Here’s what I thought about Terri Page’s book, Creating Your Off-Grid Homestead: Radical Inspiration and Practical Advice.
If you’ve read my book La Yacata Revolution, you may already know that being off-grid homesteaders was not our plan. Things just worked out that way and I can’t say that we’ve had many regrets because of it.
Mostly we didn’t want to be off-grid homesteaders because of our preconceived notions of the hardships, cost, and feasibility. Reading articles, watching DIY videos, and researching options made it seem incredibly overwhelming.
That’s why I loved Terri Page’s off-grid homesteading story. She made homesteading seem accessible to everyone without mincing words about the hard parts. As you’ll see, some of her story mirrors ours!
She and her husband built a tiny house in Missouri. (My husband built ours and Mexico has a far better climate). They use rainwater for most drinking, cooking and personal hygiene needs but also have access to a pond. (Water is our biggest challenge living in La Yacata.) They cook using a combination of woodstove, propane burners and solar cookers. (We cook in a very similar manner.) and have no refrigerator (just like us). They do have a root cellar to keep food longer and in in Missouri this is a great option. No so much for Mexico. After living without any electricity for a year and a half, they set up a solar electricity system for their house. (We lived 11 years without any electricity and have recently installed a small solar system ourselves.) Laundry is sometimes hand scrubbed and wrung out, sometimes is done at a laundromat 12 miles away. I can’t imagine scrubbing in the midst of a Missouri winter, so that’s understandable. (We have hand washed for years and not so long ago purchased our first washer in Mexico.) And they have animals! Terri and her family raise chickens, ducks, bees, cows, sheep, goats, and pigs. (You can read about our animal homesteading efforts in Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies. We’ve never kept bees.)
In addition to creating this off-grid lifestyle, which sometimes meant living in tents and hauling buckets of poo, they are raising two children, (We only have one.), running an Etsy shop, teaching homesteading ecourses (I teach English) and blogs at Homestead Honey. (Obviously, I blog too!)
At the end of each section, Terri has a list of questions for you to think about when considering off-grid living. To give you a better idea what I mean, here are the questions after the electricity chapter:
- Is solar electricity the best option for your homestead?
- Have you considered other alternative energy sources such as wind power or micro-hydro?
- Do you have adequate southern exposure for solar electricity?
- Do you plan to be grid-tied or completely off-grid?
- What is your budget?
- Can you purchase a small system now and add to it later?
- Are rebates or credits available in your area to help you with the initial investment?
- Who will do the installation?
Of course, each off-grid life will be as unique as the individuals creating it, so there’s not a lot of explicit how-to sections in this book. Rather, Terri highlights the things that have worked for them and talks about the things that didn’t work out so well so that you can learn from her family’s efforts, much like I try to do.
So, if you are at all considering an off-grid homestead, you ought to check out Homestead Honey and see what useful tips you can learn as you make the transition.