Information about the FIRST Beartooth Ranch near Cody, WY
(Established in the late 1800's and renamed Beartooth Ranch circa 1975)
(Last update: Saturday,April 20, 2019)

Entrance to the First Beartooth Ranch No Trespass NoWarrant BearAwareBeware Dog

We are not to be confused with the second Beartooth Ranch near Cody, Wy, established by an infamous drug dealer in the 1980's. Being a dishonest fellow, he didn't seem to care if that name was already in use nearby.

This web page was originally set up as an adjunct to a GoFundMe account, set up to try to raise funds to help us through the winter of 2018-2019, and fulfill our wish list. The account is now closed due to obsolescence.

To see a video about the project, click this link https://youtu.be/XLQVT4lyF-M

My wife and I are in our 70's and live on the edge of the grid in a remote area of Wyoming with our two house cats, two semi-feral "ranch" cats, assorted wild life and the rare stray Black Angus bull.

Generous donations allowed us to use REAL insulation (instead of the straw bales used previously), with an R-value of at about R-26, and cedar fence slats, and house wrap to build a double walled skirt to protect the insulation and block the (sometimes 100+ MPH) wind.

Currently an electric heater underneath the trailer helps prevent the plumbing from freezing - at high cost, and a continual trickle of water in the sink helps keep the water line from freezing.  The plan is to replace the water hose with plastic pipe and bury it eight feet deep. However time, energy, and money are scarce. 

Two more electric heaters help keep the trailer warm inside.  Insulation and skirting have helped a lot and we hope to complete the insulation project before the temperatures drop to the normal twenty below zero next winter.  You may imagine our electric bill with THREE 1500-Watt electric heaters running nearly 24/7!

Because propane is so expensive, and requires a 70 + mile round trip to fetch, that heat source is reserved for when it gets REALLY cold. Alarmingly, the furnace has now 'quit'!  I have been unable to repair it myself, but the weather has warmed up.  So, that's a "deferred" project.

As soon as time and money permit,'ll repair the home made air heating solar collector, and duct the heat under the trailer where I'll eventually have 400+ gallons of water in re-cycled beverage bottles.  I may have to dig out from under the trailer to make more room, but that's possible if I make a long, narrow trench, so it drains to a lower elevation.

I've had this system working before, but it was damaged in the move to the ranch.  The water under the trailer adsorbs the heat from the collector by day and warms the floor of the trailer by night.  By itself, it's not enough to keep us warm, but it helps a lot.

The solar air heater I designed and built is one of the most effective solar powered home air heaters I've ever seen, and I've been a Solar Energy "nut" for over half a century! For those that are interested in building their own solar powered air heater, click here Questions? Use subject line "DIY Collector" and e-mail BTRwebManager@jameshoefer.com


Below is some additional background, and a list of projects I hope to complete in the future, sort of a bucket list:

Our previous landlord went into foreclosure, so we moved our RV home to a remote ranch some 35 miles north of Cody, Wyoming.  It's a 75 mile round trip to the nearest Walmart or other retail store / gas station!  Trips are consolidated as much as possible.

The rent here is low, especially for this area, but living is primitive and rough and there is a lot of work needs doing before we can say we are settled in.  One reason for the low rent is the expectation that I will use my handyman skills around the ranch.

Repair of the solar furnace will cost about $300.
Another $1,000 will be necessary for "deferred maintenance" and other urgent needs.

The projects described above and below will reduce our cost of living on a permanent basis and make life less arduous both immediately and long term.

Once our immediate needs are met, if all goes well, below is a list of other projects we would like accomplish:

Repair / rebuild - Relocate the wife's hoop-house (green house)
Build a laundry / shower shed with a full sized water heater and a washer and dryer  (The six gallon heater in the trailer is not even adequate for washing dishes, let alone bathing or laundry.  - - Currently a neighbor is letting us use his facilities for laundry and showers. However, his washing machine has started making a horrible noise!);
Build a Rocket Stove Mass heater inside the laundry/shower shed.  (That will let us take advantage of the abundant firewood here to heat the trailer AND the shower shed);
Repair and expand the deck along the front of the trailer - to make it safer to enter and exit the trailer and help keep the dirt and mud out of our home;
Install auger type hurricane anchors under the trailer to prevent the wind (gusts reported to 140 MPH!) from blowing the trailer away - or even just moving it off the supports;
Upgrade our photovoltaic solar array and the associated battery bank to augment the awful electric bill;
Harness the power of the creek (about 100 feet away) to generate MORE electricity;
Replace the windshield in our van.  It is badly cracked but insurance won't cover that (Est. $500 or so);
Get the Air Conditioner on our vehicle repaired (WAY expensive, but not urgent, "can" live without);
Replace the rear windows of said vehicle, which are now made of cardboard - about $250;
Purchase and set up 250 gallon propane tank (about $250 used - and another $500 to fill it), and also purchase a trailer with which to haul it. (That will make it possible to buy propane in bulk rather than 5 or 10 gallons at a time at retail.  The bridge can't take the load of a larger tank, OR the weight of a commercial propane delivery truck;
Level a spot for the propane tank.  (Rent of a bob-cat isn't cheap.)
Repair the dirt and culvert pipe bridge over the creek - it's beginning to slough off at the edges and has a pot hole at a dangerous location;
Purchase new eyeglasses for both of us - my prescription is ten years old, the wife's almost the same;

I cput a PDF file here so you can build your own "Solar Furnace".  (Home heating, that is, not like The solar furnace in the Pyrenees mountains of France).

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