How To Build A Survival Cabin On A Shoestring Budget


In June of 1999, my wife and I desperately needed a survival cabin. How to build it on our shoestring budget–and a thoroughly frayed shoestring at that–was another question.

We didn’t even have a place to put it.

In truth, we were desperate to get a place of our own. My long established business was fading, bankruptcy was being held off by nothing but a long stick and a lot of determination, and my sisters wanted us and our several cats out of Mom’s house ASAP.

We understood. Mom was 86 at the time. We were only there for a week, but that was more than long enough under the circumstances. Every day, I left my little redheaded honey to visit, watch soap operas, and nap while I searched for somewhere we could settle. The first place was on Fish Creek near Butte, and that story may be told in a future post. We thought it would be good at first. But soon, oh so soon, we were looking again.

It would be another decade before we’d find our permanent landing pad near the Mexican border, in southern Cochise County, Arizona. There, I would single handedly build a full sized home (shown in the top photo), dub it the Border Fort, and we’d settle in for the duration.

But we didn’t know that yet. Nor, that time, were we quite ready for the remarkable experience of off grid Arizona. Pam was disabled, and I needed some seasoning.

Instead, that time, we bought an off grid 20 acre parcel of land near Craig, Montana. For $500 down, we were in business, but what we had purchased was bare land, limited by covenants that mostly forbade goats and pigs while offering nothing in the way of shelter. We had very little cash to spare and no available credit. We did have creditors galore, but that’s hardly the same thing…although one certainly does lead to the other,.

Fortunately, we moved onto the land in midsummer, on July 12, so we could get by for a while in the tent I had purchased in Missoula, Montana, prior to moving to Fish Creek. Hm. Winter would be right along, but the money would not. Still, we knew what to do.

Pam had a plan.

Put A Tuff Shed On Skids, She Said

A simple shed would work as a survival cabin. She knew how to make sure we kept it “ours” in case we had to leave–since the skids meant it would not be attached to the land–and it fit into the shoestring budget category, more or less.

Moe Key Man As A Cabin Kitten In The Hanging Laundry Bag, 1999

Moe Key Man As A Cabin Kitten In The Hanging Laundry Bag, 1999

We Build A 12′ X 16′ Castle

Pam knew about Tuff Sheds from her many years in Arizona. There were covenants on our new property–no mobile homes permitted, for example–but rough-and-ready cabins “on the mountain” were more usual than not. She was quite ill already, but her knowledge remained intact. We planned on a 12 by 16 foot cabin, a palatial total of 192 square feet. On skids.

Looking around in a 200-mile radius for the best deal, we stumbled on a true treasure: Just a few miles from our location, there lived a retired man named Al who built sheds as a sideline. Our shed WOULD have cost around $2,200 from a commercial shed dealer, plus delivery charges. Al would build us one on site for $1,750 with a house type slider window at one end, plus two small holes cut into the sides (into which I would put window glass and screens.).

His part would be to erect the shell only. All finish work would be mine to do.

The day it was completed, Pam watched from a chair under a shade tree next to our tent, roughly 100 yards from the bench I’d selected as our homesite. Just at dusk, Al and his helper packed up their tools and headed out. I carried my lady from her seat to our new home. When we met, she had been homeless for 2 1/2 years. As I carried her over the threshhold into a secure, four-walled enclosure that was OURS, she looked up at the ceiling and exclaimed,

“It’s like a dream come true!”

Which it was, even though the work had just begun. Our living room couch came out of storage in Deer Lodge, hauled all the way to Craig in the back of our 1984 Chevy Citation with the hatchback up and ropes keeping it from bouncing out. That became Pam’s bed.

The county dump became a source of many treasures, including a three foot piece of counter top that flanked the toilet…which in turn was made up of a five gallon pail with Pine Sol water in the bottom and a perfectly fitting standard toilet seat snapped to the top.

We opted for R-11 insulation and cheap paneling to finish the interior. Friends we had met before even selecting our land parcel donated a four-burner propane stove top, and I built a stand for it out of 2″ x 4″ lumber. Similar wood produced two tables, one of them permanently resting next to Pam’s bed-couch for her things and to give her something to hold onto while getting out of bed.

Eventually, I got around to building a long table that stood along the same wall as Pam’s couch. Bingo! A bed-table, with my sleeping pads now up off the cold wooden floor. Our old 2″ x 12″ waterbed frame became skirting for the cabin. A coat of paint was applied.

And then the wildfire hit.

It would take too long to tell the entire “fire story” here. Maybe in another post, later. For now, suffice it to say we saved nearly everything, and did it with nothing but a single shovel and a whole lotta action. Neighbors and professional firefighters saved the rest of the mountain, but we saved our own residence single-handed. Okay, double-handed.

It came so close to “getting us” that the entire south wall of the cabin was bowed several inches out of line by the heat. But everything held.

The Cabin Kitten As A Senior Cat In Colorado, 2008

Moe Key Man Cat Naps In Mom's Chair, His Favorite Spot

Moe Key Man Cat Naps In Mom’s Chair, His Favorite Spot

Despite The Fire, We Stayed Within Our Budget

With all of the finish work inside, including the purchase of a used propane refrigerator for $75 and a used propane furnace for $25, the money did add up. Still, Pam had managed to save every piece of new lumber when the fire encircled our place. We each did our part and, unbelievably, lost nothing other than a few less-than-essential things that were still in the tent at the time.

That did encourage me to finally take down the tent and roll it up for storage, though.

Our super-special Moe Key Man cat joined us as a young kitten just a few weeks after the fire. He loved the cabin as much as we did. As long as Pam and I are within a few feet of each other in a small, somewhat enclosed space, he is one happy camper.

Oh, you want to know how we cleaned up? During that first summer, we rigged a high framework attached to the front of the cabin, used the four-foot door and a mountain ridge for privacy, and showered under a ten gallon solar bag of sun-heated water.

By winter, however, I’d found a way-too-large bathtub–awfully big for the size of the cabin, but on sale in Great Falls for $79. Then after cutting a hole in the floor, I got some help from a neighboring teenager to dig a hole just east of the cabin into which we planted an old (free!) 55-gallon drum with many holes drilled through the sides and bottom. A drain pipe ran from the tub though the floor, out through a trench (which was then filled in with dirt) and into the drum.

To complete the drain field, we then simply lugged a LOT of round river rocks, dropping them into the hole around the empty drum until the hole was full to the brim. Replace the lid, cover over the top few inches with dirt so that the installation becomes invisible to visitors, and bingo! Instant gray water disposal. From that time forward, we could heat water on the stovetop and either fill dishpans in the tub for washing dishes…or fill the tub itself for a hot soak.

For a shower, we hung a solar bag full of toasty water from the ceiling. No chilly wind that way, and a WHOLE lot more privacy.

Pam and I have grandiose dreams for the future: We intend to build on 35 acres of land we’re currently buying in southeastern Colorado, and we’d like to have around six thousand feet of workable space (counting garage and shop). [Note: This did not work out. After making payments for more than two years, we hit a financial pothole and lost the acreage in early 2009.] But we lived in our 192 square foot Montana cabin for three years, warm and cozy, with no complaints in heart or mind.

To wrap up, though: How did we do when it came to staying inside our original budget? In early July, before construction began, we had targeted a total of $3,000 and hoped we could have our new mountain cabin home all winter-ready for no more–or little more–than that. Despite the challenges of organizing paperwork in such a small space, we kept meticulous records.

We did more to the place as time went on and funds became available, but we were comfortable and ready to face cold weather by October 15. As of that date, our little cabin had cost us exactly $2,987.15. Thanks to several key treasures from area dumps and a few donations (like the stovetop) from new friends, we owned a survival cabin free and clear for under three thousand dollars.

Nor was it on skids by accident. Since it was not attached to the land, the developer who sold us the place could not claim it to be his when we left. Oh, he would have…except our neighbors on the next parcel helped me load our stuff out when the time came. In return, we gave them the cabin, which they promptly hooked up behind their pickup and towed over to their adjoining parcel.

Which made their survival cabin, obviously, an even better bargain than we had managed to obtain.

And Of Course, There’s Always The Traditional Log Cabin

Another Interesting Alternative

Update as of 10/05/09: My friend Red Elk has for some time been involved in a fascinating experiment. He decided to build a Mini-Dome from scratch, using mostly salvaged materials and sweat equity. As of this writing, the project is close to completion and has received numerous compliments from those who’ve been fortunate to visit the little structure in person…and he’s accomplished this with a total cash outlay of no more than $300!

Fortunately, Red Elk has been kind enough to give me permission to post a few of his photos here. He believes that the hard economic times we face today are nothing compared to hard times that are yet to come. With this in mind, he hopes that people will learn from both his successes and his mistakes. His overriding point is that you don’t need a lot of money (or for that matter a lot of space) to produce a livable structure in which to survive, that there are building materials available everywhere if we simply open our eyes and “see”.

He began this endeavor with nothing but a single truckload of dirt dumped in a pile, added a good bit of hard work with a shovel, and went from there.

One low dirt wall contains a stove...set right into the wall.

One low dirt wall contains a stove…set right into the wall.

Hard work and plenty of it? Most definitely.

Hard work and plenty of it? Most definitely.

Another angle.

Another angle.

My favorite shot. Note the hand tied "skeleton" salvaged from Nature...but most of all the LIGHT! (The tarp is only a temporary roof, but I could live in this!)

My favorite shot. Note the hand tied “skeleton” salvaged from Nature…but most of all the LIGHT! (The tarp is only a temporary roof, but I could live in this!)

Red Elk's favorite shot, the backside of his "Gnome Home".

Red Elk’s favorite shot, the backside of his “Gnome Home”.

March 22, 2010 update--what a difference!

March 22, 2010 update–what a difference!

Absolutely stunning.

Absolutely stunning.

And then some.

And then some.

Update, March 22, 2010

Red Elk just forwarded three more photos of his mini-dome as it exists today. The difference between the earlier photos and the three he just forwarded (the bottom three, above), is truly remarkable. These are absolutely stunning.

Red Elk: October 15 Dome Photos

When I just now scanned this survival cabin page prior to posting Red Elk’s newest batch of min-dome photos, I noted that when the piece was first written, Pam and I’d planned to eventually build on 35 acres in Colorado. Things change. We lost that piece before we could finish paying for it.

However, we’ve since built an earthbag-walled “border fort” in Arizona. We’re pretty proud of it, and it’s sturdy enough to withstand even an armed attack by Mexican drug cartel goons–if it comes to that, and it could. If you’re curious, feel free to click on the link.

In the meantime, here are the latest views from Red Elk. Enjoy!

Red Elk 1.

Red Elk 1.

Red Elk 2.

Red Elk 2.

Red Elk 3.

Red Elk 3.

Red Elk 4.

Red Elk 4.

Red Elk 5.

Red Elk 5.

mtn16 Red Elk 6.

Red Elk 7.

Red Elk 7.

Red Elk 8.

Red Elk 8.

Red Elk’s health is failing, but his knowledge about mini dome construction will not die with him. His grandson, Sky, who lives with Red Elk and his wife, has now built a mini dome of his own.

Interior Shots of Sky’s Dome, October 2010 Update


Dan Phillips of Texas

Update 11/06/10: Red Elk has done (and continues to do) inspiring work, both learning and teaching how to build survival domes for almost nothing. Today, he sent me a link to a YouTube video about Dan Phillips…who essentially builds homes from recyclable materials. While Dan doesn’t get it done quite as cheaply as Red Elk does, he’s right on the same page with me when it comes to money.

That is, he feels the cost of an “affordable” home should be in the $20,000 to $50,000 range. I’ve single-handedly built our Border Fort in southern Arizona at a cost that looks like it will finish out (including all plumbing and appliances) at right around $35,000–dead center in Dan’s “affordable” range.

The Phillips homes are definitely more imaginative and innovative than anything I’ve ever built, though. Gotta give him that!

Red Elk’s Mini-Domes: Update 2011

Vasso Skezas, after journeying to see these mini-marvels for himself, sent us a couple of photos with the following text:

I was/am amazed at the beauty and character of these domes. Very well put together for such a low budget, which is actually ideal for what they are supposed to be an example of (“back to the (our) future” living). I plan on building at least one dome like this back in Ithaca, NYwhere I live, and will post pics/tell of it as i go along. thank-you Ghost, and thank-you Red Elk for building these awesome examples of what can be done with what is available for next to nothing.

The photos are posted below.



RETRO UPDATE as of AUGUST 7, 2015!

Huh? What the heck is a “retro” update?

Good question. In this case, it’s the happy discovery that Leonid (commenting a few days ago) informed me that he’d preserved a copy of this entire post and more than 800 comments–nearly half of them from Red Elk himself–and would be willing to email me a set so that many if not all of the missing comments (from when I migrated all my stuff from HubPages to my own website) could be restored to visibility for the reading public.

So I’m going to start copying and pasting that material (hundreds of comments, some quite lengthy) below. It may be slightly confusing in that WordPress will automatically show the date I do each addition while the original date of each comment will also be posted. Addditionally, I’m going to be starting at the beginning (more than 6 years ago)…but Red Elk’s commentary is worth it.


72 thoughts on “How To Build A Survival Cabin On A Shoestring Budget

  1. Note to our regular readers: This article was published on another site (which I did not own) for nearly six years but is now here at Ghost32writer (which I do own). However, moving the Comments was not practical, so we lost 806 of those in the transfer. If you have questions, though, please ask. I’m online nearly every night and can usually respond within 24 hours.

    There are some other advantages (besides ownership) to having the information here. For one thing, this site is organized. You can easily locate anything I have published, simply by checking out the appropriate Index (or Indexes) up there near the top of the page. On the other site, it was often nearly impossible to find even my own material, but we’ve fixed that here.

  2. Survival cabin update: Not on the Montana location featured on this page, but at our Arizona Border Fort. We noticed today that we’d been invaded with what turned out to be thousands of big headed harvester ants, Pheidole tepicana. They were mostly in clusters along three of the four ceiling-to-wall seams in my bedroom, plus one end my bathroom.

    I’d like to be able to say we magically got rid of them with good ol’ American backwoods ingenuity, but instead, we had to call Pam’s son, Zach, a former pest control pro, who zapped ’em with some chemical American scientific ingenuity, killed the little fellers stone cold dead.

    It still counts as a survival move, though, ’cause we’ll survive sleeping better tonight with them eradicated, and our budget will survive because Zach did the job for free–always good price if you can get it.

    Also, we finally realized we’d done it to ourselves. We’d overfed the ants, not by design, but by hanging a bird feeder just a few feet from the house. Thousands of seeds fell, the ants got fat, and the big headed super majors (supersoldiers) showed up–which, according to online sources, is precisely how that works. The super majors only show up when there’s food in abundance for the colony. So: Keep bird feeders well away from your domicile, or enjoy your new house guests!


  4. Thanks, brother. Good to see you found this post (after I moved it over here from HubPages in October). Your survival tips have been missed.

    Keeping water from freezing is definitely important when the cold weather comes. Even down here in southern Arizona, it’s getting a little nippy. By midnight tonight, I’ll probably need to keep the hot water tap dripping a bit. It’ll definitely be below freezing outside by then. I’ve got the cold water supply line fully secured now, since installing the new, oversized water storage tank partially underground, but one more project needs to be completed before the hot water line is safe. I’m building a back porch that will include a propane powered hot water tank (with the solar system preheating the water as it can. Once that’s up and running, we’ll be home free–but that could take a few weeks yet.

  5. to all …u can ‘prep’ till ur eyballs float…..yet old age ruinss all this. if u do prep…do so knowing theres a good chance all the work n ezspence will not b for you. age stops most / all ? of it. ivve ‘preptd’long befor that word became fasinabel. my knowlge of the med. ways forces this to be in a sence its my Spiritul ccalling that will servive. r YOU ready in THAT way? i sure hope so…i sure PRAY so. re

  6. Red Elk, you’ve brought up a really important point here. For some time (years), I’ve been thinking about that–and realizing that our older generations had it right. Multiple generations often lived in the same home. The elderly did not go to institutional facilities, but as their health failed, the younger folks cared for them until they passed.

    This was of course the tribal way for Native Americans as well.

    And I’m working steadily to “reproduce” that system in our own home. My wife, as you know, has been in poor health for a decade and a half now, which leaves me (and only me) to handle the necessary chores that go with an off grid or prepping lifestyle. I’m okay so far, but I’m not leaving it there. Our friend Jennifer will be joining us when she gets out of prison in 2017, at which time she will be just turning 37 years of age.

    In addition, we’ve always got our awareness extended out there, ready to identify a new “member of the clan” if the right person pops up on our radar. That’s not a simple process; true compatibility for long term living arrangements between people–that’s pretty rare if you’re as cantankerous (i.e. set in your ways) as we are. But it’s not impossible, either, and if we (Pam and I) can get this system rolling, Jennifer and whoever comes after her may be able to keep it going and hand it on down to future generations.

    Having a survival cabin (or other dwelling) is one thing. Having a survival clan or family structure and state of consciousness is quite another.

  7. I’d move out there and join your survival clan Ghost. If of course you were actually taking applications. 🙂 I’ve been scouring the net looking for a way to purchase cheap land and build a simple survival structure temporarily until I could settle in and gather materials for a nice Earthbag/Earthship home. Out of everybody on eco living forums and natural living community sites, you’re the only one I can find that did it out of financial necessity.

    I’m in a very similar predicament that you were in and I’m at the age(33) that I should have my own house on some acreage and not be swallowed up in rent cost(what the landlord thinks the “slum” he calls a house is worth), food cost(poisonous food btw), and utility bills(why are we still paying these guys? Wish Tesla was still around.)

    Everybody else out west building Earthships, it seems are the wealthy hippy types willing to throw money at the chance to be trendy and live off grid, whilst continuing to hide behind their secure bank accounts and writing about how brave they are to have gone where few have gone before. That’s not survival. That’s pretending. It’s skewing the demand of certain materials/services in these builds and causing a surge of ridiculous pricing in some cases due to lack of haggling, not knowing when there’s value or when their just simply getting ripped off, and the immediate surrender of their debit card either way. I’m a red blooded, free spirited, outdoor loving, American on a budget from South Texas… stuck up here in the God forsaken tundra of the north(Minnesota) waiting for my chance to experience the freedom my Great x4 Grandfather and his three brothers fought for. I don’t think me being a homeless nomad musician was what they had in mind. Ha! So my journey begins.

    I’ve been looking in both Colorado and Arizona for at least 5 acres. I figure with land in those regions being roughly $1k/acre at the very most if possible I’d start off with simply Earthbags, a water tank, and a solor powered system capable of running a laptop, a hot plate, and a fridge/freezer so I don’t go insane with boredom or starve. I suppose at the very least 1 acre will do to keep the price tag of everything under $5k. I should also include an indoor greenhouse if space/funding provides and a chicken coop as well for protein. I love my bacon and eggs. Ah crap! where am I going to get bacon? Ha! If you have any better ideas to do it cheaper including land cost, I’d love to hear some ideas.

    Thanks Ghost for the good read! Read about 15-20 of your articles already. I gotta catch up, good stuff!

  8. Welcome aboard, AJ; serious readers like you are ALWAYS blessings to a writer. Delighted to see you like what you’re reading.

    Land for less that $1,000 per acre is not easy to find–as you obviously know. Our money improved a few years ago, and last year I was able to invest in some remote Montana timber land at closer to $600 an acre, but that was a 160 acre parcel. Your $1,000 per acre target is pretty realistic, at least as I see it.

    Of course, when I’ve been scrambling for land in the past, my aim has always been to get onto the land with contract in hand for nothing down (or close to it) and the lowest possible monthly payment. This resulted in a $500 payment in Montana for 20 acres in 1999 and a $500 payment (plus $10 escrow fee) in Arizona for 4 acres in 2009. Per acre cost, however, was not cheap–$2500 in Montana, $12,500 in Arizona. (The bum economy has dropped the Arizona value considerably since then, by close to 40%…but market value down here is still well above $1000.)

  9. Leonid, I did not know Red Elk had passed; I’d been notified that he was in the hospital but not the outcome…and hadn’t thought to check the website. So, thanks for bringing us (me and my wife) up to date.

    I’m absolutely thrilled to hear you have the original 800+ comments. Is it possible you could email me a copy of the .htm file? I still use Works (not Word), but I just checked, and Works does support .htm…so I’m thinking I should be able to open the document and “SAVE AS” a .wps (Works) file, then go to copying and pasting.

    If so, it would be a fine thing to do, getting all his hard work on this post back out there for the public’s benefit.

  10. Leonid, I hope it works, too–but for the moment, I cannot locate the file you sent. Did you send it to my current email, that being:


    I checked the Inbox, Trash/Spam, and Deleted folders for both that email and the address I used earlier for some years….

  11. I sent it to your current address from my yahoo account. I’ll try again later with gmail; for now my internet connection is slower than molasses in January.

  12. Huh. Weird that I didn’t get it on the first try, even with Yahoo. But when something as powerful as Red Elk’s work is being put out there, the Dark Side is certainly do whatever it can to derail it…so, come to think of it, it’s not that surprising after all. Hang in there; we’ll get this wee challenge whupped eventually. 🙂

    May the blessings be.


    dafla 5 years ago
    That is so cool. I have a friend who lived in a teepee for years. His second wife finally talked him into getting a house, but he refused to air condition it. He’s on wife #3 now. LOL

    In The Doghouse 5 years ago from California
    If the economy keeps going the way it is, we might all be in survival cabins soon. Thanks for the information.

    Thanks to both of you for your comments. Our 3 years in the cabin produced a LOT of material to write about. Outhouses, hand dug wells, Pam being able to literally SEE where to dig and how deep to find water, monster diamondback rattlesnakes, the seasonal creek we had to cross that froze nearly solid every winter, the beaver colony a quarter mile upstream, details of the wildfire that hit us, neigbors helping neighbors, bald eagles nesting on the property, more bald eagles migrating directly overhead…. Huh. Should not run out of material for a while!


    flread45 5 years ago from Montana
    That is useing your head instead of giving up.Good Job

    Ghost32 5 years ago from Hereford, Arizona Author
    Thanks for the comment…giving up isn’t something that ever crossed our minds!

    Jean Ahmann 5 years ago from DeLand, FL
    A Tuff Shed, Huh. I wonder if that will work when the hurricanes knock the house down. I can use it as an addition to the motorhome. Great idea.

    Here 5 years ago
    Wow, your story is truly inspirational, a true story of strength, love, determination, creativity (to say the least), and perseverance. I ran across this story while I was looking for a Tuff Shed cabin shell for my father to put on his property. I wish you all the best.

    Jean: Thanks for our concern, but hurricanes are not a factor in high Montana mountain valleys. Blizzards, now, those are a whole ‘nother thing! But even if there WERE hurricanes in the area, these Tuff Shed type structures are built strongly enough that they might well bounce before they broke…:D

    livelovecoffee 4 years ago from Georgia
    Awesome post. This would be a fun experiment

    Livelovecoffee, thanks for the Comment. Had to smile at your term, “experiment”. We certainly did not think of it as an experiment, but as living a lifestyle we wanted to live and which we would still prefer. The need for significant income to care for my wife’s medical needs…well, that keeps us in a house in town for now. But one day….

  15. lbtrader 4 years ago from Canada
    i could say so much after reading this inspirational story, but i’ll keep it short…first, you have a new fan

    second, there oughta be more women like yours

    third, the sun water thing…you should look up sun healing sounds

    fourth, this reminds me of a story i read about a project where some students were building small shelters for the homeless in big cities…small but cozy and warm….and about the person who said i may be there soon…diddo on that

    C.S.Alexis 4 years ago from NW Indiana
    Boy, did this bring back memories or what? I too have lived the wild life. Can actually say I have no worry over what the economy does. Survival mode will suit me fine if that is what it takes. It is great to hear from others who can make do. Great story and look forward to many more. C.S.

    Zeddie 4 years ago
    Fantastic. I just wrote a very similar email to my sister, outlining what WE will soon end up doing since we are jobless and i lost most of my savings in the 401K. K for krap. Oh, and my plumbing is fritzy, so i had a good laugh over the Pine Sol toilet. You got that right. And i wash up in pails of hot water, standing in the tub. I lost our childhood home to a developer – who took a backhoe to my septic, just for good measure. 🙁 We grew up on a ‘homestead’ type arrangement – our grandparents lived down a dirt path – with no plumbing to start. There was still an outhouse when i was born. So, i may be going full circle! In MY DREAM tho, there are Wild Mustangs that we buy cheap, so we need no car, no repairs, no petrol, when that gets cut off….Just enuf grazing land for them. My Dream, anyway – i never got my horse. Maybe in the next life. The End Is Near I Fear. Thanks – LOVED this article. God Bless one and all.

    Paul 4 years ago
    I have many intersts i surviving the wilds,food water and shelter,but how in the world did can you protect your self from mosquitos and animals?

    Missoula Gazette 4 years ago
    The joy of having some place to call your own even if it is under 200 square feet is great.

    Paul, you asked a REALLY good question! As to mosquitoes, they weren’t a really big deal where we lived, because the only water in the area was running water. Mosquitoes will breed in STANDING water in a hurry, such as a swamp or even a mud puddle that’s hung around for a while, but not in swift-moving streams.

    Animals, though: Let’s start with snakes, no problem in a Montana winter but a real hazard in summer months. I grew up around rattlers, and there are a few avoid-the-problem things to practice. For example, watch where you step, and if you tip over a rock or a board or ANYTHING that might have a snake under it, make sure whativer strikes OUT from that position is moving AWAY from you. Beyond that, I say it with regret, but I had to kill several. One bite would kill my wife for sure–she’s only 92 pounds–and I didn’t dare let them live too close to us. Some folks can do that safely; they live in harmony with the reptiles. But (sadly?) not me.

    HOW did I kill them? Any old which way. Shotgun, shovel, even throwing rocks. One thing about a rattler, though: Dead or not, you need to get rid of the head. I buried them.

    As to other animals, we had bears, cougars, even an emu that escaped from a neighbor’s emu pen! Mostly, if they got too close, we got noisy, and they left rather than put up with our rude behavior. We never did have to hurt one of them, though we did have weapons on hand “just in case”.

    As it happens, we’ll be moving in April of 2009 to ANOTHER off-grid survival cabin acreage, this time in southern Arizona…and we’re looking forward to it eagerly. In that area, snakes are definitely a consideration, and so are javelinas (wild pigs). We can FENCE the pigs out…when we can afford the fencing.

