Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Woman's Perspective


A woman's perspective on living-off-the-grid? Sure, I can tell my perspective, but it may not be the same as other women's experiences. I had a reader ask me for "a woman's perspective on living-off-the-grid" and to write it as a blog post here. When I say "off-the-grid" here, I mean off the utility power grid such as electric companies. Of course, as of now, 2016, I have lived this lifestyle for over 17 years. I was in my forties when we started and it was like an exciting adventure. At that time, with no alternative energy system in place, we weren't using computers or anything electrical. Our days were spent getting firewood, bringing in water, preparing food and in general just enjoying this new way of life. A propane refrigerator and stove came with the house and we used those. A bit later, my  husband hooked up the wood cook stove we had purchased previously before moving here. Our lighting was all done by kerosene lamps and we had a lot of them. Fourteen to be exact and that included two lanterns for outside.

Cinders in our first garden on the front yard!

At that time the woods came right up to the house and surrounded us. We usually began our day by drinking coffee at the kitchen table looking at our huge collection of homesteading magazines. Nobody came here except for my husband's daughter, Hollie and her baby, Angel and my son, Jeff, who has lived with us off and on over the years. Our parents did not care for our dirt road, though my husband's parents did travel out here every now and then on Sunday after church. Now with them gone, we only have an occasional visitor, usually my husband's brother, Ken, my stepson, Jeffrey (yes, both of our sons have the same name), my son or my brother, Mickey. Very rare though! Before my father-in-law died in 2014, he liked to come out every now and then.

Peaceful Forest Homestead November 2016

I find as I have gotten older, it is not as easy as it was back then. Now I don't have a vehicle that I can drive, so I am really isolated. I have bad knees and need a cane to walk if I go anywhere. I seem to get along okay here without one, though when I am outside I carry a small shovel for balance. We were never able to make the important improvements to our house due to money. Those would have made a big difference now, I think. We put money into our energy system, such as in solar panels and a small wind turbine. Over the years, parts had to be replaced and the good thing is that those things are coming down in price now. We really needed to have done other things to make this house more senior friendly than it is right now. Hopeful about that in the future, but don't know if it will happen in my lifetime.

Wind Max 400

Life happens, so things change over the years. We lost beloved family members, people and pets. Working on various projects that couldn't be completed for some reason or other. Accidents happen. We have more power than we started out with, since back then we had none. I believe the internet has sidetracked us a lot. Spending too much time on it, when I could be doing more important projects. This coming year, I am cutting back on my time online and only spending time on sites that are more important to me, like doing my genealogy research. Other than that, I need to be working on our food and house.

Our Road

For the most part, this is a good way to live. In the country away from areas that could have terrorists nearby or some type of unrest. Growing as much of our food as we can, harvesting and preserving it. Generating our own power, the more we can produce, the less of the other fuels we need. Right now we are limited due to our batteries getting old and needing to be replaced. Once they are replaced, I can't see us running our generator more than once a week or so. Providing our own needs is the way it used to be. Not running to the store constantly to buy something. I am probably one of the most frugal women you could meet, trying to make everything last as long as possible. What else can you do?

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole