December 22, 2018

Living off the grid in northern Wyoming.

A charmingly practical view of what it takes:

54 comments:

john said...

Snowbanks make that tiny house harder to steal.

mockturtle said...

I'll bet she's from California.

I like her house, though...

mockturtle said...

What about access? How long is her driveway? Who clears it?

Mark said...

You can live off the grid and still live in a place big enough to turn around it.

john said...

She showers at the gym. I'll bet she also takes a crap there because those "in house" composting toilets either dont work in the winter, or sap electricity needed elsewhere.

Oh yea, her bottle of Jack Daniels is running low. That's serious.

Tom Gallagher said...

Seems wrongheaded and way too much work to live in a house "not" designed for the climate where it will reside. This Old House has some good ideas regarding this.

BJM said...

I follow quite a few homesteader Vlogs, and here's a more realistic view of living off grid in Idaho. Nick cut the trees, milled the lumber and built the house.

Doug & Stacy Off Grid is another, Stacy, a nutritionist and personal trainer, has fabulous healthy recipes...although Doug is a bit of a cornball.

I follow homesteaders for healthy recipes, food growing/canning/fermenting and chicken keeping tips. We're 100% solar but not off grid until battery technology is non non-toxic. We sell into the grid, have no monthly electricity bill and receive a check at yearly true-up.

Fleeing cities/corporate jobs and homesteading is a growing phenom for young families and mid-life retirees.

Meadhouse, You should get into fermenting if you haven't, it's an easy way to get your daily probiotics and fun too. No, I am not a fan of Kombucha...yeech...but fizzy lemonade is really nice.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

I’ve been subscribed to her channel for a couple of years now. She is the daughter of Mennonites, she doesn’t drink that I heard of in her videos and is extremely health conscious and a very hard worker and conscientious person. Why would someone want to hate on her? Her home stays extremely warm in winter with her little wood stove.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

BJM, the young lady in this video is good friends with Doug and Stacy.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Oh and BJM, I’ve been following the Fouch family for several years and it always tickles me to know that these people are big liberals.

Humperdink said...

For the past few years, I had somewhat of a plan to live off the grid on my 40 acres in northwest PA. I have a water well, septic system and produce my own natural gas for heat. I have an abundance of firewood as back up heat.

The only on-the-grid utility I need(ed) was electricity. I have experimented with generators to produce my electric and have not succeeded. The house is just too big (3000 sq ft). I started with a 40KW generator. I got a good deal on it, but it's eats gas like crazy. Sold it. Went down to a 20KW and it's better, but still consumes too much gas. The optimum generator size may be 10-12 KW. Not there yet.

wild chicken said...

But what happens when she runs low on estrogen?

Dave Begley said...

Is this going to be the next Meadehouse? I bet the real estate taxes are lower than in Madison.

Mark O said...

This must seem unbelievably strange to city kids.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I did take note of the Jack Daniels bottle.
So many questions. Where is this gym she talks about?

Jim said...

Beautiful spot, nice snug house. But like @mockturtle, I'm curious how you get out when snow is 10 feet high. She mentions showering at the gym. So I take it that her house is relatively close to a town. I've never lived in snow country, so I'm very curious about who removes the snow, from the drive way and the road to town. It must be alot of work.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

How does the land use work?

Ann Althouse said...

I was disturbed by the vents that needed snow cleared away to not back up exhaust into the house. What if it snows during the night? Does she test the air quality? It seems to me that normal electrical service, running water, and a sewer line are so valuable. I can't see wanting to get off that grid. Once you've decided to be connected enough to have a car that goes on the roads and gets you to a gym, which you rely on for your showers, it's hard to understand going to all the trouble... unless you like all that equipment and it's your avocation to work with them.

Roger Zimmerman said...

Depends on what "grid" you're talking about. Electricity - she's got it covered. But, if she buys food with a credit card, has a bank account, reports income to the IRS, etc., she is not "living off the grid" in any meaningful sense. If the government can track you, your lack of electricity dependency will not help you much if the SHTF. First thing, she should learn to hunt.