  16. NOTES: (1) Add to years to the entries that show how many years ago a comment was posted. That is, if it says “4” years ago, it was probably closer to 6 years. (2) I see that I told Paul (in the comment just above this one) that “snakes were a consideration” and that we could eventually FENCE the javelinas out. Yeah. Well…the reality is that Mojave green rattlesnakes (the deadliest pit vipers on the planet) are plentiful here. I’ve had to terminate a bunch of them that were way too close to the house for comfort (like, one step or so). Also, we never have done any fencing and probably never will…but we do have a javelina deterrent. We’ve sort of “made friends” with a local coyote pack–figure their den has to be on our property somewhere, probably only a few hundred yards from the house, and the coyotes keep the pigs away, which is a good thing.


    eredy 4 years ago
    it dosent cost 2700 to build a 12 12 room

    eredy, thanks for your Comment. However, I do feel compelled to comment on your comment as follows: You did not use punctuation, which is of course your choice, but overlooking the details (like capitals, commas, apostrophes, periods, and the like) could indeed keep the cost down–and keep the quality down at the same time.

    So: (1) The cabin was 12×16, not 12×12. (2) It was an entire residence, not simply a room. (3) We did not build the shell, but had it done, which did cost more than the materials alone would have cost. (4) A few of the items you may not have considered include: Paint, sliding insulated window, wall insulation, stovetop, propane furnace, propane refrigerator, bathtub, skirting around the bottom to keep out cold air, and a through-the-wall air conditioner.

    That’s not the entire list but will give you some idea. Final thought: If you can do all we did to produce a workable shelter and do it for less, good for you. AND, if you write about how you did it, I’d love to read it. Might learn something!

    GiftedGrandma 4 years ago from USA
    Hubby and I have talked a lot about downsizing when we retire. Strangely, that is what we have looked at in Lowe’s and commenting that it was big enough to live in. Thanks for writing your story. It is much more enjoyed then some thing written today.

    Thanks for the Comment! We’ll be back to an off-grid lifestyle as of April 17, 2009, leaving my reduced-hours job in Colorado before we get a slow drain-down of our small amount of savings and CAN’T move. Have agreed to buy some land in southeast Arizona, near the Mexican border. It does have a well, but nothing else other than sand and mesquite. When we’ve been there a while, the experience will require an entirely new post, with a link to this one. Can’t wait!

    debris 4 years ago from Florida
    Hey Ghost,
    Be careful down near that border, lots of turbulence that the US is afraid of spilling over. I have to say that this was a very interesting post to read and I’m very happy that you and your wife made it out of the fire safely!

    Debris, thanks for the heads up. My wife spent over 20 years there, and her 23 year old son has never lived anywhere else, so we’re quite aware of the potential dangers inherent in the area. In fact, if there were no mesquite in the way, you could stand on our property and SEE the border fence. But we appreciate your concern and the fact that you cared enough to pass on the warning. And, as reckless as some who’ve lived “conservative” lives might consider us, nothing could be farther from the truth: Both of us are careful, and “street-aware”, 24/7, 365.

    matty 4 years ago
    You have a great attitude — I can’t help but imagine you’d live like a king under any circumstances.

    Red Elk 4 years ago
    Friend, I have lived in veryious forms of “hoseing”…TiPis , Abandend bus. u name it. Ive enjoyed ur read. Rite now we have land n trailer house…n County “RULES”! So far weve won on every “rule” n am now doing ditto ; I had the County dump Ditch Dirt (n ROCKS) in2 2 piles. FREE. Now allmost finished with #1 pile; dug into its center to ABOVE grnd slope level (water passes UNDER). Dug dirt to one side of hole to hold a plywood base 4 2 sleepers. Dirt leveled n stoned to cook on…fireplace dug into back dirt wall…Kidny Shaped floor (5×9). Walls side og up-rite old fence rails (cemented in)…etc.. The top will b willow n LOW domed. Windows of colored bottles (“mudded” in). N much more. #2 pile 2 b “bd.rm.”. Out House outside. Solor water bags as urs. So far cement n stove pipe the biggest cost…under $60.00. Mite spend $300.00 on both, all toll.

    Ive designed this to stand in n set up in (bed area) N VERY LOW “Spred out” dome over all. Used chicken wire atop “roof” n insalated with 10 in. straw bale “pads” (will cover in cement). This will then have earth n plants atop. It is Low n “Wide” 4 a reason; TERRIFIC WINDS! 20 mph mostly. WELL over 30 MANY Times yrly. This wind will FLOW over instead of PUCH AGENST “ROOT CELLER”! No aw / tax as that! We call this r Mint GNOME HOME. a real HIDE Away place for guests / selves. Packed in ABOVE GROUND EARTH n Lava Stone in / around cooking/heating “pit”…SUPEER in winter n SUPER COOL in summer. (Weve n outside pit too).

    To me a “home” is simply a place to sleep n get out of the weather. Dosnt need much rm 4 THAT! Pleanty of rm for ESENTULE storage,

    To all; THINK “OUTSIDE THE BOX”…SEE as u drive about…ROCKS n WEEDS n SAND Etc. r BUILDING MATERIAL! Rd Sider sweep-off GRAVEL is FREE n USEABEL in pole footing , to FLOORING.

    We use HAND SAW , Pick Ax , Shovel as r main tools. CHEAP n NON-ELECT / GAS.

    YOU can “DO IT”…Use ur BRAINS! Ho. re


    Great Post, Red Elk. Thanks a bunch; you’ve given me plenty of food for additional thought.


    Red Elk 4 years ago
    OOPS, hit a wrong key n sent accidenly b4 done. Read on, pleae;

    Today “Green” means HUGE Industreal Complex(s) n Nature RAPE to make a “helpfull” Co. MAKE MONEY. R “Mother” pays the price. THERE IS LITTLE NEED FOR THIS! It irratates me n saddens me deeply. Thus Ive decided to do something about it in my own small way. “SHOW”! EXAMPEL! Aho?

    This MINY “GNOME HOME” is ONE of THREE I am building. One is a simuler 30 ft by 18 1/2 tall dome being built (slowly) up by Canada in Wa. State. With it a FAST Cabin of HIGH DOG KENNEL FENCEING…12 ft long n with curved roof (old trampolin frame(s) at 8 ft tall (in hi center). On this the side walls r pulled out on each side by a foot past “straight”. This “lean” allows Non-Slip of 10 inch Straw Bale Pades that EACH will be SLID THROUGH a Cement “wash (lyme icluded in mix). ALL ENDS / SIES instently coverd n placed atop eash other (and side by side). It will then be FULLY a ONE PEICE WALL. Cyclone fenc dog pen makes 4 a STRONG STRUCTURE! AND a # of these can b ARRANGED to veryious designgs…even a LOFT if wanted. “T” shape EASY! Etc. Etc.. All u need to do is THINK! Dang it, THINK! (Out Side The BOX tho0ught).

    We were GIVEN the pen …so so far it has cost us O! Wired togather by my self n 13 yr old grandson in UNDER 25 MINITES!

    Wer will TARP IT as a temp. “tent” to stay in up there as we work on the dome there…then PICK IT UP n put nxt to dome n incorporate the two into One…then earth cover (SHOVELS) all (Atop the straw bale pads).

    R tarps r CAST OFF (FREE) Giant HAY TARPS. HEAVY VYNYLE! Wont rot for MANY MANY YRS!

    Look up HAY TARPS on “Search”….u can buy New (WOW! EXSPENSIVE”) or “2eds” (Quit resonabel) OR GET “HOLED ONES” F R E E !! HOLES EASILY REPAIRED…RIPS TOO! Rs r ALL these bad ones (HA!) so all were / r free. These can be HUGE Tarps. My wife uses the “scrap” to cover the garden. Keps the weeds out. Other scraps go to9 covering r wood supply n equpt. we have. One Scape surrounds r tolit / shower up there. DOZONS OF USES…n JUST FOR THE ASKING!

    I see dead trees down all over. Most eill b firewood by thier owners…I ASKL FOR THE LIMBS! These I uses as WALLS…WATTEL N DAUB UM!

    (Ck THAT out on SEARCH).

    Firewood log ends I use as SEATS.

    Recently the Elect Poles locoly were being replace. They were cut off (old ones) about 3 ft above grnd then “stumps” pulled out. MOST UNROTTED! FREE Frame Uprites!

    I use STONES on many foundation work. Use 3. After #2 put on Heavy Ashphllt sq. n THEN add #3. WATER WONT PASS UP WARD TO #3! No $$ fot tar paper? Get FREE Roof Replacement “TARE OFFS ot cut a Toss Out car/truck INNERTUBE. FREE!

    Cut innertubes, cut open, n OVERLAPED, make EXCELLENT “Gutters”. FREE! CAN make ROOFING of these as well…but unless earth coverd, ..BURNABEL. Be WISE when “doing”. Aho?

    Ive done many things. Severl undone as yet by builders of today…n will continue doing till I cant go on.

    When I build GREEN…its DAMN GREEN! PENNYS Green! n CAN B TOTOLY FREE Green as well. (Have done so).

    i do NOT SAPPORT TODAYS “GREEN”…i DO saport thier KNOWING its NEEDED tho. For that Im THANKFULL. HO!

    Now, to YOu, my brother, as well as to any readers: BUILD LOW try to build ROUND or NEAR SO, n USE, dont ABUSE, r “Mother”.


    If u allready oen “square”…BUTM IT TO A SLOPE (will save on heat $$) or BUILD TILTED WIND DAMS (like u see in hoods of trucks / etc.). THESE CAN BE HOLLOW INSIDE to store equptment / etc.. LET THE WIND / BREEZES F L O W OVER….not create a WEATHER CHANGEING EDDY! (Go, study a creek / stream / etc.). Ull understand WIND by studying WATER. AHO???

    Oh, b4 stoping; I use a BIG UMBRELLA…upside down, to collect water / snow. A hose to water container from small hole near base of center. A baby bo9ttol rubber tip glued into hole n hose connected to that. I allso use ditto on a small folding umbrealla n zip-loc bag for the same while on quests / etc..

    MANY “unusuel” I do. MUCH NEVER THOUGHT OF.


    Red Elk 4 years ago

    Ghoat 32; I apoligize on spelling. Im well known around r “mother” n a one finger typier with SHAKES. Have to typ as fast as oss to keep up n dont ck.. Sorry.

    Building the unuseuel has been a PASSION 4 me sence 10. Im now 67. Started young. ( : Undergrnd first “go” n very exstensive, More a BUNKER for us kids. No cave-ins. We were lucky.I travel the N. Am. continent…USA/Canada. Ben in homes still being made by NA in the anchient ways. Soux / Navaho / Cree / Ojibwa / Etc.. FANTASTC NATUREL HOMES…tiny to ENOURMIOUS. Singel family to Multy…all mostly under One “Roof”. Some Connected “singels”. Aho?

    I watch DAILY the “Build Green” tv shows…AND LAUGH! Thet advacate “Green” but DISTROY NATURE to “SAVE IT”. Most of todays “Green” is WAY WAY T%O HI OF COST for the Average “wHITE cOLLOR” WORKER TO AFFORD…useless

    Red Elk my Brother, thank you from the heart for the Comments you have made thus far. Please feel free to add to them at any time. Everything we have currently is “square” SO FAR, but you are obviously right. You have inspired me to “think round”, to “think low” (which I was already doing), and to “think outside the box” (which I was already doing).

    We are close to the same age, as I will turn 66 in November. My wife is 1/4 Choctaw. I have close friends among the Crow, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Gros Ventre, and Assiniboine peoples, plus a very special Lakota lady in whom Wakan Tanka was a very strong presence (she left this world decades ago), and three of my cousins have Native American blood in them as well–Salish or Kootenai, I always forget which for some reason. Also, by far my favorite grandmother, my father’s father’s second wife, Sarah, was fullblood Mandan. The tattoos I wear on left and right forearms were done by Red Eagle, a Cherokee man.

    Any time you find yourself in Cochise County, Arizona, you are welcome in our lodge.


    Red Elk 4 years ago

    JUST lost an exstensive reply 2 u / readers. HATE PCs n HATE TEC.!

    Ok, will start again ; #1 ; This is UR Spot. Not MINE. I dont want to hog. Will do so only 4 the sake of any looking 4 a CHEAP WAY of haveing n abode. Aho?


    u do NOT NEED a STORAGE “BARN” with “liveing space” tucked in here-n-there. U may WANT that but u dont NEED THAT!


    For my Miny (n larger one) I have a portabel DVD Player. Car charged batt.. OWN a 52 in. Flat Screen…but in the Miny; USELESS!

    I have a good Sterio Radio….n A WIND UP / SOLAR / BATT Powerd radio. GUESS WHAT I’LL USE IN THE MINY?!!!

    Sky has MANY PC games. For the Miny; this Lap Top n CARDS / MARBELS/ BOARD / n PUZZELS.

    Slingshot / Bow gun / Bow / Air gun / Bolo / Spear thrower / Snares / Throwing stick n other OLD “TEC” “tools”.

    Foi other (Wild) Place; BEACHCLOTHS N MOCCS r r main clothing.


    This saves clothing N WATER TO WASH UM.


    I use STRAINED Old Cooking Grease with a cotton strip WICK. Grease in can. LITE N HEAT. ESKAMO STYLE of old.


    Brother G; ud LOVE the DOG KENNEL “HOME”. 10 to 12 ft panals, 8 to 10 of them will have yua GREAT HOXYGON CABIN in a few HOURS (Walls). Each panal can EASILY have space 4 a BIG Couch, a Bed , Etc.. N CLOSE TO ROUND!

    Roof ur choice. Pole UpRites as Mandrian Lodge Way to hold that up.

    So FAST so EASY n FAR CHEAPER then even a small “reg” cabin.


    Find n get the Paper Back book SHELTERS SHACKS and SHANTYS.

    MANY OId NA styly building NA (n white) ways there. STUDY ALL Old Ways of Lodgeing; NA / African / Viking / Early (white) America / Etc.. This can b easily done on PC Search.

    I have made n lived in a REALY Tiny SCOUT PIT..n on up. I try to make my “littles” FIT INTO THE LANDSCAPE. Even THIS Miny Gnome “homr” n the larger I intend to do ditto. Only SMOKE can give it away…n trail to them. (if no windows).

    My brother stood some 6 – 8 feet from one of my STEALTH Abodes. Made DEAD CENTER in a large glean N COULDNT FIND IT. (Great for deer hunting).

    I have made a LIVEING DOME in a Larg WILLOW Patch. Clearing willows (cut below grd level) for the floor space…then BENT THE SURROUNDING WILLOWS TO DOME SHAPE n tyed (used old Bike Inner Tubes so as not to harm the trees). WATTELED the liveing wall with the cut off branches of the cut willows. As far as I know, its still there n STILL GROWING. (Moved).

    Mann has been HOOD WINKED into BELEIVEING they NEED Hi Tec “crap”…n the Laws / Codes) inforce this 4 thier coffers.ALL “WHITES” KNOW is GIVE GIVE GIVE. ($$ $$ $$).

    Keep things LOW KEY n ur MOUTH SHUT n u will get away with MUCH!

    Use there “Laws” AGENST THEM. My Miny is an OFFISHULE “ROOT CELLER”. n UN TAXABEL! Aho?

    Again, keep SMALL n keep NATUREL. Hard to Blend In a Sq. or big structure. My 30 Dia is as large as I can make N BLEND IN.

    MAKE ANY WATER WELL INSIDE (n hidden). Make ANOTHER Out Side. THAT O.S. one a DECOY. (It is THAT “they” will ck. on). Aho

    KNOW UR COUNTY BUILDING RULES! Here; CLOTH ROOF (even on a HUGE HOME) is UNTAXABEL. On SKIDS…UNTAXABELE. # of CLOSTS (here) = MORE TAX….HAVE NONE! (There r ways to have n “have not”).

    I was liveing in my 22 ft TiPi. Notiyfyed “ILLEGEL” n WIIL BE FINED.

    I went n asked Y? “U r only allowed to camp on that land 6 m.s a yr.”.

    I told um “Ok. I moved in allmost 6 mounths ago (gave date) so I still have a few days left”.

    “as long as u r off after that date u r ok”.

    4 weeks later Another notice: “U HAVE OVERSATYED. FINE NOW STARTS FRON THAT DATE”.

    Went n saw um. “I thought u said I was allowed to stay ther 6 mouths a yr.”!


    Looked her in the eye n calmly said “its a NEW YEAR!”

    Left her with “lock jaw”. Spent a full 12 Ms in it. ( :



    Thats enough. If u want me to share more please let me know.


    Red Elk, you have it exactly right about “needs” vs. “wants”.


    Red Elk. 4 years ago

    Aho. will get off my “soap box” now. Sure hope readers take ur / my reports on cheap doing searisly. We that do CAN “make it” without too much emotionel pain.

    LOOK to NATURE n ull start seeing with “new eyes”.

    I spent a full nite in a “U CANT SEE THROUGH” Full n VERY COLD blizzerd. I ememberd SQURRILS Live through this so kicked deep snow about n collecteed fallen leaves. Made a “Squirrel Nest” rite there on the ground. Coverd with snow ‘cept 4 the front. Crawled in n “swished” a pile of leaves into the opening. WET LEAVES! My body heat warmed them about me. SLEPT for OVER 10 HOURS n LIKE A BABY!!! Searchers thought Id b found Dead. SHOOT! Coulda stayed out for DAYS this way. REALY SORRTY I HAD TO LEAVE! (All thought I was nuts!).

    Dureing this a deer awoke me…LEAPED OVER MY PILE! ( :

    Ok, think n SEE…MANY cast offs in trash / side of rds /building sites / etc.. FREE. Wood Pallets can make WALLS…fill with dead weeds 4 insalation. THINK THINK THINK! We DONT NEED Hi Priced “green”…its ALL AROUND YOU! FREE! USE UR IMAGINATION folks. Think “Child Like” again. THEY HAVE NO “cants” “Bounderys” yet..

    Youll be Far FREER for it. Aho? Good Luck. re

    Love your “squirrel nest” post. Have for many years told people that if I was dropped off without clothing in remote mountains in subzero weather, if I made it through the first hour, I’d come out on my own two feet. Always “thinking ahead” of things like your nest. In the Black Hills my people stole for gold, I mapped over 200 mine shafts and caves one year. Still have the maps. Particularly remember one small cave–not really small, but about 30 feet back in, and a low side passage.

    Smelled something rank. Figured out it was an old tom cougar’s hangout. The low side branch belonged to a woodchuck. Didn’t see him, just his scat. Believe that chuck had shared that house with tom for years. Fijgured if I ever needed that bolthole, I should be ready to talk nice to the kitty and the chuck both.


    red elk 4 years ago
    weve gotta get back to ur main topic. Pepole come to read that n we r doing “privit”. Aho?

    I’ll say this tho; as a Med. Man Ive learned ALL Communicate. i LOVE seting nxt to a rattel snake n chat. Scares the daylites outta the wife n others. GOOD “people”, snakes. My 13 yr old gradson often gos with me when on an Animal Call. He likes to listion in. HEARS what a horse / etc. n i r saying. “Floors” the animal owners tho. IE; EVERYTHING CAN (n dos) COMMUNICATE…Mind to Mind. Be it animal / trees / the weather / Mt. / Etc.. Just a matter of knowing how. Any can do this but we Med. People rarely teach it. Aho?

    Ok, back to the issue of CHEAP BUILDING. R 30 ft dome being built is built on the Sweat Lodge way of r Plains NA…N Eskamo…N African hut. a COMBO of the 3. I take tghe best of all n incorperit. Thats y STUDY the OLD WAYS of ALL Couyntrys r imoportent. Know Tahite Huts to Stone Houses. Easy to locate on the internet. Then Pick n Choose 4 ur areas weather / building material / etc.. U r in DRY “desert” area…others r too. Not just “locole” NAs. Arabs / Tasmainians / Africans / Etc. r in simuler typ land situation as u. CK UM OUT! Aho? STAY AWAY FROM “HI” structuires…no matter WHAT the anchients made. BIG CHANGES AHEAD. Winds so HI n Fires so BAD, these will no longer b wise to “invest” in. Aho? Good Luck 2 U n 2 u READERS. re

    Red Elk 4 years ago
    Readers; many readeing r wanting a place of thier own. Just as “Ghoast” n his wife….n like they, “tight”. Still, its doabel (given ur determination). As told in the above writtings, IS do-abel but ull need to re-think what is NEEDED…not WANTED. With this in tought, u r on ur way to OWNEING. BUT in SMALL (unless ur a better scrounger then me). SMALL means TWIGS, not LOGS, can heat ur abode…give lite N cook on. TWIGS! Alot easyer to come by,n at 0 exspence. Old pallets can make good firewood…so even city liveing can b used. Aho? (understand?).

    Not many of u will b willing to go as TINY as I…even my wife wouldnt want to. So we r makeing a BIG “tiny”. A 30 ft dia x 18 1/2 hi dome. This wshe CAN handel. Ive managed to keep this in n affordabel level. Trouble ios the cost of gas to get there. My ioncome is $610.00 a m. (SS $$)…n gas to get there n back eats up over half that. So I can only get there 1 or 2 times a yr.. Unless something happens, this one will take time. Aho?Alot of THAT dome is of cast off building materiel. By keepiong my eyes open Ive managed to get quit a bit of old Chicken Wire n other things needed. DO THE SAME. Yrd sales…Farm auctions, etc. = good CHEAP finds. U DONT NEED A FORTUN to HAVE UR OWNPLACE! LAND is the “bugga-Boo”! Even THAT is “reacabel”…look about, its there. PLACEMENT has to b consiterd. Is the EGRESS? Decent rds to? Water? Elect. close by? Schiool bus service? Etc.. do u NEED these things? On r Big dome we get snows to 14 ft hi. The “rd” more a TRAIL…ROCKS n MUD! No Eledct OR Water. School bus 2 1/2 mi away. No Rd Cleaning to. OK, HOME SCHOOLING…Snow Shoes…2 small generatores (used) for the OCC. Elect need…”Rain Cathers” for water….Hand Auger to dig a SHALLOW Well…a SHOULDER YOKE (internet) to lug buckets of water in…ALL AVAILABEL if u look N RE-THINK UR NEEDS. Aho? Im 67.. b 3 strokes n 1 heart attack n an amputation behind me. Im no “spring chicken”…but Im a DETERMIND M A N ! Ive lived this way b4. KNOW what i can do. Only diff now is I TAKE MY TIME. i do NOT over-tax myself. Shoot, even a KID can DO, like this…N DETERMINATION. I MEAN THIS! My 13 n 18 yr old grandsons R DOING LIKEWISE…each on the OWN. “Hidy Huts” by them here-n-there…MILES from each place. They n buddys go out to camp … at a “camp” allready made. HIDDEN FROM VIEW. Hunters walk rite by, not knowing they r NOT alone! My boys have learned well. Aho I dont care if ur Man or Woman, Boy or Girl…U CAN DO IT!!! Ive been instramentel in geting a few AROUND THE EARTH, into doing simuler. A gal in her early 60s (Holland) has a FANTASTICT place. People come JUST TO DRIVE BY N LOOK. A “Brother” in Austraila..allmost done with his “Coffin Pit”. He was one fightiig the resent Giant fires there. SEES THE NEED n prepairing for any other. DEEP down. Aho? His big enough to stand in n move about a bit…n sleep. Others (a FEW) too. See? what do u NEED…not what u WANT. Aho?

    Take into account ur animals. WILL THEY HANDEL THE WILD ANIMALS that may b about? Can u afford GOOD Fully COVERD “pens”. On both r places…couger / bear / wolverine r. More so on the other land then here at this house. KEEP THAT IN MIND! U may love um…to THIER DEATH! Further more , CAN U FEED THEM? Hard dewcesions mite b needed. Aho?

    I wish qall “dreamers” will obtain thier dreams. Think OUT SIDE THE BOX…prepair to get Gov. “regs” interfearence. BY CAREFULL Be WISE. Aho? Best to u all. re

    To all of my readers: Though Red Ellk and I’ve sprayed a lot of words onto the page in these Comments, it all boils down to a few key points:

    1. A “survival cabin” CAN be built on a shoestring budget.

    2. Whether you build a traditional log cabin, a Tuff Shed on skids, a tipi, a brush wikiup, or share a cave with a cougar and a woodchuck, it’s really ALL still about the “survival cabin”, i.e. (as Red Elk states it so well) a place to get out of the weather and sleep safely.

    3. A final point, also well made by Red Elk, boils down to the old adage, “If you’re onto a good thing, keep your mouth shut.” If negative people (and there are many such) see you doing “too well”, they will do all they can to drag you down. Red Elk and I have both chosen to share some of what we know to help others, but neither of us is unaware of the risk.


    red elk 4 years ago

    TIPS TO HELP ; In Early America (Whites) they did NOT pound thier nails on roofing (Barns / Etc.) all the way down. This to STOP SNOW from NOT building up. SNOW INSALATES!

    Today u pound / screw down to help snows slide off…then insalate the attic heavily to keep the below rooms warm!

    In early America they had no DOUBEL HEADED NAILS. We DO tho, today. USE THEM…BUT…make SURE u have EXSTRA RAFTERS to carry the exstra snow load. Aho?

    In Ealy Am. time they did NOT Plow off thier rds., they ROLLED them! COMPACTING the snow! Even today this can b a viabel way to get ur rd / driveway to a plwed rd.. USE A GRASS ROLLOR after each snow…pull or push with ur PU / Etc..

    ALLWAYS SAVE UR WATER ROOF RUN-OFF! Gutters to Cystren tanks. WATER WILL BE AS GOLD in the days ahead.

    Use ALL Fenceing lines to collectrwater as well. Easily done with plastic sheeting, tacked onto fence n slowly tilted downward to its end…there to drain to a water barrol / etc. Make a “V” in this plastic by nailing (?) “arms” to the other edge of sheeting…stones in thus made Vs bottom to keep it V in winds, etc.. Use BLACK sheeting. This helps melt snows. ALLSO “DRAWS” MORNEING DEW! At times that Dew is the ONLY wettness u will get for DAYS. CATCH IT!

    No fenceing? MAKE A RAIN / DEW CATCHER….Cheap TRE E BIRD NETTING over a CLOTHS LINE (“Pup Tent” fashion)….steeper sides tho. A GUTTER below each edge of “tent” n into a barrol. This is a VERY GOOD “catcher” in HI COUNTRY (Clouds / Mists). Some Parovian n Brazzilion use these CLOUD CATHERS to get fresh water to LARGE TOWNS.

    Get a HAND Water Pump. Do NOT rely on Elect OR SOLOR alone!

    Press dirt agenst ur abodes’ walls. BURM! But sheet the walls well 1st (HEAVY tar paper).

