Living off the grid?

Discussion in 'Non-Dart stuff' started by Erik, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    As some of you know I've been building a cabin in the woods on some land we bought 4 years ago. It's been a labor of love in many ways and we really enjoy being there. Well, I might actually be MOVING to live there soon!

    You see I got bored with work (happens to me when I'm not kept busy) and poked around the net to see what options there were (ok I do that often to keep appraised of the work situation all the time) and found a job near our property (actually the entire area) in my field for a major company. So I applied.

    Well much to my surprise they are seriously considering me and I'm going for my 2nd (sorta 3rd) interview soon! if I am hired I'll be living at the cabin full time and it's currently 100% off the grid.

    I will, however, have to bring it onto the grid sorta, in that I'll need a land line phone and satellite internet but other then that it will remain off the grid :)

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    The cabin is about 500 square feet when you count the loft and has a wood stove, propane cook stove (smaller then normal size but still a kitchen appliance not an RV one), electric fridge and freezer, composting toilet (big enough for 4-5 people with DC or 5-6 AC), 615 watts of solar power and 880AH of battery bank and a grey water drain system.

    It has a good well and a cistern that the water is pumped into which then provides gravity water pressure which isn't yet inside the cabin so my water is in a 55 gallon drum (water safe) and pressure is provided via an RV pump.

    I'll have to fix the water system so that it goes directly into the cabin and is fully insulated to prevent freezing when it gets cold (and it gets COLD up there) and I'll have to rebuild the composting toilet shed so it's heated and well insulated and I'll have to finish installing the shower, run phone line the 1/4 mile to the nearest phone ped and more but all in all I think it just might be a great adventure!

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    I have a lot of work to do but I'd be spending more time at the cabin then I do now (I go once or twice a month to work on it for a day or two at a time) so I imagine I could get a lot more done.

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    I'll have to get the generator serviced to make sure it will continue to be a good backup for those long cloudy winter days when solar production is down and I'll have to install it semi-permanently right next to the cabin so I can just crank it up as soon as I get home after work on cloudy days (my system is designed to run 2-4 days without sun but that depends entirely on load and not abusing the system).

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    I'll have to set up the sawmill and get lots of milling done too so I can build a good storage shed for tools etc and to provide me some 'workshop' space since I'll need to get all the tools and equipment out of the cabin where it is now -- I'll need more living space.

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    It's not like it isn't liveable now really :) As you can see it has a fully functioning kitchen though I'll add a small Microwave to heat leftovers and I'll need to work out some storage issues for food beyond just a weeks worth!

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    Not big but warm and cozy and there is a dartboard to entertain myself with when nothing else will do ;)

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    I plan to add a 32" TV to this corner and will add a car stereo that I can install by my chair near the stove and put the speakers in the floor above :) Gotta have radio after all.

    The computer will go 'upstairs' in the loft I think and I'll move my bed up there too.
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    With the loft as the office/bedroom I'll have more room 'downstairs' for day to day living and hopefully won't get cabin fever!

    But I'll also only be there at nights and on weekends which i think will help.

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    Toughest time of year will likely be the winter as it can get COLD up there. I've seen it down to -35 degrees once in the last 4 years though I wasn't there (was on a station near by) but commonly it can see 10 below. Most of the time I've spent there on weekends in the winter it got to around 10 at night and 20 during the day though, so it isn't too bad.

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    Thankfully we bought 'Big Red' last year so I'll be able to keep the driveway and road up cleared off :)

    So ya, I might be living off the grid soon!

    Darci, my wife, will remain at our home in the TC's though as she has a good job and we're not ready for her to leave that just yet -- and who knows what the future will bring right?

    Might have to organize the 'Mauling on the Mountain' dart tournament though! Otherwise I'm not sure I'll get my play in.

    Erik
     
  2. JohnP

    JohnP Member

    That sounds awesome. Lots of work, but it's the (mostly) fun, rewarding type. I hope the job and everything else works out!

    I'm impressed that you've gotten the cabin as functional as it is now. I don't have half the skill or knowledge to do that.
     
  3. CraigB

    CraigB Best looking Craig B in the forum! $:-{P> Staff Member Site Admin

    The term "cabin fever" keeps coming to mind... :lol:
     
  4. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    I think that is awesome Erik. The cabin looks great, nice and cozy. As long as you can get cable and the internet, along with a phone line, you will be fine. Sounds like the kind of adventure every man dreams of. Good luck with the job, I hope you get it. Keep us posted.
     
