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  • in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65683

    Hello there Gordo,

    Yep. One of the members in my ward runs a cotton plantation in southern Utah near the Arizona border. From what I understand they are not opened up to the public except for a few workshops they hold every year. If you get the chance I recommend checking it out.

    Back to my land hunting I still haven’t quite figured out how much land I will need just yet but I need to find that out before I can go pick out some land. Water sources are more important than I thought they would be!

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65681

    Just thought that I should pop back in and update this thread!

    After taking Chowan and Gordo’s advice I have taken a look at several pieces of land. Although I haven’t found what I am looking for yet I have found plenty of examples of what I am NOT looking for.

    In evaluating my needs, wants and personal desires I have come to realize that living by yourself is one thing but living without neighbors is something else entirely different. I have come to the realization that while I do need a bit of acreage for myself I do want neighbors. Quality neighbors. With that said I think I need to look not only for good land but good land that is near the type of self sufficient people that I want to be around and aim to become myself and that revelation should help me focus my land search quite a bit.

    Speaking of revelations it turns out that I am capable of doing quite a bit more than I thought I could. I went and visited a few different farmers over the last couple of days and I have learned quite a bit about self sufficiency.

    The first farm I visited wasn’t really a farm in the traditional sense. The only thing this farmer grew was cotton. I guess it was a plantation and not really a farm but they did have a barn which they used to store the cotton bales. During this visit I learned the valuable skill of cotton textile manufacturing. I took part in a workshop and I learned how to turn cotton straight from the fields and turn it into thread and yarn. I learned about how to use and to make your own cotton gin and how to turn the cotton into what is known as a rolag ( a MUCH fluffier piece of cotton ) by carding it with hand cards which is a bit of fun but tedious and hard work. I learned how to take those rolags and spin them with a spindle to turn them into usable thread and yarn. Needless to say I now have a much greater appreciation for the clothing on my back! I plan on going back to this plantation for another workshop on calico making.

    The second farm I visited was a livestock farm. It is a small, family run operation that raises cows, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, horses and ducks. My reason for visiting this farm was to get a first hand look at how hard it is to work on a farm. I arrived first thing in the morning and I worked my tush off! The farm didn’t look all that big but it certainly was more hard work than I expected it to be. I was up at four in the morning feeding the chickens while the farmer’s sons collected the eggs. There was this mean hen who didn’t like me very much and chased me around the little fenced in area. She kept trying to peck and bite at my shoelaces. The farmer’s wife who was out there with me thought that this was just hilarious. She explained to me later that this particular hen was blind and must have thought that my long shoe laces were a worm of some kind. I took a look at her shoes and she didn’t have any laces, only a pair of slip on shoes. Clearly I needed to wise up and fast! She showed me how they took their kitchen scraps and fed them to the pigs, how to clean horse stalls and even how to mend a small tear in their wire fence. This was all before noon! After lunch however came the coolest part. I got to milk a cow. It is alot harder than it looks but once you get into a rhythm the time flies by pretty quick. I was told that a single cow can produce anywhere from six to nine gallons of milk every day! After this it was time to feed the sheep their food. The farmer and his sons were out there with us and he explained that sheep graze in the morning and around sunset and that the best time to feed them their supplements was during the heat of the day so you won’t disturb their grazing patterns. They had these HUGE merino sheep. The animals themselves were tiny but their fleeces were the thickest and fluffiest I have ever seen! Apparently the farmer’s wife taken the wool and turns it into yarn for use in her online hand dyed wool business and makes a bundle. I had a really good time overall and from what I have learned I think I could handle a cow, a few sheep and maybe even a chicken or two.

    The day right after this I went on to the next farm. Here they grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits for their roadside stand business. I have been buying from their little stand for at least four years now and they have the sweetest, juiciest corn on the cob you can imagine. Unfortunatly I didn’t get to pick any of that because the crop has already been picked and sold and tilled under for the winter. I did however get to pick the beginning of their apples! I took home a whole barrel of these huge, crunchy, juicy and bright red apples home with me and I plan on turning them into an apple pie. Picking apples wasn’t as easy as I thought it was either. Some of the apples didn’t want to come off the tree just yet and the farmer had to instruct me on the pull and twist method and I still couldn’t get some off because I was just so sore from all of the farm work from the day previous. Lessons learned there! On the brighter side the farmer took me into his little shop and taught me all about what was planted on the farm, what grew well here and what didn’t. He also taught me a bit about crop rotation and guarding against pests. Alot of detailed information was gained here but just too darn much to type up!

