Tag: transition

Bureaucracy Run Amok: More address problems

Another story of Bureaucratic Red Tape gone berserk, I tried to get my license transferred from Ohio to Tennessee. The nearest Drivers License Center is 56 minutes away that can handle out-of-state license transfers. The clerk was very kind and I lay zero blame at his feet. If I had not needed to transfer a CDL license, I could have gotten it done today.

Because we live off-grid, we have zero utilities. So I cannot use a utility bill as a form of address verification. I cannot open a bank account with my new address until I have a driver’s license. I cannot use a cell phone bill as a utility. I cannot use forwarded mail envelopes to show proof of mail delivery. I cannot use a rental agreement on a shed on the property as proof. The only things I had were a change of address letter from the post office, and a mortgage statement that we had managed to get changed to the new address.

There are only two options open to me at this point. I could bring a vehicle title in with the new address, which I cannot do easily because both vehicles are in James’ name and would require a trip for both of us to Ohio to add my name to the title. The other is to apply for a voter registration card and wait for it to be mailed to me. I was told to go to the post office but… our post office “doesn’t do that.” I will have to make a 25 minute trip to the Benton County Election Commission. I tried the online option but because I do not have a signature on record in Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security office, that is not an option for me. I can of course print and mail an application in, but at this point, I’d rather not take the chance of Murphy poking me in the eye any further.

Again, if I had not needed my CDL, they would have been able to sort me out today as the list of required documents is less stringent for a regular license. I think I’ll have to gather up all of these little tidbits and turn it into a heads-up for other folks looking to move state to Tennessee.

Stay tuned to see how transfers finish out for me and see how James’ go with a Permanent Resident card.

We’ve Got Mail!

While the post office started delivering the odd junk mail a week or so ago, we’ve just been added to the online database and can now start receiving packages through other shipping methods. We’re still waiting on our mail forwarding to kick in, but I imagine it won’t be long now.

With the mail sorted, James has finally been able to order the next equipment we need for the solar expansion and we’ll have some new videos to make once that gets here.

Earthquake 301cc Woodchipper/Shredder

In the meantime, we’ve picked up a wood chipper/leaf shredder and an auger for digging post holes. We have also gotten some insulation to start getting the shed prepped to become a temperature controlled area to work in. I’ll be taking out some saplings and branches and stacking them for a chipping run, while making space for the ShelterLogic barn so we can get that set up. The auger will be used to get the posts installed for the compost bin and shelter, and the gate for the driveway.

I’m relieved to be able to get back to work!

Waiting…

Slow as the speed of government…

I’ve been hoping to get on to the next project but we’ve been stymied by the slow and ponderous rate of government. This time, the local post office.

It seems that the process of getting mail at a brand new address has multiple steps that are not known to the general public. First, you have to contact the local 911 office for your county to be provided an address. In Benton county, TN, you have to do it by snail mail because they do not want to field phone calls. You must wait several weeks before calling to check on the status of your address. If you’re not watching the junk file of the email address you provide, you may well miss the email they send and it will be eaten by the auto-delete in the junk folder. (whoops)

Once you have said address, you must visit your local post office, preferably with a print out of the email from the 911 address, or else the post office will need to make calls to confirm. You then fill out a change of address form as normal and then… wait some more.

The address must be inspected by the postal carrier of the route you will be on and by the postmaster of that office. No, they didn’t ride together to expedite the process. We are still waiting on the postmaster to approve the mailbox at the address so they can sign off on it.

From there, we are told, the process should take a couple of days for the data to finally be verified in the computer system for online address lookup. At THAT point, we can start directing mail and packages to our address, change our address on our various bank and store accounts, and begin the process of getting our drivers licenses and plates transferred.

Why do we have to wait to start changing those addresses? Because their systems have been built to verify addresses with the USPS database and will simply say that they can’t find an address to ship to. Handwritten addresses will be held at the post office, so we at least have that going for us.

We are currently waiting for an auger to be shipped-to-store so we can get started on the next few builds. In the meantime, we wanted to share our experience so that if you ever decide to build on raw land and need a new address for a home or business, you had some idea of the hoops you’ll need to jump through.

Building a Compost Bin

Today, I worked on some project materials lists for our next few trips to the lumber store and listened to podcasts while I worked. Had a couple of good phone calls with my boys back in Ohio. This evening, I measured out a spot for our compost bin and scratched out a footprint for the first third of the final project. I’ve got a lot of tree roots to cut through and digging to get the spot level but the manual labor felt good.

Off Grid in Tennessee

We made it! Last week, we hauled our 5th wheel RV down to our property in Tennessee, dropped it off, returned to Ohio, loaded up our utility trailer and truck with gear, and returned to Tennessee.

We’ve now established solar power with a gasoline generator for backup, water storage via IBC totes and a 12v transfer pump, and installed a mailbox and registered for mail service. We’ve done laundry off grid, have a storage shed coming in a few days, and sorted out where to take our garbage.

Our next projects include building a second solar array and running it parallel to the other series, setting up a composting site, installing an access gate, and building out the shed as a mechanical room for the solar equipment as well as storage.

We also made some new friends at the Self Reliance Festival in Camden, Tennessee!

Not bad for week one.

Check out our videos on YouTube and you can see some of our progress: https://www.youtube.com/user/dfvalkyrie/playlists

Getting ready for Phase Two

Loading has begun

Prepping for Phase Two is hitting a fevered pace.

The water totes have been power washed, sanitized, and loaded. The grill has been sandwiched between totes for stability. The RV has had some much-needed maintenance and repairs, as well as some spit and polish. Tools have been sorted and boxed. Books have been sorted and boxed. Water, toilet, and power have been accounted for.