    A “SHED” Roof, tilted n SODDED is attractive n insalative N U CAN GARDEN UP THERE…AWAY from Deer / Rabbits / Etc.. I built a small Trapper Cabin with this. WORKED N LOOKED GREAT! Love it.

    On roof, make a VERY LARGE OVERHAND all around. Keeps off rains / snows from sides / ends. On the Entrencway MAKE BIGGER (coverd porch). No more SNOWS AT DOORWAY!

    Have Outside Doors open INWARD. In snow country, u can OPEN UR DOOR. I have had one occ. when I had to Dig UP to get OUT! THE INWARD OPENED DOOR “SAVED” Us.

    SNOW shoveled on RUGS n SWEPT OUT CLEANS THE RUGS! (Weve done so a # of times).

    ALLWAYS (this is IMPORTENT) CLEAN UR CHIMNY(s). a WEEKLY CLEANING BEST….n CK UR Ash Box at base as well.

    GET A CHIMNY “CAP”. Open tops catch water n creat Creasote build-up quickly. CREASOTE IS DEADLY!

    ALLWAS have n OPENING of air into the abode. CARBIN MONIXIDE IS DEADLY AS WELL! Allow AIR to COME IN!

    The BEST Chimny Ive EVER used was of CEMENT SEWER PIPES! ALLWAYS cool…NOT hard to clean. PERMINIT! LOVE UM! Stack um UP{SIDE DOWN (Bell Ends DOWN).

    TIRE CHAINS on strong rope make a Good Chimny “sweep”.

    If u have a steep roof angel, LADDER IT! From eve to ridge. OR FACE SLIDDING OFF when up there! (HAS saved injurys n LIVES).

    NEVER wear SLICK BOTTOMED Footware when on ur roof!

    A Mix of 50% WOOD ASH n 50% SAILY, wet to thick “past” with water, SEALSStove n Chimny holes. Use WIRE accross hole n “cement” over that. WARNING; WILL RUST THE METEL. Only a TEMP. “stop”. Tree Barks R WHAT MAKES CREASOTE! Remove it n use in ur Meat Smoker (MAKE ONE!) instead. Aho?

    To DRY Green Wood QUICKLY, cut bark strip off. Will allow inner wood moisture to exscape.

    When HAND LUGGING Out Fire wood…cut PARTUALT through ur log n lug SECTIONS of these logs AS ONE. Cut into sections when at woods storage area.(Why make 3 trips…one per cut…when One will do for 3?).

    If puting on a METEL ROOF make SURE it runs as VERTIGEL, NOT Horazontel IF U WANT A “CLEAN” RUN-OFF of water / snow. GUTTER THE EVES!

    On metel roofing the MAIN MISSTAKE is SCREWING THE SCREWS TO T I G H T! Just make those rubber screw gaskits lightly SNUGED! “Force” screwing MAKES HOLES BELOW GASKIT. LEAKS / ROT!

    “ROOF SOLOR “Lights” can be made with Large Dia. SILVER “ACCORDIAN” Dryer Hose. They STREACH n CAN BE AIMED! Cap ends with clear PlexAGlass. (I use SHOO GLUE (“Goo”) to do this). The spiriling siver collects / sends sunlite.

    “BACK” ur stove (n heat) with ALUMINUM FOIL behind. Reflects heat…OR USE STOVE (preferably LAVA stone).

    Place LAVA STONE AGENST UR WOOD STOVE. Leave GAPS beteen stones. The open gaps allow the metels’ heat into the rm. within min.s while the STNE COLLECTS THE HEAT n “GIVES OFF” thier STORED HEAT after the fire is out.

    Save / Get SAWDUST! Dry iy n pack it into paper bags with wood CHILPS mixed in. Fold top of bag n place in wood stove at nite. As “dust” smolders to chips, chips keep the dust “going”. We used 3 Grocery Bags (PAPER ONES) in r 55 gal drum stove. All 3 in at once. KEPT R SMALL 3 Bed Rm / 1 Bath home warm all nite. Save LOGS for the DAY! Ho

    STOZE puts out a TREMENDUS Stove Kit! Ck um on on “Seach”. We’ve bought 3 over the yrs. SOLD THE STOVES WHEN WE’D LEAVE.

    “Pellet Stoves” r LOUSY Heater stoves. I DONT LIKE UM A BIT…n FUIEL is EXSPENSIVE! Uses elect. to “ffed” too. Up to U. Ho

    COLMAN Propain LANTREND GIVE ALOT OF HEAT (n light). In my 22 ft tipi Id use this all nite with gas down…Kept the insid pleasent all nite n a miny-tank lasted 5 nites. Under $3.00 a tank. CHEAP HEAT!

    STAY AWAY FROM “WHITE GAS” Camp Lites / Camp Stoves! I had one BLOW UP. ALLMOST BURNT MY CAMP TRAILOR DOWN! (Went to propane). White Gas HARD TO FIND today n VERY EXPENSIVE! ugh

    KEEP “Bic “like lighters AWAY FROM HEAT (sun too). Had TWO blow up! One on my PUs’ dashboard! EEYOOOOWWWW!!!

    U mite consiter geting a LIGHTNING ROD.

    Keep a BIG area of “yrd”….WEED N TREE N BUSH FREE. BIG! Ive fought severl rurul fires n was a forman of a forest fighter crew. IVE SEEN THE RESULTS OF NOT HAVEING A “BARE” AREA!

    Allso, trees r perty…but the DO FALL! Seen the results of TREE FALL Wind Damagr too! Liveing “in the woods” is soothing n “nice”. MASHED HOMES ARNT! Aho?

    DONT HESITATE TO USE ANIMAL POWER. I used r Small “fixed” bull to olog firwood n my 5 (was 9…TOO MANY) Mallamutes as transpertation.


    Enough for now. More later if wanted.

    HAVE FUN! it CAN BE!!! Red Elk

    red elk 4 years ago

    “But i dont WANT a “SERVIVAL” Cabin. I want a Privite HOME!”

    This may b what some R after…n as cheaply as possabel. Right? OK, Think the DOG PEN Cabin. Even if u need to Buy a NEW “kennel” ITS STILL FAR CHEAPER…and FASTER, then a”reg” cabin. The # of panels = the SIZE u want. U can “6 prtrl” it (as nature flower petels) n have multi rms., erach to the size ud like. Or only 3….or with Loft. I n “Ghoast” know one needent have a HOME of SERVIVAL….but “just a HOME!”,. Im willing to bet that nither gave a thought to thier lil’ pkace as a HIDE place…but a HOME place. HOME is what YOU make of it, friends. What BIG…do so. What “AS CHEAP AS POSS.”, then take my suggestions n cut ur building prices. Often by quit a bit. No matter “size”…OPEN ur BRAIN / OPEN ur EYES n LOOK ABOUT U as u drive about. FREE Material All OVER! in short; QUIT THINKING it “HAS: to be “This Way”. U got $$ ? its ur right to spend it. Ur better off then We are! N if u DO…WHY R U HERE!?? Thanks 2 our Creator, “Ghoast” n I have lived as we have gone through TO GIVE Y O U H O P E! Use r exspearence. Its here for you!

    DONT STOP “DREAMING”….u WILL (not “can”) SUCCEED! Aho? Good Luck. re

    Red Elk, you’ve missed one key suggestion: Get a friend who is a knowledgeable Native American. Not only will he (or she) come up with ideas you might otherwise miss, but the sense of humor is unique to y’all. I read your Comments aloud to Pam, and we LAUGH aloud every time you gleefully use your “Movie Indian Stereotype” wording. Ho! Ugh! Fix um! 😀

    A special underlining of one VERY helpful thing you mentioned: Placing aluminum foil behind a stove to reflect more heat back into your living space instead of into the walls where it does less good and can do harm like causing a fire if the stove is too close to the wall. AND make sure the more reflective side of the foil is facing away from the wall.

    Throughout the winter of 1982-83, my 3rd wife, stepson, and I were living in a small mobile home in Chinook, Montana. The home came with a freestanding, hooded metal fireplace in one corner of the living room. I replaced that with an old cast iron stove found in a second hand store and (now that I think of it) will write a complete Hub about heating that home.

    (Would love to see you writing full Hubs of your own on this website, Brother. You have too much knowledge to share for it to stay “hidden” in my Comments. Aho?)

    One final note about the foil for now: That stove put out WAY too much heat for as close to the walls as it was placed. To make it safe, I put some cup hooks in the ceiling, hung wire clothes hangers from those, and hung a “corner wall” of foil from the hangers. This wall was only about 14 inches from the stove and three inches from the mobile home wall paneling. The stove then heated the entire home just fine for a winter that reached -46 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping the wall paneling cool to the touch.

    Oh, and where did I come up with that idea about the foil? Yup. From a Native American friend who lived on the Fort Belknap Reservation and had done the same thing in his own home.


    ddhughes 4 years ago from North Eastern Oregon

    I totally agree with you Ghost 32. Having a N.A. friend is a good thing! 😉 We have known Red Elk for a few years now and he has really enriched our lives. This man has great widsom and people would do good to listen! Thank you for sharing!

    Red Elk 4 years ago
    NA Movy Wording? Huh? So far Ive HAD TO TEACH THE FULL BLOODS! Even to put an AIR “PIPE” under thier Lodge Fires to quickly DE-SMOKE! Only Full Bloods that have tought me r my many Med. Teahers over the yrs.. So, ???

    Got a Webb Site but dont know how to change / add / subtract, but would LOVE too. OK, will stop on this….got to involved n apoigize. So, after this; siltch. I DO THANK U 4 THE OPPERTRUNITY!

    As 4 “to close” on stove, SHOULDA MEANTIAND. Figured its only SENSABEL n people SHOULD allready know. Ur rite tho n sure am glad u added this. 4get some r “as babys” n CAN Kill Themselves! THANK YOU!

    Yes, alot to share. MUCH more then allready done (again, THANK YOU).

    Ok, “signing off”. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK n GB re

    Red Elk, you’re welcome to add more any time you like. Please never mind my “movie wording” Comment; when we meet one day and can talk at length face to face, I’ll explain in detail. I don’t doubt you’ve had to teach even the Full Bloods.

    As for we whites, survival tips from cabin building to surviving being lost are things so few of us ever learn these days. Growing up near Drummond, Montana, most young men hunted deer and elk…but when I told other guys that I could smell deer and offered to teach them the technique, they simply expressed disbelief and ignored my offering. I was nearly forty before encountering even one other man who admitted that he, too, could smell Bambi.

    DDHughes, thanks SO much for your Comment. As far as I can see, the more who help reinforce the fact that Red Elk possesses important wisdom, the more likely readers will pay close attention to his Posts.


    dave7 4 years ago
    Gidday, i’m that crazy upside down Aussy buildin a ‘coffin pit’….(Fire Bunker)….Red Elk is a very dear friend/brother to me…he sure can talk hey!…but i’m worse:)….fantastic reading/learning…thanks for sharin your story Ghost…no doubt could write a book on all your adventures/Earth Walk….google ECOSHELLS…..basically a 2 inch thick concrete dome (strongest shape known to humans) with steel rebar….can make any size or shape…its the dome shape that has the strength…only building to survive a direct hit at ground zero in Hiroshima was a steel rebar concrete dome shape….(now a monument)..these Ecoshells can be built for $1,500 or less for just the rebar & concrete….u can insulate them many different ways..including recycled polystene pellets for old bean bags…(add to render mix)….or u could use dog mesh offcuts to make a low dome & cover in cement dipped straw pads (like R.E. explained)…then hand render inside & out…these shelters are being build in the third world as low cost housing that is Fire proof, Hurricane proof & Earthquake proof…incredably strong…if they break…its only in one isolated spot that can be repaired…(think hitting a hard boiled egg with spoon)…if we loose this mudbrick house to fire in future (because i’ll prob. be away on a fire truck somwhere)…i am going to build one to live in….right now i’m building a fire bunker to put my dogs in & anything else i want to be here when i get back…basically an 8ft x 8ft x 7ft room with 8ft long entrance passageway & earth cut stairs at 90 degs.( L ) to passageway….roof is treated pine poles covered in black builders plastic & earth covered…poles support roof in addition to ground level…bottom of stairs will have a door & top a metal hatch set down into & surrounded by mudbricks….got a bit more to dig out in main room & then put roof over passageway section & part of stair well.. to go…even this would be enough in a wild fire (think Wombats/goffers)…but i will make it with tight fitting doors to stop fire stealin air & keep smoke & embers out….this is only a temporay fire shelter but would be livable too with some editions…it will be there for me too as a safety backup if fire starts too close & no time to leave….the weather conditions we saw here on that Black Saturday were something else…118degs F (47degs C) & 60mph+ (100kph) winds….only got two options in those conditions….Be somewhere else, or be underground…..ok….thats all i can think of right now…hope it helps some….GB

    Great post, Dave. Thanks. We all know certain connections are turning points in our lives, and Red Elk posting his first Comment on this page is obviously and definitely one of those points. Between his posts and yours, I’m already seeing light seeping in through the cracks in my previously somewhat closed mind. My NEXT survival cabin (on the Arizona land we now occupy via camp trailer) ought to be an exciting project indeed.

    Red Elk 4 years ago

    With “Ghoasts” permission; Folks, one of the BIGIST n GREATES the USA (Canada?) faces VERY SOON, is WATER SHORTAGES. U would do well to do all u can NOW, for this. NOW because things may get so bad ECONOMILY u wont b abel to easily get ur needs later.

    There is much I can tell on water collection, things weve used n DO use. But this, in the mean time, will help; Googel Search HOW TO SAVE ON WATER. This will lead 2 many sights. One worthy to read is “Gross and Not so Gross Water saveing”. MUCH of what weve longh ago been into. At least, PLEASE READ IT.

    Wether u beleive me or not….it Wont hurt to LOOK. Aho? Aho? re

    No matter the times, water is always a first consideration–even before shelter and certainly before food. A human being can last indefinitely with very little in the way of housing and quite some time without food…but cut off the water supply and departure from this planet will occur within days.

    My post on How To Dig A Hand Dug Well addresses this issue in certain homesteading situations.


    GeneralHowitzer 4 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines
    Wow I love nature and animals as well you have a nice hubs, keep pourin’ more of em… take care though

    ddhughes 4 years ago from North Eastern Oregon
    Hey Dave, you may be a crazy upside down Aussy and wordy, but, we sure do enjoy reading your info. Keep it coming as it is good stuff! 🙂

    Ghost32 4 years ago from Hereford, Arizona Hub Author

    Thanks, General. For the next couple of months, all of my posts will (probably) be installments of The Seeder, but after that science fiction novel is “out there”, hey, back to nature and critters for sure!

    ALL Willows r WATER “Eaters”. Birtch Trees to. Willow TREES n Willow “Bush) (trees) tell “WATER”. Then too; ANTS tell!

    Ants that have homes within r “Mother” BUILD THERE, ABOVE A WATER SORCE, as they NEED water 4 thier “people”. Just as we. LOOK FOR THIER HOMES. When one hill is found, do a CIRCLE WALK, looking 4 more. Generly there will b a “Line” of thier “villages”…these r BUILT ON AN UNDERGROUND Stream”.

    It may or may not be an ABUNDENT water “stream”…some mere INCHES wide, but THERE IS WATER that is PLATABEL.

    The ants that build MOUNDS of twiges n tiny stones r over a GOOD n ABUNDENT water sorce.

    WATCH n learn to UNDERSTAND NATURE. it CAN save ur Life.

    Liook too to BIRDS. In the days heat they SEEK n HEAD 4 Water. This may b but a “Lip Sucker” Sorce only, but even THAT can save u.

    ANIMALS need n KNOW where water is. DEER head 4 it early in the morneing. WATCH n FOLLOW.

    No matter where, WATCH FOR SNAKES. They TOO like water N OFTEN REST BESIDE IT (to catch “Tic Tic (feild mice) ) who come to drink. BEWARE n BE AWARE. Aho?

    Know the DEW collection ways.

    Im not speaking of MASSES of water , tho it Can BE…but of enough to servive in a bad situation as well.

    I carry a cotton cloth to “collect” when roamindg about. STILL ALIVE so I must be doing Something rite. Thus I can TEACH…from PERSONEL EXSPEARENCE! I allso get a marbel size roundish PEBBEL to suck on. This gives SALIVA n I go farther on less..

    There r other ways but requires ways u dont know anymore. re

    dave7 4 years ago
    Thanks dhughses…just been postin on Ghosts hubs at this stage…the guys a prolific writer…some great info too….maybe these hubs are your book Ghost….re: survival….technically u can die on first night from exposure & no shelter…so it is No.1….cold or desert sun….can last 3 days or more without water…remember the three three’s (3 x 3’s)….3 minutes without air…3 days without water…& 3 weeks without food…..that last one/knowin sure took alot of pressure off me over the years….all the times i was broke with no food…GB

    Red Elk 4 years ago
    “Ghoast”; a # have asked me about TiPi Liveing. I LOVE UM…BUT; 4 TODAYS perminit abode…not that smart. till….#1, they r EASY TO MAKE. We’ve mad 5. 8 n 12 footers. I own an 8 ‘ 10 – 16 n 26. Bought through NOMAIC TIPI Co. out of Org. n Highly reccomend them. IF u buy…buy the BEST in Cloth (thickest) n ROT Resistent. ALLWAYS BUY / Get a LINER! A TiPi is a CHIMNY. LINER IS NEEDED TO CAUSE THE “DRAFT” NEEDED to De-Smoke the interier! GET IT..n MAKE SURE its FIRE RETARDENT!!!

    When useing a fire pit…run a “tube” at base of pit to outside…n UP above snow level. This gives air under fire n smoke clears MUCH faster! A rock or shingle on the outside risen tube…this to allow AMOUNT OF AIR going into the tube. AIR “EATS” WOOD! adjust accordenly.

    ALLWAYS run the Pole Tye Rope to a BURYED Cross-“T” pair of sticks in ground. N “Anchore” that holds the TiPi down in hi winds.

    R 16 sleeps 7 with fire pit N ALL “GEAR” (Cloths/etc.). It has had 22 in it for a big goup party. WE HAD A BALL.

    I recommend a “3 Pole” over a 4 Pole”. (This the # of STARTING Poles to set the others in at top). NOT AS MANY POLES TO LUB n makes a Buityfull site atop. “4” looks like a “rats nest” n is NO STRONGER.

    For a small family a 16 footer is great. 18 about the bigest Id go. My 26 is SO BIG i have YET to set it up. Ive owned a 22 n thats as Big as I can handle (set up) with 2 doing.


    Remember; u r liveing in a CONE. Any TiPi is NOT LARGE when STANDING. HUGE when laying or setting nxt to the “skin”. THE SLOPEING SIDES “Steal” WALK-ABOUT ROOM. Aho?

    Get n READ THE INDIAN TIPI by RUBIN. b4 u buy / make. This will help u know if its the abode for you. THERE IS NONE BETTER to have.

    Ive lived yr. rnd in my 22. Got to a USA Record LOW of 42 below 0 one yr..

    Servive? HECK YES…n EASILY! I had fir brows betweenthe liner n “skin”…AS WELL AS A WIND BREAK aound all, outside. Brows there too.

    That winte I’d take a broom n tap the snows down into this “break”…INSALATEING the “T” even more.

    I let the fir go OUT dureing thesse cold nites..coverd up well N CALLED MY MALLAMUT TO BED WITH ME! a “1 dog” nite(s. (Had 9…ran sleds).

    In the SUMMER Id roll up the skins’ “sides” n have a sunshade n breezees.

    Yes, n “critters”. (U learn to live with feild mice n ghopors). A SMUGE “fire” easily handeled moskeetos / etc..

    I used n OZAN dureing winter (a “Ceiling” that helps hold the heat in). a SMART BUY.

    My wife dos NOT like TiPi life. To “city”. 3 nites was all she could take n went to the sq. box we called “home”. sigh

    There is FAR more to share but this is the basics to get one going.

    OH! DEEPLY TRENCH AROUND UR TiPi! at LEAST 2 shovel heads deep….OR RISK FLOODING INSIDE! (“Been there, Done that”!).

    WINDS n FIRES r a hazzerd. REMEMBER THAT! Aho?

    To any contaplateing this typ abode, I hope this has helped. Its a FINE Structure. BUITYFULL, but u need to learn the best way to use it. GOOD LUCK. re

    Red Elk 4 years ago

    I have read Ghoasts Hub on WATER locateing. As his wife, i TOO “body dowse” but in a diff. way. Still, many may not know how to dowse in Any way…4 this The Creator has provided, by OBSERVEING.

    A whole post’s worth of information in a single Comment, Red Elk. Thanks.


    red elk 4 years ago
    a FAST n EASY Log Cabin: This, my trappers cabin; 8×16 ft.. Cut n made a “BOX”…didnet even notch. LONG SPIKES n SMALL DIA. “Logs”. Once BOX was done I used 2x4s to OUTLINE

    my WINDOW n DOOR. Nailed these on…INSIDE n OUTSIDE “frame”. Then took a chainsaw n CUT OUT THE LOGS within these Framed places. I then nailed 2x4s as INNER Frame…nailed into each cut log end.

    SIMPEL / FAST. Whole cabin DONE, Alone, in 3 DAYS!

    LOW n VERY WIDE ROOF. WELL over-hang(ing) at sides / back n “exstra long at front. Top log STRONG n LONG (nothched in at cabins’ top center). MANY Side “rafters”…LOW n SPRED OUT. Then used heavy tarp as roof…tossed on a # of “for n aft” small thick (cleaned of smaller out-growth) branches…then shoveled earth atop all ( Those top ones kept the earth from “exscapeing”. Then dug up grass clumps n weeds n planted (all LOCOL n NATUREL to the area). By the end of the nxt summer i had a growing “sod” roof. NEVER LEAKED.

    u dont Need BIG LOGS to build simuler. Thickest on “box” was only 6 in. at butt. Chinked (yrly) with WET MUD MIXED WITH dryed WEEDS. I put nails along up-down on each BOX log to hold the chinking. Aho? THINK i spent $9.00 on building this compleat cabin. NAILS! (ALL eles SALVAGED). Aho? have fun. HO! re

    red elk 4 years ago

    After finding my trappers cabin had been ‘found’ (dope pipe left behind”, i distroyed it. (Was 4 my little daughter n didnt want her n ? to cross paths). I then wenrt to a VERY BIG thickit of WILLOWS. Dead center. Cutting below the earth serfice i removed trees to a 10-12 ft Circle. Then BENY OVER surrounding trees, tyeing with old bycycle tubes (no harm to trees n allowed growth). Made a “DOME”. I then took the cut trees n INSERTED the cut ends into r “Mother” (Earth). Bent n WEAVED these (“Wattle-Like”) around the uncut “circle” trees. The buryed cut ends re-took n kept growing. Nature works wellif u use ur head. Ho

    This small HIDDIN “Cabin” was NEVER found…even in winter.

    COULDNT SEE THE “TREE” FOR THE “FOREST”. Used it for better then 2 1/2 yrs b4 moveing. Daughter LOVED it…a LIVEING cabin.

    As far as I know its still there. Built it in 1969.

    I see n archatect is now advacateing setch a structure. ABOUT TIME! re

    Know what you mean about someone “finding” your cabin. A survival cabin is one thing, but Pam and I know we have to be there to defend it or someone will find it and squat, even if only long enough to do drugs or whatever. Those types don’t know much about survival, but the surely do know about moving in on other folks’ hard work.

    The willow thicket hideout, living survival cabin NOT likely to be found, sounds really good. We intend to eventually build our “big survival cabin” using as much local vegetation as possible for cover, though the mesquite and manzanita and brittle bush here don’t grow as close together as we’d like. They seem to like a little elbow room. But our friends the trees and bushes are clearly happy to have us here and are growing as fast as they can to give us MORE cover, so the future looks bright.


    red elk 4 years ago

    not intending to hog, but: weve friends who r well of $$ wise. Live frugaly but WELL. They spend 6 m.s a yr traveling n 6 at thier “cabin” on a huge lake. They were talking to each other on buying n exspenive Motor Home or big camp traler 4 thier jonts…allso a poss boat. Both like the boat idia best but couldnt pull “all 3”. They saw me smileing. “What?” “U can have all 3…in ONE . Uve a one ton PU. BUT A TRAILERD SMALL HOUSE BOAT! “Camper” ON n OFF the water N a rig 2 go 2 town in. Look into USED ones. Seen many 4 sale that sure looked nice n FAR cheaper then new”.

    (Hay…y not?….n option 4 some to consiter).

    red elk 4 years ago
    We (3) spent m.s in n old city bus someone had pulled well off into the woods. Made 4 a comfy temp “home”. Not 4 winter tho.

    We have a small 2 door sedan here. No one willing 2 tow n scrap. This TOO can EASILY b a 1 person “hide-away”. Remove the back seat n replacw with a sheet of plywood n theres the area 4 a sleeping bag. If the BACK of that is removed then the TRUNK is open 2 store things. All windows (non elect) r ok. Take out 1 front seat n keep one as “chair”. Dasboard n glove box to set a wsmall camp stove n cooking gear. ALL CAR DIRTED OVER! All but the windows n ONE door. Then sodded. Hidden by dirt so not easily seen out in the boonys. Station Wagens / 4 door cars have more rm n can handel 2…MABY 2 n a kid…ok.

    Drain the oil n gas n use steel brillo pads at any point rodents can get through. Screening inside at windows (taped on) n fresh air as u want.

    Not a great “cabin” but n easy one. Mite do this 2 the car, just 4 fun. Hide it instead of setting as a “relic” thats n eyesore. ??? re (PS;can place tar paper on b4 sodding.rust n waterproof. cheap too).

    All good suggestions, Red Elk. Converting the old car to a hidden cabin, in particular, reminds me of the place my parents used to own west of Roundup, Montana. Back up past their large 2 story log home, there was a hidden hollow in the hills where Dad had a small shop and about 30 rusted out old cars just sitting around.

    Could have easily dug one (or more) of those into the hillside for a hidden cabin. Not that my father and I could have tolerated living that close together long term, but otherwise it could have been a really good deal.

    red elk 4 years ago
    4 any wanting a small log cabin; give searous thought to much smaller “logs”…even 3 in. at butt. Build um UP-RITE.

    “Stokade” walls have been used in the past N STILL R….n r VBERY Attractive! Not to meantion ALOT easyer to work with! BIG logs r EXSPENSIVE / HEAVY n many LITTLE trees r killed to get them out to YOU. (USELTY these r FREE too!). Think about it. re

    Red Elk, I never thought about that one, but the advantages are obvious. The upright “stockade” walls ought to shed water really well, too, since they’re vertical in the first place.


