An overview of the last 4 years living off grid
by WRETHAOFFGRID on OCTOBER 20, 2011 - 90 Comments in COMMUNITY, LAND, OFF-GRID 101, SELF-SUFFICIENCY, SPIRIT, WATER, WORK, WRETHA

This December will be 4 years for us living 100% off grid, I can tell you it’s been quite the adventure, my only regret is that we didn’t do this earlier. Let me recap what we have been doing these 4 years…

 

Our pre-off-grid life was pretty much like most anyone else, we lived in a regular house, a mobile home actually, in a regular neighborhood in north central Texas. PB owned his own business, taking care of restaurant equipment for several big name companies and a smattering of smaller ones, he was a one-man-band, no employees. I worked 2 jobs, the first as a merchandiser and pricing coordinator for a big box electronics company and the other job was as a trainer in a semi-well known gym for women. We weren’t what you would call well off financially, but we were happy.

We were both empty nesters from previous marriages, in the beginning neither one of us knew the other had a secret desire to live off grid, when we began to explore the idea of actually doing this, it didn’t take us long to find our perfect plot of land in far west Texas, it was just under 6 acres of unimproved, rough, almost inaccessible land on the side of a mountain in the high desert.

I cashed in my stock from my job and had enough to buy the land and had a little left over to buy some building material for the start of the cabin (soon to be renamed the sky castle). In less than 2 weeks, PB had a minimal structure built, it was enough for us to move in. We were able to get some solar panels, a charge controller, a few deep cycle batteries and a few other things we needed to get started. We began to disassemble our current city lives, PB shut down his business, I quit both of my jobs, and on December 22, 2007 we moved all of our remaining belongings to our new life in west Texas.

The first few months were pretty rough, we lived in a most primitive manner, some might even say our first few years were pretty primitive, I suspect some might even say we still live very primitively, that’s OK, it’s quite wonderful to me. We met a great neighbor who gave us some help, it made life a bit easier, things like access to his water well instead of having to go to the community well, access to his washer and dryer instead of washing by hand and hanging to dry, access to his shower instead of taking spit baths… all things we were prepared to do on our own, but having such a great neighbor we were able to do many things a little easier, in return we do most of the maintenance on his house, we do other things for him too, so it’s a fair trade.

We quickly learned about the barter system and before long we had enough connections with the community that when anyone had some used, scrap or excess building materials, they would contact us first to see if we could use it. Most of the rest of the sky castle was built using this scrap material that would have otherwise gone to the landfill. PB would go and tear down a building at a friend’s property and we would get to take the material home. Please understand, we aren’t tree huggers, we aren’t doing any of this because it’s “green”, for us it was cheap and expedient, the fact that we were in fact being green was merely a bonus.

Little by little we built up our little place into a home, with running water, eventually installing on demand propane powered water heaters, water tanks for more water storage, we built another room, the first one was 16×16, the addition was 12×12, we built on decks and eventually, my favorite addition, the shower. We also began to work on other things, like the garden, putting up out buildings, sheds and such.

All of this has taken time and lots of sweat, we have spent very little money, mainly because we do everything ourselves, and a lot of experimentation, some of which worked great, some which failed miserably. We have been blessed by good health and only minor accidents, mostly scrapes and splinters. We have grown to really love our little community, I’d say that has been as important as anything we have done. No matter how perfect your place might be, if you aren’t happy with or welcome into your community, that will not end up in a good way.

Now we are living like kings, at least that is my opinion, of course by most people’s standards including the government, we live well under the poverty level, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I love my life, I love living with the freedom I have, I love working hard for what we have, it really does make me appreciate each and every little thing we have. When we first started out, I was hauling 3 one gallon containers of water up the hill from my neighbor’s house every day, sometimes twice a day, I guarantee you that makes me appreciate my 1550 gallon poly plastic water container with all the plumbing involved, doing dishes and laundry by hand inside my sky castle, getting to shower with hot running water…

I look forward to many more years with PB, improving our lives and the sky castle. The last couple of days has been quite fun for PB, one of our friends and neighbors came by, he had been eyeballing the gravel in our creek bed, he offered a trade for a few trailer loads of gravel, he let us use his Bobcat tractor to do some dirt work, PB achieved in a few hours of work what would have taken him weeks if not months of hard manual work, it cost zero dollars, but was priceless for us. I have to say that life is good.

A big part of my happiness is because of my faith, I found a little church in the neighborhood (we are blessed with 2 of them close by), I joined and quickly became active in the church, now I’m on the board of trustees, working to make things better and better. I have been a Christian for many years, most of my life, but living out here and being part of this church and community has helped me grow in my faith and get closer to God. I’m not saying that is necessary for you, (though for me it is), it’s a choice you have to make, I am saying that going to church is a good way to get closer to your community, and hopefully to God too, I am blessed everyday and in every way, even in the bad times, there is always a lesson to learn, a period of growth, a strengthening. Getting to live in and near nature allows me to personally witness Divinity on a daily basis.

I have many people contact me to ask for my advice on how they should go about moving off grid, how to do it cheaply, how they should do it… it’s difficult to answer because everyone is different, everyone has different standards of how they want to live, everyone has different ideas and circumstances. My biggest advice is to have a dream and set goals, let nothing come between you and your goals, I have found that people will do what they really want to do, and unfortunately there are many who wish but don’t take the action necessary to make their wish a reality. I’m not judging, just stating the facts about what I see.

If you truly want to live off grid, then do it, you don’t have to do it all at once, but start taking the steps necessary to get you to the place where you want to be. Each step you take is a step closer to your dream, don’t let life get in the way, don’t let family, friends, a job, or anything else get in the way, do what is necessary to make yourself happy and the rest of everything will fall into place. I’m not advocating doing anything illegal, I’m assuming that most of my readers are reasonable, law abiding people. I am advocating living your life to the fullest extent, and if that includes living off grid, then do it.

If you want to learn more about our lives living off grid, you can read more of my stories here

http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

you can also read about us in the book Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America by Nick Rosen, we are chapter 9 in the book.

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90 comments

1 Spongebob { 10.21.11 at 4:18 pm }

CONGRATS TO YOU !

I was pleased reading your experience on going off grid. I use to live in the US , am now in Europe and my goal is to do exactly the same. It is only harder here. I see you are free now. Congratulations one more time. I see however that you have one Issue you are not free from it yet and that is Religion.

“Money is non existent theoretical force , that has never , does not exist, except in theory. The very same theory that Religion can not do with out it”

2 Wretha { 10.21.11 at 4:31 pm }

Thanks Spongebob, we truly are free, including religion, I don’t have “religion”, that is how man complicated the relationship between man and God. My relationship with God is a free choice I’ve made and continue to make, that makes me free here on earth and free in the afterlife. I only wish you and others could feel the peace I have.

BTW, I’ve been on “the other side”, for a very short period of time (drowning isn’t a bad way to go), I have no doubt what exists there, and I am completely comfortable going back when it’s my time. :)

Good luck with your off grid journey, please continue posting messages about it, you can join the forum here and tell us all about it.

