Anybody live off-grid?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 121 of total 121 in this topic
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 27, 2017 - 04:48pm PT
After living in Flagstaff for most of the last 25 years, I bought 10 acres about 20 miles outside of town. I'm curious if anyone out in the ST land has lived off the grid and suggestions they may have. There are no power lines and wells are prohibitively expensive. Many thousands of people in Coconino county and other rural areas of northern AZ end up generating their own electricity and hauling / harvesting rain water.

I have a very primitive solar set up so far, looking to expand somewhat,though my needs are little most of the time, Obviously a generator is in my future.

I'd be interested to hear of experiences harvesting rainwater off steel roofs.

This will be more of a challenge in that I am not mechanically apt and have little building experience. I'm approaching it in much the same way I did all those big wall routes of AZ we established, bit by bit, patience and persistence. In a few years the land loan will be paid off and I will be generating much of my own energy and water needs, hopefully in a small, efficient home.

Any ideas, suggestions are appreciated.

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:05pm PT
Yer gunna die
WBraun

climber
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:21pm PT
the albatross -- I am not mechanically apt and have little building experience.

Then you will learn the hard way but you will enjoy it more than drooling in a stoopid city.

Having improvising skills, building skills and being mechanically inclined is so valuable.

Good luck ....
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:21pm PT
Not me, but could be a good thread if you said that just a few miles outside of town is not very far from climbing areas like...
Mike.

climber
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:35pm PT
you will learn the hard way but you will enjoy it more than drooling in a stoopid city.

+1

Perfect for a wall climber.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:39pm PT
You should definitely turn this into a TR.

I think most of us will be interested in following your progress (and helping where we can).
nah000

climber
no/w/here
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:41pm PT
^^^^

this.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:42pm PT
Awesome!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:50pm PT
I got to many ideas. What's your present priority concern?

Here in jtree many have thier water delivered by truck 2k gals for $80. Just need a tank. Doin it yourself, you could get 55g barrels with a small trailer. Think I've seen or done it all almost, so be direct...

Cheers to good livin!
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:52pm PT
c wilmot

climber
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:55pm PT
Is there a spring with public access? You might be better off collecting water off site. So long as you have a truck you can get a water pump and a small tank and just haul it in when needed. I used to see people in pilar nm hauling water like that all the time

Here is how Bermuda does it

https://www.google.com/amp/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/38222271
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:59pm PT
Just for Munge! Off the grid, turnkey operation, next to Indian creek, 640 acres. The needles outpost for sale, starting bid, $1 million

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4884954-155/state-to-sell-needles-outpost-land
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 27, 2017 - 05:59pm PT
^^^^^WHAT❓❓❓
Hey somebody lend me a million, I'll pay you back I swear‼️

Hey flip, you jus goin way cheap there or what?

You know 2 6volt Trojans will do more work than those 3 12volter's
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2017 - 06:02pm PT
Thanks everyone for the encouragement.

I backed off all 3 established big wall climbs I ever tried (in Zion mid 90s). Then went on to establish probably almost half of the grade V routes in AZ (mostly because of stronger partners). After backing off Tooth Rock (obscure trash heap in nowhere) it took another 18 months, probably 8 attempts over several weeks of effort before reaching the summit. Turns out that new route is apparently quite good (if you like more sand than stone when you climb). Years later when I said goodbye to the formation I'd reached the top via 5 new routes. I'm approaching this whole earth friendly house build the same way.

WB excellent advice, I have already learned so many lessons the hard way (basic carpentry skills lacking such as wrong length cuts, crooked nails,etc). It's an awesome challenge ahead and I look forward to it just as once dreamed of those vermilion walls.

Practical suggestions on simple solar systems, water harvesting, etc are greatly appreciated.
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:02pm PT
Five years Off Grid on the Sierra Westside makes me want to tell you that the 1800's aren't all they are cracked up to be.

Let's begin with basics dear Son of Maslow - do you have access to food and water?

You mention no well - not good unless you plan a life of drinking Evian from Costco. There are two likely reasons you have no well - no water or no money.

If no water - then quit the damn place and migrate somewhere else,

If no money for a well - then look into designing a place with a catchment roof that feeds your water storage systems be they bladders, cisterns, whatever you can afford. If designed correctly, a modest roof can collect hundreds of gallons from a 1/4 inch rain storm - the trick tho becomes keeping the water clean and untainted - I know some Earthies will sh#t a brick - but there is value in Clorox if used wisely,

Look, if you are serious about going off the planet and don't want to live like a lice infested bubonic plagued third world troglodyte - then spend your time learning all you can about solar, battery banks, inverters, generators, passive solar, active solar, earthhomes, dry land irrigation and water collection systems.

It can be done - but it will consume 2/3rds of your waking day to do so.

The other third is a blast tho!





the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2017 - 06:04pm PT
See lots of trucks with the 250 gallon tanks around the area, my tundra could handle it, but I'm looking to collect from the sky eventually, filtering it along the way,
Thanks everyone!

Edit: I have heard the water table is 1400' below the lava.
John M

climber
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:04pm PT
Chris posted a trip report on his solar installation. He is connected to the grid, so doesn't have the battery information.

http://www.supertopo.com/a/SuperTopo-Goes-Solar-How-and-why-we-choose-solar-photovoltaic-panels-for-our-house/a11338n.html

Good luck man. Seems like a fun adventure.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:15pm PT
Water is not that tough, if you you don't need much.. Power is the crux. How much luxury do you want? Refrigerator, hot water, stove, ? These are easiest and cheapest to run on propane. Then you solar array and bank can be much, much smaller. But propane is a monthly bill.

BTW, are you out by Williams, and Paridise forks?
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:17pm PT
Look again, 2x 6v golf cart batteries, but yes I'm on the cheap. I got them (Duracell) online on Black Friday for $109 ea. in store pickup. Next a cheapo Cabela's genny. Then some Photovoltaics. Then double the battery bank. Then a silent 2k Honda genny. Bob's your uncle.

250 gallons x 8.36lbs is 2000+ lbs. I hope it's a short and smooth drive.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:20pm PT
Oh yeah, Cool flip flop. Good job🤓
Randall_C

climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:33pm PT
Hey Albatross,

Looks like you are off Leupp Rd? I work with a few people that live off the grid. One couple about killed each other in the process, but eventually figured it out after 7+ years. They thought they were going to start the next Arcosanti, and when the Money Pit and hard work were not paying off, they almost self-imploded. Do you plan on building an earth-ship, going for the double-wide, burying a school bus underground such as the freaks in Covelo, straw bail???

Best of luck.

