Alone in the Wilderness

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RenieB, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering if anyone saw this show on PBS? We saw it yesterday afternoon. It is about a man alone inthe wilderness of Alaska in 1968. He would set up his tripod with camera and shoot the different scenes of him building his cabin, etc. It was very interesting as it was not a movie but a documentary of his life. He stayed in the wilderness for another 35 years and moved out due to his age. His cabin is now an historic site. The things this man made with no power tools was amazing. The movie covered his first year there. He built the cabin, furnishings, fireplace, etc all by himself. Now that is really homesteading.

    RenieB
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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  3. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I must have missed that. I have senior moments. We just happened to see it yesterday.

    RenieB
     
  4. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm headed to Alaska in September to interview a couple that lives 100 miles from the nearest road. They live there year round, homesteading. Both grew up this way. Can't wait to meet them!

    I'm also interviewing a man who was attacked by a 750-pound Kodiak brown bear and proceeded to kill it with his three-inch folding buck knife. He still has the bear skin and the knife today. Oh, and he was 69 at the time. Wow.
     
  5. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We missed the show too. When will they repeat it if at all? Chuck, where can we hear about your interviews? Any chance you will submit the articles to Countryside magazine? Sure wish it came out monthly as we enjoy it very much.
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    The show just aired in our market, but I faintly remember the previous thread.

    The hinges and door latch intrigued me more than the rest of the show. I have not thought about making such hinges.

    A lot of serious consideration had to go into the careful choosing of tools and supporting equipment.

    A few years ago I sat down and made a list of things I would like to take to live on a tropical island in a third world setting, living as a teacher. It was kind of fun to speculate how each item would be used, and then deciding IF it should be taken considering the impact some items would make on the local populace.
     
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll try to let y'all know when it airs.
     
  8. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    He had to use a knife? Wussy! (but don't tell him I said that! :) In all seriousness, that sounds like an amazing story. There was a woman interviewed on CBC (perhaps related to a book) which was attacked by what I think was a Grizzly... she did not fair so well, heavily scarred and minus an eye, but obviously survived. Her vivid description of the attack was chilling.

    cheers,
     
  9. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    I will be posting a compelete list of tools that we have shipped to our remote homestead project site in Alaska 180 miles from the nearest road system. I will list it under the construction page in the next few days. The tool list is fairly long, and if anyone has advice on missing items that you recommend please let me know. I would love more information on the interviews.

    -Anataq
    www.pawcreekhomestead.com
     
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Active Member

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    That must be Gene Moe! He's a tough one for sure. IIRC he's got a contracting business in Anchorage but he may have retired by now. He'll have some amazing stories to tell you no doubt.
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Active Member

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    I'm homesteading in the Mat-Su right now. Not as remote as the area you're heading out to, but wintering at forty below "learned me" a few lessons. For one, don't count on propane stored outside in the deep cold. Wood stoves are also unreliable, since they need a constant supply of wood to function and if something happens or there's a veyr deep snow you may not be able to get to the pile. My advice is always have a backup kerosene heater as it will work when all else fails. They are crude, rude and dangerous to know but they crank out the BTU's like nobody's business and will function in very deep cold. Get one of the $120 "R2D2" style models from AIH and a pallet of kerosene and you'll have nothing to worry about. Gotta love jet fuel!

    That mill you're getting is quite a nice one. It's somewhat of overkill for the size of trees, but I expect you could use it to make cash money milling for other locals. I doubt anyone will have a mini-mill that nice in the area.

    For generators, the Honda 2000 is tough to beat. As long as you keep your gas in proper metal containers and keep all water out of them the Honda just keeps going and going and going. The newer models run about $1,000 and have regulated power that's fine for CPU's and electronics. They also have a built-in inverter.

    I'm building a cabin quite similar to yours and have some pointers. I'm sure you know about frost heave, so get your posts (pressure treated ideally) buried real deep. Also you can ease up on floor insulation if you seal and insulate the skirting itself with siding and blueboard, like a miniature wall. A neighbor did that with his and it works great. It turns the crawl space into a buffer zone between the deep cold outside and the warmth inside. Just make sure you've got your floor sealed tight to prevent air convection.

    For oil lamps, get yourself some of the nice German Dietz ones in Lehman's. I picked one of the brass ones up and it's outlived about a dozen colemans. Speaking of Colemans--avoid all their new stuff. It's garbage and has nothing in common with the really nice steel camping supplies they used to make.

    Get yourself a nice high-pressure propane burner and a fifteen gallon aluminum pot. I've been using mine as combination washer, washing machine and hot water heater. It will also boil half a gallon of water in a tea kettle in about one minute. Basically the burner is just a tripod with a big round platfom where the pot sits. You can rig up a high-pressure hose from AIH to run to whatever you're keeping your propane in.
     
  12. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gene Moe it is! I guess he's something of a legend up there. I'm also interviewing DeeDee Jonrowe while we are there.
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..................................................................

