What does being “off-the-grid” mean exactly? The way most people who are talking about the grid refer to no longer being dependent on the power grid. This takes more than a couple of solar panels and a tiny home, although that’s a good start. Transitioning to off-grid homesteading takes planning and a lot of consideration. Read on to learn about the things you need to consider before making the switch.
Evaluate How Much Energy You Currently Use
In order to figure out how much energy you and your family use you can start recording and analyzing your monthly electric bills or you can buy a Kilowatt Meter to perform energy audits. The Kilowatt Meter report will allow you to see how much energy every electronic item in your house is using. Then it’s up to you to reduce the use of that electronic or find an alternative! Making your family aware of all the energy being used every month is important in making the decision if you and your family are ready and able to go live off the grid.
Limit Your Electrical Dependence
Getting off the grid means generating your own electrical power. Start this process by installing alternative energy sources such as:
- Wind turbines
- Solar panels
- Geothermal systems
- Micro-hydro systems
These tools are improving every day and becoming not only more common but also more cost-efficient. These systems, along with water sources and storage, are important to figure out before making any decisions.
Having these kinds of systems in place can help you gain financial freedom and full reign of your property. Not only will your wallet thank you, but the planet will also. These alternative energy sources will help reduce our carbon footprint on the world we live in. So whether you choose to heat your home from solar or geothermal energy, you’ll be on your way to off-grid homesteading.
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5 Tips to Eating and Drinking Off the Grid
Determining ways to provide you and your family with nutrients, energy and other necessities is crucial to transitioning your homestead to being fully off-the-grid.
1. Know How to Make a Fire
Fires can be an extremely efficient way to provide heat for your homestead, particularly if you have a wood-burning stove in your home.
Practice makes perfect. Learn how to make a fire and practice it until you’re efficient. Figure out what fire starters work best for the humidity, moisture in the wood, rain, wind, tinder, damper closed (if starting the fire inside), poor placement or kindling, wrong kindling, the wrong type of wood and flow of oxygen.
2. Learn to Identify Edible Plants to Forage
Many wild and foraged plants offer nutrient-rich and ready to eat foods but some can be dangerous and toxic, so it is important to know the difference. Enroll in a wild edibles class online or in-person to learn the skills needed to identify edible foods in the wild.
3. Tracking, Trapping, Hunting and Fishing
Unless you and your family can live strictly off of vegetables, fruits, salads and grains (which a lot of families can) you’ll need to know how to track and trap animals and fish. The skills you learn will not only provide more food for your family but they will also be used to keep your land and your livestock safe.
4. Growing and Preserving Your Own Food
Finding a place to grow and then harvest you self-grown foods is step one in your food-growth journey. Then it’s good to think about how you will preserve the food your family is not eating yet. This is when a lot of the alternative energy sources will come into play. Whether your refrigerator is powered by solar panels or if your oven or stove is generated from those wind turbines it’s crucial to know how you’ll make those fresh foods, dinner table ready!
5. Collecting and Purifying Water
In order to harvest and harness water, you and your family need to learn collection methods and purification tactics. Make it fun! Give every member in your family a different way to collect and then purify water, then compare and contrast those methods to identify the best and most efficient one for your family.
Do You Have What it Takes?
The process of moving to self-sufficient energy and living is not easy, but it is definitely worth it.
If you can meet the challenges that come along with summers being hot, winters being cold, nights being dark, gardens needing good soil and water only running downhill — then you’ll be equipped to thrive through off-grid homestead living.