So you want to move off the grid and get back to a homesteading life? Well good for you! If more people made that decision instead of the one to just follow all the other sheep in the world, give up their inherit freedoms, free thinking ability and self sufficiency…to name a few sacrifices of modern life, it would be a healthier world. But what should you expect now? As a newbie, moving off the grid is a lonnnnnnnng road. There is so much one needs to learn moving from a modern day life back into the past. I have lived off grid for many years, in the forest on my homestead in the southern Missouri Ozarks, and I am still learning how to do it.
First you need to understand, you can never stop learning. It has taken you a lifetime to learn what you know about modern life. So imagine how long it will take you to learn life all over again? So, for the rest of your off grid journey, even if it will be for the rest of your life, you can not stop learning. Learning how to do things different than how they are done in modern day life, how you have done it for your whole life, is a nonstop school. One problem I have watched folks do when trying to love off grid is, that they seem to think they can go off grid and learn how to live that way of life in a very short time. So when the going gets tough, as it always will, they give up, and quickly too. How will they ever learn to live a different way when they do not give it a chance?
So if I had to give a piece of advice, it would be to join up with some one, some people that have experience in this way of life. Live near them and learn all you can for 4 seasons. After 1 year like that you will have a general idea of what you can expect. Every place is different. Each state has its own weather and living off grid you will need to learn to work with mother nature, not hide inside from her. When it is raining out and has not stopped for 3 days, you can not expect that “break in the rain”. You will have to pony up and get out there and feed those chickens, pigs, ducks, what have you. When it is below zero outside you can not wait for spring to get out there and repair your momma rabbit hutch or you will be picking up frozen dead babies from the snow. They will wonder out of that broken cage, no doubt. So there is a larger responsibility than what you may have been used to in modern day society.
You will have to get used to being outdoors more. Off grid it is not feasible to have air conditioning, a controlled environment and so in the summer it is HOT indoors, in winter it is warm if you have wood heat but you will still have many responsibilities, if you are doing it right, which requires you to be outside most of the day, on some days. Raising a small farm growing your own food, these things make it so you will have to be outdoors very often. Most of the days, at the homestead, I am outside 90 percent of my day. As the days get longer, I am outside more. Its safe to say that my family has no problem with a Vitamin D deficiency, as the sun gives us all we need! Gardening alone, is a job that demands your presence most of the days in a week, hours each day, again, if you are not ignoring your responsibilities.
According to how primitive your set up will be, or will start out as, you may not be able to have a shower each night. At my place, I do not have a shower set up, per say. I have an old bathtub sitting out under some trees that I can stand in and use a 28 oz. recycled food can with holes in the bottom, held above my head as a shower. I can also simply wash off anytime I want, but no showers here. However, in winter, washing off near the wood stove, where the water will be heated, is all there is available. So you may have to get used to the fact that you can not shower every single night. In fact, if you research the health problems associated with constant showering/bathing, you might change your mind anyhow! Things learned through that research are what helped/helps me easily transition into different ways of living.
Other stuff, such as researching what consuming GMO foods does to you, as opposed to organic farm raised food, makes transition smoother for most folks, but the shower thing, could take getting used too. Problem and truth is….modern societal life just is not healthy at all and that includes aspects that you may have an issue with because society has, in fact, brainwashed you into your belief patterns. Some folks will have to get used to the idea that you may be eating the same food for lunch and dinner as you ate for first meal. This is basically because off grid living comes with alternative ways of cooking and keeping food. There is usually no electric/gas stove and no refrigeration. So a Dutch oven meal cooked over the wood stove, while you slept, will become the “meal for the day”. It is usually eaten 2-3 times. Another part of this is due to the fact that with no refrigeration, you have to eat it up before it spoils.
This brings us to the different eating patterns. On a meal routine? Might not be feasible when you will be the busiest you’ve ever been in your life, what with running the homestead/farm and being a parent. The animals, your food production, cutting wood, making fires, building, etc. all this cuts into your routine quite invasively. You will have to learn to “go with the flow” and do what you can when you can. It might be time to eat and on the way into your cabin (if you have a cool little cabin in the woods) the pigs escape! Yup, happens all the time. Now you have about 30 minutes or so that you will have to devote to catching those hogs, getting them back in their pen, where they don’t want to be and then you still have to repair the fence they destroyed to get out. Yup….happens all the time. Then there is always that rain coming in the distance and you are putting on the cabin roof or trying to get the seeds put in in time or have to get that new pile of firewood stacked so it can be covered, all before that rain, which is quickly approaching, sets in. SO…eating comes later!