    ..............Cosmo , did you know that you can slave 2 of those Honda gensets together to make a 4kw genset. Alot of the Rv folks are doing just this because their power is a Pure (clean) sinewave type of Power......fordy..... :eek: :)
     
  14. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    Cosmosline,
    Thank you for all the good information. For piers we are using concrete tubes and going down five feet, this will get us below the frost line where we are. The SIP panel home is really pretty trick, we have decided to build a little larger and are comunicationing with a designer reffered to us by SIPA (structural insulated panel association. The home goes up so quickly that it will be easily closed in and ready to go by the end of our first summer building. We are slowly purhcasing all of the goodies that will make the home run. We allready purchased and shipped a yamaha 4500 watt gen set, and will use it for power tools, to occasionally charge our DC system in the winter, and more. We have four Alladin lamps (not cheap) for emergency and occasional use. For heat we have chosen a few combination of units. We purchased an Effel two burner oil stove and will use this unit a lot I am sure. Our main home plan is designed around a Masonary heater (wood) and our kitchen will be complete with both a gas range and wood burning cook stove capable of heating the home as well. The propane used for the on demand water heaters and the gas range will be stored in the mud room at the back of the kitchen which has been desigend with them in mind. The mud room will also be highly insulated (panels) so it should not be difficult to warm the propane if the teperatures are extreme. I have no experience with Kerosene stoves, but it sounds as though one would be a good idea, maybe in the workshop. I am concerned about burning very much kerosene in the house, because the pannel home will be so air tight. The manufacturers highly recommend mechanical ventilation, because otherwise there is very little air cirulation- we are working on this one. What are you planning on using to side your home. I am primarily concerned because I have so many browns wandering about- they have been known to eat the side of homes in the S.W. (Alaska)

    Thanks agian, love to hear more ideas,
    Anataq

    www.pawcreekhomestead.com
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Active Member

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    Sounds like you've got it under control. You're right kerosene is smokey but I like to have a portable kerosene heater around anyway for "just in case" situations. Even if you have to crack a window, the unit I have will keep you from freezing. They're quite cheap, and can be lit even with freezing fingers. They function like a big oil lamp, and simply draw the kerosene up on a wick. There's little to break down on them. Oil is good, but like anything else it can break down or run out of fuel and probably will at some point. The best advice I got came from a homesteader in the interior. "Expect everything to break." And he was right! Everything seems to break. Alaska is rough on people and things.

    I'm not sure about your brownie situation. I don't know them to be that bold in this area, and if I had one clawing at my place I'd simply bag it and tag it, keeping the hide and feeding the rest to the dogs. Brownies bold enough to start breaking down your walls are a real problem, and I doubt very much that some extra spruce boards would deter them. A big one can simply knock over an entire spruce tree, and it wouldn't be too tough for one to pry off some extra rough cut boards.

    I'd treat one doing that as a threat, though of course it's better to claim it as a legitimate tagged kill than as a defense kill--less paperwork and everybody is happy. I don't know your GMU's regs off hand, but I suspect you've got some pretty generous resident brownie limits there. If you're concerned about intrusion when the place is shut down, just keep it free of food. Do like the old timers and cache it up high, leaving the cabin empty of anything edible.
     
  16. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    The browns have not been a real problem at my place, they have left all the storage containers alone and they seem to spend most of their time fishing along the river. We are building about 200 vertical feet above the river and I have yet to see one up there. Howere my soon to be neighbor over in Pile Bay had a brown break through a window go right through the building and out a door that was shut up and had not been used in years. This is only a concern when we are not there and I have not yet determined whether I will run the perimeter fence when I am gone. I am thinking that the chargers will likely be on if we are ever gone in the summer and in the winter the browns are not a problem. Let me see... oh yes, the SIP panels are OSB laminated to EPS foam laminated to OSB to form a sandwich, now when I lay these paneles down over the treated lumber frame attached to the piers I am worried that some critter- maybe porqupine might decide that the glue- salt, etc in the lam. would be tasty. Any ideas on how to protect the underside of the building? I am raising the piers to about 2 1/2 feet above the ground, and I will side it down to the ground maybe eventually even stack stonework up to the base of the home.

    Anataq
    www.pawcreekhomestead.com
     
  17. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Aftering reading this thread I ordered a copy of the film on DVD. Pretty cool!

    It reminded me of when I was younger. My Kentucky Grandfather built all of his outbuildings in log cabin style and with hand tools. He taught me and later, when my five children were small, Herself and I lived 7 years in a hand hewn log cabin, sawed all of our wood by hand, trapped furs in the winter, made maple chairs and white oak baskets for market in the summer, lived without electricity or running water (we still don't have running water or an indoor privy), and generally enjoyed every day to its fullest.

    My 28 year old son watched the film with me and decided that we needed to build a cabin here at Wolf Cairn Moor. He was too young to remember how to use the tools or any of the techniques for such building, and now he fears Grandfather's knowledge will be lost with me.

    I still remember how to do everything, I still have all of my tools, and now I have a young man big enough to share in the heavy work. It sounds like it would be "an exploit to boast of."

    Thanks for sharing the info on the film.

    By-the-by, my son is a computer programmer who never had a TV in his home, our home, until he was fifteen and someone gave us one, then we had to get electricity and it was all downhill from there. On the other hand, he was reading Joseph Campbell and Carl Sagan's works by the time he was 10.
     
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Active Member

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    Hopefully the bear will stay their distance when you're gone. But realistically if Mr. Brown Bear wants to come into your cabin when you're gone to see what's going on inside, you'd need reinforced concrete to stop him. I've seen them get really mad when they can't get what they want, and I suspect wooden barriers would just make him destroy more. As long as there's no food in the cabin, he'll get in there and lose interest, then leave. Fewer barriers might be better than more to limit destruction.

    The little criters are much more likely problem frankly. I've got about fifty fat mice per square yard at my place, plus squirrel, pine pigs, and assorted furry beasts and biting bugs. They do indeed like to eat on building materials with glue in them. I don't know if that building material has any built-in chemicals to make it taste bad, but if not it might be viewed as one big candy cane house to the wee ones. The mice do love to collect bits of foam and wood for their nests. Most folks around here use very tight skirting around the base between the ground and the beams, built like a miniature wall, plus very thick moisture barriers underneath. There needs to be a few vets of course but these can be covered with thick screen to keep critters and bugs out.