Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Ha! But I love my town; it's just that my neighbors love to spend taxpayer money on things like hiring consultants to write reports we don't read.

And it's shower every other day; I'm not yet to the point where the whole family bathes once a week in the same tub of water. Someday, perhaps. Ooh, with water from rain collection barrels, and heated by the sun. Baby steps.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I've never looked too deeply into solar power, and I've got no baseline understanding of how electricity works; but this kind of stuff just blows my mind: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/28/jacke ... ssentials/. Is it really the case that if you can live without a fridge or AC, and you just wanted to be able to charge up a computer and a cell phone, and run some reading lights, you could get all of your power supplied by a couple small portable solar panels and power station? (provided you have sunlight, of course)

So: rain catchment system with water purifier for all of your water needs; power supplied by portable solar and power station; composting or arborloo toilet; heat and cooking fuel provided by wood and/or propane; food from veggie garden, chickens, and bulk rice, beans, etc. I know that's not necessarily "easy"; but seems like it's a helluva lot easier than spending 40+ hours sitting in an office for 50 weeks/year, for 30-50 years.

jacob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob »

Yes. The leading expense for this is the battery bank which does not last forever.

https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2016/05 ... tment.html

classical_Liberal
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Plus the infrastructure in place to manufacture and distribute the solar panels, batteries, water filters, and propane at low enough prices. And the people to grow, process, and distribute the rice and beans at a low price. Plus enough land for everyone to do the same.

It's interesting when you put it that way, because you can also see the appeal of the reverse, and how we got ourselves in such a mess. IOW only having to work 5 hours a week for cash to pay for food at low prices delivered to your community store vs farming all your own food.

The problem is that an ideal is somewhere in between subsistence farming and what we have today with rampant consumerism. Humans don't like to do anything small.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Or you can use variation on this:

https://www.rei.com/product/163885/bio ... 0009885104

I found it pretty easy while off grid to keep my all electronic devices charged including my small portable battery bank with my small portable foldable solar panel. I think I spent maybe $150 max for it, and a good part of the expense was due to the compact portability.

Head tax and building codes are most likely to ruin self-sufficiency plans.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

@7w5: Is that stove sort of a similar design to what @ffj built awhile back?

Also, what do you mean by head tax? Google didn't help me out on that one.

And I should note I'm pretty sure I'd be violating either our HOA rules or some county ordinance by setting up a rain catchment system on my back patio and by sticking portable solar panels out there. But, it's also against our HOA rules to run a clothesline on my back patio, but I do it anyway because I've got a good relationship with my neighbors on both sides (even the "spying" one), and no one else would be able to see what's going on back there. Same would apply for the solar or rain catchment.

Quadalupe
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Quadalupe »

Just dropping in to say I have immensely enjoyed your posts the last few weeks/months. Your journey and renewed focus is quite inspirational!

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

jacob wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:59 pm
Yes. The leading expense for this is the battery bank which does not last forever.

https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2016/05 ... tment.html
Am I understanding correctly that the home office system that guy set up generated half as much power as the two Jackery solar panels do (50W vs, 100W), and that he was using lead acid batteries for energy storage that resulted in ~150Wh of storage vs. 1,002Wh with the Jackery lithium-ion battery?

7Wannabe5
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Hristo:

Head tax is minimum expense that would allow you to exist as a human within some domain/jurisdiction/zip code. You could maybe kind of split the difference between maximum legal occupation of least expensive residence and cost of ticket for vagrancy. Used to mean what the King flat taxed per capita.

IME, average time until busted for code violation has large variance. Getting along with your neighbors and privacy barriers are helpful. Lack of privacy is why I got busted so fast on my vacant lot camper scheme. Also civil servant rolling around with nothing better to do.

For instance, do you think you could get away with keeping a goat ?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

@7w5: You're always operating a few levels above me, for sure, as I find I have to rely on Google/Wikipedia to understand a lot of what you're saying. E.g., took me about 30 seconds to realize that "IME" didn't mean "Independent Medical Exam."

