Many folks have different ideas as to what it means to be off grid. It doesn’t necessarily mean off the radar, or Amish. It does mean that you
aren’t connected to the power grid. In this way someone could live in an urban environment and still be off grid. Yet when most of us think of off
grid living we assume modest buildings, and self sufficiency. Though self sufficiency to some degree or another does typically become a by product of
off grid living, it’s not a requirement. Homesteading, which typically happens off-grid isn’t what all off grid living is like.
I live off grid in a way that is as unique as other folks who do. This post is to describe how my family lives.
Electricity - There isn’t any power lines in this canyon, and probably won’t ever be. My cabin was built in 1984. Although there was, and still
is, no electric utilities in this canyon, the house was built with outlets installed. Solar wasn’t a big thing at the time, and so our cabin is
plumbed with propane lamps on the walls in the same way you’d have a light fixture. It’s kinda neat.
In 2013 this house was fitted with a few solar panels and 8 lead acid deep cycle 6V 420ah batteries. These are split up into two series of 4 each,
giving us a 24V system. The panels are all we need in the summer, however the winters are dark and so we have a propane generator which we start to
use in the fall and stop using in the spring. I’m still adding panels to extend the free electric through the year.
All of my lights are LED (warm), my fridge is a full size fridge but runs on propane alone. We don’t have a TV. My water heater is also propane and
we have a propane fireplace for heat in the winter. We had a wood stove at our last place but believe me, propane makes it a lot easier... set it and
forget it. This part tends to bother other folks who live off grid... even my neighbors in the canyon... but hey... it’s worked for several winters
and I have no complaints. Though when we build on, we will most likely install a wood stove as a backup option.
Property and water - This is probably the most unique thing about our off grid lifestyle when compared to others. We live in an off-grid mountain
community. There are about 40 lots with 3/4 built out. However, most all of these are vacation homes. There are very few people who live here full
time. Only 6 houses have full time residents. Our community is surrounded by US Forest land, and congress has passed a law that this specific area
will never be developed. That creates a beautiful place to live. Our canyon is surrounded by mountains and we are at 8500 feet, complete with mountain
lions, coyotes, ring tail cats, foxes, wild horses, and burros... but no bears.
Because our laws state you must have 2 acres to build a well... our well is shared by the community. We have two 10k gallon tanks that feed a
distribution system. I’m in charge of keeping the tanks filled and a couple times a week I go to the pumphouse, turn on the generator and pump a
few thousand gallons out of the mountain aquifer. We get about 480 gallons pumped each hour the generator is running. We each also have our own septic
systems to handle our waste.
Food - we live about an hour from the nearest grocery store and we drive in once a week to get basic supplies. However we also have two deep freezers
and a well stocked pantry. We can maintain about 6 months of food. We are pescatarian and mostly vegetarian. I’ll be adding more freezer storage
when I get the new shed built this year.
Internet- I make my living owning an internet business, so having internet is important. However there are no cell towers anywhere near us. Because of
this all communications are satellite based. Wifi calling is how I do business and use HughesNet as our internet provider. To be honest, it’s ok...
but nothing like it could be:... I’m waiting for skylink.
Below are some photos of the area around my cabin. I’m happy to answer any general questions you may have, and I encourage you to share your
[links removed per OP request]
edit on Wed Jan 20 2021 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)