No power, no phone, no sewerage, no water.

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by TropicalRose, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    I really need your expert help on this one. Well I am making the big move in 4 weeks to a remote property with a house but no phone, no power, and no water.
    *Water carted in tanks - done.
    *Shower - 44 gallon drum or camping shower.
    *Toilet - weekender composting toilets
    *Phone - not eligible for satellite because a phone line runs past but I don't have $4-6,000 for the trenching & connection etc. Any suggestions?
    *Power - I have a very small generator for a fan which might run a tv too if I'm lucky. That should stop me from melting down too much, lol.
    *Cooking - we have a super duper gas bbq and I will try to build an earth oven.
    *Refrigeration - suggestions needed. I have decided on powdered milk and a largely vegetarian diet with chick peas and lentils as protein. I would like to be able to keep some meat and butter and as I will shop fortnightly this presents a bit of a problem, as everything just ends up saturated in an esky. I will also cook damper when I don't have bread. I don't believe in over processed and dehydrated stuff unless someone can convince me differently.
    If you have any good suggestions on any of the above I would be really pleased to hear them.
     
  2. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    loo - - make along drop

    dig a hole and plant a seat over the top of it. the deeper the hole the better. a handful of soil throuwn in after you use it helps keep the smell and the flies at bay. And if you don't have close neighbours there's really no need for shelter unless it rains...LOL

    talk to the telecom company and ask if you dig a trench and lay a polypipe in the length of the trench will that do? could save you heaps. They would then only have to thread the cable up the pipe. Is there a telecom post on your property? if there is they should be paying you rental - you could do a deal for free rental for X years if they install the line to your house

    Another option would be to ask them if you can install a phone on the post - ala greenacres - - and use that for emergency calls - or if you rig up a solar connection, you could get a cordless phone that should be able to be used 100m from the post.
     
  3. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    OOh bit worried about the storms up here paradisi to put a long drop outside with no shelter. Where I'm going has the highest lightning strike rate in Australia. Bit worried about being prised off the loo by the paramedics, how embarrassing. LOL
    Its a long trench for the phone from the road to the house through rocky ground so I can't do that one myself but thanks for the suggestion. And they won't let us put a cable above ground because of the lightning and because it needs so much earthing or other such technical things. Even underground it does. There is a telecom thingy on the corner of our property with solar panels and stuff but they made a one-off payment to the previous owners so we can't use that for leverage.
    I'll keep thinking about your suggestions though but in the meantime any other help will be welcome.
     
  4. darls

    darls Junior Member

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    Rose, that is brave thing to do!!

    I have no suggestions or such - that's how green I am, lol!

    I guess we wont be seeing you here on the forum much then?

    Is there a creek or sort running through your property? Is the rainwater tank on ground or in ground? Perhaps can use a spot under it to use as 'fridge'? Im just brainstorming... o_O

    For how long u intend to live up there?

    Cheers!
     
  5. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Don't forget to take some jars and sprout lids, and trays for sprouting...much higher nutrition eating raw sprouts than in cooked grains-seeds-legumes.

    Look over the https://www.motherearthnews.com/ site for ideas on solar ovens and refriges.
    If you have suitable rocks on your property, you might be able to build an igloo type structure of rocks...rather like a beehive...this might be used as a cooler. Apparently with condensor metal plates inside these stuctures can be used to generate water from the air.

    The water condenser can double as a food chiller.

    BEEHIVE WATER CONDENSOR
    Also an open beehive igloo structure of rock (granite, basalt etc) with gaps around it through which air passes to condense moisture in the cool enclosure. Possibly stringing vertical pipes on the inside like wind chimes with collecting dish underneath?? You can use wind and solar energy to cool condenser pipes and draw moisture from the air….to generate water from the air in arid regions with this method. Might be worthwhile considering dropping the bottom of this device into the ground so that some was above and some below ground also to see if it is more effective with the subterranian addition which might lower the overall temperature of the device increasing water condensation.


    The new Aussie invention of the wind operated system that uses wind power to cool the condensor material operates on a similar but less passive principle.
    https://www.abc.net.au/canberra/stories/ ... m?backyard —Air-water Harvester

    https://pesn.com/2007/04/29/9500467_DeMe ... abatement/ —Orgone Machine

    Sprout buckwheat seeds as granola (I do this in the fridge with colander and bowel) rise daily and put the water onto compost and garden, the mucopolysaccharides (goop) add remarkable water holding capacity to the soil.
    Also mychorizae compost activator also increases water holding capacity.
    Diatomaceous earth is the most moisture holding clay-like amendment.

