Galen Young

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since Mar 14, 2017
out in the woods of Maine
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Recent posts by Galen Young

I am sorry to hear about your problems.

We have been on our homestead for 13 years. We know a lot of fellow homesteaders. Everyone of them [us] as we age, we get older and we all develop problems.

In my case, I have cancer. I have had surgery to remove it, then 4 years later it came back on me. Last summer I spent going through radiation and hormone shots. This year I am still on the hormone shots.

For other people, it might be back problems, or heart issues, etc.

As we grow old all of us develop health problems.

3 months ago
We have a close friend [Jesse] who lives in an off-grid cabin.  All Winter they chop holes through river ice, to access fresh water for their home. They use an outhouse. They have a portable washtub that they take turns bathing in. For hot water they heat the water over a wood stove. Jesse works for the city as their Town Manager. Her husband Josh is the town Fire Cheif, and they are raising three daughters, the oldest girl is a high school senior.

Can you imagine raising three girls, and the entire family has to heat bath water over a woodstove?

Wow, they hosted us for Thanksgiving dinner last year.

3 months ago
In my area a lot of people are fully off-grid.

No laws are broken by it.
3 months ago
I grow horseradish inside plastic drums. The problem with horse radish is its tap root. Normally you can never dig down deep enough to get access to all of the tap root, so it will come back on you, and then spread.

Growing inside a container [with a serious bottom] the tap root hits the bottom and then it coils. Byt flipping the container upside down once a year, you will find the tap root in coils on top. It is very easy to remove at this point. And return the plant to grow yet another tap root.

4 months ago

S Bengi wrote:... I don't even think it will cost that much more to build.

When I was pricing these things [2005] a steel structure is much less expensive [per square-foot] than the same size wood-stick structure.

Steel structures are 'hurricane-proof' and pretty much fire-proof.
6 months ago
Our home is made of steel.  It was originally a 'kit' structure marketed as an airplane hangar. On a concrete foundation and I assembled it myself. The exterior walls and roof are steel with a baked on enamel finish.

I sprayed 2 inches of urethane foam on the interior and then hung 9 inches of fiberglass batting, before installing wood grain paneling.

Burning forest trees can fall and land directly on our house, without causing our house to catch on fire.
6 months ago
My last duty station where I retired was Naples Italy.

Returning stateside we decided to settle in Maine.

Most of the nation suffers from repeated droughts or 'water-stress', Maine has no such issues.

Most of Maine is rural and it is over 92% forest. I bought two forested parcels, one of which was marketed for $350/acre.

There is a sub-culture here pushing for 'Food Sovereignty' [which gives all land-owners the right to sell whatever you grow on your land]. It keeps USDA inspectors out of the process, if you grow carrots you have the right to sell your carrots, and I as a customer I have the right to buy your carrots.

Most townships here lack building inspectors. I was able to build our house myself. Our building permit came with a certificate of 'self-inspection and completion' for me to sign when I was done building it.

Maine has always been among the top 5 states for gun rights. We have a constitutional right to Open Carry and to Conceal Carry.

The 'snow-belt' region downwind from the Great Lakes is known for snow storms that can dump many feet of snow in a single storm. This region is basically "Grand Rapids-Detroit-Cleveland-Toronto-Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse-Ithaca-Scranton-Albany-NYC-New Haven-Hartford-Springfield-Worcester-Providence-Manchester-Boston".  Not very much of Maine dips down South into that region. Here in Maine we may get that quantity of snow spread out over the course of the entire winter, a couple inches one week, a couple inches the next week, and so on. Maine gets a lot of summer tourists from the snow belt. They think we are heroic for living here since we are North of them, they think we must get 10X more snow than they get. But they forget that we are not in the snow belt.

10 months ago
Have you contacted MOFGA?

They sponsor a wide array of farm apprenticeship positions.
11 months ago

Devin Lavign wrote:... When going off grid you do often need to think outside the box and look at alternatives to using power to do stuff, since it is no longer cheap and readily available. Hanging clothes outside/inside on a line rather than a drier for example saves a lot of power use. There are tons of little things you can do and big things you can do to reduce the need to use power to accomplish a goal. Being off grid you really need to access everything that uses power and figure out if there is another way. And if you can live with using the other way. Some will be fine opting for hand washing clothes, others will insist on powered washer. bneither is right or wrong, it depends on you and your family and what is best for you. A single guy washing clothes by hand is a lot easier than a family of 4.

A local group had a 'Solar home tours' event today and I agreed to open our farm for tours. We just finished giving a bunch of farm tours, and had to explain this.  

A common theme among installers is to get prospective customers to calculate their monthly power usage, and then use various formulas to design a solar power system.

This builds a false narrative.

My home is on solar power. On most days my batteries are charging by 8am and somewhere between 10am and noon our batteries are at 100% SOC. We can run every home appliance and every power tool without consuming all the power that we generate. However if we were to use the above formula, it would say that our photovoltaic panels only generate about 80% of how much we 'need'.

In reality from noon everyday until 4pm we have surplus power that we can not use.

In light of this reality, my wife bought a dishwasher. It only runs during daylight hours. We have a clothes washing machine and a clothes dryer. We raise pigs and we market pork, as it turns out we raise pigs faster than what we can market pork. So we have a large surplus of pork. Which then drove us to buy more chest freezers. Today we have four chest freezers filled with pork.

To assume that using solar power means that you must handwash your dishes, or use a clothesline to dry your clothes is a false narrative.

I own a Prius Prime. It sits plugged-in right now. I can drive into town, do a couple errands and drive home again, all within the 25-mile EV driving radius that it provides. All without it's gas engine ever starting.

Living on Solar Power is a lifestyle. But you must make the shift to this lifestyle. Once that shift is made you can actually do a lot.

btw; our chest freezers are all on timers, so they can only run from 8am until 4pm. All other appliances stay off until after the sun is up each day. My wife loves her coffee percolator, but even that can only be used when the sun is out.

1 year ago
I grew-up farming. When considering regions to settle after I retired, I wanted to avoid the drought-prone regions of the nation. So we chose New England.

The primary consumption of energy here is home heating. Active Solar Heating systems give you much better 'bang' for the buck than do Solar power systems.

Here in rural Maine the power grid is unreliable and it does not extend into most townships. Most parcels that I looked at do not have grid access. If you want electricity, then you must make it yourself. That is life on the East Coast.

Yes generating electricity yourself is more expensive, but this is often the only option.
1 year ago