Totally off grid yay or nay.

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Neb

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It looks like you are doing a lot of research, good, I will give my take on self sufficiency : Simple is best, look at the way people lived 100 years ago. one of the biggest things is to learn what you really need, and to find an efficient way to provide it, In an area of unrest one wants to be as invisible as possible and all members of the group need to be onboard with the plan. If possible it is best to ease into a simpler life style, sometimes this is not an easy choice. As to Containers as housing, they can be a great plan, provided that you are willing to work with their size. Keep asking questions and see if the answers fit your ideas.
If you are handy with a welder and chop saws...


Ben
 

SheepDog

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Pieter,
hydroponics requires a lot of chemicals to mix in the water to keep a crop growing. It tends to be very polluting and demands a great deal of water. This is not to say it can't be used but you will have to use a lot of prayers to make it successful. It also needs power to pump water nearly constantly.

Aquaculture is not a closed system even if it is running properly. A matched number of fish that require feeding, a water pump system to move the water from the fish to the vegetable garden and the microbes that remove the toxins that the garden can't is less costly than hydroponics but just as complex. As soon as you do any harvesting the system has to be adjusted and needs time to balance.

I have not done either but I did look into each to see if It would add anything and be worth the work. Hydroponics was out of the question due to the expense and the resources that come off the market. If the market collapses so do your supplies. If my room was confined aquaculture is a better of the two but it too requires power and a way to feed the fish and balance the garden chemistry. Some things can be stocked and stored in high volumes for long periods of time and some things you can produce or gather from your local area. You still need another source to get a good diet and some kind of "farm" animals for diversity. You can hunt and gather as a supplement but that will require a lot of land and time. Going it alone is a losing proposition. If you have helper then you have to get bigger to provide food for everyone. I found that I needed a large amount of land to be self supportive. Grazing land for cattle, pigs and chickens and farm land for wheat, oats, barley, buck-wheat and alfalfa. I need about an acre for a vegetable garden, some berries and starches as well as 3 of each; apple, pear, apricot, cherry, maple, walnut and oak trees. I need a safe breeding population of each animal and collect their waste products for compost to use in the fields and gardens. It is a lot of work but some is reduced depending on the breeds chosen so that four people can easily keep up with the work. Even at that harvest time is going to be long days for a few months. As I age it may require hired help - added mouths to feed. My plan is to produce 2 years of food each year which will provide a cushion in case we have a bad year and some for barter or just to donate to others in need. Everything will require sustainable techniques from the animals breeding to a no till farm and rotating crop, grazing and pasture lands.
My challenge is heating, electrical and waste treatment over long periods of time. (and finding the land I need) :)
 

bkt

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This is my first message on this forum, however it is a burning question in my mind that brought me here.
If I look at our current political climate here in South Africa. Also bearing mind what happened a month or so ago, as well ( riots and looting). I have been having this massive urge to buy a property in a deep rural area and go totally off grid.
For a semi novice like myself, will it be advisable or am I going stark raving bonkers about nothing?
Hello Pieter, and welcome!

You have presented us with a problem and also a solution. Urban life isn't safe (problem), so you want to move to the middle of nowhere and be off-grid (solution). It may be that your solution is ideal for you, but you should also explore other options.

I suggest you get past the immediate problem and move out of the urban area, but still relatively near other people. That way, you can make use of the grid while you learn the mechanics of living off-grid. When you're ready and if you still believe it's necessary, go get a plot of land way far away and make use of the knowledge you acquired.

But the first order of business is getting out of harm's way.

There is a lot of information on this forum and there are great people here who can advise you on different off-grid technologies. I do wish you and yours well.
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
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Hello Pieter, and welcome!

You have presented us with a problem and also a solution. Urban life isn't safe (problem), so you want to move to the middle of nowhere and be off-grid (solution). It may be that your solution is ideal for you, but you should also explore other options.

I suggest you get past the immediate problem and move out of the urban area, but still relatively near other people. That way, you can make use of the grid while you learn the mechanics of living off-grid. When you're ready and if you still believe it's necessary, go get a plot of land way far away and make use of the knowledge you acquired.

But the first order of business is getting out of harm's way.

There is a lot of information on this forum and there are great people here who can advise you on different off-grid technologies. I do wish you and yours well.
Many of the people that we listen to all basically saying the same thing, be far away from large cities, we're out in the woods but too close to I-5, 60 miles to the largest city near us. Years ago we used a drip system, it worked great due to extreme low spring output, since then I added a 1,100 gallon tank just above the garden area which has made a huge difference for getting a good supply of water for the garden as well as water for our chickens. The main message I can pass on is to make sure that any property you get has plenty of water, we've always been on the edge of not having enough water and it takes a lot of creative planning of how we can best use what we have, in our case it's always adding more storage tanks and using spring overflow through each tank to keep the water as fresh as possible.
 

Aklogcabin

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Any idea of where you want to be ? I use hydroponics in AK with a self watering system. Couldn't do the fish thing. I'm not ingenious as some.
I've researched that the containers can have issues with moisture inside. So the climate they are used in should be considered. Will you need road access? Having electrical service is nice. If you're starting from scratch and haven't spent much time being kinda self sufficient. You have to be a jack of all skills because you are all you got.
Anyhows great luck to you and yours. It will be an adventure.
 

Magus

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Hello OP. if you go dark (off grid) be sure you have a source of clean water, portable and reliable power and most importantly, a way back out!.
I was off grid four years on a spiritual quest and loved it!
Why not just move to North Georgia here in the US? Boers welcome!
 

joel

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Cascadian

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Hello Pieter
We went from on grid to off grid for four years when we moved to our property. Now we are on grid with the ability to go off if needed. In my humble opinion you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself and your family. I would suggest just living off grid for a bit. When you have made that adjustment then try feeding yourself off grid. There are many adjustments and challenges. Something as simple as making coffee with an electric coffee pot or heating up a burrito in the microwave are very different. For me I would have to go outside start the generator come back in and then do what I wanted. Go back outside and turn off the generator. Now imagine doing that several times a day in rain, sleet, snow, heat etc. As for leaving the tv on in the background and such those days are gone. Every bit of energy wasted is something you could have done and now can't. So my suggestion is to eat the elephant one bite at a time.
 

Frodo

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I am going to jump in on this topic.

Going off grid is ok,,But. going off grid means you are self sufficient
Do you have the knowledge and the tools to fix anything that breaks and build what you might need?

In all honesty this is where i see most people fail. They buy a place with out knowing how to plant a garden or skin an animal
or composting there human waste
Your first priority is clean drinking water and sanitation.
shelter and food are next
 

dunewalker

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I think the concept of composting human waste is a combination of virtue-signaling and making extra work when you already have plenty to do on an off-grid homestead. If water is scarce, then a well-built conventional pit privy meets all needs with a day or so of work every few years (for moving to a new hole).
 

dunewalker

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What are you going to use for fertilizer? Do you plan on growing your own food?
Well, I'm not super excited with using human manure anyway, but have lots of cow paddies.
 

joel

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I think the concept of composting human waste is a combination of virtue-signaling and making extra work when you already have plenty to do on an off-grid homestead. If water is scarce, then a well-built conventional pit privy meets all needs with a day or so of work every few years (for moving to a new hole).
I agree, human compost for plant that you do not eat, animal & plant compost for edible perennial & annuals. Dry composting for human waste is a lot of work, even with vermicomposting.
 

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