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Living off the Grid

3 Things to Consider When Living Off the Grid in a Rural Setting

From major cities like New York and Paris to Tokyo and London rising utility bills have become a concern in every part of the world. Rural living has become a popular option with more people opting to live off the grid on farm settings.

The population of people opting for the farm life is growing as more of us choose to get away from the consumerist society that we live in or our finances dictate that we do. Living off the grid hands us the opportunity to curb our expenses and live a more fulfilling, self-reliant and green life.

This type of living needs a commitment to learning from your daily life. To thrive, you have to learn to do more by yourself and gain independence from amenities we are addicted to. This means beginning by moving home and family to an area that will allow you to live off the land.

For most people the prospect of moving from an urban area dotted with malls and takeout outlets is beyond scary. However, the following 3 dynamics will get you on your way to finding rural living rewarding and restorative.

1) Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is the best option for a rural home. With this energy you have complete control over your energy expenditure. They are easy options to install, maintain, and they reduce you carbon footprint. You can settle for

Wind Power:

With or without trees you can harness the power of the wind and uses it to power your home. If you have relatively flat land using a regular wind turbine will suit you just fine but if you are on land with trees cutting them down is counterproductive to eco-living. Instead, place the turbine on a tower that allows you to capture the winds higher up.

Solar Energy:

Solar energy is another popular option for people living off the grid. With solar panels, the savings forecast is the dream of every homeowner. They should be installed by a professional because of the panel placement and additional wiring. Your roof needs to be able to receive direct sunlight for solar panels to work so avoid trees and even a chimney if it will interfere with your sun. The number of panels you need is directly linked to your energy needs.

Geothermal Energy:

This form of energy is usually seen as hard to employ for a home but it is a very viable option. The temperatures within the earth are constantly at 58 -60 degrees whether it is cold or hot on the surface and this is enough to consistently produce efficient power. The system is installed underground and the deeper the pipes are placed the more efficient the system because they are closer to the energy source. Although it is expensive to install it will enable you to cost effectively heat and cool your home all year round. It complements other energy sources beautifully.

2) Growing Your Own Food

Animal Husbandry

Rearing chicken, rabbits, pigs or beef for your own consumption is a fulfilling activity that tests your self-reliance. It builds a culture of hard work and even delayed gratification since you know if you do not feed and care for the animals you will have no dairy, meat or eggs. This can be a learning activity for your family that bonds you together and the outcome gives you a sense of pride.

Plant your Own Garden

Planting and nurturing crops is labor intensive affair so ensure that the plants you choose grow easily and return nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil for the next planting season. Good choices include quinoa, broccoli, lima bean, edamame, peas, kale, and black-eyed peas. Practice environmentally safe agricultural practices like using natural manure from your animals instead of commercial fertilizer and keep you ecosystem safe and clean.

3) Rural Friendly Apps

Living in a rural setting does not mean technology cannot work for you. There are several apps that allow you to stay connected to the rest of the world. Using off-line apps keeps your rural life current without the rat race of the city. Here are 6 important apps to use

CAIRN

Once in the remote backcountry, you need maps to help you navigate your way around. With the CAIRN app, you can pinpoint your exact location and download maps to be used when you are off-line. You can also use it to find the cellular service providers available in your area.

This is a popular app for backpackers who like to fly solo so why not use it in your remote, rural setting. It will also come in handy when you are inviting visitors to your home.

SMSmart

Staying relevant and informed of what is going on in the world or with your stock on the stock market is still possible in your remote neck of the woods. SMSmart allows you to access your smartphone apps even when you have no data. It uses a UI to replicate apps like Twitter, news apps, browsers, and maps among others on your phone and text messages to transmit data. With this app, you don’t have to worry about paying exorbitant prices for roaming data when you need to keep up with the rest of the world.

Firechat

Firechat does not rely on data to transmit messages using Bluetooth instead. This is a great app for the family to use when everyone is out on an errand on the farm. It works for up to 200m from each other enabling you to keep tabs on each other where a conventional signal may fail.

BBC iPlayer Radio

This app has always allowed you to listen to both live and pre-recorded shows but now you can do so off-line. You can download any BBC show and save it off-line (including music shows with full tracks). You are able to stay informed and it is a great way to enjoy an evening with each other and unwind.

Amazon Kindle App

Living off the grid allows you to begin acquiring great habits that you may not have been able to indulge in when living the city life. Reading is a wonderful way to better yourself and grow your intellect. The Amazon Kindle app gives you access to books and articles which you can import for offline reading. With nothing to distract you (think Instagram, Snapchat, or cable TV) you can become a voracious reader.

Homeschool Helper

Having school-age children should not deter you from making this lifestyle change. Homeschooling apps allow you to keep your children up-to-date with their lessons and monitor their progress. Homeschool helper is highly recommended for homeschooling parents because you can extensively plan and schedule lessons, track success in the lessons, prepare and manage a book list for your kids, and calculate their grades. You can also plan other tasks like play dates and educational trips.

Finding the right footing is crucial to successfully living off the grid. The beauty of rural living can quickly and easily be lost when you have not put any thought into making it a fun and imaginative way of life. Once you take care of the basics of heating and lighting, food, learning and entertainment, life off the grid reminds us that we can make do with very little and thrive. How little is entirely up to you.

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