going off grid - how'd you do it? (with only land) - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-21-2010, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mrs.aLifeofReilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 416
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is something DH and I have been dreaming/talking about for a while. We're currently renting but have been looking to buy. We've seen some houses in suburban lots that are nice, but on the expensive side for us and aren't really what we're looking for.

We both really like the idea of a yurt and have been tossing around the idea of just buying a few acres and putting up a yurt and living off grid.

Has anyone who has been there give some practical advice? How do you make it work? While I like the idea I'm a bit clueless on how to set up for living (water, septic/waste, heating, etc). I'm afraid it will end up costing more to do this than just buy a crummy house on a tiny lot in the suburbs.

We're in New England, so we have to consider cold winters and snow too.

Where do we start?
Mrs.aLifeofReilly is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-22-2010, 12:56 AM
 
tomtemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: in the house of crazy girls.
Posts: 478
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I could have written this post word for word. I'm subbing to see if you get any advice as I could use it too.

Mama to 3 lovely home learning, nature loving girls read.gif(10), fairy.gif(7), fly-by-nursing1.gif (3).

tomtemama is offline  
Old 07-22-2010, 12:20 PM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We're looking into it too - and we're in MA.

We haven't gotten far but we just requested a book from interlibrary loan: Living in the Round (http://www.livingintheround.org/)

I am trying to figure out if we can avoid a septic hookup - expensive and not necessary, imho. I am sold on composting humanure. (And am considering doing it here in this house even if we don't move to a yurt). The book for that is the Humanure Handbook. (I also got it from interlibrary loan).

But more than anything, I'm trying to figure out if I REALLY want to do this. I have been making noises about it for a couple of years but all of a sudden the yurt bug bit my husband and now I'm unsure. LOL, it's driving him nuts, he's saying "you've been yapping about this for years, how can you say you're not sure you want to??" So he's the one looking at land and calling the zoning department and I'm like "um, I'm not sure..."

Like you, I'm afraid that we'd put in so much that it we would basically be pretty much no better off than we are in our current home. We live in a very modest home and we're not overstretched. But DH's primary reason (and there are secondary reasons too) for wanting to do this is to be free. To be debt-free, to have freedom to work for himself and not have pressure to earn a lot of money.

We would not be debt-free if we did this, even if our blue-sky numbers turn out right (which as you know they rarely do). But our blue-sky writeup suggests we could be out of debt in 7 years, instead of 27 as we're on the path to do now. (Unless we make more money, after we pay off our student loans we have to roll all that money into retirement and we'll have nothing left over to prepay our mortgage). Now, 7 vs 27 (if it's even true) is a big difference, but at the same time I'm scared thinking that even 7 years is a long time. (FYI we would both keep our jobs if we moved to the yurt - I work for an Internet company and DH works for himself repairing electronics).

Some stuff I've learned so far, good and bad:

- Mice and rats can be a problem. But I hear that cats really help keep the rodents away, they don't like to come in a place with cats around. We have 2 cats.
- There's black bears in our area. But I read that yurts are bear-proof - they might rip the fabric but they can't get past the lattice frame.
- Obviously overall you have to be really, really, really careful and anal about food and cleaning up. You don't want to attract bugs, rodents or bears.
- From what I'm reading, yurts in a cold climate are absolutely do-able. In fact, the original yurts were from cold (dry) climates. Our climate is wetter, so we can't use the traditional felted wool insulation, but there's other fabrics and insulations that work perfectly well. Yurts withstand snow (you have to check building codes for the snow weight per square foot that it must withstand for your area, and then get a structure that meets that).
- Yurts are apparently very warm. DH read that the bad thing is that if you let the fire go out (or whatever heat you're using), the yurt gets very cold very quickly. But the opposite is true as well, once you re-light the fire, it's warm and toasty within minutes.
- I read someone saying they go through 7 cords of wood a winter (in Alaska). Whoo, that's a lot, but we'd use less in New England.

Well, that's my braindump for this thread. I'm obviously no expert, just in the same position as you, but this is a good thread for me too. Good to think things out more.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
Old 07-23-2010, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mrs.aLifeofReilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 416
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
We're looking into it too - and we're in MA.
Hi! Great to 'meet' someone else in the area. I've already looked into the idea of a composting toilet (one of the properties we looked at had a failed title V and I was researching to see if instead of putting in a new septic it would be a similar cost to do a greywater system and composting toilet but couldn't find the locals laws on it as it was a pretty suburban area).


It is looking more and more like the yurt idea isn't really practical right now. If it was just DH and I, we could rough it for a while and add conveniences as we could afford them, but it would be a lot harder with the little ones.

I think I might have found a good option for us this morning though. I broadened the area we were looking in and found a place on about 3 acres. An older home with a few updates but the land looks fantastic! I could see living in the house a while as is and then either making changes to the current home to go off grid (or tie in) or putting up a yurt on the same land.

When we've been seeing places I find myself evaluating the property based on where I'd put in gardens and an orchard and if there is a nice space for chickens. Obviously the house is important too, but that's a lot more easily changed than the land itself.

I think we're going to go see it today - I'm so excited! I love the photos, I hope this one is it.
Mrs.aLifeofReilly is offline  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:50 PM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For us New Englanders considering a yurt, you can stay in a rustic one (no electric or running water) for $95 a night in New Hampshire.

http://www.greenalpacayurts.com/

I'm thinking of having a stay and seeing what it's like. It's actually more rustic than I would have - we'd have some sort of electric and running water (though I'm trying to avoid sewer). But I figure it will give me a better idea of what it's like, especially to sleep in overnight. I might even go back this winter and try it in the wintertime.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mrs.aLifeofReilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 416
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
For us New Englanders considering a yurt, you can stay in a rustic one (no electric or running water) for $95 a night in New Hampshire.
Very cool!
Mrs.aLifeofReilly is offline  
Old 07-23-2010, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mrs.aLifeofReilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 416
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.aLifeofReilly View Post
I think we're going to go see it today - I'm so excited! I love the photos, I hope this one is it.

Ugh. They already accepted another offer. This is the 3rd time this has happened to us in the past 3 weeks and the 5th over the entire time we've been looking for a place.
Mrs.aLifeofReilly is offline  
Old 07-25-2010, 11:05 AM
 
highlandmum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE OH
Posts: 627
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wow... I have to sub for now, but I am so glad to have seen this... I am VERY interested in the answers! DH and I actually own 7 acres of land....with over 60 acres surrounding it that we can use (it's his family's) but I've been so bummed lately, because we have NO money to build anything on the land, so we're stuck where we are. I've thought it would be about 4 years before we'd be able to build....
Hmmmm.....

me, dd1, dd2, ds, and #4 due March 1. dbf has 2 of his own, so it will be an adventure!

i like making things. 

highlandmum is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off