EDIT 3: Ok, I am done :) I answered questions for 12 hours on and off, and I need to go to bed. I enjoyed all your questions, feel free to PM, I'll try to answer as much as I can. Have a great weekend!

We are a family of four (two adults, two kids), living off-grid on a self-built homestead in Vermont. I am making jam and canning today, I thought I could answer questions for anyone interested, while things simmer on the woodstove.

Off-grid = not connected to or served by publicly or privately managed utilities (such as electricity, gas, or water) Disclaimer: We do have internet before anyone points to the obvious.

My proof: https://imgur.com/67hl8gO

My instagram where I post pics about offgrid and homesteading: https://www.instagram.com/eloquine/

EDIT: I continue to answer, just slowly. Sorry, not trying to avoid any questions :)

EDIT 2: Ok, it's been fun. I will be back in a few hours to answer more questions, but I need to go pick up my kid from school and do my chores for the day. The blueberry jam is delicious for anyone wondering.

Comments: 2161 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

ohya-lurkmelongtime1164 karma

Do you go to the store to get food/supplies ever? If so, how often? For what? And what changes in the retail industry could be made to make more people less reliant on them?

eloquinee2011 karma

I go to the store all the time. Even though the goal is to one day have at least 90% of our food supply covered by our gardens/animals, we are at least 5 years away from that goal. We still buy clothes too at thrift shops, and we buy feed for our chickens. We rely heavily on Amazon for weird stuff we would never be able to find, special tools to build. It has saved us a ton of trips to stores. I don't know about changes in the retail industry, I think society needs to work on overconsumption though.

ohya-lurkmelongtime443 karma

Thank you for the response! I might be making an untrue assumption but do you see an ethical problem buying from companies like amazon in that they heavily pollute our environment? Not trying to guilt trip you, just genuinely curious how you view the relationship between consumers and corporations (who are doing mostly all of the polluting right now). Thanks again!

eloquinee515 karma

It's a tough one for sure. And I guilt trip myself more than that, so no worries :)

We figure that buying those tools that allow us to live this way would be impossible to find in local stores without having to drive 2 hours to the closest big city. And running around to find it. We consume organic food, buy the majority of our stuff at thrift shops, clothes are all second-hand, we don't travel. We have reduced our carbon footprint to a minimum. Some consumption are gonna occur, we hope to one day not have to buy a single thing. But for now, amazon it is for very specific things. I hope I answered...

Foraring156 karma

So in a sense does it prove that without the "on-grid" part of society it would be way harder for you to be off-grid? In that regard, do you consider that it would be realistic for a majority of the population to go off-grid?

eloquinee454 karma

realistic, no. And I don't think people should anyway. It's a lot of hard work, it's not for everyone. But I think some aspect of it would be beneficial to society. Like growing your food, at least knowing how your food is made. Spending more time in nature. Being reconnected to some basic skills.

dasklrken6 karma

Here’s a question I’m more interested in. If, in the future, Amazon became essentially carbon neutral (their deliveries were all electric and the production of batteries was less brutal on the environment than it is today, the packaging was all reusable cardboard or corn plastic produced using clean energy, their warehouses were properly automated using clean energy and the delivery network was as efficient as possible, without abusing human workers) would you still feel guilty using them?

I.e how much of the guilt tripping you do to your self based on an ideal of self sustaining living, and how much is based off an ideal of zero carbon footprint living? Or if not guilt, goal wise?

Do you do other things to push for clean energy legislation and implementation and recycling/sustainable waste management programs, or are your efforts focused primarily on your family’s lifestyle? (No hidden judgment, either one is awesome and far better than just sitting back and letting the status quo be the resource intensive modern lifestyle of convenience—and just raising a family is a hell of a lot of work in itself.)

