Summertime for many of us means taking advantage of all the wonderful spoils and capturing that by using different methods of food preservation so that we have garden-fresh produce for many seasons to come.
We love picking fruits of all kinds. From foraging for berries in our mountains, where we have to do a little climbing and work to get small pails of huckleberries, to simply sitting in the large patches of thimble and juneberries that blanket the forests.
What we lack from the forest, we get from our own homestead or get from our generous neighbors who offer their organic fruit if we will do the picking. Living in a banana belt, we have a vast variety of fruit: apricots, peaches, plums, apples, pears, cherries and even some types of kiwi are able to thrive in our climate. All of it gets picked and preserved.
Although everything we harvest on our homestead is very much the same as many of you out there, generally, our way of preservation is different.
Living off the grid often requires us to approach things from a unique perspective. Old ways become new ways with a more organic and green outlook!
So, in this article I share some off- grid ways to preserve some of your summertime spoils without having to plug in any appliance along the way. You may be surprised at how easy food preservation at your home can be without electricity!
Room in the Pantry — No Freezers Allowed
What’s unique to our way of living is that, while most people are making freezer jam or packing up everything to freeze, we instead bypass this method and simply process everything for the pantry shelf. Even something as simple as freezer jam is a detail that needs to be addressed for our long-term storage and solar needs. Freezers use a lot of electricity, even if you are connected to the grid.
Plus, freezers offer a shorter-term approach to preservation that may not be fool-proof. When the electricity goes off, you may lose your precious spoils of summer. Even sitting in the freezer too long can lead to the dreaded freezer burn.
So, for us to sustain ourselves with practicality and assurance, everything should be preserved to go on the shelf and not in a freezer. Taking this new approach will, for many of you, free up your freezer space and also give you more long-term storage for your food.
Dehydrating Food Using the Power of the Sun
A Homemade Solar Food Dehydrator
Another viable source for dehydration that is sitting is our garages are our vehicles. Vehicles are the best and fastest way to dehydrate even the toughest of foods that may seem to really require the use of an electric dehydrator.
Take for instance fruit rollups. Recipes usually require the fruit rollups to sit in the oven for hours, using valuable propane or electricity. Other recipes require the use of that electric dehydrator, which again has to be left on for hours.
Not on our homestead. We simply cook our fruit, spread it out on parchment paper and place the trays right inside the hot vehicle! Within a day or two, the leathers are ready to eat.
So, next time you pick some berries, or want to dehydrate some fresh celery or other garden veggies, try some of these out-of-the-box off-grid ideas. You will be surprised how easy they are, and how rewarding it will be to not plug in the appliance and experiment going green.
Very often I have been asked about using raised beds with the Back To Eden garden method. Oddly we have actually lived thru this whole process of experimentation with raised beds and using the BTE approach. What did we learn???
Here is our story.
When we first arrived to our homestead we were faced with clay and rocks and nothing suitable in terms of soil for a garden. It was a desperate situation since we came out here to really rely primarily on the garden and hunting to fill the pantry.
When we did our research and discovered the BTE method we thought the best and only route to take would be creating raised beds on top of that hard clay soil, bring in some top soil, pay for a little compost...(since we had ZERO at this point) and then use the aged woodchips we had been so blessed to gather in the area!
That first year we had a wonderful garden. Green lush and productive.
BUT it took alot of labor to get to that starting point. AND it was a investment financially. Which was something we did not plan on when thinking about starting a garden!
The next year we loaded more woodchips on the garden and planted again. We noticed the soil becoming richer and the need for watering almost nil!
Going into the third year our soil had actually grown! The beds were popping out of the sides of the raised beds..rich fertile...filled with worms and microfibers of life! With all of that living STUFF we knew the raised bed walls had to come down!!!
That year we tore down every last block ! It was so much work, but so worth the effort as we watched the garden floor grow and expand. Our heirloom seeds were now pollinating on the garden floor randomly proving to use how valuable this wood chip method was in mimicking nature! And as the chips decomposed we saw the earth grow!!! WE knew in hindsite that having raised beds for this method defeated the purpose of REFLECTING nature....
