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Survivalists and Living “Off the Grid”

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As our debt has been shrinking, my husband and I have been discussing what we hope to have in our future home. One thing for sure – we would like to be more self-sufficient and have land to have a decent-sized garden and a small orchard. I think to my childhood for inspiration here. We had a large garden, blackberries, wild asparagus and pear trees. Just down the road, we had apples. Us country kids would go out on picking trips and then take our stash to our forts. We’d munch on our healthy treats for days.

It’s funny how sometimes you end up trying to recreate some aspects of your youth. Anyways, back to the story on hand.

I wasn’t aware that there was a movement going on where individuals are learning to live off their land. This particular movement is mostly driven by fear of uncertain times ahead.

Convinced the planet’s oil supply is dwindling and the world’s economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn’t prepare.The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

[Via Yahoo.com]

For my husband and I, our desire to live a more sustainable life boils down to family and finances. You can save a lot of money by doing what these survivalists are doing (except for stocking up on guns – that could probably get pretty expensive). We can also have more quality family time since less time needs to be spent pursuing more money.

My husband has met a family that is trying to live “off the grid.” They purchased something from us that we basically thought was junk but they are going to reuse it to meet their needs. From what my husband told me, they are trying to do it just to see if they could do it and to save money. I wish I was there for that part of the conversation because I would have asked a few questions. I arrived a little late for it. I do have their contact info so I may ask them for an interview if I can muster up the courage.

While we won’t go as far as some of the survivalists in the Yahoo story, we will try to incorporate sustainability as much as we can, when we can. First step? Planting an awesome garden this year!


7 Comments

  • Reply Lucian's Mommy |

    Me and my fiance have been talking about this. At the moment we don’t own our land, but we do have tomatoes and some herbs growing in flower pots. We would really like to one day grow our own foods mostly to save money as you said. I can’t imagine life “off of the grid”. We are currently trying to rid ourselves of our 48000 dollar debt by debt snowballing. And on one income it is proving to be pretty tough, but I stay motivated by reading blogs like yours. Keep it up for us little guys!

  • Reply JT |

    We live in the city, with a big, shaded lot, so growing our own food seems out of the question (many failed attempts!). BUT we have focused on moving towards energy independence. We’ve reduced our usage through a variety of strategies, and have solar panels (roof gets sun) which generate most of our electrical needs; I am looking into a windmill or turbine for the remainder of what we use. Ideal would be to generate enough electricity to not only power everything in our home, but also charge an electric car and scooter. We’d then literally be “off the grid”! Part of the plan is to also install a solar water heater.
    We, too, need to beat down some debt before any further installations, but we have out eyes on the prize!
    Thanks for the post.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Lucian’s Mommy – my husband reminded me that we couldn’t live off the grid because then we wouldn’t have internet. Or, is internet excluded? I couldn’t live without the internet right now.

    JT – have you ever tried indoor gardening? I have to admit, those Aerogardens look pretty interesting. Where we live, we have a very short growing season so if we end up designing and building our own home, we’d like a greenhouse room. I’m still reading up on them, though.

    That is pretty awesome about the solar panels. I read somewhere that the cost to install them is going way down as the technology is improving. That is very encouraging.

  • Reply JT |

    We have a VERY small home (hence couldn’t get enough solar panels on the roof to fully cover our needs), so haven’t room for indoor gardening. If I were building from scratch would definitely have a greenhouse attached to the house. There are some great articles on the internet about using that kind of space to not only grow veggies, but to also provide heat, etc. for the home during the winter. It’s a great topic and if you are blessed with being able to build, I’d definitely look into all the online material available about “green design”. Some of it is very economical, practical, and easy to incorporate when building. Even as simple as deciding on the orientation (North, South, East, West) of the house.
    When we got the panels, it was guesstimated there would be a 10 year period for recouping our investment. I’m sure the rising energy prices are cutting that time frame way down πŸ˜‰
    I think you’re right that costs are going down, I would only be worried about a lag between increased demand and increased production.
    It’s possible to have internet “off the grid” but I’m not sure about the details. I don’t know if it is by using cell towers, satellite or what.
    I wish! Sigh!

  • Reply danielle |

    I have been thinking of this as well. I rent, but there is a small patch of land that I am sure they would let me plant something on. (A bunch of my neighbors do it).
    Right now, I have a small olive tree in a pot that I got at a Greek festival. It’s growing slowly but surely, and I can’t wait to see if I get olives.
    We have been trying to formulate what would constitute a good emergency kit. The Mormon church has good ideas and tips on emergency food stashes. A really nice sleeping bag can weather all the elements. Think of all you *need* that is power-dependent and get battery operated versions. Stock up on multi-vitamins for the whole family. I would even consider getting a mongolian yurt. You could really make it work if you put some thought into it.

  • Reply mv |

    Living ‘off the grid’ usually means you’re not attached to the electrical company for your electricity. I suppose you could take it to mean completely off municipal services (electricity, water, sewage, etc), and cable tv and internet. So how to get internet access ‘off the grid’? Perhaps via satellite internet, which is very expensive.

  • Reply Alissa |

    Hi there!
    I’ve been reading lots on your blog today, and getting more and more inspired. πŸ™‚ It’s funny how being on a journey to becoming debt-free makes you realize that you could be free in so many other ways as well… that it is possible to live with almost no income. Going “off-grid” has become a recent dream of ours as well. Once our credit card debt is gone (within the next year!), we’re going to re-direct some of that money towards building up a homestead, and becoming more self-sufficient. I believe that Peak Oil is a reality that will be upon us fairly soon, and while it is tempting to attack our mortgage with gusto after our credit card debts are paid, I think it would be more prudent to balance that with preparing for a self-sufficient future. I look forward to coming back and seeing how you’re doing!

    Alissa

So, what do you think ?