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Your Homestead Tell and show others with words and pictures how you built or are building your homestead and how you keep things going day-to-day. One thread per member, please.

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  #1  
Old 03-12-2015, 12:29 AM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Default Good Looking Home vs. Basic Home

Do you think it makes a difference for survival if you have a certain type of home, such as small cabin vs. a larger, more expensive home (like a ranch home).

Survival in that if you own a smaller home (or "handmade" one that people think there is less for them to steal or scope you out and your activities).

I know there are ways to hide food, valuables, etc., in a house and on the property in general.

We have an on-going (sort of) disagreement on what sort of place to buy.

Hubby likes a nice place, looks. I'm into basics and not advertising our assets.

I'd like to not only discourage strangers, but also the government (if something should happen and they want to seize assets - like food stores).
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:00 PM
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swampcedars Male swampcedars is offline
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It all depends on what you are comfortable living with/in. What works for one may not work for another.

We are about simplicity, we like it and it works for us.

The Shaker's built very simple, many find that style to be very attractive.

Unless you are building in heavy forest, underground, or with active camouflage people will know where you are soon or later. It doesn't take much from the air to quickly identify vehicle tracks, hiking trails, driveways, roof tops, chimney smoke.

If there is a structure about, people that come across it will check it out and take what they can...at least that is my experience. I have seen people go to fallen in shacks for nails and a few boards, or empty hunting camps and even take old dishes. Bottom line, if there is unrest there will be more desperate people out there than any of us care for.

Anything that any of us have can be taken by stealth or by force.

You probably already know the basics of 'staying under the radar: more remote is probably better, a long and curving driveway is good, nothing fancy at the end of the drive way, a couple of dogs in the yard...and so on.

Nothing is totally safe or perfect, common sense and state of mind are invaluable to a happy life.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:30 PM
gundog10 Male gundog10 is offline
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I believe that if your home is about the same (condition wise) as most in your area you won't draw any undue attention, but if you have the nicest biggest home in the area people will take notice.
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Old 03-14-2015, 04:19 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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We've had these thoughts - less about what the place looks like and more about where to put it. Part of our property is visible from the road along the ridge above us. Barn can be seen and some of the pastures.

Realistically, we can't completely hide unless we don't use either.

We originally were going to put the house in the same area, but after standing up there and seeing how visible we were, we decided to put it lower on the property, shaded by the ridge.

Neighbors can still see us, but it's not possible for them to not know we're there, and we all rely on each other anyway so it's not a problem. The barn has been there for decades and it wouldn't be unusual for the pasture to be rented out for haying, so those don't necessarily give our residency away.

As far as what it looks like, we'll probably make it reasonably nice looking. My wife will eventually be home all day while I work, so it isn't like we will ever have the house vacant for any length of time. If someone gets all the way down to our place so they can see the house uninvited, they risk being shot. That said, we're going for functionality more than appearance, but I'm the type that builds things nicely when I can.

Our desire is to be shielded from anyone driving through the area knowing we're there. We can't hide from the government or the assessor, so there's no point trying. In the future, if things go south, you'd have to get through quite a few neighbors, all with more visible properties and obvious possessions, before you made it to us unless you came through several hundred acres of dense woods after crossing a significant river. As it is, we're an hour away from anything resembling a large town and interstate. Not saying it's perfect isolation, but we'd be low on the target list - by that point, it would be obvious that area-wide collective security would be needed.
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2015, 07:16 PM
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If you already have the land, consider planting some native evergreen seedlings. A staggered planting provides a good visual screen. You might consider black berry or other thorny plants as well...we have them in several areas and just bush hog them every few years to keep them under control.
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2015, 07:26 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Thanks for the feedback.

Sometimes I wonder what people would really steal. Like the Katrina episode...20 pairs of jeans or boxes of junk food (potato chips, Hostess Ding-Dongs, etc.) Or a TV (I used to watch stuff go down on the news and couldn't figure out what was on people's minds).

I think with growing food, I'd try to camouflage it. One sight I bumped into on hiding food suggested a "fake" garden and have a real one in a less conspicuous area (sort of like leaving some $$ out on your counter in a jar and people thinking they got your $ while the bulk of your money is hidden somewhere else).