There is no containing this method once you get it going..!!
So our advice...IF IF IF you are starting from scratch... AND CHOOSING this very particular method..BACk TO EDEN.....start from the ground WHERE nature starts! Dont spend needless money on beds...WE NEED to rethink and relearn how to garden!!!! Break free from the old conventional way of gardening and really think about how nature works!!!! This method will be the closets you will get to being garden that works with nature..is organic..and has endless possibilities for your future! Many benefits! AND..for those who have beds...never fret. This method, although should not be contained in a box..will still give you good healthy strong plants and do what its suppose to!!
We also want to mention there are millions of gardeners out there with beautiful raised bed gardens. I look on with gleaming eyes they are so beautiful and productive. Raised beds work! And they work well. But for us on our homestead with this BTE method...rinsed beds outgrew us immediately!!! THIS method specifically is intended to be FREE!!!
God Bless and keep on gardening!!~Starry
One of the most overlooked free resources for many homesteads can be the foraging of local edibles! Often when we think of setting up our homesteads to be self sufficient we focus on the garden, on fruit tress and berry bushes. All of this is excellent! Yet have you checked out your own local edibles to see if foraging is available?
Foraging offers a abundance of free food that can be dried, canned , frozen, and eaten fresh! These edibles are organic, untouched by man, unspoiled and healthy! Not only that but this addition to your pantry can save MONEY! All one needs is some time and basket!
This week the morals started popping up in our mountains. So as part of our spring routine we go mushroom picking. Later in the season we scout for huckleberry! From picking wild raspberry, black berries to picking cherries apples plums on neighbors trees, having edible resources available really does assist in sustaining our pantry and food needs!
How To Learn About Your Own Edibles In Your Back Yard
1) Forest Department
If you are new to picking such edibles as mushrooms or berries just stop at your local forest department and have them help you out. Most forest department carry pamplets on local wild edibles with pictures even!
2) Extension Offices
Another great resource that many county's and university have is a extension office. These local entities are there to address local agricultural, natural resource, youth, family, community and environmental issues. They utilize researched based education and serve as a bridge between the needs of the community and the "knowledge and resources available throughout the university, working to solve problems at the local level."
Look into your local extension for classes on foraging, plant identification, local resources.
My greatest teachers were the people at work who lived in the area all their lives and lived to pick huckleberry s and morals. Their advice and free samples and tips taught me what to look for, where to go, and what season to scout. A mentor can even take you out with them to show you first hand! Such valuable information that no book or class can give you!
4) Google It!
There is always resources at our finger tips on line. I like to use this as the last resort. Mother Earth News always have real life articles as does Backwoods Home.
No matter where you live, if your goal is to be more self sustainable, wild edibles is a resource one cannot overlook. Go green, go organic save money and most of all..... have fun!
When we lived on grid and had full use of electricity starting seeds was a no brainier.
We could simply run the grow lights 24/7, we could use the heating mats to assist in seed germination, and we even had clever tricks like putting the trays on top of the warm and toasty refrigerator or the dryer.
However now that we live off the grid the dryer has been replaced by drying racks, and the fridge remains outside till summer for energy efficiency purposes.
In addition heating mats and grow lights running 24/7 just isn't a practical or a viable option when you rely on your panels and battery bank.
We also are on a budget and limited for space outside. So erecting a greenhouse at this time just isn't feasible.
However we love thinking outside the box. And when others may be looking at buying building materials for that greenhouse, or just giving up and waiting till the garden centers have plants, we have decided to make what we have work for us!
Heck,thats part of self sustainability right?
The Warmth Solution
A challenge for many of us who are off the grid is we heat with wood! We dont have a thermostat that can easily regulate our heat so germinating seeds can be difficult. Germination is the sprouting stage, which doesn't require light. But as the embryo of the plant emerges from the seed gentle warmth is crucial.
Regulating wood heat during this sensitive stage can present a issue. This is why we use thermal mass.