7 years off the grid, living on my forest homestead where we raise all sorts of food and animals, and do everything as manual as we can and as primitive….there has never been a dull day! Used to drinking city water? Well not usually any of that off the grid. We consume rain water, well water, spring water and that is all. Sometimes we have had to gather river water or spring water and filter it ourselves. The rain water will always need filtering as well. The water tastes different. Most folks coming to the homestead brings bottled water because they do not know what to expect. We have them try the good ole well water and they either hate it or love it. But those that have denied it later ends up loving it. So it is safe to say, that city water is quite dangerous for you and our clean well water is safer. And when you are used to all those chemicals they put in the city water, it changes your taste. So when you taste clean water, it is either hard or easy for you. And to top it off, if you just do not drink water, you will have to get used to drinking water or you will be dead! Problem is, off grid life comes with no controlled atmosphere and lots of hard work, outside, in the heat. Don’t drink a lot of water, you will be sorry.
You may have to get used to eating different foods. Usually, if done right, off grid life comes with eating foods that is grown in the ground, organic, clean (healthy), hand raised onsite and sometimes wild! Those tastes will be very different than what city folks are used too. And if you are so brainwashed as to what the evil doers that do not want folks becoming to self sufficient and sustainable train their sheep to believe, you will STILL have an issue eating certain foods even if it tastes great!
Believe me, we host many friends and strangers to the homestead each year for all sorts of reasons, I have seen this to many times. Again, some research will go a long way when you have to get used to eating new and possibly strange foods. Something such as Opossum stew is great and resembles a very expensive pot roast of beef or pork. Problem is, since you can not buy it in stores, folks have been taught not to eat it because it can be dangerous….far from the truth. They give no thought to how that chicken, beef and pork was raised they consume from their local grocery and just how deadly that is to eat!
As an experienced homesteader who lives off grid in the forest, a few suggestions can be offered:
- Do research on subjects you might need to understand in detail, such as chicken raising. Don’t just assume you know or assume it is not hard or that you will learn as you go. Those mind frames will get all your chickens dead in no time!
- Practice ways you may need to be more in tuned too. Such as how to start fires without lighters, matches or other modern day fire starting methods. Truth is, those items will not always be available and living off grid you are usually pretty far out of society, therefore when it is morning and raining and your wood stove has burned out and it is COFFEE TIME, and your fire starting tools are kaput you can start a fire! Believe me….it happens!
- Learn to plant food and actually get it to grow. Take some classes in organic gardening and for God’s sake, research the background and make sure the classes are not supported by some biotech company such as Monsanto. For those of you that have no idea, the “Master gardener” program available to most people, IS a Monsanto backed deal.
- Read, read, read! Books on all things associated with off grid living and homesteading is a must! You can not get much better information than from books. If you are not a reader, get someone to read to you or learn to like reading! Here is a link to my off grid books to get you started.
- Watch video! Yes, watching videos online will teach you more in a small amount of time that you can ever imagine. I have seen thousands of videos on YouTube, alone, and all of them geared towards off grid homesteading than I ever imagined I would be watching. You can learn ANYTHING from YouTube videos, and I mean anything!
- Find a group of people, off grid commune type place, and shack up with them for a year. What you will learn while being there, that year, will be what saves your off grid future….and what builds it. Off gridders, are a communal type people. We love to network and trade and rely on other off gridders to have our backs if ever SHTF. So network with those that will contribute to your new way of life.
- Downsize your life which means get rid of all your societal stuff. There is no place for it off grid. Someone said, well I will eventually have solar or wind power. Right, good, but what you don’t understand is that those electrical appliances you had in city life will not operate efficiently on solar or wind power. Those electrical things are made to be plugged into a never ending supply of power, and made to consume as much power as possible so that you have that electric bill to pay (not kidding). And usually off grid living means tiny house living too.
What ever you do, do not give up. Living off the grid is highly rewarding for you and your kids, your whole family. Life will change, bet that, but it will change for the better, if you allow it too. I know, I have watched for years, my own life change before me into something that is amazing, to say the least. Moving into an off grid way of life is a path that is less taken, so bet you will find stumbling blocks, to me….those are called lessons and I think the God above for them all!