Randall
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2017 - 06:40pm PT
I'm NE of Flag out by Sunset Crater over in the Painted Desert. There is excellent bouldering at Grand Falls a short quad drive away. Some interesting little crags scattered about too.

Great ideas so far, along the lines of my research. Mostly solo my needs are fairly minimal for power and water. I've got neighbors down the road that have a kick ass house and haven't hauled water in 20'years and hardly ever start a fire in their stove even in this chilly northern AZ climate.

I am blessed to have a much younger Dine friend who is very in tune with efficiient building practices. I'm thinking a simple straw bale with large south facing windows, steel roof and simple solar with back up generator, I know that for the next 6 months or a year it will be a bit closer to camping than home living, but I have been preparing for something like this for several decades.

survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:42pm PT
My mind is off grid all the time...... does that count?
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2017 - 06:45pm PT
Survival, part of my eagerness to get out there is spending much less time on this stupid iPad and much more time thinking about sunlight,wind and rain.

vvvv. True that Flip Flop. Fortunately for now I'm financially secure working about 4 months a year and am comfy living a modest lifestyle.
Thanks everyone for listening to my ravings for an evening I'm stepping out into the big sky....
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Feb 27, 2017 - 06:45pm PT
The budget is where the rubber hits the road
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 27, 2017 - 07:09pm PT
much more time thinking about sunlight,wind and rain.

Well done brother! It looks like you have a righteous place for it. I lived in Flag for a bit in the early 70's and have been a high desert nut all my life.




Barry Bates

Trad climber
Brookings oregon
Feb 27, 2017 - 07:46pm PT
I agree with Werner better than drooling in a stupid city. The key is enjoying the process if you don't its probably not worth it. Wood heat, big veggie garden, home canned veggies for the winter, a freezer full of salmon and ling cod, mussels and clams from the beach a few miles away. Water here is not a problem Ive emptied our 5 inch rain gauge about 25 times this winter. The only thing we don't have is off grid power we've been thinking about it but our power bills average out to $20 a month so its hard to justify the expense of a major system. Every one has there own way of living this isn't for every one and I don't think every one should live this way. but for us it works. if it works for you enjoy it.
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Feb 27, 2017 - 08:02pm PT
I think you will be surprised at how much electricity you DON'T need, once you start to live within the natural cycle of light and dark. It's when people want to stay up past bedtime that they need light. Or when they want things like clothes washer/dryer or air conditioner, when they use electricity.

For reading or small tasks that don't require "working light" you can just use a headlamp. My hint: It sucks to wash dishes in the dark. Have supper before the sun goes down.

The ONLY thing I need electricity for is my laptop, cel phone and camera battery charging. Pretty much everything else can be done without electricity. In my case, I can use the workplace electricity to get them heated up, or in the van when I am driving, with an inverter. But I live just a mile and a half from a place where I can go and plug in and get wifi, not miles out like it it seems the OP is.

A propane fridge would be a luxury that if I could afford, I would have, but since 2010 I have used no refrigeration except that which comes naturally. Only in the dog days of summer does it get where vegetables don't last as long as you'd like, but a soggy tomato is not an inedible tomato. If a piece of fruit or vegetable gets a yucky spot, you cut it out and eat the rest. Cheese - slice off the mold and the rest is fine. Eggs? I have had eggs in a cooler(without ice) for three weeks, in all but, like I said - extended periods of wretched over 80 degrees temps. I have never gotten so much as a tummy ache in all that time(except when I have eaten in restaurants, believe it or not)

Would a windmill be the thing to do for that area?
cavemonkey

Ice climber
ak
Feb 27, 2017 - 08:13pm PT
I dropped a considerable amount of coin on my solar setup, and only wish I would have gone bigger on storage. I can go 8 months without starting my generator, and I live in the mtns. in AK. Collecting rainwater is great, but you need a fallback during dry periods.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2017 - 08:41pm PT
These are all some great suggestions.

I can hear that old refrigerator humming and the freezer half full of elk purring in this old inefficient rental house right now. I look forward in the next month to living more in harmony with the natural cycle of light and to harvesting more of my electricity from the sun and rain. One of the many challenges this Spring is setting up the cell signal booster on an antennae and generating enough electricity to check in on the internet on occasion,

As to an earlier question, "town" is about 30 minutes away, so groceries and water (for now) isn't too big of deal once or twice a week. I like the idea of being a little less dependent on the system and spending more time working on my own property and sustenance.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Feb 27, 2017 - 08:51pm PT
Just for Munge! Off the grid, turnkey operation, next to Indian creek, 640 acres. The needles outpost for sale, starting bid, $1 million

That is just music to my ears. The State is selling the land out from under Utah's worst campground hosts ever, due to multiple complaints. She was nothing but a c#nt to us.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 28, 2017 - 01:19am PT
Have a friend outside of Smith who lives off-grid powerwise in a new home a not large solar array (maybe 6-8 panels). Seems to have all the normal accoutrements of modern life. I do recall, though, him saying you have to have the system setup and operated correctly if you want to insure the longest life possible out of the expensive batteries the whole rig runs off of.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Feb 28, 2017 - 02:29am PT
I'm approaching it in much the same way I did all those big wall routes of AZ we established, bit by bit, patience and persistence

Is there a thread where you don't bring this up, #spraylord?
Crazy Bat

Sport climber
Birmingham, AL & Seweanee, TN
Feb 28, 2017 - 03:09am PT
As a kid I lived in a log cabin. Electricity was super unreliable. Toilet was an outhouse. Running water was basiclaly a hose from the neighbors, frquently cut when they scraped the road.

We kept kerosine or oil lamps handy. Heated with coal. Went to the laundromat or handwashed clothes. Baths were frequenly out of those big bowl and pitcher arrangements that were popular for decorations in the 80s. That or in the rinsemwater for the laundry.

In West Virginia warer catchment and cisterns are very common. Many people use a second septic tank with the inner walls breached for water. Most agree that a circlular, concrete lined, underground cistern gives the best water. They do have an excess of rain water so it flushes the cisterns out. My thory is that the lime in the concrete changes the ph of the water reducing bacterial growth. That said the worst cister water I ever experienced was from an aboveground plastic cistern in North Georgia. It developed a thermocline, which caused anaerobic conditions in the tank. The owner did not really do enough to keep organic debries from entering the cistern so it was really nasty stuff. She left treees above her house for shade and did not adequatly filter it. Of corse the water came from the bottom of the tank. Out west I have seen a lot of above ground tanks and I wonder how they deal with the issue. But then, very few of them have plants taller than the roof.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Feb 28, 2017 - 05:13am PT

Pulled by a twenty yr old suburban in four wheel low with chains on all four. There are ways to do these things but you must embrace the process!
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 28, 2017 - 06:10am PT
Solar is so cheap now it's easy to experiment with a few hundred watt + panels and go from there. In AZ, solar is a no-brainer.