  5. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    CraigB I think about that too! It will be tough but I think i can make it :)

    Joe: thanks :) I've fumbled my way through!

    Chi: I hear ya! it's a dream except the part about my wife not being there!
     
  6. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Ya, that is a bummer that your wife won't be there. Just remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
     
  7. CraigB

    CraigB Best looking Craig B in the forum! $:-{P> Staff Member Site Admin

    Maybe you could get a cutout of Darci with a motion-activated MP3 player that tells you what to do whenever you walk by it? :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  8. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Well things have GOTTEN SERIOUS! I went to an in person interview today (2nd official interview but 3rd actual) and afterwards was called and asked if I could meet with the VP of Ops for the area because they liked to do that before an offer was made!!!!!! 8) :eek: 8) :eek:

    So, barring unforeseen circumstances I think I'm going to get an offer within the week! If so I'll be working like mad to ready the place! I have to build an entirely new 'room' for the composting toilet composter (going to sink it 2 feet or more down, put in an insulated concrete floor then dry stacked surface bonded concrete walls to 8" above grade then insulated walls to 8' height (so 6' walls) with 2" foam exterior insulation and R19 interior cavity insulation) then mill live sawn siding and roof with metal and insulate well. I'll then add an 8000 BTU vent through the wall propane heater to keep the composter 50 degrees or warmer through the winter so it works full time. Meanwhile I'll run water underground from the cistern all the way to the cabin as well as the orchard and one other location, trench in phone line, add sat internet and include an 18,000 BTU vent through the wall propane heater for the cabin (so it won't freeze when I'm not there). Finally I'll change the solar power system over to 24vdc, add a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter and add a Generac EcoGen offgrid generator and auto gen start system to keep the power up at all times.

    I'll have to go out soon and buy the back blade for the tractor so I can plow the roads through the winter and I'll have to increase the wood pile by a few cords as well as several other things (like finish the interior etc) but I think I can have it all done before the winter sets in hard.

    I'll commute home every other weekend to see the wife and spend the rest of the time either working or at the cabin :) Though admittedly the job will likely keep me VERY occupied for the first year or so and then it will likely always keep me pretty busy.

    Job title is Supervisor, Area Plant which means I'll manage the Central Offices and all outside plant between about 5 or 6 small towns throughout the county with a crew of about 14 technicians. Should be awesome :D
     
  9. Charis

    Charis Active Member

    Good luck, Erik!!! The cabin really Looks very comfortable by now - it really is great what you've achieved there!!!
     
  10. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Thanks Charis! Exciting times!
     
  11. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    I wish you all the best. It sure sounds like you have your work cut out for you. I am sure it won't be easy, but it will pay huge dividends once everything is completed, and you get settled. If I lived close by, I would give you a hand, as I have been in construction for over 30 years. The job sounds great, good luck in your new venture, as it sounds like you already have the job. Just waiting for the offer.
     
  12. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Thanks Chi -- I'll be meeting with upper management on Monday morning for breakfast -- pretty good sign I'm thinking.
     
  13. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Oh ya, your in. Already eating breakfast with the higher ups. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  14. CraigB

    CraigB Best looking Craig B in the forum! $:-{P> Staff Member Site Admin

    Not really, he's got to buy the food and cook it for them. :p :lol:

    (Good luck Eric! :wink: )
     
  15. Wire

    Wire New Member

    Good Luck! Nice casual flow of converstation is the key. Anyone I have in to interview has the qualifications I need (I can see that in the resume), so I just have them in to see how the conversation flows and see if I think they would be a good fit with the team.
     
  16. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    So how did breakfast go yesterday? I hope all went well.
     
  17. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Very well thanks!

    Seems like this will likely be a reality -- I was told the manager would be working with me soon to bring me onto the team.
     
  18. Chitown599

    Chitown599 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    That's great. I guess I can say congrats now, as it seems as though you are already a part of their team. I really hope everything works out for you, and hopefully something can be figured out with getting your wife there with you somehow, at least part of the time. That would be the perfect scenario.
     
  19. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    The 'oh shite' moment is arriving today (and sorta arrived already) and I am almost in full fledged panic mode now! LOL

    I was advised that I would be receiving my offer TODAY (or tomorrow at the latest but that it should have been yesterday).

    That means I have to get my butt in gear!
     
  20. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    It's MINE! :D

    I got the job officially now :) Excellent offer and benefits as one would expect from a good company like this.

    Man am I stoked!!!
     

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