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Opinions sought, please Options
practicalman45
#1 Posted : Friday, January 23, 2009 4:48:51 PM
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Well, it sounds appealing to me JD.  But I am not someone who can currently afford it, basicly I'd have no real way to make a living there, nor would many of us. Sure, I might sell out here and manage to buy up there (assuming the real-estate market comes back, here).  Once there,  I'd be hard-pressed to make a living.  Unless I took up subsistence fishing or greenhouse gardening or custom knife making or firewood cutting or occasional welding (or perhaps all of the above..). Whether that could cover the overhead there? I'm not sure..

To sell these things you'll be needing to find people who are financially secure, and also looking to live fairly simply. Whether thats doable? Probably, yes.  Especially when mainland life breaks down and becomes more hellish, as it is threatening to do at any moment with the monetary situation. Folks would love to escape to someplace like that once things "hit the fan" (if it can still be put together when that happens).

I could also see rich folks going to there seasonally in their sailing yachts if there is a good sheltered moorage or marina facility.  For that, you may want to be sure there are enough comforts to appeal to them, if they are who you want to attract. A restaurant, maybe a bed-n breakfast for guests, and a decent store?  A resort atmosphere would probably make some seasonal jobs and allow a few more of us to join you. You may need to make some of the cabins a bit more posh (but still "earth friendly"?) to attract some of the money people. They would probably support some service jobs for the rest of the "commoner" residents.

Unfortunately, currently, my friends who have a sailing yacht are about to have their house foreclosed upon, it is so far "underwater"! Their IT business is failing, their suburban home is being encroached upon by vacant shopping malls and rising homeless person crime, and the best they can muster is maybe a week's vacation at your marina and B&B there (if you put one in).

But some folks do still have their inheritances or whatever.....You are going to have to attract financially secure people.

jd
#2 Posted : Friday, January 23, 2009 8:20:48 PM
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Well, P-45, you certainly addressed the issue that concerned me the most - who is the market?  I have no problem if a person is rich or poor but I do care that they 'get involved' in the community and 'live the lifestyle'.  If it's iced-glass martinis on the deck they want, this would be the wrong place (tho I am up for that now and then, myself).  This is, by necessity, a chop-your-own-wood kind of place-  regardless of the size of your wallet.  This is also a marginal income sort of place so you either have to be well off or sufficiently inclined to subsist on your own skills a great deal.  We need 'independent' people whether they got that way by money or skills.  Independent and modest.  This isn't the place to find a 5000 sft mansion.  Most houoses out here are under 1200 sft. 
So, it's a niche market all right.  I was thinking of the ex-hippy, now-retiring-yuppy who was looking to 'go green' once they quit the city.  But maybe that group doesn't really exist?  I confess that most of my city friends either ádmire' us or think us mad to live out here.  They may love us but not our lifetsyle - regardless of how much recycling they do, how much phosphate free soap they buy and how much less beef they are eating.  They don't mind driving a Prius but they don't want to raise chickens, catch fish or break a sweat.  They prefer restaurants.  There may, in fact, be very few who actually LIKE living in the rural outback, readership in MEN notwithstanding.  I am surprised to learn that, like rats, most people adapt to city living and can't imagine leaving it.
Maybe the idea won't fly.
I have no idea how 43 people could read this and only one respond.  Did I ask the wrong question?    
davisonh
#3 Posted : Saturday, January 24, 2009 3:50:03 AM
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  JD,you know(or not)that you're somewhat endeavoring a social experiment of sorts with this thread.It gives you a raw estimate of what the genre of this forum is made up of,a lot of people who'd like to try to do what you all do but would never think of actually living your way.A lot of people will try something for awhile 'to make a point' either to themselves or to their social clique either from where they came from or to the current residents there.You must know this behaviour,being an ex-or sometimes expert legal mediator.Some really do give it all up and go,try to forget what and why they lived the way they lived but they are few and far between from what I've seen but anyways my suggestion would be to try an orchard,public farm kind of thing maybe,community gardening plots?You describe it as stone as I see from the pics but the mild climate you describe would hold dear to apple trees and such.Try to have something to hop into a boat for a day and go picking ?Bait sales do well here in winter,all the ice fishing going on.