Ralph L said...

Off-grid would be Jeremina Johnson. This is way too much work. Drive it to town--or Arizona--for the winter.

Ann Althouse said...

"Depends on what "grid" you're talking about. Electricity - she's got it covered. "

She's generating it herself and storing it using 500 pounds of batteries that are encased in wood and tend to get "warm." I would not enjoy that inside close quarters.

john said...

Inga,

I think the Jack Daniels is used for cooking. And for marinating the elk steaks.

But the "off-grid" thing is as complete or incomplete as you make it. I dont hate this person, in fact I found her to be extremely practical and eloqent in her discriptions of her lifestyle, and am somewhat in awe of what she has accomplished. However, this off-grid life is hardly independent living and looks like more resource consuming, all in all, than living in a house or apartment in town, closer to work and the gym.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So basically glorified and extended camping in a tiny house instead of an RV or Camping trailer. NTTAWWT :-D

The set up is very similar to our older Prowler Camper, except we don't have a loft or a wood stove. We do have: Self contained bathroom. Very nice small shower inside an itty bitty tub. Toilet. LARGE water holding tank with electric pump pressurized system,,, or hook up to an outside pressurized system. Inverter. Generator capable or hook up to an electric supply. Propane and electric heat. A/C if we use a generator or are at a facility with power. Water heater is either propane or electric. Propane or electric fridge and small freezer (I would love to update this as it is the original 1978 appliance). Propane 4 burner stove with mid sized oven. Double sink. Queen bed in the back of the trailer. Two closets, drawers and storage everywhere.

The only thing we are missing, and don't need is a satellite system for getting TV reception or satellite internet. We do have a small flat screen and a blue ray DVD player to watch movies and blue tooth our music to wireless speakers.

It would also be nice to get an awning attached to the side of the trailer for sun shade and weather protection.

Since we don't "live" in our trailer, all those upgrades are non essentials and probably won't happen for quite some time.

I see she has her "off grid" house still on wheels, so that prevents her from having to get a building permit for a permanent dwelling. Smart! for a part time occupation of a trailer.

She is really not "living" off grid though since she doesn't live there all the time. She goes to a gym to take showers. Laundry is obviously also not done on site. Town is probably fairly close for shopping and refilling propane tanks.

I sincerely and totally doubt that she is shoveling all that snow by hand. Maybe maintenance shoveling around the trailer..house, but certainly not the drive and larger open areas like her turn around. She probably owns a snow blower and has someone with a plow come by to "help out".

Her set up is really pretty nice for one person, or two very intimate people, to stay in ....for a while. Live all the time? Maybe not. But very nice for some extended stays in her own personal camping area. Nice.

EDH said...

Skipped around the video.

Does she have a gun?

johnhenry100 said...

Humperdink,

10 kw sounds big to me. Use gas for everything you can, heat, hot water, cooking.

30-40% of engine energy is wasted out the exhaust and can be recovered to make hot water for heating and bathing. Only use gas supplementally.

Sounds like your generator runs at constant speed even under low load. Get an inverter generator. This only runs as fast as needed for the load. It turns down to an idle under low load.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I forgot the dinette in the front of our trailer which converts to a twin sized bed and a fold down storage to make a bunk bed. We keep it for storage as we have no little children we wish to stow over head. Seems dangerous.

Our setup cost us $2800. I bet her tiny house was many times that.

Curious George said...

My 1,000 sf 2 bedroom 1 bath cape cod is as tiny as I will go. And it has water, gas, electric, and sewer service. Not to mention private cable service and high speed internet.

The cable and internet have been extended to my 1,000 sf garage that I converted into a woodshop, and has it's own 200A service.

Love the grid. On the grid.

johnhenry100 said...

