C Jones

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since Sep 14, 2015
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Recent posts by C Jones

Hey everyone - I've had a couple of ideas running through my head, and would be glad to hear others' informed opinions about whether said ideas are crazy or not.

I've talked for years about growing something on the south and west sides of my house for shade - at least over the windows.  Tried half-heartedly a time or two, didn't get anywhere.  

But hey, I've got this Virginia creeper in abundance, and it seems quite hardy, so why not use it?  Only trouble is that I seem to have the non-sticky-tendril variety, but I suppose I could trellis it.  What could go wrong?


On another note, I want more houseplants to help freshen up the air, etc.  But I, well, haven't done so well.  Even pothos - people say it's hard to kill.......well, maybe for you it is!  But the creeper, it's quite happy and prolific outside during most of the growing season (zone 6-ish)....would it be happy inside??  

What do you think?  Crazy?  Worth a try?  Thanks!
4 months ago
I have been chewing on this recently too, what with summer heat and all.  I think the white roof idea might be the best bang for the buck and effort (esp. ongoing effort....aka none).  I have read the article on Build It Solar and there was also another good DIY white-roof article there.  Permies tend to like long-used traditional methods......I think whitewash qualifies!

Here's the way I like to look at these things - simplified model - your house is like a cell phone or laptop with a battery.  Heat, or cool if you want to look at it the other way, is like the charge in your battery.

To keep the amount of charge (heat/cool) within certain limits, you can -

  • Charge the battery more (frequently or faster)
  • Discharge the battery less (frequently or faster)
  • Or get a bigger battery


  • Charging, during summer, might be removing heat / adding cool.  That's all an A/C does - pumps heat from inside to outside, using electricity.  Ventilating at night, as others have mentioned, is a decent, less expensive method (removing heated air).  

    Discharging less might be limiting the heat gain in summer (lower your loss of cool).  Shading, cool roof, attic insulation / ventilation, etc. can be examples.

    A bigger battery would be more thermal mass - like the RMH concepts.  Actually I think an RMH could be a good addition to a cooling plan too, if done well.  Of course, you still have to charge your battery / mass (get the temperature down, e.g. by night ventilation) if you want it to last.

    So look at controlling building comfort in a from that perspective - think through what the heat gains / losses are, and what you can control most easily.  And of course just reverse things for the cold season.

    And remember the three modes of heat transfer - conduction, convection and radiation.
    5 months ago
    Cayo, are you still looking?  I have 10 acres of (almost) raw land in North Idaho.  No stream, but almost within sight of one of our lakes.

    https://permies.com/t/85981/FS-acres-North-Idaho-homestead#707551
    Oh, and it's off-grid too....almost goes without saying after all of those words .  But needs to be said:  

    No utilities currently on site - other than pretty good cell coverage on Verizon at least.
    7 months ago
    First off - I have seen a couple of these types of posts so I gather they are allowed - if not, I am sorry and please let me know!  Also, if there is a better place to move it to, or cross-post, let me know that too.

    As I've described elsewhere, it is looking like time for me to pass on my lovely 10 acres of partly wooded south-facing land in northern Idaho, to someone else, who is in a better place to do something with it.  The end (or pause) of one dream might become the beginning of someone else's!

    There are some challenges that would have to be overcome before trying to homestead - but there just might be a Permie type out there that is looking for something just like it and is ready to work!

    I'm going to just bullet point for now to get started, gauge interest, etc.:

  • Kootenai County - about 50 minutes south of Coeur d'Alene - kind of near the SE end of the lake (no lake view though....unless you build 80++ feet )
  • Square lot approx 660' x 660'
  • Off the beaten path....then off of that....then off of that... see below for details
  • Mostly gently sloping NE down to SW, couple of flat-ish spots
  • No creek, but a bit more watershed than just the 10 acres (I think)
  • Next to a disused field (which is part of a 640-acre farm / timber parcel that is also for sale...)
  • Partly timbered; mostly Ponderosa pine and some of another species or two; apparently at least partly logged decades ago
  • Kootenai just changed to allow opt-out of building codes under certain conditions (for now.....I noticed one of the Commissioner candidates is campaigning on "common sense and safety for your family"...read between the lines....but I digress)



  • It's out there a bit - somewhat isolated....err, Peaceful.  The neighbors on the county road all seem pretty nice, and a lot of it is farm or timber land.

  • There's only one house visible from part of the property!  Across the little canyon.
  • You can only hear a bit of highway noise off in the distance (from two sides)
  • Other than that, it's mostly you and the turkeys and coyotes and barking elk and occasional power equipment off in the distance - quite lovely, actually
  • Almost but not quite next to a State Park (aka local game preserve )
  • There are some other wells in the area, but I don't know much about all of that yet
  • I've also researched nearby septic, taken drone video, found the original 1914 land patent, 3-D topo mapped it in Google Earth, etc.



  • For the...ah, less desirable qualities.....or maybe those qualities for the more adventurous / willing to work for a lower price!

