I don't watch a ton of TV, even though I have a giant TV in my living room. I could very easily go from May until October without ever turning it on.
But lately I find myself drawn to a new show, Unplugged Nation. Have you seen it? The premise is that folks that are interested in living off the grid will view three homes and live in one of them for 4 days to test out the lifestyle. They then need to make a decision on whether or not they will buy the home.
Not that 4 days is even remotely enough time to make that call, in my opinion, but this is how the show goes.
Anyway, I have been catching up on past episodes and I go to bed thinking about how I can live a little more off the grid. Not necessarily off the grid entirely but perhaps a little less reliant on the power companies and such.
I think many people have the idea in their head that off grid or sustainable lifestyles involve living in a tiny rustic cabin in the middle of the woods with no indoor plumbing or electricity. That's not true in the least. Although if that's what your ideal is, go for it!
The homes on Unplugged Nation are anything but. They are large, beautiful, updated homes....that just happen to have the elements necessary for off-grid living.
What's required for off grid living?
1. Land - for a vegetable garden. And possibly livestock. Hey, I have that! Check!
I already have a fenced vegetable garden in place and could certainly put in a chicken coop if I make that decision. I have kept chickens in the past and I loved having the fresh eggs daily. Currently I get fresh eggs from one of my co-workers who keeps chickens, but I'm considering getting chickens again. I'm a little nervous with the bears and other wildlife around here, though.
I don't know if I would ever keep any other livestock as I would seriously have a tough time killing them for food. However, I do buy most of my meat at the farmers' market in the summer and fall months and stock the freezer for the winter - the meat comes from organic, grass fed chickens, pigs and cows from local farms.
2. Shelter - I'm all set there!
3. A water source - I have that also!
My home has a well that provides fresh spring water so I am off the town water supply. And no, I don't have to go out and pump buckets of water and bring them into the house....the well is hooked up to a water pump that sends the water right to my faucets. I'm off the town sewer as well, since my home has a septic system.
4. A source of renewable energy such as solar panels or wind energy - unfortunately I don't have that in place....yet.
But I'm considering it! My home sits up on a hill and gets tons of sunshine - I'm going to have to look further into solar panels to see if they make sense for me. I do have a generator for when the power goes out but that's for emergencies only.
5. Source of Heat - Yup, we're good there also!
Off grid sources of heat include fuel oil, propane and firewood. My home uses all three!
I have two cords of wood in my garage right now and burn wood as my primary source of heat.
It seems I'm not that far away from living off-grid. Hey, who knew? Not bad for a former city girl!
I'm not ready to give up my satellite dish or phone and internet service just yet....and I still rely on the electric company for my electric. But I'm definitely on the right path!
What are your thoughts on off-grid living? Do you think it's something you could get used to?