Homestead Hot Water – Part 1

Running hot and cold water are taken for granted in this day and age and yet, it wasn’t that long ago, that all of our water was hand pumped and bucketed into the house by hand. For 20 years we did that routine until we “modernized.” In the next two posts, I’ll explain how, over the last 37 years, we’ve supplied the homestead’s hot water.

Bathtub and Stove in Maine

Antique Claw Footed Bathtub and Water Kettles on Stove

There are any number of ways to heat hot water for the home. Typically, a home has either an electric, gas or oil hot water tank. For anybody wishing to live off the grid, the electric powered water heater doesn’t make sense from an energy consumption perspective. It takes a lot of electrical power (watts) to raise the temperature of water adequately for daily use. That power could be put to better use elsewhere on the energy efficient homestead. Continue reading

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Homestead Water Filtration

In my previous four installments, I explained how we’ve met our daily water requirements from a drilled well, a lake, and a hand dug well. Today, we’ll discuss homestead water filtration.

Any open body of water, no matter how pristine it looks, should be considered contaminated and treated accordingly. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a spring bubbling up from the ground, all water needs to be treated in a manner that will insure your safety when utilized.

In our case, it could prove fatal if we don’t take filtration seriously. Medical care is a long flight away, assuming a float plane could get in here. Even a drilled well needs to be treated initially and back at our Maine homestead, our well driller used some bleach to do this. I deferred to the well drillers expertise on what quantity to use but essentially, once the bleach was in the well, I pumped water until I could no longer smell the bleach in the water. At that point, I did some extra pumping for good measure and then the well was considered safe at that point. Continue reading

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The Homestead Water Supply – Hand Dug Well

In the previous three posts, I’ve explained how I’ve set up our homestead water supply over the last 37 years garnering water from a drilled well and from a clear, cold lake. In this final installment, I’ll tell you how we modified our wilderness water system so we’re able to draw water from a hand dug well.

Living as remote as we do, safety is always paramount, especially when there are two times of the year when flying in help is almost impossible. They are freeze up and spring thaw. At those times of the year, float planes are unavailable. They cannot land safely on the lake.

Digging Our Well

Although we thoroughly filtered our water from the lake before we ever drank it, we knew we would have more peace of mind if we could eliminate the possibility of any waterborne disease or bug. So we decided to dig a well. This meant we would have a safer water supply. As an additional advantage, since the well would be closer to the house, we could save considerable power because the heater cable would be shorter. For the well’s location, I selected a flat site 100 feet closer to the house which eliminated half the distance of our suction line. Continue reading

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The Homestead Water Supply – Part 3

Welcome back! In parts 1 and 2, I discussed our Maine homestead’s well water supply. As you know, 17 years ago, we made the big move to a remote off-grid location in the wilderness of northern Saskatchewan where we have a pristine lake from which to draw water. The lake will be the source for our homestead water supply.

The question I had to answer was: what system and pump do I incorporate to supply the new home with water. After a great deal of research, I chose a Dankoff Piston Pump.

I am very satisfied with this pump. It was a great choice. The documentation states that it has a vertical lift capacity of 25 feet but again, depending on the elevation, tubing size and joints, it will likely be somewhat less. I figure 18-20 feet is well within limits. As it turns out, our sand knoll sits less than 20 vertical feet above the lake surface. Continue reading

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The Homestead Water Supply – Part 2

Welcome Back! In homestead water supply part 1, I explained how I had a deep well drilled and had an outside hand pump installed. I will now discuss how we upgraded our water system.

Pitcher Pumps

Even after I got married, we used the outside hand pump for all of our water needs. But there came a time when we decided to get really modern and have “running water”. I installed a hand pitcher pump at the kitchen sink. The pump had a chamber with suction leathers. But this setup had limitations.

Our Maine Homestead Kitchen w/ Pitcher Pump

Pitcher Pump at Kitchen Sink in Maine

Theoretically, you can only suck and lift water 33.9 feet high (vertical distance). Realistically, it seems 18-20 feet of lift is a more practical number. A pitcher pump relies on your water source being within that dimension. Your pump and situation might be able to improve somewhat on that lift number and sometimes the only way to tell is install the pump and see how it performs. There are many variables to calculate the lift and as far as I’m concerned, that’s better suited for scientists. Since our water table was only 5-7 feet below the surface, our new pitcher pump worked well for us. Continue reading

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The Homestead Water Supply – Part 1

A reliable water source will be vital for your homestead’s success. Not only will your survival depend on a safe, adequate supply of water, but if you are considering animals, they too will rely on their daily drink. Let’s discuss the homestead water supply.

Water Well Drilling Rig at our Maine Homestead.

Water Well Drilling Rig at our Maine Homestead

Because this topic is so important and has so many facets, I will break it into four installments. In this post I’ll discuss our water system we had for our Maine homestead. Continue reading

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Selecting Your Homestead Site

You’ve decided you want to live off-grid. Now what? How do you proceed? How does one get started picking the perfect homestead site? The process can be overwhelming but let’s start logically and take it one step at a time. One of the first questions to address is where do you want to live off-grid?

The following are questions to ask yourself when seeking the perfect off-grid homestead plot. They are in no particular order.

Points to Consider in the Quest to Find the Perfect Homestead Site:

1. Access to employment- Will you need to be close to an existing job or will you need to find a new source of income? If you don’t need to worry about income, access to a job may not be a big consideration as to where you ultimately settle.

2. What dangers do the local area have? Deer with prevalent Lyme Disease, mosquito borne Zika or other?? No place is utopia so delve into what traits the local area has that might be of concern.

3. Are there dangerous animals in the area? You don’t necessarily have to be afraid of but respectful of. Bear? Cougar? Poisonous snakes? Continue reading

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Why Homestead? Why Live Off-grid?

Welcome kindred spirit. Thank you for stopping by. Why homestead? Why live off-grid? Two great questions whose answers vary depending on each individual’s unique circumstances.

Maine home in summer

Maine Home in Summer

In my case, back in the old days of the 1970’s, I had a career in electronics. It was an entertaining and challenging choice and I was prepared to work my life away until I retired in the standard, conventional way. But I’ve always had an adventurous, independent streak, and it wasn’t long into my work regimen that I started to question whether this was all there was to life. Get up in the morning, drive to work, pay the bills, make the company owner prosperous, get old and eventually hit the checkout counter.

Seemed there had to be another path through life and it was my work supervisor who suggested homesteading. That suggestion changed the course of my life. Since then, I/we have homesteaded off-grid for a total of 37 years. Continue reading

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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

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