Letter Re: Retreat Architecture Options

Mr. Rawles, In your 09/19/2005 blog, you asked for input on different architectural techniques related to a retreat. Following is information on a type of construction that has some interesting potential. Take a look at the video at http://archnet.org/library/files/one-file.tcl?file_id=1385 . It is a high-resolution Windows Media Player file showing construction of sandbag shelters using very low tech methods and tools. The shelter exceeds all standard earthquake specs for buildings. Very cool idea and a very well done video. The objective was to find shelter for refugees rather than sticking them in tents. Adding Portland cement to the sand makes for …




Letter Re: Manufactured Homes Versus “Stick Built” Homes for Retreats + Gun Questions

Dear Jim: I am completely impressed with the level of data and analysis on your blog site! However, there is one subject I have yet to see discussed. When looking for a homestead/retreat have you evaluated a manufactured home versus a conventional\ stick and frame house? Around these parts lots of rural properties come with manufactured/mobile homes as part of the deal. What is your opinion as to the type of housing to be used for your homestead/retreat? I also have a few questions concerning some answers to a previous e-mail: 1.) You had mentioned a CETME weapon. What exactly …




Letter Re: Diesel “Rustling” in California’s Central Valley

Mr. Rawles, I thought you might be interested in this article from the LA Times today: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rustle12sep12,0,5207254.story?coll=la-home-business With $3.25 per gallon diesel,we now have “fuel rustlers” stealing from ranchers. In your writings you always point out that our fuel storage tanks should be underground and the pumps disguised. Sound advice!




Letter: Regarding Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Hi Jim, Well, as requested, I’ll give a bit of a review of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed – since it’s the one breed I’ve settled on. I’ve had two Ridgebacks so far, both females, and both were spayed. The first one was a first generation working Ridgeback – Red Mahogany color, 128# – exceptionally muscular dog. Muscular to the point of having a veterinarian that I took her to insist that she must have “undescended testicles” – otherwise there was no other explanation for the build. Well, she didn’t have those, but her sire and dam were big, tough …




Safety in Numbers

If you are setting up a remote retreat you should definitely plan ahead to double up or even triple up with other capable families to provide security, as described in my novel Patriots. The manpower required for 24 hour, 7 day a week, 360 degree security should things go truly “worst case” with a complete breakdown of law and order is tremendous. One family with just two adults on its own cannot both provide security and handle the many chores required to operate a self-sufficient retreat–particularly in summer and fall with gardening and food storage tasks. The physical and emotional …




The Illusion of Isolation

If you are an eastern urbanite and come to the conclusion that you need to buy “a cabin in upstate New York” or “a brick house in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens,” then you are wrong, quite possibly dead wrong. (By the way, I had both of those earnestly suggested, in e-mails from readers of my novel Patriots.) A rural area that is within an overall heavily populated region is not truly rural. It lacks real isolation from the basic problem–population. Most of these “rural” areas—except perhaps for a few fortunately bypassed zones, as I mentioned yesterday–will be overwhelmed by refugees …