Living Life on the Homestead and Off the Grid
By Kate Marlowe
Taking the Off Grid Plunge
The decision has been made to go off-grid. Land that functions as a homestead is purchased, and you are prepared to forgo modern conveniences in order to live a healthier, independent and simpler life. Alternative water, heat and electric sources may be set up. No longer sitting in an office at a constraining job, the search is on for home-based ways to make money. Reality hits and panic sets in, everything is being put at risk, and you will be living a hard, stressful life to forgo the rat race, or will you? Time to look at the upside, there are qualities provided by an off-grid lifestyle that are difficult to find otherwise.
Some or all of the above may be implemented, depending on your personal wants and needs for an independent life. There is a wide variety in how people choose to homestead today. The options range from apartment and urban homesteading to backwoods subsistence living and 100-percent self-reliance in the country. Choosing what fits your situation is the best way to ensure a happy and abundant lifestyle. Any changes you make to incorporate this way of life affords you greater independence, more family time and a happier connection to your world.
Life is busy and there is always something to handle on the homestead. The difference is, activities and time are now controlled. What gets handled, when it’s done and the finished result of everything on the homestead is dictated by you, the homesteader. There is no longer pressure to complete tasks when and how others dictate. You will find yourself working every bit as hard with long hours and laborious work. The end result is ownership in all that is accomplished. You can rest easy at the end of the day, knowing that control over all the ins and outs of your everyday life is yours.
There is more to handle living off-grid since utilities and daily function of the homestead are no longer others’ responsibility. Producing and maintaining a self-sufficient homestead requires diligence, time management and commitment to completing tasks. The enjoyment is that it’s all self-controlled. How much independence and self-reliance you have is your decision. You can take bits and pieces of the homesteading life to make it your own; or go all the way, taking on the responsibility and work, as well as reaping the rewards of living a 100-percent self-sustained life.
Some of your utilities can be connected to the grid while others are independent and offer a cheaper means of living. There are numerous options today, for example: Your power source may come from wind, solar or a hybrid of these. An off-grid system can be customized to fit your needs, this may vary depending on your region and what works best.
There are long-term benefits to going off the grid. The cut in utility bills pays for the up-front cost of your new system within a few years. Check with your utility company, some are now set up to feed into your system and you may get paid for sharing with them. Regardless of how much you do, every step towards self-reliance offers a less expensive, more independent and simpler way of living.
Healthy on the homestead
Homestead living often includes the production of food and other necessities for daily life. Toiletries are often made in addition to clothing items. Making and providing things as opposed to purchasing them from the mass market offers several benefits.
There is no mystery to the source of food. Organic, wholesome ingredients are better controlled offering a healthier choice in what is being consumed. A healthy variety suited to the homesteader’s tastes is available since what is grown and produced is chosen rather than delegated by the market. Humane harvesting methods are in your control, the reward is knowing the animals you choose to raise for supplying a food source has lived a healthy life full of love and nurturing.
Quality ingredients may be used if toiletries are made rather than purchased as well. There are many recipes to choose from on the Internet today. Finding one that suits you is easy and the control over what is in your products is now yours. This minimizes risk to harmful ingredients and cuts downs significantly on cost. How items are made also allows freedom in choosing personalized items, scent and even color if preferred.
Homesteaders who make their own clothing reap similar benefits as well. Items may be made based on personal preference to style, size and color. Natural ingredients and dyes offer a healthier alternative to mass produced items.
Enjoying quality family time
The majority of time is spent at home working on the homestead. This is in contrast to life before choosing to homestead and live off-the-grid, when the majority of your time was spent at work rather than with family. Combine this with the fact that many homesteaders choose homeschooling for their children, providing flexibility, control over the educational experience and more time together. Networks are also available to offer social interactions with other homesteading families. Time for homestead families is no longer spent sitting in front of the TV or interacting with video games. Living in the outdoors, experiences with plant and animal life and human interaction while sharing homestead duties offer a quality of life less prevalent on the grid.
What would life be if not on the homestead?
We are on a journey, our goal being a self-sustainable life, achieving a 100-percent subsistence living. We have a long road to get where we want to be with our homestead. There are times we look back and question if this is what we really want. The days are busy and work is always waiting to be done. The answer is always clear when we see our grandchildren and think of what we wish for them. Seeing them happy, loved. healthy, and obtaining a well-rounded education. Knowing we have provided an influence for all these things makes the journey easier and the answer a resounding yes, we are doing what’s best for our family.
Additional questions come up from others when they talk to us or visit our backwoods: Do you miss modern conveniences such as technology? Wouldn’t it be easier to work and make money? Would you rather just go to the store and buy that? The answers: Living off-grid and homesteading are challenges. There is never a shortage of duties that need completed. Homesteaders work hard, long and see challenges along their journey. Many find the trade-off well worth the effort. Life is simple, time is precious and the days are full of life.
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