    Evidently I missed the honey collection for this year but next year that is something I want to learn more about. Although I am alergic to bee stings there are some kinds of bees that produce honey that are incapable of stinging and honey is a valuable sweetener, additive and preserver on top of having anti bacterial properties and I would be thrilled to learn how to keep my own supply.

    Maple syrup production is also something I want to have a look at since not only is the syrup tasty but you can boil it down and create maple sugar for baking and other purposes like creating my own jerky ect. However maple trees take 30 – 40 years before they can be tapped for their syrup so I either need to plant my own stand and let my future children have it or find land that has this resource already.

    Now if I can just find out how to produce salt I think I might be completely self sufficient in terms of renewable food sources. I know there are certain plants that have alot of salt but as for taking the plants and extracting the salt and turning it into granules for storage and use in rubs ect. I have no idea.

    I figure I can handle a single cow for milk, a couple of chickens for their eggs and maybe even small flock of sheep for wool. Sheep also prefer to eat clover and if I could plant clover fields it would be perfect food for bees to make clover honey too. However I also need to consider how much more land I will need as well as how much it will cost to care for these animals.

    Anyway there is my update. Hope the rest of you are doing well too!

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65669

    I plan to build whatever kind of home I decide on to code and in cold places I don’t know for sure if I could get away with a monolithic slab foundation although due to the simplicity of one that is what I am hoping to be able to build. I won’t be able to work on that until I find myself a good piece of land first and figure out what my option are. I just find it incredibly wrong that a government or state would be able to tell me what I can and can not build on my own land.

    Northern Person – A Canadian cabin sounds wonderful. Good luck finding a cabin sitter. Also be aware that to leave a home that long I think that anyone who lives in a place that long who is not the owner can apply to become the legal owner. At least that is the law in the U.S. Please be wary of that! I would hate to see someone take advantage of a kind woman such as yourself but unfortunatly there are bad seeds everywhere these days.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65649

    I have been looking around at websites like landwatch and it seems that finding a property with water that is not contaminated is a problem. There are so many places that have run off from mines, chemical plants or other such pollutants that finding a decent piece of land might be the biggest challenge!

    I will certainly need a place with water and the rights to the water so I can use in for gardening and other such things. I can live with a tiny home but I certainly want a beautiful garden and that takes up alot of water.

    Although I like the idea of trees and forested area it makes it difficult to have a garden and a tiny home because of accessibility issues and light issues. Not to mention if I have to dig down below a frost line for a foundation! Tree root removal would cost a fortune and I can always plant the trees where I want them.

    I am within an hour or so distance from SLC. I know there are alot of nice people and places around here but I am looking to get as far away from big cities and towns as I possibly can.

    I have driven through Moab at night and those were the most beautiful stars I have ever seen in my life! It was about this time last year and the weather was cool and there was no light pollution. If I could find a remote location around there I could be compelled to stay if only to see those stars every night for the rest of my life. I know it sounds a poor way to choose land but if you have ever been there yourself you know exactly what I am talking about.

    Chowan – I know what you mean about getting rid of useless appliances. I can make due with just a tiny little mini fridge that would only be used on occasion along with my one little laptop, a washer that I would use once a week or so for my clothing and bedding and I think that is everything except maybe emergency LED lighting but I know I could live happily with candles and flashlights instead. For a stove I would love to learn how to cook over a campfire or a wood stove. I figure that I could get myself a nice clawfoot bathtub and just heat myself some hot water on the stove for my baths and live happily with that. Toning down my power usage takes some thought but I could manage it.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65641

    Gordo – I couldn’t understand your post. Too much I don’t understand. I checked out some books at the library today and I am going to educate myself further on solar panels.

