Jeff Higdon

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since Aug 21, 2012
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Recent posts by Jeff Higdon

I see the post for purchasing ticket. Is there an option to rsvp for those of us that have been to Wheaton Labs, or how do we do that?
10 months ago
I’d be interested in that if on a weekend and a couple of weeks advance notice. Give my wife and I an excuse to come out again!
10 months ago
Burial is the no maintenance way of keeping the water from freezing. Even if you have no slope, if you bury it, you have now moved the water from an inaccessible 200’ to an easily accessible 8’-10’ below ground. You can run a battery powered Rv pump to supply water to your Rv and it won’t use much power and you could put a cheap hand pump pitcher pump as a backup.
 I’m off grid and my water is 17’ deep. I have an Rv pump a couple feet above the water and it pumps it to the trailer we live in. I use a marine battery to power the pump and I only have to charge the battery every couple of months.
 My water line to the trailer is buried 5’ deep. If we leave during the winter, I turn off the switch to the pump, which is at ground level, open a faucet in the house and a faucet on the outside of the house. I go down in the well, pop off the line to the pump and allow the water to drain back so no water is left in the line.

 It is common to have two pumps. One being the deep well pump that moves it to the surface, the second a pump to supply pressure from the tank. As stated, the tank acts like a battery that stores water.
 I’d personally backfill around the tank, then make an umbrella of 2” pink styrofoam over the top to keep it from freezing in very extreme temps. Maybe overkill, maybe not. Where my place is in North Idaho we rarely see colder than -5, but I’ve heard it has reached well past -40. Where I work in North Dakota I once saw it -73 on the thermometer and when it was that cold a backhoe drove over the septic tank of the trailer I was living in, driving the frost down to the tank. The top of the tank was 7’ deep and the tank froze. It was two or three months before it thawed out. A layer of insulation (and perhaps fencing off the area above the tank) would have prevented that. It sure was cold going to a portajohn til spring!  Perhaps even cedar bark would work if you have a local sawmill or pole mill you could get it from.
 Speaking of that, I’ve heard of people burying their water line, backfilling a foot or so, then throwing a small tree (3”-4” in diameter) on top and backfilling to the surface. The wood stops the frost from being driven down to the pipe.
2 years ago
Talk to Backwoods Solar Electric or at least get there catalog which is a good resource.
You can set up a DC solar powered deep well pump that runs directly off of solar panels. The panels can be mounted to the roof of your shed.  When the sun is out and your tank isn’t full, it will automatically fill it. It can be controlled by either a float switch or a back pressure switch that senses the height of the water in the tank.
 Do you have a slope on the property?  If so, bury a tank at a high point and let the solar pump fill it. You can either gravity feed from that or use a second pump to pump from for irrigation or drinking water.
 There are tanks that usually can be purchased from local farm supply stores that are ribbed and intended to be buried underground and used for drinking water. They range in size from 500-2500 gallons.
2 years ago
As stated, milk is the best. Works for being sprayed with pepper spray as well. I’m very sensitive to peppers and can’t eat them at all. When I went through training and had to be pepper sprayed, I used milk for my eyes, which gave relief fairly quickly. However, my face was on fire for 7 hours. Most people it only last 30 minutes to 2 hours.
2 years ago
I don’t think you would be able to include the mobile home in any structural load bearing way. It would just save you money on interior walls and infrastructure.
 As far as wood goes for making a berm shed to put the trailer inside you’ll have to scrounge.  In my area there are lots of pine trees. The trees are planted very thickly, then someone buys a property and decides they want to put a house on it, so they “park” it out, thinning out the small 3” diameter trees for fire prevention and to make it so you can look through the forest.   Many people in my area will cut these trees for people and then haul them to a fence post mill to be made into fence post. There is even a government program that will pay the tree cutter to do this. Those trees would be the perfect size to use for roofing a berm shed.
 For larger logs, perhaps talk to tree trimmers and see if you could haul off trees they cut down, just tell them what diameter and length you want and you’ll have to be quick about getting out to them.  This will require a flatbed trailer or a very heavy duty rack on a pickup. A lot of tree trimmers have skid steers they can use to load you.
