Off the Grid Living

This month, we are learning about electricity in school. Like most kids, ours think a light was meant to be turned on in the morning and not turned off again until bedtime…if then. In an effort to break this habit and at the same time teach them to value electricity, we are going off-grid…at least for a time.
Every Thursday or Friday during the month of April, we will be off-the-grid. What does that mean? It means that we will not consume electricity at all on that day. No TV even for school movies. No computer…even for school. No lights. No automatically-flushing toilets. Forget saving shower water to flush the toilet as a way to save money; it will be a necessity! No heat or air. We purposely waited until spring to start this so that shouldn’t be a problem. We don’t typically use the air conditioner in the summer here anyway, but we do use fans at night. We’re hoping it’s warm enough to not need heat, and cold enough to not need the fans at night! (So mama can get some sleep.)
For the sake of convenience, cleanliness, and my sanity, we will have some exceptions. We will still be able to use the bathroom sink to wash our hands. We will also still be able to use the kitchen sink to wash our hands and dishes.
We actually started this last week and used the oven to cook lunch and cooked dinner on the grill. This week, we’re going to be a little more extreme and will only eat foods which do not need to be cooked. Next week, we hope to teach the kids the basics of cooking on the grill. (It’s our version of the wood stove.) We just don’t have a couple thousand to drop on a month-long lesson. However, it’s as realistic as we can possibly make it.
We already had several candles, and are teaching the children about candle-fire safety. We also have a couple of oil lamps and are teaching them how to safely use those. (Although we do all of the lighting.) We also are getting a kit from Lehman’s to make your own oil lamp. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, and various other kinds of vegetable oil to fuel these lamps.
The kids are pretty excited to see what kinds of alternative energy are out there. They want us to install solar power! Yeah. We’ll do that when we have a spare several thousand…plus!
Have you ever gone off grid? Thought about it? We’d love to eventually be able to go off-grid completely through the use of a grid-tied solar system where the power company pays YOU for any extra energy you produce but don’t consume. And there I go dreaming again…

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

That sounds really interesting!