    Red Elk 4 years ago
    BLM (Burroe(?) of Land Manigment) has U CUT Free or VERY CHEAP)FIREWOOD/LOG Permits. If u live in a wooded area, have a truck n chainsaw, this is n ECCENT “cheap” sorce.

    Yet another r small Log Mills. Here (at least) u can go there n get FREE “Log Slabs”. These r the outter cut (with bark on) that r cast aside as the mill “Sq.s” the log into “usabel” lumber. Simply cut the edges straight n place side by side. Co.s r makeing small “cabin / sheds” n selling these locoly. VERY rustic.

    Realy folks, theres more then one way “to skin a cat”. Free to very Nearly so. Aho? I hope these postings help. re

    Thanks again, Red Elk. Now that you mention it, I did see a cabin or two (in my youth) that had been made from sawmill slabs. Had simply forgotten all about them.

    red elk 4 years ago
    got n E from one who reads Ghosts’ HUBS n knows me. My comment on a Houseboat/Cabin combo intreged them (man/wife). Asked 4 more info; If U r, then do a search under these names; DUCKWORKS BOAT PLANS



    The San Francisco Peliican Sailboat

    For one only, ck. out; PORTLAND PUDGY Dingy (This is NOT a “cabin” boat). Ive a gal in Holland who got hers to camp IN / Row n Sail (can motoer too). Fine for ONE…n easily hidden. Hers is Forest Green (sail too) n she uses the Hi Seas cover as the “cabin”.

    Thanks for the clues, Red Elk.

    Ajani 4 years ago
    Just found your hub. My 11-year-old dog and I are about to head out on foot since we just ran out of money. I am trying to sell what I have. My truck was just stolen from me in my own apartment building because I forgot to move it from the loading area overnight. Now I can’t get the truck back at $340 for the tow and $50 per day storage. I contacted an atty for AARP but nothing yet. My husband died last year, he was a veteran, and right after he died, the note holder on our home threatened to foreclose because we were behind. He won and I lost my house. I made the mistake of using the bit of profit I got to pay for an apartment. I had always been able to get work but had been out of the workforce for two years. I went back to California. What a mistake. This place is the worst. My husband’s battle with cancer ended with me living in my truck for two months trying to get something going. Now my truck is gone too. I wanted to build a log cabin but I will have to learn everything from scratch on my own. I will be lucky to leave with $1,000 (probably less). I know I could do it but I have to figure out the smartest way to survive the winter. Any ideas where I could go to start over? I was buying land in Klamath Falls but couldn’t keep making the payments but the guy gave me a $2,500 credit if I want to buy something else he has out that way. If I get my truck back, could I build a cabin by myself in two months. The winters there are quite cold. Any ideas, please share. Thanks,

    Ajani, I just read your Comment to my wife. We don’t envy your situation–as you well know, $1,000 can/will be gone in the blink of an eye. You ask two questions: 1. Where to start over? and 2. Could you build a cabin by yourself in 2 months?

    The number one problem, as you already understand, is land. We both know what the climate is like around Klamath Falls; Pam grew up an “Oregon girl”, and I’ve driven truck through there in midwinter. If you are able to secure anything there, the one advantage might be having your own trees, which can translate to lumber.

    If you don’t have raw timber as a resource, no, truthfully, I don’t believe you can build a cabin in two months–not because of your skill set (we haven’t discussed that) but because you’ll never be able to produce enough building materials before you run out of money.

    Where we are now–in Arizona near the Mexican border–the climate is much easier to survive (if you don’t cook to death during the summer)…but there’s nothing much available in the area under $500 down and $500 per month.

    In the Enquirer (strangely enough, but then that’s a strange publication anyway), there is an ad running for Texas land: $16,900 for 20 acres near El Paso, $169 per month. That’s a rough area for a woman and a dog alone, though, and nary a tree to be seen. Their phone # is 1-800-843-7537, for what it’s worth.

    There IS one thing you might do: If you can find a spot to plant it, you could possibly take a Rent To Own steel shed and turn THAT into a cabin. Doing so would be against every other paragraph in your rental contract (guaranteed), but right now we’re talking survival, not picky-picky. I’m doing just that with one of the three we currently rent. In our case, we now discover we’re going to have a little cash coming in and will be able to purchase the thing outright, but without that, here’s the deal:

    Each of these is 8 feet by 12 feet, rollup door (which is a pain), and very solidly built. Monthly rental is $69. Right now I sleep in that one. Green Eyes black kitty cat stays in the back one third (which I turned into a day cage for her), then gets to come hang with me after I’m in and secure the door so coyotes can’t get her. We sleep on pallets right now.

    When money permits, I’ll build a bedframe, buy a regular mattress, dismount the rollup door, and replace that with a one-window frame wall/door combo (all self-built). Then punch a hole in the back wall, install a screened window for crossbreezes, and follow up with insulation everywhere but the floor.

    In the meantime, I did one modification to the rollup door: drilled a hole through, which accommodates a bolt–screw that in when I go to bed. It keeps the door from rolling up all the way, but more importantly it keeps anyone from latching the door from the outside and locking me inside.

    Then addition of a small lag bolt and a two inch metal strip, secured with a Phillips screwdriver, and we’ve got bad people and critters locked OUT.

    But first you have to find a place to put the thing, and I sadly have to admit, wishing you well on your search is about all we have to offer. Maybe someone would be willing to rent you a little space for you, your shed, and your dog–on a ranch, maybe; we once rented a mobile home space from a rancher in South Dakota–but how do you pin down something like that?

    Good luck, and we mean that with all our hearts.


    Red Elk 4 years ago
    Ajnai; As Ghost says; LAND n Avilabel Trees needed. OTHER Temp Opps. tho; Newspaper Adds; APT. MAnNIGER NEEDED.

    Free apt/utilitys/elect/heat…n SMALL work needed. (Not sure on pets tho)).

    LAND CARETAKER NEEDED….(Searh on Internet).

    HOUSE (n or House N Animal) Caretaker needed.

    Wife n I spent 11 yrs cartakeing 180 accers of woodland…house included.

    Now, these only a TEMP (fill-in) place. Aho?

    n it depends on what u want as a “Cabin”. MOST want at least “Fancy”. FANCY means Time n Money! GOOD TTO “SERVIVE” IN ANOTHER MATTER! (See my Trappers Cabin n “Dog Pen” Cabin.). Fast “U CAN DO” abodes.

    I made a GIANT “A” Frame BARN. Boyscouts n cow LOVED it (me too)…all with fallen trees n coverd with feafy branches. IN SNOW N RAIN Country. Took me 3 or 4 days, aloone. Redid the leafs 2 times a yr, Lasted nearly 3 yrs..n WARM with small wood stove (n SPARK Arrester screen). Aho?

    Searh out Native American Abodes (etc). MANY TYPS! Allso SERVIVIL SHELTERS. (Many can b exspanded, as i did the barn).

    Unlike Ghoast I say YES U CAN! IF land n IF ur willing to go Small n Simpel. Otherwise, 4get it.

    At this tome Im building a 2 adult/One child Miny Dome. VERY Tiny. Started with a PILE of DIRT n dug INTO IT. Even the stove is dug from/into the dirt wall. This, tho VERY TINY is a “Fancy”. Mite cost $300.00…MABY. Can do simuler for $2.00 to $40.00 (Done so).

    So, yes u CAN…IF u think “outside the box”, ck out veryious “old ways” from around the world n GET LAND N GET TO BUILDING! Good Luck. re

    Red Elk’s mention of the A-frame as a combination barn and survival cabin reminds of one our neighbors on the mountain. He had the only A-frame in the area, a sizeable two story job he’d built himself, so naturally we all knew him as “A-frame Mike”. Kept his goats in the larger, bottom “barn” portion, while he and his family lived in the smaller, upstairs “cabin” portion. Worked well for them, and while we ended up having to move elsewhere after a few years, we’ve no doubt he’s still there.

    Tom Meyers 4 years ago from Brookhaven, Georgia
    Very cool page! I did the same thing in Alaska for a fishing cabin. I even added some solar stuff.

    Thanks, Tom. We’ll be building a low cost (labor intensive!) earthbag home here in Arizona very shortly and will do a series of posts on that process as it progresses. Much different building style but with the same goal: Get something done that works…without spending numerous arms and legs.


    red elk 4 years ago
    Can’t leave people homeless. Not many in those straights will find this book pricy to buy, but librayerys may have it. SHELTER

    Amazon has it. About $30.00.

    This book holds ALL KINDS of homes WORLD WIDE. Tahiti Africa Eskamo Achient to Ultra Modren.

    In my work as a Med. Man / Wakian (Spirituel adviser) I have traveld all over the USA n Canda. Ud b surprised out how many of r N.A. still live in the achent abodes. I yern to do so b4 to long myself.

    My faverit is the Ojiba / Cree Oblong Supptle trees (willow / etc.) WIGWAM. Ive been in them n LOVE UM!

    I’d do a BIT different then the “old” tho. I’d make sure the center top is a tiny bit taller there. That to allow smoke to collect n exit without build-up. Id allso add a “snow / rain shed entryway (porch cover) at the doorway.

    Id allso add an airline to under the fire from outside…makeing sure the outside pipeing was tall enough to not get snow coverd.

    If i had no spare cash Id do as i did my “A” Barn/cabin ; branches with leaves layerd bottom to top on the structures horazontel willows…2 – 3 thik. This makes 4 a VERY warm inside! Rain n Snow dosnt go threw, ither.

    Otherwise id overlap decent tarps.

    At the “chimny” hole Id make sure i had a fine screen spark stopper accros the hole N have a raised LARGER TGHE HOLE cover as well. At the fire itself i ALLWAYS put a simuler screen. FIRE IS NOT TO BE A FORCE ONE IGNORES! Please, REMEMBER THIS!

    If ur concerned about water entering the abode…TRECH IT! Make SURE that rench has a Down Slop “exit”. Again, 2 shovel heads deep!

    At the end of the run-off trench u can easily catch water in a below ground container. A smart thing to do.

    Filtering water is easy with grasses n clean gravel. Boiling the finil H2O if u feel safer (I purify by prayed only).Or let the sun cleans it (see SOLOR STILL BULDING).

    Ive lived rather “wild” now n then. Know the Ins n Outs of old buses, culverts, TiPis, Tents , Lean Tos , n on n on.

    I live in a 14×70 trailor house now n YEAR for the other!

    “Whiteman” has some SUPER good “things”…yet most r NOT “needed” things. Youll find SIMPLE has ALOT GOING FOR IT!

    So MUCH people r miossing. Snowmobiles over Snowshoes or sled dogs. Fancy summer wear over a FANTASTICLY COMFORTABEL Loin Cloth (dont laugh! Easy to wash, easy to make). Yeah, i miss it.

    I hope I have been of help to someong who reads this Hub n I thank Ghost 4 allowing me “on”.

    Dont FRET, Folks…SIMPEL is a SHOCK (at first) but uill SOON BEGIN TO ENJOY IT! n NOT “Breaking the Bank” n becomeing Inslaved to veryious Co.s at the same time. Good Luck n Creator b with u all. re

    The “SHELTER” book sounds worth having. Will have to check it out.


    Charlie 4 years ago
    Haven’t been in survival mode for 50 years now, but I appreciate the philosophy expressed here and can apply much of it. Not embarassed to take my neighbors’ castoffs and always recycle by reusing whenever possible. I have started conversations with builders on homesites and have talked some into leaving some of their scrap wood next to the dumpster for me to collect after they finish each day duiring the “rough framing” stage. Also,You can straighten bent nails easily with a hammer. I say I do it to be green, but it’s also fun…especially when you don’t have to. Good luck to all you who have to for survival. I think in the long run all efforts even by people like me will make the resources available to the general populice last longer and make life a little easier for generations that follow us.

    Good points, Charlie. Straightened a few bent nails today, as it happens. Felt a touch nostalgic, actually–my late father had me straightening nails by the gross, after pulling them out of piles of old timbers on the ranch, by the time I was old enough to cause trouble but too young to assign to power machinery.

    ‘Course, today’s nail straightening occurred while building a water tank support tower which will double as a shower shed, but that will become (when the tower is finished and the water tank installed) another tale entirely.

    red elk 4 years ago
    I too have bent many nails. Shakes dont allow now tho.

    I beleive Ghoast n I “laugh” at todays “Green” Movement. At least these folks r thinking of betering the envierment…but how CAN they with all the BIG $$ needed? How many CAN spend thousends n thousends to “save the earth”. Seems no one dosnt think on ALL IT TAKES to MAKE these “Savers”. MILLIONS on a Factory / Elect. to run equpt. / n on n on. KILLING Nature to SAVE it! Realize that to buy EVEN A BUTTON that EACH SINGEL ONE takes THOUSENDS to make! These selling r generly Lineing thier Pocket at Mother Earths’ exspense, seems to me.

    The only “GREEN” I see today has a Presidents Face on it.

    Ghoast (N I) know it DOS take $$, but CAN BE FRUGELY DONE.

    Thus his Servivile Cabin(s) n my ‘doings’.

    Folks , do as Charlie tells: Go, BEND A NAIL. Aho? HO! re

    In truth, I look to our own survival first and limiting damage to Mother Nature second. If I can manage to do both in one maneuver, that’s a really good thing, of course.

    For the water supply to the home I’m building in Arizona (2009-2010), our excavation contractor today used the narrow bucket for his backhoe to dig more than 400 feet of trench for the piping I’ll need to do. And by curving around here and there, he did all that without wiping out a single native mesquite bush.

    Probably better do a separate post on that, too….


  32. Much appreciated, Manny. I’m going to hold off on adding more of his posts for a while, both to let regular readers catch up a bit and to give myself time to figure out how to “track” where I’m at for the next huge batch of Red Elk comments. The entries from 2010 add up to roughly 2 1/2 times as much material as you see here to this point, all of them packed with useful, practical content.

    Beyond that, it was Red Elk’s commentary that powered the original post (when it was a Hub at HubPages) to either #1 or #2 position in Google results (depending on the day) for years. Migrating the page without the commentary resulted in the viewership dropping off, the Google computers being less happy, and the page dropping down considerably in the results ranking. And now, with a significant chunk of that commentary restored less than 1 day ago, this post has rocketed back up to the #5 position, page one of Google results.

    All of that indicates clearly that Red Elk is still “helping out” whether he’s physically incarnated on this plane or not. This Survival Cabin tale was one of my first posts at HubPages, written in early 2008. Red Elk gave it real life in mid-2009. By the time I shifted it to on October 10, 2013, it had received more than 130,000 views. SINCE then, it’s only received 5,387 views and currently ranks as my 56th most popular post on this site. Now that “Red Elk is back”, it will be interesting to watch; if the view count doesn’t rise sharply over the coming months, I’ll be surprised.

    And one other note: This post was one of the pioneers in its niche. When it was first published in 2008, very few writers out there were using the term “survival cabin” to describe their projects. There are a lot more of them now, some of them really excellent work and some that also obviously decided “Survival Cabin” was a great term to incorporate into one’s title.

    May the blessings be.

  33. I am happy to see the comments coming back out of limbo. I admire your willingness to do all that copying and pasting. I would go bug-eyed pretty quick.

  34. Thanks, Leonid–and thanks, most especially, for saving Red Elk’s comments in the first place. And I can guarantee you, I’m mighty happy to see them coming back out of limbo, too. Truth be told, it was fear of going bug-eyed that kept me from migrating all that material in 2013. I’d been moving stuff from HubPages for 3 straight weeks, starting with my least popular Hubs, deleting nearly 3/4 of the total and saving the cream of the crop. That meant the Cabin Hub, which had by far the most views at that time, was the very last to move. I’d been working bleary-eyed at the computer all that time, every minute I could spare, ten to 14 hours out of every 24. How many gallons of coffee I’d consumed, I have no idea, except that it was multiple pots of the stuff every night.

    Tackling the 2010 material (and newer) does have me a wee bit intimidated, mostly because I have no idea (yet) how I’m going to keep from losing my place while wandering through the forest, as it were. But we’ll get ‘r’ done, sooner or later.


    habee 3 years ago from Georgia Level 5 Commenter
    What a wonderful narrative. I often get the urge to abandon my comfortable home in exchange for a little cabin in the North Georgia mountains!

    Habee, neither Pam nor I would have it any other way.

    red elk 3 years ago
    Ive had a # telling me “Id do it THIS / THAT Way!”. Readers: dont set n TELL….get off ur duffs n DO! To many “couch Archatects” ‘out there’. D O IT n

    Y O U R WAY!

    Ghost n I do so….not as UD like, but isent FOR “YOU”. Just shareing WHAT CAN BE DONE. Exampeling. Aho? re

    Red Elk touches on a key point in that last comment. I’m a firm believer that anyone who listens to his or her “Inner Self” can and will, when building:

    A. Learn from others.

    B. Take what is useful and ignore the rest.

    C. Produce a product (cabin, mini-dome, hang glider, whatever!) that is unique but that also

    C. Gets the job done in the right way FOR THAT PERSON.


    red elk 3 years ago

    reader(s); in building the miny dome, i did so with ONLY hand powerd tools. This to example one needs no elect. or exspense tools to do simuler.

    Nothing that one can’t borrow, buy at “cheap shops” or allready on hand.

    The one requirement will b a place to build…(unless useing a boat as home).

    Off the “cuff” a bit; Of all transpertaiton to “go cheap” it will not be a bycycle / etc., but a simpel FOOT POwERD SCOOTER (we have 2 “folders n 1 “reg.”). These need very little up-keep, can b carryd/stored and gets one around faster then feet. Ho re

    red elk 3 years ago
    To all; in building the Miny Dome, i have done so WITHOUT an Elect. tool. All HAND POWERD, easy to buy or salvage or borrow. ONCE i used n elect. chain saw. After 5 “cuts” decided “not fare” n set it aside…never to use it again. TRYING to PROVE things CAN BE DONE with vry littel exspence.

    Furthermore, with little building knowlege. Most u can learn from books n internet search.

    Ghost n I have shard alot here. Should b enough to get those intrusted the incuragement needed to “go on ur own”.

    In this, LAND use is the majer factor (unless “going boating”).

    Sorta “off the cuff” is Transpertation. I USE FOOT SCOOTERS! FAR less then REPAIREING Bikes. CAN use ur foot to STOP (if brake gos out). FASTER then walking OR running. Can be easily CARRYED n Stored. We have 2 “folders” (tiny wheels useless “off rd.”) n a Reg.. HIDEABEL. CHEAP….n FUN! Let others laugh! DARE TO BE DIFFERENT! Life is too short to spend so much of it straped to the “systum”. Be FREE 4 a change. you CAN do it! (: Aho? re

    dbigsac 3 years ago
    love this hub I have 40 ac in northern arizona close it peach springs own it over 30 years had trailer on it till someone needed it more then me,God blee them.hope to live there full time soon family thinks me to be nut. I’ve none my homework and I’m sure I can build small cabin around 16×24 for under $10,000 I’m going to also put another trailer on it.I own it but I think God just lets me us it.after reading your hub and reading Ajani story made me hurt being a Vet myself Ajani your welcome to use my land if you fine yourself in via this hub. Peace/love dbigsac

    red elk 3 years ago
    “Dg”; dont 4get CODES…septic / etc. the Locol Gov. will INSIST on. This will eat into ur $$. I got a $75.00 OUTHOUSE Permit n saved MUCH. Good “4ever”.

    U meantion only size. Not TYP or STYLE…or WANTED Exspatations. SURE u can, IF WISE. A Nice place too.

    GOOD LUCK n GB! re

    dbigsac 3 years ago
    red elk can build up to 500sq ft w/out permet on 40 acres tell me more about outhouse permit was going to use compost

    type maybe a shed type roof or gable not sure shed roof 20×20 gable type 16×24 got bids for for 16×24 w/loft $3900 for all lumber dry in not pier foundation or floor I have built one or two houses in the past been in the trade for over 30. I’m surly not into thr gov regulations.

    red elk 3 years ago
    Hummm…this is not a forom n belongs to Ghost. Allready gone “overboard”. Aho? Seek Ghost 4 my E address then write. Aho? I Dont dare give it out “openly”. n DONT U!

    Id opt 4 a SHED Roof…GREAT with GUTTERs to Cystren Tanks n FASTER / CHEAPER. Certin Angeling allows safe roof Earth covering / gardening atop as well. If u DO b SURE u have EXSTRA LONG Overhang. Shade n Weather pertection…allso rains/snows dont pile at side of cabin walls. But thats ME. This is UR cabin. Aho? (Oh; extra rafters to handel the load…n this adds some more wall uprites to hold the exstra rafters. STILL cheaper n Faster).

    Go to the County n ask where to get O.H. Permit n amount. PUT UR PERMIT IN O.H. so “they” can see!

    We bought a DOUBEL (“handycap”) Porta-Pot O.H., USED; $300.00 deliverd. Rm to shower (+) inside. To get “tended” was “35.00 each time. About once every 2 1/2 (+) mounths n SURE WORTH IT. Aho? re

    dbigsac 3 years ago
    thanks red elk I thought u ment a hole in the ground o/h

    with a shed over it. I’ll contact ghost. I was leaning to the shed roof because of the easy build. gardening on top no leaks?

    Red Elk, your comments are on target for low budget shelter as usual.

    Dbigsac, I deleted the shortest of your comments–have no doubt you meant well, but it was in the nature of a (no doubt heartfelt) prayer that added nothing concrete to the discussion of budget survival shelter which is the sole focus of this hub.

    All of your longer comments were fine and did contribute to the store of knowledge on this topic. One point: You mention not needing a permit for a building under 500 square feet. That is no doubt true where you live, but every jurisdiction is different. Here in Cochise county, we even had to pay for a permit to live in our own RV on our own land while building the permanent home–and then once the home is built, we are legally forbidden to live in it any longer!

    red elk 3 years ago
    I know severl who want to “build a cabin”. Probaly u too.

    Seems tho “Cabin” is ofter “Log”. Id like readers to think on this…they r NOT the ONLY “Cabin” Materil around! Im 67. Been into building lil “cabins” sence perhaps 13 or 14. In my youth it was ok to “cut down a tree” n often used for cabins. Today tho, things r changeing. Most land owners use what trees they have, for privit firewood use, etc.. Not allways easy to get. Aho?

    There r many PLYWOOD Plans (free) on internet…still, these Pre-Made kits can hit a pocketbook hard.

    Ghost has something going useing sand bag constructin. Basicly, ‘cept 4 the bags; DIRT CHEAP. I, my “Dig into a dirt pile” (2 adults/ a baby n a young child) is FOR SERVIVIE. Mind u; this is a PLACE to get out of the weather, sleep / cook and feel safe in, a VERY ASTUTE servivil “cabin”. Not many could think of this as a “house…or b able to “take it”. I CAN..U mite NOT.

    Still, the idia is LOOK at what u have that u CAN build of.

    Nature things, like Rocks or Willows or Sand (Ghosts’ sand bag cabin) or Grasses/weeds n MUD (mix, n have an exstended roof). ANYTHING U HAVE R I G H T T H E R E! Then too, keep ur eyes open…MUCH blown off Pick Ups / etc. LAYING at the SIDE OF THE RD.. Shoot, Im useing TOSSED OUT BEER BOTTLES in my Miny as my WINDOW! Old Pallets / Cardboard (insalation or fast / lightwt./cheap inner “walls”)…etc..

    In short; think; FREE think; CHEAP think; FAST, n, if poss.; think, DARN SMALL.

    If u r thinking “2 (+) Bd. Rms n a Bath.”..”me sorta thinks uz reading in the wrong place”. Still, with DIFFERNT Thinking, even a “mansion” can b made…CHEAPER. Aho? Good luck to u all. u CAN DO IT! Ho re

    The earthbag home construction is not covered in this hub but will be in a series of hubs yet to come…as well as a few already in place which discuss the preparatory stages.

  37. thaninja 3 years ago from America
    I am a big fan of yurts and gers as well. They are medium cost, but a little more permanent than the tents there.

    Thaninja, thanks for forcing me to educate myself. Had to do a Search to figure out that “ger” was the Mongolian version of the yurt.

    red elk 3 years ago
    Am now in the finile stages of my “Hobbit Hut / “Gnome Home”. Just in time. Winter’s setting in. Started takeing dirt from #2 dirt pile to cover at least Some of #1. This allows Wind Flow to be less Wind/Weather “dissturbeing”, keeps the miny warmer AND means #2 (bathroom / storage) is started.

    I’ve been looking at a direrlic Green House Shed I payed $10.00 for (+ $10.00 to get deliverd). Wont b hard to repair, CHEAPLY. Going to turn this over 2 my 14 yr. ols ggrandson as HIS cabin project. This shed has short sidewalls n a rounded “A: Frame top. Cant b more then 10 ft. long x 8 ft. wide. A good Stand / Walk floor space but not rm. for about more then that. Will shoe Sky (grandson) how to “hinge” a drop-out side-wall bed on one side n simuler on the other to hold camp stove / gear. But other then Phy. help it will need b all up to him. HIS “cheap cabin…HIS way. Giveing him self confidence and training to use his imagination. IE; MATURITY. Aho? Think he’s old enough to “do” now.

    Allso have a decent bodyed 2 door auto that, given time, I’ll mostly earth cover (Up to windows n on roof)…take out one front n the back bench seat. Only one door will remain unearthed (enter/exit). A 4×8 plywood sheet will b put behind the the singel front seat (n through into the trunk). The windows work (roll-by-hand). Fuiel tank n oil out. Wont hurt the envirement. All holes will be stuffed Steel Wool to keep out rodents. Dash the gen. cooking area. With a batt. the raido works. Realy will b the tinyest servivil cabin I’ve come up with. Earth bermed (as my miny dome) will help temp. summer n winter. ‘Skeeter Netting at windows = good ventalation. A cheap tin chimny place in top n sticking out, n ud have a “get-away” for basicly Pennys.

    Do u see what I mean by “makeing do” with things on hand? re

    The auto conversion to cabin sounds highly workable. Not government-friendly, but most true survival situations aren’t. Having even a tiny place to sleep secure, with the windows rolled up when the coyotes crank up after dark, can mean not only physical survival, but emotional survival as well.

  38. B.C. BOUTIQUE 3 years ago
    My dear COWBOY :)…I very much have and do enjoy this hub you have know I am a fan of Mother earth and Living the best ways I can off the Earth and in harmony of the Pure NATURE around me..I would survive well with you and your wife, My family could come and we could have a traditional homestead of sorts :)..anyway, keep up the great work you ol’Bronc Buster 🙂 🙂

    Thanks, B.C. Before you get too enamoured of the Arizona desert concept, though, you might want to read my hub titled Snake Stories: The Mojave Green Rattlesnake.

    red elk 3 years ago
    if any want thier own “space”…id advise SEARHing for TINY DIGGS as a start. These places people made / make that has info on some FANCY…but LITTLE…”homes” AND SPACE SAVEING Idias N FURNITURE.

