Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lessons Learned…

41 degrees outside - 8:45 pm - showers...

One of the things we have found with this off-grid lifestyle is that things don’t always go the way you expect them.  It is a good thing to be humbled by nature but it does not make the lesson any easier.

I am a type-A personality; a perfectionist who likes to be in control and have things go a certain way.  My husband is a closet type-A personality; he is very easy going but also is a perfectionist who likes to have things go a certain way.  Yes, we do know that’s a little unreasonable, so we are working at paring down our expectations and instead sitting back and accepting where life takes us.  It’s a recipe for simplicity and yet we are finding nothing simple about it.

We knew there would be challenges building off-grid.  It isn’t that common in the area where we are living, so there has been a bit of a learning curve.  No matter how many books we read, questions we ask and online websites we visit, the only way to learn is by doing.

The learning started immediately.  After we roughed in the driveway and cleared the build site, we thought we would only need a couple dump truck loads of base rock for the driveway and a couple more to build up the build site for our home.  About twenty-four truck loads of rock and many thousands of dollars later (that we hadn’t budgeted for), we finally had all the rock we needed, for the time being at least.

Then there’s the aesthetics of the place.  When we lived in town, we used to be conscientious of what our house looked like, inside and out.  Beds were always made, dishes clean, floors swept, lawn mowed, flowerbeds weeded, everything was in its place.  But living off-grid, in a home that is also under construction, we have found that we have had to lower our expectations a bit, there is just too much to do and simply not enough time to do it.

To be honest, we have had our down moments when we think, “What the hell are we doing?” “Why isn’t anything going as planned?” “What have we gotten ourselves into?”  We can almost hear people telling us, “I told you so” and “Didn’t you see this coming?”  Perhaps.

But then we remember why we moved off-grid and what we’re trying to get away from.  Modern life is so often one of ease and convenience.  Too tired to cook a homemade meal?  Then run to the nearest fast food place.  We were guilty of that on numerous occasions, but we wanted a change.  This may seem unimportant to many people and understandably; it can be difficult to make the mental transition to an off-grid lifestyle from a lifestyle dependent on the ease and convenience of modern life.

Yes, this kind of work is not convenient, it is not glamorous and it is far from easy.  Truth be told, it is exhausting.  It is stressful feeling out of control, not being able to get everything that we want done, and everything taking way longer than it should.  But everyday we are learning something new and each lesson, good or bad, is taking us one step closer to figuring out how to make this all work for us.

Every night, under a dark sky filled with zillions of stars, we sit back and look at our home and property and think, “I wonder what tomorrow with bring?”

Ursa Major aka Big Dipper sitting just above the mountain.

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