My Parent’s Micro Home

by Kent Griswold on November 11th, 2010. 38 Comments
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Guest post by Walt Barrett (Be sure and watch the video at the end of the post)

I have been writing about micro homes, solar, and energy efficient homes for 35 years. People never really paid much attention to any of it, and my Internet Blogs have gone virtually unnoticed for years. Recently, however, I have started receiving email from people who have read my articles about solar powered autonomous micro homes. Many of them are simply looking to down size, which I happen to think is a great idea, unless you have tons of money to save towards your future. The other people that have written to me have no place to call their own at all, and very little money either. All of these people are seeking as much information as possible about building micro homes, and also the support systems needed to make them a comfortable place to reside.

When you build a micro home the savings really add up quickly. First of all, if you are handy enough you may not need a mortgage. That alone is huge! A tiny well insulated home is less expensive to heat and cool, another major savings. Because of the LED lighting systems we have developed, solar lighting is relatively inexpensive. The electricity saved on lighting enables you to downsize the number of solar electric modules needed to power the home. Believe me, this is not rocket science as some people would like you to think. I like to keep things simple.

We will be discussing the down sizing of all the systems required to run a home, and alternate ways to do laundry and store fresh food. Downsizing and green living will definitely leave you with more money in your pockets. We are also going to be discussing how to achieve zero output for all trash and waste products. Not recycling is like burning money. We will discuss all these topics in future articles. Today I am focusing on how my parents micro home. If you don’t have a lot of money, it’s a great story that should offer you some encouragement to move ahead with your dream.

My intention is to do a new series of articles and films to assist anyone who is really serious about green living, micro home living, and just plain saving money by downsizing their homes, the number of cars they own, and the size of their ever growing utility bills. I will discuss building your own home, and the various support systems as opposed to buying a completed professionally built home and related support systems. The technology is all available free on the Internet. You should also become expert in salvaging other people’s junk. I did it for years when I was a kid. I got my first bike by dump picking in the Pawtucket, RI city dump, and building it from salvaged parts, and I don’t care who knows it. When I was in the military, and very poorly paid I used to go to the base landfill where I found all kinds of wooden furniture, building material, and many other items. “A dump is a yard sale where everything is free.”

Many people that write to me are really down, and out, and depressed. I feel terrible about that, and personally, very discouraged that our own government is not doing more about it. Well we have already seen that our government is not really that concerned about our own poor, and is far more interested in meddling in the affairs of other countries. So it is up to to those of us who can to help people get started in the right direction, and give them some hope for the future.

This is my way of offering the folks who have written me some needed encouragement. I’m going to tell you a personal story about my parents who had nothing when they were married in 1929, but through hard work, and determination they managed to build a home, and eventually live a happy life.

When my parents were married in 1929 my Dad worked in the receiving room of a very large cotton thread spinning mill. My Mother was a highly skilled secretary, and seamstress, but in those days the wages were terrible, and they were lucky just to have jobs. They managed to buy a small house lot overlooking a lake. It cost $50.00. My Dad managed to pay for it by selling the rest of the lots on our dirt road to other people that were were in the same predicament as he was, and that is how we got our land. The next thing they did was to clear only the areas they needed for the house, the yard and the driveway. They left the remaining large trees in place for shade. My Mother, who was very talented in many areas including art, drew up a plan for what we now call a micro home. It was 20 feet wide and 24 feet long with a sleeping loft divided into two bed rooms. The first floor had a large room in one entire half of the first floor that we would now call a living and dining area, The other half of the first floor was mostly the kitchen with a small area that was set aside for a future bathroom. That was basically the house plan.

While all this was going on, The mill where my Dad was working purchased modernized machinery, and eliminated him, and most of the men in the receiving department. His job of 17 years was gone. That was a serious blow for the young couple just about to start construction on their little country dream home. A decision had to be made so they gave up their apartment in the city, pitched a tent on their lot and started building their home using a hand saw, a square, a level, and a hammer and nails. With noting but their bare hands and pick and shovel they set piers in the ground to set the home on temporarily to get the house livable as quickly as possible. After the house was weather tight they moved into the attic for the winter and finished the house in the following spring and summer. They shingled the house in their spare time. My mother did a lot of it. All the while my dad was taking any kind of work he could find from day to day, and traveled as far away a 400 miles to Canada to clear brush for power lines, sometimes wading up to his chest in swamps in the freezing weather. He was a tough old bird!

