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I can't find my submarine
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Howdy all,

Just finishing up the paperwork on the purchase of 40 acres of land. Old growth Juniper and backs up against 640 acres of State BLM land. Red border is property line, and yellow border is fenced area. There is an existing 5000 gallon above ground storage tank (blue circle) on the property and it is plumbed to one faucet about 50 feet away. Tank is not visible above the tree line nor is it visible from the road. Same green color as the local trees. Septic was installed by previous owner 2 years ago, as far as I can tell its not been used. Septic is 1000 gallon and has proper permits and a good leach field. Its just east of the tank. You can see a white smudge area that is the location of the tank and field on the photo.

Fencing is Field Fence with 3 inch squares posted about every 15 feet. Gate is a standard chain link fence type double entry gate and corner posts are well built railroad tie construction with a vertical post and 45 degree angle bracing. Soil is sandy loam and per the information on the septic no rock at the septic site down to 15 feet. :thumb:

Free water is available by water buffalo driven to a community well at property entrance, about 8 miles away. Wells can be dug but water is at approx 600 feet and its gonna run me about $20 dollars per foot to drill.

Two white rectangular spots on picture were the previous owners, they had a couple of trailers on the property.

Temps range from 90 in the summer to teens in winter. A solid 4 seasons. Annual rain is about 6 inches. Roughly 5800 feet altitude....tough to get used to each time I go up.



Current condition, a few fence posts are knocked down, no tears in fence tho. A few areas that the junipers are starting to push on the fence. Septic is unknown, need to locate access hatch and give it a look. Water tank appears empty but need to get an extension ladder and take a look inside. Fill pipe needs to be replaced as its been blowing in the wind and it has stress fractures. Feed pipe at bottom of tank has been broken where it goes into ground. Im thinking stress fracture from frost, or soil expasion. Thinking of going flex to the junction from the valve to the pipe in ground.

My monthly budget for now is about 1K to spend on the property. Ok, now for the question....where would you start? What to do first? Im good with the easy stuff like fence repair and tank repair...but after that....

Im fairly handy and consider myself knowledgeable in several fields like plumbing, electrical, basic construction.

I plan on hauling a Travel Trailer up to the property and using that while we figure everything out. I still work for a living so can only go up on long weekends and vacations to work.

Okay gang, its your land...make it useful....:thumb:
 

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The first thing I would be interested in doing if it were my property would be storage. Being that remote and not being up there much, I would get a metal shipping container delivered and use that for my storage.

Second thing I would want would either be a tractor with a front end loader or a UTV.

Once I had my storage and a tractor or UTV, then I would start making improvements to the property.
 

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I can't find my submarine
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A pond would be a nice addition if you could pull it off. Looks a bit dry in the photo though...
Thats a good call, however to the East about .5 miles is a cattle pond, it appears to have water in it 9 months out of the year. I took my katadyn filter over to the pond (never used it before) and filled up a water bottle out of the nastiest greenist cow poop infested water I had ever seen. Even got the wife to take a sip. So I have a few options in that area.

Nice extra, since there is a watering hole, all the natural elk, antelope and ranch cattle come right past my you can even see the cattle trails in the photo. :thumb:
 

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There will always be theft on uninhabited property. Never leave anything that you will hate to have stolen.

Area looks flat, you need to set up storage and a spotting station. Putting a storage container with 3 side camaflaged with sand, dirt, brush and use the top of the container as a spotting station. You can put potted trees into the soil around the container for further cammo.

Water will be a problem. Even if you spend the money to have a well drilled, there is no guarantee that you will find water and you will have a great deal of difficulty trying to get the water up from the well if the grid goes down. If you decide the well is the way to go, check out wind/solar power for a water pump strong enough to get the water up.

Grading your property in such a way that a pond/cistern can catch a large portion of the rain water might be worth your while looking into. Check with the cattle/sheep ranchers in the area or the ag dept in the county.

The good thing about the property beside isolation is that you will be able to see the smallest animal tracks. Learn what kind of animal leaves them and learn to trap them. The bad thing is that the land will not feed many animals if you decide to homestead. Sand does not grow enough grasses, shrubs or trees to feed farm animals. It is also a lousy garden soil.

Another good thing is that you will be able to use rubber trash cans with lids to build underground caches. The sandy soil will make it a breez to dig a trench deep enough for this project. Use 6 cans and place them 2,4,6. Fill in the space between each can with the sand and put a piece of plyboard over the top. Pour on 2 to 3' of sand to make an underground storage for long term storage. You can store things that you will not be using on a family camp trip, but you will need these items if the shtf.

Check with the ag dept to see if they have any educational courses on how to get the most out of your type of land. Don't try to go it on your own. Go to the local cafe and sit and listen to the people who actually live there. Once they get use to you, they will be a usfull library of information.

I own 2 acres of similar land in N. California. We use it as a get away and family camp ground. Maybe someday we will build there, maybe not. But having the land is better then not having any land.

God bless and keep on prepping.
 

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I can't find my submarine
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any roof structure that we build will have a rain catchment attached to it and I hope to drain into a central cistern. Plus I plan to catch all grey water and use that for some trees I hope to plant. Water is going to be precious.

I like the garbage can idea and think that will be a fine addition to my secure storage plans.