Also, even though some people seem to think that participating in society at all means you aren’t living off the grid, good on you for doing so. You’re doing the environmentally conscientious and sustainable parts without depriving your kids of opportunities.

eloquinee18 karma

My goal is to arrive at a point of no consumption or very minimal and to not have to rely on any other source but our own and our communities. I do. I write to my legislators a lot, I attend meetings and push for legislations when I can. I've been a US citizen for only 2 years, so voting and pushing for legislation is a recent thing. I am on the Energy Committee in my town, we do a lot of planning about how to plan energy projects in a sustainable way for the town and society in general (it's part of the planning commission). I am also a member of a mom group, we try to be involved at the local level on many committees. Libraries, volunteering at thrift shops, doing 'repair' events, etc.

kevin_k34 karma

What's the difference between Amazon's delivery vehicles bringing goods to homes, and people taking their own vehicles from their homes to various places to purchase goods?

eloquinee77 karma

They deliver to our place of work where they already deliver stuff. We don't buy from amazon every day. I think last time we purchased something was a month ago.

JuicyJay278 karma

Does amazon do same-day or two-day delivery to you? Are you far away from a town?

eloquinee244 karma

two days, I think. We are 12 miles from a 'big' town

roockie44864 karma

What’s your typical day to day life? Like do you spend a large amount of time getting the basic utilities for the day?

eloquinee1529 karma

Our typical day involves a lot of moving water. We start the day moving wood in for the day, getting water for showers and dishes and consumption on the stove in the morning so we have hot water throughout the day. Feeding the fire is a big task, as wood is our only heat source. It gets cold in the winter in Vermont. In January/February, we have to wake up every hour and a half to feed it. There's a lot of baking and cooking, things are a bit different on a woodstove. On a weekly basis: We spend time weeding the gardens, weeding the orchard, splitting wood, getting wood from our woodlot. There's always a project that disrupts the flow of daily life.

JaniceinGlass692 karma

You have to feed your stove that often? I only have wood heat too. I'd die...lol. In the worst of winter it's usually about every 6 hours. (North ontario Canada) I couldn't manage without running water either...I have a well and use a generator to pump what I need. You are a brave girl!!! I'll will think of you in February!! :)

eloquinee680 karma

Our woodstove is not very efficient, it's a cookstove first, but it heats the home. We built an addition on our tiny house last year, and now have a second real woodstove. We are hoping that it will burn wood slower. I don't have a job, and we have weird sleeping patterns, so it hasn't really been an issue. We plan on having our sleeping quarters in the living room in the future to be able to feed the stove, to be closer to it. Ask us again in 10 years, maybe we'll cave and have a generator to pump water :)

squeakbot100 karma

Have you looked into rocket mass heaters? They're super-efficient wood-fed heating systems. I'd recommend looking them up!When researching, stay away from anything by Paul Wheaton. He's a bit of an evangelist.

eloquinee71 karma

Yes, we did. Maybe for the forever home :)

twistedkarma3 karma

Have you considered building a rocket mass heater?

Paul Wheaton has some great resources about it. I think he said in one video that he burns the fire intensely for an hour or two once every 2-3 days. The mass part of the heater provides residual heat sufficient to keep a large house warm the rest of the time. He lives in Montana, so he's talking about doing this successfully with consistently cold winters.

Edit for link to video here

eloquinee3 karma

Someone in this thread just said to stay away from Paul Wheaton. I'll take a look :)

jungle4john205 karma

I have been living off grid for 9 years in the southwest USA. I use DC water pumps the pressurize the house right off the solar. I prefer a brand called Flojet because they can run dry without damaging the pumps. I use them to irrigate our fields too. When properly insulated and protected they can run through the freezing winter.

eloquinee75 karma

Awesome, thanks for sharing

Aleforge57 karma

involves a lot of moving water

I see that you collect your own electricity is there a reason that you don't move water via a pump?

eloquinee99 karma

we don't have enough power to move water at this point. Husband is designing a way to divert the overflow to the house. It's in the works (at least on paper)

duddy707745 karma

Why did you guys decide to keep internet and phones?

eloquinee1191 karma

We are ok with that feature in our life. My husband works in tech, and sometimes has to work from home. We are ok with being connected to society in some forms :)

VESTINGboot361 karma

Ok...why are you off the grid? How do you educate yourself on these matters?

eloquinee613 karma

We wanted to live in Vermont, and fell in love with a piece of land without a house on it. We were completely new to building (we had only built a chicken coop prior to our house), and had a limited budget. We knew we didn't want to take a mortgage to build, so we went with the most basic cabin we could reasonably build in a short time. We figured we would add features and utilities as money would allow. 5 years in, and we still are fine with not having running water, a constant supply of electricity.

