off grid

  • Me: You're on vacation. What a great time to go off the grid and catch up on work.
  • Duffers: Trailer, yo.
  • Cast: Look how happy and amazing we are.
  • Me: Never mind.

Hey guys just to let you know: I’m leaving to go camping tomorrow! Which means I am totally off the grid for the next week or so.

Feel free to keep sending in asks, messages, tagging me in things anything like that completely as usual but be aware I won’t be able to answer for a little while.

The queue is however completely filled with nice stuff for you so stick around, that should take care of everything til I get back. 

Enjoy xx

Back to civilization after 8 days completely off the grid.

Our paddle/portage route was 40 miles through the Man Chain in the Quetico. We saw a total of maybe 30 people over that week and interacted with less than 10 (saying hello or helping with packs and canoes at a muddy portage).

We did a lot of naked swimming/bathing in cool, clear lake water. We drank and cooked with filtered lake water throughout. I fished a little but anything I caught returned to the water alive and swimming.

We were in our canoe about 20 yards from a female moose that emerged from the woods to swim. She paused and turned when she saw us. Lots of eagles and some osprey. We didn’t see any black bears.

We had about 90 minutes of rain one afternoon and then a sprinkle on our last morning. Temps seemed to peak out in the mid 70s each day. Lucky us because it has been a cool, wet summer up there so far.

And this is my beard at day 10.

I’ll post some photos when I pull them off the camera.

drawacirclethatsry  asked:

Where does Jethro sell his masks? Etsy? (Figuring it means less reactions with people besides the people at the post office)

He doesn’t have Internet since he’s off the grid.
Instead he walks to a small town and supplies a costume shop with his wears. There they sell his items online.
He’s very popular with horror fans and collectors, even though they don’t know his name.

How much land do you really need to be self sufficient?

With a world food crisis, drought and civil unrest over escalating food prices, around the world, we all have concerns about food security and the ability to feed our own families.  An info-graphic is circulating the internet that tells us that we need a full 2 acres to be self sufficient in food on a omnivore diet, implying less land if one is vegan.  The problem with a graphic like this is that it discourages experimentation, and assumes a one-size-fits all family eating style.  It uses yield estimates taken from mono-cultural commercial agriculture and imposes them on the homestead.  This discourages people who want to attempt to be self sufficient and live a more sustainable life.  2 acres is a substantial investment in a highly productive agricultural belt or near an urban area. And this info-graphic assumes highly productive land — expensive land.

So is 2 acres a reasonable estimate?  That depends where you live and what you mean by “self-sufficiency”.  When Canada was being divided up in homesteading grids — it was assumed that on the Prairies an average family would need a section of land (over 1,000 acres) to be self-sufficient.  In those days, self-sufficient meant to survive to the next year, without grocery stores to fall back on.  In Ontario and B.C. the amount of land necessary to feed and cloth a family was considered a ¼ section — 160 acres.  That area provided water, food, energy, and a livelihood.  Along the St. Laurence and in the Maritimes the amount of land needed was less — due to the proximity of fishing and water.  The closer one is to fresh water, whether a stream or through rainfall, the less land that is necessary to sustain  a family.

Those in the North or at higher elevations need more land to be self-sufficient.  Its hard to grow food — other than livestock and hay — in a growing season that’s shortened by intermittent summer frost.  But it can be done.  Land in these areas is cheaper, too.  You will need 5 to 15 acres to be productive in a Northern area and you will have more land dedicated to raising livestock and hay and less land dedicated to vegetables and fruit.

How much land do you need?

So what’s a reasonable estimate for how much land you really need to sustain your family?

Skip the 2,000 square foot house.  Its unnecessary.  A smaller footprint that builds upward  is a better use of space, and is easier to heat and clean.  Solar panels?  Possibly if you are far enough south and have a good exposure.   Wind? Micro-hydro?  Methane?  Wood?  All are possibilities to explore for energy efficiency.  Each property has to be assessed individually.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution — except the grid.  Cut the house footprint in half.

