Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Independence Day Challenge Year 2, The 20th week

Ok, I will not let the suspense linger any longer... We have found a place to live which will allow us to be be under the same roof by the time the snow flies. It will also mean that we will be living a dream that Hubby and I have shared since our first date. We are going off grid.

We found a small cabin on a hill in Western Maine with a beautiful view, seven acres and a sturdy, aesthetically pleasing cabin with great southern exposure. It is on a town maintained road. There are several farms on the road and a blueberry barren in the neighborhood. The town itself is nice. There are several organic farms within biking distance. It is a little tiny cabin but it will not take much to make it spacious enough for every one. The catch is no water and and no electricity.....

We are exploring some ideas for some power. We found this plug and play solar system that will provide most of what we need. We have several back-up oil lamps and we will probably find some battery lanterns to hang in the kids rooms. Because the house is on top of a hill we will investigate DIY wind power.

As for water, well, we will dig a well in the spring. WE will hook up our water catchment for use until the snow flies. But we will have to haul water for the winter season. Hubby will get this on his way home from work. We will bathe at the University gymnasium that hubby gets a discount at through his school district. REgular exercise would not be a bad thing either! We have a power washer for small loads of laundry and will take care of larger loads at the laundry mat. All this will be upgraded in the spring. I told a friend about this and she had an interesting take on it. She said," It is just a matter of setting up and refining a system."

There is a gas cookstove and we will bring our woodstove with us. The space is very air tight, so we should be all set with the firewood we have put up for the winter already.

We have a friend that does not have a refrigerator and she lives off grid so we will be exploiting her knowledge to its fullest extent.

The land itself is beautiful. It is fairly open. With seven acres we will be able to get some of our firewood off the land through fall down. There is a stream on the property.

We are doing this through owner financing with very favorable terms. We need time to let our current home and our land sell. We will try to find renters for our home by listing it at the local University. But once everything shakes out....we should own the place outright in 10 years or less.

Hubby and I have both discussed that our feelings about this are mixed with both excitement and understanding of the amount of work that lies ahead of us. We know that it will be challenging this winter. But our family will be under the same roof which should make dealing with any challenge that presents itself easier than our current arrangement. We had investigated very similar situation this past spring but that did not work out and then hubby got the new job. So at first there was a sense of OMG ,do we really want to do this? After all it IS going to be challenging for a while. But then we thought, " Yup, it is going to be challenging, but it is what it is". It is what is would be no matter where we decided to do this. Because we aren't millionaires who can buy the prefect green dream. And we don't want to be. Starting a "homestead" is done in increments. It is a matter of adaptation and refining. It will be a great learning adventure!

I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Planted: winter rye

Harvested: cabbage, rutabaga, leeks, kale, zukes,

Preserved: corn, dehydrated apples, dehydrated zukes, apple cider vinegar

Managed reserves/ Prepped: 2 dozen canning jars on sale, everything else was at a standstill until we knew what we were going to do about housing.

Reduced waste: a friend gave me her kitchen table. We will use our current table as a desk in the teens bedroom or give it back to my aunt for safe keeping. It is a family table. Saved apple scraps for cider vinegar. We gave some garden scraps to our neighbor who has 4 piggies they are growing.

Local foods: went to local orchard and picked up a case of apples, I joined Wendy's Challenge.

Eat the food: Hubby made Cawl Cannin a potato, leek, local bacon, yummy, yummy soup!


Anonymous said...

This reminds me so much of when my father died and my mother had the choice of working public in the city and having someone babysit us kids or move us all to a farm my grandfather left us... (I was only 6 years old)
She chose the farm.. it did have a well that needed cleaned.. no cover on it.. no power either.. no garden spot and the farm house had leaking roof, cracks in the walls and newspapers covering them.
With a lot of hard work we survived and eventually had quite a lovely home with a huge garden that took care of us from season to season.
I don't remember how many years it took but I do remember doing my homework in front of the wood cook stove using a kerosene lamp..
It was some of the best times of my life and I have a feeling your children are going to feel the same.

Wendy said...

OMG! That sounds so awesome! I'm so happy for you.

I don't know if you ever got the chance to read Shasha's blog "Seeking Simplicity" before she went off-line. She and her family moved to an old Amish place (in the mid-west somewhere). They did have electricity, because they were required to connect to the grid for bank financing, but for the first year or so, they didn't have indoor plumbing. It was quite interesting reading about her experiences. One of her favorite parts about the experience was her weight loss from carrying all their water :). There might still be some of her posts over at the Hen and Harvest.

I'm really glad to hear that you intend to dig a well, because in talking with my mom who grew up in a farmhouse without "modern" amenities, and from my own experiences, I know I could live off-the-grid for just about everything, but having a faucet inside the house - even just cold water - ... there's just no substitute.

Anna M said...

Congratulations! Wes and I are constantly trying to power down and I envy you from the standpoint of only powering up as much as is absolutely necessary. I know there are propane/kero frig and freezers out there. Now if they'd only make propane dyepots!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Well done to both of you. It will be tough for a long time but you are both entering it with your eyes open. We have Geothermal and are looking at photovoltic.

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

What an exciting and somewhat daunting opportunity. It seems you're going into it with eyes wide open, knowing it will be both rewarding and challenging--so congratulations and best of luck. I hope you'll be able to keep up with the blog, at least intermittantly. I've only discovered you recently (via Kathie of TwoFrogHome) and I'm looking forward to hearing your adventures.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you! I have always wanted to live off grid and live off the land! I'm cheering you on!


Emma said...

Congratulations, really looking forward to be able to read about your amazing experience here on your blog, you inspire me!
/Emma, Sweden

Witchy Mom's Homeschool said...

I agree with the others that you are embarking on what I know will be a wonderful adventure for you and your family! I want to also say that I had a hand-crank washer VERY similar to yours for 5 years and LOVED it! I am planning to get a replacement for it eventually (hubby got me a washing machine for mother's day - my first one in over 5 years). I washed all our clothes by hand and dried them on either clothes line or on drying racks (especially on rainy/snowy days) year round. I still don't own a dryer and probably never will.

Please keep us updated!!

Kathy said...

Well, I am so excited for you! Finally you will be off the grid (but thank goodness for local libraries). I know this has been a dream of yours for such a long time.

Look to friends for support when you get the feeling you've made an 'uh-oh' because they will tell you that you have not. :)

Satelite cell service may work well for you too ... for phone and internet ... it's something to look into and think about!

Please e-mail me with the town ... I'm dying to know. Well, not dying actually. But you know.