    Chowan – I think I have narrowed down where I want to live to either Montana or South Dakota. From what I understand there is lots of wind due to the fact they are plains states. The wind up there is so powerful that old homes have actually blown over due to high and powerful winds. However the winters are overcast and I think that wind would be my best option for continuous power with some form of back up.

    SpringtimeHomes – I think that compressed earth blocks would be superior to cob or strawbale since they are easy to make by yourself and they stay a few degrees cooler or hotter than adobe bricks.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65619

    Prepper joys? What is that? Survivalists I have heard of and although it is good to be prepared I want to not only survive but the thrive as well.

    I think my need to over prepare for things, especially where food storage is concerned, comes from my Grandmother and Great Grandmother. They lived through the depression and they have always had a large amount of food storage on hand for emergencies. It makes me feel secure when I open the pantry door and see shelves upon shelves of food.

    Zombie prepper types? You mean there are people who actually believe in zombies? I mean no offense to them and their beliefs but that one seems way out in the field to me.

    As for the overly zealous religious types I live around Mormons and I am an official member of the church myself although I am of the belief that everyone should worship in their own way and that everyone is just working towards the same goal of being a good person and if there is a life after this one that we should all strive to be as good to each other here in order to get to live together there. Pretty basic stuff. To each their own. I am not one of those bible thumpers who likes to go around and try to convert others since I find that vain and that it makes others uncomfortable.

    I have not thought about moving into an already established area although it makes good sense. I figure that I want to purchase ALOT of land for my own personal use so I would be sort of far from other people. I think it would be pretty neat to establish an off the grid town so that way I can design everything to my own vision and if anyone else happens to like that vision and shares my values then they can move on in.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65621

    Some of my Mormon friends have HUGE vaults under their homes for food storage. I mean it looks like they have a Wal-Mart under their house or something! I would only be talking about stocking enough food for a year or two for myself and then for my family members in the event of emergency I could get those buckets that contain like 275 meals that last for like 20+ years or something like that so I don’t have a whole bunch of semi perishable foods that would go to waste. My family doesn’t share my views but if things ever got bad I would want to be able to care for them. If that makes me a prepper then I guess I am.

    There are nutcases from all walks of life including but not limited to some Mormons. I know you didn’t mean any offense. None taken. I know just the kind of people you are talking about and I avoid them at all costs.

    I checked online for the zombie preppers and I just can’t believe that there are seriously people who think that could possibly happen. I think the trouble that you fellow man could give you would be alot more to worry about then just some zombies.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65624

    The solar system like you mentioned will be determined by how far I can cut back on my use of electricity. 1000 watts seems to be a nice place to start and I can always add if I need more.

    For hot water I don’t see why I couldn’t just boil some water and fill a tank or tub or something? Wouldn’t that be a much cheaper alternative?

    I agree with you regarding strawbale. It does have drawbacks. I am also considering compressed earth blocks which is basically a super strong form of adobe.

    Tires I do not want to use. Especially since I plan to grow my own food but to be perfectly honest I don’t want to grow my food in plain soil anyway. I would much rather go with above ground gardening since it would allow me to choose the soil I want to grow with. Especially if I decide to live on land that is difficult to work with and might need a few years of amending before I could plant anything.

    Surely there must be some way to use tires for something. Apparently they take centuries to decompose. With that said I wonder just how detrimental their leaching into the ground is since it takes so long to break down. Maybe if they were sealed in adobe or some other material they could be used for fencing around acreage or something? Whatever they can be used for I certainly do not want them to contaminate my enviornment and land. That is not a good situation at all.

    While I appreciate your offer I will politely decline for now. Knowing someone only by two posts on the internet and being asked to come for a visit in an off the grid location doesn’t seem like a good situation to put myself in. No offense intended but general internet safety says that isn’t a good idea no matter how well I think I know someone online. Thank you for offering however.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65625

    $15,000 for a 1,000 watt solar panel?

    Sunelec.com Seems to have better deals than that.

    They even have an off the grid inverter that generates 6,000 watts for under $4,000 and The Home Depot has a solar power generator for under $1,500 although it doesn’t come with some type of battery that it needs.