Livestock?  Skip the pigs — they produce only meat and take up valuable space.  Skip the corn unless you live in the South, where your summer has the heat value to ripen corn easily.  The livestock doesn’t need it and its low on food value — 2 goats and 5 chickens can live on garden surplus, grass and weeds.  5 chickens will feed a family 2 dozen eggs a week in the peak laying season.  They don’t need their own dedicated space.  Put them in a movable chicken tractor and let them till the garden, eating bugs and weeds.  Move them every morning during the growing season and it will improve your soil quality, too.

Goats can be housed in a shed near the house, a lean to onto the house or even the back of the garage.  They only need a small bedding area and can be taken for walks in the hedgerows of your neighbourhood to feed on browse.  They can be given a loafing area or be tethered in different spots around the yard to help keep down weeds.  Protect them from stray dogs and predators and they will give you 8 to 10 years of the highest quality raw milk for drinking, cheese, yogourt and ice-cream.  They can be fed with garden waste.  Or share your field peas and produce with them, in exchange for their milk.  Their manure will increase the fertility of the garden space.  2 full size dairy goats will give your family a gallon of milk a day and 3 kids for 90 lbs. of meat every fall. Live in an urban area? Invest in Nigerian Dwarf goats and half the production rates, as well as the food inputs.

Instead of corn in cooler regions, grow potatoes.  They offer more calories and can be grown in more climates and take up less space.  You can follow a crop of potatoes with kale for a longer harvest season, even in a colder climate.

Don’t forget the orchard

Fruit and nut trees are a must. Nut trees take a while to mature but the increase in protein is beneficial to you, and your livestock — plant them if you have the space.  Dwarf fruit trees will grow on a 6 foot centre and can be trellised along a fence to increase yields per space. If space is at a premium, do consider trellising them — planting 6 feet apart in a one foot wide row.  One dwarf tree will yield 75 lbs. of fruit, once it is mature.  10 trees trellised along a fence with a Southern exposure, blossom sooner in spring and have an extended growing season, and will give you enough fruit for a family for jamming, canning and preserving.

Berries and small fruits take up little space and can offer high vitamins and antioxidants to your diet.  If wild roses and wild strawberries grow in your area than other berries will as well.

Sunflowers are an annual crop that provide an increase in protein for your diet, and can grow on the borders of the garden, taking up very little space.

Raised beds for vegetables

Vegetables, grown in raised beds or containers, give high yields and can be rotated for 3 season gardening — greens from spinach to lettuce to kale can rotate through the growing season to keep your plate full for daily salads and vegetables.  We grow all the greens we need in about 20 square feet this way.  Other vegetables, like cabbage, beans, carrots and beets, need a full growing season but can be inter-cropped with flowers and herbs to feed bees, and provide medicinal plants for the family first aid kit.  With raised bed gardening you could cut down the vegetable area square footage by ½ to 2/3rds   Add a greenhouse and train vines to grow up instead of out and you can increase the growing season and the yields in the available space.

Community is essential

This chart fails to take into account the sharing that inevitably happens between gardeners — zucchinis, squash, lettuces and other prolific growers provide a bountiful harvest that many families can share, at the peak of the growing season.

Rabbits?  Chickens? Ducks?

Put in some rabbit hutches – Each rabbit needs 2 feet by 3 ft. space.  You can give them a grass run and build rabbit condos that offer them a wonderful, natural lifestyle.   3 female french angora rabbits and 1 male will provide your family with a meal of rabbit meat once a week and enough angora to keep your family in mittens and hats for the winter.  They will eat your garden surplus, and grass hay.  In Europe, during WWII, families with back yard rabbits would make hay by harvesting the grass from vacant lots and roadsides all summer.  And they make affectionate pets, too.  Are we eating our pets? No, as a farmer you make pets out of the breeding animals and give the best possible life and respect to the young that end up on your plate.

You don’t need meat every day, but you do need high quality protein every day and this kind of gardening will give you that.

