Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Off grid anniversary!!



One year ago today we moved off grid. No batteries. No solar panels. No water. But we had a lot… We had: a 1950’s trailer with an addition that we had stripped out and cleaned up.  A wood stove.  A generator.  A few battery powered lights. A battery powered shower pump. 20 gallons worth of water jugs. 93 years (between us) of learning from our grandparents, parents and any way else we could prepare for this. A dream. Guts.

We have made a lot of progress on our goals this year but not as far as we wanted to be at this point. 

We had a lot of clean up to do and we have most of it done.  Last winter we spent one day every weekend tearing down and cleaning up and starting a fire. The next day was feeding the fire and cutting firewood for the house. We made it just fine.

So where are we now? We now have goats and kids, chickens and a garden spot for next spring. We have the area cleared out for the house build in the spring. We have a barn that is almost finished for the goats and a chicken house for the chickens. We have a 1000 gal tank for water that we fill from the neighbors well or from town until we develop a spring or dig a well. We have a composting toilet system in place. We have solar panels and batteries so the generator is just a back up now.  Yesterday we installed a water heater shower unit.  It’s not pretty but yet it’s beautiful.

We wanted to have our house done by this winter but unfortunately that was not to be. Mike was only working part time during the summer and we didn’t have the funds to dig out for the house. It was very discouraging to not be able to get that done, but we are comfortable in our home. I am in a job that I love and Mike now has a job that he likes as well. Our dream was never to be able to make a living off of our land so having good jobs was very important. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes you just have to wait for the blessing cause it comes in its own time.

So one year later we are happy, and have had some interesting experiences.

Something that has amused us is the responses people have said upon learning about us living off grid. Here are some samples for your own information or amusement:

Do you go to bed when it gets dark?  No we have lights just like you.

How are you online if you are off grid? Well, this is 2016 and we have this nifty little thing called a cell phone that is equipped with a hot spot. Actually, this one is a little controversial because some people believe off grid is like going back in time. This isn’t the case in most situations. Most off gidders embrace technology and we probably have a better understanding of it then most grid connected people. We need to be able to understand how solar power works and what a charge controller or inverter does as well as the difference between AC and DC or pure sine wave and modified sine wave power. On grid is just plug it in and it works.

How do you cook? Well on a stove or in an oven of course.

How do you get food? Anything we do not grow ourselves we buy at the store. We are in Montana not Antartica.

What do you do for heat? Wood stove

How do you keep your clothes clean? We don’t.  We wash them at a Laundromat until we get a better source of water and more power for our own washer.

How do you wash dishes? In the sink, that is possible ya know.

Where do you go to bathe? UUUHHH… My shower.

The best was when Mike went for a job and they found out he lived off grid. They expressed concern that he wouldn’t be clean enough to work in the garage. You know like we don’t shower everyday and put on clean clothes.

And the latest: You are still connected to the grid, it is just a self reliant one. This one is like saying my car is public transportation for just my family.

Most people have been really supportive and genuinely interested in what we are doing. Their questions are just a way of learning. But it is a sense of amusement.

It’s always an adventure and we enjoy most of it. One year closer to our goals.