Wretha

3 fi { 10.24.11 at 4:11 pm }

Absolutely loved what you wrote. I have just started to take my own very hesitant steps towards off grid living. It’s going to be interesting. I found this place on the web because I was looking for an answer as to how long a solar panel system could reasonably be expected to last if no replacements were available. Still don’t know that but thank you for reminding me that it’s faith that really matters.
Fi

4 Wretha { 10.24.11 at 4:55 pm }

Hi Fi, thanks for writing, as far as I know, solar panels don’t usually fail, they last indefinitely, as long as they don’t get physically broken, they do lose efficiency over the years. As far as the rest of the system, different things will need to be replaced as they fail, things like the charge controllers, the inverters and such, they will eventually stop working. Right now I’m dealing with the fan in my inverter, I’ve taken it apart a couple of time to clean and oil, I have purchased replacement fans and will need to replace them soon. I would just say to get as many replacement parts as you can now.

I appreciate you mentioning faith, it is so important, I find it to be more and more important as each day goes by. :)

Keep writing to let me know how you are doing in your off grid stuff.

Wretha

5 Michelle { 10.27.11 at 4:33 pm }

I enjoyed reading about your off the griod experience- very interesting! My son and I are wanting to do this and have started working on becoming completely self sufficient one step at a time. Thanks for a very interesting read and some great info! :-)

6 Wretha { 10.28.11 at 9:49 am }

Thanks Michelle, keep working toward your goals, don’t give up… glad to hear that your son is interested too. :)

Wretha

7 Rob { 10.29.11 at 2:18 pm }

it doesn’t sound like you’re living “off the grid” as much as you are mooching water and washing machines from people that live on the grid. Not impressed.

8 Wretha { 10.29.11 at 7:28 pm }

So Rob, are you always this rude or was this special occasion?

Wretha

9 travelingtweety { 11.03.11 at 4:59 pm }

Wretha, congratulations on realizing your dream. My husband and I live in Fairbanks, Alaska – literally the end of the road for most. So many cheechakos (newcomers) arrive here thinking that they can simply step off the road into the Bush and live off the land. My point is that they haven’t done their homework nor planned for the realities of daily life in a place where extremes are the norm. You did. And I really appreciate that fact in your post. For those considering this type of move and lifestyle, research, research, research. Learn all that you can about your destination. Listen to those who live where you want to. While Alaskans are known for helping their neighbors, we really don’t care how they do it in the Lower 48. Mostly because we are at the end of the road. It only takes a minor glitche in the transportation system for us to not get food or other necessities.

Thank you again for your honesty about your experiences. Best of luck and God bless.

10 Wretha { 11.03.11 at 5:29 pm }

Thanks travelingtweety, I almost ended up in Alaska (as a teen) but it wasn’t to be, I was all on board for doing it though, I wanted to live off grid and off the land even then :) You are so right, we see people come out here and give it a try, you aren’t taken seriously until you have been here at least a year, many leave when things get rough (too hot, too cold, too windy, too dry, too dusty, too barren, too quiet, too many bugs, not enough stores, not enough people…), there’s nothing like an eight inch centipede crawling across the ceiling over your bed, it either makes you or breaks you (ask me how I know… LOL).

While we aren’t nearly as remote as you are, we are pretty far off the beaten path and it’s sometimes difficult to get things here, it’s at least a 3 hour drive to get to a real store, it’s a 12 mile round trip to go to the mailbox and back on unpaved mountain roads. Yeah, life is tough and I LOVE it! Actually I consider being in the city too hard to do, give me the country life. :)

It sounds like your story would be interesting to write, have you thought about that? It’s quite easy to do, and people love reading about other people, especially if they are living their dream.

Wretha

11 travelingtweety { 11.05.11 at 1:47 pm }

Thanks Wretha. Funny thing about writing, my husband has been pushing me to write as he considers my journey extraordinary while I consider it an ordinary life well-lived.

I moved to Fairbanks from Allen, Texas (north of Dallas) and while we deal with cold and dark, I know that Texas is struggling with serious heat and drought. Both have extreme weather conditions which is something that I think most people really don’t take into consideration in planning their off-the-grid moves. And now that our weather has become more unpredictable, I honestly feel that it should be at or near the top of anyone’s plans (along with bugs – hated finding scorpions in my boots when I headed out to the barn. Thankfully, there are none here and no snakes!).

For those who dream about living in Alaska, I would strongly recommend that their first year be spent living in a dry cabin. That doesn’t mean that the roof won’t leak, it means that you’ll be living without water or any indoor plumbing. And while you’ll have electricity, a Toyo stove for heat and probably cable, you’ll still be making a trip to the outhouse in the dark at -40 and -50 which means that you’ll probably see the Northern Lights in all their glory and come to appreciate longjohns with a flap in the back.

And then there is the darkness. Plan on spending a winter before deciding that this is your slice of heaven. It’s relatively easy to live with 20+ hours of daylight during the summer but 20+ hours of darkness and cold is another thing. Alaska ranks at the top nationally for mental health and substance abuse issues, which are excaberated by the light or lack of.

We live in town and are not off the grid yet. But we are working toward that goal. We have the luxury of owning 2 lots. One lot is taken up with a triplex while the other lot contains a greenhouse and huge garden. We’re tinkering and tweaking a solar panel for the greenhouse so that we can extend our growing season without paying through the nose for electricity to heat it in February, March and April. And since solar power depends on the sun, we have the additional problem of situating the solar panel in just the right spot to make the most of our winter sun. Once we work out the bugs with our greenhouse experiment, then we’ll move on to converting the triplex to solar power.

Our plans for the future include chickens and goats (next spring) as food stock and barter items as well as the expansion of our worm farm for fertilizer and chicken feed.

We are basing our need for self-sufficiency on natural disasters that will disrupt the transportation system and the delivery of goods.

Thank you again for writing about your journey with honesty and common sense. So much of what I have read about going off grid or self-sufficiency does not include these qualities. We’re not preppers or survivalists but just a couple of dreamers who’ll still have toilet paper when our neighbors are using birch bark.

P.S. I included a website where I have pictures of Alaska. I thought you might enjoy the view from the top of the world. The polar bear photos were taken in Kaktovik, Alaska the only village located in ANWR.

12 Wretha { 11.05.11 at 4:05 pm }

travelingtweety, the things you consider ordinary and every day, most would be fascinated to read about it from a first hand experience’r, that would be you :)

Another good thing about writing your experiences, even if you don’t publicly publish them, it’s nice to go back and read them later, believe it or not, you will forget some things and reading it in your own words will remind you just how far you have come.

