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What were your "steps" to CL/off the grid?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just wondering bc dh and I are starting to think about next year, and I wondered what other mamas further down the path have done. We want to do one major thing each year while adding to something we have already done.

We have a smallish veggie garden (tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, broccoli (that got eaten ) and a berry area (blackberries and blueberries). That's expanded from last year when we had a teeny garden area and only blackberries. We are canning and freezing like crazy people.

We got four chicks this year, which was our major thing! Hopefully they'll lay for us in a few months.

Sooo....what next? Dh and I have thrown around for next spring the ideas of a goat or a piglet (to slaughter in the fall), but he's not that into the goat and I'm not that into the piglet.

We have about a half an acre to work with, but it's rocky and our grassy area is now taken up with chicken stuff.
post #2 of 25
Also interested in the answers to this.
post #3 of 25
What about building a greenhouse on the rocky soil so that you can garden in the cooler months? You could also get a couple of fiber animals (mohair from angora goats for example) or do angora bunnies (though they require a lot of care to get good fiber from). You could also make it into a "romantic gardening" area, and focus on improving the soil, building a sitting area like a gazeebo or outdoor swing, and add some lattice for things to grow on.
post #4 of 25
Or you could do honey bees? Maybe set up an area to harvest your own fish?
post #5 of 25
My progression will look like this - decent garden. bees. (swoon - you WILL get addicted to bees they are like no other creature on earth.) flock of chickens. cow. probably a dexter. But I dont really know cause I havent done that much research.

That said I am not off grid yet, but I am starting to formulate my plan so I know what kind of land to buy and where.

post #6 of 25
I, also, am trying to formulate a plan for living off the grid. Right now, we're homeless, so we have a ways to go (but we do have property with no utilities or anything on it but a few mesquite trees).

Ideally, I'd start with our own well, if there's water available. Growing my own herbs is a must.
post #7 of 25

If you're planning on staying put for a while, I'd consider more perennials. We wish we had put more effort into perennials when we moved to the farm. Finally got asparagus, rhubarb, raspberries and strawberries planted this year. Dwarf fruit trees, more berries, perennial herbs are all great.

That and, yes, bees. I'd think they'd overwinter pretty easy for you in the south.

If your layers do OK, maybe you'd like to raise a few chicks for meat?

I wouldn't recommend the goat unless 1) you get two goats; and 2) you have some really excellent fencing. And as you might imagine, I don't know much about pigs.
post #8 of 25
Also, you should buy a water filter. We bought one that does not require electricity. Here is the one we bought.... http://www.everythingkitchens.com/aquarain_700_400.html
If you want to live off grid, there might be a time when the power goes out and you can't get fresh drinking water. This filter can clean swamp water if needed. We are also trying to set up a little off grid/sustainable farm, and buying the water filter was one of the first steps we made.

I want bees next year ) And lots of flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables......the list goes on and on!
post #9 of 25

We are on year 4 of  off the grid.  The first three years we built the house and a family, two beautiful babies while constructing.

1st year one garden bed roughly 4x8 ft.

2nd year, 3 garden beds,

3rd year 5 garden beds,  chickens for eggs

4th year 10 garden beds, landscaping/flowers, 3 fruit trees, 3 pigs for fall slaughter.


Next year I hope to have two goats for milk. 

I have put off getting hives for honey for now because our land is so newly developed and there is very little local agriculture that bees would starve, they need LOTS of flowers, not enough from the garden. 

Does this help at all?


post #10 of 25

We just started our homestead in the past 3 months.  We jumped in really quickly and now have goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, 

and a pig.    I definitely recommend getting a pig.  They eat all your food scraps and till up your land.  I can't imagine not having a pig after this.  Super easy.       Like someone else said, if you do goats, you need minimum two and a good fence.  We have 4 foot wire fence with a strand of electric running along the top.










post #11 of 25


post #12 of 25

We are saving money to purchase and work on our homestead and are in the planning phase but we've done some stuff in the past. My suggestion would be expand your garden a little then chickens and maybe goats. Chickens are super easy but be warned they are very addictive! Goats are easy and a ton of fun but they do need really good fencing. You'd be amazed what these suckers can get out of. After having them I wouldn't have land without chickens or goats. luxlove.gif For chickens I like black australorps or rhode island reds. Really docile, winter well, and lay lots of brown eggs. For goats I'm looking into Nigerian dwarf because of the smaller size.