We learned everything from youtube videos, talking to neighbors and friends who have built their own home too.

balthisar173 karma

we still are fine with not having running water

You mean public water, right? Certainly you have a well that provides running water, and, hopefully, a septic tank for gray and black water, right?

eloquinee861 karma

We have a septic tank, yes. We have a well, but we have to manually extract the water from the ground, then carry it inside the house. Stupid joke ahead: we don't have running water, we have walking water.

earthwormjim91165 karma

Any reason why you haven't gotten an electric pump to run the well to give yourself running water? They aren't that expensive and don't use a ton of electricity. Your solar setup would more than likely cover the usage the pump would have.

eloquinee35 karma

Our current solar setup wouldn't And we have an overflow, so my husband is trying to figure out how to move water passively to the house. Might as well use it as a feature. It's just not been a priority at this point, but will be in the next two years. We need more time in a day!!!

VESTINGboot75 karma

Interesting...did you recieve any negative feedback for this choice and if so does it bother you?

eloquinee163 karma

Not really where we live. Vermont and our town in particular has seen waves of back-to-the-landers in the 60s/70s. Our town also doesn't have any zoning or permit needed to build a dwelling, so this is not completely unusual. People are usually curious about our living arrangements.

VESTINGboot55 karma

Very interesting...so what would you say is the biggest misconception on "back-to-the-landers" have?

eloquinee490 karma

I just finished reading Educated and The Great Alone, which are two popular books about people moving off-grid/being off-grid for the wrong reasons. Popular culture likes to depict people chosing an alternative lifestyle because they are mentally ill, violent, paranoid about the government's intentions.

We send our kids to public schools, are vaccinated, didn't have homebirths, and are non-religious.

Garfield-1-23-2317 karma

I'm building a skoolie but I haven't yet worked out where I'm going to live in it. Would it be legal in your town for me to buy land and live on it in my bus? I think it would be semi-legal in my state (PA) but only for 180 days out of each year (and only off-grid). I'm sort of considering buy two cheap properties (a few grand each) and alternating between them.

eloquinee37 karma

Yeah, we have no zoning. There are a few tiny houses in town. Same for the town surrounding us. PM me for details :)

Justin1387354 karma

What do you two do for work, and how do you handle sharing the responsibilities of raising your children?

I’m about to have my first child, and I have just got a job as a traveling wind turbine technician. My partner and I are very interested in living off grid, but a bit apprehensive due to the challenges we may experience being first time parents.

eloquinee806 karma

My husband is a sys admin. I was a librarian, but quit my job after 8 months of living off grid. I was enjoying being on the land more than my job. As for sharing responsibilities with raising children... Well, we have fallen in our gender roles. I do the cooking, tending the gardens, doing laundry, taking care of the children, and he does the building houses, doing the heavy lifting. It happened slowly, and part of me hates the fact that I am happy in this situation (I was raised by a stay at home mom, and vowed to never be 'just' a mom).

I have kept a few side jobs for my sanity and to bring a bit of money in. I am a freelance reporter for a local newspaper, do communication for the school in town, am a recording secretary for school boards.

AvengerTree1241 karma

Well hell, With that logic, I also enjoy staying home more than going to my job - don’t we all??

