off-the-grid (21)

Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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Shelter Booth at Last Weekend’s TinyFest Festival in Pleasanton, Calif.

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Our booth at the TinyFest Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds last weekend, where we sold books and had a great time meeting new friends.

At the booth, we introduced our just-published Rolling Homes book and we sold a lot of copies. Everyone seems to love it. For one thing, the timing — with all the new vans, trucks, trailers and other nomadic vehicles on the roads now.

Two of the contributors to the book showed up and parked their rigs next to our booth: Ben Bloom’s homemade redwood camper shell on his Toyota Tacoma truck and Paul Elkins’ bike-pulled solar- and wind-powered trailer. Both of these generated a lot of interest, with a steady stream of inquiring fair goers

On the first day, maybe 20 people came into the booth and thanked us for the books through the years. Really gratifying.

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Bruno and Misha’s Greenhouse on Vancouver Island

All wood from beach and hand-split shakes from driftwood cedar. Bruno Atkey’s incredible repertoire of buildings is on display on pp. 74-95 of Builders of the Pacific Coast (my favorite of all my building books).

Everything he does, all the joints, the design, the materials are to me, perfect. A kindred builder.

(My tower is roofed with shakes that Bruno split from driftwood cedar logs and that Misha drove down here in a van about 7 years ago.)


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Remote Living on High Altitude Lake on Xeni Gwet’in Land in Canada

Today I got an email from Jakub Amler in British Columbia, describing a 75-year-old man named Chendi, who has been living on the shores of the high altitude (4200 feet) 50-mile-long glacier-fed Chilco Lake in west central British Columbia for over 50 years. This is on the land of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations tribe. From Jakub (edited):

“It’s hard to believe he has been here for such long period of time since he hasn’t cut down a single tree — for firewood or structures. He collects all his wood, mostly with his rowboat on the wild and windy Chilco lake.

It is totally off grid, no road access. His “truck” is a rowboat which he uses to carry all the logs from the lake. He doesn’t use any power tools (lover of japanese tools, of course), the craftsmanship is unique, his buildings are charming like most of the buildings in your publications.”

Chendi allows people to come stay there (one month minimum), and says:

“Volunteers sleep in simple and old log cabins, carry water, use an outhouse and rustic bath or sweat house. This is a very difficult and isolated lifestyle, requiring volunteers to be physically fit. You cannot function here if you are not up for the challenge. The wind is quite intense for much of the year. It is also as majestic a place as you ever will see.

Kayaks are available with access to pristine wilderness, hiking, rowboat, fishing from a kayak, gathering wild roots and hunting or snaring.

I also only want people who are serious about going forward from this experience to lead a different life. This is not just a place to have an adventure, but a place to learn a meditative lifestyle (yoga). I want people to come here with intention and mindfulness.”

www.workaway.info/en/host/438711758842

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Off-Grid Cabin

Lloyd Kahn’s books were instrumental in Josh and I creating our very own off-grid cabin. Please consider this an open invitation to visit us anytime! Please see attached photos of our cabin that Josh built entirely by himself, as well some of our favorite treasures!

Peace and copious amounts of blessings upon each and everyone of you for all that you do! Keep up the good work! We love what you’re creating! We look forward to hearing and collaborating with you soon!

Take good care,
Jessica and Josh Courson

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Stealth Camper Vehicle for Sale

Johnny Vang built this unique camper, which is featured in our forthcoming book, Rolling Homes. It’s an ingenious design, where it does not appear that anyone is living within. Johnny just wrote, saying he needs to sell it. It’s a 2004 Chevy Silverado with an LM7 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder Vortec engine with 301,000 miles on it. He says it gets 15mpg at 70 miles per hour. When I asked him what shape the motor was in, he replied: “Motor still runs strong. Just got to add a quart of oil ever 1500 miles or so.”

In my opinion, it’s a rare bargain, at $3900. He can be contacted at johnnyturbogt@gmail.com

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Frustrated with Utilities, Some Californians Are Leaving the Grid

NYTimes
By Ivan Penn
March 13, 2022

“Citing more blackouts, wildfires and higher electricity rates, a growing number of homeowners are choosing to build homes that run entirely on solar panels and batteries.”

NEVADA CITY, Calif. — In the Gold Rush, Northern California attracted prospectors looking for financial independence. Now, this area is at the vanguard of a new movement — people seeking to use only the energy they produce themselves.

Angry over blackouts, wildfires caused by utilities and rising electricity bills, a small but growing number of Californians in rural areas and in the suburbs of San Francisco are going off the grid. They can do so because of a stunning drop in the cost of solar panels and batteries over the last decade. Some homeowners who have built new, off-grid homes say they have even saved money because their systems were cheaper than securing a new utility connection.

www.nytimes.com/2022/03/13/business/energy-environment/california-off-grid.html

From Maui Surfer

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Fisherman’s Houseboat

I’ve admired this little floating building for years, on a local bay.

This design could be adapted to living quarters. Barbecue, beer and tables out on deck. Winch to haul boat out of water. No rent.

Brilliant design often happens in unexpected places. I find a lot of it with farm buildings.

Architecture without architects.

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