Friday, March 20, 2009

Off Grid

Our family has purposefully chosen not to utilize many modern technologies that many people take for granted. We have found many benefits as a result of this choice.

For example, by not having electric lights, family members naturally gravitate to the oil lanterns once darkness arrives. We have a lantern over our kitchen table and that tends to be the center of activity - for drawing, card games, reading and conversation. Because the smaller Dietz oil lanterns are not too bright the children tend not to stay in their bedroom too long during the early hours of darkness. Neither are we tempted to go off in different directions to watch screens independently. I am amazed to learn that many children now have their own television and computer and game system in their bedrooms.

The longer our family lives without direct access to electricity, the more I understand why the Amish have such rules for the their lives. When it is as simple as plugging an electrical device into an outlet in your home, the options are endless. The most common use of electricity in most homes is probably lights, but then add in televisions, computers, coffee makers, microwaves, toasters, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, cordless telephones, electric toothbrushes, dishwashers, workout equipment, hair dryers, and many more items I have surely forgotten.
Most homes do not have their own independent electrical system utilizing solar, wind, or hydrolic power. Therefore, people are generally disconnected from where their electricity originates. As one relies more on man for their needs, it would seem likely that it would be easier to rely less on God. The only time the average homeowner may think about their source of electricity might be when they pay their bills, for example.
In addition to relying on large corporations for one’s needs (such as electrical companies), it is so very important to be conservative with what God does provide. For example, because our family is keenly in tune with our water usage and the physical effort involved in heating our water, we do not take daily showers generally. I vividly remember how easy it was to justify a daily shower. At present I wash my hair every other day and wash up every day with just about two gallons of very warm water.

I have to finish up our homemade veggie soup while the little one sleeps - I have more to write tomorrow.


  1. Sounds so wonderful actually (and this is from an electricity user). We don't allow our boys to have TVs, computers, video games, anything like that at all in their rooms. In fact, they don't have computers or video games at all. We do have a TV, but it has no cable. So it's a big black box that only shows DVDs that we allow to be viewed when we desire it. And then it's a family thing, never going off in different directions (boy, that painted a picture I have seen in so many homes).

    I do have one question, and maybe it's as plain as the nose on my face, how do you get online? Computers use electricity and internet requires at least a phone line or cable outlet. Do you use the library, a friend's house, or have some nifty tip you could provide? I am NOT being rude. I am honestly and truly very curious and have been for a while but felt rude asking. I was hoping this topic on your blog might allow me the opportunity for this to not sound rude.

    By the way, I just adore your blog. It is such a light in this world and such a wonderful example. Thank you and God bless you today and everyday.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful post!
    We charge our small lap top in our car and we have a phone line for internet access - yes, it is slow, but we don't use the internet all that much. Prior to living this lifestyle we built up our online handcraft business and we have felt the need to maintain that to some level. We are working hard on building our organic veggie side of the business with the hopes of not being reliant on internet sales. We will see what God provides. Your home sounds like a great compromise. Actually, it sounds very much like ours as we have a small older television we pull out for the children to watch one move on Friday nights - for this we run the generator. Other than that, no television.
    Thanks for sharing and warm wishes,

  3. We've felt a strong leading toward going off grid. We already heat our home, water and cook on our Baker's Choice wood cook stove , in Fall, winter and early Spring.The remainder of the time we cook outdoors and hope to assemble a solar water heater as well as a solar cooker.
    We use lanterns and candles. Our only hang up is our freezers, my Dh doesn't like canned meat. I just read an article about using our cellar for a refrigerator and we do have access to the river, so can make a spring box as well.

    Where we live, we do have 6 acres on the river, but our home is hooked to our towns water supply( which can be easily changed) and sewer( which is a costly change). We haul water in the winter for our animals, using a hand pump on our well. Sometimes our bitter temps create an issue, of the hand pump freezing up, which a cup or so of hot water usually solves.

    I enjoy your blog and understand your wishes to pull back from the internet. I'm excited about your newsletter and am sending a yr. subscription, today.

    Blessings from,
    The Never Done Farm

  4. I'm curious as to how long you have been living this way. I've just happened onto your blog. We do have all of the conveniences but my grandpa would love to to live the way you do. In some ways they do. They heat totally with wood in their wood stove. And cook on it. When they had the cook stove my granny made bread and everything. They grow their own vegies and herbs. And they practice holistic medicine except where some illnesses are concerned. My granny could never use a wash board anymore, although she used to.