Homesteading Off the Grid: Why We Did It and What We Learned
I remember the first time I discussed homesteading and self sufficiency and living off the grid with my dad.
He looked at me kind of strange and said ' there's no money in farming...' He spent most of his life tryong to get OFF the land. That was about 1 year before we moved.
I was, in essence trying to explain a decision that was already made up for Jane and I. In retrospect I probably did not do a very good job.
The difference between trying to make a profit at farming, and homesteading self sufficiency are like night and day. I did my best to explain about growing our own food and building our own home.
By definition what we had planned was homesteading, as no other family had ever occupied the land we moved onto.
'But you won't have any money?' he said. Of course he was right, at least in the beginning. Without capital, except for our own land we had little money. But that was really the whole idea.
To provide for ourselves, to be self-sufficient.
And we did, from our own home, to our kitchen table (which we still use today).
When it was all boiled down to the core, what we wanted was control of our lives. To be able to control how much we spent on rent (or land taxes), how much we spent on food, how much we spent for heat, electricity and water.
To control your own resources was very liberating to say the least, we had building material, stone and wood, land to grow our food, fresh water and dead wood for heating our home in the winter.
Our basic resources we needed to start homesteading and be self reliant were all here. But how could I explain it to Dad? or the rest of the family?
The answer arrived only a short while later in a letter from Mom and Dad, stuffed inside a birthday card.
'On our way home from our vacation we are going to stop in and visit for a few days, and you can show us your place.'
We were excited and filled with fear as well. How would they react to our homesteading off the grid lifestyle.
Thankfully it was late August and the garden was bursting at the seams, morning, noon and night providing us with all we could eat.
They were both gardeners, and grew up on farms so the fresh produce they would appreciate.
During their visit we were right in the middle of finishing up the root cellar where we were going to store our winter food, potatoes, carrots and root vegetables mostly. Dad pitched in and helped me with the last of the foundation, then we were free to explore what we had done.
We showed them both around, we made meals, had campfires and talked.
The important part was when Dad told us both, 'obviously this has made you both happy, and the kids are happy too, that's all we need to see.'
And he was right, we were happy (are happy)
This post is dedicated to Les' Dad, who died just 2 years ago. We miss you. And thank you for loving Jane as though she was your own daughter. The two of you were much closer than I ever realized.
Homesteading off the grid may not be for everyone, and it is hard to explain but it certainly is worth it, none of the rest of our families has ever seen our living off the grid homestead, but for those who have they have seen 'real happiness here.'