C Shobe

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since Nov 09, 2010
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Recent posts by C Shobe

It just occurred to me that I haven't posted a picture of myself on this thread, which is a bit silly. So, this is me!

9 years ago

Alder Burns wrote:I wonder if you will find anyone man enough to step up to the plate!

I would hope there are plenty such men left in the world, sad of a point as overall society has gotten to in general. I would think Missouri should be a bit easier place than a lot of places in that respect - I lived there for a while as a child and some of my best memories are there - really nice part of the country, and a lot of people into more self-reliant ways of living there. Once I do have money saved up for land, it's not unlikely at all that my destination will end up being Missouri, as I can buy there is land that's inexpensive, remote, and has minimal property taxes, perfect for a self-reliant lifestyle. I'm personally hoping to have a big family, and would love the opportunity to meet somebody like this - if only the timing and location were closer! I hope that the "real" men in Missouri can realize the wonderful opportunity that the sad/unfortunate loss has brought (my sincere condolences to R Fracassa), and not let fears get in the way of that.
9 years ago

Carey Crozier wrote:Just thought we might get along, even if only as cyber-pen pals.

Hope you're happy and healthy!

Hi Carey, thanks for your message and kind wishes. Would definitely be interested in talking more! I'm having a pretty busy weekend as the weather has finally gotten warm enough to start preparing space where we're going to be starting to plant stuff this spring and clearing up some of the overgrowth in the surrounding woods, so I'm busy busy with outdoors work before going back to regular work on Monday. I'll try to send you a message when I've got a little more time!
9 years ago
Some other random things about me:

  • Most things I own are from thrift stores
  • The things I buy new, I try to get the highest quality possible, favoring durability and quality over price
  • I strongly avoid any large chain stores - the food I buy comes from a local co-op, I like small private ownership businesses, and am a big fan of hunting Craigslist for local, personal interactions
  • I have a strong aversion to plastic and synthetic materials in general. Wood, glass, rubber, metal, cotton & other natural fibers make me happy
  • All of my clothing is 100% natural, and I even go so far as to remove the polyester tags. I also avoid anything with a logo or any printing on it
  • I have medium length hair and am planning on just letting it grow as it pleases. I almost never shave and prefer to maintain some amount of facial hair - sometimes more than others
  • I avoid chemicals as much as possible. Part of why I don't live more urban is because I don't want to have city water
  • I have not had a television in the last decade, and only rarely watch movies on the computer. I don't listen to music very often and when I do I prefer acoustic and folk sorts of stuff. Nothing beats live music, and what I really enjoy is having friends over who can play guitar, sing, or otherwise make music without electrical equipment
  • I am really into spirituality and periodic meditation, but not into religion or dogma
  • I avoid eating refined things with weird chemical additives and produced with sketchy practices - traditional recipes made as much from scratch as possible from quality ingredients are my favorite. I am a great cook & baker, but also spent many months eating exclusively raw vegan foods and feel that to be a good thing to do in the summer months when fresh food is bountiful. I sometimes make kombucha, yoghurt, and all sorts of pickles; I'd like to do more dehydrating and get more experienced with other preservation methods in the interest of being self-sufficient. I have a lot of respect for the research of Weston Price. I'm opposed to factory farming and into the respectful treatment of all life
  • I've been teaching myself how to work on cars to have a better understanding of mechanics and a generally useful skill that might come in handy one day. I get consulted a lot by friends and coworkers with car issues, and it's nice to know how to help and save people money
  • I strongly value honesty, openness, and acceptance. I offer and seek unconditional love
  • 9 years ago

    Matthew Nistico wrote:removed from the urban sprawl of DC, but still only a short drive to it, yet also a short drive to the more rugged parts of Western MD.