Thermal mass uses objects with high thermal mass to absorb and retain heat. Materials used include cement blocks, bricks, stone, water, tile. These materials have the ability to store heat and re-radiate it. This is a lifesaving concept when using a wood stove and germinating seeds that need that gentle warmth throughout its germination period.
To implement all one needs to do is find their choice of material. We used cement block and rock as well as a big kettle of water.
Simply take your blocks or stone and water pot and place them on top of the wood stove. Some people are even able to stack the stone up against the sides of their stove.
When the fire has died down during the day those trays that are set on top of the stone/blocks will benefit from the radiant heat. This also works well as the outside temps warm up and you find starting a fire during the day isn't practical. No need to worry, the thermal mass will continue to work until the evenings fire!
When using the wood stove there is the tendency for seed pods to dry out. Therefore you must be very diligently checking your trays for moisture control. Always remember to add water to the bottom of the tray. Mist as needed to keep the soil mix moist.
Another off grid trick is to ADD a very damp sponge or wash cloth to each tray. I find wood heat very drying. So this added trick really does increase the moisture, assisting in creating a little greenhouse.
Green House On Wheels
The other reality with seed germination is that it is usually done at the end of March going into April when outside temps are indeed warming up. Which means off grid wood stoves are shutting down. Usually only fires are started during the evenings to take the edge off. So besides utilizing the thermal mass there is another ingenious trick we often overlook!
Our own vehicles!
All one needs to do is park your car in the driveway where the sun is hitting it directly. Keep the windows rolled up and wallah..! Instant greenhouse. Our truck and Subaru hits temperatures between 100-85 degrees . The germinating seeds love this constant warm heat that for any gardener doesnt require any extra help!.
From Heat To Light
And lastly, when those seeds finally do germinate they will need light. Many people are so accustomed to using grow lights that they forget the power of the sun! A south facing window is all that these new plants need to get started. Without light they will become leggy and stalky. But once in that window sill they will reach for the sun! Still pay attention to the room temperature. They cant go out in a cool garage yet, but neither is a hot car good anymore. Temperatures between 60-70 degrees will suffice. Dont get to wrapped up in the particulars. You will be surprised at how fast they grow once they feel that sun
And one last point! For those who have conventional homes and want to be more conservative with their lifestyle.TRY this no electric method!! You will be empowered with what you can do without having to rely on the convenience of electricity! Save a light bulb, and grow a plant! Its magical!!
On our self ssuatainble 13 acre mountain retreat it is a priority to maintain a self contained , resourceful, and organic homestead. When we incorporated chickens into the mix we were pleased not just with the daily egg production and Mr Rooster waking us up every morning, but we discovered the usefulness of them as our composters!
We placed our chicken coop in a very strategic location fencing in the area we wanted them to work on. During this winter we brought in bags of leaves, and some wheelbarrows full of course sawdust. We also mixed in left over hay, food scraps from the kitchen and several pails of fish scraps from ice fishing and deer bones from hunting.
Winter was a perfect time to compost all of these ingredients. The chickens wasted no time fighting over the pail of fish my husband would set out for them! Even the deer bones which surprised me was a gourmet treat as they picked them clean. As the chickens shredded the pile they had no clue they were assisting in promoting microbial decomposition and helping me work less!
The benefits of using your chickens to compost is bounteous .
Save money on chicken feed! Free food for the hens daily! High protein bugs, microbes, fresh sprouts. This also will increase the quality of your egg production
Your compost will break down quicker! Their constant scratching and digging adds in the break down of your raw materials. We noticed this pile decomposing much faster then our human made pile which needed a little more care and effort! So less work for us if we use our chickens!
Daily as the chickens work the pile they are also adding their valuable droppings!.
We also cleaned the coop and worked the manure into the pile thus eliminating the need to find a place over the winter to put it!
Winter heat and lots to do! We had some pretty cold days but with the composting pile our chickens stayed active and warm!
Backyard chickens offer so much even to people who live in the urban environment. Many cities now are adding ordinances that allow small flocks to be raised. So dont overlook this great homesteading benefit that almost EVERYONE of you out there now can take advantage of!!