As I say from my POV I did'nt have a choice but to buy what I have and sensibly live the way I do,Most others never get that chance.If I had a huge income and my choice of any place to live,I don't know if I would have made the same choices I did but hindsight is 20/20.I am glad for myself that I chose the way I did.I have no regrets.To say that others who never have done hard labor before,especially in their aged years,I would not think it a smart move,especially if they don't want to raise chickens and chop wood.It may be nice for a week or so but I would'nt count on them being permanent residents.

Frosty
#4 Posted : Saturday, January 24, 2009 10:48:55 AM
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At first it sounded appealing to me... until I reread the message and did some figuring.  25 cottages in 8 acres is too crowded in my opinion.  That would come out to something like sections of property 100' x 140' with a house on it?  I don't think there would be room for my poultry, some fruit trees and a garden.  Part of the reason that I love rural living is having space around me.  It sounds lovely for a vacation home, but to live there?  That would be more like a small town and I feel that it would require some type of employment availability.   
jd
#5 Posted : Saturday, January 24, 2009 6:30:14 PM
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Ah, my wonderful MEN friends (looks better when written than when spoken), you are starting to come through for me.  Thanks.  Quick responses - Frosty, you are right.  One of my main concerns.  The only answer is that the 8 acres are surrounded by Crown Lands (not quite 'park' but land left in the wilderness condition and owned by the govt.).  There would be room ('the commons') for chickens and gardens and the houses would be in small clusters.  Sorta-like Hansel and Gretle cottages.  But, still, your point is taken.  A lot of those who want to do this, want lots of space.  That can be granted (by the Crown Lands) but not owned.  In reality, it is like a Hobbit Village surrounded by virgin forest.  For miles. 
But your employment concern is valid.  So much so that I am wondering if it is possible to do - thus the question to you guys.  I am 61.  I won't/can't work like I used to.  Get too tired.  After 4 hard hours, I am done.  A typical day for me is 6 slow hours.  So, even if I wanted a job, no one would hire me.  They don't want mediators out here.  They want cement-bag carriers and log-home builders.  So our new residents have to be people of some means or very young, strong worker-bees.
D-h...............hmmmmmmm..............poseurs?  Wannabees?  Pretenders?  Are you saying that most of the 'back-to-the-land people just talk the talk and have no intention of walking it for too long?  Are you saying that not even a small portion of soon-to-be-retirees (the bommers) want this?  Or are too weak to handle this?  I, too, wonder about that but it sure was no great leap of faith for us to go from the cul-de-sac to the forest.  In fact, I wonder now why it took me so long to get myself out of the madness.  But, are you saying Sal and I represent such a small contingent that 25 units wouldn't be snapped up? 
I won't argue with any points.  I just want to hear them.  Considerations so far: Price, humans-gone-too-soft, plots too small and employment.  Anything else? 
Oh yeah - the apples!  Right on.  There were homesteads up here at the turn of the century and they grew apples by the ton.  This is an excellent apple growing area and, of course, we have wood growing on trees!  Small one-man mills still operate.  Hard work, tho.          
Sarah/Librum
#6 Posted : Saturday, January 24, 2009 7:05:45 PM
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JD,

I am going to step in here lightly, because I know very well how insignificant I am.

We are very self reliant people but I can not think of a single situation where one of our enclaves  were not situated because of needed outside commerce.  I know of none that survived after such a loss.  Partially, that is what happened to the old enclave, the one that Majere built, Bluemont.

And I know we own lots of land in lots of places, where there is no enclave and/or community, for just this reason. 

Has any such, even a 'hippy' commune, survived without outside commerce?  I can not think of any.  Not even Mother's.

