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Old 01-06-2019, 08:19 AM
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Agree, but I think no phone zones are primarily for companies worried about deliberate espionage and privacy leaks than the phones spying without the users consent.
Some people I know(of) work at secure places that use biometrics, razor wire on 8ft fences, etc. and are required to leave personal phones at the security doors because they are constantly " listening" to conversations. (think Siri, Alexis, etc). Some people's OPSEC pales in comparison...
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:30 PM
Bob in St. Louis Bob in St. Louis is offline
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I've smelted lead to make bullets. I've also thought about melting some of that lead to make "boxes", if you know what I mean.
But... we're getting off topic...
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:19 AM
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What about an epoxy coating?
I will probably finish the floor off with one..but the irrgularity of the stones and mortar is about an inch from high to low....so I'm pouring 2" of concrete in sections over the entire existing floor. By dividing it up have guides for every section to help keep things level.

Finally started on it tonight.

Concrete is extra fun when its a room you have to live in and its snowing outside.

But hey, waiting for the right time is why its taken me ten years to get this far

Once this half of the room is done I'm going to move everything that is currently crammed in the other half over and repeat the process.

Yeah, its annoying boring job, I'm bored just writing about it, but its going to be a couple months until I can get back to my other more prepping centric projects and this will increase my 'finished' interior space by 25%

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Old 04-19-2019, 01:01 AM
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Many things have not been going well for me lately.

But among others that I can do nothing about, something I do have to deal with is that right now I have three vehicles that all need their engines pulled.

As such, I've temporarily prioritized some of the shop construction that I was going to put off until the downstairs was finished.

A couple of year ago I picked up a section of I beam and one ton trolley for free from someone who was moving.

This week I installed it and bought a 1 Ton chain hoist.

I ran 4' of the beam outside the shop so that I can back up a truck under it and use the hoist to lift things of the bed and roll them into the shop, or vis versa.

This also has me thinking about a new idea....The Bug Out Crate. Instead of throwing stuff in the back of the truck, building one large crate with hoist points and wheels. When SHTF in such a way I need to bug out I roll the crate from the back of the shop to underneath the hoist beam, lift it up, and then put it directly in the back of the truck. Should only take a few minutes, and in theory it could weigh up to the capacity of the truck (1700lbs) I could keep the crate pre-packed with everything I want and thus simplify the operation.

At the very least, I'm going to weld up a metal pallet/basket that I can use for unloading stuff like concrete or blocks from the back of the truck since that is usually the hardest part of bringing stuff home.

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Old 04-23-2019, 11:40 AM
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I wish I had something like that for lifting out of truck bed. Well done!
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:42 PM
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It works......the hoist, not the car.....the car is screwed....


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Old 08-06-2019, 08:31 PM
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Well....disaster struck today. Possible the end of the whole operation.

A year ago, the 30 year old power meter out on the pole started shorting out. We had to call up the power company, and pay them $85 to come out and shut it off so we could replace it.

Such a small thing....but with grave consequences.

Apparently this service requested triggered an assessment by the county for tax purposes. It took them over a year to get around to it....but today the tax man showed up with his measuring tape and clipboard.

The last time this happened was the early 90s when there was nothing up here but an old rotting shack.

This time.....there is significantly more.

My entire operation has existed completely off paper this whole time. Not even visible on google maps, no mortgage, no insurance. Just a deed lost in the county courthouse somewhere.

I can only assume an explosive increase in property taxes is now in the pipline....followed by who knows what. I'm going to think about it overnight. But it may be time to load up the trucks, and light a match.


http://youtu.be/shl31rC-aYg?t=60
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:52 PM
Bob in St. Louis Bob in St. Louis is offline
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Prayers with ya man, SOOO hope it doesn't go down like that.
As much as I'd like to be in the loop though, you really should divulge such information publicly though. If that does happen, and some a-hole rats on you....
Be safe brother, take care of yourself.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:27 AM
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Sorry to hear that. Not trying to tell you what to do but offering friendly advice that it may be best to let it work its way out before you decide to take a match to it. I think you should see how much the taxes go up first, as I would hate to see you let all that money, time, and hard work go to waste on what might be a small amount. If it goes up (for example) say $200 a year, while that sucks you would still be better off paying it and staying then starting over.

