Back before the adventures of Sleipnir the Tiffin Allegro started, I had two dreams. One was to live off grid in the middle of nowhere, the other to travel the country in a tech’ed out RV. The RV won out, sort of, though traveling didn’t happen as much as we had hoped. Eventually we settled down at one campground, worked there for a few years, and then sold it and retired to an apartment.
How things have changed.
Since we moved into the apartment, we’ve had a child, gone to numerous doctor’s appointments, and dealt with one thing I really don’t like: Neighbors.
In the RV, neighbors were right on top of us. Walking distance from our front porch to their backside. In an apartment, they are below us, next to us on all sides, and everywhere else no one wants them to be. They make noise, smoke, yell and fight, and do other things to just be annoying.
A person can only take so much of that before deciding to leave.
Our lease ends in a few months, but we’ll be here beyond that. Instead, we are looking longer term for our future and our child’s opportunities. We need to focus on him above all else and making life as great as it can be for him.
To me, that means getting away from a lifestyle in a city, packed with people on top of each other. That means going somewhere with better schools, better environment, better opportunities. That means getting out of Florida and going somewhere with some sort of seasons.
How to cheat at off grid living
I have a fantastic opportunity. I have kept some of my closest friends close. One of them happens to own a house on about ten acres, most of it grassland and untouched. It also borders a small river or stream. They have it mowed twice a year and let the neighbors horses graze on it. That’s all that is being done with it aside from their lawn around their house where they reside.
This friend also wants some help. A sort of groundskeeper. A maintenance person. Her husband wants to retire and be a gentleman farmer, but I’m not sure he knows what he’s getting into. It would basically be the job I was doing previously at the campground and excelling at, but for one family and half the terrain.
We would need somewhere to live though. First it was a space to park our RV. That RV would never make it there, and besides, it is sold now and Tiffany doesn’t want to ever live in an RV again. Not that I particularly want to anyway.
Then it was a tiny home on the back of the lot. The ten acres is deep, but narrow, so it would be easy to have a place near the back that was out of site of the road, our own little place, and remote enough. But I don’t think I can convince Tiffany to live in a tiny home any more than an RV. She’s grown accustomed to 900sq feet of space.
The third idea was to build a garage, build an apartment on top of it, and we live there with the garage being workspace for the hobby farm. That could work, but its also expensive. It wouldn’t be too far from the house and friends, but it would also be upstairs. I’ve learned again that Tiffany doesn’t really like climbing stairs every day to come home or leave. It’s a good idea, but not the final one.
The last idea we’ve come up with is to build a cabin on the back of the property, make it off the grid for power to save some money (and increase charm!), but maybe with connected water system.
I was leaning to cordwood when I wanted to build somewhere else, but they don’t have the mature trees there to do that. We’ll have to figure out how to build it, but I do think making it off grid for power at the least is a good option. We can use solar for almost everything, have 12v DC for much of the appliances, or even propane or natural gas, depending what’s easiest there, and have an inverter for the remaining items.
This idea, comes in cheapest, easiest, most environmentally sound, and if the power goes out, we’ll have visitors likely since we’ll have heat and lights when no one else will. Not that I want a ton of neighbors showing up, but the property owner is welcome to come and stay if their power goes out.
To do this though, is a lot of work. Hopefully we can be contractors ourselves and actually do most of the work ourselves. I’ll have to design it, find everything to purchase, throw it together, and live in it. Not a bad deal.