Is there an industry that can be started there?  A community wide industry?  Like a 'company town'?  I know little of that environment, but perhaps a fish or produce packing plant? 

We leave a tv on in the library lobby for those students who have never encountered one, the reactions are very funny at times.  OK, two of them, always on.  One on the History channel (which we view as a sort of comedy with all the pseudo religion), and the other on the Discovery channel.  The Discovery channel has a show called "How it's Made", and the series is made in Canada, of Canadian industries.  It is VERY popular.  I am not suggesting you watch such, but I see the 'small company town' quite often in them. 

Um, call it my very humble two cents,

Pate Lori asks if you can build a tidal power production plant.  (Then she frowned, adding that you would probably have to use all the power keeping warm.)

Sarah
jd
#7 Posted : Sunday, January 25, 2009 12:15:45 AM
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Thanks Sarah (and Lori) for your thoughts.  I shouldn't judge but, to be honest, I do and I judge your opinions as the best.  You guys live the life, walk the walk and work the work.  And have done for eons.  If you think outside commerce is essential, then I have to re-think this from that point of view.  As it sits now, the 250 people who live on the five separate islands we call our community have disparate ways of maintaining their lifestyles.  A shrinking number were/are in the forest/fishing industry but that future is bleak - certainly little room for expansion along conventional lines.  Tourism is slowly picking up but that is seasonal and our season is four months at best.  Maybe ten percent orient around that.  Even tho we have mild year 'round weather, it is is chilly and rainy a lot of the time (except summer) and so people tend to be busiest then, they are 3/4 busy in the spring and fall and 'gone south' or hunkered down in the winter.  I.e. today is clear but bone-chilling cold. 
The rest of the people are either marginal, hard-scrabble types or have outside income.  Sally and I have marginal pensions and we earn another 20% by 'doing whatever' or dreaming up an interesting project.  We are not special but we seem to be a bit more creative than many. 
I was hoping for mostly retired, fixed-income type pensioners with a few younger wanna-be homesteader types to fill this village and maybe a good portion of summer residents. 
We could do some custom milling.   It is hard to get big ol' beams from the lumber yard but we can do that.  We do oyster farming but that's a young man's job - back breaking.  Fishing is out.  We could make wooden boats I suppose but it's not likely that this place will ever be a hub of economic activity. 
As for the tidal power plant?  Nope.  One was proposed but it would 'mess up' the environment and everyone said no.  I guess what I am saying is this: the only asset these folks are willing to sell is the beauty and abundance that is naturally here.  They'd rather 'scrape by' than 9-5 or even be part of the system.  Money just doesn't motivate them (or me) beyond subsistence.  
davisonh
#8 Posted : Sunday, January 25, 2009 2:36:03 AM
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See thats the rub jd,as you know when folks get desperate they'll do anything to get out of where they are or the need to do something different.Maybe an enclave(not OOM necc. sorry Sarah)but similar.Maybe like an artists colony.We have a famous one here in the Monadnock Region,been here 102 years or so,the MacDowell Colony;I  think they have a webpage.Robert Frost,Thornton Wilder,and over 6,000 writers,poets, performers and artists(of all types) have spent a lot of time in peace working out things there..Or a fish farm,sould do that.Go see the site jd,you'll get some ideas possibly and a good view of where I live.I know from my own perspective having had professional artists for parents how important it is to get away from society(families,businesses and the metropolitan 'crush' of people/life tend to inhibit creativity a lot)and there aren't very many of these colonies and many are sought out by businesses,universities and such to send their brightest to work on huge creative projects and it works.The best ideas come from clear minds as you well know jd..

