Tag Archives: off the grid

Tired: Adventures in Off-the-Grid Living

Tired doesn’t even begin to describe my daily state of affairs after beginning my foray into off-the-grid living. I go to sleep tired and I wake up tired, nearly every muscle in my body aching and my back in excruciating pain. There isn’t much difference now that spring has finally arrived compared to before we lost our power. It’s a little cooler in the mornings and a little warmer in the afternoons and a little darker inside when we don’t have the generator running.

Each day water has to be drawn from the well to water the animals, flush the toilets and wash dishes, clothing in as well as ourselves. In all honestly, it’s really a farm, not just a few animals: chickens, pigs, rabbits, cats, ferrets, parakeets, a green anole, and a hedgehog. We draw 30 to 40 gallons from the well every day and store it in 5-gallon buckets.

We are working towards a set-up with solar and wind power that will be offset with the occasional use of the small generator that we have. All these things take A LOT of money, though, and we’re not exactly rolling in cash.

My depression isn’t as prevalent as it has been, so I suppose I could consider going off the grid a blessing in surprise. The stress of worrying about paying an outrageous and borderline criminal electric bill is gone. I also happen to have seven tiny month old baby bunnies that keep me company when I feel upset. It’s really hard to have a bad day when you have tiny fur rockets running around you, or sitting on your shoulder like a parrot.

I do worry about the winter that we’re going to have this year, and I hope and pray that before it starts to hit we are completely prepared for it. This is going to mean stockpiling a lot of wood to burn in the wood-burning stove. I’ve been looking into wall heaters that use propane as well but it seems everyone is giving away firewood for free and free is about what we can afford right now.

The truck is finally running and back on the road, but I still need to put a new front driveshaft in it and it needs a new muffler. Within hours of passing state inspection the patch that I had put on the muffler blew off. This really didn’t surprise me much as the hole was bigger than my fist, I just couldn’t afford to replace the muffler.
I had hoped that this year would be a lot better than last year, but that’s not really been the case so far. I know I’m only ¼ of the way into 2016, but I sure as hell hope it gets better…a lot better.

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.