Great pics BTW! :)

Wretha

13 Harold Dean { 11.06.11 at 5:02 pm }

Wonderful story and good for you. Most of today’s generation would not even think about such a thing. My grandsons are not even interested in learning how to build a quick fir for instant warmth, a slower fire for cooking and a real slow fire for overnight warmth. I was raised during the WWII years without electricity, gas, etc and our running water came after Dad closed in the porch where the well was and installed a pitcher pump in the new section. As a your teenager, we finally got electricty and finally natural gas when they built a subdivision next to our rural property. At fourteen the folks bought 20 acres farther out in the country with more than half in woods. We built during the course of two weeks an eight by sixteen cabin on skids that essentially was half a house. We dragged it out to the woods behind the old John Deere tractor and set it on blocks. We then built the other half and over a Labor Day weekend when additional help from brothers in law and older brothers were a available we dragged it out and coupled the two together. I spent the next day building an outhouse and digging the pit. We moved into the little cabin the next day, dad, mom me and three younger brothers. Talk about being stacked up. The first week we hauled water from our old house while my next younger brother and I drilled with an eight inch post auger with pipe extensions down twenty four feet to a good source of water that tested good so it was not surface water. Two weeks later using a rented drill from Deep Rock in Opelika alabama we drilled a four inch cased well eighty three feet into a fantastic water vein that came within six feet of the surface and after a two hour pumping by the fire department to put out a woods fire on the other side of the railroad, it hadn’t dropped any at all. Three years later after the new house was finished with indoor bathroom propane heat, electricity, etc, I left home for good and joined the Army. While I don’t really want to live off grid at seventy two years old, I think I still know how to do it and would love to pass on that knowledge and skills to others. Too bad, my grandchildren are not interested unless it is fast food, gameboys, etc.

14 Harold Dean { 11.06.11 at 5:03 pm }

I meant to say as a young teenager in the previous message. My fingers are getting older but evidently are still faster than my eyes.

15 Harold Dean { 11.06.11 at 5:09 pm }

As an addendum, I would like to say we had the full complement of livestock, two cows eight pigs numerous chickens, etc that resided at the old house where we had to return daily and take care of until pens and shelter were built for them the following month. I still had to carry water by hand since we had no power until I found a small hose pump I could couple to the weed mower engine and pump water to a wooden storage tank by the pens. It took two weeks for it to get wet enough to swell up and stop leaking so water would last for some time. This was before the days of abundant plastics when five gallon buckets were heavy steel and the usual transport method until I was given a steel two wheeled cart for a ten gallon milk can which cut down on the trips and made it easier.

16 Sylvia { 11.10.11 at 8:28 am }

Hi, I’m new to this site, having read the book. My husband and I live off grid in Oklahoma. I have a lot of respect for your accomplishments. I know it’s not easy. While I don’t agree with Rob’s tone, I understand the sentiment. How can you say you’re 100% off grid when you depend so heavily on your on grid neighbor. Even the book refers to your being part time. But aside from that, I truly hope you can continue to realize all your hopes and dreams. My best to you.

17 Wretha { 11.10.11 at 2:20 pm }

Hi Sylvia, thanks for your comments, I will continue saying we live 100% off grid, we are not hooked up to any utility service, water, gas or electric, that makes us OFF GRID, yes I DID get water from my neighbor for a while, in the beginning I walked 3 gallons a day from his house up to my cabin every day, once we got our water tanks set up, we did get water from his well (he’s not hooked up to a water utility), now we have it delivered from the community well from across the neighborhood, and yes, I did occasionally use his fridge for meats and such, we bartered the use of his water and fridge by doing maintenance and upkeep on his house while he was gone. Oh, I did have an extension cord between our houses once, but it was from my off grid power source to his fridge to keep his food from spoiling during a week long power outage. As far as using his shower and washer, well we were prepared to use the community shower and washer, I suppose that might make it more “off grid” in your eyes, I don’t see the difference between using my neighbor’s hospitality (in return for taking care of his home while he’s gone) instead of going to the RV park in town, I don’t see how that makes us “part timers”… I have had some say that since we use propane, we aren’t off grid either, I also buy groceries from a grocery store, I never said I was 100% self sufficient, I realize there are different ideas and opinions as to what constitutes being off grid, perhaps you are more self sufficient than we are, perhaps you don’t have any neighbors or any that are willing to lend a hand when you need it…

Do you write about your life? If not, you might consider it, people generally love reading about such stuff, especially in this economy and uncertainty…

Wretha

18 Sylvia { 11.10.11 at 3:28 pm }

Didn’t mean to offend. Just having an honest exchange of opinions. It would be interesting to see what “off-grid”means to different folks. Each has their own idea, I’m sure.

19 Wretha { 11.10.11 at 3:50 pm }

No offense taken Sylvia, heck if I’m going to be schooled by anyone, I’d rather it be by someone who is actually living off grid, :) sorry if I sounded grumpy before, I probably shouldn’t write under the influence of hormones… I’m going to have a nice cup of tea and enjoy the sunset while I finish crocheting a scarf. :)

I meant what I said about asking you if you write about your life, Nick is always looking for more contributors here, especially those who are actually living the life.

Wretha

20 Amanda { 11.11.11 at 7:56 am }

Well so much info here but what about your septic system? I live in Abilene Texas-I’ve been doing some looking into this off-grid living.I know that the solar panels are expensive and when you don’t have alot of money it hurts.Most counties have the same rule-in order to dispose of waste you have to have some place for it to go.Then there are the permits for that county.Did you just go and buy the land and start building on it? I have talked to Hudspeth county clerks here in Texas and found out some interesting facts but seriously would not want to move that close to the Mexican border. We are very serious about doing this but I’m looking at all the money involved.

21 Wretha { 11.11.11 at 11:59 am }

Hi Amanda, thanks for writing. All I can tell you about septic systems and such, you will need to check into the local ordinances where you want to live, it’s probably going to be different in each state, county and city or town, it will also depend whether or not you are inside the “city limits”, usually if you are outside the city limits, things will be more relaxed. The best source of info would be a local plumber. We don’t have a septic system or a well, so we don’t have to deal with those issues for now, I’m sure that someday I’ll have both, I have a licensed plumber living in my neighborhood, he is the one I’ll call for the septic, there are several well drilling companies for me to choose from, I expect they will get whatever permits are necessary when the time comes.

Wretha

22 Amanda { 11.13.11 at 9:15 pm }

Thankyou for the reply-Am I right to say you are living in west Texas? I have check local ordinances in hudspeth County.I talked to the local clerk. Some places have a time limit on building your structure some don’t. Some require you purchase so much property and put a septic tank on it before you move to it.If the county Im thinking your in yeah its pretty relaxed on some ordinances.I was surprised since Im from the east.Hudspeth is alittle too close to the border for my taste but the land seems fairly cheap there and so are the taxes.

23 Amanda { 11.13.11 at 9:26 pm }

Im also thinking you’re hooked to local utilities.I found some property that has the utilities running to the properties.I was checking about solar panels and such and found out that they tell ya to start off small and build up,depends on your usage. Rain barrels are getting very popular if you can get rain LOL.I get alot of ideas from my Lehmans catalog(Amish stuff) and i found out alot of it Im already using .So funny uh? I can remeber my mom using stuff like that too.Anyway I would still like to keep in touch and talk more about stuff you( have been there for 4 years) would like to hear more.