    It's about as urban as I'm willing to deal with. I work an hour's drive east. I went to high school in Boonsboro, which is closer to Hagerstown than Frederick, and my mom had 10-12 acres a couple miles outside of town in farm country where she raised horses and maintained a similar balance with a long commute to a more urban work. I've moved around all over the country in my adult life to different big cities but never really gotten used to them, and Frederick still seems pretty urban to me. The farther west I go in Maryland the nicer people seem to be. Ultimately I'd like to be much more secluded - I've thought about places including West Virginia, Missouri, the Carolinas, or perhaps somewhere in the midwest/southwest...yeah that's a bit vague I know! I'm thinking somewhere a bit warmer would be good but I'm okay with the climate here as well. I don't think I'd want to live in a much colder climate.

    I am betting that a house that old will really burn through some firewood come winter. Have you needed to use much yet this year?

    Apparently the previous tenants averaged nearly $250/month in electric, and also burned through a high volume of heating oil. Our electric usage thus far has been averaging around 10-12kwh/day, with some days a bit more than twice that. I check the meter daily though to give live feedback on how we're doing and the housemates are adjusting their habits to save as much as they can. I believe the water heater is our biggest consumer of electric. We haven't used any heating oil (or electric required to run the furnace fans) since the first day. The wood stove is kept going all the time, with the fireplaces only used on occasion. It uses a fair bit of wood but keeps the house tolerably warm overall. The walls are a foot and a half thick stone and there are storm windows over all of the original single-pane windows, so insulation doesn't seem to be a big concern as of yet. It's been down to 36 degrees outside at night and we've been comfortable enough, with the indoor temperature in the room with the wood stove and above it staying near 70. We are definitely using more wood than I can comfortably keep up with producing, and with winter coming on I fear we'll have to buy some firewood and/or use the oil heat a bit. We also have been doing all cooking exclusively on the wood stove so that's essentially free, and I have an oven that is designed to sit on top of a wood stove coming soon which will allow baking, though I'll need to get some rust damage on the bottom tended to before it can be used. Next year I'll stock up a good wood supply all spring & summer, so it shouldn't be an issue. I think I will try to get a trailer and perhaps a truck in order to do more myself, and probably a chainsaw as well although I don't want to use it most of the time. There are a lot of people giving away free wood to anybody who will come cut it and haul it away, since the recent storm knocked a number of trees down. Would be good to be able to capitalize on such opportunities.

    It is a bit warmer down here. I currently use a plug-in, oil-filled, electric radiator (those things are awesome, BTW). It is my sole source of heat, and can heat my tiny little place for only about $20/month. But then again my current place is REALLY tiny.

    I've used those heaters before when I've rented small places - they're definitely my favorite form of electric heat. I will pick one up next time I see one at a thrift store just to have as a backup, perhaps just for the least cold-tolerant of my housemates to avoid heating the entire house too much.

    It is so funny that you mentioned solar space heaters built from aluminium cans... I am in the middle of designing a home-built space heater following exactly the same method, which I hope to install this winter in the little outbuilding in which I know live. This heater will be a test run for two similar ones I plan to install on the main house. There are some good examples of this same type of DIY space heater on YouTube.

    Yep! I have watched all the videos Paul has ever posted on YouTube and numerous others on subjects that have caught my interest. My options are a bit limited with the house being a rental that I can't modify. My own house one day will have rocket stoves built in.

    Good luck finding the right partners to make the journey with you!

    Thanks, but I'd be quite happy to find just one!
    9 years ago

    Matthew Nistico wrote:I am not the partner you are seeking

    Aww shucks. Well I didn't think it would be that easy!

    I am curious where is this property with the ancient house and the forests and the spring in the basement? Sounds lovely. Could you post some photos?