Come to think of it, I’ll be off grid too soon if I keep it up....

eloquinee201 karma

Well, I was also working to pay for childcare. There were other personal reasons, like having a kid with a chronic condition that required me to wake up every two hours. It was not sustainable and didn't make sense financially to keep the job :)

kem28223 karma

Do you mind me asking what kind of chronic condition your child has? I’d love to live a more simple lifestyle similar to yours, but I do worry about the costs associated for medical supplies, care & emergency situations for my son’s type 1 diabetes.

eloquinee25 karma

T1 here too

Alphageek11644341 karma

It's been asked like three times and never answered. For the greater good we NEED to know, WHAT KIND OF JAM!?

eloquinee373 karma

Sorry. Blueberry jam :) And tomato sauce. Smells good but weird in the house :)

ot1012223 karma

Off-grid just means not connected to public electricity/water supply networks, right?

Why does everyone think it means homeschooling/not vaccinating/not buying things online?

eloquinee212 karma

I blame movies and books :) I just finished Educated, I think that's what people picture when they think off grid

zelys204 karma

Are your kids/will they be homeschooled?

eloquinee520 karma

We have a great public elementary school right down the road. We also speak French at home, and I don't think I have it in me to homeschool. If he is ever discontent with the school, maybe, but at this point, we are very happy.

Our town doesn't have a high school, so we are a "sending town", which means that you can send your kid to any middle/high school you want, and they will pay the tuition.

Brian_Lawrence01145 karma

Are you Native francophones or did you just decide to speak French for fun?

eloquinee231 karma

We are both from French-speaking countries

Jsmfrenchy196 karma

Why Vermont in particular? As a Vermonter I’m always curious to see why people move here.

eloquinee459 karma

We were looking for a place that was not too religious (having moved from the most religious state in the US), that was closer to Europe so family can visit (we are both from Europe originally), not too hot (we like long winters), that was rural but with a university we could work at. We applied for jobs in several states that met those criteria, and moved to Vermont soon after. We have been here for close to 9 years.

TaddeiSMASH397 karma

Was it Utah? My guess is Utah.

eloquinee293 karma

Yes :)

WorkKrakkin83 karma

All hail Joseph Smith.

Cosmic_Shipwreck159 karma

Who was, oddly enough, born in Vermont.

Harys8848 karma

Wait wtf

eloquinee55 karma

I know...

DeviIstar7 karma

current Utahn here - how are you finding Vermont? Its been on my list of places that I want to visit, and when I consider east coast living, Vermont is on the short list, so curious.

eloquinee11 karma

There are many Utahns living here because of the skiing. I personally love having trees and green stuff all over. Ferns! I missed ferns so much. My husband misses the open space a lot.

bsbing161 karma

What's the toughest day you've had off the grid? Ever consider grabbing a hotel room for the night?

eloquinee424 karma

We went to a hotel for two nights once, because it was too hot and even though we tried to cool the house down, we just couldn't (don't try the cooler with ice and a fan trick, it doesn't work folks). I was breastfeeding at the time, and was so dehydrated from the heat I wasn't producing milk. So to the hotel we went for two nights.

It wasn't really a tough day. The hardest day was probably when I came home from the hospital with a newborn and a csection, barely able to move. Our living arrangements include a lot of physical labor (carrying wood in, feeding the fire, heck, just taking a shower means carrying water around). It wasn't hard physically because my husband and son were super helpful and I didn't really have to do anything, but it was hard mentally. I questioned a LOT why we were doing this, instead of living in suburbia somewhere closer to family.

bsbing128 karma

Recovering from a csection in those conditions seems crazy. You're not supposed to lift anything for 4-6 weeks right? And wasn't expecting it to be the heat that got to you in Vermont. Are you planning on staying off the grid for a while? Will you discourage your kids from playing video games/watching movies at friends houses when they get older?

Edit: crazy... as in really tough

eloquinee178 karma

Sorry, I didn't answer the playing video games in the other response.