24 Amanda { 11.13.11 at 9:30 pm }

Sorry I read up about utitlities my bad heehee

25 Caleb { 11.16.11 at 10:34 am }

Is there any way we can talk? Please e-mail me at mush113807@evangel.edu

26 Everett { 11.23.11 at 6:18 am }

I like the idea! I am currently in a situation where land I am about to buy has no water.So I’m looking at rain water harvesting and came across this story..Pay no attention to the person claiming your not free from religion yet.I’ve debated many atheists and have yet to meet one that was any free’r than anybody else.No such thing in absolute freedom really.But if evolution is all there is we should be free,but were not,so evolution isn’t all the story. Oops ,there I go again.Back to the topic! WONDERFUL JOB IN WEST TEXAS.I live in Lufkin and have seen the nicely priced land out there,ya might have a new congregant one day who knows…BUT I JUST LOVE YOUR STORY..

27 Wretha { 11.23.11 at 10:43 am }

Thanks Everett, :)

Wretha

28 AZHomesteadergal { 11.29.11 at 6:26 am }

Hello, I am going to put my small 2 cents in here, to my understanding “Off the Grid” means living off the utillities, “Living off the Land” means living without any substitutes ie: solar, propane, ect. From what I am reading you Wretha are saying you are living an 100% off the Grid, For those who dont know the difference, if Wretha is living without utilities she is in fact 100% off the grid but not living 100% off the land. There’s a big difference, and it’s of to use solar, propane, generators and such. Deanna

29 AZHomesteadergal { 11.29.11 at 7:31 am }

My Story: My husband and I have bought 26 acres of undeveloped land in SE Arizona, an hour from here, which is Cochise county 4 miles from a small comunity, (no stores for an hour away) which means nothing on it not even a water well. We are getting it cleared of brush and debris, we have the fence line cleared and the area for the cabin in the tree’s cleared, also where we will put the animals and the green house area.and the garden area, we also made 2 driveways onto the property one from each dirt road, and a third one is around the entire 24 acres fence line. We are going to sign an opt out paper, (that means nothing but the septic will be inspected, since we are living off the grid, electric is a little over a mile away, therefore it would cost $50,000 to get electric, which we cant afford and we dont want electric anyway.) we will get a septic dug, this is a health thing and the only thing the county says has to be inspected on an opt out, it is good for us to, we prefer it to an out house lol. We are going out Wednesday Nov 30th to start putting the fence post and 5 strands of barbwire fencing around the 24 acres (usable land) 2 acres are the 2 county dirt roads around us. Once thats done, we will get our building permit, then we will put up the corrals for our 2 horses, a little barn, and a pen for the 2 sheep we have, and a large chicken coop with completely fenced with chicken wire, all the way around, and bricks under the fence to keep out animals like racoons who want to dig under, and with a quarter inch hardware cloth around the chicken wire to keep the snakes out, we are going to get jersey giant chickens this time, they are 13 to 16 lbs dressed out. then we will start building our cabin, we will live in our box van while we build it. Then we will build the green house and other stuff as we go along, we will also use 4 acres for growing hay on. as soon as the water well is drilled. We will use a wood cook stove and wood fireplaces during the winter, and for now we will use a propane refrigerator, propane cook stove and grill outside during the summer so it’s cooler inside. We will be set up to go off the grid completely. And off the land completely when we have to. I think one day we will have to live off the land completely, not sure when but we will be prepared. I will take my laptop to the truck stop 4 1/2 miles away every 3 or 4 days to check on forums and answer email after we get moved. We are also going to have a fish pond with catfish because we both like catfish lol, btw 10 acres will be fenced with chainlink fencing to keep out the wild animals we dont want around our animals and fish and us lol. We have learned alot living on our 2 acres here. ( not off the grid) we have electric for the water well here.We will use a solar pump or wind mill for the well on the 24 acres. We want to somehow set it up so we can get the water with a windmill later on, so we can live off the land completely when were ready or have too. Deanna

30 Wretha { 11.29.11 at 12:53 pm }

Wow Deanna, sounds like y’all have it going on! I appreciate your 2 cents too, it’s easy to judge someone or a situation without having all the facts, heck sometimes having the facts apparently doesn’t mean anything either LOL, oh well…

Here’s a question you will get a lot, what are you going to do for money? Even if you are able to live 100% off the land, you will have annoyances like taxes, upkeep on vehicles and such, we live on very little (compared to how most live), and as much as I’d like to live on 0$, it’s just not feasible, gotta have a few $$$s coming in to take care of things. Living in a tiny community ourselves, and the fact that many of the residents out here are older, I have found that offering my services (cleaning, helping, driving…) has been just wonderful, I have met and made the best of friends, I get paid, I also get free trips to town… just a thought.

Another thing, you clearly enjoy writing, you might want to consider keeping an on line journal about your adventures, start it now, blogging is easy and you can make a few dollars there too (advertising), if nothing else, it would be a good thing for you, it’s nice to look back years later and see just how far you have come, it’s easy to forget the hardships you endured in the beginning, especially years later when you are more setup and comfortable. :)

Wretha

31 AZHomesteadergal { 12.02.11 at 9:22 am }

Your very welcome Wretha :). As for income my husband just got a large sum from Social security, thats how we bought the 26 acres and paid off our mortgage on the 2 acres where we live now 2 miles out of town. He will get a check each month starting with Dec. 3rd tomarrow. It will be enough for us to live on and as you say there is bartering. The pre-cut logs and all material we need will cost $2,400 to build the cabin, and the chicken coop house (except doors, windows, and shingles), we already have the doors we need, and we will be going to 2 autions this month to try and get the rest, more auctions next month if not. We already have all the corral fencing for the horses and material for the sheep pen and we will put them in their own stall in the barn at night and bad weather just like the horses, I want to get some goats too, for milk to drink and make soap with. Even here on the 2 acres we have been living only with electric for the well, and propane, but would like to get a solar pump for the well on the 26 acres when we get it drilled. We also have a propane fireplace, a wood fireplace and a wood cook stove. I also have lanterns, but I have lots of candle making recepies and will be doing that as well. Also here we grow our own food and have learned a great deal of what works best for us. Being without electric wont bother us at all. We have lived here for 6 years, we gave up alot while here. Both of us were raised with little of nothing most of the time. When the kids were growing up we lived a plainer life too. We go to yardsales when we need something. My husband learned alot from his dad too, I call him a jack of all trades lol. He can do something he has never done before and it turns out really good, it is what we need out on the 26 acres, since we are starting from scratch.
I have no income myself, but my husband says he will be able to take care of both of us. He always has through the years. I was a stay at home mom, I homeschooled our children, both academic and Bible studies. I am a plain simple woman and do all my own cooking, sewing, gardening, helping with the animals here, and I have always enjoyed it. I am not Amish but I come close. So it helps us to be able to confidently make this move. :) Yes I am keeping a jounal of everything, I have alot of knowledge also on homesteader woman and the plain woman that I have learned through the years I would like to put to writting now that there are no children in the home I could get started lol. Deanna

32 Deb { 12.05.11 at 9:36 pm }

Would be interested in talking to azhomesteadergal I think we might be neighbors

33 jeff { 12.14.11 at 10:35 am }

Wretha…did I take from one of your comments that you have had a NDE? I’m very much interested in NDE’s, though I’ve never had one. The stories about the intrigue me very much! I just had a buddy move out to West Texas and they are loving it!!