davisonh
#9 Posted : Sunday, January 25, 2009 3:27:54 AM
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As far as wannabes and pretenders jd I suppose there's always a certain percentage of those types but one cannot forget that there really is a flipside to that coin,that there are many who would  much rather wear a pair of hiking boots,sneakers or flip flops and get their hands dirty to work for what they have.Granted the percentage may be small but it's still there.I'll give you a raw example of this with what happened to me this week.I was getting low on wood for the boiler last Wednesday(ya I burned all the pine up,sooo glad that junk's gone!)so I told my boss(who  knows I've had a hell of a week,lol..)I am taking the afternoon off to cut wood.Went home,had lunch and zipped up some dead trees and deadfall from the recent ice storm we had.Can't tell you how  mind-clearing it was to do that in the middle of a hectic week,so in that regard I suppose I  have it good...it really is nice to just go out and do it when you need to.It really is beautiful out here in winter and sometimes you need to be reminded of where you are and who you are,it made the rest of the week more pleasant.
John Edward Mercier
#10 Posted : Sunday, January 25, 2009 9:55:34 AM
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I think your going to find that it is the community that is your problem.

I see this continually, communities that refuse to become more self-sufficient because of engrained special interest groups. They create an economically-defunct enclave.

Every household/homestead is an enclave unto itselve. It must either provide the necessary skills/labor/materials from within itselve, or produce something to 'trade' with the outside.

It sounds as if your enclave wishes to produce little internally, and does not have the capacity to produce anything of value for 'trade'.

skruzich
#11 Posted : Sunday, January 25, 2009 3:40:22 PM
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Sarah/Librum wrote:
JD,

I am going to step in here lightly, because I know very well how insignificant I am.

We are very self reliant people but I can not think of a single situation where one of our enclaves  were not situated because of needed outside commerce.  I know of none that survived after such a loss.  Partially, that is what happened to the old enclave, the one that Majere built, Bluemont.

And I know we own lots of land in lots of places, where there is no enclave and/or community, for just this reason. 

Has any such, even a 'hippy' commune, survived without outside commerce?  I can not think of any.  Not even Mother's.

Is there an industry that can be started there?  A community wide industry?  Like a 'company town'?  I know little of that environment, but perhaps a fish or produce packing plant? 

We leave a tv on in the library lobby for those students who have never encountered one, the reactions are very funny at times.  OK, two of them, always on.  One on the History channel (which we view as a sort of comedy with all the pseudo religion), and the other on the Discovery channel.  The Discovery channel has a show called "How it's Made", and the series is made in Canada, of Canadian industries.  It is VERY popular.  I am not suggesting you watch such, but I see the 'small company town' quite often in them. 

Um, call it my very humble two cents,

Pate Lori asks if you can build a tidal power production plant.  (Then she frowned, adding that you would probably have to use all the power keeping warm.)

Sarah


Hi Sarah,

Might ask pate lori to look at two options.   One is tidal power production where a platform could be setup to rise and fall and the movement would generate power, also you have the current flow in the channel between the land masses where he's at.  Drop some kind of a turbine down deep into the channel to capture the currentflow. 


practicalman45
#12 Posted : Monday, January 26, 2009 5:40:17 AM
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JD,  not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but I've been sort of close to where you are up there  once before. About 5 years ago I took a car trip up to visit an online friend who lives in Gibsons, on the Sunshine Coast.  I'm in S.W. Oregon, but was visiting family in Seattle area, so breezing on up to B.C. sounded like a fun side trip.  I drove up from Seattle, into Canada, through Vancouver, and on to Horseshoe Bay, where I caught a ferry to the Sunshine Coast. That place, several small towns, is only reachable by ferry or air (I believe..).  It was not cheap for me to get to the Sunshine Coast. Everything was expensive (from my perspective).  Fuel, groceries, housing are all high cost. Understandably, since everything there has to arrive by ferry, including me and my car (which really costs a lot to bring on the ferry...) Where you are at is even farther on up than that. Not sure just how much farther, but it is remote. I understand. Only private boats (and they are certainly more expensive these days with fuel costs etc. as well...) venture out to your island.

