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December 13, 2009 at 4:17 am #36617
So, my boyfriend and I are working out the nuts and bolts of closing a deal for a small, 889 sq ft home on 13 acres situated on a south-facing slope in a mid-elevation Madrone and Oak grove.
The whole thing is currently on a home propane generator and there is a 250 gal propane tank installed.
Anyway, we’ve both lived off the grid for short stints in the woods with friends. We don’t mind reading by candle light and there is many years worth of fire wood on our property.
We are hoping to build a large vegetable garden and a chicken coop as well as install solar panels at some point. We are also interested in setting up rain-collection implements. I plan to spend alot of time learning to can and pickle as well as cooking and fermenting.
Do you live off the grid? What were some issues you ran into when you first moved off the grid? What advice do you wish you had? What was something that surprised you about living off the grid?December 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm #40659
My hubby and I have lived 100% off grid since Dec 07. We live on a mountain side, in the high desert of far west Texas. We have madrones and oaks as well as lots of junipers, several pine varieties and various other trees, I wonder if we live in the same area, email me privately about that(wretha(at)gmail.com).
The first thing that could be considered an issue was the fact that we brought way too much stuff, we gave away or threw away so much stuff before we moved out here, but there are still things I find to this day that I wonder what I was thinking when I carefully packed these things up and brought them out. Think carefully about what you are going to need and what you can live without.
The other thing that was and still is an issue for us is water, living in a desert climate, water is always on our mind. We have access to water out here, but you have to go get it, that means having a way to haul large quantities of water, a truck that can handle the load (or pulling a trailer with the water), having storage for the water, this includes being able to capture and store the water from the roof. We use a Berkey Water Purifier for our drinking and cooking water. This is good, it uses gravity, no electricity, it’s easy to clean, the filters can be cleaned and reused over and over. You dump the water in the top, the water trickles down through the filters and you get the cleaned water out the bottom. It’s worth the money spent. We use a 12 volt water pump, the type you find in an RV to pump the water from the outside tank to the sink inside. We also use a tankless, on demand propane fired water heater, that was another good investment for us.
Make sure you have GOOD clothes and footwear. This is especially true for winter. You said that you have lots of wood to burn, but if you can keep yourself warmer by clothing instead of burning all of your wood to keep your place warm, you are one step ahead. We only do wood fires on occasions, only when the temps are going to drop well below freezing. I don’t know what your temps are like, but for us in the desert, it gets cold at night, generally once the sun comes up, the temps warm up too. Having good insulation for your house helps tremendously. We use thick quilted coveralls to keep us warm, thermal underwear, silk long underwear, wool socks (usually paired with cotton socks), layer layer layer, get some good boots and make them a full size larger than you normally wear, that way you can wear extra socks and thicker socks, it really makes a difference.
A south facing slope is good for thermal heating and solar power. If you can you should consider getting a small solar panel set and a good, deep cycle battery or two, just enough to get you started. If money is real tight, you can go with a Harbor Freight set, either get the 45 watt kit OR just get the solar panels alone. If you go with the single panel (not the kit), you will need a charge controller, this keeps your batteries from getting overcharged. All of this is not necessary, but it sure makes life better if you can use a laptop, radio, lights and such.
Stock up on food if you can, I don’t know what your working situation will be after you move, if you have access to a Sam’s or Costco, buy up rice and beans, seasonings, flour, sugar, salt, oatmeal, get things you like and will eat. Hit dollar stores and stock up on food from there too, canned chicken, tuna, salmon, hams… again get things you like and will eat. I love making my own flour tortillas, it’s cheap, the mixes in the store work great, just add water, mix, roll out and cook in a hot skillet, I have even cooked them directly on my wood stove. We eat a lot of dehydrated refried beans, that is easy to store, quick to fix and goes good with the tortillas.
I don’t know how many neighbors you will have, we have a few but not very close. Get to know and network with your neighbors. Find out the local hangout for the locals and go there, go to church, volunteer. We have done this, we let our friends and neighbors know that we want anything potentially useful they might be throwing away, things like old metal water tanks, building materials from buildings they are tearing down, offer to help and haul off the good stuff for yourself. One neighbor was replacing all the windows in their house for double panes, we got all of their old windows. Of course we are still building on our place so stuff like this comes in handy for us. Offer to help people with anything they might need, be an extra hand, the favor will be returned.
Barter barter barter, figure out what skills you and your mate have to offer and trade out services or goods for the things you need.
Another thing I suggest is that you document your progress, start a blog, write in a diary, do something like that. I am amazed when I look back at my blog, the early days and see just how far we have come. It has also turned into a little money for us, I didn’t start it out to be anything like this, it was originally for my family and friends we were leaving behind (some 500 miles away), it was so that they could see and read about our daily adventures. Within a few months, I was getting lots of hits from strangers (many of whom are now part of my cyber family), I was not promoting my site at all. It turns out that people like reading about other people living off grid. Other off grid and survival sites started linking to me. I put Google ads on my blog and a few other advertisers and now I make enough to be able to pay for my internet connection and a few other things. You will not get rich, but when you have few bills, every little bit helps.
Hope this helps, there are lots of other things, but without knowing your particular situation, location and such, it’s difficult to give more specifics.
WrethaDecember 23, 2009 at 12:54 am #40661
Off grid is a state of mind. You either have it or you need to learn it. One can be off grid in the burbs or out in timbucktoo. The one thing I learned is be equally yoked, and love one another always because a lot of things can go wrong off grid. And remember , it’s not the destination that counts but it is the Journey.January 15, 2010 at 3:26 am #40672
I applaud you for “going for it”. You will find I believe that you will adapt and learn as you go. Trial by fire if you will. I have spent the last number of years building a place in the wilderness of northern Minnesota. I hope to retire there in just a few years. I spend almost every weekend there and have loved every minute.
I agree with “Treasuregift above. Many good ideas. I agree with documenting your “adventure” as well. It is easy to do. I am doing it as well but only because I have a lot of time to write when it gets dark at 4pm. Take a peek if you like.
Good luck and enjoy every minute.March 1, 2010 at 1:00 am #40729
Going off grid is great and you should go for it. Me and my family went off grid last year and have no regrets. We spent quite a lot on all the solar panels etc but it should save money in the long run.October 31, 2011 at 6:37 am #41877
moving to off-grid is great idea..refer this article http://www.karavans.com/booksoffgrid.htmlOctober 31, 2011 at 7:27 am #41878
With a fifteen trillion dollar national debt and my relatives completely unprepared and bankrupt I am looking to go off the grid to have the peace of mind that security will bring me along with a better lifestyle than I enjoy now.
Good luck on your journey!November 20, 2011 at 10:55 pm #41968
My advice to those seeking to go off-grid is to give yourself plenty of time to get squared away and, if you can, have more money to invest than you thought that you would need. Being off the grid is best suited to those who can comfortably handle solitude and self-reliance.
There will be many challenges and rewards. Best of luck with your endeavors.November 17, 2012 at 4:15 am #43166
We lived off grid in Canada North for over 4 years, wouldn’t trade one minute of it. Loved the solitude, the quiet and being accountable for the water we used. We eventually set up a solar system, but at first, used only a generator, coolers, outdoor yukon burner and feed trough to bath in. You can actually read some of our stories and see our solar system on our blog and youtube, if you’d like.
Canada North – Life On and Off the Grid
Good luck on your journey.
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