A friend recently had an opportunity to rent an off grid cabin out west, and asked if we could give them some advice; a list of our three favorite things about living off grid, along with our three biggest challenges. Since we're only living on our homestead a few days every other weekend right now, I didn't know how much perspective I could give, but I thought you might be interested in the list as well.
1. The stars. You can't see stars in town. It's like living in your very own Imax movie!
2. Fireflies. I haven't seen fireflies since I lived in Iowa! I turn into this 10 year old little girl, every time I catch one glowing in the grass!
2.5. Running through tall grass, with arms outstretched, as fast as you can!
3. Compost toilet. Weird, I know. More on this soon, I promise.
Our biggest challenges:
1. Water. We don't have a well yet, so each week we have to carry along enough water for drinking (humans and dog), cooking, and cleaning. I'm amazed at how little water you actually need to use in a day, compared to what we use at home. So far we've been "bathing" in the lake, but are going to use a solar shower when it gets too cold to swim. We also haven't been able to plant any new trees yet, which was part of our plan for this year. With the severe drought we've had, though, it was probably for the best.
2. Keeping food cold for extended periods of time. I know they have insanely good coolers now, but I'm not spending $100 on one of them.
3. A farm truck and trailer. Right now we have one vehicle, a Honda Accord. I giggle when I think we must look like the tiny little clown car at the circus whenever we stop for restroom breaks. Last week we managed all 5 of us, plus our 90 lb English Setter (who really thinks he's a lap dog!), a lawn mower and all of our gear into the compact car. Good times, indeed! A truck and trailer would also be really useful for picking up free building materials we find routinely on Craigslist. We've had to pass up a few really great items because we had no way to transport them up to the land.
3.5. Only naming three was definitely a challenge. Mostly, we just love everything about spending time out there right now, and knowing that all of the challenges will be solved in due time... with a little patience and a lot of resourcefulness.
If you live off grid or on a homestead, what does your best and worst list look like?