This week I reposted a video about our alternative source of energy here on our homestead. One of the easiest things to overlook when going off the grid is other sources of energy. We tend to think that solar or wind is all that we need to sustain off the grid. But the reality of true life off the grid is WE NEED other sources!
We all know wood of course is top priority. It serves to heat our homes and water but we cannot keep a fire going year round. Its impratcial! There is a misconception that having solar and wind will provide for all of your needs. But as a woman in the kitchen, this isnt so
The cook top for the wood stove was fine if we had a good fire going. But again, even in the dead of winter, a fire wasn't always necessarily burning!
Now could one live off grid with just a wood stove. INDEED you can. you can do anything if your willing to put up with a couple inconveniences . But Im not to that point. I dont wasn't to live a compromised life always adjusting and making sacrifices.
Propane for us is a practical no frills FRUGAL alternative that works well on many off grid homesteads out here. Some families elect to buy their own tanks and have the propane companies come fill them up yearly. Buy purchasing a large amount they save money. By having their own tank they have power over who to purchase it from also!
We elected not to go down this route for several reasons. One because of privacy issues. We didnt want a propane truck coming up here on the homestead.For us we want minimal people up here, no trucks, no businesses.
For some this may seem extreme. But not for us. We moved here to be freer, which includes not having to monitor such things as a propane truck!
What we do then is buy smaller tanks which are easy to handle. Again we can pick and choose now where to purchase the propane. Plus we arent forced into making a big purchase all at once. We may pay a slightly higher rate, (VERY minimum) but we also dont have to lay out a large amount of cash!
We are then able to heat our water when the wood stove is unable to do so, and we have very flexible cooking arrangement. When Im not using my solar over or wood stove, I use my propane cook-top which is truley convenient. I also use my cylinder s outside for my canning arena and my outdoor stove-to keep the house cool in the summer. So much flexibility for me as a woman cooking I love it!
So off grid, keep a open mind to other sources of energy. Always have back up, always plan for the worse, but never sacrifice comfort and practicality for a lifestyle that affords the freedom to do what you want your own way if you think outside the box!!
Many times we get questions in regards to our finances and how we got to where we are and HOW to we sustain that debt free status.
To make a long story short, we have been living with a out of the box mentality since we were first married. This has allowed us to be very savvy when it comes to creating a financial plan that has worked for us and has kept us out of debt. Today in society we are taught from a early age that credit is good and creating debt to create credit is good!!
That our goals should be one of everyone else's goals, to obtain a house, a car, a college education and stuff. Stuff to fill up the house, stuff to fill up our time, and stuff to make us happy. The problem is much of this indoctrinated thinking has made us slaves to the system. If we even mention not wanting to go to collage but perhaps getting a trade we are looked at cross eyed as if something is wrong with us. No college? How do you expect to get a job? How do you expect to live? Try talking about going off grid and g rowing your own food and harvesting your own wood, water,veggies and meat. Talk about stares of lunacy!!
NOT everyone fits into the square peg society has implanted into our brains
We also often fall into the "keeping up with the Jone's trap."
I haven't experienced this but I see many of my friends who live more in the urban settings where this can indeed be a driving force. The neighbor has this, the neighbor has that. Betty got this, Bobby got that. Pretty soon we are making purchases we probably cant afford. Living a little bit to much beyond our means. Making too many payments that we know we probably shouldn't have.
This week I posted my credit card verses cash video and was sadly astonished to discover the lack of restraint people have when it comes to credit cards. Most of them were very honest and upfront with this lack of restraint. But it took me off guard. Why is it we are like this?
Its not the credit card companies that are the evil entity but ourselves Our inner desire to want more and more. To forget about restraint and responsibility and swipe the card as if there are no ramification to doing so. It is a persistent theme that has woven itself thru Americas backbone and filtrated our lives. we are left then with debt we cant afford and depression and stress over it.
