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.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Our Third Year Living Off-Grid...

11:28 am - 49 degrees - raining...

Ten years ago we had our first home built in a new subdivision.  We lasted just over a year before we started looking for property.

Our first home - 2,451 sq ft on a 6,153 sq ft lot.

We spent numerous weekends driving around trying to find that perfect piece of property.  We tried to keep it simple, our basic property search criteria was – acreage that was somewhat close to town.  We figured we would know when we saw it.

We never really intended to be off-grid greenies; it just sort of happened.  One weekend we went out for a drive in the mountains and saw a ‘Land for Sale’ sign, when we go home Tony called the number.  We went out and looked at it, went home and talked about it, went out and looked at it again (or rather Tony walked around and looked while I, being almost 9 months pregnant, sat in the car and stayed dry and warm – it was raining that day).  We talked about it again and put our home up for sale.

We sold our home and purchased 22 acres, off-grid, up in the mountains.  It was only 31 miles to a major airport, half hour drive to town, had a phenomenal view of mountains and valleys, no manmade structures in sight other than two radio towers way off in the distance, nice flat to semi-rolling build site for our new home, great new neighbors... we were sold.  The whole off-grid thing was not something that we had been looking for but would be kind of fun and different, so why not.

In the beginning we thought we were pretty prepared.  We had just had a house built two years ago and thought we could figure it out and do it again, but build it ourselves this time.  It didn’t take long for us to realize that we weren’t as prepared as we thought.  Everything has taken longer than planned and cost two to three times more than planned.  We have also had to work around the weather.  So needless to say, our home that we thought would take 12-18 months to build, is taking considerably longer to build, especially since we paying for everything out of pocket.  But it is all part of the adventure, right?

This weekend marks our third year of living off-grid.  Three years of living like ‘Little House on the Prairie’ – only in the mountains and with internet.  Most of our friends and family seem to think we have lost a marble or two, while others think it’s fantastic.

Three years of living off-grid, the biggest surprise so far is that the transition has been easier than one would expect.  We don’t have a television but we do have a computer with internet; we have to wash the dishes by hand and heat the water on the stove or fireplace; go into town to do laundry; air dry the wet hair instead of using a hair dryer; if we want electricity for anything, we have to go outside and turn on the generator; and we still have to go on the almighty treasure hunt in the storage unit where the majority of our belongings are kept.  This may not sound like much fun, but it really puts things into perspective and makes you appreciate the little things in life that normally you would take for granted.

A lot of tasks are harder up here, sometimes living the “simple life” isn’t so simple.  But we have daily adventures, and are surrounded by National Forests, rivers, fir trees, and wildlife galore.  We have chirping crickets on starry summer nights, and the sweet smell of warm earth and fresh flowers in the spring, along with the crisp morning air after winter’s first frost.  Living up here is what it is... it’s pure and simple.

We are living the dream, but it is not the romantic dream we originally planned.  It is the get-tough dream.  It is the realization that we can do anything!  We have learned that we are responsible for ourselves.  Those things worth having are worth working and waiting for.  We have learned contentment.

And yes, we do live the dream - just look at what we see out our windows everyday...














Each passing year, we stand a bit more humbled and wiser by our experiences.

"Humility does not mean you think less of yourself.  It means you think of yourself less." ~ Ken Blanchard

3 comments:

  1. Have you ever had any negative experiences with wildlife? Bears breaking into the shed for the garbage or cougars threatening the pets, anything like that?
    We live only a few miles out of town on Vancouver Island--still on the grid--and we've had both in the last three months!
    Your blog is amazing. I look forward to every update.

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    Replies
    1. Our first year living here, we had problems with raccoons getting into the trash cans. That didn’t last very long. We haven’t had any problems with them since and our trash cans are still kept outside.

      We haven’t had any problems with cougars. Our first winter we had cougar tracks all over the place, but we never actually saw one. We haven’t had any sign of them around the house since then. About a month and a half ago one of the nearby loggers saw a mom and her cub on the ridge over from us – so we know there are at least three in the area, and they are currently keeping their distance from us.

      We occasionally see black bears here and there but they seem to be more scared of us than we are of them. Same goes for the bob cats.

      Coyotes on the other had are a bit annoying and have been coming closer to the house these last few months– thankfully our cats are still all accounted for. They howl, yip, yelp and bark at all hours of the day and night. They show up and hang around the mountain ridge several days at a time then disappear for several days.

      Since we are living in their space, we have been really lucky and have had very little problems with the wildlife. We appreciate the comments and thanks!

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