Also, via the portal, get yourself a tankless gas water heater.

https://www.amazon.com/Eccotemp/b/ref=bl_dp_s_mw_5203420011?ie=UTF8&node=5203420011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Eccotemp

We now have one like this, turned down to the lowest temp and max flow. Water is still too hot to use by itself from a full flow shower head.

We usea 20# tank (bbq size) every 30 days or so.

I had another one, much larger, that lasted 30 years.

John Henry


FullMoon said...

UniBomber lived off the grid, and off the rails

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Good point EDH.

She should have a gun or two and some ammo. If for no other reason than to scare off bears, mountain lions, coyotes etc.

And for personal safety since now EVERYONE knows that she lives there alone. (or so it seems)

Rusty said...

Ann. You're adorable.
She made a tradeoff. She is accepting some risks in order not to be burdened by some conveniences. Life is tradeoffs.
I bet Meade would be perfectly happy there. You would be miserable.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“First thing, she should learn to hunt.”

She does hunt and fish. She also backpacks and skies. Why people assume she doesn’t, I don’t know. Watch her videos.

BJM said...

Inga...Allie Oop said...
Oh and BJM, I’ve been following the Fouch family for several years and it always tickles me to know that these people are big liberals.


I really don't care that they are liberals and it's not pertinent to enjoying their channel. I don't judge folks by their politics. You know the old saw about opinions.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Also, the people she rents the land from, plows the road to her place when they plow their own road.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“I really don't care that they are liberals and it's not pertinent to enjoying their channel. I don't judge folks by their politics. You know the old saw about opinions.”

I believe you don’t, but I know there are many people here who would hate them for their politics despite all they’ve accomplished on their little homestead.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Nat Geo has a series "Life Below 30". It is life in the arctic circle. The vents the Prof worried about were addressed several shows ago. The woman had to stay up all night clearing the vents of her generator shack. Blowing snow is quite a threat. Who remembers Mother Earth News back in the 80s? They were "off the grid" well before it was cool.

mockturtle said...

Who remembers Mother Earth News back in the 80s? They were "off the grid" well before it was cool.

We subscribed to it for years. Also have a valuable book called Back to Basics, the only such publication I kept, thinking I might need it again some day. We had a hobby farm for about 5 years on 35 mostly forested acres.

mockturtle said...

We also got all volumes of Foxfire. I sold them later.

rhhardin said...

You can't silence noise by putting it in a box. The sound inside just gets louder and louder until the sound going through the walls is the same as generated by the generator, essentially making it as if the box weren't there.

You have to put sound-absorbing surfaces on the inside of the box.

Or, as she did, open one of the walls in a direction you don't care if the noise goes. An open wall acts sound-absorbing.

rhhardin said...

I used spend summers in a tent in the Adirondacks. Milk and butter kept cool in a brook. That was back when you could drink water from brooks.

For entertainment there was a car with a ham radio setup.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Milk and butter kept cool in a brook.

So does beer!

Jim at said...

I’ve been following the Fouch family for several years and it always tickles me to know that these people are big liberals.

Yeah. Because everything - and I mean, everything - with people like you is about partisan politics.

What a miserable existence to have your entire life based upon someone's politics.

Jim at said...

I believe you don’t, but I know there are many people here who would hate them for their politics despite all they’ve accomplished on their little homestead.

Stop projecting. You're the one who brought up their politics. Nobody else.

Inga...Allie Oop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga...Allie Oop said...

It must be a miserable existence for anyone living anywhere near Jim At. My life isn’t based on your politics or even my own politics, or the politics of others, you idiot. You’ve got to be the dumbest Trumpist on these threads.

BJM said...

Inga said
I believe you don’t, but I know there are many people here who would hate them for their politics despite all they’ve accomplished on their little homestead.


So why dox them?

Sorry, I just don't get what you gain by sending haters to their channel.

Humperdink said...

johnhenry100 advised: "Sounds like your generator runs at constant speed even under low load. Get an inverter generator. This only runs as fast as needed for the load. It turns down to an idle under low load."

