Sunday, July 24, 2011

Off-grid folks....your opinions please!

I posted this over on a forum I frequent but want to throw it out there for random readers here to opine on.

The Soldier and myself have thought long and hard about building plans and whatnot...and this one is attractive to us both (though in stick form since Soldier isn't hay bale friendly).

Now for the mass tied in solar system or small kits for each?  We're talking LED lights, possible radiant heat (do check that link...I'm really digging the system), the chest fridge and a small deep freeze for the kitchen and well pump will all be on electric via solar.  Range/stove and possibly a tankless water heater (still being debated) on propane.

So preach to me the pros and cons of small individual systems and/or on mass tied system.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Well then...

there's so much going on over here (EU) and over there (USofA) that it's mind boggling.  Where to begin with all the nonsense and craziness?  Nowhere, but I'll keep watching and digesting...wonder if there will be a sudden stop at the bottom of the slow spiral or if things will go on "as usual" with very little uproar from the general public.  Grumblings are one thing, true genuine displeasure is quite another.  Watching closely.

Plans and research on the homestead are moving along nicely, despite the HUGE amount of uncertainty we're facing here due to Soldier's back injury...are they going to keep him in, put him out, how long for the later to take place and if he stays in then for how long?  Craziness on a personal scale, but easy to handle if you just ride the waves and stay parallel to the shore...we'll wash up where we want to be eventually.  Which is all good...even better is that Soldier has come to the dark side, bwahahahahaha.

He wants full off grid (good thing since I think the nearest lines for anything near our property are a mile or more away), he's warming up to at least partial earth-berm and is practically giddy over the prospect of a real garden and livestock.  Oh and hunting...super excited over the hunting.  Men.

Alas, the spawn are demanding food (geez, don't the ever stop eating?) so the update is over...more later!

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's Just How I Feel....

don't know if it has to do with the land purchase, world issues (debt, stupidity, weather, etc.) or the fact that I finally got Tanker to go on board full on with the homestead...but that "panic" feeling has increased substantially the past few days.  That need to get started (on things not yet started) and moving along (on things that have) at a fast pace with ducking out and digging in.  Damn near full on jitters have set in.

The land purchase started out as a control thing (admitted)...wanted control over one thing with all the uncertainty swirling around Tanker's military career future.  I mean, they don't let ya know in the MSM (if you love that sort of stuff) all the trifling stuff that goes on at individual garrison/brigade/battalion/company levels; so the general public doesn't quite understand exactly HOW that 22,000+ troop cut from the Army works.  Think dirty politics folks and minimize it to a population of 12,000 with a command dead set on reducing numbers.  Who really cares if they're a good Soldier or not.  Things are being pulled out from a good number of Soldiers' pasts (things that punishment was served for, btw) and are being used to put them out.  Then you have Soldiers like Tanker, that do the right thing and don't get in trouble but get injured, that get screwed by the system repeatedly.  All the while, replacements are waiting in the wings, fresh faced and freshly trained...newbies to be sent off to far fetched lands.  But enough of that, it's not news to those in the know anyway...other than to say again, that's where the need to control one little thing came in:  hence the land purchase.

Now that it is done, the nagging bit of "let's get it started" has kicked in, even though I KNOW that we won't be able to even think of starting until Deutschland is a thing of the past (again)...right now, according to contract, that is a little under two years away....two LONG years.  Sigh.  I'm looking forward to those earned leave days that will let us spend time on the land, learning the lay of it better so we can truly start planning out the homestead.  Even though we have no idea when they might be allowed (if ever).  The bonus to being here though (I've lately realized) is that aside from the lack of the high temps we'll experience on the land, I can gather a lot of high altitude gardening tips from the locals.  The downside to that being that all that information will have to be notations in a book, not practical application, for some time.  Blah.

So I bide my time and begin building on the Homestead Library...thus far we've only acquired a couple of building books to add, but the wishlist is ever growing.  On the way now are this and this.  Those are for Tanker to thumb through so he can work on the final design.  We have a minimalist home plan already, it's just the integrating of other, more self-sufficient, elements that require tweaking of said design.  The outbuildings are all mine to tinker with.

Alas, the screamers are requiring attention....gotta work on that whole self-sufficient thing with them.  Later all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Land Ho!

It's official...we're taking the junk land owner plunge.  Nevada, watch out!

It took a little convincing, but I got Tanker to mull it over and look at the possibilities.  Never fear, it's all built into the budget...see, I was sneaky like that.  Debt free (at least Tanker will be, lol) and landowners (at last!) by this time next year.

I'm may be a good long time before we're actually on it but's a start, right?  Now to start reading up on gardening in that climate...ha!

Monday, July 11, 2011

As Promised....

the beginning of the debt redux saga in this house.  Now, we don't have a ton of debt (if you don't count the student loans...which we don't because those are setup as allotments from the pay and we never see that money anyway) but the debt we do have is nasty, ugly stuff that is from years of struggling with little pay and big monthly bills.  I know, I know...our choice.  But enough of that.

