Mar 222015

I guess the most exciting tales originate from people on the extremes. Sailing a Volvo Open 60 in the Southern Ocean, a tiny minimalist off-grid cabin in the Texas desert, cycling alone across Africa. The reason why we enjoy reading and watching these adventures is, I guess, because they stir a chord within us, awaken a deep inner need to do something similar. And yet not all of us can or even wish for such extremes.

In the next stage of making the future happen we’ve decided it may be wise to start the next big project. If there’s one thing that we have in common it’s building stuff and it’s a super way of future-proofing our lives as well so we’re diving in head first even though we have only a rudimentary sketch plan, some cool ideas and a vague schedule.

So off-grid living is a very cool sounding concept, something I could have a go at and so, that’s the plan for Cottage-253. However, I’m under no illusions. While I’m happy to cook on charcoal and propane I quite like my automatic dishwasher. While I’m happy to hang clothes out to dry I actually do want the automatic clothes washer to do the drudge-work.

So, what we are really after I suppose, could be called a semi-off grid cottage with backup to the existing municipal utilities but to a much reduced scale. The plan is to have umbilical connections to power, water mains and sewerage but only for minimal usage and backup. All cooking and water heating [bath and shower] will be by propane. Heating via wood-burning stove/heater. Solar panels will provide for the majority of lighting and small power needs with only the washers hooked up to mains. Water collection will be from roof runoff but with a supplementary feed from the municipal water main. And so the plan is and continues to evolve…….

At the end of the day we’ll not be immune to prices hikes and tariff increases but the effects will be greatly reduced. We’re not looking for extreme total isolation but rather a sensible mix of both worlds.

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