    ^

    800 portable watts sounds nice too although I do not know exactly how all of these different types of systems hook up and such so there might be more to them then this but it seems like I could power everything I could ever want and then some with these prices.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65609

    Dustoffer – Money is something I have. Physical strength is what I lack. Hopefully I have enough of the former to overcome the latter although before I go that route I want to learn to do as much as I can by myself. Knowledge is power and off the grid skills are something I need to develop or at the very least be aware of so I can help someone else if they needed to know how to do something. Although it is nice to prepare only for myself I realize that is completely useless if I can’t help my fellow neighbor. I want to not only survive but to thrive and I can’t do that without like-minded neighbors, friends and family.

    I thought about getting a trailer or RV at first but then I realized that if I were to build myself a little tumbleweed house that although the cost would be cheaper it would still be worth alot more in the long run for the skills I would learn in building one myself instead of taking the easy way out.

    The tiny homes from this website here : https://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/plans/

    are something that I would be perfectly comfortable in for quite awhile until I could get my dream place built and other things like a garden set up and secure. Another benefit is that they can be towed anywhere on the end of a truck so if I need to move somewhere else or if I want to do a little traveling it would work like a charm. I also realize that such a small place wouldn’t give me all of the little extras that I want but learning to do without them for awhile would help me realize and be more grateful for what I will have when my place is complete.

    Here in Utah where I am currently at the elevation is 4,700+ Ft. I don’t yet know where exactly what land I will wind up with and in what state or country I will be but I know that I like areas that get snow and that I should prepare for areas with cold weather. I used to live in the deep south of Florida ( Sick of those hurricanes! ) and the heart of Texas where we simply don’t get snow. I guess it is normal to want what you don’t have.

    For a tiny little tumbleweed home I would need to drastically cut my power usage. Portable solar power is something that I would want to look into. I hope to live in the tumbleweed during the spring, summer and fall months and then return to my family’s place for the winter holidays until I can get my dream home completed. With that said I wouldn’t need to have a dryer or a second computer in such a tiny space. I could make due with one computer, a mini fridge and a tiny washer to use once a week or so since I wouldn’t need a huge one for thick comforters and such during the non winter months because I wouldn’t have the space in a tiny place and because I wouldn’t need it.

    I could get by with candles, flashlights and maybe an LED light to use for emergencies for my lighting needs but I am not sure what I would do for my cooking. I have zero camping experience but I can learn to cook on a campfire and such. I don’t think there are wood stoves that would work in such a tiny area without burning the place down so I think that is out of the question unless someone here has any suggestions. Maybe a solar cooker is another option? I don’t know too much about those either. If at all possible I would want the tumbleweed to work completely without the aid of outside resources and be completely self sustaining for long periods of time. I would likely have it hooked up to use a back up propane tank or some other type of portable fuel source for security though. Suggestions in this area are especially appreciated. I should also note that the tiny homes that are on that website run on a small propane tank and since I am trying to eliminate my power usage that is why I am looking for an alternative. It would also be nice to be able to alter the design of the tumbleweeds if I could find an alternate cooking source and use that extra space for more food and supply storage.

    I figure that the little tumbleweed could be used as a shed or a surprise guest house or something when I am done using it. It would also be nice to have if I ever had to bug out for whatever reason.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65610

    Chowan – We once had hail here that big. I figure that it was probably a once in a lifetime sort of freak hail storm but it also reminds me that it is best to be prepared for anything then to be out of luck if and when something terrible happens. I don’t know if I will wind up staying here in Utah and I will probably move but since I love having snow in the winter I know that I will likely move to somewhere cold and I should prepare for that.

    Portable solar panels that I could take down and throw in my tiny home and move in the event of an emergency would be a good thing to have. I can work on having the nice wind power generators when I set up my dream place.

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65616

    Financially I have more than enough. I am 100% debt free. I don’t buy anything unless I can buy it outright with cash so I won’t need a loan. I am hoping to stash away some extra funds in an account that will earn me enough interest to live off of and more that I can use to increase my investment.

    My own personal reasons for living off the grid are varied.

