Nick Fouch and Esther Emery, the YouTube channel Fouch-o-matic Off Grid couple, have been living off the grid since 2013. In the video below they discuss–with solutions–10 things they wish they knew before beginning their homestead adventure.
Actually, they already sorta knew all this, but some of the details of the actual implementation took them by surprise … sometimes.
1) Solar power is easier than you think. It does work.
2) Plants can’t grow without soil; and if you don’t have good soil, you’ve got to make it. Think organic matter.
3) Water runs downhill, so a spring “up there” means water “down here”. A water system is easier than you think.
4) Carrying water is grueling and “demoralizing” work… figure out plumbing any way you can. Especially for winter months.
5) Batteries run out. LED lights only “sip” off a battery bank, and rechargeable items (like headlamps) are more efficient than packs of AA batteries.
The simple notion of using a slow-moving, falling weight to power things has been around for centuries. Think big clocks in 16th century cathedrals.
So when I saw the principle applied to an LED lamp, my first thoughts were about lighting for either off grid emergencies or off grid emergencies or lifestyles.
Using 26 pounds hung six feet above ground, the GravityLight provides 20 minutes of light. Over and over and over again. In the words of the design team:
Once GravityLight is installed and a 12kg weight – a bag of rocks or sand – attached, it’s ready to go, anytime.
The weight is lifted by pulling down on a bead cord. On release, the weight falls very slowly, transforming potential energy into kinetic energy as it powers a drive sprocket and polymer gear train.
This generates just under a tenth of a watt, to power an onboard LED and ancillary devices.
Once the weighted bag reaches the floor, which depends on how high it was installed, it is simply lifted to repeat the process.
An excellent view of one family’s off grid reality lifestyle. This is a close-up of deep woods prep that includes:
Watch the video to get a true reality check of what off grid living means to one family. Not as romantic as some might think … but an inspiring example of what can be done.
Source & Images: engineer775 Practical Preppers
So many bloggers talk about the benefits of an off the grid lifestyle, but few discuss the limitations such a lifestyle creates.
Of course, once off the grid, you’ll have a great sense of accomplishment, a new set of survival skills, your own food on the table, and strong sense of security. But this lifestyle also requires a lot of work and sacrifice.
Here’s how Bob Rodgers of Prepper’s Will frames it:
1) Growing food requires a lot of work
You need to understand that growing your own food requires a lot of work and success is not a promise. Growing your own food requires diligence, consistency and a recuperative ability.
It will take time until you get used with all of it and you need patience. Not to mention that growing food means you need to get down and dirty.
You can’t do it from the keyboard and you it will be harder for you if you’re not used with physical labor. It will pay off in the end, but you will have to get to that point and that means you have to practice and have patience.
There are a few good solutions for producing your own food, some quite innovative and you just need to find the right one for you.
2) Living off the grid requires a certain mind spirit
Yes you’ve heard it right, living off the grid is not for everyone and if you are the type that panics easily, you will have a hard time if you decide to follow on this system.
There will be times when nothing goes your way and there will nobody you could blame it on. Uncertain weather conditions, pests, soil problems and what not will undeniably discourage you.
So if you’re not optimist and if you can’t keep your cool, even when nature it’s against you, then you should reconsider about living off the grid. The good news is that humans are creatures that can easily adapt if they have the right mindset.
Most of the people I’ve talked with and based on the stories I’ve read about off the grid living, made me believe that the first three years are the hardest.
3) Off the grid living is also about relocating
Most of the time, in order to set up an off the grid lifestyle you need to have a separate piece of land. Off the grid living involves moving to another state and finding an appropriate and affordable piece of land.
So not only you have to get used to this new lifestyle, but you also have to deal with everything that relocating brings.
You will have to face new challenges, from meeting new people to learning about the rules and regulations from your new location and even developing new type of skills (like hunting).
Some people have trouble dealing with all of this and it takes a tool on their state of mind and well-being. It makes living off the grid much harder for them than it already is.
4) Off the grid living is not a permanent vacation as it looks
In fact, you might not have too much free time for yourself in the first year or two. This until you get used to this new lifestyle and the changes it brought.
You must kiss your leisure days a goodbye because you will be on duty 24/7 on the first months.
You need a lot of motivation to continue and if you’re the laid back type, it will all come crushing down on you.
Living off the grid requires a lot of work in the first year and in order to make it, you need to convince all your family members to give a helping hand.
You will see that things get easier with time and you will be glad you didn’t gave up.
5) Off the grid living requires safety measures
You are far from the world and you think you’re safe. You’re not, and you might find out the hard way. When you live off the grid you should always be on guard.
Many people have a “Zen attitude” and they don’t pay too much attention at the outside world when they have their own little slice of heaven.
They don’t put too much effort into defending their home and I think that’s a mistake. You’ve struggled so much to build everything you have. Shouldn’t you protect it?
When it comes to defense most people get a firearm or two and that’s pretty much it. If something will happen and the brown stuff hits the fan, people living off the grid will become targets because they have what everyone needs, self-sustainability.
Living off the grid means you also have to invest in your protection and make sure your new house can withstand a home invasion.
6) Off the grid living can’t make everyone happy
In fact, off the grid living it’s about compromising and the sooner you realize it, the better you will be. All the renewable energy sources you install might not generate enough energy to power all the things of your need.
If your kids are spending all their time on the Xbox, someone will be disappointed at the end of the day when the washing machine won’t work.
Not all the members of the family will be drawn to this type of living, especially the teenagers.
They will need their time, their friends and their hobbies and dealing with an unhappy teenager when you have other chores waiting for you, will only cause arguments.
These are just some examples, but the point is the same, not all families can handle an off the grid living. If you are not united as a family and if you can’t compromise, living off the grid will become a struggle ….
Source: Once again Bob Rodgers provides brilliant, in depth insights into the prepper lifestyle. Please check out his complete post.
Image: Jason Lawrence