And if you stay 12V for your initial wiring for lights and such, it makes it much simpler and more efficient than dealing with inverters.

1200 feet to the water table eh? Get a good post-hole digger....
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Feb 28, 2017 - 06:33am PT
Check out Brickawood on Youtube, really an inventive and super efficient home building process with no nails or glue.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Feb 28, 2017 - 06:53am PT
Yeah fear, you do lose efficiency with an inverter. 12V wiring requires bigger gauges; for example, a 60 watt 120V bulb draws 0.5 amps, 60 watts @ 12V is 5 amps. Anyway, just saying there are things to think about. I suppose you could run 12V storage batteries in series instead of parallel.........

albatross, are you doing your own construction? Do you need permitting? Exciting project.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 28, 2017 - 07:09am PT
Great that you can move on your dreams in such a great area. Although I live in the city I like to be closer to the natural cycles. I have grid-tied solar so even though I am still part of the grid I try to live efficiently, and keep consumption in the black. Yesterday it rained all day and I set a record for the lowest generation in 10 years, .997 kwh hours. I usually generate 8-13 kwh this time of year. So you have to be prepared for that, but Flag is much less susceptible to extended cloud cover. However running a generator 24/7 is damned annoying. I am sure Mt. Woodson old timers remember the house on the road up that had a generator running for years back in the 80s, very obnoxious.

I have a pile of Photowattt PW1000 panels I am not going to use. I can make you a sweet deal on some of them if you are interested. They are 100 Watt panels and can be configured as 12V or 24V. A friend of mine has been living off the grid in Vermont using only a few very old panels and a couple of batteries. Using 12 LED lights hardly takes any power. Refrigeration is the real problem Sun Frost is an awesome refrigerator, a bit pricey though

http://www.sunfrost.com/blog/off-grid-refrigeration-solar-electric-vs-propane/

The DC models can be powered by 12 V or 24 V batteries. One 100 amp hr 12V deep cycle battery will typically run the Sun Frost RF12 for 3 days without recharging. If a generator is run periodically it could keep the batteries fully charged or the battery could be kept charged by a single 135 watt Photovoltaic (PV) panel.

http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/349432/photowatt-pw1000-12-24-wiring#
kief

Trad climber
east side
Feb 28, 2017 - 07:43am PT
Driving the back way to Grand Falls I've coveted those parcels of private land out near the rez boundary. Very nice area. As an eventual supplement for water hauling you might want to stop by the Kaibab Forest office in Flag sometime and ask about the water catchments/cisterns they've been setting up for wildlife in the North Kaibab ranger district. I checked one out on the Jumpup Point road last fall. They're basically panels of metal sheeting arranged to cover a shallow depression and angled to collect precipitation into a covered cistern below, with a gravity flow pipe providing a continuous flow down and away to a small cement watering tank. I can't find the photos I took but you can see the collector and tank on Google Earth at 36°31'11.51"N, 112°35'59.26"W. (Imagery shows the tank and part of the collector dropping off the cliffside due to the 3D rendering.) A ranger at Big Springs told me they have been setting up a whole network of these on the North Rim to help wildlife survive drought conditions and fire damage to watersheds. Cisterns hold at least 1000 gallons. Pretty low tech and low maintenance once installed and seemed to me like a feasible DIY project for off-grid living.
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Feb 28, 2017 - 08:51am PT
Off grid almost 10 years now, all solar with a Honda 2000 backup. Going 12 v to start is a waste of time and wire....wire up for 24 or 48Volt initially and save some $$.

You pay $100 for a junk inverter and guess what you get ?

Water issues are way more important than power though, harvesting is fine, but rarely meets all needs. If you do a well, beware the beast pumps that are most common..again you pay for efficiency.

Above all building takes way longer than anticipated,,typically 4x..maybe more.

pm if you like
James Wilcox

Trad climber
Goleta/Virginia Lakes
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:16am PT
We have an off-grid cabin on the Eastside.

I built our own solar system. I used a company called Northern Arizona Wind and Sun for many of the items. The actual panels I got off Amazon when a company had a special. You need to calculate your expected elect. needs and design a system accordingly. Some things, like panels, you can just add more if needed. Same with batteries. Other items may need to be replaced if you need to upgrade. I'd recommend getting components that will allow for expanding the system down the line if needed. Our solar isn't huge, but good for lighting(all LED) and recharging electronics. Things like microwaves just aren't a reality without a pretty large battery bank. Solar batteries and regular 12v car batteries aren't the same. The Trojan 105RE is a decent storage battery for the price.

We have a Dometic-Servel refrigerator. Smallish, but reliable and thrifty on propane. We bought a used 120 gallon propane tank from Amerigas. The price was equal to renting a tank for two years. We get it filled only when needed. So no regular expense.

We have two generators. The mainstay is the Honda 3000. Very quiet and fuel efficient.It's quieter than than Honda 2000. We have a Honda 5000 when we need watts, but it's a gas pig compared to the 3000, and many times louder. Any generator with a Briggs & Stratton engine will be loud and not great on gas. Imho.

I'd make friends with a few of the neighbors you have and see what they did. Every region offers different pluses and minuses to tackling issues. Some of your neighbors will have over-kill systems(spent too much) while others will be pretty "Mcgyver". you can probably find a happy medium after talking to a few.

Good luck. It should be fun !
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:25am PT
Does yer land have a hill? If so build a track. Then work out each day hauling rocks to the
top and put them in a cart. At night release the cart and it will roll downhill powering yer generator.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:31am PT
Hey Albatross-

I commend and am envious of your decision!

You mentioned straw bale but have you considered an Earthship?
With Flag being an interstate town, you could get heaps of tires for free.
And you know enough aid climbers that beer bottles wouldn't be a problem :-)

Alternative structures are where it's at for me.
Always figured I'd have to use a combo of harvesting and trucking water.

How bout poopies? Composting toilet?

Good luck man, what a labor of love.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:39am PT
How bout poopies? Composting toilet?

Those things can be a chore. More like a science project. We had one in Alaska and they don't work well when the temps get low. Then there was the incinolet and the smell of burning poop, or the outhouses where there is barely enough dirt to cover the bedrock. Yeah, power and water are important but so is dealing with the poo. That's the "big three" when you are making an abode.
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:50am PT
Yes,, composted don't work for s%$# when cold...damn, why does the incinolet smell so much??

