I've lived (for a short while) in a quonset hut, in the wintertime... Insulation? It was irrelevant. When it was 17 below, the oil fired heater was blasting away at full force, and my beard would freeze solid ten feet away. It was completely impossible to keep rodentia out.... the insulation, thankfully was 'sealed' in the canvas, or they'd'a stripped the insulation out in a week.
Is it even spring time there yet? Read a lot of places up north there still getting snow.
If I was hitting the ground tomorrow in the Black Hills, I'd be going for a substantial home... I have a portable sawmill, and I'd visit the local forest service office and look for firewood permits or salvage logging in cutover areas...
Figure there should be five or so months before it freezes up... being this late, getting a garden in this year might be iffy. Would get it 'started', and get orchards and berry patches in... fences if livestock were in the picture...
But, "I" would want a stronger shelter.... especially if wimmen folk or chillens were present...
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca
Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. W. Edwards Deming
Even in a Q hut with insulation, I'd seriously consider putting in another barrier on the outside walls and overhead to help keep the heat in. The smaller the area, the better. And get one of those fans (I've seen them in the Lehman Bros catalog) that work off the heat of the stove to help move the warm air around.
Invest in very thick, warm sweaters and hats and long johns! Do you know if the cistern will freeze up this winter?
How about a small garage, insulate it well. Have a nice small warm workshop for later. I framed for the roll up door and just closed it in to start. Doesn't take a lot more time or effort. I have also built a "Master" bedroom as a cabin and added the "house" later....James
Look into portable buildings. many around here, main name I can think of is Yoders.
they sell basicly garden sheds or yard barns, but they have a few models (12 by 16 or 14 by 20) that are basicly small cabins. just a shell with a door and a few windows, but that could be a fine small cabin to overwinter in if you insulate it and a small heater.
after your house is built, you could always convert it to a summer kitchen, a storage shed, or even a guest house.
otherwise, why not look for a small mobile home to use untill you have the new place built
What do you want as a garage or workshop? Consider something that is easy to insulate. Personally I would build or buy a small shed like the ones Home Depot have with a loft. Sleep up the top, have a woodstove and cooking, living space down stairs.
It's much cheaper to figure out what the materials are in buildings like that and build it yourself. Home depot will actually give you a material list.
We are a family of 5 and lived in a 500 sq ft cabin for a year. Loved it. Sawdust toilet etc.
Do you guys have any winter survival skills? I'm not trying to be mean, but I come from that area. You could very easily die. A toilet will not compost when frozen solid. I don't think you will have a cistern either. The ground freezes very deep. Also, if you get snowed in off somewhere, you will be on your own until it thaws out. I've seen deep snow stick around for months. Also, whatever you build for shelter will have to withstand a snow load and be insulated to the hilt. You will need a large supply of food and fuel. Just make sure you are prepared well. I just don't want to hear about some people going out there and freezing to death.
Consider putting up a barn, and getting hold of an old traded-in travel trailer - doesn't even need to be roadworthy - have it trucked to you. Park the trailer in the barn. It should have a small propane fridge and stove. It should have 12Volt wiring too. If you get some 12V LED lights, you could run your lights off a 12V car battery
Or wall off one end of the barn, put in a cheap and nasty concrete floor, and divide it up into a kitchen/family room, a wash-room (shower and laundry), and a toilet. Get the fittings as salvage from a torn-down travel trailer. If you do that, maybe (I don't know the weather, so use your own judgement) you could pitch an old (army?) wall tent or two inside the barn, as bedrooms.
Come to that, there are lots of people who live in an apartment in a barn. If that sounds feasible, you don't need to worry too much about winter weather - provided you've got the barn up, you can rough it somehow while you're finishing-off the apartment inside, under cover. All you need to get by is a multi-burner camper stove, a garden spray to use as a CabinFever/WIHH shower, a sawdust toilet, a heat source (maybe a propane or kerosene heater, maybe only a brazier made out of an old 4-5 gallon oil drum, or a rocket stove), and an enclosed space to live and sleep in - tent, or something tacked together from plastic sheeting. Be very careful of burning anything in <b><i>small</i></b> enclosed spaces though. Make sure you have a carbon-monoxide alarm and spare batteries - cold weather reduces the voltage they put out, as if they'd gone flat early. I gather keeping food cold is not going to be a problem during winter.
Sheesh may I should look i nto a different type shelter? thank you
Welcome to the forums. Old 1,000 to 2,000 bushel grain bins can sometimes be had in farm country for very little. If the kind with the steel floor they can easily be moved on some kinds of flatbed trailers. Wouldn't take much to spray insulate one which would also seal out any moisture leaks. If not for older ones sometimes leaking a little, one could also add a perimeter wall of wood studs and cover over with whatever and then insulate with blown in cellulose to reduce cost. Once the new perimeter wall area was insulated a ceiling could then be added and plenty of cellulose blown in on top of it. The grain fill opening at the top would be a natural for flue venting if it is center bin.
Bracing for windows and doors would be needed. Old glass doors as ports from some washing machines would give a nice look.
Even though I live in Az. , it is in the very ne. section and about 6,000 ft. Sometimes lots of snow, and since the dirt road is never plowed, let alone even acknowledged by the county, we can be here for weeks at times. Coming from lake tahoe where seeing 10 or more feet of snow all winter long makes me tell you a little trick. First of all, if you have never lived like this, you need to plan well. If everyone tells you 15 cords seasoned fire wood, stock 30. Propane, they tell you 200 gal, well , that wouldn't even make it two months here. We get down to -25 in case you think we don't really know. Still nothing like what you will run into in the Black hills. You will most certainly want to have a few spare things for back up, such as heaters. Even if you only get a couple of tent heaters and 5 gal propane tanks for super emergancies etc. First aid kit.