DW and I are certainly trying to work towards "maximum legal occupation of least expensive residence." We live in a town where the median home price is something north of $500K, and we used to live in one that was about $650K. Now, we're in a house that's just above $300K, with 4 people in 2.5 bedrooms and 1,300 sq. ft., which is perfectly located walking distance from nearly everything, with park-like green spaces and no thru-traffic, which means the kids can run around for hours in the neighborhood unsupervised. It's very appealing to me to be able to grow some not insignificant percentage of our family's food in containers on our back patio and in a couple plots in the neighborhood garden. And even more appealing the idea that we might be able to get some percentage of our electricity from a source other than the power company; and some percentage of our water from a source other than the county (both the power company and the county's water department are notoriously corrupt) E.g., I've enjoyed the fact that the past few days we've not had the heater on once, despite it being pretty chilly, because we're using wood I bought from a friend who got it from a tree company that got it from my neighbors who'd had trees fall down in their yards.

Certainly it helps that we've got a legit hippy living on one side of us, who is even more of an "ask for forgiveness, not for permission" type than I am; and also "friends" on the other side who we've known for 5+ years on the other side. And then throw in a 6' privacy fence and we've got some capacity to be a bit rebellious. That said, I don't think I'll be installing a composting toilet on our back patio any time soon; and DW would never go for one in the house. BUT, I do see it in my future that I might plant some fruit trees around the neighborhood under the cover of darkness.

Anyway, what I like about this portable power station thing is: it's no big deal if I get "caught" with portable solar panels set up on my own patio--there's no fine; and there's nothing to take down.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Ha! No for the goats. But I'd be lying if I said I haven't looked up the feasibility of back patio chickens (answer: not feasible).

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Quadalupe wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:07 pm
Just dropping in to say I have immensely enjoyed your posts the last few weeks/months. Your journey and renewed focus is quite inspirational!
Thanks Quadalupe. Though you could have said instead "Your journey has proven to be much needed comic relief" and I wouldn't have taken offense.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Guerilla gardening rules! You could try meat rabbits in your basement as described in “Possum Living.”

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

@7w5: I think the Peace Corps ruined me on rabbits for meat forever. That said, I might run for the HOA board only to add a community chicken coop to the community garden (well, and also to shut up all the kidless curmudgeons who are always sending passive aggressive emails that basically boil down to: we don't like the fact that there are children living in our community--these are probably the same people who complain about babies crying during a CATHOLIC Mass.)

7Wannabe5
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Lol- If you are considering different places to live in the future, a few years ago I attended a musical event at a Catholic Church in the Upper Peninsula, and was amazed to see many very large families of children, like when I was a half-Catholic child in the 60s/70s.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I don’t know much, but I do know that if I’m searching for bagpipe medleys on YouTube, I’ve probably had too much whiskey

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:26 am
I don’t know much, but I do know that if I’m searching for bagpipe medleys on YouTube, I’ve probably had too much whiskey
Thank you - this made me laugh. Here are a few other options in a similar vein that I go to when I have a heavy hand with the whiskey ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuHQuipOO1w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVY8LoM47xI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghxweF1WuZ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MDG3pWK5CY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o968Yz0TPDU

Happy holidays!

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Per this morning's paper the S&P 500 is at an all time high, so I checked the old FIRE spreadsheet and see that we are up ~$50K in NW for the month, and that's after accounting for the fact that we've largely stopped putting new money in the stock market. This s@%# is bananas.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Another week in which I got in 3 runs, 5 miles each, and my pace is improving. Also another week where I only showered 4 times, and did camper showers when I did. The every other day showering is definitely becoming habit. Also continuing to limit toilet flushes.

After months of trying to find someone to repair my back patio fence, yesterday I just did it myself. It’s not pretty, but it’s better than it was and my neighbor is happy, as she asked if I’d come over to her patio and repair her side as well, which I did.

Was able to get the family down to one dryer load for the week (3x washer loads), which is probably the best I can realistically expect to do for now.

Still have work to do on the rice/beans/veggies meal plan. The issue is the kids and the work/school/soccer/showers/homework/chores logistics. DW and I could just throw together something for ourselves each lunch/dinner based on whatever we have in the kitchen, but we need a plan for the kids, and planning meals ahead means running to the grocery store for ingredients.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ThriftyRob »

Good progress! WIth rice/beans/veggies, have you thought about batch cooking and freezing ahead for the week? You could take a container out of the freezer each day and let it thaw out in the fridge for that day's dinner. We tend to make veggie soups for lunch, which works well for us.

Kids often resist change, so making things like veggie bean burgers which you can give them in a bun with salad, etc could be the gateway. We found veggie chillis and pasta sauce a great way to convert ours. Also, tacos, burritos and quesadilla are great options for slipping more veggies/rice into kids' diets.

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