MyWildCabin – Living Off Grid
Living off grid has been a dream of ours since we can remember. Two years ago, it became reality. It’s been such a wonderfully amazing experience, I’m inspired to write and share my awesome new way of life with everyone. I live in the remote wilderness with my husband and I just love it.
I grew up in a very big city used to having all the modern conveniences, all the shops you could possibly imagine and all the services you need close by.
Yet, I’ve always been drawn to nature. As a young girl, I spent weekends at the family cottage on the riverfront in the country. I preferred the quiet, peaceful settings surrounded by wildlife and picturesque scenery to the hustle and bustle of city life. I preferred breathing the fresh clean air in the country to smelling the traffic fumes. On weekends, I preferred waking to the sounds of birds, frogs and crickets to the sounds of screeching bus brakes, sirens and honking horns which is what I heard on weekdays from my bedroom in the west end of town.
I’ve always been environmentally conscious but haven’t always led a very green life. Living off grid has not only been a lifestyle change, it’s taught me how to be more conservative with energy, resources and money. It’s amazing how much waste there used to be in my everyday life. Two years into living like this – my life is very different from how it was before. My life is more fulfilling and it’s been highly simplified. I grow some of my own food which gives me not only the most delicious and fresh produce I have ever eaten, but also a tremendous satisfaction at having provided it for myself. It’s amazing how much money I save doing things myself. When I lived in the city, worked and raised two children, I often opted on the side of quick and easy instead of healthy and homemade. In my haste to make ends meet, I lost track of what mattered to me.
When you grow your own food, you get to pick from your own garden and choose your own fresh vegetables for that day’s meals. The taste is incomparable. Carrots are juicy and crisp – I love eating them right from the garden. There’s something also to be said about playing in the dirt. I look forward to getting my hands into the ground every spring. It’s like therapy for me – anyone who gardens knows what I mean.
Living off grid saves us so much money. Sometimes it takes more effort both physically and consciously to live like this but the rewards are far worth it. I realize that I not only prefer to stay more active, I need to stay more active. The more active I am, the more active I stay. I know people in their 80’s who shovel their own driveway, rake their own leaves and are in great physical condition – I want to be one of those people. I’m not afraid of physical hard work, I embrace it. I have adopted a much more active and healthy lifestyle – I prefer to live as naturally as I can; I’m learning more how to do that everyday. I used to run to the doctor and the drug store way too often – I prefer now to work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle and take natural remedies for what ails me. I can still go to town for medical treatment if required.
Landscaping is one of my favorite things to do. I love taking nature and rearranging it like I want to. My husband dug a pond for us when he had equipment rented for a weekend. It adds so much life to our place.
In the fall my local garden center had a sale and I picked up all those plants for less than $40. Living off grid has taught me to economize – the less I pay for things the further our money goes. For some reason, when I used to work I used to think of money in a much more disposable way. I have learned to appreciate the value of things and I spend so much less money now than I did before. I waste so much less now than I did before – in every aspect of my life.
Recycling has become a way of life for us now, it’s second nature. Composting goes into my garden while rain water is used for washing and watering plants. Living in a remote setting taught me to rely on myself. I need to be self sufficient – I only go to town for supplies when I need to – I never go to town to get things I want. Instead of feeling deprived, I just stopped wanting things. I soon realized how much moeny I wasted on things I didn’t really want in the first place. One of the biggest surprises of adopting an off grid lifestyle was just how much money I stopped wasting and as I keep getting used to this new lifestyle – I keep being amazing at how little money we need to survive and live very comfortably.
I am very proud of how I have become much more environmentally conscious. I live in harmony with nature and for me, this works much better than living in the fast lane. My husband and I would never go back to living in a city.
Living in the remote wilderness, I get to see all kind of wildlife. Although I am at the cabin by myself most days, I don’t feel secluded or afraid – I have my birds and animals to keep me company. My little dog lets me know if something big is around. I am very lucky to get visited by chipmunks, rabbits and a number of different birds that seem to change almost on a weekly basis as they fly through on their migratory paths. The forest is always echoing with the songs of a variety of songbirds – it’s a very magical place to be. I rarely have any music on when I work at the computer, I love to just open the windows and let the birds fill the cabin with life. My husband shoots animals with a camera – there’s always something beautiful to photograph outside.
