possum living
February 15, 2007 8:53 AM   Subscribe

POSSUM LIVING: How To Live Well Without a Job ..building a $100 Log Cabin, a geodesic dome out of cardboard.. handbook for cob building.. cheap solar power system.. stocking up on food.. some more
posted by petsounds (37 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite

 
..building a $100 Log Cabin,

Old growth forest not included.
posted by zabuni at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2007


There's every chance I will steal all this info for an introductory task on energy management and RE. Thanks very much petsounds.
posted by biffa at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2007


Brilliant links thanks. My sheds going solar this summer!
posted by twistedonion at 9:09 AM on February 15, 2007


Don't tempt me!
posted by smackwich at 9:10 AM on February 15, 2007


I haven't even read the post, yet there goes another work day. petsounds, you RAWK.
posted by winks007 at 9:20 AM on February 15, 2007


You've fueled my fantasies enough for me to continue working in advertising for another six months.

Thanks?
posted by nathancaswell at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2007


petsounds! I was just about to refer this thread to this asker... but that was you too :) The very best of luck to you if you are serious about this stuff.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:35 AM on February 15, 2007


Nice post, petsounds. I'm going to have to ILL a hardcopy of Possum Living.

Incidentally, there's a bit of bad info -- or at least an omission -- in that "Necessities of Life" section. Don't get me wrong, I like moonshine as much as the next knucklehead, but I think you're supposed to let the first bit of the run because it contains fusel oils or alcohols that are really bad to drink. A better reference for distilling is The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible.

(Also, my wife works for Mother Earth News, which -- in addition to the site petsounds linked to -- runs the site Mother Earth Living. They typically run shorter articles than MEN, but most of them are pretty informative. I think it's a decent little sites, but I suppose my opinion is a bit biased.)
posted by cog_nate at 9:37 AM on February 15, 2007


cheap solar power system

Well, SURE, if you don't want a computer, monitor, cable modem, external backup drive, printer, scanner, Tivo, xbox, or cordless phone. and then, what's the point of living?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:38 AM on February 15, 2007


Reminds me of this (comparably pricey at £3000) LOTR-lookin low impact woodland home in Wales.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2007


Um.

From the section on dealing with disputes. It just get's worse after this excerpt, too....
Procedure

If possible, call your adversary on the phone during normal business hours. Calmly and dispassionately explain your position. Don't threaten him.

Give him a reasonable length of time to think over his position.

Call him again--preferably late at night--and curse and threaten him. Do not identify yourself or refer to anything that you alone might know. (He'll recognize your voice from the other call, but won't be able to prove it.) Do not repeat the call--once is enough for your purpose. Do not specifically say when or where the trouble he is in for is going to occur. If ever accused of this call, deny it.

Now comes the hard part-you have to convince him he's vulnerable.

* Visit his house late at night and do something to let him know he has an enemy who has no intention of playing the game by his rules. (If you don't know his address, look it up at the courthouse. I explained how on page 133.) Do not take a weapon or anything that could be called a weapon that you wouldn't want to discard if necessary. Go on foot. I'm going to leave it to your imagination as to what to do when you get there. However, some people say that houses have windows, and others have it that bricks may be found. And cars are often left out at night and might have their tires about them at such times. And still others say telephone lines run outside of houses and are thin. And I've heard that penknives are sharp. Don't be in a hurry--look the situation over for potential. Perhaps he has a dog, so you might want to take along some liver or meat to befriend it. If the dog is downright vicious, come back another time and poison it. It's no sin to kill a vicious animal, and it will make your adversary feel more vulnerable.
posted by tkolar at 9:54 AM on February 15, 2007


wow that house looks awesome. does anyone know of other cheap living/building links? not to turn this into another askme question, just if any has any other links please post
posted by petsounds at 10:06 AM on February 15, 2007


The author of Possum Living has a wonderful, cranky and charming tone, thanks for all these links. I love this stuff.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2007


Um.

From the section on dealing with disputes. It just get's worse after this excerpt, too....
Procedure

If possible, call your adversary on the phone during normal business hours. Calmly and dispassionately explain your position. Don't threaten him.

Give him a reasonable length of time to think over his position.

