Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are you ready for hard work?

I knew when I decided to live off-grid that it was going to take planning, determination and hard work, a lot of hard work. A great deal depends on how developed your off-grid location is when you move there. Even if it is fairly well developed there will be lots of work and lots to get used to. I have to deal with a number of things we don’t usually don’t think about when we live on the grid. But it was not as bad as I had thought.

When I finally made the decision to purchase into Wisteria, I was ready to find a site, clear it and get it ready to build and I knew it was going to be a huge task. I even had purchased plans for a round house and even starting planning the building of it. I must admit purchasing from the young couple saved me a lot of money, work and time, but there is still a great deal to do.

Being willing to do hard work is a requirement when you live off-grid. I have days when I get home from work and just want to sit and relax. This isn’t a huge problem in the summer because it is nice outside and it stays lighter longer and I can take some time to relax before I have to do things. Winter is another story. It is usually dark by the time I get home and when it is wet and/or cold getting motivated is really hard.

Three days a week I have to drive to Columbus to work. The drive is approximately 2 hours one way depending on weather and traffic. I usually don’t get home until about 7:00ish in the evenings. I know when I get home I will have to warm up the house, bring in firewood and get dinner and then get a shower and maybe haul water. Not things I am looking forward to doing after working 8 hours and driving a total of 4.

Planning is really important. I have figured out the amount of water I need to have for the week and try to get it in on the weekend so I don’t have to deal with it during the week. I also try and put as much firewood on my porch as possible so I either don’t have to deal with it after work or I only have to bring in a load or two. Not much I can do about dinner unless I stop and pick something up but I do plan on easy quick things to cook when I have to drive to/from Columbus. When I work from home I cook; run errands with my friend and eat out or if I am really lucky my two friends who live on the land will come over and she will cook for us. Which, in my book, is a true friend and a huge benefit.

So getting our mind in the game is really important. Also pre-planning is important. The original woodpile was not working for me so I placed the woodpile closer to the house so I don’t have to haul it from far away. This makes the task of bring in wood quicker and easier. Since I heat with wood I know that it does not matter how tired I am or how much I don’t want to bring it in I have to do it. Part of hard work is doing something you really don’t feel like doing but know you have to do it. Heat is obvious and necessary so it does not matter if I don’t want to bring in wood, I have to.

Sometimes doing things you either don’t want to or have the energy to do is hard. And sometimes it is not he the physical labor that causes me to not do things that need to be done. Luckily when I get in moods that I don’t mentally want to do things it is usually nothing that is necessary but more of things that should be done but can be easily put off. For me this is when hard work is more mental than physical.

So here to all of the types of hard work that we must do living off-grid, both the physical and the mental, may we all have the determination and strength to make it all happen.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

When did the dream begin?

When did the dream begin to live off-grid? I have to be honest and say that I have not given this much thought over the years since I decided I wanted to live off-grid. There are many reasons for my desire to live off-grid. But after thinking about it for some time I decide what the real driving factor was not the burning desire to be off-grid but the location – Wisteria.

I don’t know if I would have decided to live off-grid but for Wisteria. A little background, in 1997 a group of people formed a corporation called Wisteria, Inc. (Wisteria) and purchased 620 acres in Southern Ohio. If you want to learn more about Wisteria go to The property is a reclaimed strip mine. Even with all of the destruction that has taken place on the land it has a wonderful feeling to it when you are here. The way you feel when you are on the land is hard to describe. Most people say they feel like they are coming home. I was one of those people.

I was not part of the group that started Wisteria but I was at one of the earliest visits the group made to the land and I have been part of the extended community ever since by volunteering to work at their event site during events. There were several times over the years that I thought about buying into Wisteria but it never seemed to be the right time. In 2006 I had made the decision to try and purchase shares to become part of Wisteria. I had the intention to build a home and to eventually live there. May 2007 I purchased shares from a young couple that were moving out of state and everything fall into place.

I lucked out by waiting to buy into Wisteria. The old saying that timing is everything was certainly true in my case. The couple had purchased their shares from another woman who had already been living at Wisteria off-grid. She had a small home. The couple had been working to develop their site over the last 5 years. They had built a large shed and had several raised garden beds. The summer before they decided to sell they had added on to the house. It went from a two room house to a four room with a bathroom home. Electric was from a solar setup of a 65 watt panel and two batteries and the refrigerator and stove were propane. I was able to walk into an existing home that was ready to be lived in. There is much to do but I started out with a nice homestead.

While location was the major reason for going off-grid, there are other reasons. I want to be more self-sufficient. I worry about global warming and what we are doing to the environment and I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. I have a long way to go but this is a huge step. I also want to provide a lot of my own food.

So for me the dream began over 15 years ago when I visited a reclaimed strip mine with a group of dreamers and since then my feet have been on the path to live here. This goal was reached in May 2007 when I signed the agreement to purchase the couple’s shares. I spent the summers living off-grid and this year I took the leap to live here full time. So I am hoping for a mild winter but planning for the worse.

So when did your dream begin?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Purpose of this blog.


The purpose and goal of this blog is to share my experiences in living off-grid without a partner. While there is information from men and couples living off-grid, I am interested in hearing from women who have decided to take on the challenge of living off-grid without the help of a partner (male or female). There are lots of things that makes it challenging and I want to hear from others who are living off-grid or who from those women who want to take the leap but are holding back because they are on their own.

So I hope this becomes a place to share that women can live off-grid without having to wait for someone to do it with us.