Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Off Grid Living

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. 

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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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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?



17 comments:

  1. I've read about this and wondered how much of it I could manage. I would have to have the internet though! That is a must have on my list.
    Brenda

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    1. Same here!! But they do have Internet....they must pick it up via cellular wifi or similar, I'm not sure. They are connected, just not totally plugged in. I'm interested in finding out more!

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  2. I think that the idea of it sounds lovely, but I don't think I could do it! A few years ago we were hit with a terrible storm and were without power for eight days....that was long enough off the grid for me!!!

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    1. Ahhhhh but that's one of the beauties of living off grid - you supply your own power so you are not relying on the electric company! Most times when we lose power during a storm it's due to power lines going down in a storm. With Solar power you have multiple huge batteries storing the power the sun makes and dispersing it as needed. And with a generator as backup during a storm (which I have, not that I have any clue how to use it....yet!) you would not be without power. That's my take on it anyway, from what I have learned so far. Was that the big storm with 7 feet of snow? That was a crazy storm, we lost power for about a week also, it was rough!!!

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  3. I've been doing some thinking along these lines as well. I probably couldn't live TOTALLY off the grid, but I've been working to see how much I can reduce my utility bills, and therefore have drastically cut my reliance on some of these services. (You can conduct weird experiments like this when you live alone... Ha!) I haven't had cable for quite some time, I no longer have a TV, I unplug everything when I go to work, I challenge myself to fill up the car only once a month, and I try to turn off the lights by 7:00 p.m. and use candles. In return I have had utility bills under $40, and I don't feel like I am missing out on a thing! Whoo Hoo!

    I think you are right in the fact that it would have to be a gradual process. Thanks for the interesting food for thought!

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    1. That's awesome, Mimi, good for you! I would have no problem going without Satellite TV but I keep it for my sweetie, who loves to watch the news and sports and such. He's worth it. I have changed 90% of my bulbs to fluorescent bulbs years ago and now have started going with LED bulbs. Every little thing helps, right?

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  4. The trouble is that most homes cannot be off grid...many such as mine not even having a fireplace for alternative heat but I've often thought how vulnerable we all are without being hooked up :(

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    1. I know, Deb....that's so true. Solar power is an option, though. I had an aunt in Brooklyn who did solar power for her house years ago and it was all paid for by grants - I'd love to find out more about that!

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  5. The trouble is that most homes cannot be off grid...many such as mine not even having a fireplace for alternative heat but I've often thought how vulnerable we all are without being hooked up :(

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  6. Boy, it sound's like Mimi is already conscious of her daily use of utilities and has cut waaaaay back , go girl.I could live off the grid except for electricity.Twelve year's ago I was. Lived up a half mile drive in the country on 4 acres. Had an Artesian well, own septic, wood burner, own wood, propane tank. Veggie garden's, canned, had chicken's (loved) . Would buy half a beef and half a hog once a year. Regular phone's, no cell, did have a satellite dish. Yes I would go back in a heartbeat !!!!!!! ( leave the ex out of the pic , lol )
    I think the way you live Debbie is paying it forward to this beautiful place we live. As others use and abuse this planet , you love and nurture it :))) please tell your daughter I also Loved her jacket and boot's. Have a wonderful day , TT ❤️

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    1. Ha ha, I hear ya, Tammy! Leave the ex out of it all!!! I do have to be mindful, of course, of how much water we use and such but since my marital home up here in the country, like yours, also had a well and septic I am quite used to thinking that way. And I'm not an eco-saint by any stretch of the imagination - I still use ziploc bags and non-eco friendly laundry detergent etc but I'm making progress.

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  7. I think you're doing awesomely, Deb! love you! keep it up!

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  8. The hubster and I have discussed this once...maybe twice, after watching a couple of these shows. I'm not ready to go totally off-grid, but could do some of the things that being "off the grid" requires. I know he wishes I would hurry up and be ready to go totally off the grid....LOL Hugs!!

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    1. I think it's a big move to go totally off grid but we can all do our part to give the power companies a little less power, so to speak! Thanks for your visit, Benita!!

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  9. I definitely would consider living off the grid if two factors wee in place...I'd want to be younger so the investment of the install would pay off, and I'd wait until they come up with better looking solar panels lol. Seriously, with my luck I'd spend thousands on the install and two months later new technology would be invented :/.

    It sounds like you're a real pioneer woman! Love that you have chickens, but I'm with you about not killing livestock. I think they'd become like pets to me!

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    1. I don't have chickens at this new house, I had them at my marital home. And I cried like a baby when a hawk got one....I don't think I could deal with that again. I buy my eggs from a coworker who keeps chickens - much better that way, I don't get attached to them! I seriously doubt I could kill an animal for food unless it was a life or death situation for me. And since my freezer is full and there's a market down the road a few miles? I'm all set!!

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