Mike Creedy is one of North Florida’s self-sufficiency pioneers. He walked away from the corporate world to live off the land in Live Oak. He’s building an energy efficient Dome Home from sand bags – an innovative, rocket-fired COB oven for cooking and heating – and a Permaculture landscape for year-round food. People around the globe are following Mike’s progress via his blog at FloridaDomeHome.com.
“There are lots of like-minded people searching for this lifestyle and sense of inner peace,” Mike says. “It’s a big underground movement coming to the surface now thanks to the Internet. People are waking up, getting grounded and becoming more spiritual. They’re tired of what the corporations, banks and pharmaceutical companies have done in the name of greed. They follow what we do as I attempt to live without money as much as possible. It’s fulfilling – fantastic!“
Mike approaches his homesteading adventure with a Brit’s sense of humor, an engineer’s ingenuity, a boyish curiosity, a vegetarian’s respect for all living things and a spiritualist’s depth of peace and patience. He wants to live as close to nature as possible, gathering natural building materials from his environment and giving back more than he takes.
“I had all the toys, a profitable job, a plane, a beautiful home, etc. They’re all gone because I don’t want them anymore. I want to live grounded, back to nature and connected with what matters. I’m happier in nature, minimizing my cash outlay, doing what I enjoy and giving freely to other people. That’s why I put all this knowledge on my website – to give back for everyone to benefit.”
Rocket Fired COB Oven
This is no ordinary COB oven!! It’s rocket-fired, allowing it to reach high temperatures with minimal wood. The base is constructed in sand bags. The oven is made from COB, an ancient technique combining clay, sand and hay. Mike will add several more COB layers for insulation before its compete. Already it quickly reaches 700 degrees burning just a few sticks of wood – enough for us to cook a couple pizzas to perfection!
Mike’s experimentation with rocket-fired heat technology is one of the most popular pages on his blog. Apart from burning logs inside the oven, he fuels it with wood fragments from a small area at the base of the oven as an alternative source of heat. This unique heat feeder dramatically accelerates the oven temperature. What else would you expect from an engineer? Once complete, Mike’s oven will provide an energy efficient cooking source and heat for his Dome Home. Click here to read more about Mike’s oven.
Sand-Bag Dome Home
Mike’s building his home in stages. The foundation is complete with plumbing and electrical. Exterior walls are about two feet high. It’s built with sand bags to maximize energy-efficiency and minimize the need for supplemental heating/cooling.
The first dome meets his minimal living needs – a kitchen, bathroom, living area and bedroom. He’s leaving open areas in the exterior walls to easily add future domes when he’s ready to expand. Click here to learn more about site clearing and dome construction.
The local utility provides electricity to his property and he plans to use it. “I
don’t envision being completely off the grid. That costs too much money for now. But I won’t need much power because of the dome’s efficiency. My goal is to live on $300 a month. Out of that some gas, some power, some essentials. I’m set.”
Occasionally, construction pauses while Mike returns to the corporate world to earn money. Such are the challenges for this pioneer as he pursues a deeper calling to spirituality and self-sufficiency. “The desire for this lifestyle comes from within, a spiritual calling – like the story of Buddha who after 12 years of meditation no longer wanted the royal life. He gave his kingdom away.” Mike’s spirituality is the driving force behind his dream and the cornerstone of his happiness.
Permaculture, Edible Yard
A completely edible landscape is essential to feed this dedicated vegetarian year-round. “What gives us the right to murder animals? More and more people are awakening and turning vegetarian.” He cooks Ayurvedic foods with Indian seasoning, which he finds both healthy and delicious. “Most of what I eat, I’ll grow on the property. What I don’t need, I’ll give away to help others. Giving is a big thing in my life.” His edible yard is in the infancy stage with big plans for expansion. He’s planted fruit trees, Hugelkultur beds and other areas are prepped for planting. Click here for more about Mike’s Permaculture soil.
Mike’s World-Wide Blog Response
Experimenting with all things sustainable in his living laboratory, Mike has much wisdom to share. People around the world connect with Mike from his ongoing blog. “I get a tremendous amount of support and gratitude – lots from youngsters who are 16 & 17. Mostly they want free advice. I can tell them, if it doesn’t work, don’t go down that road.” Click here to learn about Mike’s homesteading workshops.
Mike calls his Live Oak homestead “Net Tydelik.” It’s Afrikaans for “Just Temporary.” He says, “Everything’s really just temporary, isn’t it?” It’s the name of a multi-million dollar estate near the South African diamond-mining community where Mike grew up. Mike was turned off by the mining industry’s abuse of the area’s ecology and black workers. “For what?” he asks. “The false sense of value in a diamond?” He loves the irony in naming his humble homestead after one where there’s such disrespect for people and natural resources.
This pioneer’s motto? “Never give up, even if you have to do to do it alone. Just keep on going. There’s life at the end of the tunnel. Inspiration comes.”