    Here is a rain catchment system using colvert pipes...rather cool.
    Also this guy shows old florescent light bulb tubes used to make a solar water heating array. You could probably use old florescent tubes to build water filter systems containing zeolite and diatomaceous earth.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gzNitOR_Eo


    For Inspiration take the book "Graviotas, A Village to Reinvent The World, by Alan Weisman
    Gaviotas is a village of about 200 people in Colombia, South America. For three decades, Gaviotans - peasants, scientists, artists, and former street kids ...
    https://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/about.htm
     
  6. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    Perhaps consider doing anything electrical in 12 volt?

    You could buy a 12 volt fridge, and a flourescent light to start with.
    The advantage of 12 volt is that you can store the power in a standard DEEP CYCLE car / truck battery and charge with your generator / a car / a solar panel.
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Re: No power, no phone, no sewerage, no water.

    Can you get satellite internet? You can skype people then (as long as they have skype themselves). Not ideal but there's alot you can do online when you don't have a phone.

    Cellphone?

    What are you doing for lights? Gas lamps are pretty good and reasonably economical. I use an LED headlamp that takes 4 AA batteries that I recharge with a solar charger (you need two sets of batteries).

    There's alot of 12V DIY solar stuff you can do that gets you power quickly without the huge costs of setting up 240V systems.

    You can also buy car adaptors which would work well if you have to drive long distances. Consider putting a second car battery in your vehicle somewhere so you have a power source that the vehicle isn't dependant on if the battery goes flat.

    If you've got the energy, rotating car batteries between house and car will give you very cheap 12V power for music, laptop, cell, lighting, radio etc.

    There's lots of ways to manage food without a fridge - bear in mind fridges are pretty recent in terms of humans needing to store food!

    As mentioned, if you have a creek you can use that to keep things cool. A wire basket in the creek can take anything that is water tight. Or you can lift it so it's half submerged (watch for fluctuation water levels though).

    Another option is a permeable box eg polystyrene or unglazed clay. See this info on the zeer pot:

    https://www.itdg.org/html/agro_processin ... C29_34.pdf

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot-in-pot_refrigerator

    You put water in the permeable container, and sit things in the water needing to be cooled. The water very slowly evaporates out of the box/pot and this keeps the water inside cool. You can also wet cloth and put it over things and the same evaporation/cooling thing happens. Best to have them in the shade. A breeze makes it even more efficient. Play around with those ideas and you'll get something to suit you.

    You can also use a hanging safe - a box with venting on the sides.

    Or dig a hole in the ground in the shade to fit a box with a solid insulating lid. That keeps things cool too.

    Australia has a good history of keeping food in a hot climate. Talk to some old timers, or research historical tech at the local library.

    There's also alot on the internet in terms of low tech refridgeration.

    Eskies work for a few days but tend to get smelly and messy after that. The options above have the advantage of being ventilated.

    Things like butter and cheese are fine kept like this for more than a fortnight, although they tend to sweat a bit. I don't really eat meat but I know the old timers who lived without fridges ate meat stored at air temperature for lengths of time just fine (meat wasn't ready until it had gone green ;-) ). I think it takes a bit to adjust to this, but meat is less dangerous than we modern people are led to believe. I'm sure you can research that, depending on what kind of meat you eat.

    Do some reading on preserving food. I like a book called 'keeping food fresh' as it uses the older, lower tech ways of preserving food.

    Alot of cultures ferment food (ha ha) to keep it edible, so reading up on fermentation will give you some ideas too.

    You could buy a gas fridge or freezer too, the small ones aren't too expensive and you can get them secondhand sometimes.
     
  8. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Good luck i think youll need it up there.

    I agree ..look at using 12 volts as this will be the future i think..

    With water and tanks you could probly grow your own food such as, fish,Fresh water crayfish,water foods eg cress,water chestnuts etc.