When the economy got better he got a job working in a commercial laundry running an extractor which is really a very large washing machine. Then he would come home, have his supper, and go dig out the foundation hole for the cellar. When the hole was finally dug by pick, shovel and wheelbarrow the two of them gathered all the loose rocks from all over the lot and walled up the cellar, removing the piers when they were finished and mortaring all the rocks as they built it. That foundation is still perfect to this day. During WWII Dad was too old for the military so he took a job working in a shipyard building liberty ships. He never made so much money in his entire life. After the war he took a job doing the maintenance for all of the public libraries in the city of Providence and remained there until his death in 1974. He was sixty-nine. Mom was 91 when she died in 1998.

I have made a video to go with this article to show you what is possible through hard work, perseverance, salvage, and a great deal of saving, and scrounging for materials including stone and timber gathered right off your own land. We always had a large garden, and chickens, ducks, rabbits and fruit trees. It all adds up at the end of the year. In future articles I will discuss building your micro home from virtually free and inexpensive building materials extracted from your own land, and don’t ever let anyone steal your dreams!
I hope you enjoy the video. It’s a true story.
Walt Barrett

38 Responses to “My Parent’s Micro Home”

  1. Walt:

    Thanks for sharing these special memories. I sure hope others will find the determination that your parents had to fulfill their dreams. I know that I am always looking forward to tomorrow while accepting the responsibility make each day the best.

  2. Mary says:

    Walt–Your story and video are truly inspirational. The house is beautiful too (love all those quilts!). Thanks for sharing. You have a website, you say? :) Mary

    • Hi Mary,
      Thank you for commenting. Back in the late 1940′s and early 1950′s before Rhode Island started spending, and stealing itself into oblivion, we had a very nice state fair every year, which RI can no longer afford, and my Mom would submit four of her hand made quilts into the quilting contest. She would always get a best in show and the other three would all get a blue ribbon. There was no TV in those days and she would listen to the radio at night and sew quilts or make braided rugs, or stuffed animals. She would go to the fabric shops and buy up all the remnants. She sold the stuffed toys as fast as she could make them for $5.00 each which was close to a day’s pay in those days. We have since divided up her quilts among our five children for safe keeping. They are extremely valuable. We still have all her ribbons. She was also a great writer, painter, and poet.
      The woman was a national treasure, and didn’t realize it.
      Without the distraction of television and video games, people had more time to develop their talents. This is a point that should not go unnoticed by modern day parents or “grownups”.
      Remember, if life ever get’s you down, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. It’s all part of the adventure!
      Thank you for commenting.
      Walt

  3. Claudia says:

    Thank you for sharing these memories with us. Such a great inspiration!

  4. Drue says:

    I love it. I can very much connect with that story.

  5. Thank you all for your kind remarks. Mary asked about my web site. I have several of them.
    http://www.waltbarrett.com,http://thenextbillionaireswillbegreen.blogspot.com/,http://www.youtube.com/user/chinadepot ,and http://www.chinadepot.com. I have a number of articles and films on the internet, The best way to find them all is to simply Google “Walt Barrett” or “Walter H. Barrett” If you would like me to submit more items to Kent’s great blog!
    Thanks again,Never give up, and never stop trying!
    Walt Barrett

  6. Donna says:

    Walt, I really enjoyed your video. You have so much to offer the younger people in this country. As one veteran to another, thanks on this Veteran’s day! I know we cannot depend on our government to help. We must help ourselves, and we can with guidance from those like you with experience and knowledge.

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of your parents home and lives! I am so inspired by the stories of people who, like your parents, built their lives on their own terms. I sometimes feel like I have to physically remove today’s notions of “more is better” and remember “less IS more”….it is a process and I find so much encouragement in stories like this! Thank you!!! :)

  8. Kevin microhomesteadblog says:

    Walt my wife and I were just talking about this last night! Why donr more young people start small and make an adventure of it? they could get an old camp trailer cheap to live in on a lot or small acre and build as they have cash and time we did.
    over time we built a 24×36 two bed one bath home with 4 little kids! later we added on and now have 3000 sq ft. the kids are grown and we are ready for a tiny home again.Now we are going to down size to a motor home and travel until we find that great little place to put down roots again.

