Photographic Journey of Building Our Off-Grid, Nova Scotia Home

A Nova Scotia homesteader shares her journey building an off-grid cabin in Canada - in pictures.

Reader Contribution by Manuela and Frank Mueller
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by Manuela Mueller
Our log home on Bagpipe Lake, Nova Scotia.

We’ve always lived quite remote but had always been connected to the grid.

When we bought our property in Nova Scotia, Canada about six years ago, we never intended to be living off the grid, but the 200.000$ quote from the power company to get power in, let the idea of “going solar” become a no brainer.

As we’re quite handy this project was just meant to be another thing to check off our bucket -list:

Clearing the land

Photo by Manuela Mueller

Ready to begin on the cleared building site. Photo by Manuela Mueller

Building our own log cabin

The foundation logs. Photo by Manuela Mueller

Starting the porch. Photo by Manuela Mueller


Trimming the ends of the wall logs. Photo by Manuela Mueller

Learning how to build and install our solar system

The sun reflects from the new solar panels. Photo by Manuela Mueller

And anything else that had (and still has) to be done

We lived in a camper for two years which did add to the challenge during the frigid Canadian winters, but for us was also just part of our plan and the fun.

Two years of living in a camper. Photo by Manuela Mueller

Some people thought we were crazy others called us pioneers living the dream and being “self-sufficient.”

We never saw ourselves as self-sufficient, as besides growing a couple of vegetables, didn’t do anything else. We had full times jobs to be able to buy what we needed to complete our build, the water supply, solar, septic, etc, etc so there wasn’t much time left and so we bought, and still buy, most of our groceries.

Of course, the main source of power comes from our 30-panel solar system and we have a backup generator that kicks in when the batteries are down. The solar array lets us run anything from our water and sewer pumps to the internet and TV satellite dishes and we only need propane to run our hot water and stove and solely heat the house with a great “Blaze King” catalytic wood stove.

But to us, all of those were just “essential necessities” and we never really thought much about it.

When people said “oh, you’re so lucky, you don’t have any power bills,” we just stood there thinking “yeah, but for the $25,000 we invested in the solar system, we could have paid a lot of power bills for the next years.”

But as soon as we moved into our cabin and faced the first hurricane (yes, Nova Scotia has a hurricane season) at first we didn’t even realize that we were the only people in the area that, besides being incredibly lucky (only suffering minor damage to the house and losing some trees), actually had power the whole time, while others couldn’t be hooked up to the grid for more than five days.

The changing weather and higher demand for electricity are taking a high toll on the power grid and it’s become a regular “event” for here people to be without for hours or even days.

Of course, we know that it’s not possible (and for most people not even desirable) to live that “kind of hermit life” we live and that’s okay.

But as if climate change isn’t enough of a challenge – now seeing firsthand how dependent people of all countries have made themselves on others and what consequences this is causing for all of us – that truly is a more than scary truth we’re facing!

And although I’m aware that we all turned a blind eye on things just to live the “good life”, I can now also see the frustration, anger and fear in my family and friends and people all over the world, making me incredibly sad, but also has opened my eyes for a whole new appreciation and gratitude of the way of living we chose unintentionally, but we’re now blessed to be able to pursue.

But no matter your way of living, we wish you only the best, stay safe, stay humble, be kind!

Bagpipe Lake haven. Photo by Manuela Mueller

Manuela and Frank Mueller live off the grid in Nova Scotia, where they built their own log home and furniture. Now, they’re ready to teach you in their webinar, “Find Your Perfect Piece of Land in Nova Scotia & Live Your Dream. Connect with Manuela and Frank on their website, Restless Roots, and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Pinterest. Read all of their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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