People had a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea of using the system. Using the credit cards to one's benefit. Their fear of overspending and over purchasing stifled what ever financial benefits they may obtain
Prehaps thats why there were so many homes foreclosed on. We live beyond our means and dont plan down the road, and we do become enslaved to the point where we cant even FORESEE using the system because the temptation is TOO GREAT!
When myself and Mr hilder talk about how we got to this point I think sometimes people also have a hard time wrapping their brain around the fact that we are neither independently wealthy or were we blessed at birth into wealthy families.
Both of us came from meager back grounds with basically nothing. Mr hilder was worse off being raised by his single dad who wouldn't even give him money for the school lunch. Everything we obtained came thru hard work. And not just hard work,, but often thru set backs and many trials and tribulations that involved unfairness and sometimes just bad luck.
We lost money, we made some money, and lost more. We built, rebuilt and kept going. We made mistakes but learned.
We did things unconventionally and we did sometimes did things the hard way. We relied on elbow grease and pure manual labor. We were frugal and made sacrifices, but still remained joyful and free!
I think there is no secret to being financially independent and debt free. I think we all look for answers and secrets when the fact is staring us in the face. WE NEED to stop wanting...stop overspending...and learn some restraints. We need to stop being so materialistic and start valuing other things in life. We need to have a plan and stick with it. We need to stop making excuses about credit cards and all the debt we have and start ponying up our side of the responsibility.
Learn to say no, learn to do without, learn to make a sacrifice. ITS the same thing when people talk about going off grid and they think its a joke. ITS a joke for them because they are so dependent on conveniences that they cant See themselves ever being off the grid. They cant envision themselves laboring a little to produce and create something. They would rather SWIPE the credit cared, or BUY something shine that makes them happy, then to change their way of thinking.
There are those of us who get it. But plenty still that dont. I believe one day the whole system WILL collapse. I do. As a follower of Christ the story has already been written. It just needs to unfold more. Until then, we live and we prepare. we try to be wise and we try to plan. AND YES, we use the system to save and save more. The goal is always to live w ithin our means and let god provide the rest.
Winter off grid. Fluffy white snow, sparkling snowflakes, moonlight nights twinkling starlight skies. Ahhh the sound of this is indeed dreamy until reality hits. Snow that is piled so high you cant leave the homestead. Ice that is so treacherous even taking out the "humanure bucket" is dangerous! The spring water freezing, the chickens freezing, the constant hauling of wood!!!!
So often people who dive into this off grid adventurous life overlook the simplest things. WINTER! Why winter? On grid winter is, well, just easier. Sorry friends, but it is!
Because we choose to move to the pacific Northwest where terrain is unrelenting and steep, we were now being awaken to trials that we believed would never be issue. I think in our infantile misplaced arrogance we thought our Wisconsinite winter hardy background and the fact that we had over 40 plus years of exposure to brutal temps ice and snow would thoroughly prepare us for these seeming easy mountain winters.
Nope. Not really.
First year just making it up and down the driveway was a learning experiment. a exercise in learning I did not find fruitful or productive. Sliding backwards towards the mountain drop off having only two options....BAIL out of the car or keep stepping on the brakes and praying, just wasn't my idea of off grid winter lessons.
Neither was watching my husband slide the tractor the first time it snow off the edge barely preventing the whole machine from rolling over an crushing him. Lovely.
Life insurance policy for both of us had crossed our minds. Why not even get them for the dogs since they to were at risk!
Thus plowing became a big issue. Moving snow and maintaining the driveway became a unexpected surprise. As did other tasks like keeping our shower water heated. In off grid style we had rigged up our wood stove to heat the water. Sounds novel. Save on propane use the free wood heat. But like most things off grid there just isnt a manual now is there?
So you could be enjoying a nice warm shower encapsulated in glorious lather and bubbles when the water would decide to spew forth a flaming hot froth from hell and basically almost scald you to death! The next time you could be in that same lather heaven and experience darts of piercing ice cubes being thrown at you. Temperature regulation that first year with the wood stove to say the least, was a daunting task.