Call him again--preferably late at night--and curse and threaten him. Do not identify yourself or refer to anything that you alone might know. (He'll recognize your voice from the other call, but won't be able to prove it.) Do not repeat the call--once is enough for your purpose. Do not specifically say when or where the trouble he is in for is going to occur. If ever accused of this call, deny it.

Now comes the hard part-you have to convince him he's vulnerable.

* Visit his house late at night and do something to let him know he has an enemy who has no intention of playing the game by his rules. (If you don't know his address, look it up at the courthouse. I explained how on page 133.) Do not take a weapon or anything that could be called a weapon that you wouldn't want to discard if necessary. Go on foot. I'm going to leave it to your imagination as to what to do when you get there. However, some people say that houses have windows, and others have it that bricks may be found. And cars are often left out at night and might have their tires about them at such times. And still others say telephone lines run outside of houses and are thin. And I've heard that penknives are sharp. Don't be in a hurry--look the situation over for potential. Perhaps he has a dog, so you might want to take along some liver or meat to befriend it. If the dog is downright vicious, come back another time and poison it. It's no sin to kill a vicious animal, and it will make your adversary feel more vulnerable.
posted by tkolar at 10:18 AM on February 15, 2007


whoops.
Also, "get's" should be "gets". weird.
posted by tkolar at 10:19 AM on February 15, 2007


The part about raising rabbits for meat got me excited, but I'm not sure if its my self-sustaining side or my carnivorous side. But it sounds like a great idea.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2007


Half of the possum living one sounds like it could get you in real trouble. Aside from tkolar's phrase about poisioning dogs, it also basically says "building permits? Bah, who needs 'em! Just go ahead and do it!'
posted by drstein at 10:26 AM on February 15, 2007


Ah, and some fabulous health tips as well:
* Constipation--roughage; moonshine; run 3 miles

* Gas--moonshine

* Menstrual problems--tell the rotten SOB how rotten he is; moonshine

* Upset stomach--moonshine
posted by tkolar at 10:26 AM on February 15, 2007


Awesome. This, along with a variety of mail-order bride outlets, will be a great help in setting up my wacky fringe religious cult in the middle of nowhere! Thank you, first ammendment!
posted by Eideteker at 10:30 AM on February 15, 2007


Apparently there is also a Possum Living film (16mm,color,30 minutes,1980). Produced and distributed by Nancy Schreiber. Since Dolly was 20 in 1980, she'd be 47 today. Is she still Possum Living, has anyone ever attempted to find a followup?
posted by humanfont at 10:32 AM on February 15, 2007


Nice set of links, thanks.

I can't get through to the log cabin link, but I have a friend who built his own cabin on his own land. It was cheap, but extremely hard work! My friend is fit, motivated, committed to living off the grid, and the hardest worker I know, and he said in no uncertain terms that he'd never do anything like it again. That it was just too hard for the payoff.
posted by OmieWise at 10:49 AM on February 15, 2007


For all who enjoyed this post I suggest you check out the book Shelter by Lloyd Kahn... it is perhaps my favorite book. In fact, check out anything put out by the Shelter publishing group. Tis great stuff.
posted by cloeburner at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2007


Here's a NYT movie review of Possum Living.
posted by Floydd at 1:23 PM on February 15, 2007


metafilter: Sweat. Crap. Think heroic thoughts.

Enjoyable post. Thanks.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2007


Possum living: Income tax wasn't listed on the budget, as you may have noticed. We don't pay any, because we never have enough income to require paying. Do you realize what a luxury that is? The rotten swindlers in Washington aren't lining their pockets with my money. I'm not paying the welfare chiselers to breed like flies. The idiotic federal giveaway programs don't cost me anything.

What an asshole. I wonder how they figure all that fuel oil, food stuff, cooking gas, electricity and concrete got to them. Who trained all the children that made it possible for them to buy it? Who pays for the library they use? Regulates Manpower? Or what is stopping a developer from just paving over their little paradise? It's the "rotten swindlers in government" who make their little anarchy possible. I've got no problem with people not paying taxes if they don't make enough. However to brag about tax evasion (eg: lie about your sales tax status or your residence status), bitch about the evil government, and feel no guilt about taking from society without giving back is really irritating.