Personally i don't like earthships,,,generally they get pretty hot and kinda give the tube living effect for me

We built a straw bale/timber frame/ adobe deal...NO, most people don't know what they are talking about when it comes to straw...because most haven't actually done it....beware.

It's not easy or quick or convenient..of course the results ca be awesome

i don't know the exact area your in but dare I mention zoning ?
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2017 - 09:52am PT
So many great comments and suggestions (except for you Vitaliy I still think you are an arrogant bully).

I already harvest much of my food (elk and fish) and firewood, it makes sense to move on to harvesting the power of the sun. I see quite a few windmills in the area in this high wind area.

There are county zoning laws but from what I understand it is fairly lax. I intend to do all of the building myself with the help of more talented friends. Am not in a huge rush to begin construction on the home, as someone suggested I intend to meet a few more of the neighbors to see what works in the area.

The wildlife water catchments mentioned are exactly what my friends employ, they haven't hauled water in decades. My parcel is flat so it might be more of a challenge.

Jon Beck I may take you up on that offer for a couple panels, are you coming out to the Sedona festival?

For now it's an outhouse but eventually may lead up to a compost toilet.

Folks interested in astronomy may want to google "Roden Crater", can't wait to visit this neighbors work.

So many different options to consider its overwhelming at times, but a greatly exciting process. Thank you everyone for the ideas.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:24am PT
Does yer land have a hill? If so build a track. Then work out each day hauling rocks to the
top and put them in a cart. At night release the cart and it will roll downhill powering yer generator.

Somehow that appeals to me....
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:28am PT
Trillions of watts worth of sunlight falls to the ground all around the world for free. Makes sense to pick some of it up.

Can't have a solar spill... Nobody will ever declare war on the sun.... etc... lots of reasons to love sun in the desert.

Keep us appraised of your progress... sounds fun.
cavemonkey

Ice climber
ak
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:30am PT
Keep in mind that it is not recommended to add new batteries to an older battery bank, so start bigger than you need. Panels can be added easily, but you would be surprised how quickly they will fill up the bank!
LED lightning-no brainer
slabbo's comments seem spot on, a cheap inverter or cheap charge controller are just that. I spent the dough, and haven't had to fiddle with anything since installation 6 years ago.
Happie girl also had a key point. Adjust your lifestyle to require less power. its a package deal
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:57am PT
Ya,, with batteries, spend the money for trojan, you won't be disappointed.

Also, it's way cheap to get bigger panels now. 250 watt panels are about $1 a watt..2 of those will give you about 2KW a day in good sun. That's plenty to start with.

I was a solar tech for years until my heart retired me.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Feb 28, 2017 - 11:13am PT
This is so cool, albatross!
I lived in Flag for 11 years. Now I'm on the Navajo rez, but I bought 20 acres not far from Indian Creek.

I lived out there for a year in a wall tent with a wood stove. I had one little 2x3 foot solar panel and a Xantrex 1500 battery/inverter combo:
http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/backup-power/xpower-powerpack-1500.aspx
I was able to run a skill saw and charge my other power tools. Plus, I had light and a laptop to play music and listen to the radio at night.

I'm now toying with different construction ideas. Currently I'm thinking along the lines of some earth-berm/sea container combo. There's so many cool ideas out there it is hard to finally commit to one.

I'm also thinking of building a traditional Navajo hogan or sweat house.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 28, 2017 - 11:21am PT
roden crater, thanks for that! http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/how-james-turrell-knocked-the-art-world-off-its-feet.html
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 28, 2017 - 12:09pm PT
I agree, solar is the only really free route for mobil living. Although a home on the ground might have further options like water power, a gas well (more frequently possible than people think), methane generation, and other more sophisticated generation schemes, for me in a motorhome now for a few years continuously and never having connected to any facility nor paid any fees, solar is a satisfactory plan and frequently chosen by RV afficionados with our banks of batteries and giant roofs. This is called “boondocking” and it certainly works. On-board generation by propane or gasoline is the most common source of power but can be nearly replaced by solar. There are hundreds of thousands of families who have left “the ground” to join mobil America in recent years. I see this as a social reform even. How much clearer does it have to be that many of us must leave traditional communities in order to survive and be safe?
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Feb 28, 2017 - 12:17pm PT
"boondocking", Cool . . .
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Feb 28, 2017 - 12:33pm PT
Used to be called camping
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 28, 2017 - 01:06pm PT
I will try to get out to the festival, but I make at least a few trips to the GC every winter and I am long overdue for one. I could bring a panel or two out on a trip to the Marble Canyon area. You up for some canyon climbing?

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Feb 28, 2017 - 01:10pm PT
So many great comments and suggestions (except for you Vitaliy I still think you are an arrogant bully).

I thought of you as a complete dickhead...when I was standing on top of Fitz Roy.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2017 - 03:16pm PT
I thought about the rammed earth tires but am a little concerned with the off gassing. Building something partway into the earth seems a good idea for both cooling and heating purposes (and wind protection). There is a very cool, modern hogan nearby I'll try to grab a pic in a couple days.

Jon, there is a huge soft spot in my heart for Marble Canyon it would be cool to meet up there. However I've got a fairly busy Spring including a 2 week lower half river trip coming up. I know the messaging doesn't really work here and I'm hesitant to post my email with my stalker following this thread.

Thanks for all the cool thoughts and suggestions, it sounds like some of you have some interesting homes.
chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
Feb 28, 2017 - 03:17pm PT
Can I come live on your ranch? I used to live off the land. Your project is the beauty way! Use less power. Need less crap. If you have water and elevation drop, small hydro electric plant is bomb. You release water (battery) when you need power. You can pump water uphill with excess solar...... F*#k batteries. Pump water!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 28, 2017 - 03:24pm PT
google "Nomadic Roots Earthship" images.
Really nice place.
I feel ya on the tires/outgassing.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 28, 2017 - 03:35pm PT
it's not unheard of for a golf cart with well maintained batteries to be traded in for a current model.
good practice dictates that the dealer should/might resell that rig with fresh batteries he can stand behind.

typically, that bank will be set aside, not get mixed in with the known duds, but the recycler guy comes by
and sometimes, for the price of the core, drives off with the "tested good but who knows" ones as well.

sometimes a good humored cash offer somewhere north of core will clear the dealer's rack if you make very well understood you assume the risk.
this approach obviously favors the adventurous, patient song and dance man, test equipped, with keen assessment skills and market knowledge.