Everyday, we have different fury friends come to visit us. Everyone of these magnificent creatures comes with it’s own special personality and charm. We have a couple of chipmunks that live near the cabin and really like peanuts and bread crusts. I woke up one morning to find a strawberry in a tree, a squirrel must have hauled it up there before I woke. Between the squirrels and the chipmunks, we did not get to eat that many strawberries out of our little patch, looks like we need to make it bigger for all of us next year!
We’ve had several visits from black bears. Our little Pomeranian lets us know when they are around. We even had a curious bear take a peak in our cabin and leave his muddy paw prints on the walls. No denying it was him now! We scared him away with a warning shot, he never came back. This bear was too brave.
I respect wildlife and choose to live alongside all living creatures in harmony.
This is how we shoot bears:
Living off grid is a more than just a new lifestyle, it’s a new way of thinking. I have really had to start over how I think about consuming energy.
We have a total of 360 watts of solar power panels. In the winter, we need to back it up with a gas generator if we need to use the laptop. We do not subscribe to cable or own a television. We unplugged from that over 7 years ago and have never regretted it. By tuning out from tv “programs” and tuning into our own lives we have find that we have so much more time to do the things we always used to just think about doing.
Saving energy is a priority now. I never waste energy, even though I no longer have ridiculous hydro bills, it’s not even about money for us. It’s about being efficient and conserving every way you can. When you start to think along those terms, it spills into other aspect of daily life. We are looking at expanding our power supply and different available options.
I can’t tell you how much satisfaction I get from cooking a meal for free – using energy that would otherwise not be used. I have mastered the art of cooking over the open flame. I will place an entire chicken on a grill and cook it outside over a kindling fire. I love spending time outside and I love campfires. So why not spend an afternoon relaxing while grilling a chicken for supper tonight?
I utilize the wood stove a great deal to heat water and cook with in the winter. I simply throw together a casserole in the crock pot – maybe a roast or a chicken and place it on top of the wood stove on a chilly winter day and let it cook by itself over the course the day. Any good cook knows slow cooking is the best way to get tender juicy meat – falls off the bone, every time. Sometimes I wrap potatoes in foil and just sit them on top of the hot stove – they cook by themselves. I can smell it when they’re ready – my nose knows.
To me less is more. The less I have, the less I have to worry about. Our cabin is 14 feet wide by 24 feet long – it’s a breeze to upkeep. By keeping nice and small, we are less tempted to start hoarding things. We’ve been there and done that. We had the big houses (with the big mortgages), I’ve cleaned empty rooms that eventually got filled with “stuff”.
We live in a society of excess and waste. It took some time to de-program myself and teach myself to think of life with a new perspective. We got tired of the rat race and stopped running.
My husband built our own cabin by himself. He still works to support us, but work is sporadic and our goal is to make our homestead sustainable and our lives completely self sufficient. We are building online businesses and looking into other ways to support ourselves. With this lifestyle, less money is needed to survive, much less – we can spend more time doing the things we love doing.
One of my husband’s new hobbies is making videos. This is his video about building our off grid cabin. Many others want to live or are living like we do and people really appreciate him sharing his information.
Living off grid, I can live a more relaxed lifestyle – my pace is much slower than it was before, even though my days are full. The biggest difference is I have much more leisure time. More of what I do on a daily basis are things I truly want to do and fully enjoy doing. That was not the case when I worked and lived in the city. I used to dream of living like this and now I do.
There are “sacrifices” to make, I don’t use a hair blower, nor do I have a microwave. I only turn on a light when I enter the room and I always shut it. I use winter as an icebox to save on propane. To me, it’s all about saving energy, saving money and spending more time enjoying life.
I would not go back to city life for anything. Here, I live with my husband and my dog – we are one with nature. We are close to what we love and we have time to appreciate the little things in life that make us smile – like a beautiful sunrise or a new flower that just blossomed.
My advice to anyone out there who has ever thought of living a life off grid is to DO IT! You’ll never look back. We just keep looking ahead with smiles on our faces…
Here is a link to another of my websites and another story about my life off grid: http://www.canadianvoyageurs.com/off-grid.html