Living off the grid

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by falseharmonix, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    After watching the video about the couple living off the grid in Alaska, I've been interested in just what it would take to make something like that happen. I've been searching for a large enough plot of land to support hunting, fishing, trapping, and farming for a single family. This is more than just a whim, as I've often dreamed of sustaining my own survival.....

    Aside from the obvious sustained living essentials (hunting, fishing, trapping, gardening/farming, food storage, shelter, fire, water, protection, etc), how do I go about making something like this a possibility?
     
  2. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Big step!!!!!

    No more WWB ammo.

    [​IMG]
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Step 1. Read. A lot. I learn better from the mistakes of OTHERS (and it is less painful.

    Step 2. Define "Off the grid". It usually means being self sufficient for utilities- not being connected to the national power grid. However, to some folks, it means total self sufficiency. Here's a hint- that is really not going to happen for extended periods. I am a pretty fair carpenter- hell, I can make my own nails, or pegged beam construction if I need to- but I do not have a source of coal, limestone, and iron ore on my property, and I am not going to be making steel for a chisel.

    Step 3- Figure out where you want to get to- and be willing to modify your goals as you go. "I want my whole house powered by a wind generator." OK- but the house you have in mind has a 3 ton heat pump, and the winds in your area are not going to deliver that much power- nor run your electric water heater, electric range, clothes dryer, etc. Soooooooo- we opt for a clothes line, skip the AC, go for the wood stove, and actually DO have enough home grown electricity for CFLs, a stereo, and an LCD TV.

    Step 4. Take small bites at first. I have some country boys that grew up splitting firewood, canning green beans, and slaughtering a pig to make sausage- and they could go back to that tomorrow and not miss a beat. But is all that is new to you, take it a step at a time. Systemic shock, ya know.

    Step 5. Mine knowledge. Not the possessive mine, but the verb. The old guy down the road that DOES still raise his own livestock, and processes the meat- may need a hand at butchering time. Tell him you want to learn how- can you come help? Don't know how to use a gin pole (no connection to alcohol) to raise a wind generator tower? Find someone that is doing it, and volunteer your labor. Madly making notes to self all while. For about $39, you can buy a BUNCH of back issues of Mother Earth News from the 70s and 80s (check Ebay). Magazine of the "back to the earth" folks. Haunt used books shops for nuggets of knowledge. I just got a copy of The Homebuilt Wind-generated Electricity Handbook for $4.
     
  4. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I would be all for that type of thing. But, I would loose my wife and kids. They would never go for it. That's why I am a city dweller. Well small town anyway.
     
  5. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    Look for property with a live stream that can be partially damed. Combine a small gasifier fueled generator, solar, wind and low head hydroelectric for power. Raise your oun chickens, beef and pork. Grow and can your own fruit and vegetables. Raise trout (if water in your pond is deep and cold enough) or catfish and crayfish in your partially damed stream (pond).

    Build a methane generator and dump all sewage and animal waste in it. This will heat water (along with solar and electric), to heat your house and for domestic use. Get used to being cold and working hard, every day.

    Find property that borders BLM or National Park land. That way you don't have to go the expense of having 1000 acres for access to wild game and timber, you just take a walk in the park!!

    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  6. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    I'd like to have zero electricity run to the living area. I'd likely invest in solar and wind for minimal things (and a gasoline powered generator for all of the other things from time to time). I'd like to have a well dug for my own water. Wood stove for heat, open the windows for "AC". However, I realize there are some things I cannot make...building materials, reloading supplies, gasoline, salt, sugar, flour, etc...these I will need to purchase. So, in all reality it wont be complete isolation, but as much as possible is my aim.

    In all honesty, I'd like to have as few 'creature comforts' as possible. I never watch TV, and can always find free hotspots for internet in urban areas. I love to cook, and imagine I could make do without gas for a stove so long as there is wood to burn. However, long term food storage without a fridge would be something I have no experience in. Canning would be a necessity , and gardening, hunting, and fishing would be my main source of food.

    I imagine it will take many years to gather the funds to buy the land, build the living area, all the equipment needed to be self-sufficient. What would likely be my scenario is I buy the property as a hunting/vacationing spot, and slowly turn it into a home I could one day live in (either total retreat from civilization, retirement, or SHTF bunker)

    Knowledge mining is something I've been doing for a while. A lot of it is survival based, but some is gardening and farming, some hunting, some field medicine, etc...

    Thank you for your reply!
     
  7. IDVague

    IDVague New Member

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    I read an article about this in the late 1980's and it was fascinating at the time. I read and re-read it several times and it laid out the plans for self-sufficient living by owning a balance of crop land, grazing pastures, and woodlands. After committing most of it to memory, I began telling my father about it. I described how a small herd of livestock, some chickens, a milk cow, and some hogs would provide protein for a family of 6, a moderate sized garden would provide plenty of vegetables, and if there were mature fruit trees on the property that was an added bonus. A larger plot could be used to provide extra vegetables to sell or trade for other supplies, provided there were an adequate number of able bodies to maintain it. The woodlands would provide an additional supply of wild game to augment the protein supply and fresh water fish on the property would also be a plus.