post #13 of 25

I second the aqua rain filter. We've had ours for years and love it! I want to add more but don't have a lot of time right now. thumb.gif

post #14 of 25

Just as a side comment, if you're filtering swamp water, don't just dump it in the filter! Filter it with low-tech filters first, like a few layers of cheesecloth (and maybe more than one pass), that sort of thing. That will extend the life of your filter. OK, carry on.

post #15 of 25

I'm not further on the path...but some people we know who are made planting trees their very first task (before they even built their house). 

post #16 of 25

Definitely go for the pig. We live on a farm with friends, and they brought two heritage breeder sows and raised two piglets for slaughter. Supremely easy animals. My family has observed the whole process and we feed the pigs scraps, help with pen construction, moving sows to bring them to other friends' boar, etc... One sow has five piglets presently, and the two slaughter pigs were... well, delicious, lol.


One of the sows squashed all of her piglets. :( She'd pulled a whole bale of straw down and they slipped under her and couldn't scoot out when she laid down. She was very sad for a long time. She's going to be bred again next spring, and everyone's hoping she's not damaged for mothering now, but we'll see. If she does reject her litter, there's another sow who could take them on.


This year coming will be our first year of doing this for ourselves. We've been learning by working with our friends, so our first solo-farming begins next month when we order/reserve our chickens, seeds, and piglet. We want bees and rabbits, too, but will be obtaining those once the weather warms.


We wanted goats, too, but our friends' stories of having goats while living against a rock face in the mountains really discouraged me from further considering it. They had to retrieve a goat from 50ft up, and also had one fall through the roof of their tool-shed. No thanks. Another friend keeps them very uneventfully, but he doesn't live next to a mountain.


Our garden plot is about 16'x 50'. I can't wait!!! :)


Our steps include building a layer coop, rabbit hutch, and pig pen. The garden is established (former chicken yard and successfully gardened for 2 years with all organic inputs), but we'll need a fence around it, and we need to build two underground cold boxes- one for freezing and one for just cooling during the warmer months. I think that's it, besides continuing to gut and rebuild our mobile home that we also will need to move to the left 90'.


So, easy-peasy, right? Lol. Oh, and we're planning to be unjobbed by summer, too. joy.gif We are unfamiliar with the idea of "small steps."

post #17 of 25
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post
So, easy-peasy, right? Lol. Oh, and we're planning to be unjobbed by summer, too. joy.gif We are unfamiliar with the idea of "small steps."


post #18 of 25

Unjobbed sounds great! :)


We're in our second winter at our house. First year we spent a LOT of time, money and energy working on the fixer upper house. I also put in a 40x50' garden with 6 ft tall deer fence (I know some are 8ft but omg. 6 t seems to be working!). I had some experience with gardening but NONE with canning so I decided to freeze a lot of the produce. Next summer I'm hoping to can (I'm afraid!). Also hoping to put in some fruit trees next spring and I want some chickens but DH is dragging his feet. I want to build a small greenhouse to stretch the growing season. I really like green peppers but they didn't have time to grow and I want to give the tomato plants a boost. (they would start in GH then move outside). 


We have about a 1/3 of an acre here which at first I was worried wouldn't be enough. It's long and narrow though and divided into sections. Front yard with trees/house/back play area with trees/soon to be chicken and greenhouse area, garden, soon to be fruit tree area at the back. It's good. Plus we're surrounded by fields and forest so that helps. 

post #19 of 25

If you aren't ready for an animal, I'd go with fruit trees.  But really, pigs are super easy and its almost more convienent to have a pig than to not have one.  I'm not a big fan of goats in general, although we've had them, so I'd go with a pig.  You'd get an idea of how much work an animal can be (though, again pigs are easy) and it isn't a huge commitment since pigs don't take that long to raise for slaughter.


We're definitely not off-grid.  We have 4.5 acres, tons of fruit trees, a large garden and until recently cows.  We'll be getting some pigs this spring and probably the next spring, a steer for meat.  It's strange not having cows, this is the first time in my life I haven't owned a cow, but it's really nice too.

post #20 of 25

Have you looked into what your options are for the land you have regarding being off grid? To me, if being off grid is a priority then that is the first thing to be considered when choosing land to buy. But if you are going to make due with land you already own, then you need to make a realistic evaluation of what your options are given what you've got.  

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