MyWildCabin – Living Off Grid

MyWildCabin – Living Off Grid

Living off grid has been a dream of ours since we can remember. Two years ago, it became reality. It’s been such a wonderfully amazing experience, I’m inspired to write and share my awesome new way of life with everyone.  I live in the remote wilderness with my husband and I just love it.

The bonfire clean up

The bonfire clean up

The building site - before

The building site – before

 

I grew up in a very big city used to having all the modern conveniences, all the shops you could possibly imagine and all the services you need close by.

Yet, I’ve always been drawn to nature. As a young girl, I spent weekends at the family cottage on the riverfront in the country.  I preferred the quiet, peaceful settings surrounded by wildlife and picturesque scenery to the hustle and bustle of city life.   I preferred breathing the fresh clean air in the country to smelling the traffic fumes.  On weekends, I preferred waking to the sounds of birds, frogs and crickets to the sounds of screeching bus brakes, sirens and honking horns which is what I heard on weekdays from my bedroom in the west end of town.

 

 

The bedroom is upstairs - the deck overlooked a neighbouring pond.

The bedroom is upstairs – the deck overlooks a neighbouring pond.

 

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I used old logs to make raised gardens. Easier to bend to and less weeds. Also great drainage.

I’ve always been environmentally conscious but haven’t always led a very green life.  Living off grid has not only been a lifestyle change, it’s taught me how to be more conservative with energy, resources and money.   It’s amazing how much waste there used to be in my everyday life.  Two years into living like this – my life is very different from how it was before.  My life is more fulfilling and it’s been highly simplified. I grow some of my own food which gives me not only the most delicious and fresh produce I have ever eaten, but also a tremendous satisfaction at having provided it for myself.  It’s amazing how much money I save doing things myself.  When I lived in the city, worked and raised two children, I often opted on the side of quick and easy instead of healthy and homemade.  In my haste to make ends meet, I lost track of what mattered to me.

 

 

Fresh vegetables at your fingertips.  If everyone had a garden, no one would go hungry.

Fresh vegetables at your fingertips. If everyone had a garden, no one would go hungry.

 

 

 

When you grow your own food, you get to pick from your own garden and choose your own fresh vegetables for that day’s meals.  The taste is incomparable.  Carrots are juicy and crisp – I love eating them right from the garden. There’s something also to be said about playing in the dirt.  I look forward to getting my hands into the ground every spring.  It’s like therapy for me – anyone who gardens knows what I mean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My carrots were not all straight, but they were the BEST carrots I have ever eaten.

 

Living off grid saves us so much money.  Sometimes it takes more effort both physically and consciously to live like this but the rewards are far worth it.  I realize that I not only prefer to stay more active, I need to stay more active.   The more active I am, the more active I stay.  I know people in their 80’s who shovel their own driveway, rake their own leaves and are in great physical condition – I want to be one of those people. I’m not afraid of physical hard work, I embrace it.  I have adopted a much more active and healthy lifestyle – I prefer to live as naturally as I can; I’m learning more how to do that everyday.  I used to run to the doctor and the drug store way too often – I prefer now to work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle and take natural remedies for what ails me.  I can still go to town for medical treatment if required.

 

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The pond came out in the shape of Africa. Small world.

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All this for less than $40. Depends when you shop. I always wait for sales.

 

Landscaping is one of my favorite things to do.  I love taking nature and rearranging it like I want to.  My husband dug a pond for us when he had equipment rented for a weekend.  It adds so much life to our place.

In the fall my local garden center had a sale and I picked up all those plants for less than $40.  Living off grid has taught me to economize – the less I pay for things the further our money goes.  For some reason, when I used to work I used to think of money in a much more disposable way.  I have learned to appreciate the value of things and I spend so much less money now than I did before. I waste so much less now than I did before – in every aspect of my life.
Recycling has become a way of life for us now, it’s second nature. Composting goes into my garden while rain water is used for washing and watering plants.  Living in a remote setting taught me to rely on myself.  I need to be self sufficient – I only go to town for supplies when I need to – I never go to town to get things I want.  Instead of feeling deprived, I just stopped wanting things.  I soon realized how much moeny I wasted on things I didn’t really want in the first place.  One of the biggest surprises of adopting an off grid lifestyle was just how much money I stopped wasting and as I keep getting used to this new lifestyle – I keep being amazing at how little money we need to survive and live very comfortably.

 

I am very proud of how I have become much more environmentally conscious. I live in harmony with nature and for me, this works much better than living in the fast lane.  My husband and I would never go back to living in a city.

 

The sound of the songbirds echo in the forests around the cabin.  Beautiful.

The sound of the songbirds echo in the forests around the cabin. Beautiful.

 

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I love watching birds. I find them very fascinating creatures. I always wished I could fly.

