Going off grid, retreating to a natural setting and living off the land in sustainable way, are not just every prepper’s dream. These concepts are quickly getting pondered by more and more people and for some, are becoming reality. In fact, since the last real estate bubble that happened in the United States, many people, even some who abandoned high paying jobs in the corporate world, have changed their lifestyles in order to become self-reliant individuals not much different from the pioneers who explored and settled the west many decades ago.
THE BIG PLAN
I do not live completely off the grid. Even though I am somewhat independent when it comes to food procurement, power, medicine etc. I can, in an emergency, “unplug” completely and make do quite comfortably with what I have stored up for a long time. Time is quickly approaching however, when a large parcel of land will be acquired for the sole purpose of building a homestead form scratch and establishing a completely new lifestyle. As everyone has different ideas as to what this time in their lives will entail, what follows are my own.
The land is a quarter section surrounded by crown land. Preferably no existing roads leading in to it at the time of purchase. Most of the land should be heavily treed with mostly coniferous trees. Lots of rolling hills with the west border of the property rising up into the mountains. Ideally, this area will be easily approachable from only one direction. There must be abundance of wildlife with no industry anywhere in the vicinity. A small town of about 1000-2000 inhabitants about a twenty minute drive from the property would be ideal. One side of the property is a lake shore. The very small stream which runs through the land provides plenty of fresh mountain water and there are plenty of fish in the lake.
A five-hundred square feet garden will be located close to the lake and the stream will be used as a water source when this project first begins. Eventually a well will be drilled and provide an additional, independent water source.
Most people find tremendous satisfaction in completing projects and improving their lives. I cannot imagine a greater challenge than breaking virgin land and building on it from scratch. At first, a small shelter can be manufactured from nothing more than collected natural materials. A simple lean-to, which will, over the first summer, be turned into a small micro cabin that can be heated through the first winter can be easily constructed from local tree trunks. At the same time, As one is felling trees, he is building a new lot for a permanent log home. In several years, the cabin turns in to a shed and a two-thousand square log home becomes the main residence.
In the beginning, all tools must be hauled up and with no access to power (yes one can bring a generator but that would significantly take away from the experience) all tree felling and shelter assembly will be done with hand tools. As the property is not serviced, plans can be made for a sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind generated power. Obviously, building such infrastructure will probably take years unless there is enough financial resources to have everything done all at once. In the mean time a lifestyle with no electricity can be attempted and if need be one can always get that generator…
Anyone wanting to live off grid will have to figure out a new way to live. Some skills which may seem foreign to us that our ancestors considered normal will be needed and even though many of them seem lost forever, there are many great resources which can help us out. Fire starting, natural medicine, hunting, fishing, trapping, gardening, raising chickens and other livestock are some things that will fill most of the days and in order to do them well one has to know how. As most of us in the modern society are, for the most part, unfamiliar with living close to nature it is imperative that we learn and practice this knowledge now and whenever possible. During a prolonged emergency, these “off the grid skills” will become very valuable regardless of where one stays.
Carpentry, basic wiring, use of hand tools and generally becoming good at taking things apart and figuring out how they work are also going to be vital skills when it comes to being self-reliant. Practicing food preservation without electricity is, for example, important knowledge that will be priceless in an off the grid scenario. The time to learn this is now, when we still have the benefits of modern society to fall back on.
People who have made the move off grid and have truly become self-reliant have reported improvements in many areas of their lives. A great sense of accomplishment, improved physical and mental health and in general higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. Living in a close relationship with our environment will also benefit not only the people doing so but in a long run, the environment. In the end, there are many people out there who, as mentioned previously, are deeply interested in living off grid and many are leaving the cities to do so. But there aren’t very many people who are leaving off grid existence to live in the city. And that speaks volumes.
For obvious reasons, living in the wilderness will not be as easy as what many people are used to in the cities. There will be hard work which means greater possibility of injury as well as danger from wildlife. But if you consider that the average Canadian has virtually zero protection from armed robbery, an impaired driver or new restrictive and unconstitutional rules, all of a sudden a bear encounter might seem not so bad. After all, firing one round at his feet from your rifle will make him think twice about coming at you. But if you try that with your unfriendly neighborhood teenage thief, you will probably end up doing time yourself.
The real danger might lie in government policy. Even though there are many people who want to change their lives and help the environment, sometimes the government is not very enthusiastic to support such action.
After all…if we buy the land outright, have no mortgage, create our own power and use collected rainwater there is virtually nothing left for us to buy…and nothing left to tax us for…
If you have any experience with off grid living whether you are planning on it or are currently living off the grid, we would love to see your comments!