Homesteaders, Off-gridders and Preppers- Welcome!

Welcome to Off Grid and Free My Path to the Wilderness

Aerial View of our Homestead on Hockley Lake

Our Remote Off-Grid Wilderness Homestead

 

To homesteaders, off-gridders and preppers everywhere- Greetings from the Canadian wilderness! Welcome to Off Grid and Free My Path to the Wilderness!

Imagine if you can, living so remote that access is only by float plane. You won’t see another person for 6 months at a time.

Twin Otter landing on Hockley Lake

Twin Otter Landing at Hockley Lake

No daily mail delivery, no commute to a mundane 9 to 5 job, no easy access to malls and supermarkets, and none of civilization’s chaos and noise. Nothing but the silence of the forest encompasses you. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Wilderness Homesteading | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wall Tent, Our Temporary Home

Have you ever heard of a wall tent? You may be familiar with backpacking and family camping tents put out by various companies but there is another breed of tent used by hunters as well as the mineral and oil exploration industry. And that’s the wall tent. The wall tent has been our home multiple times over the last 17 years. If you read my book, Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness  or listened to the audio version  you know we lived in an exploration tent for about 4 months while we built our Saskatchewan home. While working in the mineral exploration field, I helped build and manage “tent cities.” These tent cities usually consisted of 12 tents including one designated as the kitchen. The wall tent is perfect for those who need a substantial “home” while building a new homestead as we are, preppers who want a back up shelter as well as those who enjoy the outdoors and would like a semi-permanent set up. Let me tell you how we made a wall tent, our temporary home.

Tent with Rainfly over Porch

Tent with Rainfly over Porch

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Homesteading/Prepping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Digging Our Water Well On Our New Off-grid Homestead

Gather round and let me tell you a story about magic. And water. Hard to believe they can be associated. I’m going to give you all the details on digging our water well on our new off-grid homestead. And a bit of dowsing magic too!

Dealing With a Big Rock While Digging

Dealing With a Big Rock While Digging

We’ve spent an enormous amount of effort scoping out our Nova Scotia property, clearing and cutting a large area for the new homestead, clearing and building an access road then moving in a 40 foot sea can for storage. But one critical ingredient was missing from the list… water. The burning question has been where will we get our water and will it be of good quality? That’s where the magic comes in.

Me? Dowse For Water??

We are both pretty skeptical people so when the excavator contractor asked if I could dowse for water, I said nah, not me. Back 37 years ago, when I was building the Maine homestead, a local older gentleman offered to witch for water on the Maine property and based on his recommendation, we drilled in the spot he indicated and had all kinds of water. I wrote about this water source in Homestead Water Supply-Part 1  I’ve always felt we could have bored anywhere on that property and hit water. But none the less, we had a high quality water source for our Maine homestead. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Homestead Water | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Road Building and Preliminary Orchard and Garden Preparation

We’ve come a long ways in a relatively short period of time. In my last update post, we had selected our property and were clearing a homestead site by manual chainsaw work. Johanna was piling all the brush into large piles. We also  had the septic system application in place and I had a driveway flagged out. Phew! But there’s lots more to add to the list so let’s get started. Let’s talk about our road building and preliminary orchard and garden preparation.

Our cleared homestead site

Our cleared homestead site

Road Building Tips

We have an approved septic system and permit. The driveway is complete and now we can drive right in to the home site. I could have selected any number of routes through the woods to access our clearing. I spent considerable effort and time wandering through the forest in order to select the best route. Even though it’s quite hard finding a route through thick alder and dense, young growth, my efforts really paid off.
Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Homesteading/Prepping | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Our Off-Grid Refrigeration and Battery Choices

I have a more comprehensive update post coming in the next few days regarding how things are progressing on the new homestead but for now I wanted to pass on some preliminary info that others might find of use. As you might be aware, living off-grid requires thoughtful consideration on appliances and special power equipment. Some of the items needed are inverters, solar panels, and of course, the batteries which are the heart of the off- grid system. For now, let’s talk about our off-grid refrigeration and battery choices.

I want to be right up front with the information I am passing on. I am not endorsing any product. I researched and placed an order for the following couple of items but I haven’t seen them in person yet. I have them but have not unpacked them yet. I am merely letting you know of a couple new items that I am trying and once I hook them up and get some experience with them, I’ll make a new post to let you know what I’ve discovered. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Off Grid Electrical | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Our New Off-Grid Homestead is Underway!

If you’ve been following along via facebook, you know we arrived safe and sound in Nova Scotia. We haven’t stopped since arriving. We own two properties along the coast and we had the hard decision of which one would be the new homestead. After evaluating all the pros and cons, we’ve made the big decision. Our new off-grid homestead is underway!