34 Wretha { 12.14.11 at 12:10 pm }

Thanks Jeff, yes I have had several brushes with death, the closest one was when I was drowning as a child. I write about my encounters with that sort of thing here: http://thingsthatgobumpinthenights.blogspot.com/

Wretha

35 doomas { 01.16.12 at 7:04 am }

Travelingtweety, I read where you are trying to make solar panels heat a green house for early spring heat. Sorry to say, it will be harder than it has to be. I designed a system for that same issue and it works well and cheep. interested? e-mail jefflholt@gmail.com ask him for ideas.

36 Solomon Ego { 02.01.12 at 9:51 am }

Thank you all for the information you are willing to share. I’m right now in a community in South Sudan in a town called Warawar. We drill boreholes in villages for them and live their life I stay for months away from my family but with this information I’m getting from you, I’m seeing a possibility of me living with my family without much financial stress of contemporary life. (From Moi’sbridge, Kenya) Regards, Solo

37 doomas { 02.01.12 at 4:41 pm }

Solomon Ego, Are you anywhere near running water? You could build a spirol pump to fill a water tank or push water over land for crops and farm gardens.

38 Laurie { 02.03.12 at 8:32 am }

I read your story with such admiration and interest. We are a family of 6, living in Los Angeles in a 3,000 square foot house completely reliant on everything. My husband and I constantly talk about being able to live off the grid. We look at our older children (13 and 17) and feel like we really haven’t done them any favors by raising them in this environment and so reliant on everything. We have two younger children (4 and 1) and really don’t want to make the same mistakes with them. I’d like to see them learn how to develop relationships and communicate with words not through iPhones and video games. We feel like all we do is work really hard, day after day, to give all our money to a bank, utilities, car payments, insurance, etc. At the end of the day, we have nothing left (no money at the end of the month and very little time to enjoy life). We just want to be free and give our children something later so they can be free as well. Honestly, we are NOT handy whatsoever. I also know nothing about doing this. I know that if we set our mind to this and come up with a realistic plan, we can make it happen. I really appreciate all your stories you’ve posted as each one can help me in a different way. I am mostly interested in figuring out how to do this with very little start up money. I’d love to be able to buy acres of land and build a cabin but that’s not so realistic for us right now. When I say clueless, I mean clueless…I had to google what a septic tank was (pathetic, I know). Just being honest. I also don’t know anything about how electrical would work or anything about the water…This will all be a learning experience for us. Anyway, thanks again for everyone’s posts :)
Anyway,

39 doomas { 02.03.12 at 5:52 pm }

Laurie, Just keep asking questions or look it up on line. Just keep it in mind that there is always more than one way to do anything. Use the things that you under stand. I always say “high tech” systems have “high tech” problems. Good luck!

40 Laurie { 02.05.12 at 9:21 am }

Thanks doomas! Great advice :)

41 doomas { 02.06.12 at 4:43 am }

Laurie, Have you done any ‘sole’ sherching to idenitify what you are running to or from ? A lot of people are just running, not knowing where or why. Only that others are doing it and they don’t want to be left behind. I don’t think running from the ‘end of the sun’ thing is worth the effort. If the sun flared and went out, we would be cast in darkness, then unbelieveable cold. we all would be gone. Now if its the fall of the goverment you fear, there are things you can do to live safe and well . If you just want to live cheap and on your own, then there is a whole new set of things to over come. I think we will need to beready for a total world shake up. Law will fall by the way side for a time and people will be running wild trying to stay alive of others. Hungery people will use any means necessary to do this. You would need to be far enough away from others that you can’t be found or far enough of the beaten path they don’t look. Planning to live afew years like this, with out any contact with the general public would be a start, but hard. I think a strech of 3-5 years would get things calmed down. You could ‘test’ the water so to speak. See if the issue has calmed and becomed stable enough to live as a country again. If you are just starting, you have the advice of those who have been thinking for awhile. Make your choice from what they say or what you think you can do. There are alot of people, myself included , that would rather give advice on a one-to-one bases, after you have gave it some thought. If liveing self supporting is what you want, it might be done right where you are now. Hard to give advice or get any untill you make a plan.

42 John { 02.09.12 at 5:15 am }

wow. so much to consider. i have dreamed of living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere since i was a kid and used to watch grizley adams and jeramiah johnson. and now, at 42 and outa work for the past few years, i have found a few tidbits here and there about generating your own electric and going off grid and self sustaining. im actualy kinda lost. this site(to me any ways) is a bit confusing, but thats not hard for me. lol. iv’e even gon so far as to “build” what i think is my dream cabin on my computer whith an old archetect program i have but never thought aboutpens for animals. though i do have a few years of residential construction under my belt i no longer have any of my own tools. i like the idea of off grid living, and maybe even self sustaining. and of course barter. but i have no idea of where to start given my current cercomstances. any ideas? (please)

43 doomas { 02.09.12 at 7:03 pm }

John, It would be good for you to fugure were you want to get to, then how to get there. Most people worry about the case of the world comming to an end. I don’t see that. The first place to start generating your own power. Start with 3 batteries. find some cheap 12volt lights from a old camper and hook them up. You will resuse them when you up grade. As you build and figure things out you can buy more and add on.Read my reply to Laurie and put your self in her place. When your ready to jump off, their are people to give advice. You just need to show interest and ask!!!!!!!

44 Terry { 02.20.12 at 2:43 pm }

I didn’t notice any mention of what you had for food or where food came from and using stuff your neighbors provided and propane doesn’t sound like you are really “off the grid” Also, I wonder how someone “off the grid” can post on the Internet?

I think someone needs to explain what living “off the grid” actually means.

If you want to actually “live off the grid” you don’t just live like a bum under a bridge and go eat at McDonalds from money you got at the off ramp with your little “will work for food” sign. You got to secure your OWN INDEPENDENT supply of food and water… and medical supplies.

The MOST likely NEED for anyone to live off the grid is when the government fails …probably due to economic meltdown. Money will be worthless and no one will go to work and police will go home to take care of their families. Anarchy will ensue. Security will be the biggest problem. Hordes of people will leave cities to forage for food when the wheels of transportation stop turning and power goes off. NO national Guard will come to the rescue and the president won’t even fly over and whisper a prayer for your poor wretched soul.

You are probably more “ready” that than most but just because you don’t have electricity and have built your house out of discarded cardboard boxes doesn’t mean you are ready for the S to hit the fan.

45 doomas { 02.20.12 at 4:21 pm }

Terry; What you say is so true. I speak to people all the time who think liveing off the grid is just not haveing to pay rent. I feel they have no clue and we will see them in the hunt for food as well. Things are going to get alot worse before they get better. I wish more people would get going on this. There is a real need, NOW.

46 Wretha { 02.20.12 at 4:39 pm }

Terry, seems like you have it all figured out so there is really no need to defend or explain my definition of living off grid. Hope life goes good for you when the SHTF or not, I know it will for me.

