Transforming Precambrian-Shield Soil into Rich Garden Loam

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.

Gardening at High Elevation

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.

Can Seniors Really Homestead Remotely?

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.

Off-Grid and Free: Living With Wolves and Remote Communications

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.

DIY Off-Grid Chicken-Watering System

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.

Life. Off the 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.

Lessons from the Mother Earth News Fair

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.

Creating a Homestead: Where to Start

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.

Living Off Grid: Lessons Learned

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.

Reusable Canning Lids

Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.

Free Range Winter Chickens

How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.

Living Off Grid - Backup Systems

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.

Living Off-Grid: Water Cisterns

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.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 3

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.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 2

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.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 1

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.

Living Off Grid - Step 1 Research and Planning

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.

Living Off Grid - What Does It Mean?

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".