    Personely, many to narrow 4 my tastes…but not ALL. Fasinateing what folks do.

    This n other Sights (Tiny Cabins / etc.). Lots of info out there.

    I have spent alot of time looking at boats and veryious RVs. Not to BUY, but to get IDIAS. Time well spent.U mite want to do likewise. ??

    My miny dome will NOT b everyons “cup o tea”…few could “take it”. Im not advacateing U have 2 follow MY lead. Just Exampeling what one CAN do.

    I see BUITYFULL Homes on tv…n sure wish I were ritch enough 4 the same…just for fun! But at the same time, i see “white” houses as a STORGE BARNS, with a “bed”! GREAT Heating costs due to size ; Matinance…Taxes…Payments…Insurence…etc. N i think “is it REALY Worth it?” “Why must i feel i must ‘Impress’?”

    Things u too should think about. IS it NEEDED??? “Is “my” EGO That INFLATED”.

    to me, easyer to own outrite…PAYED IN FULL, then to have n worry “Where will this go if I lose my job?” and in todays economy…U JUST MITE! Aho? think about it….re

    Red Elk, as usual, has a point. I admit to liking a bit of square footage, but the earthbag home I’m currently building (late 2009, to be finished an occupied sometime in 2010) will be at least slightly downsized by simply keeping the ceiling as low as possible. We all grew up with 8 feet being the “standard” ceiling height, but this new place will “level off” as soon as possible after clearing the top of the door framing. As long as I can walk around inside without bumping my head, I’m good to go.

  39. red elk 3 years ago
    At least in r county, theres a gov. move about. Trying o make it ill-legel to save “Dads” rain in catchment containers of any sort.

    We live in sage country. DEEP n BIG BUCK WELLS! WAY beyound R $$…so we have a cytren set-up…AND if they pass this law ; a GRANDFATHER CLUSE!

    I travel coast top copast in USA n Canada. Wks n Mounths away from home. See ALOT of RAIN going straight into the soil. EVEN IN R “4 CORNERS” States! Water going into STONES n SAND! To poor a soil to grown anything but “scrub”. What a WASTE!

    This Hub is on SERVILE cabins! THINK AHEAD! Put on GUTTERS n direct the down sprots to a BARROL if thats all u can afford!

    We have many open “contaioners”…Stok Tanks , etc.. 2 set at hi ground in r garden areas. GRAVITY FED to raise bed produce. When ness. we spray from r main tanks, To combat ‘Skeeter” problems, a cap of cooking oil in each “tank”. We allso COVER these “cathers” to save from evaperation.

    No “law” to have THESE containers about. Aho?

    We dont get water enough for a yr., but DO trade things to get Well Water from neighbores. Id say perhaps 70 + % a yr. we get “naturel” tho. Aho?

    For MOBILE servivilist (RVs / Etc.)u can “catch” in a large “Pic-Nic” tabel umbrella…turned up-side down. Folds 4 travel. Got rs at Goodwill for $6.00.

    Syphen it out if u want to stay “low Key Cheap”.


    A Shed Roof (flat) BUILT ENEN N INCH LOWER at one side…DRAINS WATER to that side…gutter n barrol dos the rest.

    COLOR is imported on roofing too. We have Dark Green. MELTS SNOW faster then less dark roofs.

    By the way, SNOW INSALATES. Today homes FIGHT it! In Early America the farmers / etc. keep roof NAILS sticking UP. CATCHING the snow. Animals n man stayed warmer useing this “way”. Today man insalates the beegeebers in thier attacts (MONEY MONEY MONEY…n ISPECTION Cost…Dang LAWS to “inslave” u). THEN the HEAT has to CIRCULATE in the attic (if a sleeping space / etc.). MORE $$!

    USE NATURE. dont FIGHT it! Aho? re

    All good points on “catching” water. Pam our cats don’t do that well on our well water, so we’ve gone back to buying drinking water from town (five gallon bottles) for our present (2009) home in Arizona. The well water never bothered me, but people and critters vary greatly in sensitivity to such things.

    However, we don’t have any problem whatsoever in using it for washing dishes or even potatoes before peeling. Point being, if your “roof water” is not perfectly safe for human consumption, there are still plenty of high volume uses for which it IS useful.

    red elk 3 years ago
    to all readers of my comments: I apoligize 4 my many miss-spellings. Im not n “ignorent” “idiot”. i AM tho one who has bad shakes n typ only with one figer AND a PC “dah”. Im allso one who receivs VERY Many E Mailes daily..7 days a wk.. Thus “pushed” for time. My days begin far earlyer then most …useualy at 3:00 AM n often even earlyer. I get n average of 5 1/2 hrs sleep out of very 24.

    My “work” (“job”) requires this.

    As a PC Dah n the time i spend on my PC, well, , i dont do “Spell Ck.s”. (Wich is obveous). Shakes , that n One Finger = many wrong hit keys. Time dosnt permit “Ck.s”.

    I hope u understand n r able to “wade” through. I qapoligize. re

    red elk 3 years ago
    Many reading this hub n wanting to build, have alot to think about. Things NOT thouraly THOGHT on. HOW TO BUILD On Site n LIVE, as building. “HOUSEING”!

    Some mite be “Street People” who HAVE “touffed out” n can do so fairly easily. Most HERE arnt quit that “trained” yet. So….CONSITER THESE FACTERS: R u ALONE? Do u have a “Like Minded” Helper / Mate? R CHILDREN WITH YOU? PETS?

    R u n NOVICE BUILDER? What TOOLS will be needed AND U HAVE?

    Elect. tools n POWER 4 them? Strickly HAND Tool building? A way to DEPENDABLY get to Parts / Etc. needed, When needed?

    R the rds. allways “passabel”? These but a few to give thought to BEFOR seting out!

    I have “Tarped It”, “Tented It” (from a 2 “man” tent to larg TiPi). “Camp Trailerd” it, n built rite “outside r house”.

    The last by FAR the easyest.

    CHILDERN NEED MORE SPACE! PETS tend to want UR Space inside ur “while building” Abode. PREPAIR FOR THIS! If not Alone, THINK “I’ll Need BIGER, while building”! Otherwise, think “Cabin FEVER”! CABIN FEVER IS REAL! Frienships n marrages BREAK UP due to this. KILLINGS, TOO (tho rare).


    Now ANOTHER; HOW LONG DO U FIGURE IT WILL TAKE TO FINISH N MOVE IN? WONT HAPPEN! DOUBEL IT! This “doubeling” probably will never b “forfilled”, but u can BET IT WILL TAKE LONGER THEN U THINK! Even when useing CONTRACTORS!

    We orderd a metel Lean-To…”Garenteed to b up n ready in 10 days from receiveing. A simple structure. TOOK OVER A FULL YEAR! IE; DONT COUNT ON IT!!!

    Meanwhile, what do u Live In while building?

    Well, options include renting a temp place around the closest town to ur site ; tent(s); Camp Trailer ; Tarp…OR PER BUILD AT HOME, Dissmantel n take sections up on wk.ends n reassebel.

    I know two who have donr this. WORKED LIKE A CHARM! Each wk.nd. became a “Vacation” n they had ALLREADY (pre)BUILT THE ABODE…so a “peice o cake” to re-do on site.

    Of coures ull need to plan in gas n time to get to / from.

    Id recommend This “way” over all the rest.

    Meanwhile, give heavy thought to all above this “way”. Aho? LOTS of thought!

    TENTS RATTEL n Occ. LEAK In Wind / Rain. GET AGOOD (“exspensive”) ONE! n BIGGER then u THINK ull need. U NEED GOOD SLEEP TO DO A GOOD JOB!

    Campers have all the uminitys…but ULL BE BWTTWE OFF WITH A LARGER / ROOMYER ONE. (But make SURE its not so BIG u cant make it up muddy / etc. rds AND THE SHARP TURNES some rds have).

    Again, consiter those with u. ROOM for ALL. Or MORE Tents n ANOTHER Camper. Aho?

    Its not my intent to frighten a builder off. This is ment to help u MAKE SURE U GET UR “DREAM” DONE and withouit alot of fustratons. Aho? GOOD LUCK! re

    Red Elk, feel free to keep on commenting without worries regarding your shakes, etc. Since you’ve been adding your insights to my original article, viewership (daily/monthly) has roughly doubled. I’m guessing there’s a connection.

    Also, you raise a very good point about Cabin Fever. My wife and I’ve been together for 13 years now, still hooked at the hip, but still do best with either plenty of room to “get away” from each other as needed. So…how could we do that now (in 2009) as we’ve been in nothing but a fairly small camp trailer for the past 7 months and still have several more months to go before the new earthbag house I’m building will be liveable?

    Simple enough: When it’s my bedtime, I head for an 8′ x 12’ steel storage shed (Rent To Own) sitting 30 feet from the camper. Got a mattress in there I stole from the camper, 3 super-warm blankets from Wal-Mart, and a black kitty cat who doesn’t mind snuggling on the colder nights.

    Which is good, because Pam can’t sleep well until my keyboard shuts up.

    Point being: If a space is too small to prevent you and your partner from “going nuts”, there are ways to come up with “separate bedrooms”…which can for sure save a relationship


    red elk 3 years ago

    !st off, Tnk U brother. 2ed; ur hub may have close 2 doubeld but only because it THERE. UR Doing! Aho?

    If u / readers would search “Shoestring Budget cabins…LOTS on BUDGETS / Etc. but so far Ive found nothing BUT URS on Budget CABINS. Uniqe as U r my friend. HO

    THIS WILL / IS CHANGEING…im SURE. “Y?” well, to live / do CHEAPER has, to so many, become NESSACERY. U ? I n now OTHERS r WANTING a “normol life”…SOMEHOW. Economy is NOT Allowing this. Thus, “along comes John”. IE “Ghoast”. The “light in the darkness”, so to speak.

    Ur/ My EXAMPELING that “Life dosnt END”, it just CHANGES. N folks 2day r FINILY SEEING this. Gotta give Them Credit!

    “Bend like a green weed” Ive told. A reed that REFUSES TO BEND will be SNAPED! People r realizeimng this. THANK YOU, FOLKS!!

    Life is tough enough without one Clinging to the ways that have put the World in this situation. GO WITH THE BREEZE…BEND! BEND! BEND!

    U n I have found that “secreat”. We live Cheaper, We live FREER n WE LOVE LIFE! “Hardships” WE find as CHANGE ADVANTAGE(s)..IF one THINKS…n Seeks the “way” to DO without “stop of breath”. WE, Ghost, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!

    Now, perhaps we can help the Other “reeds” to “Loosen Up” n BEND n ENJOYS This WILD WIND “RIDE”! YAHOOOO!

    Ok, nuff said. Now more on “that” BUDGET CABIN; As weve both pointed out, there r Alternitives. One needent have

    “The Jones’ House” to be comfortabel. NORE the Big Pay (or ANT pay) Job, to “servive”. IT IS BUT A CHANGE OF MIND-SET now. THAT, Alone, will “save” you. Add to that: RESEARCH! IE, what CAN be done, for NOTHING?

    Excuse my lauguage, but: a HELL of ALOT!!!

    NOW is not the time to be stuck in reading

    FASHION Magazines, but HOW magazines! Aho?

    R u away theres PASSIVE ways THAT CAN B BUILT FOR NXT TO FREE (scroung!) that set rite at ur windowsill and “PUMPS” IN SOLOR HEAT? $$ Saved on HEATING BILLS! By now u r aware EARTH Heats N Cools. DIG IN or BURM. My Miny Dome “root celler” is deirt dumped ON THE SLOPD LAND i wanted to build. I took a shovel n went to the piles TOP. STOPED DIGGING DOWN when 5 inches from the “top” of the slope…n leveled this new floor from that. 5 inches + ABOVE this slope means WATER DOSNT STAND A CHANCH TO SOAK UP TO THE TOP Of OF THAT 5 INCHES. Rd Gravel, FREE, then placed qatop my floor, then FREE sand atop THAT, then FREE heavy clear plastic (found at dump) n atop All this; a BUITYFULL…n FREE (dump) NEW Rug Rainment. This covers the WHOLE lil Floor n Cut to Fit. “Custum”. Windows? BEER BOTTOLS WINE BOTTLOLS of diff colors N some salvaged Clear window glass. “Hippy”? no; GNOMEy! n HOMEy, at the same time. I could have built a Stick n Mud Chimny (STUDY, Folks) but got tired n went out n BOUGHT one. My big exspence is CEMENT and MORTOR. Wanted it to last. Mud mixed with dead weeds would do..N Last..but, again; tired. My “rafters” r WILLOWS, FREE. “Sweat Lodge” makeing “way”. STUDY, FOLKS, STUDY!

    See? u dont NEED MONEY, u NEED KNOWLEGE! n u WONT find it in a “FASHIN” Magazine!

    Wind CAN be ur water pump, Elect. sorce, even used to WASH CLOTHS! n CAN BE MADE BY Y O U, FREE! A creek can b used for this as well. STUDY! BUCKS found FREE on sides of rd. hold water..good to mix cement in (trowel).

    U DONT “NEED” HI PAY “Things” to MAKE. u need KNOWLEGE! OLD Ways. Ways of different CULTURES around the WORLD. UTILIZE! Include Elect. if u want. Ur building so CHEAPLY u can now AFFORD a Generator (USED, if wise).

    U can build (DIRT) a WIND “Tunnel” to STEER the winds. Channel it to ur Wind Washing Machine or Home Made Windmill, To cool a wet cloth FOOD COOLER, or simply Into the Home, etc.. STUDY, THINK n UTILIZE!

    I once made a doubel (55 n 30 gal) Drum Stove. HUGE Heat. On the pipe going up n out, I bought a “heat exchanger: n ABOVE THAT made a SMOKER! A home made 5 gal. insalated (all free) OVEN cookd MANY cakes n cookies…a steel plate between the 2 barrols heated water N allowed Food Frying. Left it when we moved. USEING ONE HEAT SORCE (wood) FOR SEVERL “DOINGS”! THINK! THINK! THINK!!!

    Ok, time to quit whineing n start LIVEING again! In r Creator…re

    The Jones’ house” to b comfortabel.

    red elk 3 years ago

    by now u r aware im FULL of idias…n i wanna make Every Singel one of um!

    As told, ive made a tiny “hidy cabin” of liveing bent togather willows. On r other property, we have about 1/2 n accer of near full growth birch trees at one side of the 30 ft dome we r building. Each tree perhaps 35 ft hi. Wouldnt mind geting some climeing spurs n get towards the top of 3 or 4 of um. With sliced “open” old truck tubes. Wrapping n tyeing, then ropeing…then, over a perioed of time, slowly bend the tops toward each other. SLOW meaning a few ft. at a time…say a wk. per “pull”. The rubber wont cut in n doing slow wont overly strees these liveing beings. Eventualy the tops will cross, then be ready to unite as one up there. The cleard open space inside this cicrle will then become the main floor…Above; LOFT to sleep. No nails into these beings. Walls? a Summer Place…tarp wrap-around….shigeld all the way up with um.

    Dreaming maby…im not young anymore, but Gee, sure would b uniqe. Hidden in the thick grove. Unseen but by air, i guess. (:

    Again ; think OUTSIDE THE BOX. “DREAM”. “PLAY”. Use ur imagination n DONT THINK “C A N T”!

    Mite mean a ‘fight’ with the Burocrisy…so mite REALY need to b Hidden. But this is SERVIVAL 4 U n URS. TUFF! a

    SEARIS of Miny Hide-A-ways. “GO” mite be the “order”…well, UR READY! Just go 2 ANOTHER Prepaired place! (Probably needed a change of scienary anyway). (:

    Of course Im thinking “radicle liveing”. Mite never come to that, but at least u have the DO Thought now. Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk, you’re correct (of course) that knowledge can be more crucial than money. Equally important (also of course) is the factor of determination. If a builder is stubborn enough, quite a lot can be accomplished with quite little.

    It also hit me just today that the earthbag home walls I’m currently building (and about which I’m writing another series of Hubs as I build) will eventually allow us to live not just ON the land but literally IN the land–that is, our walls will consist primarily of dirt taken directly from the pile left by excavation for the septic system, about 80,000 pounds worth…and not a lick of waste in the process.

  41. red elk 3 years ago

    (: I too have thought on simuler lines. Useing a dug “moat” around a structure being buil n useing the dirt to build the structure. “Moat” as water holding collector n raiseing fish or being a “water feature”. That tho ALOT of money! Just “Big Thinking”. Fun, for me.

    Ur Hub is geard more for those like US…Low to No in the $$ area.

    The big BuggaBoo for most is HAVEING LAND To Build, let alone BUILDING. THAT is the majure need!

    I’ve sugested a realitives back yrd., Wilderness Hiden “squatting”, Buying. Cant buy on UnEmployment…THAT income ‘peters out’. SS $$ can handel it if payments r low n one Realy “tightens theyre belt”. 2 on SS have a better chanch, combineing. Then too ; Severl “in like mind”…Co-Owners of a small section of land. Yet another ; Trade!

    I, personely, know Folks that have / are in these ways (all but the “back Yrd.” one). One brother (now passed on) i WATCHED take a CHEAP FISHING POLE/Reel, go on a “Tradio Show” some raidio stations have, N END UP OWNING A HOUSE by “wheeling n dealing”. Even MORE I have seen this guy Trade for TWO Houses, a Big Trailer House and a Near New Comm. FISHING BOAT (WITH its fishing permit AND its Docking Area)! I swear this FULLY TRUE! He was a MASTER at this!

    I n mine tradeing ON SITE Land Care-Takeing. Lived 11 yrs. there. Had an old house, Trees we were permitted to “firewood” n basicly the “run of the place”. 180 accers. The owners rarely came to thier “Land Investment”. Liked that I cut only “Weed” n Dead trees…”Park-Like” thinning thier forest, while protecting from Gypo Loggers , Etc.. Was a No Pay deal but I would get locol work to take care of r family needs. It was there my Trappers Cabin was built…the Large “Fowlage” Barn n the Liveing Willow cabin…and had full Hunting Priveleges. NO TRASSPASSING allowed me to get Game, but ONLY me! (Owners didnt hunt).

    OPPERTUNITYS R “OUT THERE”, folks. Theres even ADS on “Caretaker wanted”…IF u search for them! There r “APT. MANIGER WANTED” in locol papers. THINK ABOUT IT!

    Ull EARN Money while saveing to BUY ur land…AND have NO Utilitys (cept UR phone calls)”eating” into ur SAVEINGS. I used that 11 yrs to LEARN TO BUILD n “SERVIVE” while on that land.


    Ghost, do U have any advice that can help the readers get THIER property? How did U go about getting Urs? HOW TO “HAVE” is the KEY to HAVEING thier dreams. Aho?

    I hesitate to tell how we got THIS 9.10 accers N House..AND the OTHER 10 Accers we have…many wouldnt beleive it…but, well, it IS an option…………WE PRAYED. and PRAYED AND P R A Y E D! YRS of asking “Where” / “How”…and ALL the time TRUSTED the Great One was WORKING ON IT. We ALLSO gave PRAISE, as we KNEW “He” WAS DOING JUST THAT. We knew TOO that This One had “His” timeing n went by “HIS” clock, not ours.

    We now live IN as well as ON those results. 14×70 traler home on 9.10 accers…BOTH COST US NOT A PENNY! (Not even to Deliver and Set Up the trailer).v We r building (slowly) on the 10 other accers THAT WAS G I V E N ! to us.

    Anyway, thats how We “got”. GB re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Three thoughts on your most recent comment, Red Elk:

    1. I’ve heard of that man, the master trader. Don’t think I’d care to try swapping ponies with that fellow.

    2. Combining incomes (such as Social Security checks) would certainly increase the ability to buy land…but I’d rather go hide under a rock in the forest than partner with anyone other than my wife. Not sociable enough and don’t trust partnerships.

    3. Unfortunately, I don’t have many suggestions for buying land on the cheap. Both times we’ve gone homesteading–as described in this post (Montana, 1999-2002) and as BEING described in a newer series of posts (Arizona, 2009-??), we paid a seller $500 down and signed up for payments of $500 (or thereabouts) per month. The ads for these acreages were found in the classifieds, one in a daily newspaper and one in a free shopping paper. In Montana, we got 20 acres for that–and in Arizona, just 4 acres.

    We figured we could handle that, if barely, but it’s hardly cheap. Your method of praying and trusting the Creator seems to be a lot more economical!

  42. Red Elk 3 years ago

    On building a Budget Cabin, consiter a COMPLETLY OPEN Floor Plan. ALL open but ur Tolitry Area. Then, to devide into seperit areas, give thought to FOLDING (accodian) WALLS. Open to make ur place much bigger. This wall(s) can be costly, OR U MAKE. U can use Quilts / Bamboo Porch Shades, or even the “Paper Wall Deviders” that the Japonise used (n still use). On these foldeing / curtin walls, they can be be “hung n run” like on a shower curtin rod. Metel Conduit Pipes r cheap n can be bent for intrusting shape walls. Aho?

    This typ makeing will drop inner wall building cost BUT ; make SURE inner STRUCTURE BAREING SAPPORTS r in place Or NOT NEEDED. Without NEEDED ones, ur roof CAN COLLAPS.

    In my 22 ft tipi I had DOUBELED-UP Bamboo as a wall with tolit n utility itimes behind. This Doubeling could only b seen through if ones EyeBall was nearly pressed agenst it.

    Thus quit “privit”.

    Cloth / Etc. walls DO have draw-backs….Noise being a big one. Easy to hear or be heard….Next would b No Place to hang things on, THAT R HEAVY.

    Most “tiny homes” dwellers learn MANY “things” realy arnt nessacery. U will too, evntualy. A seperit Storeage shed (?) can b made / had for those, tho. KEEP UR LIL’ LIVEING SPACE AS CLEAR N UNCLUTTERD AS POSSIBEL!

    This is all ADVICE…from one who “HAS”, Many times. Up 2 YOU what u do. Just; THINK AHEAD! re

    red elk 3 years ago

    Agreed on Combineing. Was thinking a retired COUPLE. Should have said so.

    B4 we get off this subject ; I have been invited severl times to “come, join us” etc.. ALL turnred down. Y ? I have found “commuel liveing” to b rather dangerous. Too often someone wants to b boss…or group(s) LOOKING for a boss. “Shoot”, MARRAGES of LONG STANDING even break up l. n r. 2day…let alone “friends”. FEW people able to “fit”…n striffs occer. ANGER n Hurt Feelings….THIER GOS THE GROUP! Ends up a waste of time / money / energy.

    So, BE VERY CAREFULL with ANY one u may b consitering teaming up with.

    Best to go it with marryed couples, then “friends”.

    No, “Thanks, but; No Thanks!”.

    Nuff said on this subject. (Good Luck folks). re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    All good points. In our Arizona earthbag home (under construction as of November 2009), we’re not thinking all that small–living space total is in excess of 1,000 square feet–but it’s not a mansion, either. As a compromise between space and other considerations, walls do break the interior into 4 equal square spaces. The east-west center wall does double duty as a bearing wall, after which the north-south wall separates our two bedrooms (in the southern half) and the office from the kitchen (in the northern half).

    However, even with all that, we ARE leaving the northeast square “open” to accommodate a full sized kitchen, laundry facilities, and a bit of “living room” space…all in one.

    red elk 3 years ago

    geting to “hoggy” on this hub, but much HELP Things to share.

    Id advise “Small” livers to searcdh / read internet ‘tellings’ under places like “Liveing on a boat” and AR liveing”. The people who R liveing in small spaces.

    Tho U may have a cabin over n RV / Boat, theres much to learn from these sights. The gen. How Tos will b the same as a Small dwelling. re

    red elk 3 years ago

    I’ve told of “catching roof water”…(turneing ur place into an H2O collector). Ghost N i like gravity use over pumps. Yet not all have water above thier abode. Hauling in from lower. Many then resort to Elect. Pumps 4 this. Please; THINK! Fuiel N PARTS r majer consiterations.

    “Servival” CAN mean “Hard Core”. NO Fuiel , NO Parts … both far off or perhaps impossabel to get.

    In my exspearamenting (n, at times, NEEDED)Ive had enough exspearence to use many options. The most dependabel (other then Roof Collecting) ALLWAS was the Old Stand By ; BUCKET LUGGING. Yet even that can b difficult. Steepness of climb back to cabin…N the PATH to well / back. Rocks? Moss n Wet? Snow? u get the idia.

    After severl YEARS of ALL the above, I finily wised up. Went to r Early “White” American AND CHINISE way ; A SHOULDER YOKE!

    With it, 2 buckets per trip. WITH hands free to use a staff / etc..

    NEVER BEEN SORRY ABOUT INVESTING IN THIS (its in my closit rite here, now).

    Its not limited to buckets ither. Ive used it to carry building material / etc. as well. MANY “Back n Forth” foot trips saved!

    If this intrusts u, I bought mine On Line. Go to BEAVER BUCKETS.COM re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Reckon those shoulder yokes work as well as you say, Red Elk, but they flat give me the shudders. Hard times from past lives, maybe.

  43. red elk 3 years ago


    HAVE a SHUT OFF VALVE Rite Off EXIT PIPE at tank(s)!

    WE DONT! (listioned to that builder again…”wont EVER need that, red elk”).

    Only EASY way to keep water IN UR TANK when / if doing repaires! (I shoulda “over-ruled” Mr. ‘know-it-all’). ): re

    red elk 3 years ago

    We’ve lives with Cycstrens for many yrs.. Learned alot that may benifit u.

    Here on this prop. r water tabel is quite hi. This negated burying the tanks (2). Had to put it above ground. In this a friend n knowlegabil builder decided on a wood stand to hold them off the ground. NOT MY idia of a “good stand” but we went along with him. This has “cost” us dearly over the yrs.. I wanted cement blocks with RR Tyes on them. 3 to 5 lines of them n good “beding” below (2 ft. on trenced in stone). Well, shoulda gone my way. Have had to prop up his ‘stand’ 3 times now. Each time the 2 tanks were bending toward each other n about to break the pvc pipe between the 2…as well as the UPLIFTING pvc put thar ran to the under house pump.

    I had wanted Hi Pressure rubber Hydrolic hoses…he, the pvc. Wife wanted it his way as well. “Cheaper / Faster”.

    Shes sence been Very Sorry.

    Tho he rocked the wood up-rites to the plywood stand, n SWORE that “This will NEVER Sink”…has. My way wouldnt have N more saport below the tanks. Lower to the earth line too. LESS EXSPOSE WATER LINE to insalate.

