Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Economic Options And Future Contingencies
Riffing off of Fabbersmith's thoughts, courtesy of WRSA
Suppose you wanted to set up your own (machine shop, ham shack, gunsmithy, etc.), out of sight and so on, what would you do?
My reply turned into a post-length stream of consciousness:
The gutted RV idea is genius.
FWIW, Hollyweird productions are essentially a caravan of bobtail trucks, and multiple departments are precisely the makerspace set-up you're envisioning, with full construction shops and machine shops set up to go anywhere on location. A boxvan and occasional cash work as a handyman/jack-of-all-trades is all the cover anyone needs. That also explains a towed genny.
As for range/no range, don't overlook the ability to trench and drop in box or pipe culvert in suitable sizes and lengths, and bury the whole thing literally underground. They're designed to hold up interstates, so all you have to add is the line end and the target end. How much is between the two is a question of desire, plus available funds and space.
The makerspace could be handled the same way, directly adjacent, provided you aren't in a flood plain and don't have a high water table.
Couple either or both to solar, wind, or microhydro power supply as available, and you can hide the entire thing in plain sight on a few acres of anywhere. You now have a quiet, invisible year-around 55-degree giant root cellar you could light with LEDs, heat minimally with radiant electric etc., and ventilate with simple push and pull fans. Hydropowered would be completely unseen, wind or solar-powered minimally noted.
That's grid-free; obviously tying into the grid with an outbuilding subpanel, and/or a couple of carbon-fueled gensets for surge capacity is always an option.
If one is willing to make haste slowly, the whole thing could be built inside and under a temporary pole barn during construction, and once things are set in and covered over, the building removed and returned to pasture, corral, or scrub. >Poof!< All gone, except for a discreet entrance and an alternate exit.
Over time, a full-on mini-cluster is possible, with nothing visible from outside or above but perhaps some solar panels and such.
I'd also give some serious thought to the Disneyland approach to privacy, over time:
trenching around a property line, berming up the removed soil inside the trench line, and planting it in something not likely to be climbed through (e.g thorny berries, or wild cactus out west) solves basic privacy problems and adds a measure of sight and noise security for day-to-day activities, and the potential for additional food supply. It can also be used to canalize visitors, both expected and unexpected.
Whether one elects to burrow into or emplace structures within such a berm for other considerations is entirely a personal decision, but a few seasons after it's emplaced, it grows into being part of the landscape, exactly like French hedgerows. In flat lands it gives the property owner additional elevation for observation, while denying it to ground level viewers outside, and provides a line to plant trees for a windbreak, which can provide wood fuel and food, all of which looks completely pastoral, agricultural, and innocuous.
All of the above can also provide a modest (or more) hobby farm operation, which can pay for itself and provide additional explanatory cover. The number of suburban and urban farmer's markets grow annually, which gives one a reason for transient pass-through of personnel, daily visitors, and weekly trips to market and such.
One property, time and forethought, plus a lot of sweat equity, and you've re-created the infrastructure sufficient to feed you, shelter you, and form the nucleus of a local auxiliary economy for yourself and any number of good, thoughtful, rational contingency reasons. That's true both now and in any number of possible future societies, good and ill.
There's a reason that the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence and the majority of those who tagged along were all merchants, tradesmen, and professional men: money is the mother's milk of every other worthwhile human endeavor, from art to charity to politics to war. Income = possibilities. The more streams that feed it, the bigger the ocean of one's options. That's just as true right now as it was in 1770 or any other time in history, and may become important again rather urgently.