If you are attracted to the idea of living off the grid, but you think there is no way you could do it with a large family, you need to meet Jeff and Rose and their five daughters.
With a strong desire to live an inexpensive and debt-free lifestyle, Jeff and Rose purchased 40 acres in Northern British Columbia, Canada in 2011.
There they built a 900-square foot house for less than $25,000. It features cedar posts that are sunk directly into the ground, log rafters, a living roof and wrapped plywood and foam insulation. They have no concrete foundation, no well and no septic system. Yet, after watching the video below, you will see they seem to have everything they need – plus the time to experience their surroundings and their independent way of life.
(Editor’s note: Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s interview with Jeff here.)
This homeschooling family enjoys beekeeping, gardening, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, baking and many other activities. Their location and lifestyle make “homeschooling both a requirement and our preference,” says Jeff. He explains that his daughters complete their academic studies in two to three hours each day and then are able to “learn in everything they do…We want them to have broad and varied life experiences.”
The girls also help with chores, including carrying water, emptying compost buckets and collecting firewood. During the winter, the family spends much of their time maintaining their road, since accumulations of five to six feet of snow are common.
“Electricity is no problem at all,” says Jeff. Their first solar panel generates 12-volt power for their lights and cell phones. The second 2.5-kilowatt system has a lithium ion battery bank that powers their full-sized refrigerator, a separate chest freezer, washing machine, as well as several small kitchen appliances. However, Jeff points out that their power-hungry toaster is off limits in the winter.
They have a backup generator, but Jeff says they only need it during extended cloudy or snowy periods.
The family collects rainwater from their shop and shed roofs and stores it in a 900-gallon tank located below the shop floor. They carry buckets of water into the house for cooking, dishes and showers. They use a Berkey passive water filter to clean the rainwater for drinking.
Jeff and Rose heat the family’s shower water on the centrally-located woodstove, which also provides most of their heat. The hot water is then pumped to the nearby shower on an as-needed basis. Grey water from the shower and the kitchen sink is pumped into a shallow field in the backyard. The family has two basic composting bucket toilets.
When you watch the video, you will see the beautiful location where this family lives and feel inspired to live their lifestyle yourself. “We can’t go back,” says Jeff. “Gridlessness is too good.”
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