Scenic Overlook from Homestead 2

Scenic Overlook from Homestead

Selecting the Homestead Site

Many of the criteria we have espoused in previous posts on our blog  http://www.inthewilderness.net/2017/01/09/selecting-homestead-site/ were used to evaluate the two properties. Some of the things we considered were ease of access, private location, potential for future close neighbors, good soil for a garden and orchard, a woodlot for aesthetics and firewood, strong potential for clean drinking water and a soil structure to insure a proper, standard septic installation. Johanna wrote up a spread sheet so we could  compare the parcels against each other. We rated each parcel in regards to each criteria. This helped us to reach our decision. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Homesteading/Prepping | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Farewell Hockley Lake!

I wanted to give an update on our life. As some of you know, we’ve been on one big, long adventure. We’ve homesteaded off-grid for the past 37 years. The last 17 have been spent alone in the wilderness of northern Saskatchewan on remote Hockley Lake.

Wilderness River North of Our Off-grid Homestead

Wilderness River North of Our Off-grid Homestead

We’ve been on the cusp of a major change. We have one more adventure in life before we hit the checkout counter and that is to move to Nova Scotia, somewhere on or close to the ocean, to start over again and build a new off-grid homestead from scratch. The last 6 months have been spent packing and preparing. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Wilderness Homesteading | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Floor Plan For The Perfect Homestead Dwelling – Part 2

Welcome back! In this part of designing the perfect homestead dwelling, I’ll discuss more factors to consider when developing your floor plan, beginning with the workshop.

At the Maine homestead, the workshop was attached to the barn. This was convenient for tool storage since most repairs took place outside but it was inconvenient for Ron to do his woodworking. He’d have to make a fire and warm up the shop before any work could take place so he seldom engaged in his hobby.

Johanna's "Woman Cave"

Johanna’s “Woman Cave”

Here, the shop is an enclosed room in the house. Enclosed so wood shavings and dust are contained. It’s somewhat inconvenient having to run inside to fetch tools when Ron is working outside, but that’s balanced out by the fact that he’s more inclined to do wood working since his shop is located in the heated house. If you’re able to locate the shop so that it’s near the entrance, tramping through the house to retrieve tools when working outside is kept to a minimum. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Off Grid Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Floor Plan for the Perfect Homestead Dwelling Part 1

Designing the floor plan for the perfect homestead dwelling, whether it be on or off the grid requires careful thought and consideration. Let’s face it. You’ll be engaging in activities most people have never dreamed of doing. Certainly modern houses aren’t designed with activities such as butchering and food preservation in mind so you’ll need to devise areas and work spaces with these activities in mind.

If you’ve purchased property with an existing house but plan on doing some remodeling, you can incorporate many of the features I’ll discuss. Doing so will make your homesteading life easier and more enjoyable.

If you’re building the house on your homestead from scratch, you have a wonderful opportunity to include features into your floor plan that are integral components of an efficient, smooth running homestead dwelling. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Off Grid Living | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Homestead Road Building

Busting a road through the woods is an expensive proposition. You may have to pay a logger to drop trees. You will have to hire a bulldozer to clear the roadway. Then you will need to pay for load after load of gravel that will be hauled by a dump truck. If you are trying to convert a boggy area to a road, you will be astounded at how much gravel the area sucks up before you have a passable road. For spots with high spring run off or year round flows, you may even need to purchase culverts. All these expenses need to be factored in when figuring the cost of homestead road building.

Road Building to My Maine Homestead

Road Building to My Maine Homestead

Out of curiosity, I inquired years ago how driveways through the woods are priced in Canada. Per foot was the response. A lot per foot as it turned out. It was an absurd figure. So absurd, I never bothered to put it in my memory vault for future retrieval. Paying a pile of money per foot to bust a trail through the woods wasn’t going to happen in my lifetime. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Homesteading/Prepping | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Indoor Outhouse

In my last post, The Homestead Outhouse, I alluded to the fact that there is an indoor version as well. Composting toilet manufacturers probably wouldn’t be too keen on my characterization, but an outdoors outhouse is essentially a chamber that solids drop into for composting. A commercial composting toilet is essentially the same concept. So let’s chat about the homestead’s indoor outhouse.

Our Off-grid Homestead Bathroom

Our Off-grid Homestead Bathroom

In Maine, many years ago, we purchased a non-electric composting toilet. Liquids (urine) were supposed to magically evaporate and solids were to turn into a nice crumbly compost. It was a nice idea but it didn’t work. In fact, it was a disaster. I installed it properly including the vent tube through the roof and ultimately installed a small fan hoping to aid the evaporation process. What really happened was a mostly solid mass formed in the rotating drum. This occurred even though we added other organic matter after each use. Because the drum door didn’t close properly sometimes, with each turn of the crank handle, some debris fell from the drum into the collection tray, mixed with the liquid urine and formed a disgusting goo. And guess who had to clean out the mess? It was an expensive fixture that turned out to be essentially unusable and a waste of space.

I would discourage everyone from a non-electric composting toilet. Any composting toilet should be an electric version that has a heater and fan to really heat and dissipate moisture. Even though I put one of those small metal wind driven turbine fans on the stack pipe outside, it didn’t make a difference. Just not enough air flow to draw moisture out of the toilet. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:
12
Posted in Waste Disposal | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments