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Looking at that photo, I can hear the loons calling in the distance, the rising sun is burning the fog off the lake, the chill of the morning air makes me shiver as I sip my first cup of coffee of the day.
Even just thinking about it makes me smile, it's so inviting and peaceful.
Then reality hits.
My upstairs neighbor walks, or should I say heel stomps across their floor making my ceiling creak. I hear their dog jump off the bed, its paws pattering down the hallway into the kitchen, its nails clicking on the tiles.
It's so annoying.
It gets worst, right when I want to record a video for my fitness website someone decides to run a jackhammer in the neighborhood.
The noise never stops.
I can hear cars and trucks speeding down the interstate. It's amazing how much noise tires make on asphalt, even when the road is a mile from the house.
Don't even get me going on motorcycles.
But I know, people have the right to walk (stomp) however they want. That they don't have to clip their dog's toenails. Construction workers have to work. People need to drive to work in their cars, and the semi-trucks have to transport goods. I even get that some middle-aged men have to make themselves feel tough by dressing up in leather and pretend they're some wannabe motorcycle gang member.
It's me that has to move out of the suburbs, they don't need to change.
I miss living in the country.
Don't get me wrong, suburb living has its perks too, like when you forget something at the store, or want a late night ice cream cone, deciding last minute you want to watch a baseball game on a warm summer evening, it's all within 5- or 10-minutes of home.
But I want to trade the noise of the suburbs for the sounds of peepers, quiet mornings on the deck drinking coffee, the flickering of fireflies and seeing millions of stars in the night sky.
None of that is possible in the suburbs.
I miss listening to nature, the birds' singing, the wind whistling through the trees, the sound of water as it flows over a rocky stream bed, the howls of coyotes at night, and I even miss the diverse sounds of insects.
The country might not be quiet, but to me, the noise of nature is peaceful, and it puts me in a good mental state. Not the irritable state that I feel like I'm living in right now.
I don't have to live off the grid to enjoy the country lifestyle. I just need to move to the country.
But if I'm going to move back to the country to rid myself of irritabilities, then I might as well eliminate as many others as I can in the process.
The reason I want to live off the grid is to be more self-reliant.
I want to get rid of as many bills as I can and live more within my means that I am currently.
This is not to say that I want is rough-hewn furniture, an ax and wood stove for heat, oil lamps, an outhouse, and a gun to shoot my food.
In fact, a warm draft-free home with electricity, hot water, a clothes washer, a beautiful kitchen, warm bed, comfy couch, and a modern bathroom with a shower are pretty much mandatory.
But the house will be small and powered by renewable energy. Ideally, there will be no connection to power lines, and there will be a minimal reliance on petroleum.
My home will be in the woods in a quiet location. The question is, will I live off the grid because I can, or because the house is so far removed from services that there is no other choice.
My early research on living off the grid is somewhat disappointing. Dependable renewable energy equipment can be expensive relative to grid connections and the break-even point will be many years down the road, especially living in a small house and the fact that my electric bills aren't very large.
For some reason, based on my reading, people that live off the grid have it out for the power companies but have no problem using propane for much of their energy needs.
The norm for off the grid homes is to use propane, whether to run generators, fuel stoves, or power refrigerators. And for some reason, they don't appear to have a problem using it.
I'd rather pay the electric companies than give money to the oil & gas industry.
I haven't totaled my electric bills, but they aren't really that expensive, in fact, it's one of my smallest monthly bills. Trading the power bill for a delivery of propane doesn't excite me.
The purpose of this blog is to track the costs of building a new home powered by renewable energy.
Will it worth it to me in the long run?
Can I save money and become more self-reliant by living off the grid and simplifying my life?
I'll be blogging about different building and energy plans, what animals and food can I grow, what are the long-term savings (if any) of using solar, wind, and hydropower to run the house.
This website will be my repository for ideas, notes, and plans. I'll be giving away material lists for each stage that you can use, if you wish, to get quotes for your own needs.
This blog will be my journal of building a home and a life off the grid right from the planning stages, actually, right from the idea stages.
If you want some idea of what I will be writing about look at my index page for a listing of topics I've come up with so far.
My dreams right now are to build a small home (~500-sq ft) powered by renewable energy (hopefully hydropower & solar) and grow some of my own food and raise some animals that will help me with the journey.
Where I will build, what materials the house will be built with, and most of the other details are still in the idea phase.
Welcome to the Journey!
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