Welcome to the UndergroundHousing.com Blog

Home

Photos of Mike's Underground houses and greenhouses
Countryside Magazines' article on Mike's building methods
The combined underground house workshop and survival seminar 3 DVD set
$50 and Up Underground House Book
Reviews
The Earth-sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book

Reviews

Other works by Mike Oehler
Hippy Survival Guide  
One Mexican Sunday  
WTO Protest Video  
Online order form
Mail order form
Media Press Page
Links to other earth-integrated housing pages
Permies.com
Country plans.com
Wretha. blogspot.com

five stars

Great How-To Book
This book illustrates and explains how to create an affordable underground house with far more advantages than an above ground house. Explains step by step planning, materials, construction, features, and some sample layouts to get you started. Along with much more. This is the book I plan to use when I build my house.
GF113 - September 29, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars

five stars

Beyond 5 Stars--Inspirational, Valuable, Practical
   This book is phenomenally wise, useful, easy to read, and plain inspiing. I picked it up this morning intending to get back to it tonight and ended up not putting it down at all.....
    The book ends by discreetly recommending a (DVD) series on design as the key element for success, and one that professional architects generally overlook (as we are all learning, the "experts" in finance and other areas are really "credentialed" but NOT experts).
   I LIKE THIS BOOK. As an afterthought, it is recommended by just about every major alternative living, green energy, and sanity outpost (Vermont, Oregon, Washington State) reviewer. This book is a "good deal" and inspiring to boot
Robert D. Steele - September 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars
five stars

A Classic!
Mike is an original thinker/curmudgeon. Everyone interested in building with natural materials should study his ideas. His DVD set is more complete than this book and incorporates 25 years of experience building this way. Get them both.... Kyle B. - December 13, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars

five stars

Wonderful book!
This is the best book I have read on alternative buildings. The author is very sensible about the whole project without being to much of a hippie. ....I HIGHLY recommend it!
Floyd Oathout - August 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5
Stars

five stars
Great Ideas Brilliant Research I enjoyed this book very much and used it as a basis for designing an underground building for my plantation resort in India..... I haven't seen anything else out there as good as this for underground building....if you do please let me know. Michael Skowronski Author of Unforgettable: A Love and Spiritual Growth Story
April 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5
Stars
five stars
Excellent book to start planning your new home
In my opinion, this book is awesome!....The designs blew me away. Just remember, if you want the nuts and bolts to building your new underground home, you need the DVD set.... Jason Jacobs - June 13, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars
Read the reviews

 

 

apples

 

five stars
"I have fallen in love with this book because it is the answer to most of my greenhouse problems. I was concerned about building an above ground greenhouse due to the fact that I would have to run electricity to the building to heat/cool it. The earth berm concept is so painfully smart am left wondering why more people don't practice this? A must buy right now due to the need for sustainable living!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lana Lambert, Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars
The book covers the theory, design, and construction of the greenhouse (using Mike's low-cost PSP ---post, shoring, polyethylene--- technique): glazing, insulation and ventilation; beneficial critters and those that aren't so; solar energy input: the cold sink system; earth-tempering; and thoughts on how to use the completed structure. …. keep in mind that this greenhouse functions with no heat input in northern Idaho and carries hardier varieties through the winter.
BackHome Magazine

 

 

"This design is so unique and so efficient, this is phenomenal …. an amazing greenhouse system"
Jane Nugent, Jane Nugent's Garden Talk, WPTT Radio – TV, Pittsburg, PA

 


"An interesting, quite complete and entertaining book. The author gives the reader the benefit of many years of trial and error and some well-presented design elements that are not well treated in many other greenhouse books …. He got into greenhouse design choices and did a very nice job …. I liked the book. It was a pleasant read and the pearls of wisdom …. keep up the readers interest."
Tom Karasek, Hobby Greenhouse

 

"Every winter, gardeners dream of owning a greenhouse—a warm and sometimes sunny place to tend plants and overwinter tropical favorites. If high heating bills have kept you from realizing that dream, this may be the book that inspires you to dig right in. The author lives in an earth-sheltered home and grows his own veggies in a working greenhouse that is heated by the sun. In chapters about glazing, insulation, heat tubes and pest management, you'll learn the basics of a solar-powered greenhouse and be treated to plans, photos and random notes about the process, including the use of rabbits as part of the growing cycle. The solar heat idea will work best if you have a hillside and sunny location, but you can harness the sun anyplace there is light and soil. The author also wrote "The $50 & Up Underground House Book" and his home has been featured on HGTV and in various magazines. Even if you never intend to grow a thing, the book is a fascinating look into the mind of a modern day rebel."
Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post Intelligencer

Reader suggestion for humane gopher control

For Mike Oehler:

How to Get Rid of Gophers...

