Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A New Adventure Begins...

My husband and I have always looked forward to being empty nesters. We love our children and had a wonderful adventure raising them, and if I do say so myself, they turned into awesome adults that it is now our joy to share friendships with. However, we have always made our relationship with each other a priority over our relationships with our children. So, when all three moved out of the house within a two week period we were excited to start a new season of our lives together. And now, a few years later, we are embarking on yet another adventure in our lives - our empty nest is going off-grid!

I am not sure if people who know us will be surprised and think we've lost our minds, or if they will chalk it up to one more way we live life outside the 'norm'. Rather than bog down this initial blog with a lot of background and information about us that would explain that last sentence, I plan to add that into various blog entries along the way. For now, it will suffice to say that our jobs and interests to date have been very 'tech-centric', and for us, moving off-grid does not entail giving up our high-tech toys and business. When we started planning this, I had jokingly called myself an Off-Grid Geek, which got me thinking about the possibilities of this blog.

While people choose to live off-grid for a wide variety of reasons, the purpose of this blog is not to become a soap box for why we chose this life-style change, but rather a chronicle of how we are doing it and what surprises we find along the way - the good, the bad and the ugly.

I am writing this and possibly a couple more entries several days if not weeks before I actually publish the blog site. Why? Because, while we broke the news to our kids a couple weeks ago, we have not yet 'gone public' with our plans. We are waiting until we can finally close on the property we are moving to. More on that when we know the actual closing date - another story in the works once we know all the details.

Just as people have a variety of reasons for living off-grid, they also have a variety of definitions of what it actually entails. At its most basic, and by definition of the name, living off the grid means you live in a home that isn’t connected to the electrical grid, those electric lines that are strung along the poles or buried under ground along your street DO NOT connect to your house. Infact, off-gridders may not even have a street! From that initial disconnect from the grid, the ensuing lifestyles can take a myriad of different paths. Some like to see how much electricity they can self-generate - solar, wind, etc. while others try to forgo as much electrical usage as possible, relying instead on cooking with wood, using alternative light sources such as lanterns and candles and doing everything by hand. Our plan is to fall somewhere in the middle of these approaches. We started building our game plan even before we started looking for where we would implement it. It is a work in progress and will probably continue to be so for as long as we live off-grid. We have already changed some plans and readjusted various priorities we had set based on some of our early research. There will be a steep learning curve in some areas as we contemplate solving various 'challenges' but we are looking forward to the adventure and all the lifestyle changes that go along with it. I am going to try to end each blog with a few questions and answers. They may not always be the same questions, but will probably rotate through several that arise in between each blog entry. So here I go:

1. Where am I now? Sitting in a hotel in Strasburg, OH. We made a trip from Wisconsin to here for the sole purpose of visiting a very specific hardware store - Lehman's in Kidron, OH. Why such an effort to come to this specific store? Because it is in the heart of Amish country and caters to the needs of their Amish customers. That special attention has expanded over the years to the point that they publish a 170 page Non-Electric Catalog. Just like kids with the Sears Christmas catalog in years past, we have been perusing this catalog (well mostly online) and creating our wish lists. Yesterday we were able to check many items off out list and then some. Pictured here are my $18.95 washing machine (just add water & muscle) and $29.95 clothes dryer. Now I just need to get water set up in the house without the help of electricity and my laundry room will be set.

2. What is the next step? Hopefully, we will be traveling to the Ozark Mountains to close on our property next week. We were originally supposed to close yesterday but the seller needed an extension until the 13th. More details on that when I post pictures after the signing...

3. What is the hardest part right now? Continuing life as normal as possible when there are so many plans racing around in our heads and so many things we want to get started on. We will not be moving off-grid for months yet, and it is going to be hard to spend just a few days on the property after we close and then return to 'normal life' until we can make another trip to work on more projects.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and all of your amazing tips. I have pinned on Pinterest nearly all of your posts. I soon hope to share my own journey which will be similar.