Consider planting field peas for increased protein.  Field peas increase the fertility of the soil and the crop is ready to harvest in August when the ground can be cleared and a second crop can be planted of either peas or a winter vegetables.  The straw from peas is relished by goats and rabbits.

Aquaponics

Consider the addition of an aquaponics greenhouse in the vegetable growing area.  This will yield fish fertilizer, vegetables, and fish for a well rounded diet for you and your garden — along with year round vegetables.  Add a methane digester and you can supply some of your own energy needs as well.  If you can grow meat and vegetables year round, you reduce your dependence on a freezer, which lowers your electrical needs.

My estimate is that in a highly productive area with adequate rainfall, the average family could raise all their food needs on 1 acre of land.  Many did just this during WWII with just a large city lot, by walking their goats and moving their chickens around the vegetable garden.  The key to making this work is to eat what you can grow in your climate — using heritage seeds that are adapted to your growing conditions. With more land — 5 acres — you can move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and begin to make some money from your productivity.

If you have more land, grow more food and expand your self sufficiency. But if you only have a balcony in a city apartment, grow where you are planted.  And start in a small way to be more sufficient now.  On the Joybilee Farm Facebook Page, I post periodic links to urban agricultural projects to inspire your urban efforts for self sufficiency.

One of my favorite resources for urban farm is the Urban Farm Guys. Their videos are practical step-by-step guidelines to help you harvest more food from a small amount of land. –joybileefarm.com

6

So now we have 11 wild acres, and the next enormous undertaking is building a small, off-grid, solar-powered house. And we’ve been talking a lot about what that could look like - strawbale, mudbrick, recycled timber etc. Lately though, we’re like “what if we build a fucking yurt?”. They’re cheap to build, energy efficient, efficient for heating and cooling, & beautiful to look at.

2

Earthship-inspired cabin built for under $10k in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Submitted by Taylor & Steph Bode: 

We studied Earthship design in Taos, New Mexico before setting out to build our own handmade home. We spent 3 years living off-the-grid, and have now created a book about the experience called Nomadic Roots, a photographic journey of Earthships, road trips, and a handmade cabin for under $10k. See more photos on our Kickstarter to self-publish the book.  

9

A lot of positive things have happened this week. And receiving a house from the community we’ll be living in is one of them. 

As you guys may or may not know, my fiancé and I are moving into an eco community in South Africa that is very much focused on sustainability, off-grid living and restoring our own connection with Mother Nature by nurturing the land through permaculture and fruit forests🌳 🌿 My fiancé moved there on Monday and he was able to start clearing thick vegetation off a plot of land for our home and garden. But the owner and and homesteaders of Khula Dhamma decided that it would be better for us to move on the main hill of KD so we can work closely together with the owner. So, we were lucky enough to receive it. The house has been left in pretty good condition by the previous homesteaders. It’s very strong and sturdy, just needs some patching up to do on the walls. Obviously, the house needs to undergo some(!) refurbishment. I do not want to begin about the aesthetics of the place… it needs some work. BADLY!🙄  So we’ll be fixing up the place accordingly and will make it look suiting our tastes. 

The house is attached to a borehole so that is where we will be getting our water supply from and is heated by a rocket stove. The solar panels will hopefully be installed soon after I arrive. As soon as some cracks have been filled, a lime plaster will cover both outer and inner walls. Before all of that, the thick vegetation has to be cleared and the house needs to be cleaned thoroughly. 

The house as two upper floors. Our bedroom will be on the first and then there is a loft area for guests. The two big windows in our room overlook lush, green forests of the eco community. The garden has extreme fertile soil which helps us a lot. Now we only have to focus on maintaining the fertile soil when growing our food🍌 🍊 🍠🍐 🍎

I can not begin to express how blessed I feel for receiving all of these gifts from the universe. I’ve always wished, hoped and desired to live an off-grid lifestyle in an awesome place and here we are.. I don’t know how I manifested all of this but I am extremely grateful for believing I could live this kind of lifestyle🌞