From carrying wood in daily, to maintaining the wood stove heat, to endless cloudy days that made solar not so desirable, everything seemed to be in a heightened state of difficultly
We tried so many different things that first year even when it came to our solar. Put the fridge outside, use a cooler, plug it in. unplug it. Put the freezer outside. Plug it in..nope..unplug it. Run the generator for a hour. No run it for five hours. Lights off, all lights off. wait we need at least one! UGH!!!
Thus even as seasoned winter experts we found off grid life quite a adventure that first year.
Despite the challenges we appreciated every day that came our way. We felt empowered, and we felt FREE! We were able to fill the pantry up with fish ( ice fishing was a great way to go to the outdoor grocery store) We were able to hunt and harvest some game.
Canning during the winter kept my stock of beans and other veggies well supplied. We grew beautiful indoor veggies and herbs. Mr Hilder got to trap and do some tanning of the skins. And we explored the endless landscapes by ski and by snowshoe. Endless adventurous days filled with beauty and peace! We loved it! The dogs loved it.
If there was indeed a manual written for winters off grid it would be a long one! Preparation made things easier, having plenty of tools and the right equipment helped. and keeping a humble and joyful spirit went along ways in overcoming the daily trials.
And when spring would gently roil in melting the last of the mountain snow, a sense of relief but sadness always overcame us. I wouldn't give away my winters off grid for anything in the world. A priceless piece of off grid life!
A very over looked aspect of creating a self sustainable homestead is hunting. Be it hunting big game for the freezer, birds for the pantry, fish for the fry pan. Often this the last skill people think of when going off the grid. Their focus revolves around the energy source, solar, wind and hydro. They set up their gardens for food production and buy bulk foods for long term. Yet ironically just out their back door or within a couple miles is a basket full of natural resources that can provide for their sustainable food needs often year round!
My husband and I have been hunting all of our married life. I grew up in a very conventional home. My dad did not hunt. He was a cop and grew up in Chicago. I remember in his younger years he looked like a very handsome James Dean, driving his slick Cadillac! No hunting for him! My mom was a stay at home mother who canned and kept a well stocked pantry. Yet I wonder if she even knew about venison or elk or bear meat canning?
When I met my husband the first thing he introduced me to was his taxidermy work, which again was something new. I guess I never thought about people hunting game and having these animals mounted. What I learned after becoming involved in the business was the respect people had for their game, and the usefulness of that natural resource.
Unfortunately distorted views on what hunting is and what it accomplishes has ruined the foundation of its purpose.Many aspects of hunting can be controversial. And indeed there are, with any human pursuits, people who can abuse and exploit the nature of hunting and harvesting game. The backlash of this subject becoming so controversial in today's society is it has trickled thru the homesteading community and sadly has tainted some homesteaders perspectives on utilizing hunting as part of their self reliant skills.
However, we strongly believe that sustainability for a homestead really needs to address hunting of game. One day the grocery stores may not be able to provide the food you need. One day the co op may not be able to deliver those meat chicks for the spring. Self sustainability really should revolve around the philosophy that you want to become less dependent on others, and more independent on what is available around you. Harvesting game is a skill that does take time and effort to refine. This lifestyle is so different then living in the suburbs or the city. It is dependent on skill sets. Dependent on knowledge. dependent on "hands on" living.
The resources that are available are so abundant that once a homesteads gets up and running going to the store for any meat item would almost be a crime. From hunting game birds, to small animals like rabbit, to big game elk, deer bear, to fishing to trapping, all serves a purpose.
The renewable facet of this resource is endless. The money saved alone serves a broader purpose for any homestead. And, the health benefits of meat and fish that has not been adulterated by chemicals and steroids and preservatives is priceless! Getting back to the basics as God intended gives a homestead health, financial security , and a filled pantry!
The negative and very misleading presumptions revolving around hunting are baseless. The price that animal pays which we purchase in the grocery store... supports its stock yard abuse and mistreatment. All of this often goes unnoticed as we fill our faces with McDonald burgers.
Yet harvesting a full mature elk , feeding a family of six non gmo organic meat that was taken respectfully and utilized to its fullest purpose without any abuse or mistreatment conjures controversy? SAD!
