living off grid
Getting started with solar power doesn't have to be intimidating, confusing or expensive. We found this easy solution for getting started with renewable energy that is both affordable and a great investment!
Summertime for many of us means taking advantage of all the wonderful spoils and capturing that by using different methods of food preservation so that we have garden-fresh produce for many seasons to come. The videos below will show you how, along with a recipe for homemade fruit leather.
Did you know that free food from Mother Nature is all around us? By learning how to forage, you can take advantage of nature’s bounty and even preserve it for future use and consumption!
A simple hand-crank wringer gets clothes cleaner, less wrinkly and dry more quickly when washing laundry by hand off-grid.
Being above the 56th parallel, we are in Zone 0, the harshest zone per Ag Canada. We're faced with a short, fickle growing season where frost can occur at any time during the summer months. We were faced with the daunting task of improving the poor boreal forest soil. Here is how we transformed the shallow, poor soils of the Precambrian Shield of our wilderness homestead into a rich garden loam.
Growing vegetables at a high elevation can be very challenging. Over the years we have had to be flexible and creative in order to manage a small garden. We grow enough for our needs but not enough to put any vegetables up for future use. This blog post outlines some of the challenges we have faced and how we overcame them.
A summer update from our wilderness homestead with an emphasis on how we get an early seasonal start to our gardens.
Dan Alway, longtime renewable energy advocate and pioneer, was honored by more than 600 of his friends and colleagues at an award presentation at The Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin.
Homesteading is an exciting life choice regardless of age, and one of the benefits is the remoteness. Seniors can be homesteaders, but just be prepared for hard physical work and be open to adjustment and change.
We give the reader a better sense of the obstacles we were faced with when we decided to homestead in the Canadian wilderness.
When we arrived on our off-grid property, one of our first plans of action was to build our own cedar wood-fired hot tub. Here's how we did it.
What's it like to be a woman off the grid? Dirty? Chore-filled? Sacrificial? Modern day off-grid homesteading is a wonderful, empowering lifestyle for those women who choose to take this path. Yet, finding practical, reality-based feedback is getting harder! Media and networks are often misleading in their depiction of off-grid life, because they need to feed a audience who is thirsting for excitement. Here is on woman's reality check.
Living off the grid doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice the womanly comforts you may be accustomed to — you just need to provide for them slightly differently.
Seniors like myself are coping today on many levels of homesteading and life is good for us even if a little more difficult. Learn how homesteading and self-sufficiency have become more difficult as we grow older but is far from being over.
Gas range or induction cooking? The speed and efficiency revealed. Because I’m off-grid, induction will be my go-to cooking method when sunshine is ample, offering an option for fossil-free cooking!
How do you currently fill your spare time? Is it with things that are time wasters or things that are productive? How do you entertain yourself when Living Off Grid, Really?!?!
Water is the liquid-gold standard for off-grid sustainability. However, how does a new off-grid homesteader prepare for their water needs? Here are some simple tips from seasoned veterans on how to successfully have a backup plan for water.
If you’re a homeowner weighing your renewable energy options, you already know that thorough research is the best way to find the right system for your home. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of residential wind vs. solar power so that you can make your decision with confidence.
They're back. The wolves. During breakfast one morning this past week, we heard a chorus of howling. Racing down to the shoreline, we saw 3 wolves in the center of the lake about a mile away. The wolves are a symbol of our wilderness location. Learn how we live with them and stay in touch with civilization.
When we built our current home in 1992, there were very few rules and codes that could damage or destroy our dream of doing most of the work in building our cabin ourselves. Times like that are rapidly disappearing and those who build now must endure permits, inspections, delays and forced compliance. The dream of building your own home could be more complicated than just knowing construction techniques nowadays. Read our story.
Our first salad is a big deal for us, considering we were hitting -20 degrees Fahrenheit two weeks ago, and we still have patches of snow on the ground.
The answer to “What off-grid water system should I use?” is not always obvious. Here is what we’re considering for our newly purchased off-grid land.
Living remotely is wonderful but it does force us to evaluate our actions knowing that we are ultimately responsible for our own safety. Taking the precautions outlined here is just one example of how we try to cover all the bases. Safety is paramount and slush on a lake can become a safety concern.
Ron Melchiore shares his unconventional lifestyle with readers. Together with his wife, Johanna, they have carved out an off-grid homestead so deep in the Canadian wilderness that a float plane is the only way to reach them.
When was the last time you thought of the food you ate as medicine to feed both your body but also your well being? Modern medicine has recently started to focus on preventative care but historically has only been a way of last resort or once things have already gone bad. There needs to be a balance.
For the same cost as one more indoor waterer, we built an outdoor system with 10 times the capacity that won’t require much extra work from us to keep up.
People think building is difficult. It’s not. And in the hope of encouraging a few more wannabe natural builders, I’ve compiled the following list. Because in my experience, there are far harder things in life than building a house.
Can you have mental well being while living off-grid? Yes, because the benefits of off-grid living are numerous: fewer bills, living simply, and better health.
The first year fair in Belton, Texas was a huge event and by all accounts, a success. I was super busy at the DIY Showcase the entire fair and had over 300 people attend my presentation on the GRIT Stage.
When we started our off grid homesteading adventure, we had all sorts of elaborate plans as to what we would accomplish our first year. Six months into our journey, it seems that we underestimated our workload, by a long shot!
Aur Beck, who has lived off-grid with solar electricity as his main power source for 18 years, shares some of his personal experiences with renewable resources throughout his life.
