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April 14, 2008 at 9:23 am #36384
A better question might be “could you live completely off grid”
or “how self-sufficient could you be if you had to”.
I think most of us long time off grid homesteaders will honestly admit we still go to a store on occasion and obviously we have computers and internet. But you will also find that we provide our own power and have our homes designed so if we couldn’t get to a store for a long time we won’t suffer any great hardship. And having internet is not much different than listening to the radio these days. I use free wifi at the public library for my internet because I have to go in town almost every day to care for my elderly mother. It works for me but if I needed it for work I would get a sattelite hook- up. Part of being a homesteader is living independenty and self- sufficiently and for many homesteaders the internet allows us to work from home so we can do just that.
There are some “true” survivalist homesteaders that live completely self-sufficiently or so I have heard. But you won’t find them on the internet. And that isnt a lifestyle I want for myself.
LaMar (who is a true off grid homesteader)April 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm #40176
I have lived off the grid for nine years now. But I do go to the store as I think most people do, and that does not make you not a off the gridder. But I have done some things to sort of test myself. We have lived for a whole year with no refrigeration and managed just fine. Then we lived for 8 months with no motor vehicle, and we do live in the secluded state forest, only about 7 miles from the nearest town. I liked that the best! But with elderly parents and grown kids, it was hard as we could not go to them in times when they needed us.
I also use my computer for my work so it is essential. But we have no television and do not miss it in the least.
I do have friends who have lived off the grid for more than 45 years. They raised their children that way and have never owned or driven a motor vehicle. They teach homesteading classes and are pretty much self sufficient. But they also go to stores for certain things, not very often though. But as you said above, I too, say their lifestyle is not what I want either. They cook on a hearth, wash dishes in a spring and even though they run their own business, they do not even have a telephone or use the internet.
katlupeApril 15, 2008 at 7:00 am #40179
We’ve been off-grid for about 16 years and we did wash dishes in a stream and cook on an open fire in our little cabin for a few years. That was my way of getting down to basics and changing my lifestyle which I felt I needed to do to determine what my priorities were.
Little by little we started adding more and more comfort to our lives by building a well-insulated solar heated house, having solar and wood heated hot water, panels to provide us with good lighting so we can now read, work and not trip over the dogs at night time. We can listen to music, have a ‘fridge in the summer, charge electrical equipment and power tools and all this extra energy mean that we have more time too – because really living at a basic level – carrying a load of dishes to a freezing stream, cutting wood by hand etc. takes an enormous amount of time and is physically exhausting – believe me.
We go shopping for things we can’t grow, raise or make ourselves or get from the neighbours. We buy things which we could do without if we had to but it’s nice to have treats sometimes!
We need to pay 10,000$ a year in taxes and social security contributions so we have to cover those costs and the internet is a great tool to help us to do that. It’s one of the greenest ways I know of of keeping in touch with friends, sharing photos and ideas and getting information on what’s happening outside our little world which helps to keep us interesting and sociable to outsiders.
I don’t think being completely self-sufficient means cutting yourself off or being a martyr and it’s not a competition either. It’s a question of getting the balance right for your and your family’s real “needs” and perhaps realising that many of the most wonderful things in life are free and on your doorstep.April 18, 2008 at 6:31 pm #40184
I’ve been totally off grid since ’89 and never plan to connect..
If current technology allows me to have creature comforts that I can support with my system, I’m gonna have ‘um..
If I had 2 hrs. to prepare, I could stay here a year without leaving..
~DonOctober 27, 2008 at 7:26 pm #40421
Here’s the thing…
You don’t have to build your own home, hunt your own meat etc., nor do you have to be a billionaire like Bill Gates to be off the grid. These are the most common perceptions of off grid living. I live off-grid in ottawa, canada with my wife, two year old and another one of the way. We have a mortgage, full time jobs, kid in daycare etc. We built a normal home, we power it with solar energy and are totally off the grid. Off the grid does NOT mean being a hermit, in my mind. We are not talking about extracting ourselves from society, but we are talking about greater self-reliance and greater stability when it comes to power and heat. I am no longer concerned about big snowstorms shutting down power lines or anything like that. We did no sacrifice anything, nor did we break the bank on the home…there is a middle ground that can be easily achieved. Your “average” person will not be able to build their own home (nor will they have the time), and your “average” person does not have millions in the bank to build a huge energy system…December 17, 2008 at 12:24 am #40482
Don’t you hate it when you describe your off-grid homestead and people think you are a hermit or socially retarded ?
I have gotten this response when I describe my solar cabin and solar composting toilet and it ticks me off! I was a college instructor and high school teacher for over ten years and I have a large social network of friends and an active social life but people just hear the word off-grid and see a mountain man hold up with a gun eating beens from a can.