    I hadn't gotten past this point to explain about using wood as a heat source and how kerosene lanterns would provide lighting and an emergency generator could be kept around just in case when my dad stopped me and said, "You just described my life up until the age of 17." He then went on to tell me how much he didn't want any part of going back there. I certainly agree with that, but I also know that many of us who didn't have that early experience should make ourselves prepared in the event it becomes necessary. It concerns me that even my generation would be hard pressed to survive such an event, when our view of "olden days" is black & white TV with 3 channels and an antennae on the roof. The younger generation is almost assured to whither and die without an iPod and a cell phone. While preparation for the unthinkable is vital, I hope we have enough fight in us to keep it from happening.
     
  8. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Sh$t from Shinoalo

    You my friend need to do a lot of homework. If you think for one moment that you can pull this off your a better man than me. Alaska is an unforgiveing land. Do your research and take it one step at a time. Remember there a no roads and help is miles away. Bears are allways a problem.:eek:
     
  9. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    Well, I wasn't thinking Alaska per say. Just living off the grid somewhere in the US.
     
  10. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Liven off the land

    Pick your sight carefully, You will and can do this if you do your home work. Look to the interior of the U> S> High ground is preferred. And change your eating habbits. Learn to sleep W/O ac. Pack your bags with antibiotics in case of injury. This list can go on an on. Remember to look in the pool before you jump. Keep in touch. Wills in da swamp in La.
     
  11. Ruger44

    Ruger44 New Member

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    I lived off the grid totally for 12 years, and I'm still off the grid when I go back there. A couple of solar panels, small wind generator, all hooked into a battery bank. Had plenty of electric for lights, TV, radio, computer. Used propane for cooking and light heating, wood for the main heat. Saved a lot of cash too. This whole thing is very easy to do. Get started small. 1 solar panel and 2 6v golf cart batteries hooked together to make 12v is all you need. Then you can build up from there. In fact, at my one house which was on the grid, I had some solar panels there. If the power ever went down, I still had lights and radio.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  12. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    I'd like to be able to support myself with as little help from the 'world' as possible. Propane doesn't fit my requirements of living unassisted. You eventually will need to refill or purchase additional fuel. In a meltdown scenario, that likely will not be a good decision.

    But, I can justify having radio for comm, and I've never been much of a TV guy. I'll likely have solar and maybe wind for some lighting, perhaps a solar water heater, radio, and a diesel generator for emergency use. And MAYBE a fridge if I can get the solar and wind to produce enough juice.
     
  13. IDVague

    IDVague New Member

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    How many solar panels will it take to run a 3-1/2 ton HVAC system? :rolleyes:
    I think I could get along without everything else, but I might need to bug out to the Yukon if I can't have my A/C! :p
     
  14. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    haha! :D

    I figure if I build the roof of my domicile with solar panels that will help me run my disco ball for my underground roller rink......:cool:
     
  15. Ruger44

    Ruger44 New Member

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    As regards the propane. In a meltdown scenario, no problem, I'll just go back to cooking with wood, but untill then propane is a hell of a lot easier. You said something about a diesel generator. In a general meltdown situation just where do you expect to get diesel? As for the fridge, forget it. Unless you have a massive power system, and I do mean massive, that ain't happening either. Takes too much juice. Propane is the only economical way for a fridge, but in a meltdown there won't be any. No, in a meltdown solar/wind would be good for lights, radio, anything that takes low amounts of juice to run. Wood for your heat and cooking. That's about it.
     
  16. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    The diesel generator would be run only in extreme situations where I would need an added boost of energy. I would keep a few drums of diesel in storage. However, you are correct. In a meltdown it will be useful only as long as the fuel holds out.

    As for the fridge, I haven't looked into how much power is required to run a fridge. It would be nice to have for things that are quickly perishable...fresh fish and meat, leftovers from meals, etc. I would not go buy the world's most mammoth fridge with all the bells and whistles, but probably something more akin to what you'd find in college dorms or hotels.
     
  17. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Off the Grid

    Down here after Katrina every thing was shut down except natural gas. I was lucky that the small generator I have runs on natural gas. It was used to keep the fridge and freezer running. I used water from my neighbors pool to flush the toilet, and bottled water to some what stay clean. At night I had a small fan to try and stay cool. When the temps in the upper 90's and the humidity is 100% it's miserable as Hell. Funny thing about AC. If you never had it you don't miss it. Growing up we raised our own meat and vegatables. Yea it was hard work, but I'd go back to that in a heart beat if I could. Good luck and God Bless! :)
     
  18. Davyboy

    Davyboy New Member

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    Polly tunnel

    A poly tunnel may be a good idea to assist with year round veg.
     
  19. Ruger44

    Ruger44 New Member

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    From my experience propane is the best for a fridge. The little one's that are in RV's work just fine. As for refrigeration in a melt down situation, you just need to do what they did way back when. A root cellar built into the side of a small hill. You cut your ice in the winter and put it in the root cellar, cover it with sawdust and you should have a natural fridge for quite some time, way into the summer I think.
     
  20. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Turning back the clock..............

    Ones definition of off the grid. When you start talking of solar power, generators, and any other luxury items in my mind is not going back to the basics. a good example is knowing what to do with all that meat you kill, and the fish you catch. Canning fruits and vegatables. How to make your own soap, charcoal, gun powder. The list is endless. After watching the guy up in Alaska, he himself said he couldn't do it alone. My wife is one that can make it in the wilderness. I'll kill what ever and she'll skin it and cook it. She was brought up old school. I need advice on how to make a smoker on a tight budget. Keep your head down and your powder dry!!!!!:)