Here are my favorite self-sufficiency blogs, along with links to content I particularly enjoyed. Note that I continue to expand this list whenever good articles hit my RSS reader. Last updated 06/26.

Hunter’s Eden

This is my favorite read right now. The author is terraforming 7 acres in Idaho into a paradise for wild game and writing about it along the way. Criminally underrated.

loghomejourney

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who know they want to someday build a log cabin innawoods and those who haven’t yet seen Alone In The Wilderness. If you’re in the second category, consider this your homework. Once completed, you’ll be ready to join the rest of us in enjoying one of life’s finer things: the second-hand satisfaction of a good cabin build.

We are building a log home without a mortgage, using our own hands, out of materials on our own land, and planning to get it done in 2-3 years.

In northern Alabama, too, a fact I find sorta jarring, like it’s too temperate. My cabin fantasies near exclusively take place in Alaska, Maine, and your mom’s place.

Joey Hess

Portrait by zeruch.

I was turned onto loghomejourney via the off-grid social network scuttlebutt (#offgrid) which I first heard about from the similarly grid-allergic hacker Joey Hess.

Joey has a very interesting setup:

This place is nicely remote, and off the grid, relying on solar power. I only get 50 amp-hours of juice on a sunny day, and often less than 15 amp-hours on a bad day. So the whole house runs on 12 volt DC power to avoid the overhead of an inverter; my laptop is powered through a succession of cheap vehicle power adapters, and my home server runs on 5 volt power provided by a USB adapter.

When power is low, I often hack in the evenings by lantern light.

Anonymous Appalachian Agrarian

In the present, we raise our family on our farm; unseen from the nearest road, unseen from the nearest town, unnoticed by the world. In this way we are anonymous, and wish to remain so.

—from their about page

I’ve been mulling over whether or not I want to raise meat rabbits and really enjoyed the Agrarian’s piece about their 12 year old son doing so. Very encouraging, being a 12 year old trapped in an adult’s body myself:

Natural Building Blog

Our Mission: The Natural Building Blog is committed to providing free information that will improve people’s lives in a sustainable and affordable manner. This includes architecture, homesteading, gardening, appropriate technology, renewable energy, Permaculture principles, and ecological living.

I very much enjoyed this line from their most recent post, “Could You Live Underground?”:

“We live in an era of glitzy buildings and trophy houses: big, ugly, show-off monsters that stand — or I should say stomp — on land stripped bare by the construction work and replanted with toxic green lawns,” he said. “If the buildings could talk they would be speechless with embarrassment, but most of us see nothing wrong with them, and would, given the opportunity, build others like them, for few of us realize that there’s a gentler way to build.”

Practical Self-Reliance

I’m an off-grid homesteader in rural Vermont and the author of Practical Self Reliance, a blog that helps people find practical ways to become more self-reliant.

–Ashley’s about page

/u/Atalung recommended this blog to me on reddit after I asked if anyone had suggestions for this page, a-a-and I’m sort of envious, really, of her dope place in Vermont:

She has a house attached greenhouse. I want it so bad. 

I enjoyed this guest post on off-grid living near the Arctic circle. I also asked /u/Atalung about his favorites. He writes that “She has a lot of good articles on food preservation, her series on small batch wine is how I found it.”

Geoff Lawton Online

This comes to me by way of recommendation on reddit, again, this time thanks to /u/BinLeenk. I’ve definitely heard of Geoff Lawton before but where? Was it in a positive context?

First I thought maybe I’d read one of his books but, skimming his Wikipedia page, I know: I’ve watched his “Greening the Desert” documentary on YouTube, back when I was looking at moving out to the desert–now that the Alaskan homesteading act has ended, the only remaining federal free land in the United States is via the Desert Land Act. You can have a piece of the desert, free, if you manage to irrigate and grow crops on it.

Hence my interest in Geoff’s “Greening the Desert”: he uses “permaculture” (hippy farming) to nigh magically grow stuff on ten acres of (salted!) desert in Jordan. Mind-blowing. Great watch. Highly recommend.

(I cooled off the desert thing because 1. desert land can already be had for around $250 an acre, no strings–check eBay–and 2. I sincerely doubt that the current power structures controlling the commons will honor a law passed in 1877.)

Anyway, going back to his website, it looks like Geoff is working on a new documentary style film, called “Green is the New Silver (Lining):
Crisis, Hope and Permaculture”.
There’s also a part 2.

I asked /u/BinLeenk if he had any specific recommendations. He shares, “pretty much his permaculture design course and general sharing of awesome concepts around the world that are doing amazing restoration and abundance creation across the world.”

The New Libertarian

There is no place on earth where you have more freedom and ability to act on your will and participate in the “game of your choosing” as in your own home

I found another agorist homesteader! There are dozens of us, dozens!

Bonus: Kris Harbour’s Round House

Alright, so this is not technically a blog but Kris Harbour and his DIY house are so cool that I’m including his YouTube channel as an honorable mention.

Dude built his own house, sourced out of materials from his land, for something like 9 grand, and it’s a suh-weet house too. He even generates all of his electricity with a hydro-electric setup over a small stream.