Well, i should really call it how to get rid of Woodchucks, because that
is certain...

The following method is 100% verified to work on Woodchucks a.k.a.
Groundhogs, in Northern New England in 1971. I have applied it myself on
only that one occasion, in New Hampshire, where my sister was told of it
by a neighbor, and I see no reason to doubt that it was the immediate
cause of the voluntary emigration of a family of Ground Hogs (a male, a
female, and four little ones) as witnessed by myself two to three days
later, from the property on which a garden was planted, that said
critters were in the process of decimating at the time.

I honestly do not know whether it will work on pocket, or true gophers,
which are a different genus, in Idaho, but i would say, all things
considered, that there is more to indicate for it than against it, given
the basic similarity in diet, habits, and habitat.

If the method is applied and succeeds with Gophers, it would not
surprise me one bit, and i would say it is worth a try.

To attempt this method of non-lethal albeit discourteous action
resulting 
in voluntary emigration of said critters. You will need the following:

1.) Several polyethylene bags. (The size for woodchucks is one size
larger than sandwich bags, the next size up, sometimes called food
storage bags. Gophers may require a smaller size, as they are smaller
critters by and large, and may have smaller tunnels.

2.) While the method may be employed with only one actor/participant,
I think the more the merrier, in my experience with this method there
were three human participants. Some possible variations, and some common
sense conjecture will be included a bit further on.

3.) A relatively springy pole of some sort, thin enough, and flexible
enough to extend for some distance down the animal's burrow, yet broad
enough at "the business end" to nearly fill the burrow, which will be
employed in the manner that a ram rod is used to prime a cannon.

Procedure:

From one to several human participants will save their feces in plastic
bags for anywhere from 3 to 7 days (this will vary with the size of the
gopher colony, the number of existing burrow entrances, and the number
of human volunteers.)

The plastic bags may be knotted at their tops for easy storage prior to
deployment, when they will be opened to deploy their payload. 

The eventual object, regardless of the manner of collection, is to
deposit one to two or even three human turds at every burrow entrance
with the accompanying plastic bag ahead of, or behind it, in the manner
that wadding is used when loading a flintlock, and then ramming the
entire mess towards the central mound of the burrow, for as long a
distance as possible, to foul as much tunnel as possible, using the
springy pole.

It is permissible, and indeed, may prove salutary to sing or whistle an
appropriate melody at this time, e.g. "Ol' Ground Hog" "Hi Ho Hi Ho"
(Seven Dwarves Labor Song) "The Nationale" "The Overture of 1812" etc.
as well as possibly to imbibe an alcoholic beverage. 

Also, the "fencing posture" a.k.a. "Captain Morgan's pose" may be
adopted when using the ramrod for dramatic effect.

In order to be maximally effective, the following three criteria should
be in evidence.

a.) All current burrow entrances and exits must be treated.

b.) Adequate repellant employed (three feet of fouling minimum per
tunnel advisable). Again extending towards, and as close as possible to
central mound(s).

c.) plastic may remain in holes, at least for awhile, as (i believe) 
it may render the entire situation even more difficult for the critters
to deal with.

Possible additions. The ingestion of enzyme suppliments generally result
in a pronounced increase in the odor of human feces. This may not be
necessary, but Floradix markets an all natural herbal enzyme formula
that was originated by Paracelsus. Guaranteed really stinky poops, plus,
it is good for you.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is what happened on the one occasion that i used it on a family of
Woodchucks and witnessed the results: Prior to the experiment, a garden
hose, firecrackers, peeing around the five burrow entrances had all been
tried for approximately 2 weeks with no noticeable effect.

At the urging of a neighbor, who claimed success with the same method,
three people collected their poop in plastic bags for about three days,
and the aforementioned technique was employed, taking care that every
ingress and egress from the main burrow was well fouled. 

Approximately two days later, i personally witnessed a male woodchuck,
followed by a smaller female, followed in turn by 4 little woodchucks,
walking by the property line on the other side of the house.

As i stood there open mouthed in astonishment, the male stood up on his
hind legs and read me the riot act for a full ten minutes. It was quite
a speech, and i believe that if i understood Woodchuck, it is likely my
ears would have been burned to the ground. 