that's a pertinent part of battery husbandry anyway, and economy counts for something
since it's your first battery bank maintenance gig ... you know, like a practice marriage.

that's at least one possible source where price could be crazy low, it's worked for me.

but i'm a hack compared to my neighbor (rip). he owned the local airport, kept a couple of his seven aircraft there,
regularly flew his beaver on amphib floats to his beloved personal island in BC where the power issue was his to solve.
so when the soviet union collapsed he picked up a bargain submarine because well, better batteries are hard to find
c wilmot

climber
Feb 28, 2017 - 04:02pm PT
If you are going to build a house that's partially dug into the earth you should consider how to manage potential radon exposure. It's the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer


https://www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-state-contact-information
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2017 - 04:14pm PT
Yes, radon isn't to be taken lightly.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 28, 2017 - 04:30pm PT
I am writing this from my off grid home in Patagonia. The most crucial, in the long run, as well as the most energy sucking appliance is a refrigerator. We bought one that uses propane and it works great. On demand propane water heaters also are very efficient.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Feb 28, 2017 - 04:52pm PT
Good luck in this adventure Albatross. I have no experience with this type of lifestyle other than my wife and kids and I live on 15 acres with some goats, a few chickens and a donkey. I look forward to following this thread. Lots of good advice here. Enjoy the journey and post up photos along the way!


And by the way, I noticed u-thread that you thought Vitaliy was an arrogant bully. He's many things but those two he for sure isn't. He likes to joke around a good bit and can be an internet goofball, so whatever he said take with a grain of salt that he was probably joking. Just thought I'd throw my two cents in on that Russian dweeb!

Have fun goin' gridless and when it comes time for advice on chicken and goats gimme a holler!


Scott
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2017 - 05:03pm PT
Cool thoughts from all. Nice link on the earth ship.
Maybe I should start a go fund me and all of you folks could send me a few hundred dollars? (That's a joke)


Appreciate the radon concerns. I sometimes wonder what all that time huffing forest smoke, weeks in underground mines and a year living in deserts where they actively mined uranium has done. Now something else to worry about.

I have a functional chest freezer, anyone have thoughts on burying the chest freezer in a shady area for short term refrigeration needs? Dry ice is relatively inexpensive. My buddy has lived the last 10 years without refrigeration in his hogan, undoubtedly his grandpa without it for the last 9+'decades.



hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 28, 2017 - 06:03pm PT
it's a fence 'em out state ... pros and cons to that ... you understand grassland fires, fuel load, flame propagation, and prevailing wind condition but will free ranging livestock chew your trailer lights, padded steering wheels, survey flagging and stomp your stuff to smithereens? and critters ... if you got midden material, you got pack rats. they love a little cover, like the hood over your v6 manifold, a heap of firewood or cordwood stacked on pallets. anywhere you want coyotes, or loose/feral rez dogs digging deep and hard, harbor a rabbit behind your truck's grill. badgers will undermine slabs, or a bunk of lumber, or skirting. deer mice will occupy your fresh air intake, ac ducts and squirt hanta virus risk into every mug. ravens will distribute the contents of every plastic sack to the wind or perforate any lookalike protective membrane. elk can vault any garden fence shorter than kareem abdul-jabbar, with grace and elan! the dirty surface of any non-juniper woody thing will be scoured with termite tracks, javelina will root your tubers and charge you for the privilege ... but you knew all that too.

what you really need to know is that rainbows will frame your future and make it worth all available continuously applied counter measures and more
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2017 - 06:21pm PT
WOW!

I am teary eyed right now hooblie. Thank you so much for that contribution to this thread. You had Ed Abbey flowing through your fingers in that fine piece of writing. That was really cool.

This whole experience of moving closer to nature so reminds me of two decades ago staring off at some humongous cliffs thinking "what if?". It ended up being a pretty good run out there in the end. I'm confident that once again with some talented friends who see the dream this adventure will have a good ending.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 28, 2017 - 06:42pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 28, 2017 - 07:00pm PT
well it's quite a thing to take possession ain't it pardner? and it's not lost on you how the folks that came before us feel the same ... well there's a context so we move ahead with humility and also with pride because it's right that there's a place where stewardship takes shape in a concentrated way and that you know what heading to set when it's time to be home.


also it's cool that we're neighbors eh? you're diggin' up my sunrise, and i'm stinkin' up your sunset!

slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Mar 1, 2017 - 03:13pm PT
Before you go earth-shippin' pack a few tires...I'm just saying it's a ton of work....way ton of work. and once stacked you still gotta cover them up

Earth sheltering and berming is great, we did a north wall here. Remember soil is just mass, it doesn't generate anything hot or cold and soil is a poor insulator, around r-1

Check out some stuff from Rob Roy,, earthwood building good stuff
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Mar 1, 2017 - 03:29pm PT
[photoid=49178

Our place a few years ago
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Mar 1, 2017 - 04:49pm PT
With all respect to earth ships, I vote for cob or stabilized earth instead, only because the ramming earth with clubs into car tires makes me frown and I like the idea of organic walls.
Subterranean construction might be the thing

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill—The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river."

the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2017 - 05:46pm PT
It's cool to hear the different perspectives on off grid living. This week my buddy and I built a simple storage shed with a plastic type roof. It still needs some touch ups but it's good enough to store some items for now. Rain gutters will be on soon.

My nearest neighbor (about 300 yards away) heard us banging around yesterday and came to introduce himself. Like more than a few people who choose to live in this area he claimed to be a recluse and said he was on a spiritual journey. He told me if I was ever in a bind, his house was always open even if he was not there, I have never met a total stranger who has greeted me in this way and take this to be a good welcome.

I am most fortunate to have a close traditional Indigineous friend who lives in the area and has housebuilding skills, though much younger I consider him to be an elder. His intimacy with the natural workings of our environment is most refreshing. When we talk about the wind and the sun and stars it feels as if I am speaking to someone who is hundreds of years old.

Wind is a huge concern in northern AZ particularly in the area I am moving. Winds up to 55 mph are forecast for Sunday. I have a close friend that was soloing Tooth and caught in 80' mph winds and another who was caught in the lake in those winds..I guess we will see how well the shed holds up in the next couple days.

This whole adventure still feels very much like my little foray into big wall first ascents. I was never a particularly talented or good rock climber, but I had big dreams, patience, and a lot of free time to work my ass off to make it happen. Fortunately there were several climbers of much greater skill, men like Fly'n Brian that were able to help make those crazy dreams a reality. I'm almost ready to share some of my experiences of climbing with Layton Kor and Fly'n Brian.

micronut (Scott) that is admirable that you stand up for your friend.