    Pity you cant store all those lightening bolts for power youd be set for life 8)


    Good luck

    Tezza
     
  9. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    Wow so many good suggestions my head is spinning. I'm off the research them now. Thanks for all your help everyone. 8)
     
  10. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    WATER - you need to come up with a way to collect rainwater. There's a lot of info online about 'rainwater harvesting'. A cheap plastic tank is fine if you can either wrap it with wire mesh and coat it with a layer of concrete, or build a rock/mortar 'skin' around it to protect it from ultraviolet sunlight damage, and it will keep the water cooler, too.

    SHOWER - one of those hand-pumps that are commonly used for spraying pesticides, but a new one that isn't contaminated. Black would be ideal, leave it full and sitting in the sun when not in use.

    TOILET - build a moveable toilet, and place it over a decent hole. Add compost, leaves, soil, etc as a 'topping', and when it gets near full, move the unit to another site, top off the full one with soil, and plant a tree over it. Never use lime or other chemicals in the hole.

    PHONE - do you have any neighbors at all? This happened in the US, not sure about Oz: My friend bought a property that would involve an expensive phone line being installed. One day, she was driving somewhere and saw a phone man with his truck doing something. She stopped to have a chat, and discovered that it would cost several thousand USD to have a phone line installed ONLY if it was for one line. If there were at least three people (there were) on the road, it suddenly became a group job, and became a regular utility at a very low cost. ASK!

    COOKING - an earth oven is good, but a solar cooker is more useful. And they work perfectly well at temperatures below freezing as long as the sun is shining. You can even make one from two cardboard boxes, some aluminum foil, and a sheet of glass. See this site for many types, plans & instructions:
    https://solarcooking.org/plans/

    REFRIGERATION - Pioneers (both your country and mine) used a simple box (many had several shelves) that was open on opposite sides. A bowl or bucket was set on the top, and fabric was draped over the box, the top of the fabric immersed in the bucket (held down with a clean stone) and the bucket filled with water. The fabric would soak up the water and stay wet, but as the moisture evaporated it would keep the contents relatively cool. Just remember that the unit must hang in the SUN, not the shade. Sun promotes the evaporation which does the cooling.

    HOME COOLING - Determine which side of the house is the shadiest, and install screened vents low on that side. They must be constantly shaded, so plant trees or shrubs nearby, and if possible, keep the soil damp and mulched. On the sunniest side of the house, install several more vents high in that wall, as close to the ceiling as is practical. Heat rises naturally, leaving the house through the upper vents, and the air movement pulls cool air into the house via the lower shaded intake vents. The movement of air can be increased with the use of one or two small solar exhaust vents which pull the hot air out faster, thus pulling cool air in faster, too.

    POWER - Since your needs for power are minimal at this time, you might investigate wind or solar power (very carefully) -- be sure you ask lots of questions and understand the principles and limitations. The people who provide these things always want to oversell, so you would have to keep them on a leash and make them understand that you want only a limited amount of power, perhaps a few lights and one or two 'gadgets'. Don't forget to keep track of how much you spend for generator and lighting fuel over the course of a year. (By the way, I was told by a US building contractor that most small generators here are only good for a certain number of hours of usage, usually about 300-400. They are build for only occasional or short-term use, and tend to break down relatively soon under constant use. I haven't heard on those built in Oz.)

    Sue
     
  11. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    TR,

    When I had the phones hooked up at my block some years ago I can remember Telstra moaning because of some ''rural guarantee'' whereby the maximum connection charge they could make was $250. I believe it still exists.

    As for refrigeration - this link has been posted before and it's excellent although in our northern tropical location refrigeration it is necessary and always an uphill battle. https://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html

    On your block from memory [40acres??] in Adelaide River, check with the locals as the water table is quite high and maybe accessible without to much expense and drama. I would recommend joining the bush fire brigade as a mix of altruism, community and access to resources and knowledge.

    cheers
     
  12. Soleil.Lunar

    Soleil.Lunar Junior Member

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    Forget even taking the TV, you need internet connection more so you can keep us up to date on how you are going. :wink:

    I'm not sure how much you will be able to run whilst the TV is on. The kids at school that lived on remote blocks use to say that if Dad wanted to watch TV of an evening that meant no power for lighting, so no homework was done. Don't know how much of it was an excuse to get out of completing homework :D

    I have an amateur radio licence which means we have contact with lots of people around Australia and the World. It isn't hard to get and it's a great way to stay in contact with people.
     
