History of a Doomsteader

Guest article off the keyboard of BC2K

Published inside the Diner on May 29, 2013

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

Note from RE: Doomsteading is nothing NEW, Doomers have been around for years, going AT LEAST as far back as the 70s when Tricky Dick Nixon shut the Gold Window and spots like The Farm in Tennessee were set up by Hippies migrating from the streets of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

Much to learn from the Old Time Doomers, a few of whom still survive on their Doomsteads built way back when. Such a Veteran Doomer is BC2K, who recently joined the Diner and who gave us a bit of his History today, along with plenty of cool pics to document the building of his Doomstead. Lessons for all in this one.


Now from BC2K

Good point. I don’t know many who are as well prepared as you are. Most of us are living in two worlds…the regular world with iPhones and SUV’s…and, at the same time, trying to work on whatever vision we have to survive a true collapse.

I was wondering how long it took you to build your own retreat, BC2K…did you move onto the land immediately when you got it? Did you save a lot of money to enable you to retire young? Did you/do you do work “outside” the work you do on your homestead?

I’m worried about the “withdrawal syndrome” effects on those in that mainstream world. On top of having to figure out where the next meal, heat and light, rent/mortgage payments are going to come from.

I saved up about $15K back then in ’75 and had an old schoolbus camper coming from Arizona with a jeep in tow. I wanted to be more than a tank of gas from the next big city (Boston). When I got up here, I laid $6500 down for the 32 acre wooded parcel with an 8 acre clearing/pasture in the middle, back about 600′ off the county road. The property has only one path in… gulches and swamps protect the perimeter from vehicular invasion. When I got up here I skinned some fir poles and put up my old Tipi, as it was a week before Independence Day and getting warm. An initial 40′ x 60′ garden area was quickly established with a sulky-plow behind the jeep and a borrowed rototiller.

After determining true north with my old transit, I laid out a site for an “earthship” style house (helped build 2 in New Mexico). I grabbed my chainsaw and headed for the back woods and cut large pines which I dragged near the road with my jeep. I cut the old schoolbus camper off right behind the driver’s seat, blocked it up and drove out from under it. I boarded up a “cab” made a 20′ flatbed behind that with some old planks to make a bus-truck. The logs were rolled up onto the bus-truck and hauled to a nearby sawmill who sawed beams, planks and boards for $0.05 (a nickle!) a board foot. The lumber was then hauled home and “sticked-up” to let it air dry over the winter.

With Autumn now settling in, I found a temporary job as a project engineer on a construction job for a local paper mill 25 miles distant and spent the winter in an apartment saving money and making improvements out at the site in my spare time. While working in the engineering office, I finalized some simple plans for a “solar” house…

The next spring, I rented a backhoe and dozer to dig a foundation hole and contracted to have concrete perimeter walls poured. Before the floor was poured, I placed pvc piping down to warm the floor with a solar collector later. The rest of the construction progressed from there on, and I moved into an enclosed, finished portion of the house while working on the rest to save money.

All in all this house cost me about $25,000 to build myself between 1976-79

Initially we had a compost toilet, and a gray-water recycle system, but got “soft” and caved in to a septic system.
Now we are looking to go back to the “old” system and be back in line with the Permacultural lifestyle.

A 180′ deep well cost $1200 to drill back then, and that was the only thing initially to be powered off the neighbor’s line.

We caved in some years back and hooked up to the grid for the fridge, washing machine and some electronics (gettin old ‘n soft and some idealism has gone ;D ) — a diesel generator capable of biodiesel is on standby.


Rome wasn’t built in a day… you will get there eventually… just stayed focussed ;)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s