Every once in while I have a spike in my blog views because somebody told somebody else that I live off the grid in a yurt with my husband and three small children. This just happened today. So then all these folks show up at my blog and then they find a lot of stuff about authentic life and creativity and God. But they don’t always find the content they’re looking for.
What is it like to live off the grid (especially with kids)? And why do I do it? And how does it work?
I’m going to try to answer this. Someday I’ll mix it down into a friendly FAQ page — an “everything you want to know about living off the grid with kids” kind of page, and I’ll add that to my tabs on the front of the site. When I have time, but I’ll tell you the first rule of living off the grid is that all the projects are between 1 month and 12 months behind. (ha!)
Anyway, here’s a place to start.The number one question that I always get, which makes me laugh, is…
Q: How do you blog if you’re off the grid?
A: This is funny, because it interacts with the fantasy of turning back the clock, which — I hate to break it to you — is just a fantasy. I am off the grid in the sense that I am off the power grid. I have my own water, that comes out of the ground. I heat and cook with wood, which is trees, which come out of the ground. I don’t have a phone. BUT…I am still a person, who lives in 2014, not very far from a city.
I have a car, and I put gas in it, that I get out of a pump at the gas station. And have a gas-powered generator, which we use to run power tools. (This is my number one reliance on an outside energy source, although at this point food from the grocery store isn’t far behind.) Most of my neighbors have electricity. Every single neighbor who lives on the mountain full time (except for us) has electricity. Many, although not all, have Internet. I absolutely intend for my children to be exposed to computer technology, maybe not to the extent that they would be if we had electricity in the house, but certainly not not at all.
Laura Ingalls Wilder I am not.
The other part of this question is that I am a blogger because I am a writer. Writing is a vocation for me, and a job. I take it seriously. So I leave my house on a regular schedule to go to someplace where I can blog/promote my work/work on getting published. If anybody is harboring the idea that I am the totally selfless mom type, who lives to wash her children’s clothes by hand? Well…some days, I guess. But mostly not.
Q: Do I have access to emergency services?
A: Yes. We do have a registered address, and a street sign. Which means we are entitled to 911 services to our door.
Q: Do I have the technology to reach those emergency services if needed?
A: Mmm. Sort of. We have NO phone communication at our house. But our neighbors have phones. I can drive to a neighbor’s house in less than five minutes, if my car is working and the road is clear. Worst case scenario, if I couldn’t use the car, our closest neighbor is about three hundred yards away, via rather rough terrain. She has a phone. She has a car. She is almost always home. (Also she is my kids’ regular babysitter. Yay!) Also, she is a neighbor in the old-fashioned sense, meaning that she wonders about us. She hangs out on her porch, near the road, and she fully expects me to pull off at her house and let her know how I’m doing. If I had an emergency, I would expect her to expect me at her door. Also…I have talked about setting up a walkie talkie at her house, and one of these days I’m going to actually do that.
Q: Do I miss having Internet in the house?
A: Nope. Not at all. I love that we don’t have a lot of screen time. I love that I’m not on my social networking during meals, or answering emails at bedtime. I love that we are not connected 24/7. But remember, it’s more accurate to think of us as towards the end of a spectrum, not on the other side of a line. I actually do quite a lot of social networking to share my writing. I am not policing some kind of a connection-free life.
If you want lots and lots of info about our off the grid life, the category you’re looking for is Homestead Diary. Enjoy!
And now…what other questions should I answer? What else do you think people want to know? Ask in comments!!!