Living Off Grid: My Year of Blogging

Reader Contribution by Ed Essex
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I started blogging a year ago for Mother Earth News magazine. What an adventure! I had no idea it was going to go like it did.

It seems I had a lot to write about. Not many people get to experience our off grid lifestyle and are curious about all of it, even from a novice like me. I wasn’t sure how they would react at first but there have been many letters of thanks for sharing our experiences both good and bad.

I’ve written about planning our homestead, choices for energy efficient homes, living remote, living at higher altitudes, living off grid, gardening the year ’round and even what an average day is like.

Many people wanted to contact me. Some just to say hi and others for advice. I decided to open another website for the blogs where everyone could comment and discuss the items that have been written about. I called it Off Grid Works.

From that blog site I have met people from all over the world. One couple kindly invited us to vacation in the mountains of Costa Rica at their Zen Retreat in exchange for solar design advice. We’ve met a single woman in South Africa who is going to build off the grid in that country and has to contend with leopards, giraffes and baboons in her garden. I was so intrigued by her story I’ve asked her to guest blog from time to time and share her adventure with us. Her photographs are incredible and she is a much better writer than I am.

Some of the readers’ questions have forced me to do even more research to make sure I was giving good advice. We’ve learned from our readers as well. We’ve received many suggestions on everything from how to kill a rodent to how to make your tomatoes grow faster.

Last June we had a booth at the Mother Earth News Fair. Now that was fun! We met a lot of people there. Some wanted to buy our products but many just wanted to share experiences and we have had several visitors to our home since then that we met at the fair. People who are following in our footsteps in the near future and wanted to see the things we have been talking about.

Our MEN Editor Heidi has shared with us that people like to read from someone like us who are not experts but learning as we go. It’s a good thing because we aren’t experts of anything. We’ve both had good backgrounds to help prepare us for this big change of ours but there is still a lot of learning and adjusting to do.

Thank you all for joining us this past season and thanks for the advice and encouragement! Laurie and I wish you all the best this Holiday Season and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Ed and Laurie Essex live off grid in the Okanogan Highlands of Washington State where they operate their websites  and