Even Silverton , Colo. Winters are so bad, all but about 20 people leave for the winter. No driving in or out. Mail and rx's brought in once a month by helo and that is it. They all close up their houses , drain all water and all move into the old hotel and wait it out.
Keep in mind communications are an absoulte must ! Maybe a good two way radio with external antenna to get hold of the nearest fire or law station for a real emergancy
Be sure to have a good bolt action rifle, ammo, cleaning kit, and also a really good pistola with shells etc. Snow shoes, ski ensolite underware, lots of wool socks and sweaters, really good snow pants and parka. Barclava's for your heads and a couple of pair of good snow goggles to protect your eyes. Several pairs of gloves and etc.
Are you getting nervous yet ? No ? You well should be. I wouldn't even consider moving up there without a permant shelter, large propane tank, generator, snowmobile, and at least 6 months worth of food. Also don't forget to take a lot of books and games as there will be many many days that you will be totally snowed in. I do mean snowed in. People that are not used to it have been known to go crazy, so you may want to consider that also.
I think I would go with building an insulated garage. It can be put up quick. Start asking around and getting prices. I would also put in a concrete floor with in-floor heating. You will need a hot water heater, but you won't need a furnace. You can use propane or maize to heat the water. If you are going to have the garage attached to the house, you can simply put all of the infloor heat stuff (large water heater, mandibles etc) in the garage so you don't have to do it when you build the house, just add the extra lines. Because the floor is heated, you don't have the problems with loosing all your heat every time a door is opened. When the garage becomes a garage, you simply mix that line to 66 deg (or less) while keeping the house around 70 deg (even lower).
I just left the Black HIlls area after 17 wonderful years there (west of Custer, 5600 ft elvation) You will not be able to live in a Q-hut there and correct - a composting toilet will NOT compost properly if at all there except in June, July, and August. The ground freezes 4' deep every year so a cistern will not work either and you will have to pay to have it filled and if the snow gets as bad as usual, the water man will not be able to get to you! A cheapy older mobile would be better than a Q or even a well insulated pole barn building would be better. The ONLY wood available for burning in the HIlls will be PINE which burns hot and fast so you will need MANY cords of wood to get through the 9 months of winter there. YOur growing season will be 90 days if you are lucky. I could only grow many things after I built several 14 x 25 greenhouses. No fruit trees will grow and produce there at all. If you are NOT used to living in a severe winter weather area with -20 degrees for days on end, never getting above 32 during the days, and feet of snow that does not melt and periodical hefty winds producing total whiteouts so you cannot see even 5' in front of you, you just may want to reconsider your timing on moving there. That 90 day growing season also holds true for trying to get anything built/delivered. The contractors and suppliers are already booked up for this summer, so you probably would not get very far with your developement building. Cannot beat that area for summertime weather and beauty, but you really need to visit there in the dead of winter, several times to get a true idea of the living conditions that are present for 7-9 months a year. Depending on the county you are considering, you may not be able to get the local permits for a composting toilet and/or a Q-hut for living in. Better check the local county permit department before making any purchases. And do keep in mind the cheaper the land price the less availability of water in any form, much less drinkable. Water is scarcer than oil in that area and priced higher to boot. If you have particular questions, you are welcome to Private Message me if you want. I not only lived there for 16 y ears, I was also a Real Estate Broker in that area and am quite familiar with many areas in the Hills.
pole barns can be quickly constructed and you can use it for a barn or shed later..insulation can be put inside and outside (foam sheets outside, roll bats inside) and it will be super cozy..my inlaws did one many many years ago and it is still being used, not by them as they have been gone a few years..they used a wood stove in the center, put the bath and kitchen along an outside wall and petitioned off a bedroom, but it could be unpetitioned if you want that
Since the Black HIlls was and is considered "sacred Land" to the native americans, they did not live there, they visited and conducted ceremonies there, but lived and migrated elsewhere. Just south out of the Hills are natural hot springs where make a really good wintering over place, used to anyway, before it became a town and tourist center.
Start building your house now, and if it is not finished by mid fall, rent yourself a cheap studio apartment that you can keep well heated and comfortable for the winter. Once you get through the first winter alive and well, you should have time to be ready for the next winter.
If you get the land soon, and if you are an experienced builder, it shouldn't take you very long to build the core of a house, that you can live in. Build the main room and crowd into it. Then, as weather allows, you can expand the house.
You are going to need very good insulation and very good heat. If the area you choose has a lot of snow fall, don't forget the snow grade reinforced roof.
Quonset hut in the Black Hills in winter? No. You'll ruin your homesteading experience.
By the way, where do you plan to get the wood to burn? Wood has to be cut and dried before you burn it. It's going to take a lot of wood to get you through a winter. I don't remember a lot of trees in the Black Hills.
Oregon smoke - you about described how our house was built. I am currently sitting in part that was the original 9x12 homestead (house is much bigger now).
I often think of what it was like for the original homesteaders around here - winters can be brutal and summers can be scorchers. They made it, at least some of them did. People still die in the winter if they aren't careful about the weather.
I grew up in MN, but did not know what a blizzard was until moving to SD when I was 42.
Back when people moved here, no one cared about how many animals they harvested to eat, and the government wasn't going to nail you for cutting trees in a National Forest. Of course, most knew they were talking a big risk, and many paid with their lives.
haven't read all the posts, but you could put up the Qhut, then park an rv in it--the hut would be plenty useful when you move onto a better home structure, but plant it where you want a barn or shop, not the house. the rv could be gotten pretty cheaply, since you could get even a leaky one since you can put it under a roof. then sell it when you're done.