How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Gee, Where Did Rudy Go?

Sorry for being awol for a few days, but we decided to take a last minute trip out to the property to visit with my folks and have some recreational time.

We also wanted to review the site we had planned for the new house we’re building. My wife and I both had a few concerns about the spot and wanted to take another look now that the snow has melted.

Well, we decided after looking it over and a conversation with my folks to get their thoughts on our concerns that it wasn’t quite the right spot. Luckily though, we found a perfect spot quite close by.

One of the concerns we had was being too close to the high traffic areas of the yard. Putting the house where we’d planned it would have taken up some prime real estate that could be used by other stuff.

Another concern was feeling like we were just too close to my folks. Funny how you get out into the country and distance takes on a whole different meaning. The distance that was too close was enough to fit a couple houses into back in the city.

So the view to my folks’ place from our building site before was like this:

The new spot is actually a bit closer as the crow flies, but has a small hill in-between:

Amazing what taking advantage of terrain features can do for you.

Overall, we’re pretty happy with the new spot. The view is pretty darn good too…

We also made a decision on how we’re going to heat the place. We’re going to install an outdoor wood burning furnace with a nice wood stove as a backup and ambiance inside the home.

One big reason why we’re going this route is that it allows us to have one central furnace that can heat not only our home, but can also be used to heat greenhouses and other out-buildings. The new spot for the house makes this a no brainer.

I’m particularly excited about having such a great source of heat for a greenhouse. Combined with a partial in-ground design, we should be able to grow fresh food most of the year. I am obsessed with the idea of raising local vanilla for some reason…

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13 Responses to Gee, Where Did Rudy Go?

  1. Gorgeous views! I just love it. I like what you have in mind about using the outdoor furnace to heat your outbuildings. I’m trying to figure out a good way myself! I have to admit though I have been toying with the idea of heating our house with compost. Someone told me that a big enough pile of sawdust will heat up and stay warm for years, so I am curious if a house could be built with some sort of concrete wall on the side and a compost pile contained on the other side of that wall. Maybe even a greenhouse contained and attached to it?

    Something I’m finding out is that I really like having outbuildings close by or attached. Our free-range hens for instance have been laying their eggs in a wooden box that’s on our outdoor dining table. It just so happens to be right outside our dining room table, so I can literally sit there and watch them. It’s convenient to be able to look and see if there’s eggs for me to grab!

  2. Nice area. What state?

    Questions: well water? Private septic system? Amount of feet required between your folks’ well and your house? Has land been perked for you?

    • Eastern WA.

      We’ll tie into the same septic system my folks’ put in.

      I have a whole article about the surface well we dug, but I should write one about our planned water utility. We have a couple of drilled wells and a dug surface well, all providing good water. Overall flow rate is around ~15-20 gpm. The wells themselves aren’t super close to the home(s)

  3. Count your many blessings. I am glad you and your wife have decided to take a big breath and listen to your inner self before taking any big steps. I am sure your home will be a thing of warmth and happiness. Love the idea of an outside wood furnace. From all I have heard about them, they are excellent.

  4. You may have a hill in between NOW but if you build a a two story house you will have a similar view of your parents home.
    We want to do radiant heat floors with solar power and some way to pipe in cool water in the summer for cool floors…. some day….

    • Very true, but we plan a three story home with a daylight basement, so only one or two of the bedrooms will have a window opening in that direction.

      One reason why I like the wood furnace is I can do radiant heating with it. I’m a HUGE fan of radiant heating.

  5. Rudy, I’m glad you’re back–I open your emails with delight. You have such a positive view of life, which is refreshing compared to many of the preparedness sites I’ve visited.

    I wanted to share something about finding the right building site. When my husband and I decided to leave suburbia and build on our ranchland back in the 90s, we moved our airstream trailer to different sites. The place we thought we wanted to build had a great view of Pikes Peak, but the wind was so awful, we wouldn’t have been able to go outside. Next we tried a site close to the county road–near electric tie-in–but it was super hot in the summer. We settled on a third place where pines blocked NW winter winds and we looked out over our pasture. The power company wanted an exorbitant amount to connect us to the grid, plus they wanted (us) to cut down a bunch of trees, and their contract granted them easements galore. That’s how we came to go off-the-grid with solar power and backup generator, which cost the same as their estimate and we didn’t have to give up rights to our land to whomever/whatever the company might decide on.

    Funny, the off-the-grid thing seemed so weird to everyone back then, but it’s worked great. Our neighbors lose power during our frequent thunderstorms and we aren’t even aware of a problem. Our only power outage was my fault: I was sweeping cobwebs off our power station (garage) and hit the “DC Disconnect” lever! My husband still teases me about that.

    • Which is generally not a problem for most major manufacturers.

      These are standard units in the area.

      Thanks for pointing that out though!