Need help, moving off the grid for a documentry - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 20 Old 05-18-2006, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My family and I have been wanting to move off the grid for some time now. We feel into an oppoutunity to do a documentry for the Discovery channel about a family moving off the grid. We would recieve $4000 in compensation as well as expert help during a 6 month filming. We have to buy our own land, an pay for everything else. We relly want to do this, but I am worried about money, how we will fair living in a yurt with 5 kids for 6 months while we build our strawbale. Not to mention we have a very meager savings (like $9000) would that even be enough to try this? We were supposed to leave to the the show in June, but I chickened out and said maybe August. Dose anyone have any suggestions or ideas for me? I am overwhelmed right now and need guidence.
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#2 of 20 Old 05-18-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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Hi, they contacted me about doing this too but I don't think we were "city" enough for them since we're just going from small town to the mountains.

Anyhow, living in a yurt w/ 5 kids could be crazy but it could also be a great adventure. What size yurt BTW? If you put in some nice bunk-beds for the whole family and have a nice place to be outdoors it could be easier than you think.

9,000 in savings is great from my point of view. If you could tell more about your lifestyle and where you are it may be easier to give advice about if that amount of money would be good enough.

Do you have to buy your yurt with your savings? Do you have to buy all your materials, land, labor with that money?

If so, I'd think it is a bit too little unless you're getting loans or buying really cheap land and building it all yourself. There are people who build their own houses for very little money. I think it takes a lot of time, patience, perserverance, and creativity to build super cheap like that though. We're building really cheaply because Dh has so many tools and equipment that we need.

Tell us more and we'll offer what we know.
Congrats on the discovery channel thing.
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#3 of 20 Old 05-18-2006, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are planning on doing everything ourselves. I am hoping to be able to borrow a yurt from someone we know, we'll see how it works out. It would be a 30 Ft one. Which we would stick on a deck.
We are living in a tiny apartment right now. Going to school in Idaho. We were considering moving to Arizona, but found some perfect land in Montana that is calling us.

Once we get there I am planning on doing composting toilets, solar, propane,etc for power. We own zero tools, ecept a few srew drivers... I would love to get a wood cookstove for cooking. maybe for heating water or a solar water heater maybe. We d have to buy everything with our money. I am a professional artist and was thinking about selling pottery on eBaby to help offset the costs. I don't know I have heard that is is possible to have a bale raising party and people will come help you build for free to get the experience.

I am just scared of this whole thing, scared of failing, scared of bears eating my kids. I don't know whats wrong with me, Iwanted this for so long and now that it so close I am freaking scared out of my mind. I am scared about not having power and water and the garbage man to collect my trash, LOL.
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#4 of 20 Old 05-18-2006, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And laundry, how do you do laundry for seven people with out power??????????
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#5 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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With ENVY.

I wish I could do something like that-- I've watched those shows with the hubby and he constantly says that I was born in the wrong time period. How in the world did you get so lucky, as to have them contact you to do the show?

You can't see it, but I'm pouting and stamping my foot-- but I would probably be in the same boat; not enough money in the beginning to get it going.

Good luck, I'll be watching for the show
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#6 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 02:05 AM
 
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Congrats on an awesome opprotunity. I have been searching around for us for a while and there are some awsome sites out there for land- cheaply. PM me if you want me to send you some.
Montana is gorgeous (I am a fellow Idahoan- 3 hrs from you) but you can get more/better land elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. So if you arent set on MT then I would definatly look elsewhere.
I just got a wood cook stove off of freecycle- I am just waiting to go pick it up. Once I get it and it is decent you can have it if you want. It was just going to sit in our shed until we could find the place for it. Let me know.

For tools check all the pawn shops. You can get killer deals there. If you have to make a weekend trip to boise or SLC and check out the many they have available.

Good luck with this awesome opprotunity. I am totally envious.

Kim- Simple livin' mama to 4 great kiddos.
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#7 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cool! I would love info. PMing you!
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#8 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 02:40 AM
 
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Where in Montana? I have family there...and I LOVE it too!

Sara ::: Mama to Bella Grace & Lucy Mae Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
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#9 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 02:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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12 miles west of Helena. I am so excited, the land has a creek. Although we haven't closed the deal yet, so it could and may change.
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#10 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 03:03 AM
 
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Oooooh a creek. I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to live on land with running water. Or water of any kind

Sara ::: Mama to Bella Grace & Lucy Mae Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
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#11 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 03:03 AM
 
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Oooooh a creek. I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to live on land with running water. Or water of any kind My family is in Bozeman...they run a camp up in the mountains. Beautiful.

Sara ::: Mama to Bella Grace & Lucy Mae Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
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#12 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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Just speaking from my own experience here. We are building a dome with the intent to go off grid - we have used boatloads of money and we aren't even close to finished. We knew it would be expensive, but the reality kinda hits ya in the kiester IKWIM. Solar panels, equipt, and batteries are completely out of our reach for now - the system we would need was more than the 13,000 to start out grid tied a 1/4 mile from the dirt road. The solar will come later when one of us has a job. With off grid in mind we will be doing extremely efficient fridge/ freezers = 2x the price of conventional. Soy based insulation - 3x as much as conventional.

