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

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#1 of 25 Old 07-06-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
Thanks!
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#2 of 25 Old 07-07-2010, 03:43 AM
 
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Also interested in the answers to this.
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#3 of 25 Old 07-16-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 25 Old 07-16-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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Or you could do honey bees? Maybe set up an area to harvest your own fish?
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#5 of 25 Old 07-21-2010, 07:15 AM
 
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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.

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#6 of 25 Old 09-25-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 25 Old 09-29-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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MB!

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.
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#8 of 25 Old 09-30-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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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!

 
 
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#9 of 25 Old 11-11-2010, 08:40 AM
 
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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?

 

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#10 of 25 Old 11-12-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#11 of 25 Old 11-25-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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#12 of 25 Old 12-08-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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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.


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#13 of 25 Old 12-10-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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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

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#14 of 25 Old 12-10-2010, 09:45 AM
 
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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.

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#15 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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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). 

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#16 of 25 Old 12-24-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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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."


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#17 of 25 Old 12-25-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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Quote:
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."


Unjobbed??????


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#18 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 05:10 AM
 
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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. 


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#19 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 06:42 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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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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#21 of 25 Old 01-11-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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What about nut trees?  We're helping a friend who is going off grid (and hoping/planning/dreaming of relocating out of the city one day ourselves) and I was thinking of buying her a couple of walnut trees (not the kinds that kills other plants).  I know they won't start producing for a couple of years, but having another reliable source of quality protein that's relatively easy to store sounds good.


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#22 of 25 Old 01-11-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Nut trees are a good idea, I'd suggest hazelnuts, especially in light of the new walnut blight which might wipe out a tree just as it's getting productive, plus they're smaller and other stuff can grow next to them in a plant guild.

 

HIGHLY recommend you read Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway--great starter book for permaculture design, to think about how you want your land to develop over time, how you use the spaces, etc. 

 

Fruit trees, nut trees, perennial veggies like rhubarb and asparagus are musts!  Get started on the trees, shrubs, and perennials ASAP, they take time to really produce but are so worth it.  Check out St Lawrence Nurseries http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/ for lots of bare-root stuff you can order to plant this spring!

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#23 of 25 Old 01-11-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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i love earthboxes....take up little space, take up little fertilizer (they also have an organic option), take less water than conventional gardens, and they produce!


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#24 of 25 Old 01-26-2011, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I had not been back to this thread for a while (or MDC, oops!) and I really am digging all the feedback!  We are sort of on hold with all this as we are going to try to sell our house and move somewhere with more land/room, a fixer upper kind of deal if we can.  I know it's a terrible year to sell but we want to downsize, so we'll probably take any reasonable offer.

 

Either way, I love the idea of a nut tree.  We have pecans here in GA and they grow really well, and we all like them.  Dh still wants a pig but we really do need some more land for that, and he has shot us a couple deer for meat so that is awesome (he is a bow hunter only).  :)  We'll plant spring crops soon and then summer, and our big goal is to keep the berries producing and keep the birds out of them!

 

Take care mamas, keep the ideas coming.  

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#25 of 25 Old 01-27-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBird View Post

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!

How does this filter compare to a Berkey?
 


Katie, mama to Katherine 21, Christian 19, Johannah 17, Nicholas 12, Genevieve 10, Matthew 7, Andrew 11/16/09 10#6oz home waterbirth and madly in love with my husband, Scott
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