Correct it does. A constant speed whether under load or not, governor brings it back up once load is applied. Runs at 3600 RPM.

I need to look at an inverter..

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

My sister has a house on Lake george in the Adirondacks.

She takes her drinking water directly from the lake. Unfiltered, untreated.

Most people with access to the lake do the same thing and have for 100 years.

John Henry

Sebastian said...

"Living off the grid in northern Wyoming. A charmingly practical view of what it takes"

It just takes people being charmed into taking your word for it.

But as DBQ already noted, it is very practical to stay on wheels so as not to have to to deal with permits, and to camp out close to town, so you can live on the grid by day, taking showers and doing your laundry.

Anyway, just goes to show, the grid is one of the greatest things white men ever created.

Dad said...

Yup. At $0.12/kWh, the "grid" is one of the best bargains ever.

Bruce Hayden said...

Have friends in NW MT who mostly live off the grid. They are on 80 acres, and it turns out that solar is cheaper than running in electricity from the road. Turns out that is fairly common around there. They use propane to power a generator in the winter when solar doesn’t sffice, and use wood heat. Modern construction requires a lot less heating (Things have come a long way in the last 120 years from using old newspapers for insulation). By law, the phone company had to run in a line, but not the power company, hence the solar. Satellite TV is handy on those long dark nights in the middle of the winter. Well and septic, of course. If you look through the MLS or go on Realtor.com, it is surprising how many properties there are listed as off grid - probably a majority of those >= maybe 40 acres. Last summer, when we were having a tiff, I was looking to move over to N ID, and one of the properties I looked at was off grid. The problem was that the owner had had to move to a city for work, and in the meantime her solar system and generator had been stolen. Still, I liked the isolation. It was only 40 acres, but heavily wooded enough that you couldn’t see anyone else.

Not being obligated to bring in power must be state to state. Step son has been building a house by Tucson on a similar sized piece of land, and the power company was obligated to bring in power to his house. Couldn’t put it underground, since it is pretty solid rock. Solid enough that they supposedly had to use explosives to build the septic system. His wife is into somewhat self reliance, so they are putting in enough solar for normal usage, and they don’t tend to have to worry about snowbanks or too little sun. They have a generator for backup, but the real backup is really the normal power lines. No satellite TV, since the kids are supposed to be doing homework or practicing their instruments instead.

Danno said...

It is great that we all have the freedom to live where and how we want with respect to how much civilization we desire. Her lifestyle requires a lot of effort to maintain her basics and would not be conducive to having a demanding career. But hey, everyone gets to make choices.

For me, this sounds too much like my great-great grandparents who moved into south-central Minnesota in 1864 and lived in an existing sod hut (abandoned during the Indian uprising two years prior) for the first winter before they could start homesteading some land and build a log cabin the next summer and ultimately a house as they prospered. No thanks!

AllenS said...

I heat with wood. In the house, separate garage, and the shop. I started out this year with about 2 1/2 cords of wood in the basement of the house, and 800 pounds of coal (anthracite). It takes an enormous amount of work to put up firewood. I use 3 tractors to do it. [From left to right, the set up]. A Farmall model h tractor pulling a converted manure spreader with the unsplit cut wood. A John Deere model h to pull the log splitter. Then a Farmall model super m, pulling a trailer made from my old horse trailer. I lift the unsplit wood from the first trailer to the log splitter, then throw the split wood into the old horse trailer. From there I go the wood shed and stack it. Green wood is heavy.

That little wood stove she has would need to be filled about every hour. You couldn't put much wood into it, because of the small area of the house. I don't see a wood shed on the property. With snow as deep as she described. Good luck trying to find her wood pile.

As they say, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't.

BJM said...

@Allen, We heat with wood too... since we must have A/C in the summer, we installed heaters for resale.

Townies have no idea how much work and equipment a wooded property requires just to stay even with nature. Our woods had not been maintained for decades and we spent two years clearing dead trees, trimming and replanting the native under story, we have about 30 cords under tarp in the pole barn.