Living 100 Years Ago Today: My Life in the Mountains

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Ted DuPuis, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Two friends of mine live 100% off-grid in the mountains outside of Ft. Collins. I've known Matt for close to 15 years, and Sally for I suppose around 6-7, whenever she moved in with Matt. They have no running water, use solar and wind power, and have a 10 mile drive to town. Their house is on 160 acres. It's a stark contrast to how most of us live, but has always been intriguing to me.

    Sally recently wrote a book about life in the mountains, from the perspective of someone who moved there relatively recently. I'm about 3/4 of the way through and am thoroughly enjoying it. It shows both how hard and how rewarding that lifestyle can be.

    http://sallyroth.com/Autographed Books YAY/index.html
     
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  2. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    I can see the attraction for living off the grid and using solar and wind power but why no running water? Why not dig a well and use their solar/wind power to run the pump?
     
  3. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you PoA Supporter

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    I like that she sells it online.
     
  4. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you PoA Supporter

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    And seriously, I'm not sure how long I would last.
     
  5. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    You wouldn't. No computer to make your tube videos, no way to plug in and shred, no beer, no way to follow the monkey, etc etc.
     
  6. N659HB

    N659HB Line Up and Wait

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    No red handle...
     
  7. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    How do they watch porn?
     
  8. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    Watch wild animals go at it? :dunno:
     
  9. Catalo

    Catalo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They still print it. Playboy doesn't but others do. I guess just fold the pages so it looks like they are moving?
     
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  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    SkyDog said that's how he does it. :D
     
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  11. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Good question. They could absolutely do that, and they have a spring on their property that is very reliable. The issues are 1) the cost and 2) concerns over freezing pipes. They would have to pay a crew to come up and dig a trench and pipe 3 feet underground to prevent it from freezing. This would be very expensive where they live (remember it's hard to get to). Then, they would also have to have consistent heat. They heat with wood, whereas most of us heat with something that requires less maintenance (oil, gas, electric). If they want to up and leave for a month right now, all they have to do is pack the stuff they need and leave. If they had indoor plumbing, they would have to drain the pipes out completely.

    The lack of indoor plumbing is a negative (and yes, they have an outhouse - actually a nice one that is described in the book) but it makes sense. When we leave for vacation in the winter, we just turn the thermostat down to a lower setting and walk out the door. Of course, our heater is then running while we're gone. Harder to do that with wood.

    There are folks in their area who do the 100% off-grid thing and have more amenities than they do, so it's not inherently a requirement. But wood is free (and they have lots of it), they're able to make due with the water they can get via buckets, the outhouse is actually quite nice, so it all works for them.

    That's part of what's so interesting about the book to me.

    There is some irony there. :)

    I agree 6PC wouldn't, but it has more to do with the manual labor that he can't hire someone else to do. ;)

    To clarify, they do have TV (satellite) and internet (also satellite). Matt is one of my best friends, he and I talk almost every day via Google Chat. Modern technology lets you be off grid with some of the on-grid conveniences. They have solar panels, a wind turbine generator, and a gas generator for power (plus a battery bank to hold said power).
     
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  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Let's keep these discussions out of the thread. Besides, they have internet. ;)
     
  13. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    Don't be so narrow minded and judge mental !

    My wife calls my airplane magazines "porn" and when she gets on the computer and sees all the airplane related crap I look at she always says "I see you were looking at porn again"
     
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  14. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Well, those are some great answers and I hadn't considered that they might not be using their generated power to provide some of their heat. It does make sense though. I assume they at least use their electric to operate blowers for the wood heat.

    But I tell you what, I'd rather have no internet than no indoor plumbing. I had to use an outhouse quite a bit when I was a kid even in Indiana winters and I would not want to return to that. Of course, our outhouse was about as bare boned as they come.
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    I can't remember if they have blowers on their stoves or not. Their house is pretty small, so there's less of a need for blowers, but obviously that'd make a big difference. They try to avoid running the generator as much as possible, and rely mostly on solar and wind. This, of course, depends on how much sun and wind there are.

    The winters are not fun, but their outhouse description actually makes it sound like someplace you'd want to check out, specifically the view. But you'll just have to read the book to find out more about that. ;)
     
  16. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    That be some serious pimpin' ya be doin'. ;)
     
  17. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Well if you buy the book you can help them afford that well. ;)
     
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  18. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    LOL. While it certainly does sound like an interesting read, my bookshelves are already full of books I need to read. Of course, I should be doing that rather than spending so much time online.
     