We have a 10 foot iron fence here with spikes on the top so no one messes with my tomato plants, but I get a lot of admirers every summer. I also tie my plants' cages onto the building so no one can try to reach through or try to pull the planters over.

I give food to people that ask for some. Always have.

Years ago, with our first dog (and first condo which was on the first floor) someone was in our kitchen while we were talking in our living room. Our dog started growling and going nuts and ran to the kitchen. (He didn't like strangers). By the time I got to the kitchen, hubby's wallet was missing off the end of the counter. That wasn't a good feeling (some stranger in the house with us).

Someone when we first moved here stole gardening items off our back porch (idiot condo board wanted a "common key" for all the back porches). I still don't know who did the stealing, so I keep my eye peeled.

One time the neighbor upstairs from us walked into our kitchen (while I was standing there with our dog). She took a minute; then asked why I was there! Her place and her dog and our place and our dog didn't don't look remotely alike at all.
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2015, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connie189 View Post
Years ago, with our first dog (and first condo which was on the first floor) someone was in our kitchen while we were talking in our living room. Our dog started growling and going nuts and ran to the kitchen. (He didn't like strangers). By the time I got to the kitchen, hubby's wallet was missing off the end of the counter. That wasn't a good feeling (some stranger in the house with us).

Someone when we first moved here stole gardening items off our back porch (idiot condo board wanted a "common key" for all the back porches). I still don't know who did the stealing, so I keep my eye peeled.

One time the neighbor upstairs from us walked into our kitchen (while I was standing there with our dog). She took a minute; then asked why I was there! Her place and her dog and our place and our dog didn't don't look remotely alike at all.
I know just what you're talking about, but I bet most readers here don't have real experience living in a major metropolis and don't believe you. When I lived in Uptown, if you walked along the sidewalk, you had to kinda slide your feet like you were cross-country skiing: if you picked up your feet, they'd steal your shoes.

In regards houses/homesteading: "simplify simplify simplify," as someone famous once wrote. As empty nesters, you don't need much space anymore and an elaborate house kinda defeats the purpose of conservation efforts.
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  #8  
Old 03-15-2015, 07:53 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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swampceders,

I like the idea of thorny bushes. I remember when learning how to ride my first bike, I didn't maneuver a corner of the street and landed in someone's thorn bushes. Tore up my clothes...

Yeow, that hurt!
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2015, 07:58 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Doc,

Something like I don't see crack houses here where I live, but might where I move (smaller town)? (The realtors warned me).

Someone must have a senile senior that doesn't know what house (if not apartment) they're in?
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  #10  
Old 03-16-2015, 12:51 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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smaller houses with fewer features are less intensive to maintain. a smaller space is easier to heat, fewer angles in the roof makes repairing or replacing roofing easier, prevents ice dams in corners and reduces the chance of leaks, however those windows that stand out from slanted roofs and skylights are more decorative. plain siding (like T111) is easier to clean and keeps out bugs without having cracks, but log siding looks nicer. a smaller house uses fewer lighbulbs to illuminate.
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  #11  
Old 03-16-2015, 08:03 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Setanta,

"Those windows that stand out from slanted roofs..." skylights?

We've seen a lot of homes with different pitched roofs for each house; looks interesting, but seem to take up a lot of inside space.
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2015, 01:45 AM
sonofman Male sonofman is offline
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This is one of the reasons that I am building like I am.

My "house" will be a 2400sf steel building that, for all purposes, will look like a warehouse or garage or shop. It will look like anything, but a home.

I have not decided on whether or not there will be windows yet, but my guess is that there will be windows that I will build to be secured easily. I'm thinking of heavy bars that can only be installed or removed from the inside.

This type of home would not be acceptable for everyone. My ex wife never would have stood for it. However, I like the idea. It will be very low maintenance, very frugal with electricity, and very secure in the event that anything goes down.

I would simply go with the house that suits your needs the best.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2015, 04:46 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connie189 View Post
Setanta,

"Those windows that stand out from slanted roofs..." skylights?