Living in the remote wilderness,  I get to see all kind of wildlife.  Although I am at the cabin by myself most days, I don’t feel secluded or afraid – I have my birds and animals to keep me company.  My little dog lets me know if something big is around. I am very lucky to get visited by chipmunks, rabbits and a number of different birds that seem to change almost on a weekly basis as they fly through on their migratory paths.  The forest is always echoing with the songs of a variety of songbirds – it’s a very magical place to be.  I rarely have any music on when I work at the computer, I love to just open the windows and let the birds fill the cabin with life.  My husband shoots animals with a camera – there’s always something beautiful to photograph outside.

 

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It really is the simple things in life that make you happy.

 

 

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This poor bunny who came to visit us regularly has a big hole in his ear. Lefty.

 

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Now I know where my strawberries are disappearing to!

Everyday, we have different fury friends come to visit us.  Everyone of these magnificent creatures comes with it’s own special personality and charm.  We have a couple of chipmunks that live near the cabin and really like peanuts and bread crusts.  I woke up one morning to find a strawberry in a tree, a squirrel must have hauled it up there before I woke.  Between the squirrels and the chipmunks, we did not get to eat that many strawberries out of our little patch, looks like we need to make it bigger for all of us next year!

 

 

 

 

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This bear gently nibbled on a plastic hummingbird solar light fixture. He did NOT even break it. Silly bear!

 

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Morning revealed paw prints at every window. A little unnerving. But the bear never returned.

 

We’ve had several visits from black bears.  Our little Pomeranian lets us know when they are around.  We even had a curious bear take a peak in our cabin and leave his muddy paw prints on the walls.  No denying it was him now! We scared him away with a warning shot, he never came back.  This bear was too brave.

I respect wildlife and choose to live alongside all living creatures in harmony.

 

 

This is how we shoot bears:

 

 

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We don’t mow the lawn at the off grid cabin, instead we sewed wildflowers. We have a healthy population of bees and butterflies.

 

Living off grid is a more than just a new lifestyle, it’s a new way of thinking.  I have really had to start over how I think about consuming energy.

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We use solar panels for lighting and to charge my laptop. We use propane and wood fires to heat water and cook.

 

We have a total of 360 watts of solar power panels.  In the winter, we need to back it up with a gas generator if we need to use the laptop.  We do not subscribe to cable or own a television.  We unplugged from that over 7 years ago and have never regretted it.  By tuning out from tv “programs” and tuning into our own lives we have find that we have so much more time to do the things we always used to just think about doing.

Saving energy is a priority now.  I never waste energy, even though I no longer have ridiculous hydro bills, it’s not even about money for us.  It’s about being efficient and conserving every way you can.  When you start to think along those terms, it spills into other aspect of daily life. We are looking at expanding our power supply and different available options.

 

 

 

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It takes patience and vigilance, but just look at this gorgeous chicken. It tasted as good as it looks. Campfire smoke infused chicken.

 

I can’t tell you how much satisfaction I get from cooking a meal for free – using energy that would otherwise not be used.  I have mastered the art of cooking over the open flame.  I will place an entire chicken on a grill and cook it outside over a kindling fire.  I love spending time outside and I love campfires.  So why not spend an afternoon relaxing while grilling a chicken for supper tonight?

I utilize the wood stove a great deal to heat water and cook with in the winter.  I simply throw together a casserole in the crock pot – maybe a roast or a chicken and place it on top of the wood stove on a chilly winter day and let it cook by itself over the course the day.  Any good cook knows slow cooking is the best way to get tender juicy meat – falls off the bone, every time.  Sometimes I wrap potatoes in foil and just sit them on top of the hot stove – they cook by themselves.  I can smell it when they’re ready – my nose knows.

 

 

 

 

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Building your own home is greatly satisfying. I am very proud of my husband.

 

To me less is more.  The less I have, the less I have to worry about.  Our cabin is 14 feet wide by 24 feet long – it’s a breeze to upkeep.  By keeping nice and small, we are less tempted to start hoarding things.  We’ve been there and done that.  We had the big houses (with the big mortgages), I’ve cleaned empty rooms that eventually got filled with “stuff”.

We live in a society of excess and waste.  It took some time to de-program myself and teach myself to think of life with a new perspective.  We got tired of the rat race and stopped running.

My husband built our own cabin by himself.  He still works to support us, but work is sporadic and our goal is to make our homestead sustainable and our lives completely self sufficient.  We are building online businesses and looking into other ways to support ourselves.  With this lifestyle, less money is needed to survive, much less – we can spend more time doing the things we love doing.

 

Our latest addition to our off grid lifestyle - a lightweight Kevlar canoe by Swift.

Our latest addition to our off grid lifestyle – a lightweight Kevlar canoe by Swift, an investment in adventure.

 

One of my husband’s new hobbies is making videos.  This is his video about building our off grid cabin. Many others want to live or are living like we do and people really appreciate him sharing his information.

 

 

The song of the red robin is one of the most beautiful in the forest.

The song of the red robin is one of the most beautiful in the forest.