  • No legal access (that is, recorded easement) - YET - may be possible
  • Good, recent logging road goes most of the way from the county road to the neighboring field - something like 1-1/2 or 2 miles!
  • Old logging road appears to go around the hillside, through a different neighbor, and does go through my parcel
  • There's a third neighbor (farm) through which a hypothetical easement would be a lot shorter - all of that would have to be arranged and built though
  • I *think* it's on the Reservation - trying to confirm this and if so, exactly what difference it makes (I think they at least retain hunting rights)
  • There may be some complications with title insurance and such - I am working on that - I don't think anything bad, just more steps to work through



  • Price??  Like a good engineer, my answer is: "It depends..."  How much work do you want to put in, how much....uh, unorthodoxy?... are you willing to deal with?  I've had two different people in the industry wet-thumb it (after a basic look) in the 50-60k+ range - if you could drive right to it and all the usual ducks were in their usual row (i.e. with easements and road and clear title and so on).


    I am not an attorney, real estate professional, title specialist or medical doctor, and this does not constitute legal, medical or other professional advice or an offer for sale or solicitation for bid, etc. etc.  No warranties expressed or implied, wash before wear, contents may be hot after heating, all rights reserved.  Et cetera ad infinitum!  


    That's all for now.  Even if my ideas aren't working out for now, I think I'd just as soon sell to a fellow Permie, as to an out-of-state "investor" or someone who will put in a 4000-sq-ft typical house for 3 people and 2 dogs!

    7 months ago
    And while I'm still thinking about it....

    It occurs to me that I might rather sell to a Permie type than many others, not to mention a "land investor" in Florida.  And/or this community would be a natural place to find someone interested in some kind of land-for-work type of trade.  The (temporary) end of my dreams may be the beginning of someone else's?!

    I have seen a few land for sale posts in the regional subforums... 1) Is that something allowed / encouraged?  and 2) Would that be the best permies.com place for selling or advertising some kind of creative trade / looking for help?
    7 months ago
    Thanks everyone for the comments, kind words, and ideas!  Like I figured, this is helping me process what's going on and think through options.  And clarify what's important...
    There's lots going on in all of this (like in anything), here are a few more of the things swirling through my head.

    I have thought in the past about starting small, getting friends to help, and so on - but thanks for reminding me and giving some more specific ideas.  William, I think there's really something to your idea of trading some of the space for some help....  Not sure if it's something I could pull off at present or not, but worth considering.

    And John, yours on sitting on it and/or on getting help, with my input being the planning.  Alas, I don't think I'm really there yet either, have some of the basic ideas down, but not ready to "do" my own project.  I am in my early 30s, so (Lord willing) plenty of time yet.  Real access could possibly be arranged with some effort and probably expense; although I do have an informal agreement with a neighbor that can get a pickup (which I don't have) at least to my border.


    Stepping back a bit - When I got this land, I knew it would either be a long-term project, or that I may not be able to keep it, because I was already sick.  In fact, I bought it with some insurance money, so it's even more natural to use it to support me through this time, that's what the money was for originally.  

    Plus, I may be getting some help from my community already towards some treatment....makes me feel even more responsible for doing all I can, to honor that, even if it means some sacrifices.  A lot of the counsel I'm getting is to sell it.  As we've said, giving up on something now doesn't have to mean forever.  And boy, the cash is very tempting (I got an unsolicited offer in the mail)...

    However, difficulties have a way of clarifying priorities, and I am considering some other ways I may have to help the short term.

    Thanks again everyone!  I'm still chewing on stuff here.  Feel free to add anything else that may pop into your heads....
    7 months ago
    First off - I'm not writing this to complain or anything, or even necessarily asking for advice.  I think it will help me to process and think through things, by saying it out loud (errr, writing it...).  And saying it to people who will understand should help too...

    I bought 10 acres a while back.  For years, I've had this dream of owning land, doing something worthwhile with it, maybe eventually building a home and raising my family there; all along more natural / permie / healthier / sustainable / etc. lines.  Great, wonderful.  Then an opportunity came along and I got some cheap land - praise God!  Have been out there exploring, observing, learning, camping, etc. - enjoying it.  Making some half-baked plans while learning a lot of stuff.

    Sometimes things don't work out like you'd dreamed, though.

    I have some fairly major chronic health issues.  Like, not able to hold down a regular job for several years, money running out, etc.  Not to mention that I see no way I'm physically able to do much real work on my raw land, in any kind of realistic time frame to support myself with.  It doesn't help that the land is 50 minutes away plus a short hike - no direct access (long story).

    So, I think it's getting to be time to sell.  Even though I really like it, and am getting attached to it, and some recent changes make it more easily buildable, and I really want to do something useful with it.... reality is setting in.  I could use the cash for treatment and supporting myself while hopefully recovering and spooling up some work I'm able to do.  (Years of education and experience in a totally different field, while all of this stuff is almost new to me.  I'm glad my ability to eat is not directly tied to my ability to grow food!)

    Sometimes you really need to go back and ask, Why?  Why am I wanting to do this in the first place?  What exactly do I hope to accomplish?  And then - can those things be accomplished in some other, more practicable, way?

    Of course, one thing not working out now, doesn't mean that you'll *never* be able to do anything along those lines.

    These are just a few of the things going through my head right now.  I may add more later.  Thank you for listening, do you charge for your time ?
    8 months ago
    There may be a lot more opportunity for things like this in the future.  

    Some are calling it the "retail apocalypse", where a whole lot of retail and especially the big chains are, well, "highly leveraged" (i.e. in debt up to or past their eyeballs) and not doing well besides.  Online shopping I think has been blamed also.

    The recent demise of Toys 'r' Us is one example.  Some are predicting a bunch of other bankruptcies, closures, layoffs, etc.  Turns out that a lot of these things have been houses of cards from the beginning (lots of debt).

    Google it sometime when you're bored.....
    8 months ago