Home found-Making life better one small step at a time

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

This month and a half was a big push to improving our lives.


It has been a busy busy busy month. Heck it has been a crazy busy quarter. We did finally get a home. We are in the middle of the city and are blessed with almost half an acre. We are still moving boxes from both homes and I am stuck with a problem on a website I am building as a business. I haven’t gotten sick yet, mainly I think because I have been getting enough sleep to overcome the exhaustion.

I have made good steps in improving my family relationships though, mainly with keeping my wife happy. I am still working on myself so I can improve and be a better husband

Being a flexible, resilient individual was something I realized in me many years ago. I didn’t fully realize how I could use it to make life better for the people most important to me. I will keep on going, I think this will lead to better things.

God bless y’all/

 


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

RESILIENT HOUSE 2-Suburban homestead 2

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Being a home owner of a house that lets us produce something gives us more options than just renting. We have more options and more opportunities by owning a home-we just have to find one that will allow the opportunities to happen and not hinder it. No HOAs, reasonable city regulations and some land.


We have been looking for a house to purchase. This will be our first time to buy a home and we have been renting for years now. Living in NYC back then, buying real estate just was not an option for us-mainly due to cost. Since we moved to Texas, we realized how this is actually very attainable. We have been shopping for months and have been educating ourselves as owners and as investors (as selling the home in the future is always a possibility).

One of my main guidelines in this purchase-which is one of the biggest purchases in a family’s lifetime-is: can the home help me live a more resilient lifestyle?

By this I mean, rather than being just a property that consumes my resources, will this home actually produce for me?

This is a homesteading mindset-making a property produce for you instead of just consume. Moving it more in the direction of being an asset rather than just a liability.

With our current situation, I cannot force my family to moving to a full on acreage homestead to grow our own food and distance ourselves from a city. My wife and I have compromised and agreed that we will live within the city limits and find a place where she can still be close to areas of entertainment. We have multiple family visitors in a year and my wife likes to take them around the city. Also, she is not comfortable with the thought of isolation or distance from neighbors yet. I myself am not sure if I am capable of the workload of maintaining and utilizing that much space.

Our approach is more of a suburban homestead solution. We’ll live in a suburb in the Dallas area, I can commute to work and grow some of our own food. So far, I have whittled down my requirements to the following:

  1. good solar orientation for growing food
  2. good solar orientation for cold weather
  3. freedom within local laws to have some livestock
  4. space in the yard to grow food (preferrably in the backyard)
  5. space in the yard to grow something for market/sale
  6. fireplace for heating
  7. brick exterior preferred
  8. parking for 2 cars to protect us from hail (which we are still dealing with in one vehicle)
  9. distance from any facility/farm that can cause health concerns or dangers
  10. not if a flood zone

HOUSE NO. 2

We started to look at Garland more. It is about 30 minutes from Dallas and has great pricing on homes. Plus, the restrictions on parking on the street and owning livestock are much less than in Rowlett-which had House no. 1.

Almost every city will have their own set of regulations. If you want to check your city, you can search (name of city) and “municode”. It often has better search results than (name of city) and regulations. Here is my prospective city’s municode:

https://www.municode.com/library/ar/garland_county/codes/code_of_ordinances

You can have fun browsing the city regulations or you can also use great sites like BackyardChickens.com where they have a quick guide on local laws. They are updated (at least the city I looked at was).

http://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/3/Laws

I am planning to have chickens or rabbits in the yard, so checking this is important for me. With this house in this new city, we can have coops as long as they are 30’ away from the next house. This is much better than Rowlett’s 50’. I can also have 4 chickens instead of just 2. I imagine we will be looking at Garland more, as I am liking Rowlett less. Plus, as I mentioned in my last post for House No. 1, Rowlett had overreaching laws about parking trailers in the streets.

buying suburban homestead

House no. 2 had a great location. It was on a corner lot and had an L-shaped backyard. Lots of space for me to grow stuff and use for all kinds of things. Here’s an image of the property from Google Earth.

suburban homestead

The house is quite old, built in 1978. I imagine we will deal with asbestos and lead.