Just the site work to access the property and get ready to set the foundation was astronomical. The well and septic weren't no piece of cake either.

What you have going on sounds great. I would really examine the amount of time you can devote (with 3 kids and 1 on the way, we have not done as much ourselves as we thought we would) to the project, and the financial feasibility of the total project - lumber isn't gonna start getting cheaper anytime soon. Freecycle is a great idea for stuff you can find there - but then the cost of transport comes into play. I would also check out strawbale sites galore - get on the forums and find out how many folks near you would be willing to do a raising. I hope you get it all worked out as it sounds like a wonderful life to lead And I'd love to watch your process!
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#13 of 20 Old 05-19-2006, 10:13 PM
 
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I posted something yesterday that didn't come through.

The basic jist was:

1) Is your land purchase going to use up your cash, given that lenders usually require a higher down payment for land?

2) Everything takes longer than you think and costs more than you think, but if you really knew that you would never start, and you're always glad you started. BUT for this project you might want to have a plan B and a plan C, especially since they're filming.

3) Why not make the documentary about making the yurt off-grid? I highly suspect that alone will take a while. Maybe if it goes well, they will come back to film "phase 2", the straw-bale house.

This sounds so fun and great and worth it. Have fun and good luck!

Mama to two sweet boys, a 7yo superhero.gif and a toddler coolshine.gif.
 

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein

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#14 of 20 Old 05-22-2006, 09:23 AM
 
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Please keep us updated!! We also were contacted about this documentary but moved to NE VT pretty soon after and are now renting a village home and farming only 1/2 acre market garden while we pray and look for an offgrid farm to lease to own - bad credit and no money

You can do it! It surely won't be easy but how exciting and we only have one go around

Warm wishes,
Tonya - Simple Living Mom of 5

Simple Living, Joyful Homemaking, Homeschooling Mom of 6
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#15 of 20 Old 05-22-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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If you decide that you can do this, a great place to look for tools is garage sales. And make sure you mention the documentary, some people may just give you a reduced rate, or even for free! You might post a wanted ad in freecycle to see what you can get. Some papers have wanted ads for free too. And spread the word to churches, schools, playgroups, family and friends that you are in need of such and such!

Jill, mama to three fiery girlies and a sweet baby boy: Grace, 11.30.2005,  Ayla, 3.22.2008, Norah 9.5.09, Reed 8.19.11 & dfs Gage 2.29.12   angel1.gif x4
 

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#16 of 20 Old 05-26-2006, 02:39 AM
 
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Sounds like a great adventure. If you are going to be somewhere with more intense winters I would want to get started sooner in the season rather than later so you will have adequate time to get the basics like shelter, wood supply, garden, etc done in ample time before the weather turns. As a previous poster stated, it takes more time, energy and money than you think, but of course it is worth it in the long run. Keep us posted!
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#17 of 20 Old 06-02-2006, 09:06 PM
 
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I've been through some of what you're planning and have done LOTS of research into strawbale since my husband and I plan to build the same very soon (within a year possibly). You've had some good suggestions here so far. Freecycle is a great resource fo a lot of things. I've even seen haybalers found there, although stuff like that is rare. You're very likely to find the tools you need and other odds and ends. You might also find more specific items for sale or barter along with lots of people who know what they're talking about at greenbuilder.com. If you feel like chatting with me feel free to IM me through Yahoo. My ID is Muttnboofer. I can maybe even give you cool ideas about laundry and other "must haves".lol. I can't give you much info. on yurts though, but it looks like another thread has been started on that. We started out by living in regular camping tents here with a lockable storage shed to keep food and other items in and keep wildlife out. We're in a mobile home right now getting some of the components together so we can move them over to the new place when we're ready.

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#18 of 20 Old 06-16-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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I think you should go for it! If you have good enough credit, maybe you could see about a loan to make up the diff. of what you need? I think this would be a wonderful experience. Yes, it will be very hard work, and of course it will take more time and money than you imagine, but just think of how wonderful the results will be! I agree with pp's, you should place adds on your local freecycle, as well as branches around you and where you're planning to move. You will probably find some amazing things. I think you or another poster mentioned having a bale-raising party. I think this would work. You could advertise in your new town and I'm sure many will come just to see what it's all about and meet you -especially if they know it will be on t.v.!

Good luck and keep us updated!

~Melanie
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#19 of 20 Old 06-17-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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As far as making some of the expense up she could also do what some other strawbalers have done. Offer tours by appointment once the house is done. Also, some of those strawbale parties can be done as workshops (where you get paid for them). The only catch to that is that you're usually expected to offer a bit extra. I saw one offered last Sept. where they had a big breakfast and morning yoga with the owner who happened to be a yoga instructor. I think they also got a friend to offer massage therapy in the afternoon at the end of the weekend. It was a 3 day weekend and they also offered dinner for 2 nights. It was one I almost went to since it was close. I couldn't make it because of schedule but I sure wish I'd been able to

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#20 of 20 Old 06-19-2006, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for the help. We're still plugging away. We did our first test filming last week. The Discovery Channel loves us, little do they know, we're total nut cases!
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