My oldest is 8, he plays Minecraft on the ipad sometimes. All our friends and a lot of his friends in his classroom have the same values as we do. He spends a lot of time outside, and we do too. We do Friday movies on a laptop, and watch a movie as a family that day. In the winter, he gets to watch shows on Saturday morning if he wants to. He gets to watch tv and stuff if he is super bored, but it rarely happens.

SlowLoudEasy54 karma

Awe. We do family movie night on the ipad. I asked my daughter if she would like to watch a movie on the big tv at Papa’s shop? (I have a 1984 RCA console tv in my wood shop) she looked at me like I didn’t know what family movie night was. Family movie night is us on the carpet, by the wood-burning stove watching a movie on the ipad. Waiting forever to let it load because we are streaming from one of our phones. Im really enjoying your ama and instagram now.

eloquinee25 karma

:) Same setup. Thanks for sharing

eloquinee88 karma

Yeah, no driving either. And I didn't, I mean, I really couldn't anyway, except for carrying the baby. But being in that state of total vulnerability and relying on others was uncomfortable. My husband would leave a huge pile of wood next to the stove so all I had to do was feed the fire and care for my newborn. Same for water. I didn't split wood until this summer, and my baby is almost two :)

alpinehighest141 karma

I wanted to chime in, As a dad that raised my family (3 children) off grid in the Rockies for 5 years, after living in the concrete jungle of Houston, I dont think people understand the ramifications of making a move like that.
This is a very hard life, not just for the adults but for the kids. When children get hurt/sick as they often do, they are exacerbated by the increased distance to facilities/lack of facilities, among other things.
Kids still have to go to school, and the associated responsibilities, school functions... unless your home schooling Not to mention the isolation: while it can bring a family closer, it can also cause alot of friction...
As my off grid "neighbor" mentioned to me, I give you 5 years...When i asked why? He said " People tend to fall out of love with the idea of off grid living between year 4 and 5"

I dont regret it, but I definitely wouldn't do it again

eloquinee148 karma

We are at year 5 and still loving it. Our son has a chronic condition, we are 30 minutes (17 once when we drove very fast at 1 am...) from a major hospital that has helicopters too. It was part of the equation when moving to this piece of property. I don't think I could live anywhere else off grid but here in vermont, mainly because I have found 'my people'. I have found friends who have the same values, and have kids. We have limited our social events to once a week because we had TOO many social interactions. We send our kid to public school. I feel like we have the best of both worlds, but I agree, it is hard sometimes, and it can be extremly hard depending on where you are. We seriously considered Alaska for a while. I am glad we didn't

emily_strange49 karma

What is your source of water? In one of your pictures looks to be a lake. Are you situated on the lake? Could you run a small pump off a generator to move your water?

Also, what mushrooms do you forage on your property? I see a pic of morels. Yum!

Great instagram feed btw. It presents a nice look into a different way of living. Thank you!

eloquinee55 karma

We have a well: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfZdL_HF32t/

We don't live by a lake, but husband wants to have a pond one day. Maybe when the kids move out :) We have a small stream, the first year, we took water from it for showers. We relied on friends that first year for drinking water.

hard_An45 karma

Do you mind sharing details of your background and possibly of your husbands? I.E. where/type of family raised in, schooling, what you were doing before this. anything you think of that led you to this life choice.

Also, thanks for ama. I find what you are doing cool and fascinating.

eloquinee71 karma

We think about this a lot. How we got here. We were both raised in big European cities. My happiest memories as a kid were spending summers on my aunts homesteads in Hungary where my family is from originally. Other than that, we read Goat Song, a beautiful book if you are looking for a good read. It's about a couple moving to Vermont to raise goats. We read it together out loud when my first-born was a baby. It was a fascinating story, and we were ready for a big change in our lives. I was fresh out of college, my husband was ready to try a new job. It was perfect timing to move, and we had no family where we lived, and very few friends.

danceofjimbeam45 karma

Which presidential candidate do you favor for 2020?

eloquinee141 karma

Bernie or Warren.