    MY “NXT” I’ll do MY way. Ho

    The OTHER land has a heavy slope (we cut in a building site). Thus WILL have GRAVITY FED to house. Even if we need to fill from a well far below! (We’ll GAS Pump water to the tanks. NO Elect. pumping. We have a large water tank on r old (but good) farm truck…pump to that n there to tanks). Yes, gas / parts may not b availabel in time…so plan for THAT eventuality as well. HAND PUMP to a searious of Stock Tanks going up the slope from well to tanks. Yes, it WILL b a “pain in the rear” but better then hand hauling. Mite not b ur “cup o tea” but WILL WORK. (Not good enough wind to put up a water pump wind mill).

    I am looking at SEARIOUS Elect. / Gas / Parts problems ahead. Maby only 3-5 yrs off, but truely beleive this will become a fact. I’M BUILDING TO MEET THAT SITUATION.

    Ok, MORE “Above Ground” tank info; WINTER FREEZE! BIG TIME Insalateing MANDINTORY! No surrounding earth to protect that BELOW grnd has.


    Dont have to PUMP into house with gravity feed BUT STILL NEEDS INSALATION. Got That? GOT IT!!?

    Here we spent mucho $$ with elect heat tapes. JUNK! All it took was a 3 day elect. outage to freeze r lines. DONT COUNT ON THEM! Aho?

    Sence, ive dug deep below lower lines, graveld the trench n PACKED WITH LOOSE STRAW (dry leafs will do as well). Deep n WIDE n HIGH over these pipes. Closed um off from “outside” with cheap roll of plastic. INCLUDEING IN THE “BED” OF THE TRENCH.

    Did this from tanks to pump, pump to house lines.

    In broken pvc pipeing (WILL happen. COUNT ON IT!) Ive replaced with the Hydrolic hose. Thick as THAT hose is, I STILL INSALATED AS WELL. Aho?

    To help insalate the tanks themselves, we’ve just finished puting on 2 layers of CORRAGATED CARBOARD BOXES. Old Cheap Shop quilts draped over n plastic over all.

    This is the 1st time weve used the cardboard. Not sure its of its results yet but SHOULD at least HELP.

    HAD house insaltion b4…n tanks over-filled, weting everything. FROZE n BOTH TANKS OF WATER DID TOO!


    Allso, if u r useing IN GROUND waterlines(s), make DARN SURE they r BELOW the lands Frost Depth. DONT SKIMP ON THE TRENCHING! The Creator Knows how MANY frozen pipes Ive had to dowse for folks who DID Skimp! Aho?

    There’s less problems in many ways of liveing in a cabin, SIMPLER ways. This tho covers One. Just shareing. Aho?

    Good Luck. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk, your comment(s) on above ground water lines are definitely valid. Here in southern Arizona (where we’ve been since April 2009), the freezing is not such an issue–we do get below-freezing nights now and then, but seldom the “hard freeze” (below zero for days or even weeks at a time) you see in the northern states. So far, we’ve had a few overnight lows in the 20s, but by midday the sun had brought things back up into the 50s and thawed out lines before they could rupture. We’ll see how deep winter goes.

    I am a bit curious about the “wooden stand SAG” (or “sink”) you describe, especially since the little water tower (only 9 feet tall) I build for our storage tank is both above ground and made of wood. Are you saying yours is built with the uprights just sort of sitting ON the ground? Ours is built without any concrete, but the 4 upright posts are of the chemically treated type and have the bottom ends (of 12 foot timbers) stuck 3 feet into the ground. Haven’t seen any sign of sinking or sagging yet, but then again, the structure was only completed about two months ago….

    Most of the above ground water tanks in this area (and there are many) appear to be mounted on towers made of steel, not wood. I would think most if not all of those do in fact rest on, or in, concrete bases.

    red elk 3 years ago

    Sage due to not enough depth in base rock. R 2 tanks r big (cant recall gal.s per). One tho about 9 ft hi…the SMALL one. Other 12 or so. Thats ALOT OF WEIGHT when full!

    Builder put in stone, then solid “foundation” cement blocks. 6×6 treated uprights on those. 3 per side. Built frame around that. Stand hi enough to crawl under, comfortably. Aho?

    Just NOT Enough totol SAPORT! MORE saport…perhaps 5 “lifters” per side instead of 3, would probably “do”. Would better “spred out the wt.” n give more saport.

    As told, i wanted foundation wall cement blocks on MUCH more base rock…with rr tyes atop. Then the platform. 5 “lines” running 4 n aft (NOT accross side-2-side) but over-ruled by my “better half” n builder. Wife to “save money”….Builder “It will NEVER cause problems”. Actualy the COST would have been the same…Now FAR MORE costly Builders way, due to repaires 3 times. But what do I know…Im just n old man thats ignorent on just about everything…………….

    I tell u true; BEST TO GO BY UR OWN ITGNORENCE THEN BY SOMEONE ELESES! Chanchers r, ull make misstakes, but thier Y O U R’ Misstakes AND ULL LEARN BETTER FROM THEM! (Besides, unless u have an artaficil leg, u cant kick urself in ur rear…n to kick someone eles just makes an enemy).

    Both wife n builder ment well………. Just not as “smart” as THEY thought. THEY LEARNED FROM THIS FEASCO TOO! aho?

    “Awsome”? I CANT SPELL I CANT TUNE A CAR I CANT “Do” Hundreds of things MOST CAN. No, COMBIND as ONE, each takeing thier “Forta’ ” = “AWSOME”.


    That way there is no “bad”, instead the “bad” becomes a TEACHING LESSION for the generations ahead. (Tnx 4 the saying, tho). Aho? re

    jockmchaggis 3 years ago from Brighton, UK

    This is an amazing resource, Red Elk you are truly legend. Many thanks

    red elk 3 years ago

    Building Tip ; I took the enjine hood off an old car. Drilled 2 holes in its front while was up-side-down. Then placed heavy metel “washers” n bolted in 2 Eye Bolts.

    Tyeing a strong rope through n looping at center of the “V”.

    With this rig I had a STONEBOAT. Would drage it behind the PU n load EASILY (rolled on) VERY Big Stones, Building supplys, etc.. Pull to site n unload as easy as i put on.

    In winter snow I have a childrens’ plastic tobbogen to do water bucket carrying. On this i have a rope at back too. Got tired of being run down going down hill. Aho?

    Over my life ive used sled dogs….oxon…Tri Pod “walking Poles”…Chinise “come-along”…Spanish wench…Mormon derick. Want to know what / how…Do a SEARCH. Cant teach one to Learn by giveing the answeres. I wont b here someday. Time to learn to stand on ur own “2 feet”. Aho? re

    red elk 3 years ago

    Just re-read 2 ck how badly I spelled n if i had answered correctly.

    Well, now i / u can add “CANT READ ITHER”!


    Oh well, “no misstakes”…”reason for all”.

    Learn from me n dont become n “Old ‘Red Elk’ idiot”. sigh

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Okay, Red Elk–I now understand your “sag factor” completely. You’ve got some humongous tanks there, a whole lot more weight to consider than my little 500 gallon storage unit.

    Your use of an old vehicle’s hood as a stoneboat sounds extremely familiar. I’d swear I’ve seen one (or more) done that way. Probably in my childhood, though, as the memory of exactly where and when doesn’t want to surface….

    Perhaps others r in “the same boat”. ??? YES THERE IS!

    Many. And Ive THORGHLY USED UM ALL! Even had to tech the Canadian Crees thier anchesters “oldf ways” (long 4gotten by todays’ “whitenizeing”).

    VINIGER (yup, we made that back then too) is a GREAT One! Any ticks that get on u r ALL looking 4 a way to GET OFF! (:

    Comb ur hair in it…Soak ur cloths in it…WASH um in it…Even DRINK IT (if u can “take it”). Even HORSE Flys buzz u, at a SAFE DISTENCE. Ditto Skeeters!

    “We” have r “Sacred” Smudge Bundels. EVERY AREA THIER OWN. Made up of Sweet Grass / Sage / Ceder / Wild Mint. What todays’ NA Dont KNOW is these plants REPELL THESE INSECTS! “Sacred” today but NOT WHEN FIRST USED….was used Way Back as INDIAN “BUG OFF”! Lite the mixed bundel a n “wash” the smoke over ur body. I find a 3 times a day ap[placation works best. At5 nite i allways HEAVILY do so. Add to these plants THE SMOKE! Even BUGS fear FIRE n they shy away from its SMELL!

    Ive allso introuced an anchient AFRAICAN way to the Crees. Dangel string / threa on head band or hat. TYEING ON SMALL FEATHERS (etc.) all around. ALL AROUND! As u move about, these r constently “swishing” the face / neck. “DANGER” to the lil’ Flyers.

    These r but a few of “Naturel”.

    Cant build a Servival Cabin IF U CANT SERVIVE WHILE DOING SO! (: re (PS; got a letter thanking me from this builder. Cabin DONE!).

    red elk 3 years ago

    red elk 3 years ago

    Ive had one cabin builder from way up in Vermont (or ? up that way). SLOW BUILDING. INSECTS DRIVES HIM OUT! Ticks n ‘Skeeters. Asked “is there ANYTHING Naturel that can stop um?”

    Ghost, sounds lIKE UR TANK IS JUST A BIT LARGER THEN THE ONE WE USE ON R FAITHFULL OLD FLATBEdD. Use it to get well water from nighbor when nature peters out.Trade with her. Talk to her horses / dog when sick. They tell me the poblem…i tell her. Dos as told n all’s well again.

    Ever use a “CAMPERS’ COOLER”? A handy n simpel thing to make till u get better. Gen. hung from tree to catch cool air. A series of shelves coiverd with cotton cloth. Top of cloth laying in pan of water. Cloth soaks up the water n evaperates as it works it way down…keeping the shelved contents at least 10 degrees cooler (some say 20). Many use a creek to set thier things in. Both work.

    Seen Water Coolers down in Ark.. Stone “house” over a spring…springs water dirrected into a damed holding “box”. Overflows to the naturel water bed on grnd..

    No water “loss” n constently cold as water emerges from spring. Wish we had THAT cooling sorce on r land. ICE COLD MILK, Etc.. An simple option to those that do have. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    That’s pretty interesting, the part about Native American “Bug Off” now being the sacred sage bundle, etc. Sounds about right, though!

    Vinegar ought to work, all right. Though Pam figures it would trash her hair (of which there’s not a lot left).

    Haven’t used a “camper cooler” as you describe. Grew up using the old water bags, though. Canvas bag with a cork and a rope handle. Hang ’em on the front of the tractor and head to the hayfield. Slow evaporation through the cloth kept the water somewhat cool and got you through a nasty not summer day dusty haying conditions.

  44. red elk 3 years ago

    my lil’ dome home on hold. to cold to do needed bit of cement work wanted. wont “set” rite. Time to think. it dawned on me that tho this lil’ structure was / is being made to be THE “cabin” (minis the tolit faciltys), its a good “starter” “home”. Build n use to live as one adds even larger…makeing #1 as only a bed room. Larger one can then b more “livabel” for a family, with it being the Liveing / Eating / Relaxing area. Yet another (as allready started on #2) as bath rm.. Aho? can easily build another bed rm as would b #1, too.

    All this would mean more time n $$ tho.

    Think i’ll stay with what is tho…#1 n #2. We have a house, this cheap “cabin” basicly, just to show what one Can do, cheaply. Besides, i’m runing outta Free “finds”. Cleaned up alot of “junk” around the area on drives…and things i’ve “collected” over the yrs.. (Yrd looking more LIKE a yrd. now). Wifes’ happy, Countys happy n all who see the results of this useing r inspired. Thatis part of the “aim” n i’m succeeding. Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    If you can make the wife happy by doing a project you enjoy doing–now that’s a REAL win-win situation!

  45. red elk 3 years ago

    My wife n I have lived in veryious odd ball “sheltes”. Most couldnt come close to be called a House, but we made do. One of the Biggest problems was CRITTERS N ‘FLYERS’.

    a CONSTENT battle. DeCon n trps helped, but have draw-backs. With DeCon the eaters die where they crawl off to. This creats oders that arnt easy to trace down…so they stay where they are. In this that allso draws flys. Maby U cant find the dead but THEY can! DeCon allso r dangerious to pets n children. MUST BE PLACED IN SAFE AREAS.

    Traps at least you ck. regularly. Again tho; Pets n Kids!

    To combat entry of flyers and critters we (still) go about with STEEL WOOL. Pluging even the TINYEST of holes. This helps enorrmisly we’ve found.

    For Biger critters (Racoons / “Porkys” / Skunks / Moles, Etc.) we find wetting CHEW spots with TOBBASCO SAUCE (stops horses from “cribbibg” too). Allso MOTH BALLS. Human Urin dos well too, but best to pour AWAY from walls / home. CAN “build up” n u end up with its oder.

    Ive used buckets with a few inches of water withing…newspaper strached over the top n sliced “pizza” like. Placeing bait in center. (Penut butter good 4 this). As they approch they slide in n drown. Often an 11 mouse kill totol a nite. I put a stick “ramp” from ground to top. This “getter” both easy / cheap / fast.

    Ground Hogs easily stoped useing human urin. Dig into thier runs at thier Push Up Mounds n pour in.

    All these things Ive PERSOELY done. Aho?

    When building or “moveimng in”….do all poss. to make the abode as TIGHT ASNPOSSIBEL. Cap of cooking oil in rain “cathers” to kill ‘Skeeter Lava (ANY standing water). LIDS on ALL Garbag Containers…etc..

    U can build Bat Houses n Swallow homes as well. USE NATURE…Use NATUREL.

    Perhaps Ghost can give adice on these “stoppers” as well. ??? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Good list, Red Elk. Pam & I can vouch for steel wool, and just about any bucket or open barrel of water will catch (and drown) a rodent or two even without bait and a ramp.

    We’ve tried one anti-fly trick that a friend emailed us, which was hanging a ziploc bag with water and shiny pennies in it. Supposedly the flies would stay out if you hung those around doors and windows, etc. Tried one in the storage shed where I’m sleeping at the moment. DID NOT WORK!! Never saw one land right on the bag, but they continued to buzz past it and around it with nary a care.

    One “helper” (not a total stopper, but catches some of the flies) is a supply of those glue ribbons, not expensive, unwind them and hang them where flies tend to gather. Ugly, but any fly they catch is a fly you don’t have to swat.

    Then of course there’s the old fashioned fly swatter. If you have a family with children of various ages, you might try my Mom’s trick. Our ranch house was really buzzing with flies one Sunday afternoon when I was about ten or eleven. Mom put a bounty of a penny per fly on their little heads. I became determined to earn a whole dollar–100 flies–and actually accomplished this in less than an hour. Fantastic wages at the time, since my monthly allowance was only $3.25.

    She didn’t keep the bounty going, though. Afraid she’d go broke, or maybe that I’d sneak the back door open on purpose to let in more flies so I could make more money.

  46. red elk 3 years ago

    readers; as u should know by now, building a cabin requires alot of thought u DONT think of.

    R u building on a WIND SWEPT area? PREPAIR FOR IT!

    R u building on a HI WATER (flood possability) area? STILT Cabin MAY help. PREPAIR FOR IT!

    In Trees? OREST FIRES! Much I hate to say it…CUT UM DOWN. N do so so TALL trees r SAFELY AWAY. PREPAIR FOR IT!


    Etc. / Etc..

    Dangerious Snakes / Scorpions / Etc.? PREPAIR FOR IT!

    NOW is the time to THINK AHEAD! Befor u build; PREPAIR UR PLANS A H E A D and PREPAIR FOR The POSABILITY of the UN-THOUGHT things!

    Its one thing to buildf a “run” cabin…THEN u do as u must. But if just a “Get Away” or “Live In” u r planing…THINK IN ADVANCE!

    NOW’s the time to plan…while still “on the board”. B4 THE FIRST NAIL IS DRIVEN!

    That way, YOUR’ CABIN HAS A BETTER CHANCH To be a fqamily usefull Hairloom for yrs ahead….while others r but a chimny of rocks standing bare in a nuded feild. Aho? re

    red elk 3 years ago

    Wasnt going to add this till after my brother Ghost had he say. Hasnt yet so decided i should; The BIGIST DANGER to Wilderness Cabin Owners isnt Nature. Its MAN!

    Bear THIS in mind in ur plans. In this consiter thiefs can hit at ANY time. This INCLUDES UR “Left To Later ‘Doing’ SUPPLYS. Wood , Wire, PVC Pipe , Tools , etc.. THEN the cabin egress to think about!

    A simple Pad Lock is EASILY “by passed”. DONT GIVE THEM JUST THAT TO ‘UnDo’.

    Windows can be broken. PUT ON STRON CLOSEABEL SHUTTERS.

    Ur door(s) should be SUPER THICK / STRONG. Not easy to kick in.

    Keep ALL Tools (lawn mowers too) in SECURED (WELL!) Shed.

    See what I mean : THINK AHEAD!???

    Ok, outta here…but with these words in mind…AGAIN ; THINK AHEAD!

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Actually, I HAD made a comment, but for whatever reason it didn’t “take”.

    Anyway: My “missing comment” basically said yes, think ahead if you can, prepare as much as practical, but don’t overthink the process so much you become “paralyzed” and do NOTHING. Any shelter, even a leaky one, can be better than no shelter at all.

    As to Red Elk’s statement that MAN is the greatest danger, he’s (as usual) got that exactly right. Our experience (as well as our in-depth study) has shown that padlocks, shutters, etc., won’t do that much unless the would-be thief (or worse) fears getting caught in the act.

    In other words, bad people are most strongly deterred by someone being HOME to DEFEND the property. A great defense is being totally invisible so that evil types don’t even realize you exist, but that’s hard to count on long term.

    Our Lines of Defense are Passive as much as possible, with only the Last Line being Active.


    #1. Appearance. Despite the fact that we have no garage, you can’t tell by looking whether someone’s home or not. Pam is nearly always here, and we make sure people in the area know that. (Passive Defense.)

    #2: Reputation. Despite the known fact that almost everyone who lives in remote areas like ours possess firearms and know how to use them, we also let it be known– quietly–that Pam might not only be home…but that she is the “crazy one”. Don’t test her. (Passive Defense.)

    #3: Locks and shutters and such: We don’t expect them to keep out a really bad person. We expect them to SLOW DOWN such…to give whoever’s home plenty of time to take good cover with a loaded weapon. (Passive Defense.)

    #4: Arrangement of buildings: We have at present a house in progress, a camp trailer, a small cargo trailer, and three steel storage sheds. Two of the sheds are in fact used for storing household goods, but for the moment I sleep in one of them. Though it would be laughable to term our place a “military compound”, arrangement of all these buildings is in a rough “L” which allows Pam (from the camper) to see all other front doors, and me (from the sleeping shed’s front door) to see all other front doors…which means that any actually violent attackers could well find themselves in a crossfire if it came down to that. (Arrangement = Passive Defense.)

    5. The will to combat. When I was in the Army, we fresh recruits were told in training that during the Korean War, studies by the military learned that 43% of new soldiers would not shoot to kill the first time in combat. (Until, I suppose, they saw friends being killed to either side of them.) Do we want to shoot anybody? Of course not. Will we do so, rather than lie down to be abused or killed ourselves? Absolutely. Once again referring back to popular sayings we used while in service: Better be tried by twelve than carried by six. (Actual Combat=Active Defense.)

    The best defense of all, it should be pointed out, does seem to being a place that is known to be well defended in the first place…thus encouraging would-be criminals to seek easier targets elsewhere. The same is true, obviously, whether the “place” is a simple family homestead or an entire country.

    red elk 3 years ago

    HEAR HEAR! 🙂

    Folks, ANYTHING can be broken into (I sapose even Ft. Knox as well). Deterents I meantion r to SLOW DOWN Thieves ONLY.


    “Hit n Run” twits, these. N to KNOW ur “reputation”, well, THEYLL GO TO SOME ONE ELESES Place if “safer” n BY-PASS YOU! (: re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona


  47. Red Elk 3 years ago

    WOW! Something NEW to give you readers! ; IF U HAVE A CYSTREN Systum, WATH OUT FOR BLOCKAGE(s) IN THE EXIT to House HOLE! Green “slime” build up, over time CAN CAUSE A BLOCK! n IF INTO LINE then ALL LINE tween Tank n Pump MUST BE CUT N BACK-PURGERD / Pulled Out! This is TIME CONSUMEING AND EXSPENSIVE!

    We here r in JUST THAT RIGHT NOW! After 5 DAYS of re-doing pipes…now mite be “WORTHLESS! All I can hope for is that SOMEHOW i can get to that n pull “it” (?) free from INSIDE.

    NO WAY TO GET INSIDE “BODILY”…will need to “fish” with some kind of hooked stick IF i CAN!

    IF so I’ll PLACE a WIRE “MASH” Screen in the outlet entrence. IF i can! A “stop” screen.

    In redoing i PLACED a DAM GATE into line rite at exit from tank to house line. HAD NONE B4! At least NOW I can STOP WATER FROM RUNING INTO HOUSE LINE n not lose all thwe water tanks r holding. DONT FORGET THIS…its VERY IMPORTENT!

    If we had a way to once a yr. FLUSH Clean the tanks by scrubbing n draining…WE’D DO SO! Even CLORINE hasnt stoped the green “gunk” growth…and r tanks r OUT OF THE SUNLIGHT! “Sheded”. Sunlight INCURRAGES THE GROWTH!

    Creator willing we will be moveing n take the 2 BIG tanks with us. On thier SIDES I’ll then b able to PRESSURE WASH n SCRUB b4 useing at the new place.

    Here a Well is over $23,000.00. We cant afford THAT!

    Bought a WELL DIGGER n BROKE A PART IN LESS THEN 2 n 1/2 Hrs.. Part 1/3ed the price of the WHOLE NEW UNITE! Got 4 ft. 9 inches deep in that time. Drill Head n pipes still in ground. CANT PULL OUT!

    Do NOT let ANY Tell u a “Tungstine” drill bit is “AS GOOD AS A DIMOND ONE”! it is NOT NOT NOT!!!


    PAY H E E D! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Good advice, Red Elk. Not good that you have to go through the hassle to be able to pass it on, though.

    It’s a touch puzzling that chlorine won’t stop the growth. I came across a link that indicates UV (ultraviolet) rays are sometimes used. Then it got extra confusing when I realized that UV rays come from sunshine…which encourages the green slime growth.


    Anyway, here’s the link:

  48. red elk 3 years ago

    GOOD SITE n a worthy read. DID NOT KNOW of the CHRCOAL FILTER to remove tast. But dos it ALLSO remove Clorine SMELL!??? At 1st we may have put in TO MUCH…took MANY Non-Treated fillings to rid of tast n SMELL. Dought if LESS would have done the job. ??? That FILTER may be the answere…IF we can LOCATE setch. Mite need n Internet SEARCH. We’ve 2 filters tween tanks n Pressure Tank n One In House. The ‘green’ so bad they ALL must be changed Mouthly. Adds up on a Budget. Aho?

    Know of SOLOR Cleanseing. Many How To Plans on internet (search). If I recall correctly these r on RUNNING, not SETTING, water. Have thought of doing so but winter would be a problem…AND mine would need to be VERY Long (think SLUSH BOX Gold Trap). The BEST for SMALL Amounts in the BLACK PLASTIC “TiPi” style (Up Side DOWN). But evaperation trapping to small for r needs…and again; winter snows would cover. Sigh re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Seems like charcoal ought to take care of the chlorine smell. This is about the best link I found regarding its (charcoal’s) uses:

  49. red elk 3 years ago

    Bough an EXSTENSION Handel PAINTERS Pole…n small stiff ‘screw on’ bristel brush. Cleand around exit hole (that gos 2 house water ling/pump). Then turned on pump. Water 4 less the 15 min., then “out” again.

    FINILY FOUND THERE WAS A “JET” that was cloged. Replaced n tryed again. WE HAVE WATER!

    Tnanking “Him” I didnt have to cut n replace all the New water line I had just installed

    Ok, folks…my troubels a leesion to Me…and to any others thinking about Cyster Systum. NO “BAD”…all “designed” to be so can b learned from and shared. MY “problems” should be to YOUR” Advantage. Take care n best of luck on UR “Servivil Cabin”. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Sounds like the moral of the story is: When it comes to blockage and water is involved, suspect the “tightest” spot first, which would indeed logically be the jet.

    Good thing we’ve all got that great 20-20 hindsight….:D

    Danny Decay 3 years ago from Winter Park, Florida

    Amazing. Indeed, ALWAYS BE PREPARED. INCREDIBLE post, more than just a story.

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Thanks, Danny. Maybe this all started when I was 12 in the Boy Scouts, since their motto is “Be Prepared”.

  50. red elk 3 years ago

    Any out here wanting to SEE one mans’ story of building (ALONE n NO Power Tools) his own cabin, ck. into “ALONE INTO THE WILDERNESS”. VERY NICE / SMALL / FUNTIONEL Cabin. I got mine at r library. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    As Red Elk pointed out to me earlier, the snow shovel this man designed is alone worth more than the time it takes to check out this book.

    red elk 3 years ago

    A usefull help; When liveing in my TiPi, to save on light use…I bought n spred on PHOSPEROUS Paint. This at door area that, in winter, had n overlap “flap” on the inside liner. Just “flash” my flashlite in the gen. dirrection n it would glow. Easy to pull apart the “flap” n get out.

    Would save energy if ceiling of ur cabin was as setch. Pricy, tho.

    Anyway, just thought id pass this along. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Interesting. Never considered that. Even if not the ceiling, maybe the area right around the toilet….

  51. red elk 3 years ago

    In cabin building, a toilet (n shower?) WILL be needed.

    We use a 5 gal bucket (with lid) n a small garbage bag inside the bucket. Nxt time I get up to out 30 ft dome we r building, Im UPPIONG to a 6 Gal bucket Ive come accross. TALLER TO SET ON. Furthermore I bought n INVALEDS Toilet seat. That TOO designed to “lift” ur rear higher. We’ll b KINGS up there! (:

    I allso have a 4 in. PVC pipe n Elbow. This to b placed toward the top backside of the “pot”. INSIDE N OUTSIDE Openings WILL HAVE “MASH” Wire….Honets / Flys / Spiders stoper.

    I use Ceder Shaveings to kill the smell after each use…n occ. add a dab of PineSol.

    Weve a HIDDEN Hole. Simply carry the filled bag n toss um in.

    Last time up there wwe found a bear had found r “pot”. Amazeing what thier teeth can do! Allso found r toilet paper we had in a tin can up on tree. Will plan for THAT too!

