For the past several years, Nick and Esther of Fouch Family Off Grid have been living off the grid in a yurt while building their off grid timber frame dream home. In that time, they’ve learned some valuable lessons about living off the grid.
In this video, they share those lessons. I typed them up for you, but it’s worth watching the video as well to hear them elaborate on these points.
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1. Solar power is easier than you think. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s nothing the average person can’t figure out, so try not to be intimidated.
2. Plants can’t grow where there’s no soil. You may need to take steps to improve the soil on your land by adding organic matter such as manure and grass clippings.
3. Water runs downhill. This sounds pretty obvious, but people forget that if your water source is above where you need it, you can take advantage of gravity.
4. Carrying water is the worst. A five-gallon container of water is 40 pounds. Find a way around that by creating plumbing systems or other ways to move our water.
5. Batteries run out. Use power-efficient lights and rechargeable devices so you’re not going through so many batteries.
6. Bears like trash. Everyone knows this, but the reality of it doesn’t set in until you have a bear moving in with you. Secure your trash.
7. Firewood is a ton of work. Be as efficient with your firewood as possible. For example, set up a rocket mass heater, that way you won’t have to cut so much wood.
8. Yurts are better at cold weather than hot weather. Yurts are great in the winter because they hold in the heat so well. The downside is they are very hot in the summer.
9. Temporary is longer than you think. There are always unforeseen problems and circumstances. Don’t expect every temporary situation to be temporary.
10. You can do things you didn’t know you could do. Don’t underestimate yourself. If you’re willing to learn and have a positive attitude, you can do whatever you need to do.
11. Going off grid is not deadly. Some people are very intimidated by the idea of going off grid, but it’s not as dangerous as you might think.
12. Everybody poops. All God’s creatures poop, so you need to figure out what you’re going to do with it and how to handle it in a sanitary way.
13. You can’t skip your dirt work. Many people don’t like digging or moving lots of dirt, but you might have to.
14. Somebody has to take out the trash. You’re going to produce more trash than you think, so you need to know how to keep animals out of it and how to dispose of it.
15. There’s no such thing as time travel. You might hate the modern world, but you can’t make it go away. Rather, you should take advantage of modern technologies.
16. Insulation is awesome. If you end up living in a temporary shelter, you need to insulate everything as much as possible so you waste less energy staying warm.
17. You can cut down trees, but you can’t put them back up. Cut down trees as you need them. If you cut down too much, a lot of it will go to waste.
18. Wood is heavy! If you heat with wood, you need to have smart ways to move it or come up with ways to use less.
19. The good, fast, or cheap triangle applies. You can have two of these things, but not all three. With most projects, you’ll have to be patient if you want it done right.
20. There’s no right way to go off grid. Everyone’s experience with going off grid is going to be unique. If one way isn’t working out well, don’t be afraid to find another way.