Off-Grid Living: 3 ‘Don’ts’ for Making the Homesteading Life Work

Are you thinking of making the leap into off-grid homesteading? Longing for a cozy cabin just outside the reach of rampant materialism and the current cultural ennui, but don’t really think you can cut it?

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It can be a challenge, but you see – that’s one of the joys of going off-grid. Once you cut ties with conventional conveniences, you get to decide what your life is going to look like! Want to live on a mountain-top without cell service or solar chargers – you can totally rock it – just stock up on beans, rice, water (melted snow makes awesome dish and bath water!), and vodka for those long winters. More of a ‘lazy homesteader’ like me? Those little, backpack solar chargers can power your phone, tablet, even a little rechargeable record player without an issue! You can come in from tending your little flock of chickens and watch YouTube videos until your battery dies if you want!

Point being, there are so many options for living the off-grid life in style! We’re not living in the 70s anymore, you don’t have to be a hippie baking oatmeal, sunflower-seed bread and singing protest songs around the campfire to go back to the land! I mean, if you want to, more power to you – and I have a tasty recipe to pass on for sourdough oatmeal-seedy bread too! Not to mention tapes (yep, actual cassette tapes!) of protest songs from the early 20th century labor movement you can totally borrow! But then you’re need a tape player that runs on batteries…

  • Don’t be afraid to jump in, mess up, try again, and work out the off-grid life that fits your family! And don’t be afraid to start small and grow into something more intense! When we first moved onto the land, we got way too much Chinese take-out, and spent way too much time playing Parcheesi by lamp-light instead of building up our homestead. It was fun, it made the transition slow and easy and gentle. Sometimes planning too much and trying too hard to get everything ‘right’ makes it impossible to every get started. Planning is fun, but it’s not everything – jump in with all your ideals and enthusiasm and see where it takes you!DSCN7130
  • Don’t feel like you have to compare yourself and your homesteading to me or to the super-homesteaders who make their own toilet paper, distill their own liquor, and still find time to write all about it for Mother Earth News. You’re homestead is your home! It’s your little monastery and it’ll look like you, not like anyone else. That means if you want to have a vegan homestead with big gardens and no animals, don’t worry about all the naysayers who insist you’ll need a flock to fight ticks and manure your garden; and if you’re certain your homestead needs a sauna out by the stream, build that thing! Nothing inspires you to keep going on long, cold winter nights than the knowledge that this is – or will soon be – your actual dream home!DSCN8551
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut. Sometimes, we start out being lazy homesteaders and end up moving towards something more intense. It’s hard to do that when you’re just doing the same thing day after day though. Leave yourself open to change! Be willing to give up the un-essentials (even just for a little while) to “see how it goes without..” something; and be willing to add something knew as well! Life, whether on or off grid, is richer when we give it space to grow and develop. Recently we’ve decided to be more intentional about our meals, to plan them better, prepare them slower, and use more local ingredients than ever. It’s been a challenge – remember our love of take-out Chinese? – but it’s been so beneficial, and it ways I didn’t expect. Slowing down our meals has led to a more intentional day overall. I’m more focused and engaged with my children, they get to help with more of the food prep, they get to eat meat from animals they knew and loved more often, and we’re all more tuned into the cycle of life and death that fills the world around us. When we limit ourselves by setting boundaries around what we will and won’t do in our homesteading journey, we end up stagnating. Don’t stagnate – grow!IMG_20171116_144159_730.jpg

Tell me, if you’d love to go off-grid, or start homesteading..what holds you back? If you’re happy living the life you have, tell me what makes it beautiful to you! Blessings!

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