Mr. Bluejeans and I are in a quandary. For the first time in our relationship we disagree… ok maybe a second time, it did take a bit of finagling to get up to five dogs ya know 😉
The term off-the-grid can refer to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. Namely the electrical grid. ~Wikipedia
Let me start at the beginning, which is usually a good place to start. When we conceived our plan to get rid of our bills, buy land, become more self sufficient and live off grid we had no idea how long it would take to achieve our goals.
It took 12 years.
In that time, we envisioned what type of home we would have, as caretakers of the land ~ how we would design the farm, and what we expected out of each other running the farm.
We traveled coast to coast to find what “felt” like home. Literally from New Hampshire to Washington State. We had no idea where we would land but we knew we wanted trees, plenty of access to water via snow or rain and no suburban “rules”. Actually… just no rules period.
In the process of our journey things changed as they do when time passes. Our kids listened to our explanation of what we were choosing to do. Conversations were dotted with curious questions by both our girls. We had no idea that in time our answers to these questions would convince them to “take the leap” to homesteading with us.
As our endeavor to wrap up our suburban life continued we became increasingly excited about our new path. Then somewhat unexpectedly my Dad passed. He had been declining but none of us expected that phone call on July 4th 2017. I immediately flew to Nevada where my folks resided and helped my Mom with arrangements and all that goes with the passing of a beloved father and spouse. They had been married 54 years.
It was during that visit that Mom turned to me and said she wanted to move to our farm and be with the rest of the family. We had always wanted that to happen but Dad wasn’t keen on moving back to a farm, since he grew up on one in Quebec Canada, so they stayed put in Nevada. This was quite a daring move for a lady who is a spry 79 years old.
What does this have to do with off grid and how Mr. Bluejeans and I aren’t seeing eye to eye?
Power. See Gigi (my mom) wants power to her house. I don’t blame her. She took the leap to move to a state she’s never seen (she’s only been to and lived in two states: California and Nevada). She grew up in Los Angeles and as a kid, visited her families farm on the weekends but it was for fun, not work. We certainly aren’t going to tell her she can’t have air conditioning, a washer/dryer or a refrigerator!
But the original plan was off grid! I’m still there. Hurricane lamps, candles, generator and all. Mr. Bluejeans is thinking that maybe (he’s not concrete on this… PHEW) it would be quicker to hook up to the power that Gigi is having located back where all our homes will be built and then transition into solar, batteries et al.
This is hard for me to consider. I mean, I’ve planned. I’ve plotted. I have REALLY cool hurricane lamps and a drying rack ! I’m torn. My thought is why bother with electric only to change over later?! Yes, it would be “easier” since we have a giant learning curve regarding solar. But I think I’d rather build towards solar than walk away from electric.
Our infrastructure plans already include a wood cookstove, an outdoor kitchen, an outside wash and drying station and a generator for my precious window air conditioner. Don’t Judge;) I have to get used to the heat. I can get heat exhaustion easily and need a couple of years here to transition to the warmer weather. It wasn’t unusual for me to keep the windows open in our Wisconsin autumn weather when the temperature was hovering around 40°.
We have LED lights and only our computers and phones to keep charged. Well those and an army of rechargeable batteries.
Beyond all the ready for the off grid part… I said I was going to do it. A promise to myself really and I don’t make promises I don’t keep. So I find myself in a difficult spot. Not knowing enough about solar to get it going quickly and falling back into an old comfort zone that I am running from.
Mr. Bluejeans and I are still discussing it and fortunately it will be a while before we begin our home build. Perhaps being there and my powers of persuasion will change Mr. Bluejeans mind. Kind of like how he said five dogs were the limit…and I’ve never been known to like limitations…
Would you start with power and transition to solar or just jump in?