Has the Coronavirus craziness that’s been happening make you think of what it would be like to live off the grid?

If yes, this article is for you…

This is a personal message to those who have ever been thinking about getting off-grid and finding a getaway somewhere.

If you have ever thought that it would be nice to leave the rat race behind, this COVID-19 virus should be the cement that seals the deal for you. 

This was the view from my porch last night. 

living off the grid during coronavirus scare
The sunset from my porch

 

What Living Off The Grid Has Been Like Since This Coronavirus Scare

I woke up this morning and I made coffee while the dogs went outside for a run. I burned my paper trash and then I put on a pot of hot water to heat so I could bathe.

The birds have been singing since 6 am and there has been very little sound from the roads around me. I suppose many people who live out here and still commute to jobs are now staying home. 

The highway isn’t too far away, but it’s far enough that I’m secluded in a nice area.

I’ve got an acre with a high spot for my cabin and a low spot where I plan on adding a pond this spring. That will provide me with more water for the irrigation of gardens.

Two weeks ago I was set to get it started by having a guy come out with his little Cat skid steer. With the virus going around, he isn’t keen to come out and I don’t blame him. 

In fact, I’ve hunkered down and kept to myself as well. It isn’t really hard for me to do.

I Am Prepared To Be Self Sufficient For About 6 Months

I listen to the radio but I have no television. I don’t miss it at all. I still listen to the news via an app on my cell phone, which I charge from my solar panels.

I am able to be as removed from things as I choose to be. 

How I Get Water

I’ve got a water pump to move water from a large tank that collects my rainwater.

How I Power Electronics 

I’ve got two solar panels that collect 200 watts per hour of sunshine.

These panels charge my pumps, my cell phones, my laptop, and run my lights.

campfire stove during coronavirus
Fresh-perked coffee and a fire on a chilly morning

How I Get Air Conditioning Off Grid

I have a generator for backup power when I need it and when temperatures hit 100-degrees, I will fire it up and slap an air conditioner in the window to make it comfortable.

I suppose that makes me not entirely off-grid in the minds of some people? I am not tied to an electrical grid and one day I hope to have enough solar panels to run the air conditioner without running a generator.

For now, it keeps me from dying in the August heat which can bring temps in the low 100s for weeks on end. 

Having Enough Food

I’ve got plenty of food that I canned from my garden last year, plus a lot of dry goods that I’ve stocked over the past 9 months just so that I could stay home more.

I don’t really like hustle and bustle crowds. In times like this, my tendency to be a hermit is serving me quite well. 

While everyone else was out fighting over toilet paper, I already had enough to last more than a month on hand. It was easy enough for me to grab some more from the dollar store down the road as soon as I first heard about this virus stuff.

I’ve got plenty of food and clean water and I didn’t need to panic-buy. Rule number one of being off-grid is to stock yourself up.  

This year, I’ve got seeds from last year’s garden and some new ones that I also mail-ordered. I’ll have a bigger garden this year and I’ll be able to get it planted two months sooner than I did last year.

I expect to can and dry enough food this fall to last me for more than a year, possibly two years. 

I found a place close to a big lake, where I can fish when I need protein and I plan on stocking my little pond when it is completed.

There are loads of rabbits around that I can shoot from time to time as well. The garden produces all else, except for things like coffee and flour, that I stock up on anyway. 

I’ve made one trip to town in a month

Now that I am purposely wanting to avoid people for more than my personal need to be left alone, I feel that I could easily avoid contact with others for another 6 months if I truly need to. I’ll never have to worry about utilities being shut off either. 

Preparing For Off-Grid Life

I initially moved in with a friend and helped her around her house, while I saved money and bought some things I needed before moving to my property. I bought things like solar panels, a power inverter, solar charge controller, an RV water pump, batteries to store my power, and loads of other things like a chainsaw, tools to handle most jobs, a generator, rechargeable lights, and other devices that USB charge — like a portable camping water pump that I still use to shower with. 

I use propane to cook with and for heat. I’ve already purchased a small wood stove to replace the LP heater next year because I didn’t want to fully be dependent on that. I’ve got wood on my property that I can cut. 

You have to put some thought into moving off-grid and your priorities need to be food, water (make sure you have a way to filter your water), and shelter. Once you have those things, you can work on expanding your capabilities to create quite a nice little life.

Growing your own beans and drying them will allow you to always have food and a great source of protein. I’ll be getting chickens this month too. I had to wait for nice weather to put up the chicken coop. You do have to be watchful for predators though. 

Many nights the coyotes come right up to the yard next to my cabin and howl and yip in a large group. We also have bobcats that prowl and steal your chickens. That brings me to my next point. You really need to have a gun, even if you’re not a big gun person. Out here, you need it. 

You’ll need it to eat at times, to protect your food and your animals, and to protect yourself at times too. You can’t be squeamish about it. Learn how to break it down, clean it, load it, use the safety properly, and how to hold a loaded gun so that you are safely using it. Practice firing it so you know you can hit a target from several yards away. Take a course if you need to. It’s simply a must-have. 

Freedom From The Mess

All in all, right now I’m sitting back enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air. I’ve got porch lights hooked to my solar system and I often sit on my porch at night and enjoy a fire in the chiminea, with the lights glowing as I watch the sunset. 

porch lights during coronavirus
My solar-powered porch lights on a peaceful evening

I’m thankful that I’ve got plenty to eat in the house and I also have the knowledge to forage for food outside. I’ve got wild blackberries that are all over my property that I’ll soon be able to pick this summer. Mushrooms grow all through the rainy season, which can last well into summer around these parts too. 

There are some wild pear trees all over the place and the greens that are known as weeds to most people are delicate salad additions to me. There are many reasons to shun the city life. I know because I’ve lived in big cities. Houston was once my home. I’m simply overjoyed to not be there right now. 

Do you live off grid? Would you like to experience what it’s like to be off the grid? I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you have any questions, I would love to answer them. 

Dawn Greer

Dawn Greer is an avid environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast. She has spent most of the past ten years living off the grid or traveling via RV across the United States. She currently resides in Oklahoma at her off-grid home, Shambala Rock, along with her three dogs, a cat, chickens, and miniature goats.

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