Little shack on 14 acres - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Little shack on 14 acres

We bought this little place with a very old log cabin with no electric, water or septic. Prior owner used wood stove and outhouse. Must have brought water in with him. So we wanted to add utilities and an addition. Found out two closest neighbors will not give use right of way for electricity ( underground at our expense).

Several amish close by. One I've spoken to four times already. So we're thinking propane heat, propane stove, propane refrigerator and propane lights. Composting toilet. Generator for supplemental power source. Amish say they can do a well without electricity too. Maybe solar.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 07:04 AM
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Good Luck

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 07:15 AM
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Get a diesel generator take the muffler off and run that for awhile they will probably see it your way soon
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 07:25 AM
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My wife's family has a state forest lease camp with a hand-pump well and propane lighting, stove and refrigerator. We also take a small generator for minor electric use while there. It works out no problem, and actually IMHO, adds to the experience of going to that camp. Everything in life is what you make of it. Best of luck.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 08:11 AM
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A composting toilet is a good solution for an inside bathroom. We utilize a Nature's head branded toilet that has worked for the most part flawlessly so far. The only hiccups we have had were our own fault and trying to figure out the right mixture of the material. These are perfect for off grid cabins because you can run the vent fan off of a 12 volt battery and it uses next to none electricity at all. Also, I would utilize a wood stove. Your 14 acres, if all wooded, should provide you with plenty of wood for years to come as long as you harvest what you need when you need it and do proactive land management.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleGobble View Post
So we're thinking propane heat, propane stove, propane refrigerator and propane lights. Composting toilet. Generator for supplemental power source.
Dont have much choice from the sounds of it. Stove is a graigslist thing, Propane ones are hard to come by, fridge is a amish purchase ( Im sure they will give you a deal), new if you can. Solar for lighting. Lots of info by researching off grid living.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 09:18 PM
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Well. Lots of subjects to cover. First you have to consider how often you are using it and what is your priorities. If just using for recreational use, you can be surprised what you can do without. Now if you are staying for weeks at a time, you may want to improve upon some of the things below. Another thing is what you can afford to update. Whatever you do, I would suggest doing it right.

A few questions.

1. Is the current wood stove usable?
2. Is the current outhouse usuable?

If they are then I would use those while I updated some other things.

For electric, I have a 2000 KW inverter generator that I can take to camp, but I seldom take it unless I am working on something and need power tools. For a while we got by with some LED lanterns and we just recently installed a small solar setup with marine battery.

We don't use a refrigerator, but instead we have a couple of RTIC coolers. I have been looking for a propane refrigerator, but those suckers are expensive. Honestly the coolers aren't that big of a pain.

We did purchase a used gas stove that we converted to propane. It works great.

Propane lights work well from what I have heard, but they do give off heat which can be an issue in the summer. They also make me a bit nervous.

If you go with propane heat make sure to go with a vented heater and not a ventless. Ventless shouldn't be installed in sleeping quarters. I would still keep the wood stove as a camp just needs a wood stove. We have both a direct vent propane heater and a wood stove.

We carry water in with us. Not really too bad. We have a surflo 12v pump to run to the sink and shower. Showers are military type and water is heated on the stove. The 5 of us can shower on about 10-11 gallons of water. You can get those blue containers to haul it in. We have a place about 5 minutes away from camp where we can refill them.

Post up some pics of the place. We love pics!
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 09:45 PM
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When my family had a camp years ago we enjoyed the "roughing it" aspects. We had a propane stove and heater, although the heater was rarely used and was more for extreme cold/emergency use. We had a franklin wood stove that provided most of the heat, and we all enjoyed sitting around the fire. We had an outhouse, although I could certainly understand the benefits of an indoor compost toilet. Food was kept in coolers. Water was brought in, there was a spring less than 1/4 mile away. We either brought gallon water jugs for drinking or boiled the spring water. Showers were outdoors with water heated on the stove. Propane lanterns were main light source. Someone would rent/borrow a generator if we needed to run power tools. Granted we never spent LONG periods. Usually only 2-4 days at a time.

If I had it to do over again, with today's modern technology I think it would be much more habitable(not that it wasn't). The only additions that I would make today to our set up would be to rig up some sort of indoor, hot water, propane shower system, and perhaps an indoor composting toilet. It sucks having to shower outside or go to the outhouse when it's cold out.
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Last edited by Marcus99; 01-10-2018 at 09:48 PM.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 09:48 PM
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We had two camps with no electricity or running water. Did fine for over 30 years.
1. Fridge. We had a couple old Servels which worked Ok but when Servel offered $100 to people who could show proof they junked them, we sprung for a new Consol. Worked great! I think it ran about a grand but that was ten or so years ago. I could fire the thing up and have ice cubes in a few hours.

2. Lights. We replaced all the old Humphreys with the new Mid State low pressure jobs. Much, much brighter and adjustable. We also had an oak end table with a gas light built into it. It ran off a 20 lb tank which was stowed in the table. Very bright, adjustable, and nice for sitting on the couch to read.

3. Heat. We used one of the wall mounted unvented gas heaters. Worked great!

4. We had a 15 gallon water container and had a Coleman hot water on demand system for a long time and later replaced it with one called the Aqua Cube. It give you hot water for dishes and includes a shower head, We'd run the shower hose out the kitchen window and do outdoor showers.

The big downside to all gas, in my opinion, is that gas lights give off a lot of heat which is uncomfortable in the summertime.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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The woodstove that is there is a small old stove which I will keep and use but my wife won't build a fire if I'm not there so propane is a good second source and we will go vented. And the outhouse is fine for guys but I don't see wife and daughters (adult) liking that much. So composting toilet sounds good.

We believe the original 15x17 log structure is probably 150+ years old. Our plan is to add on the back and maintaining as much of the original cabin as possible.

Propane refrigerator is very expensive. But we are looking at frequent use throughout the year and may go that route.

I will try to post pictures soon. Very unique place.
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