 Also, developers clear house lots or commercial building lots. They will pile up the logs to burn and they are often free for the asking.
 Another source is right of way crews that maintain power line right of ways.
 Right after storms there are often many trees blown down that are free for the taking. In our area there are state and national forest. If the tree is on state or federal land and it blows down into the road right of way, it’s fair game. Saves the state the money of dealing with it.
 Another source is pallet materials. Some areas have companies that produce a ton of pallets and crates. Some crates use 10-12’ long 4x4’s. This could be repurposed into decking for a roof.   A pallet breaker tool can be purchased at Home Depot or online for taking the slats off efficiently, and an air denail gun will make quick work of removing the nails from the slats so they can be reused.
 Another great source for wood is tearing down houses or barns. Be careful here though, it’s easy to get in over your head!  It is a LOT of work!  However, if you have the time you can do a little every day after work for a few months and you’ll have a pile of lumber that is well cured. Old homes often have rough cut lumber, and some have 1x12 decking on the roof that would work very well for decking your roof and sides.  I helped tear down an old Victorian home one time that had really nice lumber in it.  An uncle did this as well, tearing down several houses, and built three houses for himself and his two sons.
 With resourcefulness you will be able to come up with the materials. Make sure to protect the materials well, put pallets on the ground to stack the lumber flat in so it’s protected from ground moisture and doesn’t warp. Billboard tarps can be purchased for about $50 online and make excellent heavy duty tarps to protect everything with. If you know someone at an outdoor advertising company you might even get them for free, but if you do don’t let anyone know about it!  Your source will be dried up in no time.
2 years ago
My #1 pick would be WOFATI microdot, #2 would be skidable structures, #3 would be tour of 12 RMH.
5 years ago
Hi this is Mary, Jeff's wife, and just adding to his comments above of our tour to Wheaton Labs nestled in the beautiful mountains of Montana. The first words that come to mind would be "inspirational and informative". And did I say "beautiful"? We were taken along smooth, frequently trodden winding paths kicking aside a rock or two now and then. Thankfully it did not require the fitness level of a marathon runner to make one's way up the hills where we visited a variety of well built structures interspersed throughout the land. There were clean, cozy cabins made of cedar with neatly made bunkbeds that would pass the inspection of any drill sergeant. Homemade curtains and dried lavender tied with ribbon dispelled any looks of a barracks, though, and more reminiscent of light touches of romantic country decor I would say. Chic without the shabby. This city girl from New Orleans had no qualms using the bathroom facilities better known in these parts of the country as outhouses. Quite the upscale in outhouses I might say and I've been in a few since moving to the Pacific Northwest. You can even visit an outhouse with a picture of a pig doing a jig fashioned by a former artisan - "The Dancing Pig" facility. Although we brought our own lunch, we were treated to freshly baked pizza hand rolled by Erica and topped with fresh vegetables and mushrooms to name a few of the toppings. The pizzas were baked in a rocket mass heater which has nothing to do with the aerospace industry! You will have to see it for yourself as well as so many, many interesting sights and experiences as well as friendly people. Live entertainment was provided by Paul with his informative explanations and if you were having a particularly bad day he would throw in a few cuss words for you at no extra cost. I could go on and on here, but if you're thinking of a second honeymoon retreat, a walk in the woods to restore your health, or to try out your hand with various homesteading and permaculture projects, Paul graciously shares his land at a minimal cost with those who'd like to experience and experiment. So pack up your work ethic and integrity if you plan to do the latter and leave any delusions of grandeur at home with the chickens unless you have permission by the landowner to bring Henrietta along. Down South some people like to put fake pink flamingos in their yards and so maybe a plastic chicken could be your own personal imprint to leave with Paul as part of his next tour. Thanks Paul and company for the great time!        
5 years ago