The part about raising rabbits for meat got me excited, but I'm not sure if its my self-sustaining side or my carnivorous side. But it sounds like a great idea.

Rabbits are one of the easiest meat animals to raise in the city (or more rural areas). They are quiet, breed well, don't need a lot of room, don't smell bad and are easy to butcher. And because they have made it into pet space you can raise them in urban areas that have restrictions on livestock without getting into trouble.
posted by Mitheral at 2:04 PM on February 15, 2007


TIP: During winter when it's 20 below zero outside, keep the toilet seat in your house near the stove, and bring it with you when you have to visit the outhouse!

Okay, I'm as pro-environment as the next person but I am so not going back to the outhouse days. No way, uh uh. 'Specially considering that where I live, when it gets down to -20C, it's usually about -35C with the windchill.
posted by Zinger at 2:05 PM on February 15, 2007


after using an inflation calculator:

What cost $100 in 1981 would cost $223.76 in 2005.

so... not quite the $100 log cabin, but still... not a bad price. ;-)
posted by eli_d at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2007


God I love stuff like this. Thanks for the post.
posted by xammerboy at 6:32 PM on February 15, 2007


Anyone who liked these links will probably also be charmed by The $50 Underground House..
posted by localroger at 7:25 PM on February 15, 2007


I've got no problem with people not paying taxes if they don't make enough. However to brag about tax evasion (eg: lie about your sales tax status or your residence status), bitch about the evil government, and feel no guilt about taking from society without giving back is really irritating.

Thanks and right on, Mitheral. I love how these guys are living but not how they're thinking, Some of them are going to end up in nursing homes shot up with fatal doses of the wrong medications by illiterate attendants who didn't get educated because of this antitax bullshit, which is nothing different from Grover Norquist drowning the state in the bathtub for his rich Dracula cronies.
posted by gum at 8:10 PM on February 15, 2007


If you plan to grow much food, you need The Humanure Handbook. Heck, you need it anyway, for fundamental reasons.
posted by Listener at 8:29 PM on February 15, 2007


I am so not going back to the outhouse days

No, what's needed is a sawdust toilet. Waste sawdust can get gotten from a mill, if you have a vehicle, or they may deliver for a small fee. It works.
posted by Listener at 8:36 PM on February 15, 2007


CouchSurfing.

The man who wakes up in a ditch... then goes to work at Sotheby's. Ditchmonkey, JustGiving.

Downshifting - or the Art of Doing Less. The Idler. The career downshift. The Hospitality Club.

Cost of living simply in rural India. About Moving to India, expat forums.

I lived in the Indian Himalayans (Himachal Pradesh, Dehra Dun, Rajpur and Mussoorie) for $100 a month for 6 years, comfortably, happily and healthily. That was 20 years ago. Now, according to a friend of mine from Kerala (outside Trivandrum) in South India it's possible to live simply for about $150 a month.

Craigslist rideshare. HouseCarers (housesitting). Tree planting job info [pdf]. Seafood and fishing jobs in Alaska.
posted by nickyskye at 8:45 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Food supply for 2 months to 1 year $256- $716..
posted by nickyskye at 8:52 PM on February 15, 2007


In two weeks I'm moving to rural British Columbia, to eventually build a cordwood house and live much more cheaply while I spend more time with my daughter. It's all about making choices for what's really important. However, I don't plan on being poor...with lower expenses (ie. the 5 acres I bought was paid off the same year I found it), it all becomes easier to have a decent lifestyle with less money.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:00 PM on February 15, 2007


"Old growth forest not included."

What are you from Easter Island? 7-12" pines are not really old growth.
posted by Sukiari at 6:16 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'm still trying to finish reading the original links, nickyskye... but i'm excited about the new ones you posted.. thanks!

i've been on an almost two day tangent from this thread...

if you're into survival check out these free videos i stumbled across (i'll bet it's been on mefi before): patrolling with sean kennedy (ranges from great information too boring, semi-strange shit... overall, he has good philosophies) and bushcraft (a swedish amateur similar to survivorman/les stroud)

ohh... and the link on building / designing a house out of cob (similar to clay / adobe)
posted by eli_d at 10:04 PM on February 16, 2007


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