August 2, 2010
Tonight I took a few minutes to sit in my recliner, sip on a cup of coffee and puff on my pipe. I got to thinking about how much we have got completed on our Off-Grid home over the last year. A year ago last April we were just getting started with the finish sanding of the drywall mud. Next came the plumbing, sewer system and black pipe work in the crawl space. That next weekend we started buying the unfinished oak kitchen cabinets, bathroom and kitchen sinks. Oh yea, we had the well put in also.
Suddenly we wanted to have a mud room added and the porch extended. In September I ordered the solar system and within a couple of weeks we had a back hoe digging trenches and running 10 gauge power lines in PVC pipe. Panels installed and inverters and converters working in the electrical room we suddenly had power before Halloween.
Had to prep the water pipes to keep them from freezing and wire up a temporary back-up generator in the event of short winter sun shineless days. That winter was a lesson learning session from hell but we make it through everything anyway.
Spring came in a hurry and we got the barn built and the garden planted, summer slipped in right behind it along with a chicken coop, wood shed and our root cellar.
Within a week or two, we will be canning about 2 million tomatoes.
February 3, 2010
Looking where the House may sit
For us living off the grid isn’t about catching a ride on the green movement wagon. It’s about being self sufficient and living in a more simple, if not humble life style. That in it’s self will help lessen the burden we put on our world resources. It is a dream that my husband Sonny and I have wanted to achieve, but sometimes life pulls you into an opposing direction.
When we were first married some thirty odd years ago we moved from place to place in search of cheaper rent that would give us a few more dollars to live on. In 1982 when Sonny joined the Navy we moved every two to three years, never setting down roots. Of course we fell into the river of “Gotta Have” and the swift current sent us directly to the sea of debt. We had lost sight of what was most important to us.
Sonny retired from the Navy in 2003 and immediately started a job with a major company allowing us to live off the fat of a large paycheck. Suffice it to say the shininess soon wore off. I became concerned with the level of stress Sonny had to deal with on a daily basis and watched as it affected his health. Besides that, being a country girl at heart the city was stifling me. It just wasn’t worth it. So in 2008 we began looking for property. We both love the mountains, particularly the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia or the Eastern part of West Virginia, but land was to pricey in those areas. So I visited my cousin who lives in the Northwestern corner of West Virginia. We were able to find 70 acres of beautiful raw land within our price range. We were back on track to attaining our original dream. The home we built is comfortable and has everything we need. This Spring we plan to grow our garden and build a root cellar. The next step will be to get a few chickens and guineas as well as some goats. We may even try our hand at bee keeping. I hope that you will join us as we take this journey. Maybe some of our ideas will help you reach that dream of freedom and self sufficiency.