I have left my job here in Ohio for the final push on packing and loading, as well as some home maintenance on the Ohio property. We’re also prepping the kids for their duties in taking care of things while we’re gone. I have faith in their ability to do what needs done, but I’d like to make it as painless as possible.

The adventure is imminent. I am both excited and worried about forgetting things. Oh well. Sally forth!

Culvert and 911 Address

We have set things in motion with the county seat to get ready for the driveway installation. In Benton County, they have a 911 address form to be filled out and mailed in and the Transportation department installs the culvert for you once you purchase the prescribed size. We expect that these should be completed mid to late July, in time for the driveway installation.

In the meantime, we will be working on getting the RV ready to move. It has sat in the same place for a few years now and I’m sure it has issues that will need to be addressed. If anyone knows an RV tech near Cincinnati, Ohio, feel free to reach out.

Property Progress: May/June 2022

We had a property visit from Nick Ferguson and he helped us locate the best spot for our driveway based on our desired homesite. He also helped us site some other important infrastructure on the property once other things are in place, but his visit led us to the place where we could engage someone to break ground for us.

We have scheduled a highly recommended excavation expert to start removing trees and cut out our driveway and homesite. He breaks ground for us in August. From there, we can start moving things down to the property and begin making it livable.

Now that we have at least the beginning to a timeline and concrete knowledge on the terrain, we can begin updating our Transition posts with more details.

Stay tuned!

Sector Analysis

Permaculture Design uses sector analysis to identify incoming energies and plan solutions to mitigate, channel, or allow those energies in easier. As we do not yet have a property to analyze, I am writing this as a placeholder and I will fill in the information later.

Energies to Consider

  • Sun
    • Summer sun angle
    • Winter sun angle
      • Shade trees
      • Awnings, roof overhang, and shade structures
      • Solar panels
      • Solar ovens and dehydrators
      • Solar water heater
  • Wind
    • Hot summer wind
    • Cold winter wind
      • Windbreaks
      • Wind turbines
  • Water
    • Springs
    • Streams
    • Flood prone areas
      • Swales and keyline to redirect water
      • water turbines
      • ram pump
      • ponds
  • Unwanted views or noise pollution
    • Can be blocked with mounds, plantings, or structures
  • Fire danger zone
    • Mitigate with firebreaks

Slope

Slope can be a battery of potential energy when used correctly or a daily fight if not considered.

  • Water
    • Storing water uphill builds water pressure and makes delivering water easier.
  • Materials
    • Siting your production area uphill from your delivery area makes delivering easier.
  • Heat
    • Trees will warm cold air moving down a hill and a pond below will release heat to areas above it.
  • Erosion control
    • Water travelling straight down will erode your land fast. Build roads, paths, and fences along contour when possible
  • Fire control
    • Keep structures off of ridges, or the lee of a hill. Instead, site the building on a plateau to break the wind channel
  • Aspect (sun facing)
    • Site your elements that need sunlight on the south-facing side of any slope. (South-east is my preferred side)

Permaculture Zoning

Permaculture design uses the tool of zoning to reduce labor and increase efficiency of our time, effort, and money inputs. At this moment, I am planning in which zones I believe our infrastructure will need to live to be convenient and save money. Once we have a property, we can start drawing out zone maps and make sure that outputs and inputs compliment each other. This will be a living document and updated as things progress. (Last update: 01/10/22)

Zone #Basic Parameters: Time (T) = frequency (f) x duration (d)
0Nexus of human activity, typically a dwelling
1As close to 0 as possible, T is characterized by high f and d
2The next distance out, T is characterized by moderate f and d
3Distance from 0 is a major factor, though T input can vary. E.g.: high f but low d
4 Distance from 0 may be a major factor. E.g.: very low f but high d
5A wild zone where human intervention is ideally zero. T input varies widely.
Reference for table: https://www.permaculturenews.org/2015/12/11/permaculture-zones-of-use-a-primer/
  • Zone 0: The family dwelling/s.
    • Input
      • Water
      • Food
      • Electricity
      • Stuff
      • Climate control
    • Output
      • Rain catchment
      • Grey water
      • Manure
      • Food scraps
      • Shredded Paper
      • Cardboard
      • Garbage
  • Zone 1: Deck, porch, kitchen garden, pathways to other areas, barn, greenhouse, cold frames, potting shed, root cellar, worm farm, rain barrels, firewood storage, workshops and sheds, in-ground garden
    • Input
      • Water
      • Electricity
      • Sunshine
      • Rain
      • Planting
      • Maintenance
      • Fertility
    • Output
      • Herbs
      • Rain catchment
      • Grill space
      • Leisure
      • Storage
      • Fertility
  • Zone 2: Perennials, long term annuals, compost bins, beehives, ponds, poultry housing, farrowing area, ram base alpha, goat milking area
    • Input
      • Water
      • Feed
      • Minerals
      • Bedding
    • Output
      • Rain catchment
      • Eggs
      • Milk
      • Meat
      • Manure
  • Zone 3: Orchard, management intensive grazing, animal tractors, dams for irrigation and animal water
    • Input
      • Fertility
      • Maintenance on fence and structures
      • Planting
      • Pruning
      • Daily Rotation
      • Water
      • Occasional Mowing
    • Output
      • Fruit
      • Nuts
      • Meat
      • Milk
      • Pasture
  • Zone 4: Managed woodlot
    • Input
      • Planting
      • Pruning
    • Output
      • Wood
      • Fuel
      • Forage
      • Bedding
  • Zone 5: Wild zones we simply enjoy.
    • Input
      • Watch for diseases
    • Output
      • Beauty