Thursday, July 16, 2020


A problem is an opportunity in work clothes.

The rioters in Minneapolis burned down an almost-completed Section-8 housing unit.

Section-8 housing is Federally subsidized housing, i.e. low cost housing.

Looking at the photo shown above and stripping all emotion out of the equation, going forward, why would the Federal government (our tax dollars) ever subsidize another Section-8 building that did not have all steel-stud construction and pre-cast concrete floors?

It is more than just the economic risk, it is the risk to the occupants later in the product life-cycle. Some of the residents in Minneapolis came from regions where electricity is a novelty. That lack of deep-understanding makes those buildings inherently more dangerous for all occupants unless rules specify extremely fire-resistant materials.

I did a quick look around the internet but could not find any publicly-traded manufacturers of steel studs. It might be a solid buy if you could find such a beast.

When you are in your sixties
Every decade has their own motto.

The sixty's is "Whoa! I didn't expect that to start hurting!"

Persimmon update

We had about a half-inch of rain last night and heavy overcast today.

I raked the straw mulch off the persimmon seedlings and they look MUCH better than the ones that I planted a couple weeks ago and did not cover.

The high humidity and low sun-loading is very gentle on the seedlings. I will play it by ear from here. The roots have had several days to bond to the soil and the rain helps melt the granules of soil into the individual roots.

Tiny homes
Southern Belle is in love with "tiny homes". I have been led to believe there is a show on cable that showcases these homes.

While I see the that they are cute, I don't see the attraction because I cannot make the economics work out in my head. $30k for a house that doesn't meet code and will be a dog for resale versus $8000 for a camper that you can easily move and can resell.

Throw the camper in a sheltered nook behind a windbreak, put a steel carport over it and you are almost good-to-go. Install a composting toilet and don't look back.

Still, the girl likes to dream.

We drove up to St. John's, Michigan to Jim's Amish Structures.

The basic "shell" for a tiny home can be had for $5k-to-$7k depending on how fancy you want to get.

Even though I am not in the market, the model they called "The Potting Shed" caught my eye. Very airy and well lit, it comes with bunk-beds installed.

Calling them "sheds" is an agreed-upon fiction. The State of Michigan looks the other way because they are, ostensibly, not intended for human habitation. What the buyer does with the structure afterwards is not under Jim's control.


  1. the camper would be the best deal it come with everything you need.we stayed in a 30 foot one with one slide .

  2. RE: steel studs and concrete - don't forget to specify firecode-rated drywall, actual solid doors (NOT "solid core") and fire sprinkler systems.

  3. IN regards to tiny homes....yes there is a show. What makes my head hurt REALLY bad is half the time on the show the final cost often approaches $100K and sometimes more. Are.You.Kidding.Me??? Sigh, If Southern Belle insists on a Stick built custom tiny home rather than a camper ( Which you can often buy cheaply used because Grandpa/grandma died etc etc) then a follow up often seen on the show would be to get a large Hay wagon or similar and build on that. SO potable and if well done you might find ( in the future) someone willing to buy it for camping or their own tiny home when/if Southern Belle decides to sell. Further your thoughts on the " shed" is rather spot on. IN Texas, esp in " Colonistas" they are very common. ( often non-registered sub-divisions, often but not always lower income and little or no building codes or regulations) Many times I have seen nice homes with a shed out back....that has a window airconditioner sticking out one window and a childs trike parked there too. Junior got some lovely pregnant and they live there until they at least finish High School OR Uncle whomever lives out there until he can get citizenship papers and a real job instead of the 3 that he works now for cash at less than min wage due to no documents. I also knew of a family that had a 3 car garage but one stall of garage was converted into an efficiency . Just in case. Another tiny home option that is also trendy would be to convert a steel shipping container...or convert 2, a smaller one stacked on top of the lower for slightly more Sq footage. Results may vary and good luck.

  4. The question really is, would the additional (significant) expense of the fireproof construction prevent rioters and looters from creating damage that would be just as expensive to repair? I suspect it might just be cheaper to rebuild. Minneapolis, Seattle, and now Portland, are basket cases.

  5. Around here, it's RVs, sometime of the "park model" variety, that are placed out back with power, water and a line running to the septic tank. It isn't legal, but I know of no one who has ratted out anyone. Times are getting harder, and we're all going to need to be good neighbors and have good neighbors. Snitching on someone who is simply trying to squeak by isn't being a good neighbor.

    I've already made plans for the eventuality that my chickens come home to roost. Daughter and Son-In-Law get the RV, Son gets a chunk of remodeled basement unless he brings his own RV.

    Should the situation require myself, Mrs. Freeholder and the cats to relocate, it's the RV, plus what we can take with my pickup and utility trailer. It'll look like something from a re-imagined Grapes of Wrath, I figure.


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