    Mite add a long long hose to upside down CUT “urnel), hose to quite a bit away from “pot” area. (Hay, the Bears Do it, y cant we?).

    In time will have a decent rustic O.H. 4 toilet / shower.

    In my search on Composteing Toilets, ALL need elect.. I dont want um BUT IF; Heres what Id go for ; NATURE’S HEAD.

    This a MARINE toilet thats used on boats OR IN CABINS. ALOTR cheaper then the others n AS WELL MADE. re

    red elk 3 years ago

    a PS to the above: I will ALLSO b building a Cement / rock 2/3 RING around the bucket. “LOCKING” it from TURN OVER! Will put alum. foild n plastic wrap about a third way up..leaveing the front a bit like a Horseshe shape (feet on grnd.).

    There is NOTHING like haveing ur buck turn over while in use. Take my Word for it! ) : re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Neither Pam nor I have ever had a toilet bucket turn over while actually being used…FORTUNATELY! Both of us have, however, experienced the toilet seat slipping OFF the bucket. Not so much while in actual use (whew!) but either as we’re sitting down or getting up. Not the mess a dumped bucket would be, but still startling and irritating. We’ve found it definitely pays to pay attention to centering the seat properly and also to pay attention while seating yourelf….

    UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 20, 2015: My wife’s progressive diseases, of which there are many, have reached the point that I’m more than relieved we’ve been able to upgrade to regular flush toilets in our Arizona off grid home. Her balance is often bad, and sometimes her brain…just isn’t there. At this point in her life, bucket toilets would still be way better than nothing, but also very scary.

  52. Red Elk 3 years ago

    a wise way to pre-design a cabine is to get a GRAPHET Tablit (Lots of little squares). Use those squares to measure ur bed size / closit size / couch / kithen sink cabinit / etc. KNOW THESE. Cut out each n start puting on a “Floor”. “3D” ur place. U can do this on a PC but ull need to buy (n learn) the hardware. Easyer n cheaper with the paper. Move the itimes around to suit ur needs…then count the sq.s to see how much FLOOR Rm. is showing.

    This will give u a good idia of how big ur cabin needs to be, B4 building. My “miny” was not done in this manner. I knew what i wanted n started digging. Any NXT one WILL be 3Ded though.Tat WILL b better planed AND Bigger. Mre a CABIN then a SERVIVEL abode. Aho? re

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Ghost: One can buy one of those $11.00 CAMP POTS that is a seat on folding legs. THE SEAT FITS 5 GALLON BUCKTS n LOCKS ONTO THE RIM! Solves the moveing seat problem.

    My wife n I have looked into Eco Tolits of 3-44 makes. Troulbel is they use elect.. BUT, came accross on that CAN BE SUN POWERED or Elect.. Showed that to my wife yesterday. She Likes it as do I. Its made for boats but allso is used in 18 wheelers n cabins. At about HALF the cost of all the others! If any are intrusted, go to a Search Mode n typ in ; Nature’s Head composting tolit.


    Red Elk 3 years ago

    When building small, some things to consiter: SPACE SAVEING FURNITURE! Futons r couch or bed, many with STORAGE BELOW. In a “reg” bed, choose those with BELOW MATTRESS Storage. Consiter BUNK Beds. SMALL Folding stools fold n store easily…use as needed.

    Make walls MULTI FUNCTINEL! Book Shelves / etc..

    remember, walls dont allways NEED to b solid. Cloth or Japanise Folding walls can b folded aside an exspanda “liveing” space.

    Stares can have LIFTING Steps, storage under each.

    Consiter WIDER doors. WHEELCHAIR compatabele (accidents DO happen). Inside ones Wider too, n if u can afford too, the typ doors that slide INTO the walls. NO PASSAGEWAY Blockers!

    Liveing small means THINKING WISELY. Give EVERTHING thought! Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    All great hints as usual, Red Elk. Must admit I hadn’t heard about the Camp Pots that lock onto the bucket rim so you don’t have the toilet seat sliding from under you in the middle of Nature’s call. If we weren’t going to be moving into the larger house with standard plumbing in the next few months, I’d likely go for those.

    mike 3 years ago

    I built a 8×12 shead with a 2 foot roof peek with wood floor,2’x3’window,5’door made from siding materials weather sealed,concrete footings,utility ramp w/railing, work table and extensive shelving that surrounded the wall for about $1200.Want to know how to build a wood metal shead that looks like the professionals sell,for a fraction of the cost?Follow mikes tuffmade shead-comming soon!!!!!

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Glad to know about anybody who’s out there making it happen, Mike. Keep up the good work.

  53. Red Elk 3 years ago

    Been a bit sence my last. This ones DETAILS: All my life (in a HOSE) Ive been very fustrated with Elect. Sockets. Seem EVERYWER Id see plug ins along wall base, up on walls, etc.. i HATE this ugly clutter. NEVER enough Plug In Recepticels!

    Tho r 30 ft dome will have no power, Ive still planed 4 it.

    My Walls BASE will b LINED with MANY “6 plug” recepticles, and COVERD behing the wall board base (as molding). Ditto on window sides. Lift doors n “Passing Holes” into this baseboard. This will add about 2 inches along the inside floor / etc.. I intend to have my wireing go UP on the wall(s) as well. Along the K. Sink / cooking area, ditto on “base”. In short, i want MANY plug ins! n ALL “hidden” except the higher up ones.

    For r upstairs loft sleeping / library area, Im debateing on a HINGED LADDER. Pull rope to lift n “store” overhead.

    Others as well. If perminit: Storgag “box” (shallow) under each step…or Chinise typ “closit”. I cold go VERY fancy, given the $$. but dont.

    My wife has 2 HUGE Glass “cuperds” (doll display). These + anothe CORNER shaped one will make a WALL. B.Rm. on other (hidden) side. “2 birdfs with one stone”.

    30 ft isnt big, so NEED to think Multi Funtions. Aho?

    Another thing; we dont (n wont) have a Dish Washer. So Ive bought a DEEP Stailess Steel UTILTY Sink. This to b used as a Pot / Pan SOAKER. 2 reg. sinks next to it.

    Just some things YOU mite consiter. GOOD LUCK! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Our new home won’t have all the built-in receptacles due to the fact that we’ll be running on nothing but heavy duty extension cords “forever”. I do, however, intend to eventually hide them (as they run from wind turbine and/or generator) underground inside PVC piping so that they won’t be either obvious or painful to observe outside the house itself.

    Once inside the home, they’ll “terminate” in multi-plugin surge protectors, so still some clutter there.

    We’ve also figured on installing triple sinks. If the “third sink” isn’t being used for soaking pots and pans, it certainly ought to be handy for washing up after a dirty day doing projects….

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Hadnnt thought of “wash up”. THANKS! ( :

    For any contaplateing GLASS Window needs verses COLD through them: Ive friends with n Earth Burmed home who had SOLAR TUBES installed. Not knowing this, when I went to use thier bathrm., the light was allready on…or so i THOUGHT. SOLAR TUBE! Space was like standing outside in the full sun! UNBELEIVEABEL!!! PRICY, but………

    Elect. lights for nite use but in this (would be) “cave” WHAT AN ELECT. SAVER! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Don’t know a lot about solar tubes. Time to do some research….

    red elk 3 years ago

    4 those with $$ n want SMALL n Realy NICE….look into EcoNest re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    EcoNest does have an intriguing website. Couldn’t figure out whether they are really money savers or not, though…?

    red elk 3 years ago

    Its the WAY of building that i find of intrust. That Can b “cheap”. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Understood. Our latest local “survival cabin” is a really nice “cabin tent” our friend Justin has set up behind our camp trailer where it’s not likely to be noticed by any “unfriendlies” out there such as, for example, county types who try to tell everyone how they can or cannot live. I mention it because of your reference to “cheap”–it was one item of many being thrown out by a family, and Justin got it for exactly zero dollars. It’s in nearly perfect condition, employs some late model setup technology I hadn’t seen before, and looks like it was maybe used once or twice at most before falling into Justin’s hands.

    Definitely, The Price Is Right.

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Ive lived in veryious tents for mounths on end. ONLY the TiPi didnt “Flap n Snap” in winds. MANY sleepless nites. ugh

    Even well made WALL Tents do so, but far less then the big Nylon tents.

    WARNING: Do NOT use PERRASUTE to make a tent / tipi. Pretty, but a SPARK can IMMIDITLY burn ur “home” WITH U INSIDE! NO OPEN FLAMES! EVER!!! (a “hippy” coupel here learned THAT n SECONTS! ALLMOST DIDNT GET OUT (singed hair n eyebrows). Lost ALL but the cloths on thier back. So, so much for THAT TiPi!

    For “tenters” Id recommend looking into CALLIB’S Artic/HUNTERs Wall. WELL BUILT. u can add COOKING VERSTBULE AND “Side Rooms” for more space. PRICY tho. Still, if a tent is to b ur home…this is a REAL GOOD ONE.

    TiPis problem is geting the poles, n geting THOSE to ur “cabin” site.

    My DOG KENNEL is a GREAT way to go. Tarped or sheathed in Straw Bales. These can quite often b bought, used, cheaply. (We got our 10×20 Free). “Walls” went up in about 20 min.. Lest the wire did. Now to tarp or “bale”. Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    I really like the image of the large (10′ x 20′) dog kennel sheathed with straw bale exterior walls. Can’t think of a faster way to throw up a “cabin” that would keep you well insulated from the elements. It’s one of those ideas that made me wonder, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”

    red elk 3 years ago

    Had um…miz well use um. For under $2000.00 one can by 10 ao ft leangths at 6 ft high n put into a “round” (stop sign) shape. Natch, + straw. Im not blessed with $$ tho. Most arnt. Thats y thier reading this SHOESTRING Hub. ( :

    To save $$ r “kennel cabin’ will cut the bales to 10 inch “pads”. That makes a 10 inch insalated wall. Will PaperCread in n out to protect n add more “insalation”. As a Med. Man Im very aware of #s. 5 = POWER. Like to build in 5s. 2 1/2 5 5 1/2 etc.. If u cant ‘do’ in 5, do in half that. Amazeing thing that #5! As 4 roof, I intend to steep slop a Shed roof. So walls will b 6′ hi (6=HEALING) but slanted up roof much higer. “A” frame homes r easy / cheap / fast BUT like a TiPi, WALLS SLOPE “STEALS” WALKING RM.. Thus would buile withOUT a “poiny” “poity” roof. FLAT n WIDER atop. A very slight tilt toward one end to vcatch run-off water. Exstra wall studs for snow-load in winter (KEEP THE SNOW ON…EXSTRA INSALATION). The “stop sign” roof I’d have a center “pole” of indoor (circle) fireplace n up up “n away”….(a FLATED TiPi roof). Loft above.

    R “Dog Kennel” Ive atreached the base on 2 sides 10″ (doubel “5”). Tis slight tilt will make stacking “pads” far easyer. Slope helps hold um on. Will “sew” each “pad” to the wire by copper wire. Like a stapel…then twist onto wire walls on the inside. As said, inner walls will be P.Created as well so will cover the “twistys” n straw. Make it look “adobe” inside.

    I intend to use dry cut weeds as the “paper”. Good Old “Hebrew” mud brick mix.

    Ive exspearmented with this in 2 mud bricks Ive made N LEFT EXSPOSED ON THE GROUND. Allmost 2 yrs. now. SOME weather wear now…but with a wide overhung roof, WONT be exsposed.

    Should last a Long LONG time. (CAN Waterproof as well). re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Interesting. I’m familiar with some of the qualities of numbers but had not heard what you offer here about the number 5.

  54. Red Elk 3 years ago

    Im about to exspearment with a “new” (never done) Mud Brick FORM. Ive lost most of my Mussel Tone over the last 10 yrs.. Age n HRS on the PC = Inativity. THAT = WEAK. Thus the standred (aprox. 50 lb.) Mud Bricks r just too heavy 4 me to move about. My exsp. on FORME is; DOUBLED or TRIPLED Up 7-11 Super Big Gulp pop “cups”. 2 or 3 will (i THINK) lessen the “odd-ball” “Bending” that can occer with a SINGEL “cup”. The bottom ends cut off for easey “slide out” of the tamped ‘brick’….but if bending STILL occers, I’ll keep bottoms on n make a plywood “plunger” that stays in the mold. A hole in center of bottom to insert a dowel / old broom handel to insert n push wood bottom.

    Every 2 – 3 – 4 (?) bricks I’ll swish in water (the form). This to keep the inside slippery.

    This Form makes a 10 in. brick. I’ll lay um on thier sides, altranateing the ends as i stack.

    Tho it will take more TIME over-all, at least I OR KIDS (who LOVE playing in mud) can easily carry (n MAKE) each brick. Ive a TAMPER to pound press the mud into the form(s). CAN BE DONE WITH A FLATTEND THICK TREE BRANCH.More “pounding” n a bit slower, but shows u dont need much exspence output (Comm. Tamper) to “DO” to make a “home”. Salvaged “cups” (look in outside Stores garbage containers).

    Again; think OUTSIDE THE BOX. Sometimes WAY Out.

    Straw bale pads (or full bales) R Fast…but too ull most likely have to BUY. DIRT is DIRT CHEAP. Most have access to THAT.

    If serfice water (rain / melted snow) is a concern…Make a DUG Trench “MOAT” around the abode n use THAT dirt for bricks. Ur abode will thus b on an “island”. SLANT THE “MOAT” n catch the run-off in a low 55 gal. Cystren for garden use / etc..

    As useul, Im an advacate of ROUND (n LOW) shape abodes.

    As #s, ROUND Verses SQ. has sapierer advantages. The Buckmiser Domes of today stick up WAY to hi 4 me. THAT tho can be BURMED all about the outside…forming a gentel slope about it. Bringing down the BUMP (weathr dissrupter) into a gentel (NATUREL) Hillick HUMP.

    Not everyones ‘cup o tea’ but I prefer it. i LOVE becomeing ONE with NATURE.

    My “Miny Dome” (hobbit hut / Gnome home) shows that. Aho? re

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Folks; Im allways looking for “new ways”. Do a Search under the heading of ; CANVISE CONCRETE SHELTERS

    WOW! Streach out…Blow up…WET DOWN…move IN 24 hrs later!

    No idia of price. re

    red elk 3 years ago

    Friend(s), to me, “Green” is not GREEN untill someone comes up with NO Factorys to make “green” products / etc. r somehow abel to be done. Like a simpel thing like a ROOSTER as an alarm clock. Would b nice to DO Green with EVERYTHING DONE NATURE(ly). Useing Earth / Fire / Wind / Water but WITHOUT haveing to cut / dig to get mqateriel to make in a factory.

    IF, then this would deeply effect the worlds economy…n be fought agenst. Ud b a “Danger to Socitity”. Realy meaning “a Danger to Componys Monopuly (greed). TOO ‘FREE’.

    Still, im convinesed there MUST b a way. You, the reader, may have idias or thoughts that will help ALL in this. ANY Idias???

    One of mine is a Wind Funnel to “herd” even small winds to windmilles (ones U can make from salvage). Increasing the winds force to the props. i THINK.

    Im going to b building a tall “chiminy” that is below earth on part n “stack” up high. Top SUN Heated. Bottom EARTH COOLED. a non-passive FOOD COOLER. #ont FREEZE things but WILL Cool things 4 safe eating.

    Tree Limbs Wind SWAY to wash cloths…Hook to an underground Billows that pumps cool air into the home…MANY other things as well.

    ALL as None “Tec” as possibel. THERE HAS G O T TO BE ANSWERS / WAYS to do these things. “Stupid” stuff that may not b as “stupid” as the world thinks. YOU have the answeres. somewhere in UR mind…n NOW!

    To bad theres no Hub Place one can freely “share” on.

    Ghosts’ is as close as Im found (so far).

    Im pushing as many as will listion to his hub. U? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk, plenty of folks view this page every day. I’m thinking most come to RECEIVE information, and that’s certainly just fine. Perhaps over time a few others will ADD info as well, like you do.

    This isn’t precisely “free” usage as you are discussing, but one thing I believe in firmly (which I know you do, too) is to use ONE structure to make ANOTHER structure more or less invisible, “low profile”, less obvious to the eye, and thus less “jarring” in an otherwise natural setting. Just a few days ago, we got a chance to practice this once again. A young man joined our “household” for many reasons, but since the earthbag home I’m building (many Hubs on that project available) is not yet ready to be occupied, he pitched a tent–which he salvaged for free, and which is in nearly perfect condition.

    The beauty of his location is that when anyone pulls into the driveway, they never know his tent is there at all. It is situated directly behind the camp trailer where no one can see it unless they head into the brush on our property–at a depth of penetration that would constitute invasion, and so far no one has tried that here. Yet he’s close enough to hear Pam holler for assistance at any time….

  55. red elk 3 years ago

    Went to ur Hub on Post Hole Digging. Saw n LOOKED INTO one commenter who wrote of a BULL DIGGER. Went to that 2 see. WOW!

    Cked on veryious sites under that heading. Saw inventer (on one) who was showing. HIS SOIL LIKE OURS HERE….ROCKS! n LOTS OF UM! WOW! WOW WOW WOW!

    Gotta save n get one now. Then use to make an exspanded hole n DIG MY WATER WELL!

    THANK YOU Ghost, for ur OTHER Hubs! re

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Many Dream of being “out there” in thier own cabin. I think all reading Ghosts’ Hub here r rather searious. Perhaps evn have land to “do”. Most r just ‘dreamers’ id guess.

    Certinly all r hoping to build cheaply. As u r finding out, it can be done. “Code” done? That will need study OF ur areas’ codes.

    Im writing this to ask u to ask urself ; can u TAKE IT? Realy………

    Liveing in a tight nit of others (tiny town / etc.) is one thing…being “out there” (more or less alone…well, that can b quit another.

    One thing as a “Vacation Get-Away”…another to live yr. rnd..

    BE REALILISTIC. THINK on YOU…THINK on ur MATE n THINK on those withing ur immidite family. YOUR Dreams may NOT be THIERS! Can YOU “make it”? can u ALL (mate / family) “make it”? BE REALISTIC!

    Im not a “loner”. LIKE people. Will b very difficult for ME if alone. Even WORSE with others who suddeny dont WANT to b rathe “so alone”. CABIN FEVER is REAL (alone our otherwise). Ghost n his wife r Like Minded….THAT HELPS when “far out”.

    Can u / urs, pass time in close WEEK BY WEEK liveing???

    Any IDIA of how LONG u may b in a “cant get out” situation?

    CAN YOU (all) REALY handel it? Most CANT!

    Frankly, it takes a “speicle breed” to b “ALONE”. Dang RARE, realy. THINK ABOUT IT!

    Set down with those who will going. TALK TO THEM. Find out thier REAL feelings. Then plan accordinly.

    Id hate to see one build…then leave. Dreams shattered.

    MY alone time has NEVER exceeded a full 4 days. My wife; a wk.end. 2 DAYS! More or less BORDOM “drives u up a wall”. GOTTA “Go To TOWN!”.

    Yup, think about it. Talk to each other about it. BE RELALISTIC! Ho. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk brings up excellent points, ESPECIALLY in his “cabin fever” comments. While it is true (as he says) that my wife and I are like-minded, and that does help immensely, she had been suffering from cabin fever pretty drastically for a time in our camp trailer in Arizona (where I’m building a full sized earthbag-walled home that is not yet ready for occupancy).

    In our case, adding a person to the household–which just happened a few days ago–has helped immensely. Justin, age 25, is like another son to her, and her depression/loneliness dropped markedly the day he arrived. For now, he’s sleeping in a tent pitched behind the camper, but he spends his days helping either of us as needed, and she loves the way he is able to assist her with many tasks.

    For me personally, I believe extended “alone time” would be no problem whatsoever. If you count being surrounded by native vegetation and wildlife being alone, anyway; being locked in a jail cell with no windows might be another matter. But I do recognize I’m much in the minority that way, perhaps a bit like the mountain men of old.

    Which of course is the real reason in addition to cost why I’m building our new home without assistance: I work best alone.

    red elk 3 years ago

    something one can consiter; RENT a SECLUDED CABIN. Not overnite or less then a week. Maby a summer? or WINTER!?

    U can ck out (do a search) on FIRE TOWER RENTELS. Now THAT “Far OUT”.

    Or search CABIN FOR RENT / LEASE.

    We lived 11 yrs “out there” as CARETAKERS. 3 + animals. a REAL 4 Weather exspearence! CK OUT THIS POSSABILITY.

    Give urself the “real thing” n THEN “talk”.

    Anyway, something to think about. Good Luck! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Interesting. Pam knew about fire tower rentals; I did not. 368,000 results on Google!

  56. red elk 3 years ago

    to save on money, many can make thier own NAILESS ladder(s).

    I learnd this “trick” when puting in hi “sew sticks” in my bigger tipis. My ancesters evidently lad the same “to high to reach n do” too.

    The TiPi poles SLANT…n r wide apart at the the base, then to the “all togather” at the frames apex. Aho?

    HOW did they DO IT? EASY! They simple took SHORT “step” STRONG BRANCHES n TYED UM ON THE 2 POLES leading to the upper holes!

    Because of the “Spred Apart” to “Close Togather”, those TYED ON Short “step branches” WONT SLIP DOWN…at least not till the tighten up with ur weight (useuly but an inch or 2)

    Ive used this “ladder” MANY times. Have 2 now. One quit long (hi).

    U can “ditto” with 2x4s, etc.. NO HOLES, NO NAILS. Untye n n use in ur building, un”tainted”.

    Just take 2 long (side) poles, spred um, tye on ur “steps”, n get about ur “to hi” work.

    To Easily “do”, place the UNTYED side poles up FIRST n tye on the steps as u climb.

    Easyer to “lift” one pole then a whole ladder (finished on ground). Aho?

    HAVE FUN, folks. STUDY the OLD WAYS! re

    red elk 3 years ago

    If uve access to SAWDUST, uve a “Gold Mind” of good firewood. I keep my “dust” when cuting to do THIS: DRY IT, Mix with small wood chips, Mix them into the “dust”, PACK IN PAPER SACKS. (Fold the top over).

    At nite i’d put a bag of this into our heat stove n lite.

    The dust “smolder heats, “catches” the chips on fire, those chips continue the Smoldering n On n On. a GOOD Warm NITE FIRE withOUT alot of reg. firewood being used. GOOD for TENT LIVEING or SMALL CABIN heating. SAVE UR TIME N MONEY ON BUILDING UR “DREAM”. re

    red elk 3 years ago

    Another HOW TO. This for those doing a log cabin with thier own Lands’ trees; If u pick the trees u need but want to get um to ur building site to Dry. WHY NOT LEAVE UM STANDING to dry FIRST? Go to the trees, GIRD (incircle) the BARK OFF BOTTOM OF THE TREE. Thier they will stand and DiE. Then, with a PEELING SPUD, DeBark 1 to 3 STRAIGHT UP THE TREEs’ bark. This will open the inner tree to DRYING AIR. Will “cure” MUCH FASTER.

    If per-chanch uve ALLREADY got ur trees down to dry…DO THE LAST. Again; Faster drying!

    Why not peel the whole thing at once? Well, u can, but those Green Trees R HEAVY (get a PEEVEE). If done as Ive suggested, WHEN DRY the bark left CAN EASILY BE TAKEN OFF with a “WEED WACKER”! NO PEELING NEEDED! (This is how I do my TiPi poles).

    I allso dry/de-bark “slits” on longer leangths of FIREWOOD. THEN “cut” to burning size. Easyer to carry out leangths of firewood as ONE, then armloads of severl. TIME SAVER!

    Allso, KNOW THIS ; it is the BARK that creats allmost ALL of the DANGEROUS CRASOTE that clogs ur chimny. DONT BURN BARK! Save THIS for outdoor fire pits!

    Again, my ancesters Pre-Dryed this way. STUDY THE OLD WAYS! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona
    The “no-nails” ladder trick is a good one, though I’ve (now at least) usually got plenty of nails around for the task.

    I admit to having a problem with using the “dry-the-timber-standing” technique. It would obviously work, and work extremely well. Trouble is, for me, I feel like stripping the bark from a standing tree would be slow-torturing the tree to death. Porcupines do it all the time, but I’m not a porcupine–in this life, anyway. On the other hand, if it was a life-or-death question of survival in the wild….

    I did NOT ever stop to think about bark producing most of the dangerous creosote before. Have had major chimney fires, including a couple of ring-dang-doodlies. Never any harm from them–just a clean chimney after the fact–but surely could have been. My (typical?) approach was (when I had woodstoves, a total of about 30 years), “Ignore it till the roar starts in the chimney, then hope the whole place doesn’t go…and…repeat the process.”

    And I hate to admit it, but I’d probably do it that way yet again rather than take the time and effort to debark the firewood.

    Recommendation: Listen to Red Elk, not to me; on this one, I’m probably an idiot!

  57. red elk 3 years ago

    Agreed on “Slow Death”. Still, am giveing NA “view” things here…n WE ALLWAYS were in a SERVIVIL situation. Better 2 do STANDING then cut n leave on grd. to SLOW dry (dampness of earth soaking in till u can get back to retrive it). To my knowlege NO NA “cut” as the “whites” did / do. In r “way” we ” SELECTIVLY “TENDED the GARDEN”, Picking n chooseing r GARDEN area. “Thining the CHAFF from the WHEAT” in a sence. Only the Pac. NA “took” HUGE trees…Ceder , to build thier sea canoes. n THOSE they 1st girded too. a LOT LESS Heavy Green weight to pull from the site. Again; SENSABEL Servivil. Aho? I wish all would understand my anchesters ways…n REASON. If only all KNEW…..

    Sadenl;y, todays NA have 4gotten these things/ways. Not ALL, but nearly so.

    Ive burned TO MUCH “Green” wood, (in a hurry), but the “slit” to spd. dry, (when i ha0ve time), makes for a superier fire. Over-all, WARMER Abode in the dead of winter. We rarely had a chimny to worry about (creasote). SMOKE was THE problem tho…till we began to know the LAPPLANDERS way (an AIR TRENCH from outside to under the fire pit. “Adjusted” the flow with stone or bark at INLET of the trench. Aho? That smoke caused MANY eye problems, till then. TiPis’ slopeed wall n other abodes took away WALKING rm.. WE SET LOW, TO BE BELOW, THE SMOKE! Aho?

    Now yet another SAVE $$ tip: MAKE UR OWN rustic Furniture. REALY rustic! Only a hand saw as tool or knife as tool. SAVE UR MONEY TO BUILD A WARM / SNUG Cabin! Ive used Cat Tail reeds to make my bed..N chairs (with backrest). OLD ways of todays “futon”.