Comments

  1. says

    >In northern Alabama, too, a fact I find sorta jarring, like it’s too temperate. My cabin fantasies near exclusively take place in Alaska, Maine, and your mom’s place.

    yes, me too. I’m from Utah, originally. Had this idea back when I was married to my ex for our property in Idaho. But she was like, “you can’t build a log cabin.” (hold my beer- actually, I don’t drink beer, but that’s what they say in the South). We eventually divorced, and my wife now is like “go build that cabin, Honey!”

    But this method (“Butt & Pass”) allows you to build with whatever you got – cypress, oak, poplar, white pine, douglas fir, SYP – except probably coconut trees – yes, someone asked. You don’t have to worry about settling, screw jacks, and sticky doors as with other log methods (yes, true), and I’m still on track to finish for about $60k, in an area where a home this size will sell for $500k.

    Anyway, I had quite a few design choices, but I made all of them with comfort in mind- the pier foundation will allow airflow (cool/ anti-mold), facing South so the roof faces are not in direct sun (as much as possible), nearly 8′ overhangs on the front and rear; 4′ overhangs on the sides. Eventually, a wrap around porch with enough room for banjo players to relax – also to help keep things cool. Massive 17″ avg diameter logs for thermal mass.

    Thanks for the mention – I’m honored. !

    • robert and his 8 arms says

      I’m psyched you took the time to reply, friend!

      From Utah and no beer–are you a Mormon by chance? I’m caring for my first beehives this season and have found them inspirational in a way I totally didn’t anticipate. Fun to find out Brigham Young felt the same way and proposed naming now-Utah after the honeybee. Your cabin reminds me of their industry.

      Very cool about the wrap around porch. I have often imagined that whenever I get around to self-building (I’m thinking strawbale) it’ll have a nice-sized porch, ideal for sipping homebrew in a rocking chair on hot days and nights. That was one thing I never liked about the West, no hot evenings. My constitution seems better fit for the humidity. All this to say: us two geniuses have come to similar conclusions, and I’ve keen admiration for your project, banjo and all.

      • says

        wow, thank you!

        >are you a Mormon by chance?

        Is it that obvious? heh, heh. yes. but not one of those stuffy-suit BYU types. Maybe more of a hippy-Mormon. I knit, love to do carpentry, fix cars, weld, garden, and do outdoors stuff- hiking, biking, kayaking, snowboarding, play quite a few musical instruments. I have a degree in mathematics and another one in telecommunications (phone company technician)…Too many interests, actually…A.D.D., you know.

        I spent a few months with a guy who had bees- built some frames for him, and checked his bees every so often- that’s the plan for our place as well.

        The straw bale home was one I looked at seriously, but then I found the Log Home Builders Association (LHBA). I took a 2-day, $800 class in Vegas to learn how to build log homes. And no joke- I had no real construction experience prior to this home, so anyone can do it. I hope you’ll look into this method – The organization is hard-core into living a mortgage-free life. Their website is https://www.buildloghomes.org/ I don’t make any money off of this, btw – just really, really into helping people to think differently about debt. I’m ‘mudflap’ on the lhba forums as well (there’s a public area).

        • robert and his 8 arms says

          Hippy-Mormon, I love it! I admire what the Mormons have accomplished but I’ve often felt that (personally) they could use a little more /funk/, so to speak.

          Interesting you mention A.D.D, I’m the same and I’ve a theory that this sort of lifestyle appeals to folks on that side of the spectrum: the sort of popular life strategy of specializing in a narrow skill, adapting that into a career and identity, and then trading labor with that skill for whatever else you need, honestly, feels intolerable. I’m reminded of a Heinlein quote here, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

          Cool recommendation for the LHBA class. My sister wanted to get me something similar for Christmas but wasn’t sure about the specifics.

          I’m keen on living a mortgage-free life, too: this is why I initially started at looking for raw land. Thought I still wanted to be on a fiber internet grid, so that had me looking at a narrow slice of Sequatchie county in TN. Close enough to Chattanooga to be on EPB’s grid but far enough from the city that there aren’t any building codes. (Being from maximally corrupt Chicago and then living in SF for a while has left me intensely skeptical of land-use restrictions.)

          Later I got turned onto Morgan county, Missouri. Same deal–rural fiber grid, no building codes–but closer to my family in Illinois and pivoted my search to that area. Problem was, talking to the folks running the grid hasn’t left me feeling too confident that they’ll be willing to run utilities to whatever parcel I might purchase, so now I’ve been looking for run down existing properties, meaning, existing houses under 30 grand.

          There is a lot of surprisingly liveable stock out there (certainly better than whatever makeshift shack I would have constructed initially on raw land anyway) and sold cheaper than the cost to replace in the rust belt etc, regions that industry has abandoned resulting in a surplus of housing. Here’s an example from upstate NY. Main problem with such a strategy is it’s rare to find cheap houses on acre plus parcels of land.

          You have any thoughts about buying existing housing vs land? I’d appreciate em.

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