Off-grid Homestead Plan

Original letter to Unplugged Nation laying out our homestead vision.....

   Our family, my husband I, along with several of our grown children have been planning and preparing to live a self-sufficient lifestyle near the mountains for years. Now that the time has come, my husband Derick is getting cold feet and expressing alot of concerns as to whether we can afford to live without the safety net of his job. He WANTS to believe he can slow down now, take back the days of his life, but he's a see-it-to-believe-it kind of guy. He still has a tendency to equate 'off-grid' - with 'no power and no comfort', and 'simple living' - with poverty.  We all agree Unpplugged Nation get's what we are trying to do, and because Unplugged Nation will allow us the opportunity to actually live on an off-grid homestead working, with Jay for 4 days, well.... we believe it may be the single best way to relieve his all fears and prove to him it IS possible to live comfortably off-grid and out of the rat-race.
   We are a group of family members 5 adults for certain, and very possibly 2 more adults and 3 kid's. Together we are looking for an off-grid homestead property where we can all enjoy a more sustainable, more self-sufficient lifestyle. We want to live in seperate homes but as a small community. We feel that together we can lend each other support, share our varied resources, skills, knowledge, and labor; reducing our individual expenses. We intend to share the work and rewards of common areas; like a garden, workshop, summer kitchen, or bath house... and reduce our consumption and spending by living as a community. For instance - no need to for each of us to purchase and make room for one of every appliance if we share a main or summer kitchen equipped with a propane range, wood-fired stove, refrigerator and deep freezer, etc. Their homes can be smaller, their kitchen a crock pot if they choose. They just want simple lives, they want to build their own tiny homes, be there for us as we grow older and we want to be near them and our grandchildren as they grow up. We like the idea of converting a barn or outbuildings into tiny homes for them, and in the absense of suitable existing structures, we may finish portable sheds, cargo containers, vintage campers, etc. into homes.

   We very much need to find a place that supports us making income from the property. Ideally each of the kids can create their own micro-business from the homestead. It could be timber, orchards, a greenhouse, small saw-mill, etc.

  •    Several of us have long seen the internet as a way to create independant income and escape the rat-race of conventional jobs in town. My daughter and I already sell online and all of us would like to venture into things we can grow on a homestead like medicinal plants and herbs; increase their value by adding a processing step - creating herbal teas, vinegars, oils, and medicinal tinctures, salves, soaps, etc. I think we can each find a niche that suits our passion and experience. And demand for these product is higher than ever. 
  •    A sawmill would create an income stream, while supplying our desire to build tiny houses, sheds, gazebos, chicken coops, and the shared structures. If we have good timber on our property we will buy a portable (chainsaw) sawmill for sure. 
  •    We enjoy camping and would love to be in an area with ample outdoor recreational/adventure opportunities. This would give us the option to take jobs in town or work seasonally at an area campround, lodge, etc. if ever necessary. We can also envision numerous micro-business ideas built around recreational tourism. Canoe, bicycle, camping gear/equipment, glamping, camper, or B&B rentals using the internet to reach people. 
Because we prefer to eat natural healthy wild game over farmed livestock, a livestock for slaughter/meat operation would not suit us. The ability to hunt large game is paramount to us.

I love using salvaged materials and like the charm of weathered wood and rusty tin. It would be fun to create a village center similiar to this but of course larger. A community kitchen near the garden, laundry area, and bath house could be built in such a way as to create a protected area in the center. I would imagine we would have a firepit and seating area so we could have meals outdoors in the summer.

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