( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ) ) ( ( /\ (_) / \ /\ ________[_]________ /\/ \/ \ /\ /\ ______ \ / /\/\ /\/\ / \ //_\ \ /\ \ /\/\/ \/ \ /\ / /\/\ //___\ \__/ \ \/ \ / \ /\/ \//_____\ \ || \ \ /\/\/\/ //_______\ \|__| \ ^ \ / \ /XXXXXXXXXX\ \ /|\ ^ \ /_I_II I__I_\__________________\ //|\\ ^ /|\ I_I| I__I______|______I //|\\ /|\ //|\\ I_II I__I______|______I //|\\ //|\\ //|\\ I II__I I XXXXXXX I //|\\ //|\\ | ~~~~~" "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | |
Living off grid:
We have lived fully off grid for two years. All power, water, and waste treatment is offgrid. Alot of testing and experimentation preceded the final move. These are the systems we are currently using...
Two 24v 200aH storage batteries. Self built, with 8 3.2v 200aH Lithium Iron Phosphate cells in each battery unit. 100amp BMS. Charging is accomplished through solar, and small generators on cloudy days. When you are storing generated power in batteries, the generators you use do not need to be large. I have a 900watt two stroke generator which uses very little fuel, but produces enough power to charge up the batteries. I have an additional 4000w contruction generator as a backup. From experience, I prefer construction generators to the fancier generators with push buttons, and sensors. The sensors ALWAYS go out after a few months of use. Contruction generators are purely mechanical, easier to maintain, and much easier to repair. One thing you learn living off grid is always have backups. Another way of saying it is, 3 is 2, 2 is one, and one is none. It sounds odd, but once you live like this, you'll know what I mean.
330 gallon cistern, periodically pumped full from small stream using a small 12v pump. The water is then gravity fed through the first filter and into smaller holding tanks for use. Depending on its purpouse it is used directly, or filtered again before cooking and consumption.
For poop, we use a simple aerobic composting system. Wood chips, organic matter, and waste are stored in blue plastic barrels. With wood chips, there is no odor, and the carbon/nitrogen ratio produces thermogenic reactions assisting in decomposition. Once the barrel is full, it is sealed for about six months, and periodically rolled to aerate the contents. After 6 months, all that is left in barrel is essentially soil.
Urine (which is sterile) is incredibly high in nitrogen. When diluted with water, it can be used to raise the nitrogen content of soil. Or can be disposed through a shallow drainfield or even in the woods without any problems.
Our internet consists of hot spot sharing from our phones, and one dedicated data only hotspot. For major updates to systems, or to download movies, my wife and I take a drive to a coffee shop, get a drink, and have a download session while talking about random things. We call them download dates. We were on the list for Starlink, but after some research I learned that the Starlink modem uses 116 watts of power continuously. This is ALOT of energy in an offgrid setting. To run the Starlink modem, a dedicated 3 kilowatt hour battery would be required. And then there is power generation for charging the battery to consider. After calclulating the costs, the 5 watts of power required for a hotspot seemed more feasable. So for now, this serves our needs.
Currently we live in two converted RVs. By converted I mean the interior has been changed to suit full time living. All the particle board built in furniture was stripped out, the interiors painted, the floors redone, and more durable furniture was used. Why 2 RV's? Before I married, I had a small 1978 travel trailer that I had converted for full time living. When I married my wife, we tried suburban house life, but it didnt suit us. When we found a 30ft 5th wheel with a slide out for $3500 (it had a busted water system), we jumped on it. I fixed the water system, and here we are.
This year we expanded the garden plot to 30x30 feet. The entire area is covered with geocloth, which increases soil temp in the summer (in the Pacific Northwestern U.S. this is a good thing), and removes the neccesity of weeding. We do no tilling of any kind, growing plants in undisturbed, covered soil. Various forms of composting, and chicken poop provides soil nutrient replenishment. The geocloth is staked down, so it can be lifted when needed, and compost meterial spread. Although, I got lucky here. I built the chicken coop and chicken run slightly uphill from the garden. During the rainy winter, I noticed that rain was mixing with the chicken poop, and flowing down into the garden, under the geocloth. I could not have designed this better if I had tried.
We grow for production. Nothing fancy. Pure, bulk food production. Cabbage, Potatoes, beans, peas, high yeild tomatos, root vegetables, squash, and a wide variety of hearty greens. With the addition of chicken eggs, and some stored dried foods like rice, lentils, and wheat flour, the majority of our food needs can be met.
The updating of this page will be ongoing.