All I am saying is you have over a decade into this. You are not getting any younger and your daughter is only going to keep growing up. Keep that in mind before you start over and lose time redoing what already is done. I highly doubt your taxes are going to go up $10,000 a year which that would make it hard to keep going. But if it goes up say $2,000 a year, I do not know your financial situation, but if I did the work you did over that many years, I would just swallow that bitter pill, as the time I put in would be worth it to pay then start over. What your threshold is for staying or leaving is a personal matter, you need to truly crunch numbers and see how much money and how long it will take to get back to the same point if you start over.

Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:23 AM
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It has been over 25 years since I lived in Montana. IIRC my property taxes for my home (large) and 240 acres was not all that high. If property values are not high in your location, and there is a small local government with little services, you might have nothing big to fear on taxes.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
Well....disaster struck today. Possible the end of the whole operation.

A year ago, the 30 year old power meter out on the pole started shorting out. We had to call up the power company, and pay them $85 to come out and shut it off so we could replace it.

Such a small thing....but with grave consequences.

Apparently this service requested triggered an assessment by the county for tax purposes. It took them over a year to get around to it....but today the tax man showed up with his measuring tape and clipboard.

The last time this happened was the early 90s when there was nothing up here but an old rotting shack.

This time.....there is significantly more.

My entire operation has existed completely off paper this whole time. Not even visible on google maps, no mortgage, no insurance. Just a deed lost in the county courthouse somewhere.

I can only assume an explosive increase in property taxes is now in the pipline....followed by who knows what. I'm going to think about it overnight. But it may be time to load up the trucks, and light a match.


http://youtu.be/shl31rC-aYg?t=60

What ever they assess you at you can fight it. Around here taxes (on non farm land) are based on fair market value. If your home isn't built conventionally(straw bale, no well or running water, no septic, no electric, and so on) you can argue that it's value is very low. If for no other reason than no bank would give a loan on such a place so the only people who could buy it would have to have cash(and most people with a large chunk of cash aren't too interested in a place like yours)

Also with no well, sewer, electric, furnace and other systems that make a house a house it shouldn't be valued as much more than a weird shed.

In Wisconsin there is a Homestead credit on state income taxes. If a family earns less than $25,000 then they get refunded the cost of their property taxes up to $1,200(numbers are rounded). Maybe Montana has something similar?
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:52 PM
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Here is an interesting map. https://www.brookings.edu/interactiv...n-your-county/

If you assume your home is worth much less than the average home your taxes shouldn't go up by more than a few hundred dollars.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:22 PM
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What is The Tower? The tower in short, is my home. Its also a long term experiment, work of art, fortress, money pit, but most importantly its where I live.

The tower is located on ten acres of land in the rocky mountains. The core design was created by myself while living in a 12x12 cabin near Fairbanks Alaska. This lifestyle led to me to come to several conclusions which become instrumental in the eventual design. I wanted to have my own house. I didn't want to go into debt. I didn't want a house larger than I could easily manage by myself. I wanted the house to be energy efficient and as off the grid as possible as well as being designed from the ground up to be defensible.

Fairly early in the process I started leaning towards straw bale construction as it full filled many of my requirements. Because you can build curved walls using strawbale without the same material penalties as stick houses I quickly decided that this building would be round. When I learned that the roof and foundation are the most expensive components of a house I decided that a tower would best serve my interests. Minimal roof and foundation, maximum wall area (the cheapest component of strawbale construction)

For those unfamiliar with the building method a straw bale wall consists of a core of baled straw covered on both inside and outside with heavy gauge metal fencing wire and lighter mesh which are sewn to the wall using baling twine and a pair of giant needles. Each side is then coated with 1-2" of concrete stucco. The resulting wall is two feet thick, can support 5k per square foot and is virtually fireproof. Since the straw is sealed away under at least an inch of concrete there are no pest problems. It has an R value of 55, (average in the US is 12) and has a fraction of the materials cost of conventional construction. The main drawback is that it is relatively slow and labor intensive to build compared to stick built houses and it is somewhat difficult to get perfectly flat and straight walls (if thats your thing).