  9. Brook says:

    Walt,
    I hope your parents were proud of themselves. Lives well lived and it sounds like they did a good job raising you too. Best wishes.
    Brook
    p.s. We the People should be able to find a way to knock the knees out from under the lazy greedy elite. (Check out ‘The Bum on the Plush’-Utah Plillips.also’The Past didn’t go Anywhere’)

    • Brook says:

      Walt,
      I erred, You can search Youtube “Utah Phillips-Korea for the 2nd reference. and him with Ani Difranco for ‘Bum on the Plush’ .

      Thanks again for the inspiration.

  10. andrew says:

    Great post. I’m seeing a great amount of “depression era mentality” and although the cause of this revival isn’t great, I think the goals of self-reliance and industriousness can only bring about good things. Thanks for sharing.

  11. hannah j says:

    there are very few unzoned counties left where you could do this anymore. most people i know who have been able to do this have sneaked it into their land and lived under the radar. it’s always a cheap comment to say ‘why don’t young people do this.’ well, the price of land is prohibitive nearly anywhere there are jobs. it takes older people who have the land and want to nurture younger people to make these things happen. if you can find places zoned for trailers (not mobile homes) it helps. good luck. ps my first home was 450 sq ft on a 45ft lot in missoula. it is now unaffordable for most.

  12. alice says:

    My parents came to Canada straight from a refugee camp just after WWII with nothing much more than the clothes they stood in and gradually managed to buy a crummy house they worked on every day after their regular full time jobs of cook and carpenter. They would spiff up the place over a couple of years then sell it and get another one just a bit better, work on that, sell it, etc. until they worked up to a piece of property and more or less built a motel all by themselves. I remember many Saturdays in the garage with my dad, pulling old nails out of salvaged lumber, re-sharpening them on a grinder (my favourite part!) then sorting them in jars. Sometimes other families we knew would buy land or houses together and improve them. We were always frugal, having gardens, canning, making do, and they still live that way today. I’m pleased to have learned something from them, even though I didn’t appreciate it as a teenager. It was ‘easier’ to get a house back then in some ways, and the financial times were better but those opportunities still exist. The only problem is it involves a lot more work than many people are prepared for.

  13. Darlene says:

    Walt,

    I enjoyed your post for the most part, but I’m not sure why you are “discouraged that our government is not doing more” for the down & out, and the depressed. (I do agree with you that far too much money is spent on other countries, including many that hate America.) Surely your own parents did not expect the government to provide them with a home and other necessities; if they had been expecting that, they never would have been industrious enough to build their own lovely small house on land they struggled to purchase. During these hard economic times, the “depression era mentality” that Andrew mentions in the post above will serve to bring about a healthier way of living, but only if and when Americans stop expecting the government to fix their lives. Indeed, perhaps folks will start being real neighbors again, and as you mentioned, lend a helping hand whenever possible.

    • Hi,
      I am answering your letter first because, so far, out of the 17 comments yours is the only one that is negative in part, and tends to put words in my mouth. I don’t mind criticism, because whenever I write about anything I open myself up for comments like the one that you made, and it is very important to me that you fully understand what I am saying. I was speaking in very broad terms, on a very large scale because that is the way I think. The thought of most Americans being concerned about the petty, degrading hand outs like we received in the 1930′s – a bag of rice, and the pound of cheese that we walked five miles, and back to receive, was not what I was alluding to. Most Americans do not want hand outs, and yes there is always a percentage that will want a handout if you want to take the negative view. When I refer to our government not doing anything I’m thinking on the broader scale about the lack of jobs in this country. I did not want to get into this discussion, but I feel now that I have to explain my thinking.
      These politicians are so stupid, or uncaring that they make the same mistakes over and over, and are clearly guided by the large contributions they receive from major corporations. My mother was a garment worker, a dying American industry at the time, and predicted this situation we are currently experiencing in 1950! I was working in a mill myself at the time and we were losing orders the Germans who’s economy, along with Japan’s, had been rebuilt with a great deal of our tax money. Personally, I’m tired of the government stealing our children’s future. When do we rebuild our own economy?
      I want a President who is a leader. Both Clinton and Obama made the same mistake, and wasted nearly two years of their term trying to pass useless medical bills like that pile of unintelligible crap they just handed us. Believe me, medical costs would drop like a rock if there was no insurance at all. Ask any honest doctor, or dentist. I can cut Clinton a small amount of slack, but how could Obama make the same mistake! The first thing that Obama should have done is to jump on the job problem. He didn’t do that because he can’t fix it. It is going to take a very powerful leader to fix the economy, and we have not seen one of those in a good many years. While he is running around the world being politically correct, attending meetings, dinners and making speeches, the American worker is going to hell in a hand basket! We need a President who will stand up to the world, and the crackpot economists and tell them that a global economy cannot work when our factories are competing against factories that only pay $100.00 a month. Then the economists will argue “that our workers will have to become more efficient.” To get that efficient we would have to replace them with robots!” As long as our government supports the current slave labor version of the global economy, the jobs are never coming back. The longer we ignore the reality of that, the deeper the hole they are digging of us will get.
      All I am saying is that we need a government that puts the needs of the workers and general population ahead of some impractical nut cakes dream of a so called global economy that has us rushing downhill towards “Banana Republic Status” It does not even make sense. The global economy is like NASA advertising for Aliens to visit earth for a banquet, the banquet being us!
      No, I do not want handouts! I just want a level playing field for our workers!