Wretha

47 doomas { 02.21.12 at 5:07 am }

Wretha; If you feel safe and have piece of mind, thats great !!!!! I feel sorry for the group that have made no plans at all. You have acted on your plan and have it working for you. You are so far ahead, and you can make changes as you need. They are still in the infancy of this movement. There is no ideal that I know of, but if it works to some degree for you, Great, good for you, stick to your guns and injoy what live throughs your way !

48 Wretha { 02.21.12 at 9:26 am }

Thanks Jeff/Doomas, I have been attacked and accused of not really living off grid before, it usually comes from ignorant people who think that unless one is living in a cave, wearing skins and eating worms, you can’t possibly call yourself off grid. I don’t mind conversing with people who are willing to have intelligent conversations and ask honest questions, for the rest of them, I’ll leave them to stew in their own misconceptions. I suppose it’s easier for them to point fingers and make accusations rather than DOING something themselves.

Thanks,
Wretha

49 doomas { 02.21.12 at 3:27 pm }

Wretha; The term ‘off grid’ was coined when someone was off the electric grid. Now people think you have to be issolated from society and liveing totally ‘untouched by other humans’ I don’t see how anyone could live with out contact with others. I guess if I wake up somemorning and am all alone, I ‘ll find out. I’m all for offering help to others who are trying to cut there liveing expences or in other words provide all they can for them selves. There are many levels to work from and work to. Some people want to get totality ‘out’ and others just want to heat a green house in the spring. You just need to ask questions and show some interest. I for one,and many others, will try to get you started in the right direction. You just need to figure how interested you really are. That will dictate how you should go about the cure for your problem. I look at all things as haveing three levels of cure. First would be bare bones, cheep,lots of baby sitting, alot of hands on. The second would be alittle more refind, relible, hands on to understand and build, proven ideas. You can build this your self and understand it. The third would be built out of store bought goods, high tech electronics, lots of override systems, relible but high dollor. I feel high tech systems can have high tech problems.
I like people to be involved with the build and purchase of the supplies. Also figureing out how and why things work the way they do so they under stand the system. I would not want to build you a system and have you call one day and say it not working. Travel all the way to your house and find a lose or broked wire! Its better for everyone to understand what they are getting into. That why we plan ahead and share our plan outline. In hope we can learn more to make things better for ourselves. Good luck to you and any one else who reads this post. If you want or need ideas from any one just ask, someone will try to help.

50 doomas { 02.21.12 at 3:29 pm }

Just a word to all,,,,, why do I sign Doomas and my e-mail is jeff—–I spent 30 years in the horse shoeing business and everyone called me Doomas.. My wife set the e-mail account up and she don’t like Doomas !!!!!!!!!! I guess you understand.

51 Wretha { 02.21.12 at 3:34 pm }

Jeff/doomas,

LOL

Wretha

52 doomas { 02.21.12 at 4:35 pm }

Wreatha; Hows the heat in the summer in west Texas? Do you have any cool air to live with? You can get a natural air condition system that pretty much runs its self after its built. Not real expence either.

53 Wretha { 02.21.12 at 5:54 pm }

Jeff,

It can get pretty warm here, 90s to 100 during the hottest part of summer, but being the high desert and in the mountains, it cools off quite a bit at night, sometimes you have to wear something on your arms in the summer evenings. Generally the people out here use swamp coolers (evaporative coolers), most just use fans though, that’s what we do. We brought a small window unit air conditioner with us, but haven’t even taken it out of the box. It’s one of the reasons why we chose this area, mild weather that can get crazy every now and again :)

Wretha

54 doomas { 02.21.12 at 6:03 pm }

Wretha; If I remember the window air conditioner uses the ‘dreaded’ electric. You can install earth cooled air and it runs its self. Not needing much at night makes it even better. Uses natural heat convextion. It will run 24-7 on solar so its very cheap. If you have a interest e-mail me.

55 Wretha { 02.21.12 at 6:18 pm }

I shot you an email Jeff.

Wretha

56 wicryeker { 02.23.12 at 6:03 am }

my fiance and i are taking some final steps to get us physically off the grid, in just short of a week now : )

we have been planning this for about 6 months, the house isnt dried in yet, but we have solar panels and plans to dig our own septic and water well….. we couldnt be happier : ) ill be subbing at the school out there so we will have a little bit of money coming in to help out with everything : )

57 doomas { 02.23.12 at 5:50 pm }

Wicryeker; Six months planning would not be enough for me. I think things through and try things out before I settle on one thing. I guess I just have to prove to my self how one or the other will work. Good luck and keep us posted!!!

58 frank { 05.23.12 at 1:43 pm }

Did you factor in the cost for a well being drilled in South East Arizona? Your looking at around $35.00 a foot and a depth of anywhere between 500 feet to 1,500 feet or more.

59 Amanda { 05.29.12 at 6:08 am }

Hey lady I’m still looking for land here in Texas and in Central Texas these realtors are full of u know what. They want way too much money for the properties here. So west Texas is sounding better. I saw some for sale in Ward County with a good price. Why don’t you send me an email and lets talk.I talked my husband on board with this idea and he seems to be more interested than ever cause his job is getting to him. Stressed out 24/7 and i’m at my wits end. lol but we are looking forward to it. Im getting in the groove with my planting skills and have grown some stuff.We got a good rainstorm tonite.All we need is the land and we got everything else on backup.

60 Wretha { 05.29.12 at 12:14 pm }

Hi Amanda, I just sent you an email.

Wretha

61 roscoe { 06.30.12 at 7:11 pm }

first let me say this—-the entire us is interconnected with an electrical grid (every place is connected to every other place with electric wires) so “living off ” the grid means just that not connected to electric service. thats what the term originally meant and still does, no matter how some of you “newbies” want to change it. NO ELECTRIC SERVICE period. self sustaining means no outside help. !!!file that under need to know!!!

amanda just found this string, doing good, continue. Doomas, just a little negitive. People the first thing you need to understand is with out some monitary income or savings you WILL fail in the first year so plan well and save hard because it will be hard mentally and phyically (sp?) . Off grid possible, self sustaining damn near impossable. I’ve been playing almost 50 years and I’m ready but wont give up some creature comforts until nessary. House and outbuildings 20 acres pasture and 40 acre hay field or expanding room. horses, goats, rabbits, chickens and quail with breeding programs so I can use offspring for barter (I sell for cash now). Have been gathering and storing items for barter as I also belive all our money wont buy doodle soon.
Havent had a real job since retiring from the military in 1980. Nice to live the way you want to, get up about 5, tend to the stock, eat breakfast about 8, do needed chores til about 2, eat again(what a waste of time), piddle at want to stuff garden, lawn, bees, pen building, machine upkeep til about 6, tend to stock again, then free time reading, record keeping, internet ect. Yep its a good life, keep busy, hard work,good eats and you will enjoy life a long time. So save, plan, save, work, save, do it!!