My design features 360 view and firing ports and no windows wider than 9" on the ground floor. Doors are 4-6" thick solid wood and metal and all doors open outwards (you can't bash in a door that opens outwards without destroying the entire wall)

The tower is wood heated, propane cooking and water heating and total electrical needs are met by one 10 amp circuit.

Since I wanted to avoid debt at all costs I started out small, for the first few years I lived only in the ground floor until I could afford to finish the upper rooms. As I've built this almost entirely by myself with help from my wife progress has been slow at times, fast at others as life has its usual ups and downs.

Currently I have 800 square feet of living space on three floors, and a currently unfinished two store shop building with 144 feet super insulated, earth sheltered dedicated food storage room, the most recent addition which I have just begun stocking.

Nearly every part of these is a work in progress, I have made mistakes, I have redone sections, and I have more planned for the future than I have constructed so far.

Its not really possibly to sum up ten years of work in one post and I wouldn't know how to start without writing a small book. There are also some details that I will keep deliberately vague for opsec reasons.

So instead of writing a hundred pages on all the things that have gone into the tower I will start with some pictures to give everyone an idea of what I'm talking about and then hopefully answer any questions and get some advice, which is the real reason I'm here.

These pictures span the last ten years and show various stages of construction, with the most current pictures near the bottom. If you want to know how or why I did anything you see, please ask.


Post frame, ready for bales


Bale building


First winter. Living in the first floor at this point, stucco started


Exterior stucco mostly finished:


Front door


Interior, year 4-5ish


New addition and bee fortress




Interior of the kitchen addition, main water tanks hanging above the counter:




Second tower, storage up top, wood shed below



Summer evening on the terrace:


Food bunker construction, summer, 2017


Today, workshop building addition, food bunker completed.



The beginning of stocking up the store:


The Tower Armory (some of it at least)
im comming to your tower when it happens......lmao
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:33 PM
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im comming to your tower when it happens......lmao
I have a feeling that would end poorly for you.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:34 PM
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I have a feeling that would end poorly for you.
Depends

Bring an RV, a trailer full of food and ammo, and the right attitude....ehh....I could see showing you where to park


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Also with no well, sewer, electric, furnace and other systems that make a house a house it shouldn't be valued as much more than a weird shed.
Thanks. I like that idea. A weird shed.

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If property values are not high in your location, and there is a small local government with little services, you might have nothing big to fear on taxes.
This is the case here. However, since there was no home, no outbuildings, no infrastructure at all the last time anyone looked at this place..

Actually what worries me the most is not necessarily what will happen NOW...but what will happen in the future now that the state knows there is a house here. One county over the property taxes have been skyrocketing every year since there is a housing shortage over there the local governments figures they can raise taxes as much as they like since it seems no matter what they do people are still willing to move in.

Thanks also. That was interesting. According to that I'm already paying very close to the average.

Of course I'm sure the average is based on a small lot with a 'normal house' rather than ten acres with a weird shed....so no idea how that shakes out.

Quote:
I think you should see how much the taxes go up first, as I would hate to see you let all that money, time, and hard work go to waste on what might be a small amount. If it goes up (for example) say $200 a year, while that sucks you would still be better off paying it and staying then starting over.
Yes. Sigh. That is the right course of action.

It does put a halt on new construction though, and kind of removes a lot the incentive to do so knowing that every board I put up is going to cost me some reoccurring cost every single year...or just throw me deeper in the hole when the reckoning comes.

And of course, there is the principal of the thing. I ****ing hate taxes, especially property taxes...and now there is a map of my place that exists somewhere in the county offices. Grrrr.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:58 AM
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And of course, there is the principal of the thing. I ****ing hate taxes, especially property taxes...and now there is a map of my place that exists somewhere in the county offices. Grrrr.
I think you are giving .gov a little too much credit here.

Without putting too much info out on these here interwebs, lets just say a small part of my job deals with government house. With out any suggestion from me let a lone sweet talking or backdoor deals, these government workers, lets just say handle things the way I hope because it is less work for them to do it that way also. They are not interested in waiting for reports to read through, they just want this line number scratched off their list to do and have their desk empty so to speak.