Anyone have any experience with solar LED with the attached panel to put outside? I've seen them online for $20-50 and just curious if anyone has any reviews or recommendations, Also curious if anyone has ever buried a chest freezer in a shady, arid environment and how well it worked. Would radon (in my food) be a concern?

(This post has been edited)
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2017 - 05:42pm PT
slabbo thanks for the pic of that awesome home.

Great comments and ideas from everyone.

The shed we built withstood its first wind test (gusts 65-70 mph in the area). That doubtful part of my self half expected to see the plastic roof blown off. I'm fortunate that my builder has many generations of wisdom and experience of living in lands of high winds.

Anyone have experience drying large pine timbers? As cool as they are, I don't think I'll get an Alaskan mill. But we are interested in cutting some foot diameter, 12-16' tall Ponderosa and drying them out. Thoughts?

Slowly and surely I am leaving this city life and escaping to the healing powers of nature. It feels so good to be starting a huge new challenge at this point in my life. I doubt I'll post too many pics of my actual living area mostly because I'm in many ways a private person. Right now the focus is on building up my sun and water collectors while getting more in harmony with local weather conditions.


BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 8, 2017 - 08:37pm PT
Thoughts?

My buddy Ernesto for years gathered free logs in Idyllwild and milled them into slabs. He'd always stack'em high with 1/2" square dowels every couple,three feet. All lined up. Then put sacks of concrete on top to press down. And that was in a shed, definitely out of the Suns rays! He'd let'em dry for a year or more. And his stuff came out straight. He sold it for good coin. Maybe you could stack it and tarp it?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 8, 2017 - 08:47pm PT
I have heard that burying them in sawdust slows the drying process so that cracking is avoided. Tarping them might work, but in that AZ heat the wood might still crack. The mast on the schooner Californian twisted and cracked rotating the rig 12 degrees.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 8, 2017 - 09:00pm PT
^^^yeah, definitely the slower the better. This guy was drying them in jtree. The beta is to slice'em up in the fall when the weathers gotten cooler. Long as their out of the sun, they'll prolly not ever get above 65 degrees for months. Then when summer rolls around they'll bake at 120.😎
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Mar 10, 2017 - 09:23am PT
The wood we used for our cordwood was pinon from the lot...very important to remove the bark asap...a horrowshow instead. We dried them about a year, covered but loosely.

There's a local sawmill that cut us bigger stuff,, really good stuff, very accurate.

Wind works fine...you need height, 90% of people don't get the tower high enough 15m is about a minimum and at least yearly maintainence.


Good luck
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 24, 2017 - 07:31pm PT
I appreciate all of the thoughtful responses.

The Coconino National Forest sells post and pole permits (Ponderosa Pine) during the fuelwood cutting season. Permits are sold based on tree dbh, with no height restrictions,for instance someone could harvest 99 trees at 5" dbh, 37 trees at 12" dbh, or 1 tree at 23" dbh each permit for $20. (A 24" dbh tree would cost $22.). Unfortunately there is only one unit identified on the forest, some 35 miles from home. With the overburden of trees across the West they should be paying us to harvest but that's a whole other topic.

I still plan to spend quite some time on the property observing the wind and sun before developing a more earth friendly home. It is exciting to think of harvesting timber and other materials from the local forest to build a home.

Spent most of the last 2 weeks on a river trip in the Grand Canyon. We used "Vital Water Filters", a 2 stage filter powered by a small battery. It was a decent set up and gave some good ideas for home water purifiers. Have you ever thought about where the water comes from when you turn on the tap? What energy powers the systems that move that water? It is incredibly empowering for me to feel less reliant on the machine and to design my own water harvesting systems.

Thank you for reading.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 24, 2017 - 09:21pm PT
A big component of California water is the energy used to move it. Some of the energy is recaptured on the downhill trip. 3% of the energy consumed in California goes to pumping water over the Tehachapi Mountains. It takes about 1kwh to move 100 gallons from northern CA to southern CA.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 24, 2017 - 09:28pm PT
Here in AZ we strip mine coal on Black Mesa, ship ithe coal by electric train to the Navajo Generating Station near Page, which burns the coal to produce electricity which is wired to southern AZ to power pumps which haul Colorado River water uphill thousands of feet and several hundred miles to water crops (and golf courses and fountains) around Phoenix and Tucson. Damn that sure sounds complicated.

Looking forward to reading more ideas on personal water and solar harvesting.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 24, 2017 - 11:01pm PT
Despite trumpism lies to magically make coal desirable, the coal power plants in your area are planned to close in a year because natural gas is cheaper.
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
Mar 25, 2017 - 08:06am PT
A few years ago , near me was a 330,000 acre fire. The FS allows local cattle and outfitters to remove deadwood from the roads ( for free) and doesn't allow them to keep any.

Currently on a short road trip...the windfarms in kansas are very inspiring !
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 25, 2017 - 02:14pm PT
When Peabody was sending coal slurry from Black Mesa to Laughlin they were pumping 3 million gallons of water a day out of the Navajo aquafier. Thankfuly that ended, but only because the corrupt agreement ran out.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2017 - 07:54pm PT
It will be interesting to see what becomes of Black Mesa coal, and coal in the Grand Staircase / Escalante National Monument. I do not believe the lies that there is "clean coal" even from these areas. There are people who are actively campaigning to take these public lands from us, the American people. The trend for energy reserves in the Southwest US should come from solar and wind, not fossil fuels. I had no idea the strip mining going on in Black Mesa, AZ until I flew over it looking out the rear of the Evergreen Skycrane around 2004. Google earth "Kayenta, AZ"


I look forward to spending much less time on the internet in the near future. Instead spending time listening to the wind and sun and rain, thinking about water collection and solar harvesting. Those kindred spirits out there that have been so kind and thoughtful in your responses are more than welcome to stay a spell if you are in the area.

BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 28, 2017 - 08:05pm PT
Cool man. Thanks for the invite, but I'm doin the same shidizzle here in JT. Sure looks purdy tho.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2017 - 08:07pm PT
I hope to meet you someday Blue.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
May 3, 2017 - 09:02am PT
2 years now,there is no going back.

Only thoughts,hoping some one does not shut it all down.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
May 3, 2017 - 09:38am PT
The trend for energy reserves in the Southwest US should come from solar and wind, not fossil fuels.

Every time we get to drive through the great American SW I think the same thing... Thousands of square miles of relatively barren land with abundant bright sunshine most of the year. How many megawatts of wasted photons fall on easily accessible sand and rock every day?
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
May 3, 2017 - 09:46am PT
I'm not sure how I missed this thread earlier, but cool thread!

