Like many young couples disillusioned with the modern way of life, we dreamed of owning our own homestead. A place to stretch out, raise our own food and reconnect with the world around us. Too many years of office work had worn down our resolve, and we wanted something better.
Our initial qualifications were:
-Minimum of 10 acres
-House not visible from the road
-Wood heat & a sufficient woodlot to sustainably harvest for heat
-Land suitable for agriculture
-Within 30 minutes of a small store to acquire the essentials
-Access to water
-No easements, right of ways or snowmobile trails running through the property
-Located in Vermont
After looking at the options in our price range, and determining most of them would better serve humanity and the community by being burned to the ground, we were discouraged.
Patience. Continue to save. Stay the course.
We continued to watch the market, checking real estate sites daily. Over the next few years, our savings grew, along with our budget and we began to see plausible homesteads. During our 3rd summer of shopping, we began to see 8-10 plausible options a month. After initial calling and background research, and that list shrunk to 2-3 actual home tours per month. Each one, not quite right.
Crumbling foundations, floodplains, dump sites, junkyards. Google earth became our best friend. Scouting the neighborhood via satellite maps and street view saved us a lot of time and mileage.
Finally, we found it. Our dream compound. A former organic farm with a beautiful timber frame home and greenhouse on 20 acres. I called the agent immediately, only to learn they’d just accepted an offer. It was listed for a total of 12 hours. We’d seen it. So close, and now we knew it was out there.
Patience. Stay the course.
A few weeks later, we finally found it. The perfect place. Multiple structures all almost 1000 feet from the road, dense woodland, 30 acres, attached greenhouse, super insulated, wood heat…but…it was off the grid. Were we ready to move off grid? While we were both experienced with agriculture and animal husbandry, we knew nothing about solar and wind energy.
What does a charge controller do? Aren’t the batteries expensive? How often does it need maintenance or replacement? Will we be able to have computers? How about modern conveniences like a washer/dryer?
We knew nothing. After a few long nights up mulling it over, we decided to jump in with both feet. What better way to learn than immersion. In hindsight, it was crazy. The past three years off grid have had a steep learning curve and a few near disasters, but we’re loving every minute of it.
Since moving to our forever home in 2012, we’ve learned a lot about off-grid living. We’ve since mapped out our full system and made a lot of improvements (click here for tour and specs for our power system).
These days, we both work as independent contractors and earn a full time living off grid without ever having to leave the property.
In hindsight, there are a number of things we wish we would have budgeted for before the move, but all in all we never regret making the jump.
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