OFF AGAIN. ON AGAIN.

For those of you who don’t know Hannah and my story, we lived off-grid for many years. But as Hannah pointed out the other day, “off-grid” is a misleading description: we were basically feral.

For several years we hauled all of our drinking water. We didn’t have electricity until the very end, and even then it was only enough to run the Internet for a little while. We did eventually get water to our house , but we had to heat it on the stove or in the greenhouse for bathing. During the summer, we just bathed in the creek. All of our heat came from a wood stove and we grew the vast majority of our own food, cooking almost every meal at home, on a small grill (summer), or the stovetop (winter).

And we loved it.

As hard as it was, honestly none of that was the reason we moved. We loved our neighbors––LOVED our neighbors––loved our market, and loved our lifestyle. But when Further was born, things changed. Specifically, what we loved had to make sense for our child, too. And for us, hard as it was to leave Bugtussle, that meant being closer to family.

So we moved. And it was hard for many reasons – not the least of which was adjusting to having electricity and running water at our fingertips, and the expense that came along with that convenience. I am growing used to it––to not having to charge our phones in the car; to the light switch; to the hot water heater; to refrigeration. They are amazing inventions and I appreciate them with every ounce of my soul. That said, I cannot truly love them until they are something––like the water in our old cabin, like the heat from our wood stove––that we get to control, and that come from renewable resources.

So, to any friends and followers who may have perhaps been bummed to see us depart from that lifestyle, I feel ya. But I also want to say that we are not officially back on-grid as much as we are firmly in-between. Both Hannah and I long to return to wood heat and solar power. It will just take some time (and really, by time, I mean money––we have to put a tin roof over our house before we can even install the stove). So for those of you who watched us and helped us build up that beautiful off-grid cabin, bear with us. The story has changed but the goal of self-sufficiency is as alive as ever.

Only now, we’re going the other way––from on-grid to off––and we hope you will come along with us as work to make it happen. Perhaps it will present a more realistic approach for those who want the lifestyle we had but can’t live in the middle of nowhere where no one cares if you spend a few years without electricity or running water. Either way, you can bet it’s gonna be a journey. As always, thanks for reading, and we hope you’ll enjoy the new story.

-Jesse.

further in the new house.

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9 thoughts on “OFF AGAIN. ON AGAIN.

  1. Hi Jesse,

    I like what you’re starting in Anderson county and I to am a big believer in renewable energy sources. I am part of a team that does aquaponics research at kentucky state University. Have you considered implementing it into your farm?

  2. So true that “a baby changes everything!” We make sacrifices for our kids that we never imagined. Looking forward to how you adapt a more modern home to be increasingly sustainable/more off-grid. That’s where we are too – I grew up with wood heat and have been saving for YEARS to get a wood stove installed at our home – maybe this year, I hope!!
    -jaime

    • Thanks, Jaime! It’s been a funny transition for us, but we are definitely hoping to find a nice balance between the two lifestyles. Because indeed, the baby changes everything!

      • Hi Jesse,

        I just came across your site and love your family’s story. I’m located in Boston Massachusetts but if we ever make it down that way will be sure to visit your farm and purchase some veggies!

        If it isn’t too personal would you please expand on the decision to move back to “civilized” society? I understand it involved your child, but what specifically was it about having a child that made your lifestyle unsustainable? From your writing I got the sense you both really enjoyed your life and lifestyle prior to your son’s arrival.

        I’m writing from the perspective of a married man who does not have any children yet. I’m intrigued how a child can alter the course that drastically. I’m not judging at all, I am genuinely curious. :) I own remote land in New Hampshire and daydream about simplifying drastically.

        Thank you for sharing!

  3. You guys are great. Watching your story unfold with interest! I also grew up in a home with wood heat (although we did have water-from a well-and electricity). I’ve been wanting for years to get a wood burning stove and a different electricity source (I could live without power, but I don’t want to. Lol). Our current home was not built for wood heat, but it’s almost paid for and moving at this point in the kids’ lives isn’t practical. So I’ll keep gardening and raising chickens In the back yard and one day we’ll make a move back to basics. Y’all are an inspiration. And, your kid is really cute.

  4. I hadn’t thought about it, but you are so right. In our community no one cares if you have electricity or water. I did not realize we were unique. We will miss you so much this spring! Hope the new place is awesome!

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