  13. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    So many good suggestions! I must say first up though the idea is to do everything on a shoestring so I can save up the money to get the utilities. I'm planning on sticking with the compost toilets though, just upgrade to better ones.
    I think we will do the outside loo in the good weather, as well as the compost toilets inside for night and bad weather. Saves a lot of carting and burying and will fertilise the garden as well.
    Yes ho-hum its still cheap to get connected to the phone, but the trench is the big cost, its long and through rock. You know how people charge up here too, for something you could get done for half the price anywhere else in Australia. :?
    I rang Telstra about the satellite internet connection and was told to ring back mid-Feb because they won't know about their new funding until then. I'm worried though it will be like the phone, because there's a line running past that we won't be eligible.
    I like the stone igloo idea, I will try that when I get there as the one thing we have heaps of around the house area is rocks, but it is quartz mostly. Even if we only just use it in the long term to keep the food for the dogs fresh. Anyone heard anything bad about picking up roadkill like wallabies and feeding it to the dogs? I don't think worms or disease are a problem are they?
    I also like the stone cob solar oven idea, looks great but of course it will take time to organize and build. Definitely going to do it even when we have the power on and use other ideas in the meantime. I can just visualise my earth oven and solar cob oven standing side by side in the back yard. 8)
    My small generator is a GMC so I guess it might give up after a while and at the worst possible time. If I watch TV I have candles and a gas camping light to do the lighting, I think those kids were pulling your leg SL, were you the teacher or another student? :lol:
     
  14. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    Washing clothes

    BTW, Anyone know anything I could do about washing clothes? I had planned to put them in large bins on the back of the ute with water and soap powder when we go anywhere and the movement would agitate the clothes. However this would need the cooperation of my house mate and he is not always that helpful, plus it would be hard rinsing them when I get them home again. Hand washing sheets and towels is hard because of a back problem. I really don't want to use a laundromat, that sorta defeats the purpose.
     
  15. Soleil.Lunar

    Soleil.Lunar Junior Member

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  16. Loris

    Loris Junior Member

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    Fridge - definitely a hanging coolgardie safe. Lots of quick and easy ways to rig this up and don't forget to put the tomato leaves in there to keep the flies away. Also, if you can get cheap cheap big terracotta pots, upend these over stuff that you want to keep cool and put some cheesecloth or a teatowel wet over the outside. Soak the pots in water first so the terracotta absorbs water and then it cools the air as it flows. See if you can get tins of butter. I used to be able to get them at a specialist health food store. These store well in hard conditions. That kraft cheese - you know the white stuff that cheese sticks are made out of doesn't really need refridgeration.
    I used to wash by hand by putting a big drum or copper just by the washing line. I would fill this with hot water and soap and do the whole wash by agitating with a washing dolly (whites first etc) and pegging out on the line. Once pegged up, I would hose to rinse. Also, washing near the line saves some effort in carrying it all out.
    Hope it helps.
     
  17. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

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    Thanks Loris. What's a washing dolly? I Read a Terry Pratchett book recently (Monstrous Regiment) that described one. Is it the same?
     
  18. princemyheart

    princemyheart Junior Member

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    satellite internet

    We have satellite internet. We were already hooked up to a landline. You should have no problems. Try again. Cheers Royce
     
  19. Loris

    Loris Junior Member

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    Hi Rose, a washing dolly - imagine that you have a tin can open and put on the ground so the open end is on the ground and the bottom of the can (still closed) is pointing upwards. Connect the bottom of the can to a nice smooth handle, say some thick dowel with a good screw and washers both inside and outside.
    Then you just get the stick and push it up and down on the bucket of washing. The water in the tin gets forced through and causes a bit of pressure and agitation which is not the equivilant of the agitation in a washing machine but very much the same idea.
    And you can use your judgement. If it is lightly soiled, you don't have to bash it as long.
    I also found when washing by hand that soaking was the equivalent of washing so if I had to do really horrible bloke work clothes, often covered in grease or blood, I put them into soak at least the night before with soap and a little eucalyptus oil and they weren't any trouble to clean the next day. Easy
    We are also huge huge Terry Pratchett fans and I have just order Nanny Oggs Cookbook.
     
  20. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    You can use a plunger like that too.
     

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