    1. I do not wish to live my parent’s lifestyle currently or the one that they desire. My Father rakes in over $80,000 a year and has NOTHING to show for it year after year! I want a place that I can call home that will be all mine, that I have worked hard for and that I will never have to worry about moving out of. Due to my Father’s line of work I have had to move all around the country and could never really put down some roots. However I should also note that I am a linguistics student and I have an interest in world travel. By having a home where I have no bills I could save my income to travel as well as potentially host guests from around the world. One vice that I am working towards eliminating is my desire to collect things. I simply love to collect things. From old school video games ( SNES, Genesis, Saturn ect. ) to professional wrestling action figures I just love to collect stuff. With all of the moving I have done we have had to throw things out or leave many things in storage and I think part of my collecting issues has to do with never being able to keep things with me. I realize that it is a problem so I have decided on a few hobbies and things that I want to have and keep and the rest of my stuff I have found good homes for or sold. Baby steps and all that jazz. I realize that I am more committed to living off the grid then I am to a collection of things that are not being used for any purpose and are only serving to hold me back from my major goals in life.

    2. I am also a privacy and space loving individual who is used to living in a home with ten people. I am not content with that. I want my own home that is designed to my own liking with all of the space I require for doing the things that I like to do. I don’t need a palace but if a man’s home is his castle then I certainly need a castle. A tiny castle… with a nice garden. :)

    3. Security. With my parents declaring bankruptcy next year it would be nice if I had a place where my family could stay if times ever got tough. With a fifteen trillion dollar national debt if something were to occur be it a collapse or even just a riot and my family needed a place to go then I would want to be prepared.

    Earth BURM? What is that? I need a home that is well designed for cold weather, that has space for long term guests in the event of a crisis or overseas guests that I invite to live here for awhile and if I am perfectly honest with myself I think it would be cool to have a house that is designed to look like a small and defendable castle. That last part is not needed but I figure if I work with something like strawbale or compressed earth bricks that the structure would be very strong to begin with. If I added some stonemasonry work to the outside of a structure it would look pretty nice. Of course a small cottage design would suit me just perfectly too. Lots of choices!

    in reply to: Help me plan to live completely off the grid? #65601

    It hailed here one time and there were chunks as big as a baseball without exaggeration. I like to be over prepared when possible. Perhaps collecting solar during the summer and storing it for winter use is the best option so I can merely cover the solar panels with a covering to protect them during the winter months. I still think that wind energy would be the most viable energy solution for the northern plains states that I want to live in.

    A back up energy source is something that I would like to have just to be on the safe side but if I can find a way to replace it with renewable alternatives that are cost effective then I certainly will. I think these new technologies are still in their infancy and it would be foolish to invest too heavily in them until they become more efficient.

    Call me picky but I don’t eat lambs, ducks, woodland creatures of all sorts ect. I am a steak, ribs, chicken and tuna sort of lady. If I could find a way to trade for or purchase those things that is enviornmentally friendly then I will. If I can’t then I will teach myself how to make due without them. I don’t eat alot of meat as it is so I could go vegetarian if I had to but to be perfectly honest I do like my meat products.

    Maybe I could raise a few chickens for their eggs. That way I wouldn’t have to kill them and with only a few chickens I could have a good supply of protein and the ability to care for them since one person can not run a farm by themselves. However feeding and sheltering both the sheep and the chickens is something I need to factor into my plans.

    Speaking of skills I never really thought about what I might be able to bring to a community. I have interests in various craft work so I could work on those skills in order to increase my contributions. Quilting, knitting, tailoring, basketry, pottery, glass or tile making and maybe even a tiny bit of blacksmithing would all be skills that I could pick up and use to make myself useful to a group.

    in reply to: Young Couple to move off-grid for first time.. Any Advice? #65604

    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!

    in reply to: NE Nevada offgrid village #65593

    I read just the first few post of this thread and I just want to chime in that I have always loved the idea of a small tavern type town. There are so many styles to choose from be it Medieval English style or Irish, Scottish, Colonial ect. It makes me think of a Robin Hood type town which I so desire. Good to know that there are those who share my thoughts!

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