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Hi Andrew. My husband and I are urban homesteaders, living mostly off-grid and should complete the transition within the next two months. It is possible to live without all the “stuff.” I work for a recycling company at present and I am amazed at the things people dump, even new things still with tags on them. Our rule of thumb has become “if it doesn’t work, we don’t feed it and if it isn’t useful or barterable, don’t bring it home.” This has cut out a tremendous amount of clutter. I like my current job and have a great boss, but I don’t want to work forever. I also don’t see the economy here in the United States as sustainable more than maybe another year. I hope I still have a year to finish some of my projects.
We live in a very small house (286 sft) in a very poor neighborhood just a little south of downtown. This area was chosen on purpose because the house and land is paid for and the city leaves us alone for the most part. There’s no money to be made citing poor people so they go to the better neighborhoods to harass them. Same thing happens in the event of “Zombie Apocalypse”…they won’t come to my neighborhood, but will go up town.
We raise chickens and turkeys and a couple of geese. We are organic gardeners and raise, can and cure most of our own foods. We practice the old ways, milling our own wheat (when the rains don’t wipe it out) and bartering with friends for the things we don’t produce on our own.
Our energy is produced primarily from solar, but we also have two wood stoves, one for heat and an antique Monarch wood cook stove for cooking. We also have a propane stove for the warmer months or use an outdoor propane grill. We got rid of the upright fridge and use a converted chest freezer for refrigeration and use a chest freezer for its intended purpose as well. If we don’t have enough sunshine to produce as much power as we need, we have a generator that my husband converted to propane and can bring us back up to full capacity pretty quickly. We have not “unplugged” completely yet, but plan to do so within a month or so. The only things still “on grid” are the laundry room and a few plugs for 110 items. Those will be converted soon.
Anyway, the point is that we have been working on this for 5 years and have made lots of mistakes, had some miracles and successes and would love to share experiences with others who are working towards the same goals of self sufficiency.