However, wouldn't it be impossible for someone truly "off the grid" to respond to your question?

Wouldn't responses be more from people "Mostly off the grid?" You know, like, "Mostly dead?" ;-)
Phred

Mountain climber
Anchorage
May 3, 2017 - 03:45pm PT
I was raised off grid. No generator - we used Coleman lanterns. No running water, we had a creek nearby that we rigged up a gravity-feed hose to our sink and used a clamp to regulate the flow. Outhouse instead of a toilet. Washtub and a plunger instead of a washing machine. Clothesline instead of a dryer. Canned and dried food instead of frozen or fresh. No phones; we had messages read to us over the AM radio from Anchorage. For heat we scavenged coal from the high-tide line. It sounds idyllic, but my youth was a lot of work and not much idle time. More power (see what I did there?) to you for trying it.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
May 3, 2017 - 04:31pm PT
I am not "trying".



Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
May 3, 2017 - 05:01pm PT
Wait.

You are asking on the internet if anybody is living off grid?


Have you looked up the definition of grid?

Includes :

any interconnected system of links
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
May 3, 2017 - 05:46pm PT
My understanding of the term is that one is not connected to the electrical power grid, and pulling power from that source.

Generating your own electricity and using a wifi signal, or using a set up at the local library when you go into town does not negate off-grid living.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
May 3, 2017 - 05:54pm PT
True.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
May 3, 2017 - 05:59pm PT
You should be OK in the land of pale ale.

Just Saying.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 3, 2017 - 09:43pm PT
Interesting post Phred, you lived the "dream"

The Biosphere project failed because there was too much work for the subjects to handle. Might have been doable 200 years ago when people worked from can-to-can't, as my father would say.

Going off-grid is also a state of mind. Internet access allows one to do certain tasks more efficiently, therefore fulfilling the off-grid objective. True total off grid living is difficult but the effort yields a far more sustainable existence.

Being connected to the electrical grid allows me to generate solar power far more efficiently and with a lower carbon footprint than an off-grid battery alternative. It would be stupid for me to try to get off the electrical grid.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2017 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks for all the cool responses and ideas. I figured there would be some interested folks on this forum.

There is always going to be that dude or two that farts in the middle of the party just to be a prick. But, for me "off grid" means generating my own electricity and harvesting my own water. Yes, I still occasionally come into town for groceries and a bit of work and errands. So far so good out in the Painted Desert.

Got a primitive solar system set up and the 300 gallon cistern in place waiting for the monsoons. Have a great weekend everyone.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
May 6, 2017 - 06:06am PT
Wow, Phred, that was some hardcore growin' up. Not many these days would have any idea what that was like.

BAd
nah000

climber
no/w/here
May 6, 2017 - 08:17am PT
DMT wrote: "WiFi? Hahahahahaha, that's funny.

WiFi is the very definition of a grid."



what's funnier is people who think the english language is/should be logical... ;)

from dictionary.com:

off-grid: adjective 1. not involving or requiring the use of mainstream sources of energy

wiki goes with:

Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services.



while there are other definitions, [urban dictionary goes with: Off-Grid is a term used when cutting off all contact via internet and phone with friends and family for an alloted amount of time] typically, and within the context of the conversation at hand, it refers specifically to lifestyles that are not dependent on remote infrastructure...

key word in the above, ime, is dependent.

the thing about internet/wi-fi is no one needs it to survive... so even if you are connected there is nothing necessarily dependent about its use... one can shut if off at any time and life will continue to go on...

some, even the most meager forms of, water, sewer, heat, on the other hand?

yeah, even big wall campers necessarily have to sort that shIt out...
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 6, 2017 - 08:00pm PT
Thanks nahOOO and others for the comments. I doubt we will all ever agree on the definition of "off grid" I think one poster thinks it means pushing rocks uphill all day and releasing them at night, For me it means being less reliant on utilities and more reliant on self sufficiency. It is empowering.

While I absolutely love both the part time jobs I have which thankfully have provided me with a comfortable lifestyle with lots of free time, the ultimate goal is to work less for "the man". I see so many of my peers working more and more to make more and more money to buy more and more "stuff". I want to step back from that lifestyle for a while, in the mean time learning to live more in harmony with the natural environment.

Best I can figure, about 12 folks live in this section of land (1 square mile), though I have only met 3 of them. I saw 3 cars drive by one day but it's usually much less. So nice to not hear sirens, helicopters and be stuck in traffic. Most nights I can see the loom of Flagstaff less than 20 miles away (Flag claims to be the "worlds first international dark sky city") as well as the glow of Phoenix (well over 100 miles away).

Been out here full time nearly a month. It so reminds me of stepping into big wall climbing as a bumbling but inspired dreamer. I never got very good at climbing, but somehow had some big visions and was able to attract into my life some extraordinarily talented climbers such as Fly'n Brian. And there were a couple dozen folks who shared in their own ways as well (hauling loads, belaying, hanging the rope up, etc). I'd love to share some more stories about climbing with him, but still feel hurt by some of the snarky, smartass remarks by a couple posters. Truth is I've been burned more then a few times by climbers (mostly pros seeking money or fame from our work).

One simple little invention I continue to find useful is the inflatable LED solar lanterns. They cost around $15 and provide ample light for most tasks.

Sylvester is getting the hang of life in the wilds and I'll try to get a pic of him hiking soon.

wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
Jul 4, 2017 - 03:53pm PT

Happy Fourth.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 5, 2017 - 11:47am PT
My friends have lived off the grid for more than 30 years, in the mountains above the antelope Valley. Here is an NPR story about them:

http://www.npr.org/sections/daydreaming/2008/07/marge_and_verns_9000_foot_ca_d_1.html
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
Nov 27, 2017 - 02:56pm PT
Stay on the .....grid.

GuapoVino

climber
Nov 27, 2017 - 10:18pm PT
Albatross, I almost came to your area over Thsnksgiving to fly off Merriams Crater for a few days. I love it out there. This year I built an off-the-grid van that I've used about 30 days since I finished it in May. 100% 12v solar, LED lights, heated with wood, composting toilet, butane canister cooktop. One of these days I hope to build some kind of an off-grid home.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 28, 2017 - 04:46am PT
GV sounds like a sweet van. And dont give up on your land dreams. I have an awesome view of Merriam, about 5 miles to the SE of my land.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The wind takes some getting used to. And I was surprised at the number of rattlesnakes (caught 4 "Hopi Rattlers") around my home and relocated them to a forested area. Lots of Black Widows, too.

