My Tiny House in the Woods: Choosing to Live Without Electricity


Full-sized lemons and limes grew indoors, on plants shown.

In 1996, I purchased a piece of bush land in Eastern Ontario, Canada. I wanted to raise my son, Jordan (then 4 ½), away from the things of man. I wanted to live a simple, down-to-earth life, filled with the wonderful happenings that occur when one lives surrounded by nature and positive energy. I wanted to teach him independence from the world.

I knew I didn’t want hydro lines on my property. Electricity was only invented a short time ago. My parents didn’t have electricity on the farm in Holland. I’m the first generation that was raised with electricity. Everyone who lived before me, lived without electricity, and I keep hearing “I don’t think I could live without it!” That’s scary. I’d like to think I could. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Taking my laundry with me when I go to town, and using public computers (when they existed).

In 1999, I helped a builder construct a simple timber frame on my lot, from logs I had acquired in a trade. I hoped that someday, when and if I ever had any money, I would add on to it. A year later, Jordan and I moved into the shell of our cabin in the woods.

There were no windows yet; only a few open areas in the siding, where the only thing between us and the great outdoors was a thin sheet of Typar®. That let in quite a bit of light, when the sun was shining. The front door had a small window, but it was covered in thick plastic to keep out the draft. Still, we felt fortunate to be in our own place. We counted our many blessings. We were warm, cozy, well fed, playing board games and reading by the light of our own homemade beeswax candles. Although 14-by-18-feet is tiny to most, this was plenty of room for us, as we had been living in our 9-by-9.5 -foot garden shed for the past few summers.

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