In surfing around the net lately I’ve run across a lot of blogs from folks that are “preparing” to go off-grid. On the one hand I can see how one might want to be prudent and do some research to explore options for basic light, heat, light, cooking and laundry; but, and I don’t mean to offend, the best way to “prepare” is to pull the plug.
I can’t help but wonder if some of the “preparing” people aren’t mostly just trying to figure out how to extract the very most comfort out of a, frankly, sort of painful experience. I myself believe that prioritizing comfort, though it feels nice, imprisons us from experiencing other really good things; like freedom.
When we first went into what I can only term hardcore homesteading, (thank you Jackie Clay) I was sort of overwhelmed at first. And I’m a tough gal, raised hunting and fishing and camping with my Daddy. Here’s an excerpt from my journal:
Got to the farm about 3:30 p.m without incident, until I stuck the struck and trailer with 14 goats, 5 chickens, 4 cats, 2 geese and a 3-legged sheep. Had been raining here all day and was sloppy, sloppy. Put up goat pens and made bacon, gravy and fried ‘taters for supper on an open fire. Turned out raw and sandy. Didn’t sleep real well.
Up with Dave, then kindled the fire and had coffee and read Countryside. Started laundry – seemed like it took hours – and washed up dishes. Tired already. Made oatmeal when Rachael got up. We put up a tarp shelter for the goats. Third time’s a charm. The first two they used for a trampoline. Made pen for chickens and geese. 2 out of 5 promptly escaped. Took a rest while Rachael went down to the creek, then got up and brought in firewood. Rachael and I straightened up outside the trailer and I juiced up the fire and made stew while she straightened inside. Caught a little black snake with an orange neck and a yellow belly.
I remember one morning that winter waking up in what was basically a tar paper shack. Well, really it was a ‘50’s vintage park model trailer with a blackboard sheathed addition heated by a woodstove that we hadn’t yet learned to operate correctly. It was probably a bit above freezing and I remember thinking to myself, “Should I get up where it’s even colder than in this bed and try to start a fire, or should I just lay here and die.” Really, that’s what I thought. I can imagine how tough it must be for ladies that are a bit more delicate than I. But try I did and learn I did. If I had been only “preparing” would I maybe have just gotten up, turned on the furnace and said “I’ll think of it tomorrow”?
There are those, I’m sure, that would say that if we had “prepared” better we might have had an easier adjustment. I disagree. I’ve been there. It’s the skills you learn ‘cause you have to and the the grit you develop that turns an unexpectedly unpleasant off-grid beginning into a joyous life.
The point is, the trial by fire is often the most productive. It’s nice, when you live on the grid, to have an evening when you turn the lights off and the kerosene lamps on. But, what are you going to do if someone goes outside, falls down and cuts themselves to the bone? (That was last April.) You’re going to turn on the lights, take them to the ER and have learned nothing. Suturing at home is a whole ‘nuther post and I could do it if anyone was interested. But I digress. To be less dramatic, what if you figure out that you’ve mislaid your cell phone before you started this “preparation” exercise? Realistically, you’ll probably turn on the lights and think of it about it tomorrow.
I don’t want to discourage anyone and applaud all those who seek freedom even in small degrees from what we believe is a really messed up world system. There’s an old southern saying, though, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.” I encourage you, if you think off-grid is where you’re headed, to jump off the porch.
Please feel free to post or contact us with your questions or comments.