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Hobby Farming, going off the Grid and Living off the Land


What is necessary in order to live self sufficient and off the land?

I have put a lot of thought into that and I came up with some solutions and options that may provide you with a more self sufficient lifestyle.

However, living off the land is hard work and the price for placing yourself out of modern society will demand not only a large amount of financial resources, but also a lot of physical hard and tough work.

Some people think, that in order to feed 3 people, you need 99 acres of fertile land. But this is not so at all and it can be achieved with far less land and effort. However, education and knowledge is the key to find practical solutions.


Energy;

It depends on your type of property, of course.

Solar and Wind energy are options that work quite well here in the Southwest of the United States. There is almost always wind even in the low desert and up in the higher elevations as well. A lot of people invest in so called Island Solar Energy Systems in order to get Off the Grid. It may be expensive in the beginning, but there are a lot of financial options as well. If selling electricity from your own Solar System is an option, it could pay off itself by generating power every single day. I know some people that do and it works quite well, although, these people have a very large Solar System and of course a lot more open land to install their Solar Systems on it.


Sun catcher, solar water heater can provide you with hot water during the summer months, away from fuel generators and other devices that run on fuels and other supplies that you need to take care of.

One can also cook with solar power… that is something that people off the Grid in sunny parts of the West might want to consider for it is very easy and highly efficient as well. There is a type of mirror attached to the solar cooker which reflects the sunlight and thus heating up the entire cooker. You can built it yourself, no big deal and really not that expensive either.


Hydro Generators work only if you have a all year running stream or crook flowing through your property, again, this option might be something that would work best in the Northeast or Northwest, here in the West it is really rare to have a all year running creek, even in the higher elevations. But it might be worth to research into that further. Flowing water is running through a generator, turbine and draft tube that transform the spinning of the turbine into electricity.


Heating;

Firewood.

There are water leading wood burning cook stoves for sale that are really expensive but, if you want to live comfortably off the Grid during a long and harsh winter, this is your best bet and will save you a lot of hard work. There is nothing more demanding than having to make a fire and heating up the water in pots in order to take a shower or hot bath. You really don’t have to do that. But again, off the Grid living is not cheap and never has been. It is more expensive than people think it is. You can’t just move and get away without the means of large financial resources in the beginning. A lot of people had to sell the property and go right back into society, going back to their old jobs, simply because they underestimated the costs and expenses of this Lifestyle.

Now, firewood does not simply equal firewood. There are big differences between burning various types of woods.

Pine, Fir do not usually emit as much heat as Maple, Beech or Birch. People living in Montana for example do have large resources of fir and pine wood in the western mountains, but these types of woods will not provide you with as much heat as with other hardwoods. The bottom essence is that you will have to use a lot more firewood in order to get the same amount of energy.

However, you can insulate your firewood with pricks, clay and so on or built a rocket stove heater yourself with clay.

That way, you can save a huge amount of energy within the clay, while using less firewood and heating more than just 1 or 2 rooms.


Heating with Gas, Fuel or other fossil resources are, in my opinion, not reliable options to get off the Grid. However, as a back up it is wise to have the option.


Food:


You do not need 99 acres in order to feed yourself and grow your own food. But you will have to study some options that are known in permaculture for being highly efficient even with very little space.
Sepp Holzer’s Huegelkultur and Raised Bed Gardening is something that I personally favor even here in the Southwest.
Almost no pests, or slugs, on your vegetables and fruits, if you put a layer of mosquito net on top of it.
Full control over water use, quality of the soil and the roots are protected of early frosts and cold nights.

That way you can grow a lot of food even without a lot of space. Growing the right type of vegetables is also important. Be sure what you really need, what you use and how much of it. For example; growing the Kohlrabi called “Superschmelz” will require a lot less space but you will harvest a lot more because of its size.
Having your own pond can provide you with fish and can attract a lot of useful herbs, plants and wildlife that are useful to your garden, especially if you are into beekeeping.

Water, in general, is the most important resource and with enough water, there are almost no limits. Which is why gardening here can be really challenging but we also have a very dry and hot climate, and some vegetables need exactly that climate in order to thrive and produce a lot of crops.
Going hunting, having a hunting license can provide you with enough meat even without having livestock on your property. Although, some chicken and eggs really do not need that much space and can be held in almost every garden. I have built myself some chicken / quail coops that last for years without having to spent a lot of money.

Cold Frame gardening can be useful in very cold climates, also, if you have a greenhouse, you can put hay or straw bale around it. Some people prefer to heat their greenhouses with firewood in order to grow crops until December or even later.

Personally, I have put straw on top of my soil as a layer of insulation in our hot climate and it works quite well. I will post pictures of our tomato harvest this year soon.

General speaking you can grow some vegetables on straw, for example potatoes.

I know that, unfortunately, purchasing land especially in Central Europe, where I was born and am from originally, is not only very expensive, heavily taxed but also a lot harder to find than here in the USA. But also here in the US it is heavily dependent on the area and US state.

Which is why people could focus on growing on very little space, or, building up social networks with Farmers and Gardeners, maybe you can use or lease your own lot and find something useful.

Other:

Most devices that we use in our daily life require power. Of course, that is because it is more comfortable and they save a lot of time in our hectic fast paced world.

But if you generate your own power, you might want to consider devices that save a lot of it.

Mechanical devices in your household might be the solution to this problem, although it is becoming harder and harder to find them simply because their demand has become very low in modern society.

This listing can go on and on and it perhaps never ending... feel free to make your own thoughts and be creative.