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Yet another introduction....

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Yet another introduction....

Post by Boatchops on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:19 pm

Hi! I'm a lady tattooist from the uk and my partner and I currently live on a boat with two cats and a do. I desperately want to live a self sufficient life and have been looking into caves for a bit. I don't know how realistic it will be for me but I want to find out more! Thanks for reading!

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by Cave Bunny on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:30 pm

Hi, welcome to the forum. There is definitely the opportunity to live a more self sufficient life in caves, that was our objective too. What do you want to know? Btw, where are you moored?
Smile
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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by pete_l on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:33 pm

Boatchops wrote:Hi! I'm a lady tattooist from the uk and my partner and I currently live on a boat with two cats and a do. I desperately want to live a self sufficient life and have been looking into caves for a bit. I don't know how realistic it will be for me but I want to find out more! Thanks for reading!
Welcome!
I don't think a cave house will make much difference WRT self-sufficiency - esp. given the spanish government's latest diktat about solar panels. Though they can have a lower environmental impact than an orthodox house as cement manufacture accounts for 5% of the world emission of CO2 - the second highest industrial source.

The issue with trying for self-sufficiency around here is a supply of water for irrigation and crops. While there is some water, it's not as plentiful as in other areas - the low rainfall being one of the attributes that makes cave houses viable.
Having said that, it's probably easier to lead a self-sufficient life in these parts than it is to support oneself in paid employment.

However, good luck with your search - though if you do buy a cave house, where will you put the boat?

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by Ken on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:41 pm

Stay on the boat.

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by Boatchops on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:32 pm

We're on the norfolk broads at the moment, we're doing pretty well in the bad weather in the uk, and glad we have a boat with all the flooding about :s

If we do buy a cave house we will put the boat in a long term mooring so we have it as a back up.

I wanted to sign up so I could see what sort of costs we are looking at, what problems could arise, if it could end up being a money pit, and if it's realistic really. My employment is a job I can do anywhere so I have no worries about earning, I can come back to the uk to work every now and again. I'm just looking to read through the forums and see if it's something to pursue. I'm not an idealist so I know it's not an idyllic dream.

Ken, stay on the boat? It's ok but I'd like to do something else Smile

Thanks for the replies!

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by miron on Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:11 am

Pete's point about water is a good one, but it is possible to find land suitable for cultivation with year-round water available from an acequia (irrigation channel). It depends very much on the area you choose. If you live in a place without land there are usually neighbours with unused land which you may be able to take on.
Because of their fairly stable ambient temperatures, cave houses don't need air con in summer nor continual heating in the wintertime. If you can find a free source of wood it might be possible to be self-sufficient in heating. (I have to admit to using an electric blanket in bed when it's really cold, but a hot water bottle would do the trick). Solar water heating works well nearly all the time. I know a very few people who are fairly self-sufficient, so it is possible, but it's quite an intensive lifestyle - especially producing your own food. I wouldn't want to work so hard myself, and there's lots of lovely local food available quite cheaply, but I do like the feeling of living a (relatively) low-impact lifestyle.

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by pete_l on Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:45 am

Regarding costs. everybody's experience is different: different sized houses, different tolerance to cold - and it does get cold, we've had down to -5° this year - in 2013 there was even a frost on May 1 (which did for my grape vine) and different lifestyles.
However, I moved to Spain last year so this is what I can tell you about my costs.

First off, you will need a car. Given that it can take the local garages several weeks (or months!) to fix a major problem, you may even need a backup vehicle. S/h cars are expensive in Spain - the 2007 Ford I bought from a dealer was €7,000. Car insurance is also expensive, compared to the UK.
Petrol is a little bit cheaper. Food can vary: depending where you buy it. I find that my weekly supermarket shop, for just me, is on the high side of €50, compared to £30-ish in the UK. There is also much less choice than in the UK and spanish food is ..... different!
Electricity is much more expensive in Spain. My annual leccy bill was about £400 in the year before I moved. IN Spain it's about €1,000 per year - the only difference being that I have an electric immersion heater, rather than gas c/h. On top of that, I bought €400 of logs for the fire - I reckon I'll use about half of them this winter. Away from towns, gas comes in "stubby" bottles (which you may be familiar with, from the boat). a €17.50 bottle gives me about 60 hours use of my portable, 3kW, heater at max. Turning it down to 2kW up's that to about 100 hours.