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  19. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for letting us know about this, Ted. The book looks interesting.
     
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  20. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Amazon has it and if you have Prime, you can save the $6.75 shipping. Of course you wouldn't get the autographed copy I assume. Looks interesting.
     
  21. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Regarding the water thing. Why not run a surface (or shallow) line to the spring to carry water to a tank in the cabin. That should provide running water 8 months out of the year, with the only challenge being sustained freezing weather. That time of year, you drain the lines, and the tank too if you're not gonna be there to keep the fire going...
     
  22. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Surprised they don't go geo thermal, with a well, yeah it's a pain to put in, but for a off grid setup, seems good, there's off the grid and there's chronic camping mode, not sure I could do the outhouse and no running water bit.
     
  23. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky Pattern Altitude

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    Wood isn't free. You have to cut it, transport it, split it and stack it. I lived up in ski country for 7 years and one winter we burned 12 cords of wood. All collected, cut and split by us. You need a truck and a chainsaw and some splitting wedges, axes, sledge hammers etc. Chainsaws need almost constant sharpening and other maintenance. It was a lot of work, maybe 10 hours a week.
     
  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Oops, missed a whole bunch of replies. :)

    Yes, Amazon does have it. But they get less of the money if you buy it off of Amazon, and also you won't get the autographed copy.

    Sustained freezing weather for them ends up being 6+ months out of the year at their elevation (8100 MSL, IIRC). Plus, lots of expense involved in getting that happening.

    Geothermal would be a good solution for off-grid but again, very expensive.

    There are folks who live up there who have setups that end up being not much different from someone who's on the grid. It's certainly the way to go if you can afford it, but good luck getting anything like that financed up there, so you have to have the money to spend on it.

    This is true, you do have to work for it. But when you compare the amount you'd spend on propane heat or the like, it's basically free for them since the trees are free. Got a Husqvarna Rancher chainsaw that they've had for some 20 years (well, Matt has had it that long - bought it when he moved there), an axe, and an old F-150 that does the wood hauling job. They don't do much splitting - the thing runs all the time in heating season, so they only need enough split wood to start the fire when they either come back from being gone an extended period or to start it up if it's been off for a while. Otherwise, the wood goes in as a log most of the time (obviously the trees are of the appropriate diameter for this).

    I forget how many cords a year they go through, but it says in the book. Something on the order 10 sounds accurate. Yes, it's a lot of work, but also more affordable and it's part of the lifestyle they want. For me, spending that much time chopping wood is not appealing, nor would it work out. But their lifestyle is very different from those of us who would be called "townies."
     
  25. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky Pattern Altitude

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    This was ski country and the guy that I cut all that wood with "bought" (squatters rights) a cabin at timberline (11.5k') from Buckskin Joe for $100 and a bottle of whiskey. It was near Breckenridge back when you could do this and he tried to live up there for a winter. 4wd road in summer and NO ROAD in winter. Cant be plowed without a bulldozer and Forest Service wouldnt let you. Could run a snowmobile and people do. After getting his 4wd Dodge Power Wagon with chains on all 4 wheels major stuck, (and i and some other hands winched him out) he tried skiing up and back. Made it until February and gave up and went to Florida! I think he spent most of his time at his girlfriends in town though. I visited him up there skiing in, he had a really funky 2 story cabin with an outhouse. Spent the night. Man it was cold up there!!! It got down to 30 below! I coulda "bought" that cabin for a bottle of wine and $50 bucks. Damn!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Living up there in the winter is hard, no doubt. A lot of times my friends are just stuck there for however long in the winter until snow clears, so it's important to have enough wood piled up and enough canned food to make it through. Their road can be done 2WD in the summer, although they generally drive 4WD anyway.
     
  27. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Also, believe it or not, their standard vehicle is an AWD early 90s Subaru Legacy. It's reliable and does the job very well. They do have a 4x4 F-150 with chains (80s model), and a friend has an 80s 460-powered F-350 4x4 with chains and a plow for plowing the roads in winter.
     
  28. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky Pattern Altitude

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    Theres this valley around here not to far from here that is ALL offgrid. No electric, telephone lines, or gas, water or sewer. Some of those places have solar and propane generators and have cell phone, tv reception, everything. Its way more expensive than living in town, even a mountain town. The commute ends up being the big drag if you have to come into town or anywhere every day and back.....The worse thing is the mud. If you stay there, theres not a lot to do except have wrestling matches with each other. Might not be half bad for a while :)