    Made (more then once), Tree BROWS as Broom. My own Cloths Pins, even!

    Logs as bed frame. Firwood log-ends as seats. N my own INK (blackberry juice/ash mix) with self made QUILL Pen AND Reclyled paper 4 paper/envalopes ( 2 still have the letters, value um as “Originel Americana”). My own blood to seal n melted wax at tip of E-lopes “v”. Whites n NA alike sure enjoyed visiting…TiPis N Cabins /’ etc..

    In short; used KNOWLEGE to make….SAVED MONEY for other things , n TOUGHT by SHOWING. (As im doing with my Miny dome).

    YOU CAN TOO! “Wilderness” can be MORE then “FUN”…it can be a down-right DELIGHT!

    STUDY the OLD WAYS! Not just NA but Early USA “Whites” n Other cultures. U’ll learn Much, n build a small USEABEL “musium” that ALL will enjoy!

    Next to Creator, KNOWLEGE IS KING! Aho?

    have fun, folks. ( : re

    UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 20, 2015: Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tour a bit of the “high country timber” in western Montana. There, plenty of spruce budworms do the “girdling” job without human help. They actually eat the foliage, but it still kills the tree. The forester giving me the tour told me that when a lot of spruce die, lodgepole pine trees will often replace them, filling in the gaps–but it’s clear that there are nearly always a number of spruce trees (depending on the area, of course) dead and dry yet standing, ready for harvesting.

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Yes, especially for a nomadic lifestyle, it would make much more sense to girdle a tree and dry the timber standing rather than hope you could get back before it rotted on the ground.

    My own blood (plus wax) for sealing envelopes? Hunh. THERE’S one I didn’t know.

    The “rustic furniture” comment reminded me of one incident…I think it’s mentioned in my well digging hub, but will repeat it here:

    When we had a wildfire encircle us in Montana in 1999, the state wildfire fighters cut down a number of big cottonwood trees that were burning. Later, they bucked those into blocks about 18 inches long on average. Still later, when I needed to make a “mount” for a windlass to pull buckets full of mud and heavy rocks up from the well bottom, two of those blocks proved to be perfect for the task (one on each side of the hole, with a pipe running across the hole between them).

    Point being, rather than just running thoughtlessly to the distant lumber yard for wood or maybe a salvage yard for steel, I put some thought into it, trying to figure out what I could use that was already available on the land. Using those precut, slighly scorched blocks required only a few minutes of time to set up, and of course not a penny out of pocket.

    The longer you’ve been on a place, naturally, the easier this sort of thing is to do. Even building a simple survival cabin is going to leave leftover supplies lying around.

    A trip to town avoided is a hundred dollars saved.

  58. red elk 3 years ago

    no9t wanting to make this Hub a “pen pal” thing n rob its intentions, Id like to add this ;

    Folks; if u can “think ahead”, even to things likw what Ghost just wrote (and mine), u’ll be “ahead of the game”. He / I r shareing from lack of FINANCIL Needs!

    YOU may have the money to go very “Fancy”. We didnt, n Dont. “Jury Rigging” due to lack has been FAR MORE a BLESSING to us then a BANE. When I look back on it, being Poor (REALY POOR) was both the Worse n the BEST time of MY life. IE ; I had 3 letters to GET OUT n hadnt seen A PENNY in WEEKS…HAD to b done. NO Paper! No Envalope! NO Pencel! n NO 23 Cents for A stamp! NADA! but I prayed n I RECALLED things Id READ. i DID have “trash” etc. about tho, n geese. So tore up n old newspaper n wet it to “goo”, then spread this on a rusty screen to dry. Tho it was more like gray Cardboard, it WORKED. Tore it to “do”. Adhering it was at first a problem, the remember BLOOD GETS STICKY as it drys! So there was my “glue”. We had ONE THIRD of a B. Day Candel (my wife found). THAT (n a Figer Preesed “print” n the 3 (+ Elops) was done. Stamp $$ came in 3 days later…a Dollor to help a neighbor.

    The point being: COLLECT N MIND STORE: KNOWLEGE! THIS CAN SERVE U WELL, Save you MONEY needed 4 ur CABIN…AND u’ll c the importence of LEARNING.

    U’ll be amazed at what u can do, when POOR. Ur own SELF ESTEAM will SKY-ROCKET, and those seeing will be FLABERGASTED! WISHING THEY “DID”.

    Ur abode will be a TEACHING LESSION to YOU, and OTHERS. “GIVE”! Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Hunh. Red Elk mentioned letters that had to go, and stamps, and I suddenly remembered I need to make our land payment.

    Don’t reckon I’ll do that well building a survival cabin, earthbag home, or anything else…if my braindead moments get us tossed off the land!

    red elk 3 years ago

    with a cabin (in even more a “close nit” cabin area) ; ALLWAYS THINK OF FIRES. Ck ur internet on how to do this.

    Ive been both a Forest Fire Pro. “fighter” and a Ruruel Fire Dept.. Seen homes n Huge accorage under “attack”. Ment a # of distought owners. Even lost a young man on anther crew…AND allmost lost me and MY crew!

    Alot of these fires could have been advoided IF Pre-Prepreations were made.

    Even you who HAVE thier cabin….THINK! ; “How can I help save my place, NOW”!? ALOT!

    Our home allmost “went”, twice. Now a very large area aound it has ridded the sage n weeds has been “catted”. I amite it no doubt wont SAVE this place “over-all”, but WILL slow a fire so Fire Dept. CAN. (Did last time).

    I wont “teach” how-to prepair here. Pleanty “out there” so u can teach urself. JUST THINK…Be AWARE…and PREPAIR! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona Hub Author

    Well stated. Pam and I kept our cabin safe in Montana during a wildfire that hit hard in 1999–I believe my hub on that is titled Fire On The Mountain, or some such. It was close, though, as evidenced by the cabin’s south wall which was always bowed out in the center from that time on…due to the intense heat it had experienced from the flames.

    Fire is always a consideration where we are now in Arizona as well. Mesquite burns, and we have creosote bushes that can be absolutely explosive. Bunchgrass is abundant.

    We have NOT removed every nearby bush by choice; one sizeable mesquite tree comes to within a few feet of the house I’m still building. However, we are paying attention to the danger. That bush is the only vegetation anywhere close to the homesite. The construction is, likewise, relatively fire-resistive. The walls are made of sandbags filled with plain old dirt and will eventually be covered with an inch of concrete stucco. Clearly, those walls will not catch fire.

    On the topside, I’ll be installing steel roofing panels sometime this next week. So the rooftop won’t catch fire.

    That leaves the rafter tips and eaves as the only somewhat combustible wood-and-paint points that are even slightly vulnerable. Even our doors are steelclad. And paint, in case you didn’t know, is in itself enough to keep a stray spark from catching anything.

    Much more solidly antifire than the cheap wooden shed we called a cabin for 3 years (as recorded in this post).

    red elk 3 years ago

    Brother / All ; as a Med.Man i can honostlt tell “we” know ways / things the gen. masses dont. 4 ur info ; the 2ed fire here I had little need to “pull the bunny outta the hat”. #1 was a diff. matter tho. I was close to 3,000 mi away with others of “Med.” when I found out our place was scant yrads away from a hi wind fire “snorter”. could hear the fire ‘copters while talking 2 my wife (evacuated n about a mi away). Told her not to b concerned…would “take care of it”. Flaged down the other 2 rigs in r “caravan”. Pulled over n on the side of the rd. a bunch of us did r “thing”. When we all KNEW “it is done” we went on r way. WE HAD TURNED THE WIND BACK ONTO ITSELF.

    Only 2 – 3 ‘cross the st. OutBuildings were distroyed b4 we could get done. 8 (+) homes saved.

    Till this posting only my wife n NA with me know about this.

    I can honostly say ; PRAYER WORKS.

    I think PAM (Ghosts’ wife) can understand this…u too, Ghost. The rest of u? I dont know. Just puting this in to let all KNOW “things” CAN be done. Mans abilitys r allmost endless. HO red elk

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Yes, Pam I do indeed understand. The time factor usually determines whether we use similar techniques or not, though. If we’re at some distance or have a while when not much else can be done physically, we’ll get right to it (spiritual techniques).

    In the case of our fire on the mountain in 1999, we had two spiritual “elements” going on despite being in the middle of a move-as-fast-as-you-can situation: (1) My late father appearing to Pam to give her instruction and (2) at first, as I was batting down flames with our only shovel, I was calling on our spiritual guides for assistance–but finally realized, hey, OF COURSE they’re already here and on the job. So I ceased any further attempt at “phoning home” and concentrated on the flame-swatting job at hand.

    Many details (too many for this comment) made it obvious Spirit was involved at every turn.

    red elk 3 years ago

    Folks; we r Not “geting of the “CABIN” track here. Gosts answere to my last HOLDS THE “SECREAT” OF DOING : ie: it is WHEN U FINILY GIVE UP SEEKING HELP by REALIZEING THE HELP IS THERE…AND AT WORK, that the thing being requested IS! hear me ; IS! not WILL BE…but IS!

    THATS what saved Ghost n Pams place…and OURS!

    Its called “Faith BELEIVEING”. Many ways to go about it. The NA Traditionelts have THIER way. We of Inner Heyoka’ have OUR way. Ghost n Pam have THIER way. Others of other Nations have THIER way. BUT the WAY ends up EXACTLY THE SAME ; BELEIVEING withOUT DOUBT, ur request IS answered…I S DONE.

    U N E G A T E it if along the line u have “A” (ONE) DOUBT!!

    (Remember that).

    Ok, now USE THIS KNOWLEGE to Find ur land and ditto on GETING UR WISH (cabin) DONE!

    Ur geting far more “HOW to build a CABIN ON A SHOESTRING Budget” then uve EVER thought of. HO! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk is accurate on this. The best one-word description of how it works, as least that I’ve come across, is: INTENT. As in, I INTEND to have our Arizona house ready to occupy by July 1, 2010…and therefore it will be ready. Carlos Castaneda, in The Teachings of Don Juan and the sequels to that book, delineated between “ordinary” intent and what he called “Sorceror’s Intent”, which brooked no possibility of failure. Here, we’re talking about the latter–whether or not you think of yourself as a “sorceror”, it means the level of determination coupled with absolute certainty that guarantees the desired outcome.

    Which may sound pretty esoteric for a simple discussion of building a cabin or other shelter for survival, but it’s all one. The person who refuses to quit and likewise refuses to doubt…wins.

    red elk 3 years ago

    Odd u meantion “D.J’. Was one of my many teahers. Hadnt heard that from him but hes correct. Ho

    Folks, Ive no idia of what you want as a cabin. Yr. Round? Relax “get away”? Etc. Etc.. But one u should look at is so SIMPEL, so CHEAP / so FAST n so “COOL” u can see by Googol Searching under ; Sleeping / Camping Cabin

    Mite b ur “thing”. Have fun. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona Hub Author

    Not surprised he was one of your teachers. It’s possible you never heard that from him…simply because you already understood that concept, and therefore it was not a lesson you needed. (Just guessing.)

    Regarding the remainder of your comment, Red Elk, readers can find more ideas in my other posts, especially if they’re looking at alternative building materials. To check those out, the easiest way is actually to Google “earthbag walls ghost32” and several of those pages will pop right up.

  59. red elk 3 years ago


    Took 11-12 to 12 Wks to FINILY get r 2 Above Ground HUGE Cystren Tanks THAWED! n we THOUGHT these tanks were WELL INSALATED! 1200 n 550 (i think) tanks had become SOLID “ICE CUBES”. Been bucket lugging “4ever”. With snow / rain run off the 2 tanks had only one recours: OVERFLOW ONTO THE GROUND. Helping to UNDERMINE the haevy STAND the tanks are on. “Crossing r fingers” THAT will all b ‘ok’. Wont know 4 SURE till spring. INsalate ANY ABOVE GROUND Holding Tanks THICKLY! Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona


    Events like that remind me why Pam and I now live on the Mexican border…where, of course, one’s water supply still does need to be guarded….

  60. red elk 3 years ago

    Talk about “shoestring”…weather geting decent enough to “do” now. Weather is one thing…$$ quit another. Broke my only “rite size” drill bit n cant affor to buy another! Inside dome work stalled.

    Broke the cement / stone work at front of fireplace (to hi…air starvation = Smoke). Works like a charm now.

    Allmost outtya gas (PU) so cant collect gravel needed to put on dirt floor (THEN Viscane n Then rug).

    Folks, one cant exspect a “short build time” when on hand-to-mouth thing. EXSPECT THIS, but “do” as u can. URS’ WILL BE COMPLEATED. (Hang in there n keep FOCOST)!

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Red Elk, no one can fault you for lack of persistence! Reminds me of a very determined gentleman who wrote, one time, about needing to drill a hole in a bookcase…didn’t have a drill…and “dug” the hole from start to finish with a Phillips screwdriver!

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    “Cruising” the internet n came accross something Id never consiterd. Mite b worth Someones “doing” ; Seems in Hollond some plant LOW growing trees (usualy fruit) in front of thier Sun Faceing Windows. In summer ; SHADE from sun. Winter the leafs fall off to ALLOW sun.

    now THATS THINKING! re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Good thinking indeed.

    Now if we can just figure out how to grow “ordinary” trees here in Cochise County, Arizona (where we now live) without that ol’ desert wind scouring the leaves right off ’em year ’round….

  61. red elk 3 years ago

    See u have a new Hub “how to” up. About TIME someone gets a good idia / view on all involved on Earth Bag Building. Goofs n All! GREAT PHOTOS TOO! Thanks, Ghost. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Presume you’re referring to my “How To Build A House Single Handed” (Table of Contents). Thanks.

  62. Red Elk 3 years ago

    Any out there starting thir ‘dream’? Or r u still ONLY dreaming?

    NOTHING IS IMPOSSABEL friends. It takes DETERMINATION . Without it, ull not be able to forfill that “cabin” dream.

    Ghost n I ‘doing’ on a very skimpy mountly income. LOOK WHAT HES DOING!

    Land USE can be TRADED for. or 2-+ “like-minded” can pool ur $$s to BUY.


    Only UR thinking “I CANT” MAKES it “Impossabel”.

    Come on, JOIN R “CLUB”. Sure would b nice to hear from u here. GIVE OTHERS HOPE! Aho?

    Creator Bless. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    What Red Elk says is certainly true enough, but I do have a confession to make: In neither “bargain priced shelter building” situation we’ve experienced (one in Montana documented here, the other in Arizona; see Links Capsule)…was it a matter of making a dream come true.

    Instead, it was a matter of pure dee survival when there really weren’t that many other options–and NO other ATTRACTIVE options.

    So? So, I dreamed endlessly, too, until Life backed me in a corner and it was time to fish or cut bait.

  63. Red Elk 3 years ago

    Take bheed on what Ghost has said, folks. I TOO have a “Mansion” “in mind”. So, he / I cought a PERCH n not r MUSKI.

    The Perch STILL FEEDS.


    U’ll b in ur’ own Place….LESS Taxes…Easyer to Warm / Cool…FASTER to move into. “FED”! A # have done so WHILE BUILDING THERE TRUE Dream. (U read about that here n there).

    In doing this “trimed to small” they now live in the “Grand Dream” n the “Trimed Dream ” r now Studios / Guest Place / Play Houses / Garden Sheds / Etc..

    a WIN WIN situation. ALL done ON SITE. LESS Travel to go n work on the Big One / Etc..

    My Big Dream is 5 1/2 hrs away. Was only able to get up there to work on it TWICE this last yr.. STILL A “SKELITEN”.

    This Miny here, both Adds to THIS place AND IS HELPING TEACH ME what i can do on the other. EXSPEARENCE! Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Experience indeed. It’s been my experience, in fact, that no experience ever needs to be wasted. The hybrid earthbag home I’m building in Arizona draws on my Montana ranch upbringing, high school shop class, several jobs over the years, the cabin experience described in this article, and a whole lot more.

    The best kind of experience in many cases, however, is “other people’s experience.” To that end, I’ve read long and hard about different ways of building–websites on the Internet, books, etc.

    But to me the greatest joy of all is that line we used to tell our mothers: “I can do it myself, Mom!” So far on the Arizona project, I’ve had to use “professionals” to install the septic system (code required that) and to build the roof trusses (cheaper and better made than I could do it)…but EVERYTHING else is “me and me alone”.

    I built my first “hut” at or around the age of nine, with a dirt floor but solid wood walls and a shingled roof plus a working, hinged door. The hut’s grown a bit over the years (from roughly twelve square feet of floor space to just under 1300 square feet)…but the concept hasn’t changed a bit.

  64. red elk 3 years ago

    AHO! ( :

    Been exspearencing with MUD BRICK. VERY Impressed! Not wanting a Home outter walls Ive started consintrateing with these…THINNER…for INSIDE walls. Made a new “form” useing a DOUBELD 7-11 BIG pop cup(s). These allows NO “BENDING” of the cup when Earth / Weeds / Clay mix pushed in. Ive cut out much of center at bottom…cut n placed a thick plastic PUSH OUT “button”. Wet the cup(s) every 3-4 “bricks”…”slicking” the insides. Mix / Fill / Ram (with thick dowel end) / Push out /Set out (of sun) to dry. A fast 9 1/2 inch long “brick”. Then line um as wall…ONE end (shallower shape) One way, the nxt tier the other. Up n Up n Up. Stuck togather with same mixture as I go (not yet, but planed). Anyway, will see how this exspearament works.

    Got a buddy in Austraila whos built his whole BIG house…ALONE, with the BIG “bricks”. Now up some 23-5 yrs.. Each brick at 50 lbs.. HUGE undertakeing…ABSALUTLY FANTASTICT! Finished off out n in with “same mix” “sheathing. WOW!

    Hes now doing ditto on a BIG shed. LOOKS LIKE A WALLED FORT! unBELEIVEABEL!

    He too “exspearamenting”. Drying on Black Plastic. So far what he forms one day, he then uses the next day.

    Hes recently bought a Cement Mixer to spd. the mixture makeing. I WANT ONE TOO!

    Makes n average of 30 a day. Has done 33. This may not sound impressive, but these r HUGE bricks. “Works Out”.

    Hes 58 or 59. “Makeing mussels” he says. HIGH Walls…like u, Ghost, All Alone.

    YOU OUTTA SEE H I S PiCtures!

    Hes given me all Kinds of advice. Above n Beyound the many “How Tos” Ive read on Internet / books. Made it sound so simpel, i HAD to try. n it IS!

    Made 2 HUGE Bricks allmost 2 yrs ago. KEPT UM SET OUT IN THE OPEN all this time (to see thier “hold” facter). 2 Snowy winters / Rains / Sun. Starting to “wear” at edges now. (Remember; NO COVER (like would be with a roof)).

    Myt “bug-a-boo” is r Sage Land dirt. He said “GO BELOW THE FIRST 10 INCHES n try THAT dirt”. Sure enough, Enough Clay Content there, allready part of the soil. N all this time I thought “No CLAY here”! u know ; “gumbo”.

    So, seeing what this thinner inside wall will do. Aho? re

    Abobe look.

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Great comment, Red Elk. I’ve recently discovered a thing or two about “bricks” in my earthbag home project in Arizona as well.

    It turned out that the young man we recently evicted from our home turf…may have let out a little bit of “mentally ill rage”, taking it out on the backside (western) wall of the home. The walls will be covered with stucco as soon as it warms up enough here (not long now), but for the moment the earthbags (filled with surface dirt from our high-clay-content homesite) have no protection from the elements except a coat of paint.

    I was finishing that back wall today, brushing paint into the areas the roller couldn’t reach, when I noticed two “injuries” to the bags that weren’t there before: Thumb-sized tears in the sides. They had to be recent. For one thing, I would NEVER have placed them in the wall that way. For another, the fellow had paint-covered those surfaces with the roller, and (reading sign here), there was NO paint on the DIRT inside the open holes.

    The interesting finding? Just this: Despite the open-to-the-air situation, very little dirt had “drained out”. Just the amount that probably “burst out” when the bag was struck (I’m thinking he hit ’em with something, maybe a hammer or the butt end of the roller handle, etc.). The REST of the dirt seemed quite happy to stay where it was, and overall it was hard as a rock.

    Still be glad to see the stucco get on there, though.

    And yes, we’ve gotta get one of those cement mixers, too. Got my eye on one in town, a few bucks more than those at competing stores, but with a polypropylene tub–hopefully a bit easier to clean, and no chance of rust.

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    One thing in building ur place, is to fully consiter the size of things that u want in there. Mite look BIG on paper but after all ur furniture n applyences soon make “big” DARN SMALL!

    Anmswere? LESS stuff / SMALLER furniture / etc., OR : do a DRAFT PAP{ER Drawing of ALL Furniture (bed / tub / etc n place on a DRAFT PAPER Drawing too, of ur house plans.

    CUT OUT the “furniture n place Atop the PLANS. Count the sqares between FLOOR Sqs to FUNITURE Sqrs. Say each FLOOR Sq = I STEP……now litterly WALK THAT ONE STEP, counting, till u “hit” ur “furniture”.

    In this way ull have a GOOD Pre-Notion of “IS THIS RM / THAT RM BIG Enough?…..REALY”?

    Its not allways a matter of seeing how SMALL u can build / live in (YEAR round!) but how small u can do so, COMORTABLY!

    Ither trim down on sizes of furniture or build bigger then u intended. Aho? re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    Workable concept, and yes, I’ve done similar things in the past. This time around, though,for the home in Arizona, I haven’t even written down the basic floor plan, let alone made up a scale model.

    Have lived in other homes of comparable size, though, so it’s not really unknown territory.

  65. Red Elk 3 years ago

    When working with nature, work WITH it. DONT make IT “work” FOR YOU!

    This is the bases of my little Hobbit Hut.

    I started out with n INVISIONED Plan. Learned rite off there were Stones WAY to big for me, or even 2, to handle. @ small Bolders, realy. Not haveing dyinmitwe or a “cat”, THERE begain the BEGINING of my working WITH nature. IE: I left um rite where they were at n THEY BEDCAME THE DOORWAY ENTRENCE!. “MENT to be”. Looks great, too! Pasrt in n part outside of the structure.

    Starting with a CIRCLE in mind, that too changed…n too the GOOD. Turned out OVAL was far better. Even more rm. then a circle. Im glad this was “changed”, too.

    Some will build with On Hand material straight off thier land. Trees, etc. cut to “do”. NEEDED “nature change” to “do” properly. USE AS MUCH OF THOSE FALLEN TREES AS POSSABEL. Limbs can make wonderfull fenceing / “legs” for tabels / etc.. Even the BARK has BUILDABEL possabilitys. KEEP as MUCH AS POSSABEL. THEN finish as firewood / Bird houses / Etc…..”touch up” “Winter time” doing.

    To secure the “Wild” look (if desired), make ur place as much NATUR(el) AS POISSABEL.

    Ive allways been pleasently surprised to come accross an occ. place, set off in the woods, with a NATURE look. Like takeing a walk, unexspentently, into “Hannsel n Grertle” story.

    All this is totoly up to you. CAN have a WONDERFULL place, CHEAPLY, with BENDING ur plans TO (n WITH) nature. ho. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    On our Arizona house, the paint color has been changed…but the “force of nature” driving that change is my wife, not the mesquite. We did hit one happy “target” today, by accident: The 5th color I’ve tried (by putting some on the earthbags that will later be covered with stucco) did not pass muster for the exterior–but she and I BOTH really like it for the INTERIOR.

    Getting there….

    red elk 3 years ago


    Like Ghost, Ive built many small places over the yrs..

    This got me to thinking, of ROOFING Material.

    The frollowing wont b 4 many, but its a thoght on Cheaply Doing ones roof covering: use TOSS OFF SHIGELS.

    I used to redo shingels on a jog I had. Many reqireing “Tare Offs”. Litterly takeing old shingels down to the wood roof thier on. Tossing away Ashpult n Cerder shingels to b taken to the dump. MUCH SALVAGEABEL for a Cheap RE-USE. NAILS INCLUDED!

    U can call Ropofing Co.s to see what projects the have going n go load up on the Good Toss-Offs.

    Granted, U may need get from a veritity of homes….different colors. BUT if u r building with n EARTH Roof…u’ll never see it when done. Aho?

    This would b a decent material with something like my Miny Dome.

    Anyway, “Out Side The Box” thinking again……….re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    This is one of your MOST helpful comments, Red Elk–at least in my view. While we don’t have easily available county dump sites to pillage freely around here (in Arizona, where we are now), we certainly do have construction and remodeling and demolition projects that could provide plenty of used roofing materal, for sure.

    Red Elk 3 years ago

    Our Conty has n Ultra Modren dump set-up. No ones saposed to take anything out. Ive managed to be around when others r dumping…”Can i have that?” never hits the floor. Legel.

    My Miny Dome gaining attention now. Newspaper. Some pic.s taken but on Cell Phone camera. THINK to show the bosses. We’ll see. Still awhile b4 the inside is compleat. If pic.s / articil comes about, I hope when done, 1st.

    MENT to be seen. Id love 2 do DITTO in a wilderness “hideing area”. Meanwhile, buildeing MAILY to show so others get inspired. re

    Ghost32 3 years ago from Hereford, Arizona

    That will be interesting–media exposure, that is. Better for your mini than for my Arizona house, actually…:)

  66. This post will definitely be better now that you have gotten the last of the “LOST” posts back up. Red Elk was such an interesting man and had so much to teach all of us. He will definitely be missed by us all.

  67. Thanks, Becky, and you’re certainly right about Red Elk–but guess what? This massive restoration of Red Elk’s work is NOT all of it! In fact, it’s only somewhere between one quarter and one third of the comments he “left behind” for all of us to peruse.

    I’ll get the rest of them restored to this page over time but have decided not to rush the process. There’s simply too much to swallow at “one bite”. 🙂

  68. If you would like me to post some of them, to make the white and black easier to navigate, just email me some and I will put it up that night. He knew so much that is useful. I was just reading through some of it and thought about building a storage shed with homemade bricks. It would make a good lean-to for the riding mower and keep it out of the weather. A place to keep our gardening equipment would be nice. Rodger has gotten most of the mower fixed, just need to get a few more parts. Something got bent on the underside.

  69. Hm…great offer, Becky, but I think not–because, having already posted so many of Red Elk’s comments in “white on black”, I think we might only confuse readers by changing up the pattern at this point.

    Making a shed out of homemade bricks sounds like a mighty fine idea, though. We know of one man in the area who built his entire house of homemade bricks…but he was a master at the craft for years before he moved to Arizona, so his version was basically ultra-professional. I seem to remember him telling me one time that he’d brought out some sort of huge brick making machinery or equipment from Illinois.

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