We've seen a lot of homes with different pitched roofs for each house; looks interesting, but seem to take up a lot of inside space.
skylights are lined up with the slant of the roof, the ones that stand out are common on 1 and a half story houses, they poke up and out and the glass is upright with a smaller roof over it, lots on angles and places where ice and snow builds up. i don't know what they are called, but they offer a different set of complications from skylights. skylights can leak, these tend to hold ice and snow trapped in the corners that increase weight load on the roof and that can freeze and thaw and leak over time as well.

i was making an example that a plain roof with no windows, no fancy angles etc is plain and simple and is easier to maintain. but it looks plain and so basic that it stands out as basic.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:48 PM
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Gundog10 was spot on. Be it yourself, your home, your auto or whatever by calling undue attention to yourself you paint a bulls eye on yourself.

People, and especially women, who drive autos with personalized licenses plates attract a lot more attention than would that same person driving the same auto with the normal plates.

Little things can also draw undue attention too. Coming back to the vehicle while on vacation one year the family that had just parked next to ours and was exiting their vehicle began a conversation with us. As part of the conversation they asked about the city, referencing it by name, where we lived. We answered their questions and after a little more small talk they went to see the sights and we departed. Once inside the vehicle and on our way, the wife remarked the licenses plate told them which state we live in, but how did they know what city. I suggested that current college parking permit on the back window, might have been a clue.

I am a patron member of the NRA, but you will not see any NRA bumper stickers on my vehicles. 99.999% of the people seeing an NRA window/bumper sticker on a car understands that person own a gun.

We can divulge so much about ourselves with little things, if we are not circumspect. Some we have no control over, like the parking sticker (or run the risk of fines & penalties), but other things like the NRA sticker are our choice, so choose wisely about what you make known to the world about yourself.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2015, 11:15 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Setanta,

Trying to get a visual but coming up short. Agh! Will keep my eyes open for examples (wonder if Menard's (not sure if you have this home good store in your area) might have them.

The building I live in now has a skylight on the roof (three stories up) and sometimes it leaks. Usually windy/bad weather causes the problem.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setanta View Post
skylights are lined up with the slant of the roof, the ones that stand out are common on 1 and a half story houses, they poke up and out and the glass is upright with a smaller roof over it, lots on angles and places where ice and snow builds up. i don't know what they are called, but they offer a different set of complications from skylights. skylights can leak, these tend to hold ice and snow trapped in the corners that increase weight load on the roof and that can freeze and thaw and leak over time as well.

i was making an example that a plain roof with no windows, no fancy angles etc is plain and simple and is easier to maintain. but it looks plain and so basic that it stands out as basic.
They're called dormers and while done are there for looks only most are a way to add a window and ceiling height to a second story room . They hold no more ice or snow than any other roof when properly installed. They date back to the 1500's,.
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2015, 11:22 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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Jjr,

Not sure what the perception is from folks in town when you come from a big city, but like I told hubby, I think we need to lay low... We have an old SUV already, LOL.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:25 PM
connie189 Female connie189 is offline
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sonofman,

Sounds like the only thing you'd need to add to your building is a way keep your windows closed and being to shoot outside at the same time.
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  #19  
Old 03-19-2015, 05:57 AM
sonofman Male sonofman is offline
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sonofman,

Sounds like the only thing you'd need to add to your building is a way keep your windows closed and being to shoot outside at the same time.
I'm hoping that dogs will deal with whatever I occasionally find inside my fencing. I don't really want to be shooting out my windows if I can help it.

That being said, I would probably try to incorporated some little earthbag "sheds" on the property around the house. In the event of an assault on the property they could be used as cover or as a system of covered positions to make an escape.
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:18 AM
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Little things can also draw undue attention too. Coming back to the vehicle while on vacation one year the family that had just parked next to ours and was exiting their vehicle began a conversation with us. As part of the conversation they asked about the city, referencing it by name, where we lived. We answered their questions and after a little more small talk they went to see the sights and we departed. Once inside the vehicle and on our way, the wife remarked the licenses plate told them which state we live in, but how did they know what city. I suggested that current college parking permit on the back window, might have been a clue.
That's a good story and a good point. My truck is generic looking as it can be for a nice truck. Another thing about what you said that comes to mind is all these people with the car dealer advertisements all over it. Stickers on the back with the dealers name and address - license plate frames - front plates (we have no state front plate so the dealers put a full size plate on the front of the car with their name and address). This will shout out your location easily.

I don't know why anyone allows this - I refuse to have my nice truck be a running billboard for the dealer where I bought my truck.
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