Every couple of minutes, he would travel a little further, and then
thinking of something he had omitted, or wished to add, would stop, and
give me what fer again, during which time, his wife and chirren,would
stop respectfully behind him and pay close attention, while watching me
sideways. This display went on for 10 or 15 minutes, until the house
blocked the view, at which point i snuck down the driveway, and was able
to see the Woodchuck family waddling down the side of the two lane road,
single file in the long grass.

One important point: This was in mid-summer. Carrots were the main
casualty, and were still small. I would suggest any time from early
spring to mid- summer, on grounds of compassion (more or less) as the
Gophers (assuming they might enjoy the party favors about as much as
Woodchucks apparently do) must have time both to relocate and to gather
food for the winter, if they are not to starve.

Anyway, hope this helps, the books and DVD's are great, thank you very 
much.

Chris Cheney
New York, New York

Read More →

A Word From Mike

Greetings,

I’m new to blogging, so please bear with me. I’ll hopefully have a fairly significant personal message in a few days, but for now please check out the two items we’ve posted here. One is from my book The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K. The other is from permies.com which is Paul Wheaton and other great people’s site.

Read More →

Not So Free Light Bulbs

Read More →

The Spiritual Silver Bullet

Before I get another sentence let me state that I am one poor person to be preaching spirituality. I have lusted all my life. I have frequently gotten drunk. I have abused drugs. I have coveted material things. I have been vindictive, arrogant, envious, jealous egotistical and otherwise mean spirited. So I am not going to preach. What I will do is tell you some spirited paths I’ve found that have helped me greatly.

Spirituality is the ultimate survival skill. When one is primarily on a spiritual quest the desire for material object is effectively lessened. This can make an enormous difference to us in the coming trials since we stand a big chance of losing many of our goodies. We will be in states of shock and anguish. Yet if we learn to not mind losing them there is no loss. Material goodies are to Americans as alcohol is to a drunk. In both cases, losing the craving is a benefit.

As homesteading is the antidote to industrialism, spirituality is the antidote to materialism. The Bible inveighs heavily against the unnecessary accumulation of wealth. Jesus suggested that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of God for, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, ”Buddha taught that only in the cessation of desire is happiness possible. Warren Johnson explores the concept nicely:

The Eastern religions take this ideal of wanting less much further, and suggest that liberation is the cessation of all desire. Emerson and Thoreau were both influenced by Hinduism; Emerson’s philosophy of transcendentalism is very close to it. Thoreau, knowing how practical his fellow Americans were, attempted to express the logic of reduced desire in a practical way, to show that it made life better even for selfish reasons. He suggested that happiness is the result when achievements were divided by desires, which can be expressed as:

Happiness = achievements/desires

If ones desires are great, unhappiness and disappointment are almost inevitable since achievements are likely to fall short of them … (and) desires tend to rise with achievements. The better solution is to reduce desires, since this is done the figure for happiness rises; as desire approaches zero, a mathematician would tell us that the figure for will reach infinity, regardless of what one’s achievements are. In Buddhism and Hinduism, this is enlightenment, liberalism or nirvana, the goal of life, but to have survived for thousands of years, there must be some wisdom in that we, in our cultural youthfulness, do not yet appreciate.

One of the ways of sublimating unwholesomeness desires is by learning to serve others, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve,” wrote Albert Schweitzer.

To serve our fellow humans and other creatures on this planet is to serve the divinity for there is a spark of God in all of us. To serve truly selflessly involves subduing the ego – a tall order, but also infinitely rewarding. Serving others is one of the routes to reunion with God, a way of achieving God consciousness. There is a whole path in yoga devoted to this approach called karma yoga.

Service to others used to be the primary goal in life for many. This was so even in industrial America until the 1960s. It was most commonly expressed in the raising of families. The functions of fathers were to serve the family in the outer world, producing food or cash, by providing the protection and shelter and by being the authority figure, the discipliner within the family. Mothers served by being the loving core of the family by being hourly examples of selflessness, by providing nourishment and nurture. This is what Phyllis McGinley means when she writes in “Sixpence in Her Shoe”; “Women fulfill themselves best when they give themselves away… that is, after all, the mysterious honor and obligation of women – to keep this planet in orbit. We are the self-immolators, the sacrificers, the givers, not the eaters-up of life. To say arbitrarily, as some psychologists and propagandists do, that is our duty to be busy elsewhere than at home is pretentious nonsense,”

Read More →

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon! Mike Oehler’s Writings

Read More →

This site created and maintained by Keokee Creative Group of Sandpoint Idaho