Reconsider hunting..harvesting, trapping and fishing. A self reliant homestead in its entirety will involve all of these outdoor skills and bring years of fruitfulness and joy for utilizing your own mind and body to put food on your table
I am amazed. This last month I posted a video introducing my Solar Series. When out of the blue my first one has hit over 80k!
This is truly incredible! It means not just people who are intrigued by the off grid lifestyle is coming to view the video. All sorts of people from apparently all walks of life are now showing up to watch! WOW!
This can be a very good thing, or a very unique maybe not so good thing!
The encouraging part of the new found coverage is a variety of ideals, opinions and tips are surfacing in the comment section.
Many have shown to be be very thought provoking and inspiring to read . But with anything the flip side are the comments that lack facts, or are cynically opinionated, or are misrepresentations of the truth.
I always tell people to bing it or google it if they have a issue with what I am saying. Just because we live the life doesn't mean we are the final word.
But the one thing these comments have made me ponder more closely is the camps that are forming out there which have so many different views and ideals about what off grid is all about.
The first thing that surprised me was the incentive hype . I think people get confused over what a incentive is. Remember the Reform Act of 2008 when all of us Americans received a check in the mail to help stimulate the economy? I'm wondering how many of those naysayers who claim we are stealing from the taxpayers cashed their checks that month that CAME directly from the taxpayers!
The government people is funded by the taxpayer! And all your tax cuts, rebates and incentives essentially just come out of whose pocket? YOURS..the tax payers.
And the substantiated facts in regards to a incentive/rebate/credit from the government is that ALL Americans if you file taxes most certainly have used one in their lifetime!
Not so? Better check yourself. Have a mortgage? Did you take the credit? Have a IRA? Did you take the credit? College? Credit? Health Savings Account? Credit? Children? All credits! Capital gain loss? Use that credit? They even have a credit for gambling losses! And to think, people get upset because the government has incentives for wind and solar.
The other distortion still comes down to the cost. And this is where the real parting of the sea comes from. We know in life everything comes with a price. Including going off the grid. But I believe that people who are getting these 25-35k quotes aren't looking at the sustainable side of off grid life.
They aren't seeing the philosophy behind the ideal. They are thinking in terms of black and white. Which means, you simply unplug from the grid and take your energy hog of a house, with all of its bells and whistles and set it up off the grid. You buy the 25k array to plug it all in...and walahhh...you are are now officially off the grid.
Going off the grid is more then just unplugging. I have said this before. It is a ideology, a mentality, a philosophy. We yearn for the simple life. We want to go back to the basics. and we don't desire to take what we had on gird with us! This means we redesign our homes, we leave behind the toys and gadgets that we didn't need, we learn how to use our hands and our brains. We get our hands dirty and our knees scabbed, we create and we produce. And our solar arrays are just a small part of our life.
AND our arrays don't cost us 35k! We consume less and waste less.
The other part is we are more then happy paying for this lifestyle.
You must pay for your on grid home correct? That didn't come free and neither did the electricity to keep it going.
The electrical part of that house was already figured into the overall cost. So that mortgage includes the cost of your electrical setup, that you not only pay for monthly in your mortgage, but YOU CONTINUE to pay monthly to the utility company.Essentially that BILL never goes away, and you never really never own that electricity in the end.
The beauty of our investment is, the cost was to figured into the house similar to your on grid home. BUT we will own our electricity in a certain amount of time. In addition we are not enslaved by a monthly bill and WE don't rely on another entity to provide for us.
Smart meters for us is nothing short of subjugation. Staying hooked up more of a vulnerability instead of freedom. The convenience of that comfort was not worth what we were giving up in terms of our sustainability. We never thought the grid was "evil" as many uninformed people who dont understand this mindset believe BUT FOR US, we choice not to participate anymore. Its as simple as that!
So next time you watch any off grid that discusses how we use renewable energy to run our homes...REMEMBER the ideal behind the concept. This is not about the panels or the turbine..this is about a dream. A dream of freedom, peace and self sustainability. Leaving the clutter, to be more simple!