A short video of the highlights of our first winter on our off-grid homestead in the Pacific Northwest. In short, we are hunkering down and trying to survive!
This young couple quit their lives in the city to start a homestead in the country 100% from scratch. They are documenting their expenses every step of the way in hopes of helping others that wish to embark on a similar adventure.
Winter weather presents challenges for anyone raising poultry in northern climates. Here are a few tips for getting your turkeys through the winter.
This young couple moved from the city to start a homestead, and they decided to build an off-grid cabin using reclaimed materials to keep warm their first winter.
This is the final article in a series on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.
This is part three in a series of articles on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.
The past week we had the opportunity to collect thousands of dollars in reclaimed construction materials by being available when opportunity knocks. The best part is… there are many more opportunities like this to be taken advantage of by most anyone!
This is Part 2 in a series of articles on how I made the transition to off-grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. The author is currently entering the first winter of full-time off-grid living at his mountain homestead after completing the construction of a small house.
This is the first of a series of articles on how I made the transition to off-grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable old-school techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off-grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small home.
Dream big, build a small house or make home improvements, and enjoy the benefit of every task when you tap into your Zen of Building.
A young couple left behind their corporate jobs and purchased land in Idaho. They’re living on their homestead in a travel trailer while they build their home.
A young couple from Oregon leaves behind their corporate jobs and life in the city to move to a remote location in Idaho and start an off-grid homestead.
Energy storage technology is moving closer to mass-market adoption. As solar batteries become cheaper and more accessible for homeowners, more people are wondering, “Can I use solar batteries to go off the grid with my solar panel system?”
In our first installment, we covered the basics of electricity generation and the process by which a wind turbine creates power. This time, we’ll look at the benefits of adding a wind turbine as a source of clean power for your home.
In this blog series, we look at how a small wind turbine works, while exploring the concept of the smart home microgrid.
In this blog post we describe the choices we made in producing and editing our film, "Life Off Grid."
This initial blog post tells the story of how Phillip Vannini became interested in off-grid living and how he began — together with Jonathan Taggart — to do research on the off-grid lifestyle in Canada.
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
Expense checklist for anyone wanting to plan a new homestead.
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.
How to cope mentally with living in a remote location.
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.
It takes commitment and determination to live remotely in the mountains.
Mountain homesteading in a remote area.
Outside of a few rare equipment failures, we’ve never had a power outage in the past 20 years that wasn’t our own fault — usually caused by not paying attention to power use or proper battery charging. Weather failures, on the other hand, are starting to become noticeable.
Using snowshoes to keep our paths and trails open as the snow piles up.
Learning to appreciate seasonal differences.
Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.
Instead of throwing out that empty feedbag, get creative and turn it into something new! Homesteader Ed Essex shares ideas for finding new uses for old objects.
How did Victoria Redhed Miller and husband David end up living on an off-grid homestead in the foothills of Washington State's Olympic mountains? Grid? What grid? Electricity was something one took for granted; it came from those outlets on the walls. I was hardly aware of it except during one of the infrequent power outages.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
An article about when the best time is to start a new homestead.
Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
Sharing our first experience with an indoor/outdoor vertical hydroponic garden.
How we stay busy in the winter even though we live at 4200', three miles off the road, and somewhat isolated.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
A description about something unique - a wood burning masonry kitchen stove.
In this blog we share someone else's story about old fashioned home made ingenuity concerning deep well pumps that operate without electricity.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
A brief description of how we grow fresh vegetables in our long cold winters.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
Fun facts about our first year of blogging for Mother Earth News.
A snapshot of winter life living remote and off grid.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
Things we have done to earn an income from home in a down economy.
Costs associated with providing your own water.
Things we did to make our new home more sustainable.
Design features we incorporated into our new off grid home.
Things that occur when switching from summer to winter mode. Fall is almost non existent.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
When we moved into the country, we had no idea that small critters would be such a nuisance.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
Success at growing food at the 4200' elevation and some of the challenges.
A comparison of costs between on grid and off grid utilities for our circumstances.
A typical day of activity on a modern homestead and off grid.
A description and pictures of a tornado force winds in Washington State in 2012.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
What it is like to live higher up.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
Our power system begins to take shape.
How to make your OWN insulated window coverings.
How to make insulated shades at home.
Our first experience as a vendor or spectator at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
A short history of my own horse riding adventures.
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
Short stories about our chicken experiences
Tips on how to keep water away from your home and water damage prevention.
The generators we use for living off the grid and a multitude of other tasks.
Tips for snow removal around your house and down the road.
An article about how we learned to double our growing season and have home grown fresh veggies almost all year long.
Where we have chosen to draw the line between convenience and sustainability - for now.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.
Things you can do to prevent fire damage to your home from an external source.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
This blog is about all of the choices we have for the type of home we want for off grid living and some of the construction materials involved. It turns out there are a multitude of options we have to choose from.
These are the first steps we took to make the change from city living to off grid living. It describes the questions you should ask before you buy property and the research required to make sure you can do want you want with your property.
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
This blog is an introduction to how we went from a condominium lifestyle to off grid modern homesteading in the mountains. It also includes an explanation of the meaning of "off grid".
At last, we construct the foundation.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
We finally build somthing!
We look for materials bargains while devising a way to pay for it all.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
Jeff and wife Kathy have lived off-grid since 2002. They strive to inform the public about ways to live inexpensively, and to further the principle of sustainability. Visit their website to learn more: www.naturalpower.weebly.com
Cam describes the benefits of writing this blog and his recent book.