It has 3 bedrooms and 2bathrooms-what we wanted. And the layout of the rooms were focused on one side of the house. This makes it easier for security and protection for me and my kids. If I am every in a situation where there might be an intruder in the home, I have to cover only one hallway.The bedrooms are not insanely big, so we can heat them efficiently too.

It has a nice great living room with a corner fireplace. Nice vaulted ceilings-which will help keep it cool in the Texas summer. The heat hopefully will radiate nicely even with the ceiling height.

buying suburban homestead

Nice sized kitchen. This is good because it is space we can produce things in – going back to the house as being a producer instead of a consumer. I used to can meat. I can do that easier if we have space. I also can cook bulk meals better if we have a well laid out kitchen. Bulk meals save money if you can do it.

We have a 2 car garage which has great access from a major road at therear-not a one lane service road. One lane service roads are a problem if you end up having 2 cars on them at the same time-which is often the case. The house backs up to a main road, plus there is a wide strip of grass separating the house from the road. This gives me even more air and distance from adjacent houses.

buying suburban homestead

House no. 2 is on a corner lot. So I have the road and strip of green on the back, then on my side is another road which has a city park across it. This is ideal for me as that gives me distance from other homes, it’s one less nosy neighbor I may have to deal with and it is absolutely a source for insects, birds and squirrels. This is great from a permaculture perspective.

suburban homestead

The backyard has a nice covered patio with a concrete slab flooring-where I can set up a small garden and small workspace for me. On occasion I will work on something which needs to be outside,but not on the dirt. This may be a small carpentry project for example. I imagine I can do a lot of these and still be comfortable in this kind of set up. Plus, the layout allows access to the garage and to the kitchen. Highly ideal for tools, breaks and I can also see straight into the living room to keep an eye on my kids while working.

buying suburban homestead

It also has some good trees on the yard. I think these are just enough for shade to grow plants and not burn them. My son has dreamed of a tree house, I can build one for him here. It does not have great solar orientation for me, but given the shape and size of the yard I thought I had some flexibility to make it work for my goals.

We put an offer on the house. After much back and forth my wife and I agreed on offering a good amount above the asking price. We also offered to cover some paperwork typically covered by the owner.


Update: the house was posted on Friday afternoon and we went to see it that same afternoon. By Saturday evening we made an attractive offer on the house.

On Sunday afternoon we were told that we did not get the house. Our agent said that this may have been due to a cash buyer. We didn’t have details on what the accepted offer was. We told our broker that if the house comes back on the market that we wouldstill be interested. House no.2 offered us a lot of options and really got our imagination going. However, we did tell ourselves that if we do not get this house, thenitis justnot for us. We are okay with that,and we cannot offer more on the housebecause then we might end up underwater or in foreclosure later on. So today we are still looking for one.


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

 

AVOIDING FAKE NEWS – GETTING OFF THE ADDICTION

HOW DOES THIS MAKE RESILIENT?

Avoiding fake news will allow you to think for yourself and form your own opinions on the issues that actually affect you. You also gain time to invest in yourself and make your life and your family’s life much better.


What makes fake news fake? What does it mean for those who are already awake?

Fake news is not only stories that were marketed at you to gain money from clicks. It is not just the story you found on Facebook from someone’s blog which will later turn out to be false. This is not about “fake news” as a piece of inaccurate information. The internet is full of personal opinions, and as adults we should be able to spot those early on. Fake news in this article is means stories purveyed by major corporations staffed with highly educated journalists for the simple goal of shaping the public’s opinion. This is about avoiding that particular type of Fake news.

 

 

I used to be a CNN junkie. I felt l was being responsible and informed, a fully aware participant in civilized society. I knew the most crucial issues and lived my life in constant adjustment to what they said was “important”. If their hot topic was about a CDC report, then so was mine. If it was about a new law/regulation, then it was also my hot topic. My attention and opinions were controlled by this corporation that peddled information to it’s benefits. This was about 5 years ago now.

I am not sure how it got started but my awakening to the problem started around the time I saw how Ron Paul-then running for president-was being sidelined consistently in all the major news networks. It was a very coordinated effort in the view of a lot of Ron Paul supporters. I understand a lot of people are not Ron Paul supporters, but despite of who the candidate is, would you not be curious if there was an organized effort to vilify an individual across all networks who were supposedly operating independent from each other?