 Moving anything is expensive. Coming or going. Any freight moving out (as trade items) faces the same prohibitive costs as freight coming in.  Apples, or fish, or anything else that can bring in money and livelyhood to the folks on your island will surely be costing much to move. If you hauled apples out of there to market, they'd be competing with the apples grown in the Okanagan or other more easily accessed fruit regions. Transportation costs will make that prohibitive. Same goes for anything that has to move out of where you are there on a freight type basis.

So, I think we're back to the same place I said before. You need to import rich people to make the planned community work.  Now, I did like Davisonh's idea of the artist's colony.  Those kind of folks would fit in with and attract the well-heeled kind of money folks you need, as well.

Frosty
#13 Posted : Monday, January 26, 2009 10:38:13 AM
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I, too, thought that the idea of an artists colony sounded like a possible great plan.  If you are trying to build the population a bit, I don't feel that attracting retiree's is the answer.  Seems to me that attracting a younger set would be more of a long term fix.  And if I understood the artist colony concept correctly, you would have a revolving door population coming and going.  That way if you don't like someone, you can at least know that soon they will go away 

Seriously, though, the space issue was my biggest drawback.  That and the fact that I really am glad that I don't have neighbors to see me run out the door in my bathrobe and mudboots to chase a wayward goose or loose horse... some of us are better left where nobody will see us!

Shirley in ND

jd
#14 Posted : Monday, January 26, 2009 8:15:48 PM
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Well, guys, I can't thank you all enough.  This is the kind of feedback I was hoping for.  It is all helpful.  Even if we choose to ignore some input, the topic got raised and we get to think it over again.  Honestly, this is a help.
Plus, I loved imagining Frosty in a housecoat chasing geese.
Because of Sarah's input, I am now thinking that we can use the school in the summer months to run an Óutdoor/Outward bound-type ESL school for foreign kids.  We have the facilities already.  Could make money while the sun shines. 
Add a few other thoughts, the artist colony concept, retirees and we may have a viable concept.
Please feel free to add more.  One of our 'planners' is keen to put all the sewage into a ginat composter and then use the compost for gardens.  Frankly, our temperatures inhibit good composting (at least year 'round) and so I am reluctant to even try.  Anyone know of a giant, community sized composter for sewage?  Also, dav-h spoke of using those óutside' fire/boiler/wood burner shed-things.  What do we think of them?  One thought was to run four nearby cottages from one of them..................make any sense?
Re the cost of things.  Yes, P-45, Canada is expensive (especially for Canadians).  We can't deduct our mortgages, even,  It costs morr to live her than say, Oregon, by at least 33% and, in many cases, you guys pay half what we do.  In fact, our gasoline is currently $3.70 an imperial gallon or comparable to $3.10 for an American gallon.  AND we are net exporters!!!??? 
"Why?  The answers are too long but basically it's too much power in too few hands. 
The good thing is Canadians tend to keep their gear in working order longer.  Going 'new' is not a habit.  The average house price for a modest three bedroom home in Vancouver is still over $500,000.  Our economy - rip-off that it is - doesn't fluctuate quite so madly as does yours.  And prices remain high as a result.  Put another way - we pay and pay and pay and that seems to be the way it is.  So we pay and get on with it.
 

Frosty
#15 Posted : Monday, January 26, 2009 11:21:32 PM
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jd wrote:
One of our 'planners' is keen to put all the sewage into a ginat composter and then use the compost for gardens.  Frankly, our temperatures inhibit good composting (at least year 'round) and so I am reluctant to even try.  
 

 
I am not sure of the ins and outs of using human waste for gardening, but I had to comment on the rest of that thought.  I threw some straw with frozen horse urine and manure on the compost pile.  Then we got a bit of snow, but when I walked by the compost pile about a week later that straw was no longer frozen.  It was melting the snow from the top of the pile and was steaming.  The temperature at the time was -20 F (-28 C).  With the proper ratio, I am thinking that it would compost just fine there. 
 