    It is actually on the northwest edge of Frederick. A half mile down the road towards town are townhouses and developments. This is a nice secluded spot that's surprisingly close to town, for a good price. Most people aren't into places this old I guess, but it's right up my alley, and the perfect spot to have a "practice homestead" while I continue working and saving up money to eventually invest in my own much more isolated land, where I'll build my own house and live life on my own terms. I've got some savings building up for that already, but I'll be here for the next year and possibly beyond becoming as well-practiced and prepared as I can first. My housemates are trying to be as sparing as they can with the electric, we're using kerosene lamps and so far heating exclusively with wood, though there's also an oil-burning furnace. I think I will also try to make one of those solar heaters using old soda cans... I plan on building a chicken coop and raising chickens come spring, planting food and wildflowers like a madman, and probably raising bees as well. I'll have to figure out what else I can manage as I go, I'm sure to think of a lot more plans over the winter!

    Here are some pictures that I took this morning:

    The house (original portion (what is visible in pictures) is thick stone, addition is cement block, the whole lot is covered in stucco):

    Ivy-covered tree in the yard (in the summer I will hang a hammock up in the center of this and sleep under the stars!):

    Paths through the woods:

    Little bit of wood managed to chop in a day with an axe so far...it's really not much but I'm not yet very exercised with an axe! (I'm deliberately trying to NOT use any power tools like a chainsaw):

    Bridge over creek to the mailbox:


    Woodstove & fireplace:

    10 years ago
    Hi everyone...

    I've been thinking about starting to raise bees on my property - I plan on planting a lot of food as well as some flowers in the spring and figure that they would make a wonderful addition to help pollination and just to help promote bee life and nature in general. A bit of excess beeswax for making candles and/or honey would be a nice addition too.

    I'm wondering if some of you with more experience could give me some advice on how to get started. As a DIYer, I'd like to build as much of the necessary equipment as possible myself - any links to instructions? Any items I really need to think about buying? How big should I plan to have plenty enough to make it feel worth my while without being an overwhelming amount of work? I live on about 5-6 acres of property (mostly sparse forest with dense brambles and shrubs at the moment), and don't want to create a notable nuisance for neighbors, though I don't really think that would be much of a problem. Most importantly, assuming I have everything set up and ready, how do I get started? How do I start a hive and where do I buy the bees from? What is the best time of year to start? Are there particular types of wildflowers I should buy seeds for to ensure the bees have foods they enjoy throughout the year?

    Sorry for being completely new at this, and thanks in advance for any and all advice!
    10 years ago

    Rufus Laggren wrote:A gentle way to remove rust (any kind): Let it sit in white vinegar for a day or five. Check each day. But an oil film will prevent the vinegar from acting so you must clean the surface first. Dish detergent combined with scrubbing with a steel brush will work; so will brake cleaner (read the safety warnings).

    When you are happy with the rust removal you have to IMMEDIATELY rinse, dry and paint the surface. The rust starts the instant you remove it from the bath. Have your paint setup ready to go; if you have a hair dryer handy that's often the fastest way to dry a part for painting. Keep you fingers off the part to be painted - your finger oils will mess up the paint adhesion.


    You can also use a baking soda solution to neutralize the lingering acidity, which is what encourages the rust. Then oil.
    10 years ago
    I'm currently in Maryland and will be here for the next year at least but am open to moving long-term. I'm renting a 200-year-old house on a few acres of mostly forest with a spring in the basement, heating the place with wood harvested from the property, cooking everything on a woodstove, and will be planting a lot come spring. Also planning on possibly raising chickens and some other animals. I just love being as self-reliant as possible, and am really enjoying this step on my slow journey towards that goal. Got a couple great housemates but they don't share the same values and love of the lifestyle and more than anything, I want to find someone who loves these sorts of things as much as I do and would like to share a life together. Eventually I think I will buy some secluded land, build my own house, and become completely self-sufficient. But I don't want to do it alone - ideally we could start or join a small community of other like-minded people but most important is finding a partner first. I'd also like to have a family in time. So if you're in the northeast USA, and looking for a guy who's passions are the sorts of things you read about here, or if you're not close but are somewhere around my age and would like to correspond regularly in hopes of one day moving closer, please let me know more about yourself! I'm 32 and not too picky about age - most important is having the same motivation for this sort of lifestyle.
    10 years ago