62 R { 07.19.12 at 9:46 pm }

Roscoe…I’m so jealous. What I mean is…I wish I’d had been as smart as you so many years ago to have all that experience (not to mention land/livestock) under my belt. I guess being a girl, then a single mother held me back. Even when I didn’t know what self-sustainability meant, I knew I “felt” it. I yearned for it. The closest I came to living it was packing my kids up every Spring/Summer/Fall living in a tent at a campground. Everyone thought I was nuts, but I needed the quiet, the stars out at night, cooking over a fire. And, didn’t want my kids sitting in front of the TV all day. I still worked, just came home to the small, primitive campground. A few years ago I spent 18 months completely OTG and out of the country, living in southern Mexico, but my kids were adults and I was alone…and in a good climate.
Central IL is good for growing food, I do garden and a small amount of canning. But, I certainly cannot chop enough wood to keep warm through winter, if need-be. And, after working all day, too tired to do any hard labor in the evening.
Now I’m almost 50…I see the economy in the tank. If I had any savings, I’d buy a plot of land, get me a big camper or build a small cabin and prep every conceivable necessity for when SHTF. I’d get a place ready for my kids/grandkids to live in a rural area, when it all goes to hell, sooner rather than later. The best I’ve done so far is a 6 month food supply stocked-up in my mother’s basement. No stockpiled propane or other method of cooking, however.
So…got any advice for a lady who wants the lifestyle and NEEDS the life change? I am a hard worker, I just need some organization in my plan. Actually, I need just a simple emergency plan, and forget the rest. any advice from anyone out there is appreciated. I’ll stop rambling now.

63 Pat { 08.09.12 at 10:09 am }

So glad to have run across this blog! Kudos Wretha you have accomplished much to be proud of, and incidently I really appreciate your blogging about your experience. I have dreams about living in a more natural existance. I am 58 and have lived in areas where not by choice we lived without electricity or water at times as a result of storms, one right after another. I have also lived in a well thought out home on a mountain on a small island where we caught our water for drinking etc, and tried to live as “naturally” as possible. I say naturally because I don’t believe it was ever my in-laws intent to live “off the grid” or “off the land” etc. It was more that lifestyle was different there. I loved every minute of it!!! I want to retire in the islands and live as naturally as possible. I currently barter and am trying to create a living by using the internet. I have some small online magazines which I am trying to develope for my retirement. I appreciate what all of you are doing, for all of your own personal reasons. The best being for our children to know! Good luck to all..keep up the hard work and keep blogging!

64 june { 09.11.12 at 3:02 am }

Finding all these bills to be overwehlming. Considering renting a house that is off the grid. Should we just go for it?

65 Jane { 09.13.12 at 4:33 am }

Hi! If you are living off the grid, you might want to have a look at our website too. We’ve got an off-the-grid computer that is very useful if you’re living off the grid. :))

66 Wretha { 09.14.12 at 2:16 am }

Hey Jane, I’ve bookmarked your site, will check it out… perhaps we can discuss some further business.

Wretha

67 Isaac { 09.17.12 at 8:37 am }

We took a different approach. We live on a Native reserve in Ontario, Canada. We turned our existing home into 5 apartments to rent out for income and moved into our 2,000 sq. ft. cottage on the waterfront of Lake Ontario. It was going to be way too expensive to have regular power put in so we just started buying solar panels and batteries and are doing fine for 2 years now. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Our system is small but we still have all the conviences of modern life by purchasing energy efficient appliances and finding alternate ways of doing things when we have to. Our son in New York followed our lead and he is now off the grid, too. Its just a good thing to do for your family, to teach them about power usage and waste.

68 ANN { 10.04.12 at 2:08 pm }

All this sounds like both work and fun! Maybe one of your readers has an idea how much it costs to dig a 300′ deep well in hudspeth cty? And how big a windmill I’d have to have? Solar powered water pump and purifier didn’t seem to cost much, that was a plus. I’d like to find a landowner down there who can answer questions about all kinds of things, such as hardpan, bedrock, what fenceposts are best, the whole free range thing, etc.

69 Wretha { 10.04.12 at 2:26 pm }

Hi Ann, the best way to find out about well drilling prices and your other questions is to call the local well drillers in that area. Even if you find a landowner who can answer your question, the prices might not be the same as it was when they had it done.

Wretha

70 Elise { 10.08.12 at 11:26 pm }

Hi Wretha. I love reading how you are doing things off grid and also all the comments that people have posted. My boyfriend and I are buying ten acres in Reeves county and are planning to go off grid, with solar and possibly wind power- because we still want to be able to watch our movies and have some lights. We have done a lot of research into having animals, I grew up on a 5 acre farm with sheep, goats, chickens and a couple cows, so I know some, but need refreshing on them, and we both want a garden and be pretty much self sufficient. We both have realized that we will need some money to pay property taxes, car insurance and maintanence and also buy a few things from the store that we can’t make ourselves. I have been looking into making my own soap and candles also. I have found a lot of good information on the internet and we hope to be on our property full time within the next couple years! Thank you sooo much for all your good advice!

71 Wretha { 10.08.12 at 11:35 pm }

Good for you Elise! Sounds like you and your boyfriend have things well in hand, I would love to hear more about what you are doing and how you are doing as time goes by. Keep in touch. I would recommend either blogging or at least keeping a journal of your life as you do this, if nothing else, for yourself, it’s fun to go back and read about what you did a year or two later. You can also earn some money this way, people are very interested in reading about how other people live off grid, I also know that this site is always looking for good writers, especially those living the life.

Wretha

72 Vickie { 10.10.12 at 9:33 pm }

Love reading all these comments! My husband and I are also planning on living off the grid soon! We bought 5 forested acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California about 7 years ago. Since then we have installed a septic and a well. The well has a solar powered pump that fills a 1,500 gallon cistern. We will build our house with insulated concrete forms not just for the energy effiency, but also because the house will be less likely to burn in the event of a forest fire. We will have a solar and wind hybrid system and use propane for cooking. We will have a hybrid solar hot water heater, using heat from our masonry fireplace heater to heat water in the winter. We planted our orchard this past winter (2 apples, 2 cherries, 2 apricots, 2 peaches, 1 plum and 1 walnut) and will add another walnut, 2 almonds, another plum and a pear tree this next winter. We are going to raise our vegetables in a raised garden and will have chickens. We will collect rainwater (we already collect rainwater from our 10×12 tool shed for the orchard into two 1,500 gallon cisterns) from the house into cisterns to water the vegetable garden, so that we don’t have to pump water from the well to grow our food. Our house plans are about to be finalized and then next summer or fall we will be applying for our permits from the county. I can’t wait! We already spend most every weekend and vacation up there in our travel trailer because it takes only about 1- 1/2 hours to get there, and because my husband is still working. Soon………

73 Wretha { 10.11.12 at 12:08 am }

That sounds great Vickie! I hope you are keeping a journal about what you have been doing and what you will do in the future, write in a blog and you will have lots of followers enjoying what you are doing from afar, or if you only do it for yourself, it’s fun to go back and read about how you started out. :)

Wretha

74 Elise { 10.11.12 at 4:14 pm }

Thank you Wretha. I have actually been thinking about blogging about our experiences with living off grid. I am actually heading down by greyhound on Monday to Pecos to get started on a few things on our property. Will be camping on our property while I am there. Should be interesting!

