The Catalyst Cabin. Well, will be soon…
Modern: based on or using the newest information, methods, or technology.
Home: a place where something normally or naturally lives or is located.
Stead: the place, position, or function, properly or customarily occupied by another.
So a Modern homestead is a place that uses the newest methods of technology on a property with a home and a stead for others.
When my recent Volga German ancestors settled here in Kansas in 1880ish they were modern homesteaders just as I am today. They had living space on two pieces of the property, and they used the most modern technology of the time. Though many things have changed since then, homesteading is not self-sustainability and that is still the case.
The only way to be self sustainable is to literally create all that you use. No one on earth, not even the t-shirt wearing tribes of the Amazon make everything they use anymore. Those days are gone.
As a strong advocate for Resource Based Economics in the future, people wonder why I have such a passion for living simple. The easy answer is that my personality would never allow me to live in a Fresco designed city, I would go crazy. But no one who understands the concept of the RBE actually thinks anyone will be forced to do anything, let alone live in a circle city.
I love efficiency, fabrication, growing food and medicine, challenges, nature, and being creative. And there is no place like a homestead to feed those passions.
Recently, the opportunity to acquire a 16’x22′ garage at a minimal cost came my way, and desiring another living space on the property for some time now, I have devised a plan to see this through earlier than I expected.
In the spring of 2015, I built some raised beds on an old foundation in order to utilize and beautify the slab. The dirt that I had delivered for the project ended up being laced with poisons and my tomatoes told the story with their classically curved leaf tips. My intention after discovering this problem was to continue growing in it thus bio-remediate the soil.
However, once the building became a reality I quickly dismantled the entire setup. Not very efficient in the micro view, but the amount of money and resources saved by reusing this old foundation makes up for it by a long ways in the macro.
The existing foundation and slab is 14×24, with 30″ deep footing with stem walls. That is something like… a lot of extra digging and yards of concrete that are already in place for me.
Here we are facing South. You can see the existing slab and the new form ready for fiberglass reinforced concrete. Where the peach trees are located is where a set of french doors will exit into the beautiful poly-cultured gardens.
Here we see how the new Cabin will sit in relation to the original home and garage. The Cabin will have a large roofed porch on the front/North side that will connect to the garage and provide a covered breeze way.
Here we see 6″x6″ wire mesh for he cantilevered West side which is also pinned to the existing slab via re-bar. Also visible to the left is a two stage, four line in-floor heating system using 1/2″ pex. The center pipes are electric coming in from the pole, and out to the garage. And the far right standing white pipe is the main 3/4″ pex water line; if you follow this line down to the yellow insulation you can see the drain for the kitchen sink.
Here we see that I had to break through the original footing to a depth of 30.” This was done so the waste line can’t freeze and because the vent stack needed to come straight up through that section of the stem wall. So we see the vent stack and clean-out, toilet and shower drain here. Also note the extra precaution taken around the old stem wall with wire mesh to give a long-lasting edge to the new slab.
Not shown in this picture is the 1 1/2″ tubing that brings over the 12v electric from the house solar system. And note that the in floor heating will not be optimum because of the expense it would require to fasten the line in 6″ loops. The way it sits it cost 40 dollars, if done the ‘right’ way it would be a thousand dollars. I intend on hooking this up to a solar water heater, so it is a matter of supplemental heat in the winter, and I can run cold water through it in the summer months.
This cabin will be a greenhouse, man cave, winter home, guest home, summer and canning kitchen, and an example of a very efficient yet modernly equipped tiny house.
I can also see living in one of the homes full-time while I draw a rental income from the other, or maybe advertise the place just rent it for a night at a time to passerby’s. Another huge part of modern homesteading is living cheaply. The less money we need to live, is the more time we have to live. The less money we need to live, is the more money we have for ‘living.’
There is much more to say on this project, but I will keep you filled in as it proceeds. The concrete will be poured by Nov 5, 2015, and I will haul the garage the 10 miles to my home just after. Good times!
Whats that? Loser – Beck