      • Davidrc says:

        Thank You.

      • Anne says:

        Walt, thank you for sharing your life and home with us… it is a lovely story. Though as Hannah mentioned, not one that can be duplicated today.

        And is not your company solely based on importation of Chinese goods? Making Your particular complaints against job usurpers somewhat disingenuous?

        I agree that it can’t return, but the time when we ruled the manufacturing world was relatively short lived, a couple generations… they just happen to be the ones we remember. All things evolve, even capitalism.

        • Hi Anne,
          I knew that someone would bring this subject up sooner or later. The bulk of our sales come from Battery Chem which is manufactured in the USA. WE have put Americans in business all over the country. We even provide free training. Our company A to Z global marketing Inc. Does sell some products that are imported. Unfortunately, we could not purchase these products in the USA. However we have used the profits from the Chinese products to develop our own products that we manufacture in the USA. Battery Chem and the entire battery reconditioning business was invented by me and is now sold world wide. Non destructive Window shelves, and other wood products, micro homes, The Field Serviceable Chemical Battery & lighting system, Our Steady Cam, and our video production company are all produced here in the USA by American workers. So we are doing our best to make more jobs here. How many other companies can say that? We are investing the bulk of our profits into developing American Made products. We will soon only be importing compact diesel tractors from China, and diesel gen-sets. There are no compact tractors made in the USA They are all built in China, Japan, or Korea. It’s not our fault if a product is not available in the USA. You will have to talk to your congressman about that.
          With the advent of the new products that we are manufacturing in the USA, we are phasing out most of the imports by the first of the year with the exception of the farm equipment and the generators. We just cannot get them here. They are all made offshore.
          In the meantime we are creating jobs for Americans by inventing and building new products right here in the USA. A company in India, The Ronak Group, has purchased the rights to mix and sell Battery Chem with 100% of the proceeds going into product research for made in the USA products. We still mix our own here. So we are exporting technology.
          I was already retired when I started this company 15 years ago. I had a plan to create jobs here in the USA and Yes, I did it by Importing goods from China. I have never taken any salary from the company, I really do not need it. I have provided incomes for Americans, and spent a great deal of money on research for products we can build in America. My employees do not seem to mind, and might want to disagree with you about my being disingenuous. So you think what you want to think about me. I know in my own heart that I have served my county well for many years. I have always looked for the best in people and try very hard to be optimistic and take a positive attitude towards others.

          • Anne says:

            Thank you for your intelligent and well thought out reply, Walt.

            I am a firm believer in free enterprise, and would not have brought up your business if your video had not included what I see as a complaint against it… with comments about the Japanese and Germans.

            I have a low hypocrisy meter I am afraid ;) Especially because I tend to see free trade as the best hope for our species not blasting itself off the planet in nuclear war…