Around that time, there was also this very funny piece of video from Conan O’Brien. It was very funny-but later on was very disturbing.

When you look into it, these are all different TV networks across different political leanings. The videos were aired at around the same date, the words of each of these reporters on the streets were the same-almost word for word.

What does this have to do with fake news? Well, it means that this was a script. It was a script first manufactured in a news office, distributed down to staff who were then instructed to produce content/material to support it from the streets.

The content was then beamed to your TVs and fed to the “informed” citizen, and now he was insync with the important topics of the world-as defined and manufactured from the news office.

After this was made clear to me, the video became pretty disturbing. From then on, I realized multiple other examples of these. I would see the pattern from one source to the next, and you would have a sense that this was another piece of manipulated news you needed to keep yourself away from. I stayed away from mainstream media provided news and my exposure to them was limited to the elevator tv in my office building. Even then, I realized it when something was coming up-because they all had a pattern.


WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID FAKE NEWS:

The simple answer is: you should avoid fake news because it sculpts your mind by using inaccurate information designed to make you believe a predetermined agenda. If the goal is to make you believe that ebola is coming to your town in the next week-the focus will be to that end. If the goal is to make you believe the government will shut down on Tuesday unless the government officials agree on a budget increase-the news content will highlight all the day to day things that will ruin your life if the budget is not increased. If the goal is to make you hate Kanye West (or whoever else)-then the news material will be such.

If your sole source of information was what CNN said, then your opinions are completely under their control are they not? CNN or MSNBC or Fox or whomever, can make you agree/disagree, love/hate most things the way they want you to.

In a way, you have been brainwashed. You just didn’t know it yet. Your ability to think for yourself has been significantly handicapped. Until you detach yourself from their influence, and from their other brainwashed audience, you will be intellectually handicapped.

This may not be a big issue, because you were unaware of it anyway. Ignorance is bliss. But think about how this affects you, your family, your way of life. Your very way of life is dictated by your beliefs and opinions. You choose to eat at Mcdonalds because they now have salads and are working for your health. You maybe are also upset with immigrants because they will establish Sharia law in your town. Maybe you still think it was okay to assassinate a US citizen overseas because he was a terrorist after all. If your opinions were tilted to begin with, then your way of life is also affected by the fake news you had consumed.


A QUICK PERSONAL EXAMPLE

Say for example you grew up in a third world country like I did, in a city like Manila and you had a good childhood there. You had moved to the US and was able to live a pretty decent life. At some point you thought you would relocate back there or visit all the places you used to be in when you were growing up. However there is a slew of news about how the new president is creating a volatile nation, full of vigilantes and murder on the streets. You are advised that if you are an investor or planning to retire, do not put your money on any projects tied to that country, it is highly unstable and will lead to a dictatorship. CNN and other mainstream media companies will broadcast gory images, will popularize their chosen heroes and will vilify whoever does not work in their interest.

But hey you grew up there. You know folks from the place, you have contacts. You understand the local language. Because this is something worth digging into for yourself, you then choose to do your own research. You ask old contacts, or just check their facebook feeds-did anyone post something about violence? Watch the Youtube broadcast of the senate hearings-regardless of how painful they are to listen to. Did you pick up on the bias there from the lady leading the investigation? Why is the chairman feeding information to the witness and putting words into the witness’ mouth? Hey-why is CNN showing her in a good light after she lost her leadership position due to her obvious agenda and strong ties to the cartel being destroyed by the current administration?

You are now forming your own opinion. This took time and you had to endure some boring political discussion (without any commentaries from news anchors and reporters) but you saw the questioning procedures and hearings yourself. You heard the bias and saw the raw footage. You can continue following the story if you so desire, but by now you have stocked up on the backstory, gathered recent developments on the topic and are shaping your own perspective on the topic.


YOU CANNOT RESEARCH EVERYTHING

The problem in understanding the Manila story above-which I personally went thru-was that I had to invest time into it. I listened to the dang youtube raw footage while washing dishes. I spent time watching or reading about it during dinner and talked to my wife about it. We invested time into researching it because we could not just rely on what we were being fed thru international and local news sources.