 

Living off grid, I can live a more relaxed lifestyle – my pace is much slower than it was before, even though my days are full. The biggest difference is I have much more leisure time. More of what I do on a daily basis are things I truly want to do and fully enjoy doing.  That was not the case when I worked and lived in the city.  I used to dream of living like this and now I do.

There are “sacrifices” to make, I don’t use a hair blower, nor do I have a microwave.  I only turn on  a light when I enter the room and I always shut it.  I use winter as an icebox to save on propane.  To me, it’s all about saving energy, saving money and spending more time enjoying life.

 

 

 

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Look at this amazing sunrise. A red sky at dawn… good thing we’re not sailing today.

 

 

I would not go back to city life for anything.  Here, I live with my husband and my dog –  we are one with nature.  We are close to what we love and we have time to appreciate the little things in life that make us smile – like a beautiful sunrise or a new flower that just blossomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wildflowers instead of a lawn. Not only is it maintenance free but it’s also beneficial to the environment.

 

 

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Being snowed in at the off grid cabin just means put another log on the fire and put a roast on. It’ll be a good time to do some writing or catch up on some reading.

 

My advice to anyone out there who has ever thought of living a life off grid is to DO IT!  You’ll never look back.  We just keep looking ahead with smiles on our faces…

 

Here is a link to another of my websites and another story about my life off grid:  http://www.canadianvoyageurs.com/off-grid.html

  1. Thank you so very much for sharing your experience. It’s very inspiring. 🙂

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  2. Hi. I want to do this so extremely bad! I live right now in Kelowna. Working the stereotypical 9-5 job craving adventure and the wild. But, I have NO IDEA how to start a dream like you’re living. Any pointers.

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    • Canadian Voyageurs

      Hi Keith,

      I love your question, thanks for asking it. One of the main reasons we made our trip public was to inspire people just like you, so I was excited when I saw your comment.

      You have already taken the first step in realizing your dream – you are talking to people who have done it. We were in your exact shoes years ago and have found the secret to stop dreaming and start living.

      The first thing we did was change our priorities. We cut up our credit cards, we stop spending on things we did not need and we started gearing our life to making our dreams come true. We saved for over a year and half – buying quality gear (this took a lot of research and asking a lot of people what worked best for them – those who do it know what works best). We saved enough money to be able to take the time off needed to take a summer off without having to finance anything. Money will be your biggest obstacle. The more prepared we became, the more real our adventure became. We contacted a lot of people to learn how to they managed – for example how to dehydrate our own food (the school of Youtube is a great teacher – you can learn just about anything there). Dehydrating our own food saved us tons of money – it was something I had never done before but turned out to be quite easy and really fun.

      I have found that when you have a dream, the more you talk about it, the more you start planning and gearing your life to make it happen, the more real that dream becomes. Dreaming is step one, planning is step two and taking a deep breath and just doing it, is step three.

      We used to have new cars (with big payments), a big house (with a big mortgage) but after our kids were grown we made some drastic changes in our lives. We sold our “toys” that we did not hardly use, that cost money to insure and maintaing and started looking at ways to simplify our life). The less you have, the less you have to work for and the more you can enjoy life. We were tired of being slaves to the system…. My husband built an off grid cabin and we cut our expenses drastically (we can live off $350 a month – that includes our only two bills – our cell phone and vehicle insurance). We grew a garden and tried to become as self sufficient as we can. We worked hard at saving money – we made a lot of sacrifices – it took a lot of dedication. Going from living with all the modern conveniences to living off grid was a huge learning experience for us and it took a long time to make that transition. It is a harder life but a much more rewarding one. I am not saying you need to do the same, but maybe look at downsizing – look at your lifestyle and see how you can find a way to cut expenses.

      It was scary to go on such a huge and potentially dangerous adventure, but with every new day and every challenged faced, we became more confident, more courageous and much more happy. I can’t tell you how much this trip changed us. We have absolutely no regrets at all. It made us grow in ways we could not imagine. Don’t be afraid – fear is something to be concurred. We became less shy, more open and connecting with nature for such an extended period of time brought us peace and a new level of happiness that is just indescribable. It was worth all the hard work and sacrifices we made.

      Lastly I want to remind you to stay positive and stay focussed. Remember that when there is a will – there is a way. Just make it happen. Life is for LIVING nor for DREAMING. I used to look up to and envy people who had the courage to go on a great adventure and I always wondered how they got so lucky to be able to do things like climb Everest or cross the country with a backpack but luck has nothing to do with it. It’s not that hard at all, once you set your mind to it and just keep moving towards making it happen. You will see that once you start making the changes needed and making actual plans – you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and feel so happy that your life is going in the direction that YOU want it to.

      Gerry and I wish you all the best on your quest to a better and fulfilling life. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss things further, please do not hesitate. You can either reply on this site or contact us on our personal email: celinegerry at gmail.com.

      Thanks again for your comment – we love getting feedback from people like you. It inspires us greatly.
      Celine

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