We did not have much of a monsoon yet I was able to collect a couple hundred gallons of water. Roof capacity has been doubled with the addition of a new glassed in porch area. I used a combination of straw bale and cord wood construction.

I think most people would not enjoy the experience but for me it has been a rewarding pursuit. Thanks again for the suggestions and comments.

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Nov 28, 2017 - 06:58am PT
If I was in the desert then I'd build a clay yard and catchment system and cover it in soil and soil retaining plants. The water travels under the root systems and ends up in cisterns. If you really want an oasis then become a soil composting machine. Plants, water and soil is what makes earth our home.

Great thread.

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 28, 2017 - 07:09am PT
Our house in Patagonia is off the grid......will be there in two weeks..
tdk

climber
puhoynix
Nov 28, 2017 - 07:32am PT
I've come across several trick tanks while hiking in AZ, like this one on an abandoned ranch 20 miles NW of Sedona, probably holds 15K gallons.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Nov 28, 2017 - 08:08am PT
Robb

Social climber
Cat Box
Jan 23, 2019 - 09:44pm PT
Bump. Neat stuff.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2019 - 04:57pm PT
Hey I just wanted to sign off on this thread before the end of ST.

I really appreciate all of the positive contributions to this thread. I had hoped to add more but got caught up in living. Two early comments stand out : be good at improvising and it’s a lot more work then expected.

I’ve tried a different mix of building experiments. Standard carpentry, straw bale, cordwood, cob, stucco and clay slip. Most excited with the natural building techniques and currently working a slip clay straw wall system for the porch.

I’m also in the process of restoring the land and adding diversity to the juniper grassland. Did a lot of controlled burning this winter to reduce grass fuel buildups and provide defensible space. With a wet winter and spring the grasses are thriving. Have had great success working with the Hopi for plants that can withstand the weather extremes. Especially peach trees. Looking to add more this Fall. Check out “Hopi Permaculture” a great program and some fine people.

Have seen a lovely 4+ ft Gopher Snake the last couple days and hope he sticks around.

Sylvester is fine and he loves going for long walks in the morning and evening (except days like today with winds gusting over 50 mph).

Anyway, thank you again for sharing your experiences. Any of you considering going off grid - just do it. It’s not easy, but the best things in life aren’t easy.

Take care,
Albert
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 19, 2019 - 06:22pm PT
Great thread.

My house is on propane, a well and septic that’s as far as I get LOL. 2 wires coming in electrical and fiber internet which makes things a LOT easier.

The most I’ve been off grid is in our camper for up to a week. Solar charges the battery which runs the lights, heater fan, and roof fan. Fridge runs on propane. Really it’s only the water in and waste out that limits it.

In Hawaii lots of rural houses are on catchment water. But they get plenty of rain year round.

I think cellular internet and soon inexpensive satellite internet is still off grid. You’re not connected to anything. A friend in Hawaii uses cellular internet for everything including Netflix.

I think a simple life like this is smart. My families life had gotten way to complicated.
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 21, 2019 - 11:20am PT
Truly off-grid (no electric hookup) sounds great but with solar setup (which is an expensive thing, if you want to run any appliances) my concern would be it all getting stolen when I'm not there. I heard of cabins with no close neighbors (close like their house right there in the close view) getting robbed a lot in the Southwest - may be Flagstaff area isn't as bad as some others. Plus, I'm guessing the panels should get hammered a lot in windy climate with a lot of sand to fly.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 21, 2019 - 01:12pm PT
^ Legitimate concern.

A few things that could help:

A locked gate at the front of your driveway. Everything is just a deterrent but if someone never drives down your driveway to see what's there, less likely they'll come back later. Also no lazy thief is going to carry heavy stuff a long way on foot.

Signs that say "Smile You're on Camera" and real/fake cameras.

A guard dog.
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 21, 2019 - 01:53pm PT
I mainly meant for the time when you're away traveling (so any dogs have to come with your or go to dog hotel)...
For security gate to work in this situation one needs an expensive solid fence, I think - chainlink or barbwire can be easily cut for a vehicle to come through.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 21, 2019 - 06:18pm PT
It would be stressful and challenging to leave a place unattended with expensive solar panels.

I was just kind of thinking aloud about some good all around things to do.

Our rural neighbor was robbed about 6 months ago, during the day, with dogs in their house (dogs closed in the bedroom while the thieves stole from the living room). Totally brazen, and quick in and out. So not someone stealing bolted down solar panels, but I couldn't help but start thinking of things I could do.

I think a gate, dog, etc. are like the old joke: you don't need to run faster than the bear. You just need to run faster than the slowest person in your party. You can't stop a determined thief, you can just deter them hopefully enough that they'll look for an easier target. If your property has a gate would be robbers probably aren't going to bother breaking in just to see what's there. They'll go down the road until they find someplace easy to case. Of course this depends on having a property where you can't see what's there from the road. But also someone breaking past a gate may not know if you're home. So they may not do it, where if there's no gate and you came out they could just say they are lost or came to the wrong place. Seems like a common thing going on around here is people wearing orange vests and name tags to pretend they are Amazon delivery drivers or utility workers to case places or break in.

Also one of the signs "nevermind the dog, beware of owner" with a picture of a gun, although really tacky and my wife would probably never allow it :0), could work. Lowlifes who see it may or may not take it seriously, but why risk getting shot at?
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 21, 2019 - 07:28pm PT
Oh wow - how did the dogs end up locked in the bedroom, did they let the thieves do it? Thieves must have gotten info on the property and knew well what they were doing, being brazen like this..

Yes, having closed gate is very helpful - even if there's no fence, when you're there yourself. These canvassers immediately turn into trespassers. The only thing is legitimate people like delivery drivers might be leaving packages at the gate then, while otherwise they'd drive all the way to the house if the driveway isn't too long.
I'd not have much peace with solar setup left out there while leaving for a week.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 26, 2019 - 10:07pm PT
I guess they normally just leave the dogs in the bedroom with the door shut. The dogs must have been barking like crazy but it’s rural enough that no one heard them. Yes likely canvassed at some point prior.

A few years ago crime seemed to dramatically rise in our area. Maybe someone realized it was an easy area to target since people weren’t too wary. We had a series of car break ins. Home break ins and identity theft out of mailboxes. We used to not lock our house until our neighbors were robbed now we lock it all the time.

We had an attempted identity theft but got lucky because the idiots used the wrong birthdate and the credit card they applied for was rejected and we were alerted. We froze our credit.

Now it’s free for anyone to freeze their credit and I highly recommend everyone do it. It’s really easy to manage it thru the Internet now.
Messages 1 - 121 of total 121 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta