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Feel like I subverted this thread, sorry for that. Anyway, I sympathize/agree with all you are saying in that post, Dustoffer. Most people won’t do much for themselves these days, I did do all of it, (it’s a pole house on a steep slope above a creek) I cut down the trees, skidded them with a little tractor, ran them through a Woodmizer I got in a trade years ago, framed it, designed/built hardwood interior, did all plumbing and elec too. Am in debt at 51 for the first time in my life, and am willing put up with pretty crude living conditions if necessary in order to avoid debt next time. That’s what I was getting at in my posts above. And it has been a lot more work, a lot more time, than I want to have wrapped up in any one single material thing in my life, again I am looking to be happy with a very small off-grid cabin and no bills. Another thing, in this East Tennessee county, at least when I started in 2002 there were no building codes at all. Septic permit/inspection, same for elec., nothing at all for the structure. I will probably have to go through all the BS in order to be legitimate where I intend to be building next time (out west), don’t want to worry about them coming down on me at a later date. But I would rather risk “camping” indefinitely than pay interest again, I just can’t afford it. Lastly, need to point out we were only about 6 months into this project when we realized this part of the country wasn’t right for us, I have been struggling for years to complete something that might hopefully sell for enough money for us to realize our dream somewhere else, and it is (almost) done now. While I could never see myself as a foreman of anything, I very much want in the near future to work on the kind of projects you mention, something that tries to make a difference.
Quick reply for Moguitar…This little place had a power line right-of-way already running through it, I had just 140 feet to go through the woods to connect to my service entrance, I would have gone solar “straight out of the box” otherwise as I am 3/4 mile from the road. You certainly do have a lot of good advice above, for example, I agree constant use of oil lamps can be problematic, I don’t want to breathe the fumes either. Still confused how someone who has basically nothing to spare at the end of most months is going to be able to save enough money for a major project. Many people will never earn a decent wage, way too many jobs simply don’t have a path for advancement, and it is getting worse not better. In my case, the only reason I have my own place at all is having inherited my parent’s place years ago, feel I got it fair and square, gave over three years as caregiver to my Mom while she was on a respirator at home dying of emphysema. Anyway, sincere congratulations on what you have achieved, believe me when I say not everyone is up to that level of effort, I certainly am not, that’s why I stress the value of simpler and cheaper choices. I don’t believe off-grid and self-reliance should be only for middle income folks, I for one don’t aspire to ever be in that club.
Saw the logo depicting the tiny house with left-over paint and the modest little Samurai next to it and thought I had found my kind of place. Got on this forum and feared I had made a mistake. Guess maybe I was right after all.
I would recommend those fortunate enough to have an independent energy system to consider having a contingency plan for living without electricity. No telling what may lie ahead.
Just joined here! I am now finishing a rustic, secluded, but grid-connected owner-built home, certainly have no cash or financing left for PV panels/batteries/controllers etc. after having over-extended myself to build this structure. I am planning to move and build very basic/cheap off-grid shelter with the intent to expand/upgrade as time/money may allow. To answer the question, yes, of course there are folks who would choose to go without any electrical energy in their homestead, I understand this is now being called “off-off-grid” and I support the right to choose it in the strongest possible terms. Sorry if it’s out of line for a newbie to jump in like this, but I am seriously bummed by the prejudice I am seeing on here against it, and the (elitist and authoritarian, IMO) concerns about it being illegal. It is our human heritage to live this way if we so choose. It is in fact the only lifestyle that is possible for much of the world’s population. Also it can be a way for one to simply exist for a time (or permanently, if need be) in what can be a very harsh world when sufficient money is unavailable to set up photovoltaic systems, which are quite difficult for some of us to afford. If the type of collapse that some of the gloom-and doom crowd envisions were to come about, many people living middle-class grid-connected lifestyles at present may be learning to dig pit privies for themselves! Having said all this, let me point out that I would not choose it (voluntarily) for myself, I am fascinated by independant home energy systems and furthermore I am taking a serious look at getting into alternative energy as a career. But I repeat, doing without any and all modern devices is an honorable personal choice, and the ultimate expression of voluntary simplicity.
Forgive me, but I simply must say more: What would you have a low-income person who wishes to provide for their own needs and has somehow managed to purchase, finance or barter a piece of the Earth for themselves do? Would it be preferable to have them stay in the city in subsidized (or substandard)housing? This subject strikes me keenly, my wife broke off a friendship recently in a situation where the friend had reported an unemployed neighbor to the county government for living in a school bus on private property without “utilities”, ironically enough the friend was not really living above poverty level herself. Nothing worse than a snitch. Yes, old-time country folks are often unaware of how so many of their actions negatively impact the planet, yes, with the increased population today we need to be careful about runoff, effluents, etc., and certainly there would be disease if everyone were to return to using an outhouse, but I don’t believe we are talking about everyone doing so. I do not mean to dismiss the concerns expressed above, but over an hour after first having read through the comments, the superior tone remains offensive.
Would like to clarify – rereading this morning I find that the comments that drew my attention were primarily located on the “how long have you been living off-grid? thread, and in particular were responses to the posts of member Cyndi Jenkins (above and whose choices I, again, strongly support). I may appear a little off for reacting so strongly to most of this thread’s posts. Check the other one to see what I am referring to, please. There is actually a lot of good information on this thread. I would, however, take exception to moguitar’s statement “Living off-grid with clean electricity is easy”. Easy if you have a good income, maybe. Yes, I am aware of the existence of incentives and tax credits for alternative energy installations. Don’t you have to have the money (or financing) up front then get re-imbursed later? I should already know the answer to that, but I don’t. All I am saying is alternative energy, while of course not like driving an Escalade or some such garbage, is nonetheless a bit of a rich man’s club, and I don’t appreciate the condescending attitudes to those who can’t afford the price of admission or who would choose something simpler..