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Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


A Glimpse Into the First Winter on Our Off-Grid Homestead (with Video)

By Alyssa Craft


Tags: off grid living, homestead planning, video, winter, Idaho, Alyssa Craft,

Last year, in September of 2015, we had the opportunity to finally pursue our dream of starting an off grid homestead from scratch. After our Realtor gave us a call to let us know that the land was officially ours, we found ourselves hitting the road, cargo in tow, just five days later to begin our new life.

It's easy to dream of starting a homestead, and we had all sorts of ideas about what it would be like. We knew that we wanted to build a home and do so affordably, so it wasn’t going to happen right away. We were okay with this and decided that we could put up some sort of temporary housing to get us by in the meantime, such as a yurt or a travel trailer. We ultimately decided on a travel trailer.

off grid homestead in winter

Because we moved to the Pacific Northwest, we knew that winters were going to be more hash than what we were accustomed to in Southern Oregon. Originally, we had planned on having a small barn built by winter so that we would have something to heat with a wood stove and to park our travel trailer in.

No doubt, this would have kept us protected and would have prevented things from freezing, but it turns out that the barn was too lofty of a goal to accomplish in such a short time. There was no way we were going to arrive on our land and have a barn built in under two months — we spent a month alone just accumulating the tools we would need to tackle such a project!

Here we were as winter arrived “caught with our pants down”. We decided that we had to tough out the winter in our travel trailer and hope for the best. We built an insulated, primitive enclosure for the trailer that we heat on an as-needed basis with a wood stove. We are able to keep things from freezing even when it’s 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside but when it’s that cold, it does require keeping the wood stove stoked 'round-the-clock. This is a chore we are okay with and it does fit rather seamlessly into our lifestyle. We’ve even found ways to make our wood stove as efficient as possible.

So far, it seems that while we have a lot of snow, temperatures may not get extremely cold this year. If they do drop below zero degrees, then we will have an opportunity to practice our ingenuity. It is so much easier to winterize things when you have endless electricity at your fingertips, but endless electricity is not a luxury when it comes to off grid living in a winter climate with little sun!

As you will see in this short music video, our winter activities have been very mild compared to the first and second months on our homestead. We have hunkered down and are doing what it takes to make it through our first winter so that we can resume our building projects come spring. When we aren’t collecting firewood, splitting firewood, or doing basic property clean-up, we are working hard on our online business so that we can hit the ground running come spring.

We are quickly learning that while spring through fall are for making progress on the homestead, winters may very well be all about recovering from the building season, preparing for the next building season, and just doing what it takes to survive and keep the home warm.

To follow our progress on the development of our off grid homestead, be sure to check out our blog Pure Living for Life. Winter will end before we know it and we have many fun projects lined up for when the snow melts! Stay tuned!

Alyssa Craft moved to Idaho after purchasing 5 acres of land where she will build an off grid homestead from scratch with as little money as possible. She is blogging about the journey from start to finish in hopes of inspiring others that wish to take a similar path. Follow her many DIY projects, including building with reclaimed materials, building an off-grid hot tub and milling lumber with an Alaskan chainsaw mill. Follow Alyssa on her blog Pure Living for Life, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. View Alyssa’s other MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles here!


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