Domestic water costs about €50/year (€1 per m³ - much cheaper than in the UK which has over twice the average rainfall  confused ) although I don't have mains sewerage which would increase the bill significantly. You wouldn't use this supply for irrigation: firstly because you're not allowed to use potable water for plants, and secondly because agricultural water is cheaper - I've heard it's about one-third the price. There is a property tax which is about €60/year and the town hall collects a local tax of about the same amount (c.f. the UK community charge of £1,300).

The other thing to be aware of is that, in the country areas there is much less choice so far as clothes, furniture, white goods and general "stuff" is concerned - there simply aren't enough shops (and almost no big shops) to provide the range of products. If you aren't happy with the restricted numbers and types of goods, you have to travel. Granada is the nearest city and that's a 3 hour round-trip for me. Murcia is 5 hours, there and back. These distances means it's also a task to get stuff delivered.

Oh yes, nearly forgot. Medical costs. You say that you work. In Spain you will need medical cover. You could pay into the spanish social-security system, which will cost you about €3,000 per year (which confers other benefits, too - so I'm told). Or you could pay for private medical insurance. Your circumstances will define what that would cost, but a wild stab would say maybe €1,000 per year for you and your partner. However, there are all sorts of things that aren't covered by that. Prescription medicines being the most obvious - so forget £7.50 for a bottle of NHS pills and reckon on €20-30 (or more  affraid ) for a course of basic antibiotics.

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by Twisted Fire Starter on Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:07 am

pete_l wrote:
Boatchops wrote:Hi! I'm a lady tattooist from the uk and my partner and I currently live on a boat with two cats and a do. I desperately want to live a self sufficient life and have been looking into caves for a bit. I don't know how realistic it will be for me but I want to find out more! Thanks for reading!
Welcome!
I don't think a cave house will make much difference WRT self-sufficiency - esp. given the spanish government's latest diktat about solar panels. Though they can have a lower environmental impact than an orthodox house as cement manufacture accounts for 5% of the world emission of CO2 - the second highest industrial source.

The issue with trying for self-sufficiency around here is a supply of water for irrigation and crops. While there is some water, it's not as plentiful as in other areas - the low rainfall being one of the attributes that makes cave houses viable.
Having said that, it's probably easier to lead a self-sufficient life in these parts than it is to support oneself in paid employment.

However, good luck with your search - though if you do buy a cave house, where will you put the boat?

Just to clarify about the solar thing, as I have done a huge amount of research into this. The taxes etc are ONLY going to be aplicable to those who are GRID-TIED, off-grid properties are NOT affected. The power companies want some extra dosh for people using their infastructure. If you are NOT connected to a pylon etc and generating income from selling electricty back then you are ok. For now!!!

Water can also be no problem either, just have a well bored. Depending on the area you are in and the depth you have bored there are several water tables you're sure to hit. You WILL hit water when drilling, it's just a question of how deep you have to go. In the Baza/Benamaurel area there's water tables @ around 25m, 40m & 60m give or take.
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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by MSA on Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:09 pm

we are going to life off grid in 4 months, 6 km from the tarmac, with own well ( drilled) and solar power, without taxes .with 18 Ha
we do have small newsletter and info on the work  away platforms .
just pm


Last edited by MSA on Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by miron on Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:26 pm

Have been thinking about Pete's last post re. costs to live here and thought i'd put down my own costs (all figures approx!). This is for two of us.
Electric €360 per annum; water charges €120 pa; acequia charge €15 pa (unlimited use); wood free but collect ourselves; gas bottles €120 pa; cave etc insurance €350 pa; food €30 per week; going out €30 per week (beer and wine); no car; bus travel €40 per month (one over-65 travel card helps as there's 50% off); no health care cover.  We grow a bit of food and get lots from neighbours. We nearly always buy white goods etc locally: free same-day delivery and easy follow-up if any problems. I find life reasonably cheap here but it depends on your lifestyle needs and choices!

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by Ken on Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:54 am

No health care cover? Why?

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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by MSA on Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:40 am

Ken wrote:No health care cover? Why?

i've got one from Belium from the public health . It's free and has been transferred to here
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Re: Yet another introduction....

Post by miron on Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:39 am

MSA wrote:
Ken wrote:No health care cover? Why?

i've got one from Belium from the public health . It's free and has been transferred to here
Just not got round to sorting it out yet!

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Re: Yet another introduction....

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