hand tools and of course as we replace tools they'll continue to get that level of attention.  
Much love,
Brian Rodgers  
1 year ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Good god Brian. That's awful, unspeakable, infuriating. I can't imagine how a controlled burn could have gone so horribly wrong.

Yeah, after the Cerro Grande fire which destroyed the town of Los Alamos lit for the same reason, now they call them "Prescribed burns."  As citizens we need to take the matches away for the US Forest Service. It has been declared a national disaster by uncle Joe. Under the unbearable stress of losing our homebuilt home with a masonry 2600 gallon aquaponics fish pond with five year old Koi, we've frantically filling our forms proving we own the home. That part is done and sent in to FEMA with documentation showing what type of home it was, as it is unrecognizable as a building. Next is personal belongings; family photos, paintings, artwork, furnishings and a brand new jewelry studio which I
I've been using to create hand fabricated (silversmithing) rings, along with a handmade lapidary system I've been using to cut and reshape stones that I've had for 40 years when I began silversmithing. We opened an Etsy shop and sold a few rings already. Etsy Rodgers Rings and Things  I best get back to work.
Thank you all
Love Brian and Nell
1 year ago