Sometimes my wife and I have to remind ourselves that we live off the grid. We do not receive any electricity from the power company. We make our own electricity using our solar panels and sometimes back up gas generator in a pinch.
During evenings, I like to unwind by watching Youtube on the television. Lately, I have been watching other people explain how they live off the grid, and I have to remind myself that I live off the grid too. Everyone has a different view of living off the grid; there seems to be no two ways that are the same. You have what I term purists, those who live without electricity and manage very well in an agrarian environment. Then you have the make-due or transitional. These off grid-ers live in a state of flux between what their home currently is and what it is morphing to be. The next category are those who have arrived and live an off grid life style, but it becomes so routine and normal. The last group is the off grid rich and famous; this group has built the Taj Mahal of off grid palaces through a contractor. The company builds them an amazing turn-key operation. Even though the house is off the grid; a person would have difficulty telling the difference.
My wife and I went through the make-due transitional period to an arrived, it’s just our normal routine life style. We camped in the shell of our house with bare studs the first few months it was built. When the walls were finished, we decided to move in full-time during the end of January, 2012. We had no water at that time, and we showered early in the mornings at my work every other day. Within a few weeks, I had one faucet plumbed and pressurized, and we no longer had to pack in water to our place for drinking, cooking, dishes, and cleanliness. At that time we had a composting toilet, one faucet, and I was able to hook up our washing machine into the system.
As I left for work each day, Krista worked on reconditioning a set of old cabinets she re-purposed from the original off grid cabin on the property. Once her cabinets were in place; we attached the farm style sink she loves, and I plumbed it within a Saturday morning for running water. We now had one sink in the home to do the necessary chores. It wasn’t until June I was able to hook up our 100 year old reconditioned claw foot bath tub and our cheap-o, Home Depot bathroom sink and cabinet.
By July, our first summer living full time in the home, I was able to finally finish construction of our solar array. No longer would we have to hear the generator run about every third to fifth day to charge up the batteries to replace the energy required to run the well pump to water the garden and orchard. When making the switch from generator to solar, the silence was beautiful. Ah, silence.
For the first year we lived on our property, we treated it as a working, camping trip. With this mindset, we set ourselves deadlines and tasks to complete just as if it were the seriousness of having another job. Not having running water with a well and pump present on the property was also motivation to bring the water into the home. The transitional period was the most difficult of the phases, but seeing each completed task has been a celebration for us.