          • Hi Anne
            I understand your thinking, and I do not totally disagree with you, but we cannot export all of our skilled labor, and, heavy industry base off shore. If you are concerned about war and security etc. think about that. World trade is great when the playing field is level, but it is not. I mentioned Germany and Japan because during the era that I was speaking about they were the two main countries that effected the industries that I was working in at that time. Remember, i saw this cancer when I was a factory worker in 1947. I’ll go along with global trade when everything is even. If you manufacture a product in the USA, and try to export it over seas to most of the Asian countries You will then understand why the world trade program is unfair. Between high tariffs and out and out blocks on our products it is a totally unfair situation. You surely read the news, and know that is true. Just try to export a new car, or even an apple to Japan.
            We are actually promoting slave labor in many of these countries by trading with them. We have to be the biggest suckers in the world. Did you know that most of these countries in Asia will not let you take your profits out of their countries even after you have paid all their taxes, tariffs and fees? I’m telling you, it’s a one way street and under the current rules we are gong in the wrong direction.
            World trade to promote peace is a bill of goods that has been pitched to the American public to con them into accepting the fact that they are losing their jobs for their own national security, and that is a pack of lies. Just ask yourself if you are ready to sacrifice your job, your home, and everything you own for free trade? I don’t think so. I want you to write me back and tell me that you are ready to sacrifice everything that you own for this phoney version of so called free trade, please do that, please.
            Personally, I cannot wait for the day when my companies can manufacture all of our products in the USA and drop all the products that we can’t. Right now I have no choice if I want to keep my people working, but we are going to change all that in our companies. That’s more than any of the mega corps are ever going to do.
            Thanks for commenting.
            Walt

  14. Galvin says:

    Great photos! I love the one of your parents house. This is a great blog!

  15. Debra says:

    Thanks for posting this! Wonderful story, I am sure it will inspire a lot of people! Especially, if we conspire to think and react like generations before us did. After all it is people, like the Barretts, that made our country the great one that it is. Happy Veterans Day Walt! Thanks for serving our Country!

  16. deborah says:

    I think he means “more” as in stopping the sending jobs out of the country, giving themselves huge raises every year, and of course sending money over-seas to help other countries when the money should be staying here in the USA for Americans…I could go on and on about the disgusting waste and hoggish politicians, but I will stop here.

    My husband and I planned for retirement by purchasing some land in our forties (now 60′s) and doing just about everything ourselves. We bought a single wide mobile home because we do not have the health necessary to build and have been quite happy in it. We built on big porches and are slowly enclosing them as we come upon the used windows we need for our plans. Until then we enclose the back porch and use it as a passive solar collector and it helps heat our home in the pretty mild winters here in Alabama.

    I do think that this is a very difficult time for young people because of the ridiculous inflated prices of everything, but only a massive depression would ever bring the prices to a reasonable level and the government will make sure it doesn’t happen… they will close that stock market down in a heart beat before it gets that bad, after all, that would effect the wealthy, too, to a certain extent, and that is a “no-no”.

  17. Mo Skba says:

    Great story of self reliance. My own family’s story is similar. My grandparents and great grandparents made it through the depression by being industrious and being self reliant – building homes, growing food, thriving with less.

    A bright side of this financial crisis we’re in now is the recognition and reaffirmation that those virtues of our forefathers still are of great value and we really don’t need the nanny state to take care of us.

  18. Good morning,
    If you want a further glimpse into the past you may want to read this reprint that I usually release on my birthday every year. I use my hard, experiences from the past as an inspiration to keep on keeping on. No experience should ever be meaningless. Try this one on for size. http://chinadepot.com/waltsblog/home/from-oil-lamps-to-the-internet-revisited-by-walt-barrett-%C2%A9-2010/
    Thanks,
    Walt

  19. I have learned a great deal from all of your thoughtful comments.
    Thank you so much!
    Walt

  20. JohnB says:

    I am impressed by your video, Mr. Barret. Thanks for taking the time to motivate others

  21. I would just like to comment that I receive a great deal of information from companies offering “green homes” and “micro homes”, that is totally unrealistic. What is the point of claiming you are green, or micro if a person has to be in the top income bracket in the USA to afford one of these homes? And then the wonder why they fail. My business model is to go where the money is, and to me, the money is in affordable products with durable quality. So how about some affordable homes.
    I have written a piece on land and zoning etc. for micro homes. Kent will be publishing it soon.
    Thanks,
    Walt

  22. Curt says:

    Great thoughts concerning starting small and building up as funds and need comes available. I am trying to instill this into my children that they don’t need the McMansion right away. Unfortunately, like a few posters said, most counties are so restrictive, you can’t do something like this any more. We live on four acres and I would love to build each of our children starter homes…if they find employment in the area. I asked county about having two homes and they said it probably wouldn’t be approved. Recently they announced that they were going to pay to have entire county photographed by air, cost of around 400K to catch anyone that might have built or added on to their homes without a permit.

