Tag Archives: no power

Without: A Journey in Living “Off the Grid” (The Beginning)

Off the grid is a term often used to describe a style of living without being connected to utilities provided by a business, corporation or co-op. There are a lot of people in the United States and elsewhere in the world that live in this manner, some by choice and others not so much. When you live and grow up in a country like the United States, it is expected that you have things such as electricity, running water whenever you turn the tap on, and even cable television and internet.

In some cases, it is expected to have central heat and air, with air conditioning units and wood burning stoves or kerosene heaters being considered nearly barbaric and long out dated.

If you turn the water faucet on at my house no water will come out. If you flip the light switch on you will still be standing in darkness after the sun goes down. My cooking is done on a barbecue grill and an outdoor propane powered cookstove. The heat in the house is done with the help of a wood burning stove. My family lives completely off the grid.

 

In the middle of February the electric co-op that we had power through shut our power off without notice and refused to turn it back on unless we paid something to the tune of over $2000. This wasn’t the first time they did something like this, back around Thanksgiving they did the exact same thing. I’m sure I’ve written about both events, and the fact that the co-op has never sent us a bill with any regularity but because of laws passed that make corporations more valuable than people, people suffer.

So as a result of the co-op being the wonderful little assclowns that they are, my family has had to go off the grid. We are lucky enough to have a well, and are capable enough to draw water from the well to provide our animals, plants and ourselves with the water that we need. We have a gas powered generator now to power our computers and lights in the evenings for a while. We will be powering a well pump as soon as I can get it installed.

We’ve talked about changing over to solar power, but we don’t have the money for the set ups. We’re struggling enough as it is, and buying the generator wiped out what little savings we had.

There are times, more now than ever before, that I want to just give up. I don’t want to get up in the morning because I’m tired of the struggle. I have to keep reminding myself that there are people, and animals that depend on me to get out of bed and muddle through to day.

I’d like to start a gofundme account to raise the money for a whole house generator or a solar array, but that has never worked in the past. I don’t know enough people to make something like that work. Once again I’m reminded of how much of an outcast I am because of my disability. I have no friends or family to turn to for help. So I have to go at it alone.

I blame society for my difficulty interacting with it, but that’s a story for another time. The light will begin fading soon, lunch break is over and I have work that must be done before nightfall.

 

Bitter Cold-Truth

We haven’t had electricity since Thursday when our electric company disreguarded a verbal agreement we had, refused to give us twenty-four hours and shut our power off. They claimed they would turn us back on but first we had to pay them nearly $400.00 and fork out a $1200 deposit. We have never not paid our electric bill, since we moved into the house in March of last year, we have always paid even when the electric company screwed up the billing address and didn’t send us our bill on time, or when they jumped our electric bill from barely $150 a month to well over $600. We weren’t the only people that they have done this to, we’re just the unlucky ones struggling as it is to pay the $150 bill when they dropped new increases on us after the deregulation of electric companies in Virginia.

The weather the past two days has reached below freezing both days and the only thing keeping us warm is the large firepit we dug out front during the spring and the heater in my truck. Though if I’m going to be completely honest, only half of the heater in my truck works. The blower motor for the front of the vehicle doesn’t work so it doesn’t actually blow heat in the front of the truck. We charge our phones and my Chromebook in the truck as well. However when night falls and we have to return inside the darkened house our spirits sink.

This is not how I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my wife and two children until about three hours ago we didn’t even have a turkey.

I know when this Thursday rolls around I’ll see posts of how everyone on my friend’s list spending time with their family and gourging themselves on food while getting ready to go shopping for Black Friday and my family and I will be gathering wood for a fire, drawing water up from our well and cooking our meal over hot coals from our firepit.

This is the bitter cold truth that I wake up to each and every morning now.

Admist all of this I am still struggling to find doctors that diagnosis ASD in adults, trying to enroll our youngest in public schools, fight for SSI, and deal with depression so bad that I struggle to keep going. The only thing I can tell myself is if I give up, my children and wife will be worse off than they already are.

My wife is disabled and cannot use the chainsaw to drop trees for firewood, or chop wood with an ax. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license, and our oldest son is still too young for his. I am the only one in the family with a license and therefore, the only one able to drive back and forth to the store.

How would they be able to make it if I gave up? If I was selfish and ended my own suffering and left them alone…I can’t do that to them, my pain is nothing compared to what they would be left with.

So I keep going.

It’s really the only thing I can do. I focus on one task at a time; one item on our to do list and keep working towards something better. Though I don’t feel like anything is going to get better anytime soon.

I’m cold and tired all the time now, it’s like the dampness has settled into my bones and will refuse to leave until the spring of next year and warmer weather.
I just have to keep going.