Shirley in ND
cmate
#16 Posted : Thursday, January 29, 2009 1:57:35 PM
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Hi JD, is your house pictured in the latest MEN edition, there are a bunch of your potential neighbours' homes pictured. Btw, No I wouldn't want to live that far from anywhere if I had to work to survive, however, if you have hunting & fishing & swimming etc, it could be a terrific Camp-type set up for hunting/fishing expeditions which are popular year-round, instead of permanent residences???
Farside
#17 Posted : Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:07:40 PM
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Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines as Cmate...

 

I would rather have seasonal 'temporary' residents and maintain a part of the solitary lifestyle... the lifestyle you moved out there for in the first place.

 

jd
#18 Posted : Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:21:46 PM
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No.  The PacWestCoast home pictured isn't ours.  But it is typical of the style.  And we have a slightly less rustic - more drywall - version.  Hope the pics come through.

And, thanks to Sarah, I have come up with an idea that should add viability to the village.  We already have a school.  I am going to rent it during the summer months and run and outdoor school for ESL students.  Or, better put, I am currently running the idea around the community to get the necessary support.  That kind of school would infuse cash into the community (via homestays) and generate some business/commerce (via the school and all the activities it generates) and it should benefit the school as well.  It is not a HUGE industry but it is likely just big enough to keep the place 'buzzing'. 

Thanks, Sarah, for making me think.
Sarah/Librum
#19 Posted : Friday, January 30, 2009 9:34:34 AM
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I made you do nothing!

But I did have an idea when I saw the pictures.  Thank you.  Beautiful. 

I have a few moments to unwind, to 'mental masturbate', as Majere called it. 

Looking at the pictures, I suspect you have a for-hire local water taxi service.  I also suspect it shuts down in winter due to ice.  Looking at the terrain, have you considered doing a helicopter one?   A la 'Alaska bush pilot'? 

If you were US, I would send you to Emmitsburg, Pennsylvania, with introductions.  The National Fire Academy is there.  They train volunteer fire spotter pilots, and train the technicians to maintain the specialized craft.  The school there is very pricey, but the students are sponsored by their native fire/police/EMS.  I think Canada has a simular school, nationally sponsored.

Airboats?  Like what they use in the Everglades?  Hovercraft?  On second thought cancel that, you would freeze to death.

The ESL, saturation method, is something we do.  By law we have to pass English competency tests.  Normally this is done in each enclave, but 'ringers' go to a special school.  The things that would concern me are: 1) Liabilities.  Huge for a school environment.  Even in our environment.  Step carefully and lightly on this issue.  2) Accreditation. 

Perhaps a 'summer camp' or 'retreat' concept, with ESL? 


 
On the compost idea, I know that Hutterites in southwest Canada use such a system, like a standard septic system but with vaults along the lines of the leech field.  They also use it for heat production for outbuildings/barns.  I do not know how it all works, but I know they have to have a 'starter' in each vault.  Think of yeast, but compost.  I also know that when used up, they are burned out.  The lines of the leech field are used to flush.  I hope that gives some ideas.

The first student is here to draw books for the classes.  Gotta go.

Sarah
davisonh
#20 Posted : Monday, February 02, 2009 4:05:56 AM
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 Sarah,sounds like the Hutterites are on to something,Ive had that thought in the past too to use waste decomposition heat as a heat source,though I know too there are many ways to approach this source.I was introduced last week at a meeting at work about some of the company sponsored work being done at Keene State College here in NH on brown scum as a source for biodiesel,a lab,refinery & distribution center are being built on the college grounds.Up here most heat with oil and now biodiesel(we burn a 5% mix now,was told I need to work on setting up our burners to do 50/50 next year and total WVO or AFO(animal fats/waste)oil in a couple of years.We use brown scum (waste that goes thru our bodies that can't be digested)from the local sewage treatment plant and are researching the many ways to convert to bio.So another approach to the septic tank,lol!
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