Dange54344 karma

How do you bring in money while living off the grid for groceries/other expenses?

eloquinee83 karma

Husband has a regular, boring desk job (kidding, he likes what he does).

zelys35 karma

Given that it gets pretty cold in Vermont during the winter, how much wood do you chop for that? (do you buy some, or gather it all yourselves?)

eloquinee48 karma

We gather it on our land. We use about 3 cords I think, but it's pretty hard to say because we usually run out way before winter ends, and we just cut down Ash tree (you can burn it green) as we go. This year though, we are starting the season with oak, and plenty of maples. We hope one day to have a few years of surplus. One day :)

zelys27 karma

How close are your nearest neighbours?

eloquinee54 karma

I can see their house from my house. Too close if you ask my husband :) We are fairly close to the road, 100 yards maybe?

Wrecker3000_24 karma

What do you do in a medical emergency?

eloquinee151 karma

we go to the hospital

Apple-Acid24 karma

What do you enjoy the most about your life style ? Would you want to change anything about your way of living ?

eloquinee105 karma

It's gonna sound super cheesy, but the freedom it gives us. To be living very comfortably on one income, and with the hope to not have that income in 15 years (hoping to retire early). We also don't have a mortgage, and knowing that no matter what, we have a house, food we can grow, it feels good. I am super anxious about the future, ecoanxiety I think is the new term. But it feels reassuring to know I am doing my best, and I will be able to tell my kids that.

OogaboogaDude24 karma

Do you feel you are setting your children up to live a more challenging life given their friends and schoolmates will have different experiences and have "more" in terms of electronics, clothes, normalized food, etc.?

eloquinee71 karma

Kids all have a different experience, no matter what their background. We do the majority of the work, his classmates also have woodstoves, etc. His friends also don't have unlimited access to video games, and spend time outside. He has a pretty normal childhood compared to his peers. He has two parents at home, one who is there all the time. Has no financial issues, no food insecurities. They live in one of the safest states in the US. He will do just fine.

Gunch_Bandit16 karma

Do you feel pressure from outside to change the way you live? Like local government messing with you or even bigger government? I've heard stories about people trying to go out and live on their own like this, but for some reason someone is always trying to make it harder for them.

eloquinee26 karma

Not really, as I said, we are lucky to be in Vermont where this is accepted. I think as long as you are a decent human being, you don't bother your neighbors, you raise kids in a healthy environment and you pay your taxes, nobody cares.

amarubud15 karma

How's the tap water situation?

eloquinee20 karma

We have a well (https://www.instagram.com/p/BfZdL_HF32t/) We carry water in for baths in the winter, carry water for drinking once or twice a day. In the summer, we take baths/shower outside (it's the best). For laundry, I go to the laundromat in the winter, I wash cloth by hand in the summer. Hoping to do it in the winter once we have a bathroom and more space

BasedBarry14 karma

Awesome! I grew up in rural VT about as off the grid as you can be without committing to the idea (farmer out in a place called Brownington, Population used to be like 20-40 at any given time). Do you sell produce? I'd gladly buy some for my family still in the state!

eloquinee20 karma

We don't. I sell soap once a year at a local holiday fair, but that's it for now :) We do have 400 bulbs of garlic if you need some though!

xPaxion14 karma

What's your toilet and shower arrangement?

eloquinee16 karma

We have one of those RV toilets we empty once a week in our septic. It's not perfect, but it works (and doesn't smell bad surprisingly). It will be a regular, good old toilet this winter. I wrote this a while ago about our shower arrangements: https://herecast.us/profile/511/860845

HarvestMoonMaria13 karma

You mentioned having a chicken coop, what other animals do you have? Are there any animals you’ve tried out that didn’t work out or found better options?

eloquinee18 karma

We only have chickens. Pigs will come next year hopefully. We have been spending a lot of time building our home as money comes in.