  23. I believe that in spite of all the restrictions in many cities and towns that there are still areas Where if you go about it properly you can build a smaller home. Please remember that ignoring the law in these cases is always a recipe for disaster. If you are flexible in where you locate, then that is the least troublesome way to go. Perhaps Kent could get a list started on the Blog of where micro homes are allowed. We are focusing on a compromise design that is 24′ x 28′ available in single family, two level, or three level apartment configurations. These will be super insulated, passive solar designs. Multi levels if properly managed pay themselves off.

  24. aprill says:

    Dear Walt,
    I enjoyed the history of your home so very much. Just beautiful.
    I am 37 years old and lately I have been feeling at a loss. I have polycystic kidney disease and my liver was polycystic as well until it was transplanted almost 2 years ago. I have been blessed in many ways – my family is quite large and my husband and two children have been wonderful through my medical trials. I now need a kidney. I know after all that I have been through that they are more important things in life than material things. Yet, I long for a home of my own – I realized that my dream has always been a tiny home. After listening to you – I feel very hopeful and encouraged that someday I may be able to leave behind a tiny legacy for my children to reflect upon and recall the values that I have been given through my family and ancestors.
    I thank you so much for sharing this with the world. I wish you and your family well and many blessings.
    You have made my evening – filled with smiles, tears, and hope – by watching your video. Funny how the smallest moments out of nowhere can make such an impact.
    Thank you.

  25. Dear Aprill,
    I am deeply touched by your story. I have always said if one of my experiences helps even one person it is well worth the effort on my part. I pray that you will get a kidney soon and get feeling better. It is very important that you take care of your health first. I did not mention it in my article, but in 1954 my Mom had a horrible case of breast cancer and they saved her life by literally cooking her with 36 radio active cobalt
    treatments until her skin turned purple and literally burst open. She lived to be 91 and had a very productive life. She was one tough lady, and you have to be the same way. As far as your future tiny home is concerned, technology is changing rapidly. Many of the new building materials make construction much easier, and time is money so that will help to lower the costs. We are working towards shippable kits that our customers can assemble and save a great deal of money. Don’t feel lost, try to keep busy. Write about your experiences and share them with others who need encouragement. We owe it to the future to try and make the world a better place. Personally, when my time comes I want to feel as though I did at least one little thing to leave the world a better place than the way I found it all those years ago in 1933.
    You may reach me a wbarrett1@aol.com
    I will remember you, and your family in my prayers.
    God Bless,
    Walt

  26. paul says:

    God bless you, Walt. You are so right about Obama not being able to fix these problems. They have been getting worse, we can not even keep up maintenance on our infrastructure. They take the short view and think that it is cheaper to pay workers to stay home than it is to put them to work. I am not going to complain about unions in general, they are needed, but union wages for infrastructure maintenance is not right. It could be a percentage, like 60%. This can teach people a trade and get them working and allow them to hold up their heads. My wife and I are both over 50 and our parents(and some grandparents) were born in Calif. Hard times did not affect us or our parents like some in the US. We also are about to lose our business(I am disabled)and our home of 17 years. We are fighting just to get them to rewrite our loan(for the original amount). There are 4 homes on our block on sale (bank owned). These banks have back room deals so as NOT to help the working people, but will drop the loans in half for many who do not work. It is crazy. If we lose our home, our family will split up. There are us 2 grands, 2 of 3 children and son in law, a granddaughter from one and a son in law and grandson and one on the way.

    Here in SoCal, you have to live in expensive digs. If we do lose it, we will be looking a couple of hundred miles away at single or double wide trailers on their own land, and maybe moving in an insulated container as extra living space. This will hurt us bad, it is all because of the power and money grab from the banks in our country. Nixon invited the red Chinese to ruin our country and many of his cronies made bundles of cash doing so. Many industries are not even up and running in this country and they need to happen – if only for national security. I hope that we can turn this around. Conservatives 100 years ago wanted to keep this country for the people and conservation was what they wanted. This has been warped to be exactly the opposite.

    Rant over – I would love to see some articles on rebuilding old single and double wide trailers – how to renovate them, what can be done to modernize them(How are they built?). Many areas of California used to allow them on owned land, but do not any more. These are grandfathered and are expected to be torn down and then built to expensive new standards.
    If these homes can be upgraded, this could be a great way for some people to own a home and upgrade it to live efficiently and wisely.

