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Norm Geddis
Norm is a contributing writer at Online Land Sales, LLC.

Off The Grid Living - Introduction to Off the Grid Living

After your purchase, when you first haul yourself out to your new land, and all is said and done, you will experience a feeling of peace. "No one can find me out here." you think to yourself. Then you will realize, "No one can find me out here."

You genuinely have bought privacy. You've bought a higher level of personal responsibility. You will put your mark on the land, but your mistakes won't be supported by the structures of industrial sewers, powerplants, or farms. Your nearest neighbor might be more than several acres.

Suppose you came out to the wilderness on a daydream of the easy life or a feeling of heroic stoicism in rejecting modernity, no longer caring about the urban world. In that case, your backend experience will be far less glamorous.

To ease the way to your off the grid life, here are a few heads up suggestions and warnings to be better prepared for the realities of what you are about to undertake.

Plumbing, Power, and Engines

Try calling up the repairman in the nearest town and telling him he has to drive three hours into the middle of nowhere to fix a leak. It's not going to happen. Moreover, he will snicker behind your back. You'll be that city guy who thought he was going to rough it in the middle of nowhere. In small towns, there are no secrets.

An Intricate understanding of your systems can be a lifesaver. Literally. Checking your systems should be done before you leave your plot of land. Your systems will fail. They will fail in the middle of the night in the dead of winter during a blizzard where the roads are impassable. Ok, maybe it won't be that bad, always, but it'll happen at least once. All the reasons you can think of for knowing your power and plumbing systems will prepare you for the predictable problems and some you haven't thought of yet

The most popular means of providing power to homesteads today is solar. Most people have an idea of how it works. It takes heat from the sun and turns it into power. Easy enough. Do you know how a battery works? Do you know how many watts you need to produce and how much you use? Could you take that solar off the roof of your house, take it apart, reconstruct it, and put it back up there? That's the level of repair you will need to be capable of not to be caught with your pants down in the middle of winter. You will need to be something of an electrician.

The same goes for your plumbing as well. Though its less complicated than power, with far less math, you will still need to know where the pipes are in the walls, where your pump is, how it works, and you'll need to keep spare parts on hand. You will need to be something of a plumber too.

And even if everything goes well constructing you home, do you necessarily want always to be stuck there? Do you want to have to walk to the river? The internal combustion engine and how to fix one, change a water pump and mend a starter will come in handy. Most small communities have a mechanic, and he or she is usually fully booked. It's not talked about that much, but there's a car mechanic crisis that rivals the doctor shortage in rural areas.

You need to know every system's full electrical and engineering specifications, and of your generator, your ATV, everything. It helps to know the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, why Ben Franklin and his key were import, and at least a little bit about whatever Nikola Tesla was doing.

Before you go out to your land, buy books on basic electrics, how solar panels work, and, if possible, the repair manual for your particular model car. The Internet might be out the same day your car goes kaput. Do the same for your plumbing.

Food and Water

If you have never put a seed in the ground before going out to your homestead, DO NOT HOMESTEAD. You will be responsible for 90% of your food. Weekly grocery trips will not be happening.

It would be best if you researched your food options. Know the hardiness zone in which your land sits. You need to plan out an entire year's worth of crops and know what you will grow and when. Learn those vegetables intimately. Read the scientific information on when somebody should plant them. When they produce, talk to a nursery or gardener to figure out what the vegetables do in your area. Consider investing in hydroponics if you have the power surplus to control the environment completely.

If at all possible, you should try to get a plot at your local community garden or, if you have space, till your back yard and grow a year's worth of food in a trial run. Collect recipes for the vegetables you are growing too and practice cooking them. Learn about the diseases that affect these plants and how to get rid of infestations. Learn how to preserve these foods by pickling and drying, and grinding grains into flour.


While a doctor would be more inclined than a plumber to travel three hours into the middle of nowhere if you need a doctor, 3 hours is probably too late for any emergency. Just as it is vital to know how your home works, you must know how your body works. You must know and practice first aid, consider taking classes for certifications, and be reasonably confident you can set a bone or dress a gouged wound. You should speak to your doctor for the hidden and unseen deadlies before you venture out to the wilderness about getting years worth of your usual prescriptions and a couple of common antibiotics in advance.


If you aren't making the trip out to the store once a week, you won't be making the trip to a mega-store either. You can't skimp on your pre-homestead purchases. You can't buy the cheap boots or the shoddy wool coat. It would be best if you prepared for years of winters and summers. Your tools need to be of high quality. That is isn't to say you can't get some things cheap. Thrift stores are the dumping ground of many a high dollar-middle-class-boredom purchase with cooking utensils and devices still well within their prime, and occasionally the complete high-quality item as well. Just because it has to be high quality doesn't mean it needs to be brand new. After all, if tools were required to be new, they would not be passed down from parent to child.


Loneliness can bite out there, even if you have a family. We all need to be around friends who don't know us like our spouses and children. Some homestead communities are "planned" as silly as that sounds. Online has online social networks set up for their buyers, so you are aren't cast to the wind entirely. Just because all of civilization isn't there to catch your mistakes anymore doesn't mean a wealth of knowledge and experience doesn't surround you. Ironically, you will probably find more of a community in the middle of nowhere than you will in a city bursting with people.

Most of this advice is universal and common sense. Take this very cursory advice as you need it. Only you will know what is optimal for your homestead.

The last passing piece of advice is this:

Get fit. Don't count on the wilderness to whip you into shape. Respect the homesteading life and become healthy enough to make peace with it!