This meant time from other things which we needed to do. Time away from a different, more pleasant conversation. Time away from a personal project. Less sleep maybe. If I want to research into something, I take time away from investing in myself and from building a better future. This simply means that I cannot research every topic that comes up. It is just not feasible to redirect my time, my resource on every topic that comes up. At some point, I will have to be very selective of what topic I want to tackle and find truth about.

You have to pick which topics are important to you if you want to vet them because you do not have the time to research them every time the fake news sources tell you it is critical.


EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST A DISTRACTION

Do you recall when the news was all focused on Ebola? That it was now in the US and it was very likely to spread?

Do you recall when the news was all about the Zika virus?

Whatever happened to those people and those pending dangers when the news stopped? The sickness is still there but why is mainstream media not paying attention anymore? What else was going on at the time that you might have spent better attention to? What were the real topics that could have affected your life-which you did not realize? What did those news topics distract you from?

You have to realize that the news that they said was the most critical thing you had to focus on-was absolutely noncritical after all. They do not apologize afterwards to say oops sorry we made it a bigger deal than it should have been. By the time their focus on the topic wanes, they have a new one ready to serve to you. These are all coordinated to shape your perceptions towards their agenda. It also, absolutely, keeps your attention focused on more important things. Which important things? You may never know which ones unless you go back and dig. They either kept you focused on one thing because they wanted you to think a certain way, OR they kept you from realizing what the real issues were. It’s like a battle or like a chess game, keeping your opponent distracted is in your favor.


AVOIDING FAKE NEWS

In general, I abstain from mainstream media sources. Their business is to make content designed to distract me. I do not waste my time reading their breaking news or their latest trends. If the topic is something of interest to me or affects me, I will find it on my own as I go about my day to day. For example, if I was researching on buying a property in a city-then I will end up reading on recent zoning changes in that city as they affect my area.

If the world is going to end, you will know about it anyway. It is better to live your day to day proactively, by going in the direction you want to go, rather than being reactionary to the issues that fake news say you should be limiting yourself to.

How to avoid fake news? It is really simple. Stop consuming it first. We are information junkies, and we want to get updates because we feel informed. But unless we redirect our focus, it will be directed for us. Here are some steps you can do right now to avoid fake news:

  1. First admit that you are an addict to information. Wanting information is not necessarily a bad thing, but we need to channel the desire for brain activity into learning.
  2. You then need to detach yourself from the source or reduce your consumption of fake news.
  3. Unfollow any social media sources from media companies. Mute them on Facebook. Trust me you will still hear about their breaking news thru your friends who are still consuming it. You cannot control what they consume but let’s take baby steps for now and focus on reducing your consumption of fake news.
  4. Unsubscribe from any news emails. If you need to, you can go to their site on a time of your choosing anyway. This detaches you slowly from the addiction.
  5. If you are used to consuming news around 6pm, watch Netflix instead. Pick a show that interests you and follow it. Or make a list of movies and watch it in parts or in whole during those times. This occupies that time of day when your brain is used to consuming some form of entertainment.
  6. If you consume news first thing in the morning, try to find another way to get your buzz. This is similar to the strategy above. Have coffee while reading on a topic you ARE interested in. Maybe you like cars, or maybe you are into DIY stuff. Read on those instead and gain knowledge and skills which will actually make you better than you were yesterday.
  7. Avoid discussions with folks who are still addicted. You cannot recover as an addict to information if you spend time around other addicts. You will be drawn in, and will feel “uninformed” and you will chase the same news they consumed. You may chase it trying to disprove them, but you will still spend time on a topic not of your choosing to begin with. This is hard if you are a sociable individual, but you can find other stories to discuss with your peers.

The second goal is to replace that desire to consume information with education about things that will improve your life. As humans we find pleasure in learning. We can be addicted to information. By choosing what information you consume, you are improving your life and leading it to the direction you want, rather than reacting to the big issues of the week which leave you like an empty shell 2 weeks later.

  1. Look for feeds on topics you are interested in and follow them on social media. Add one or 2 to your email (not too much or your mind will equate it to spam). Follow a good channel on Youtube on your chosen topic.
  2. If you are already good at your topic and hate the mediocre feeds available, maybe pick a milestone or take on a new project. Then, on those times you used to spend for consuming TV or news, spend them on this project/milestone.
  3. You can spend the time with your wife, preparing a better meal or having more in depth conversations with her. Or you can spend the time with your children and bonding with them or taking them to the next level of their interests.