I have a nice flat screen tv, dvd, stereo, laptop computer, and all the appliances you would find in most homes. I just power them from solar. My composting toilet allows me to not have a drain field on my property and sewer pipes that freeze under my house.
Does anyone else get the crazy look when you describe your off-grid homesteads to people ?
LaMarDecember 28, 2008 at 7:23 pm #40485
“off grid” is a very general term, to me it just means less reliant, on “grids” that are set up by society, for things like water, power, even mass transportation networks. “trade” should not be a grid that is outright eliminated
Every house, community, or city needs to contribute something to outside of its self for true high sustainment. This may be in the form of a household having a job to earn what it needs, or a community, or dwelling in a community producing something for trade with other dwellings, or communities…I would think it foolish for an off the grid community to not produce something like sheep/alpaca wool, basic crafted items, or even a farmers market in town. There will always be things you need, that you might not be able to, or want to make yourself.
I like to think of “off Grid” as Amish, with use of technology, Its a way of life with True Individual importance, weither your a farmer , and everyone is a farmer, a doctor, mayor, or what have you. Of course the “jobs” in a comunity would be dependant on the type of comunity…February 10, 2009 at 7:50 am #40505
each to their own wayMay 25, 2009 at 3:28 pm #40533
My family and I have lived off the grid for most of the last 15 years. We make about 2 shopping trips to town a year as most of our needs are met here on our remote homestead. We do have one advantage over most people, our homestead is in Alaska. We live about 60 miles from any power or pavement. We raise a large organic garden, gather & wild-craft for food and medicinals. We also hunt & fish to help provide for our needs. Living a subsistence lifestyle you quickly learn the difference between needs and wants. I believe anyone can learn to live free of most modern conveniences, it is attitude.June 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm #40545
How nice it is to see that their are people who actually have gone off-grid. I am from Sweden and people here doesnt evven know what off-grid is and why I would like to go off-grid. But off-grid I am going. I am learning all I have to know from internet because I doent know any gridder in real life.
I hve started a blogg that I hope will get me some money in the future when I go off.grid. But for now I want to inspire people to take small steps to a better life. Read http://www.www.off-grid.net. Its great.June 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm #40548
We’re off-grid with modern conveniences. If you plan ahead, and make good use of the sun, it is very doable without costing a ton of money. I have a 3KW electric system with wind turbine backup. My well pump is wired into a generator and I fill a 2500 gallon tank each week at the top of my property. I have a dozen solar tubes so we don’t use lights during the day. I have some pictures at http://www.solarfleck.com/solar_house.htm . There are sacrifices but not many – the system keeps up very well. 4 computers, 2 large screen LCD TV’s, game room with 80’s arcade, microwave, front loading washer/dryer. I purchase items that use electricity carefully and get those that use the smallest amount of power. On average my house is using no more than 6 amps at any given time. When we need to use a hair dryer or microwave, and that jumps to 20, it’s no problem for short bursts of time (2-8 minutes).July 25, 2009 at 8:13 am #40569
Do you know about Solar Panels and System?
I would like to tell about Solar Panels and System. Know more about off grid system. 4 kW off grid energy generator system.June 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm #40799
solarfleck, nice system you have there!June 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm #40802
Its nice to see some posts from off-grid people who are not living in huts, yurts, hovels or like a homeless person camping in a car or Van.
Here in central and northern BC of Canada, we have few roads and even fewer utility power lines outside urban centers. Many people still live off grid of necessity. My wife comes from a third generation logging family and the old homestead is still off-grid due to distance from a utility line. My wife was 14 years old before she saw an electric light bulb inside the house. Two of her uncles still live off grid. They chuckle at this new interest in ‘off-grid’ because to them it is a normal lifestyle. Yes it does means doing some things differently but it does not mean you have to abstain from enjoying some of the benefits of modern technology. Up here in high latitudes it is a bit more of a challenge to use solar due to 16 hours or more of daytime darkness and / or clouds during winter months. But there are plenty of alternatives for power generation without going hog wild burning fossil fuels. Just to name three alternatives; waste vegetable (or other) oil, ethanol production from bio mass, and wood heat. If you are a farmer raising live stock you also have a natural supply of methane gas.
Modern house construction with solar wells in the roof and thermal mass, (passive solar) heating means a home can be every bit as comfortable, roomy and cozy as anything you find in the cities or suburbs. Admittedly, jobs are not as handy to home in areas where people live off grid but in this area resource extraction is the principa source of employmentit is not uncommon to go to a job site 500 miles away for a month at a time then come home for an extended R&R period. The advent of telecommunications and sat links for internet access has allowed a large number of people to move to off-grid locations while telecommuting to work daily. These people live normal lives in normal homes even if they are living off grid.
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