I decided last week that we'd do some serious cleaning of the credit reports.  One adult at a time.  We're starting with Soldier first, as he is the one making money and not me.  Plan is to have him debt free by next April on JUST the base pay that comes in minus our regular operating budget (the minor utilities we pay, groceries, insurance, counting COLA, BAH or any other extra).  Totally doable!

Sat down on Saturday and did a budget, then typed up letters to the creditors with payment plans and a mini-contract.  They go out this week and payments go out beginning the 1st.  Bi-monthly.  Of course, we likely won't have the signed contracts back by the 1st, but that's alright...they'll still have a payment on the way (with Signature confirmation and copies of all receipts being stored in their own little file here at home to PROVE that we have in fact started payments).  Once Soldier's credit is cleaned up and clear (in less than a year I might add...woot!), we'll start on mine.

The logic behind the "divide and conquer" here is that Soldier makes $$, I currently do not.  My credit score is currently higher than Soldier's is (don't ask how, I don't know).  So mine can take a couple more months of being kicked around, especially since there are no intentions of me attempting to get more credit during the pay-off party.

So, we are basically doing DIY debt consolidation (or counseling or whatever).  When the bug bit me, I googled (naturally) the above and came up with waaaaaaaaay too many websites...the one that mattered was this one, if you're interested.

The biggie for us (me rather, since the footwork/paperwork is all on me) was validating the debt.  See, I called the two that were bugging me the most and come to find out one of those two can't pinpoint where two-thirds of the supposed debt came from.  Yeah, $167 worth of debt that they can't tell me the origins of...just that it was "invoiced".  Okay, invoiced for what?  I ask.  No clue, they says, the invoice doesn't say.  Really?  Well then guess what...I only owe you the $37 that you have an invoice for that tells me what the $$ owed is for, until you can get me an invoice that says otherwise.  That hits the mail along with a validation/verification letter on the 15th that basically says "take this and consider the bill paid and the account closed".  Bet they come up with an invoice real quick 'cause you know and I know they won't be happy with that!

I'll let you know how it goes with the rest of the jokers...most will probably have no problem with it.  But I can already figure on who will give us crap...too bad for them.

Now, I'm off to tackle the kitchen that seems to have grown a mind of it's own and refuses to stay clean!  Adieu!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Holy Sweet Crewcuts!

Okay, that title has zero bearing on this post...just felt like putting it up there, ha!

Long time no writes...yeah, I know.  Never fear, I've not been hiding away in a hole forgetting everyone (some of you will notice more than one "German" visitor to the blogs), just been embroiled in a battle of wits and words with the Soldier's "higher ups" due to Soldier being injured and kept downrange for un-godly and unnecessary amount of time.  I can point you direct to a little bit o' guberment waste in how his stuff was and has been handled but let's just say things are finally moving along as they should be and Soldier is doing better with PROPER treatment (ie not being made to do things he physically shouldn't be or can't be doing or being told by "leadership" that he's a fake and/or shamming).

At any rate, now that things are slightly more settled (for now) around here I can get back to this little chunk of web.

Topic jump!  Comparisons:  Food prep amounts here compared to food prep amounts in the States...lower.  Not that we scrape for meals, just that there isn't 6 months plus stored up right now.  Reason being that frankly if TSHTF here, it won't matter the amount of foodstuffs stored.  Things go super south, we'll just have to play it by ear.  That big green fence "separating" us from our German neighbors won't be enough of a deterrent to truly guarantee that we'd be squatting in spot.  Worse comes to worse, my bad German (speaking is bad, understanding is just fine) would come into play during a melt into the country kind of scenario (hence the brushing up).

Comparison #2:  Smaller car here means smaller kit for the car.  No more big tote in the the essentials are packed in a small basket like tote that the Europeans love to pack to and from the shops.  Enough to get us through a day stuck more, no less.  In winter there are extra emergency blankets, water, snacks and the whatnot tossed in, as well as a real live quilt.  Thinking on tossing in the old tent to just have back there year is 10yrs old, used and wasn't well taken care of by it's previous owners.  A breakdown is inevitable, so a tent to pitch isn't a bad thing I guess.  It's not being used for anything other than taking up space in a closet right now anyway.

Topic jump again...sorta.  While I love it here (Germany, not this particular duty station...this exact spot kinda sucks, just sayin'), I'm looking forward to the next duty station (as of yet undetermined).  We're debating the pros and cons of each offering, while the Soldier looks to change his MOS (isn't call for Tankers when tanks aren't being used after all).  I'm personally all for Lewis-McChord....Soldier is undecided.  We shall see.

Now, onto adieu for the time being...working on debt reduction (whole 'nother post) and my time off is out!
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. --Edmund Burke