Mr_Growhair11 karma

Would you say it's cheaper or more expensive to live off-grid?

eloquinee19 karma

Depends what kind of off-grid setting you want. Some people have regular houses, and all the modern amenities. We were able to build our house from scratch for less than $10,000

Stardust_and_Shadows11 karma

How did you learn to build the home, well, septic, hooking up solar panels? Being in tech and a former librarian did you have an background knowledge or was it all self taught?

eloquinee20 karma

Youtube and friends. Self-taught

im_always_fapping10 karma

What do you do for lawncare?

eloquinee11 karma

We have a small tractor

4N8NDW9 karma

Is there anything you would have differently if you could start the project over again and live off the grid?

eloquinee24 karma

Mmmmm... Do it earlier. Also, go to trade school instead (or in combination with) of college (I have a French Literature degree...), learn something useful like electrician or mechanic.

123starlings6 karma

I’ve dabbled in growing my own fruits and veg, largely without much success! Which crops of yours are you most proud of and which do you struggle with?

eloquinee9 karma

I struggle with ... zucchinis. I know it's supposed to be super easy, but I can't. I am afraid to tell my neighbors I would love one or two squash, because you will end up with some in your car if you let people know you are looking for some )

We love growing garlic. It's very satisfying to grow as it is green in the field before there are any leaves on the trees. First think to come out of the ground

Kiyonai5 karma

How are the ticks in Vermont?

eloquinee13 karma

Yeah, I don't like them. Our chickens looooove them though.

lissabeth7774 karma

Are you canning on your woodstove or using a propane burner? What kind of goodies have you made this year?

eloquinee6 karma

Wood. We have maple syrup (6 gallons!), some blueberry jam, raspberry jam, tomato sauce, tomato whole, relish, and that's it for now. Next is salsa probably, applesauce.

FedoraMask3 karma

I’m sure this question was already answered but, if you’re living off the grid, what happens to your mail?

Do you pick it up at the post office?

eloquinee3 karma

still gets delivered :)

lostmyaccountagain853 karma

What kind of weaponry are you guys packing?

eloquinee4 karma

Just enough to hunt turkeys and deer.

absymay3 karma

How old were you and what kind of financial position were you in when you began your journey? This is something I've always dreamed of but I'm a 21 year who has just graduated university with a pile of debt

eloquinee4 karma

I am 33, moved off grid at 28. We were lucky to not have debt from college (went to a cheap college and worked while studying). We had $10,000 saved up from working 5 jobs at one point (for a year, husband had a full time job + freelancing on the side. I was teaching, librarian, and had a business on the side helping people with their computer issues). And a kid. Looking back, it was a bit chaotic, but we really wanted this. We saved as much as we could, and built a cabin. Best decision we ever made : )

I_Use_Gadzorp2 karma

How often do people make the "van down by the river" joke?

eloquinee2 karma

Never. Tell me

ReginaldJohnston2 karma

If you're "off-grid," how come you have internet, a social media account and doing an AMA?

eloquinee6 karma

Wait until you hear I also have friends, a social life, and I shower every day!

kidinacorner2 karma

You need a lot of money to live like you guys. A 2 person farm doesn't work anymore. Either you had money and no debt or one of you has an actual job, making this just a lifestyle choice and not a realistic option for most.

Are you even Vermonters? Or did you come here from Connecticut or California like every other wannabe homesteader?

eloquinee1 karma

Utah :) We built the original house for less than $10,000.

pantsignal-7 karma

Off the grid but has internet access and Reddit account? If you have internet then you're not "off the grid"

balthisar1 karma

They're not Russian spies "off the grid"; they're like Mennonites or Mormons "off the grid"; many of the former and some of the latter, of course, do use the internet and have cell phones.

eloquinee1 karma

I was surprised to learn some Amish communities also have internet.

[deleted]-14 karma


eloquinee1 karma

I'll disregard the second aspect of your question, because... WTF!

We are off-grid for financial reasons mainly, we wanted to live on a big piece of land, for cheap. The only option was to build our own home, and we knew nothing about electricity or bringing in water in the house at the time. There was a bit of anger at the system too, we had previously bought a house just before the market crashed.