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I was born in Saginaw Michigan, the oldest of what wound up 9 kids. During the mid to late 60’s when the race riots were going around, mom n dad decided to get out of the inner city.
they found 60 acres they could afford, bare land pretty much, nothin on it but an old lean-to cattle shed, a couple dozen beef cows and an old untended apple orchard.
i was 9 at the time and there were just 6 of us kids, youngest was 2. using lumber salvaged from the leant-to cattle shed, and logs cut from the woods, we built a 14 x 20 tarpaper shack with a loft and moved in. us kids shared the loft, mom n dad slept in the lower room. heat was an old potbelly stove that doubled for frying foods and boiling water n coffee in winter, summer times we cooked in the firepit outside.
outhouse was 50 feet north of the door, well was 30 feet south, both were hand dug, us kids helpin as much as dad would allow.
fridge was a small spring-fed waterhole at the bottom of the hill, kept everything good and cold. lighting was kerosene lanterns(still hanging on the walls today for emergencies) and 2 coleman lanterns, the type used for spear fishing. after 3 years kid number 7 came along and we decided we needed a lil more house. by the time the folks saved up enuff for building on, kid number 8 popped out, 2 years after number 7. we added a 24×24 with a full basement and upstairs making the the house a split level, we also added siding to the original house so it looked like a house now.
by this time im 14, we still have no running water or electricity or a phone, us kids had the run of 12 acres of woods and lots of fields to play in, we were never bored or felt deprived
a year later we added on to the back of the original house, a 20×20 that became kitchen, bath and mom n dads room.
the upstairs on the other part took a while to finish as us kids did all the plastering and painting but we all moved into our new bedrooms with the pride of knowing we did the work
btw u8p til we put in the bath n kitchen, baths wer every saturday night, in a 20 gallon galvanized washtub, water heated on the potbelly stove, the kid that was the best behaved got the first bath, the last (usually me ) went to the troublemaker, laundry was done in a wringer washer, all the water pumped by hand with a pitcher pump and hauled to the washer and dumped in, summers the washer sat on a pallet outside, winters it sat in a corner inside the house
once the kitchen was built the wash was done in front of the kitchen sink
when i was around 17 or 18 we got real power in and real running water, before that we hauled it in by the 5 gallon bucket and filled the toilet tank and bathtub so we could dip out what we needed elsewhere

thats how i grew up

now, of us 9 kids, im the only farmer, number 6 tried for a bit, she stil cans but doesnt even garden nymore
numbers 8 and 9 garden, 9 cans. all the rest are basically yuppies
im the closest to being off-grid and will eventually be there again, one of these days.
the youngest will prolly do so when her kids leave home
the rest no f’in way can they live without…
should hear em bitch when the power is down, but they also thank mom n dad for teaching them how to deal with it