As to the well, hopefully I will get lucky, Each well sunk in the area has hit according to the county web site that tracks permits. Anything I do end up putting in will have the SHTF mindset, so yes a pump that works from solar and wind is a must.

I love the idea of learning how to trap local critters and will be taking a good friend of mine up this summer that is a local hunter to help identify some of the tracks and teach me a few things.

Always willing to learn something new.

Regards,

NS
 

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Stop Breath Think Act
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I agree with Benefactor for starting with secure storage. Shipping containers can be bought cheap and while not the best for long term storage they are fast, just drop and lock.

After that I'd really look into a small earth sheltered cabin / shed. Warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you build a small one room structure to start you can learn as you go and later you can use it for storage and get rid of the container.
 

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One thing I forgot to mention, thanks to Prez, is the earth house he talked about can be built with bags of sand or tires filled with sand or even making adobe bricks using sand, clay and straw.

For heating you may want to look into thermol heating with an indoor rocket stove and maybe an outdoor earth wood fired oven. I will be building the oven this summer and hope to learn to bake bread, meat and vegies in it.

God bless and keep on prepping.
 

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Hrm, to be brutally honest as far as a SHTF property -- It looks too barren and waterless man. Short term you could make it work.

I would:

1) Get the water tank working & fill it up
2) Rent a backhoe and dig out an area you can put a storage unit or sheds into below eye level so they can't be seen from the road
3) with the same backhoe dig out a large water catch basin and try and line with heavy plastic sheet, then build a low metal/wood covering for it. Sort of like how BLM does for animals

Not having enough water is going to stop you from irrigating the land or being able to naturally raise anything self sustaining though.
 

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One thing I forgot to mention, thanks to Prez, is the earth house he talked about can be built with bags of sand or tires filled with sand or even making adobe bricks using sand, clay and straw.

For heating you may want to look into thermol heating with an indoor rocket stove and maybe an outdoor earth wood fired oven. I will be building the oven this summer and hope to learn to bake bread, meat and vegies in it.

God bless and keep on prepping.
Here is a FANTASTIC 1st try DIY sandbag shelter.

http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/42479/9ft-Earthbag-dome-first-attempt?page=2

Scroll down for the photos. If you are interested in doing this he talks about the process earlier and later on. The dome is strong enough to contain his weight with him standing on top, plus you won't have any issues having the mud dry on the outside. Build it in a natural depression so it doesn't stick up too far, plant some scrag bushes around it, and voila. Instant hideaway. Just get some kind of door on it so critters don't take up residence. Best part is you can use garbage for the windows!
 

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CTP
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Can we get some pic of the land from eye level as if you were standing taking photos?

I agree with what one of the peeps above said. Rent a backhoe or maybe you know someone that owns one and you can just pay for transport. It's amazing what a hoe can d with the front bucket and the hoe on the back.

I would get one or two shipping containers and dig a hole (don't want to hear all you "don't bury a container" guys) the same dimension as the container but only about 3' - 4' deep and set the container in the hole so only the top half is sticking above grade. For comforts sake you could reinforce the bottom areas that will be buried but probably not necessary. Then you dig out the front where the doors open and make it a sloping entrance. Partially buried will make it nearly impossible to see from a distance especially when you paint the exposed areas beige. Looks sandy enough that you wouldn't have to worry much about pooling water.

Take the hoe and dig out a pond as mentioned in a swale or low lying area for water collection.
 

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Avoidance & Deterrence
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Water!

What ****es me off is it is too wet where I live to build underground, other places where it is dry enough, there is no accessible water.

Step one can you get water?

If you can then all else is possible, if not, all else is futile.

Can you get a well?

Now a full-boogie Earth House recycles the water several times so between rain catch cisterns and occasional trailer loads of water you can reduce your needs.

I am a big fan of adobe and underground/semi-underground construction.

But water first.
 

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Check with the ag dept to see if they have any educational courses on how to get the most out of your type of land. Don't try to go it on your own. Go to the local cafe and sit and listen to the people who actually live there. Once they get use to you, they will be a usfull library of information.

I agree, living in the high desert I know it can be done, but the best resource on how is the native. Those folks know how to do it, and around here, there are plenty that do it off the grid. Not saying it's going to be easy, but I know it can be done. Move slow, move careful and you can do it.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Something about your avatar makes my think that you know a lot about tank entry procedures.

Good luck on that land.

We thought about desert land a few times. Decided to get wet land instead. :)
 

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Ham Extra Class
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It looks like you bought land in the desert?
Theres reasons things don't live in the desert, get ready to spend $$$$ to live there. Just Say'in.
 

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@rockyriver
The desert is home to a wide variety of animals and plants. The problem isn't so much the amount of animals and critters, but the time they come out at. You need to realize that animals instinctively stay out of the heat of the desert sun and come out at night to forage. Now with that in mind, perhaps if you were used to that terrain it would be better than settling in say, a marshland or wetlands because people like you will think that theres nothing out in desert while this man could have a quaint little oasis built and no one will find him cause "Nothing lives in the dessert".

Now on to ideas for the property. My main concern would be those two roads that run along the property line. Are these normally travelled roads? if so by who and how heavily? Another main concern would obviously be water. If your only getting an average of 6 inches a year, thats rough. Also are you thinking of eventually living here on a permanent or part time basis, or fixing it up for when the SHTF?
 
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