If you do not know where to channel your time to, do not sweat it. The fact is, you now have time back. The time you used to spend consuming fake news or irrelevant news is now yours to invest in yourself. You can use it as you wish. You can try pretty much anything you want as long as you can find a way to do it. Perhaps you are 43 years old and have always wanted to learn skateboarding-well okay. Or maybe you always wanted to try fishing-watch some Youtube videos and treat it as a course til the season opens (this is what I am doing right now).

The key is-you just got back an invaluable resource (time) which you can spend on enriching yourself for your family-you now have time and focus. You did not get more time by becoming more efficient in consuming information. You gained time by not consuming unnecessary information.

So now you are not getting fake news which mislead your perception of the world. You also have more time to yourself which you can spend how you want-be it learning something new and invest in yourself, or researching on an issue which really does affect you. Just by avoiding fake news, you are all of a sudden a lot closer to being a free individual.


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

 

Finding a house fit for resilience

My family and I have been planning on buying a house and hope to do so in the next few months. There are a lot of things to consider in buying a house,these are some of the more unconventional considerations I have. These may rage against what your broker will say, but then again, these are unconventional ideas for unconventional times.

strawberry-manion-high-school

I do not get too hung up on the school district.

My wife hates this, but I do not believe the public school system will be as prominent in the future. The flaws in the school system has been made more obvious with the surge of entrepreneurship-and people are realizing that school only teaches kids to be wage slaves. There is a massive growth in alternative schooling and public schools are being shut down all over the country.
If your home value is tied to the local school district, then your value goes down when they do. BUT your taxes will probably remain the same.

farmers-market-17

The city should have a good local, robust economy

We are not looking at distant cities, but just those around us. We scouted some ideal locations a few weeks back-however after checking out the city info, it turns out they have a couple of large universities in the area. This is not an issue by itself, but this may mean the local economy is tied to the college (probably is). My issue there is the future of the university as a thriving institution. Fore more info, Google “student loan bubble”.
A few other considerations are:
  • is the area dependent on manufacturing jobs which might be automated? 
  • Are there large retail areas which are showing signs of decay? 
  • Are there signs of rezoning for apartment construction?
  • How much land is still undeveloped?
unique-backyard-garden-clawfoot-bathtub-planter-box-eclectic-landscape-by-melissa-mascara-design

The city should not have regulations about homesteading

A few cities in my area-including my current one-have restrictions to owning livestock in the backyard. If we are not purchasing a large lot, if we are staying in the suburbs, I at least need to be free to have some type of livestock. As an example, it turns out that most cities we looked at only allow 2 chickens.
This ties to my plans for gardening also. I plan to have a good sized, producing garden in my yard. I do not want any restrictions on rain catchment or water storage or where I can install a trellis. These things don’t sound important-until you realize that you cannot build them.

No HOAs

I do not want to be burdened by my neighbor’s preferences. I do not want to fund their authority to dictate to others or to myself. Do not talk to me about property values-I plan to address those from a higher vantage point that does not need the HOA as an excuse to exist.
rinspeed_16x9

Distance is not as big an issue

Travel distance is still an issue but it may notbe as big. With the predicted arrival of autonomous cars, it will be easier to commute a 20 mile distance to the office. Plus the fact that telecommuting will be a more common part of most jobs in the future. The 20 mile commute may even be a very pleasing experience, where one gets to escape from the humdrum tasks and focus on personal leisure-like writing or reading. You will of course still need to consider the time to commute, as that would be time away from the family. But, with robocars and telecommuting you have a lot of options compared to how things used  to be.
So there you go, a short list of things I consider when we look for a house. These may sound contrary to most advice from real estate professionals-this is just my list. You will need to do some research on the concerns above. You can read more of it here but I really suggest doing your own research as new information comes up on these issues on almost a daily basis.
Do the research, form your opinions and discuss it with your family. What are your goals for the home in the next 5 years? In the next 10? To me, a few of the items above are critical so I need to be prepared to talk about it with my family.
Do you have other suggestions? Please help a guy out in finding that home he can really set roots in.