    Thank you.
    Please feel free to edit this any way you like, but how to rebuild old mobile homes(put on a foundation or just piers), could help a lot of struggling families.

    • Daniel Morse says:

      Paul. If you can not save your place. You and your family have to come together and know if you should “walk away” or stay. We lived outside of Palm Springs. I remember the first month of the melt down. The stores and malls were empty. The banks jacked all the payments up. Late mailing and started this melt down. I was lucky to get out alive to our house in Michigan, the second ground zero of the melt down.

      And it is getting worse.

      If you cannot make it there stop making all your payments, hide what you can. Be secretive and leave. Texas is a state where they can not take your house or garnish a wage. You need to look into these things. I found SoCal to be devoid of kindness and much of anything good. We lived in the desert. The old desert dwellers I loved. The city fall out brought problems with them. Crime went up 200% and the gangs moved in. I came home to visit and never looked back as I had to survive here.

      I did go back last year. They were tearing down all the new foreclosed homes and tract they built. Thousands of Joshua trees died for that crap. I hope they all burn in hell for it.

      You may be part of the urban problem or not. But things are getting worse. My days of urban living are over. In Michigan there are a lot of affordable housing if you can find work. If you pull disability it may be doable. If you do come here. Leave your failed SoCal sensibilities there. Here it will not get you far. Good luck, you will need it.

  27. sesameB says:

    Nice. I jsut loved this true story.
    rural Arkansas

  28. Kaley says:

    Walt,

    I’ve enjoyed watching your video and reading your story. It’s truly people like you and your parents that made America great! I hope people will follow your example and not hold onto the past…move forward….never give up.

    Thanks again,
    Kaley

  29. Daniel Morse says:

    Walt, rock on. I am rehabbing a 485 sq ft home. It was a foreclosure. Needs work after someone came in a and stole the wires and well pump. I will be moving this spring. I do all work myself.

    I had a 3000sq ft dream home once by the beach. I lost it. I hope the ex and the new bf are so happy in their drug habit and great lifestyle. Unable to then keep good work I had to move into a garage with the kids for 2 years. I found this place and was able to pay for it out right. It looks just like you home, but smaller with only a half story above. The 2 ac slopes into a swamp. Across from a county park and near a small village in South West Michigan. The Kalamazoo area. The house has good bones. Just need a rehab and cleaning. Fence too. Too many thieves anymore, even here.

    I have a bedroom. a kitchen, a bath and small living room. I am using old fixtures I have saved from the junk piles. I heat now with wood and may decide to go off grid. I do like ac in the summer and stuff like that. We shall see.

    I grew up on the farm with nothing. My mom and dad still farm. Currently I live in the old 160year old farm house cabin I grew up in. We laugh about the hard times. I remember the day dad killed our pet cow to eat. My four brothers and I are excellent hunters. He knocked a hole in the wall and put in a home made wood burner too when the propane ran out. We had steak, meat, eggs, and stored veggs many a meal. We planted 2 ac of potatoes to get us thru. Many times it still was not enough. My friends at school had crap like pizza and take out. My friends thought we were weird. We laugh about how values are twisted.

    Overnight, three years ago, I went from upper middle class America to digging out of dumpsters to eat and going to the free clinic for needed medication. The first two years we were hungry and cold very often. Ill and in great pain I mopped floors for minimum wage. I still can not find lasting work. I am unemployed. Thank God for food stamps or we would be starving again. This next year will be very different. We will have our own home. I have gardens already started. I have the canning and preserving equipment. I will dig a cold cellar also.

    My city friends think I am a loser and crazy. They work night and day to have McMansions. OR to live in overpriced apts. They all are on the verge of a melt down or into things I consider a little unmoral. Not knocking the gay/alt lifestyle and i approve all positive lives. We are all people. I am talking about shadowy stuff. I just don’t care to be there in that. The value of my life is just that. Mine. I am educated, healthy again. My car and truck are paid for. We will have a good life starting over. Now, if I could only get 120,000 in student loans off my back. Maybe I could start a family again and have a fresh start. It is called economic slavery.

    I enjoyed your video. Many of us are like minded. Strong and care. I am glad you still have your home. Consider a trust or a way it can be saved against greedy politics. They want all of us enslaved. I am glad you did not put your mother away. You are good people.

    The home is a castle. It is a refuge. gaurd it well my friends all of you and good luck. You will need it.

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