75 Wretha { 10.11.12 at 4:24 pm }

Elise, I hope you do blog about it, it’s easy to do, and it is fun too, sometimes I go back to my older posts and re-read them, reminds me how far we have come. Enjoy your trip, I was just in Pecos yesterday, passed through on my way home, it’s pretty there, take some pix and share them if you want to. :)

Wretha

76 Elise { 02.26.13 at 2:49 am }

Hi Wretha. It has been awhile since I have come on here to read some of the articles. I stayed in Pecos for about three weeks, a week and a half of that camping on my land. i bought a bike and rode 7 miles to town and again back to the property. What a learning experience that was. I have a bike trailer up here in Washington that I use a lot to go to the store and when I go just riding too and I sure wished that I had it down there! I was getting a gallon or two of water from town and had to go in every day. The trailer would have helped so much! We don’t have containers to hold water yet, but plan on having a few. I met a nice woman and her son and daughter in law and stayed with them the other week and a half that I was down there, helped the son and daughter in law with some work and got paid for it. That was nice. My boyfriend and I are planning on going down for a week this summer and staying on our property. :)

77 Leikeelin { 02.26.13 at 11:34 pm }

I am currently working on getting “off grid” in TN. I have inherited 8 acres of mostly wooded property attached to my 1 acre I currently live on for which I have a mortgage. I already garden and have milk goats. The property has a spring that feeds a small branch. I am trying to find out how to best harvest this water for cooking and showering. I am considering (and trying to convince the hubby) to rent out our home to someone else, while we live on the other part of the property. I lived free on this property before we met in a small trailer which he hated, and I wish we had never built the house. I am a little more “flexible” than he is on living conditions. Anyway, any ideas on capturing the spring water?

78 Wretha { 02.26.13 at 11:51 pm }

Hi Leikeelin, thanks for asking, I live in the desert so we don’t have flowing water except during the monsoon season, and even that is hit or miss… I don’t have an answer for you, perhaps you could come over to the forum here and post the same question there, there are many off gridders there and someone might have an answer for you.

Wretha

79 JMuffin { 03.16.13 at 11:32 pm }

I enjoyed reading about your experience going off grid. Very inspirational. Myself and my boyfriend are intending to do this as soon as we can find the perfect plot of land :)

80 Kingazjay { 03.18.13 at 10:56 am }

Well written, my two cents on living off grid, you first have to change your life style, then you can change your living style. We’ve been living off grid in northwest Arizona for four years now, we have 80 acres, and enjoy every min of it. But it wasn’t always fun. We moved there because we had too, not because we wanted to. We had to adapt on the fly, and we did it with a young child, and with the struggles of demanding jobs. The morale of my story, everything is possible, just have to find a way.

Again great story!

81 grace { 04.22.13 at 10:30 am }

i have longed to “get away from it all” for many years now, and it has always been a dream of mine. i have raised my kids (twins) to be young, responsible adults, as a single parent. now that they are just about on their own, i am researching more seriously on how to be self sufficent, and am starting to set goals. i do not feel as if i belong in our current society of materialism, greed, and addiction to money. i do not agree with our current system of money driven insanity. i would rather raise my own, grow my own, and barter with my neighbor for labor and supplies. i do understand i will need money for taxes, etc..
but no where near as much as i need now.

i would love to hear from anyone who has done this solo, as this path to “freedom” i walk, i walk alone. it seems the only doubts i have stem from doing this solo. all stories of going off grid, etc., i have read involve couples. find it discouraging (sp?) not to find one article on this world wide web of someone doing this solo. i cant be the only one…unibomber doesnt count.

i have done some research on self sufficent communities and would love to hear any stories, experiences, etc.. one might have. unsure of many i have seen, as you are more or less renting the land from them.

i offer my congrads to those of you who have worked hard in making your dreams a reality. thank you for sharing your experiences.

82 sally { 05.28.13 at 11:27 am }

I lived this life when I was growing up and I regret ever leaving it. Good for you for making it happen. The greed and uncaring attitude of society is depressing.

83 Karen { 08.13.13 at 7:56 am }

Hi Wretha,
I think it is great what you two have accomplished.
I am hoping to start my plan in action by march 2014. I will be in Tennessee area. There is so much to learn. I am grateful for all the information
Everyone has posted. Thanks! God Bless everyone!

84 Klyn { 10.01.13 at 11:21 am }

Wretha – I’m loving it. Kids just enterred teen years. I was born and raised city, but moved to semi-country (sort of township/market areas) as young adult. We move to city @ 6 yrs ago. I regretted it within the first 3 mos – but trying to be closer to aging parents. Now that I’m wanting to branch out and get my “me back” the kids have enterred teen years and will flat rebel if I try to leave our church family. They say they already had to leave their home church when we moved here, and they dont wanna keep changing churches. In that respect…I say enjoy it as much as you can. Maybe things will hold out and I can join ya’ll in 3 yrs at the last HS graduation!

85 Barry Wingler { 10.06.13 at 12:02 pm }

Hi Wretha,
We are still going strong living 100 percent off grid now since feb 2012, we love our new life and the kids have adjusted very well, were still building and adding on as we can afford to, 100 percent debt free is great :)

86 SIDEWINDER { 11.14.13 at 11:08 am }

Hi All,

I have 20 acres now, and was wondering if there are others who need a place to go, in the Alpine/Big Bend Parks/Terlingua TX area

I am also looking to get another 20+ ac location, to raise catfish to offer the residents on the ranch, and even open a restaurant with the fresh catfish and other fish from the aquatics farming endeavor i wish to set up

could use a few good hands at the setting up a new adventure in fish farming

Let me know what’s up

Regards

JOHN “SIDEWINDER JACK”

the skype is

PRG.SOLUTIONS

I hope to see you all on skype very soon

87 Angie { 12.06.13 at 2:10 pm }

I loved reading your story! Matt first thought I was crazy for wanting to live off grid. The funny thing is, when I started gardening and canning he just looked at me and said, “you know babe, we just save almost $300!” Now he is up for talking about it more, and making more off grid decisions. We are in the very early stages, but in my opinion its never to late. Congrats to you and PB!

88 Doug { 01.22.14 at 9:15 pm }

Wow. I love this story! I am a producer for an upcoming documentary series on people living off the grid. I’m looking to speak with homesteaders and survivalists who might be interested in sharing their expertise and lifestyle. Your name and location do not need to be revealed. If interested, please send an email to DRelkin51@gmail.com and I will answer any questions you may have. Hope to hear from you!

89 Wretha { 01.23.14 at 1:56 pm }

Sorry Doug, thanks for the request, but I must respectfully decline, good luck though…

Wretha

90 Art { 03.16.14 at 6:41 pm }

Hi Wretha

Just read your article and the comments that followed. We live “off=grid” here in Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. We love it and the community that has made us so welcome. You can read about our journey on our blog page.

Thanks for sharing.

Art

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