I was not their I did not meet the inspector but I would not be surprised if who ever showed up to your house walked in and said " Yeah I went, it was kind of a cool place but not much to it, raise the tax $200 a year and be done with it." While taking no other action or filing any papers or files or nothing. It happens way more than you think.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:10 PM
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I have a feeling that would end poorly for you.
hahahaha indeed. i got a ranch in texas calling my name.....
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:18 PM
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[QUOTE=Aerindel;19709030]Depends

Bring an RV, a trailer full of food and ammo, and the right attitude....ehh....I could see showing you where to park



thanks for the hospitality my brotha from anotha mutha!. Im planning for a homestead out in Texas. Whats funny is, should that not pan out though, the wife and i actually have the RV option just in case hahahaha. And if you get into a serious pickle, ill have a good nag name betty waiting for you!
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Old Today, 10:57 AM
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Defensive Assessment: First, allow me to congratulate you on your setup. Great insulation against the weather, and an excellent use of environmentally friendly materials. You've done an amazing amount of work on your place!

As a retired SF soldier and now military trainer, I would like to caution you not to consider your walls as cover for even small arms fire. I can practically guarantee penetration by every rifle ammunition greater than 30 caliber (7.62mm).

The vegetation around your tower provides both cover and concealment. It takes away from you field of fire. Consider which is most important to you.

It's a lot of work, but you seem to have the trees around you to do it - you could consider a log wall for true cover. Just keep it close, as walls protect in both directions. Alternatives include rock/gravel/soil filled cages. Worked great for us in Afghanistan and Iraq!

I noticed that you have a wide variety of weapons using different calibers of ammunition. Best case scenario is that you have only up to five calibers that fit all of your weapons - one for hunting large game, one for defensive rifles (these can be the same), 12 ga for your home defense and bird hunting shotgun, one for your sidearm, and a .22 rimfire rifle/pistol used for small animal hunting. Select a readily available caliber for your large game and defensive rifles for the time that you need more. Rare or exotic ammo is difficult to replenish. If you do keep weapons beyond those listed above, maintain your focus on ammo purchases for the primary group of firearms. Also, plan using the premise that two is one and one is none. Always keep a backup, preferably the same model, that you can use if the first one breaks.

Just my 2 cents' worth!
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Old Today, 05:21 PM
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As a retired SF soldier and now military trainer, I would like to caution you not to consider your walls as cover for even small arms fire. I can practically guarantee penetration by every rifle ammunition greater than 30 caliber (7.62mm).
I believe I said as much at some point. I've tested them, there is no question about it. They stop up to 556. They do not stop 7.62x39 or greater. The house is designed to bullet resistant, it's not designed as a primary fighting position.

Quote:
The vegetation around your tower provides both cover and concealment. It takes away from you field of fire. Consider which is most important to you.
I think about it often, and have gone back and forth on it.

But in the end, I think the fact that you can't even see my place from more than a hundred yards away (providing cover for me) is more valuable in a dangerous world than my ability to reach out. With potentially thousands of enemies I would never survive no matter how well armed or defended so the ability to go undetected by most seems more valuable. I will never fight off an army, but if I can avoid the army and be somewhat defended perhaps I can fight of small groups that do find me.

I do have a detection perimeter further out than that (although not infallible) it will cut down on anyone sneaking closer to me so I should know who is on my property before they know there is anything here.

Quote:
It's a lot of work, but you seem to have the trees around you to do it - you could consider a log wall for true cover. Just keep it close, as walls protect in both directions. Alternatives include rock/gravel/soil filled cages. Worked great for us in Afghanistan and Iraq!
All true, all on the list, simply further down the road compared to things that I need right now like shop space, living space, food storage etc.


Quote:
I noticed that you have a wide variety of weapons using different calibers of ammunition. Best case scenario is that you have only up to five calibers that fit all of your weapons
This is my policy as well.

Although I have picked up a few guns over the years in oddball calibers like .38 spc and .44 mag they are not calibers I prep large amounts of ammo for. They are just guns I have, not part of the armory.

My prepping guns I have multiples of all of and ammo cans of worth of ammo for and those are restricted to

308
556
7.62x39
22lr
and 9mm
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