Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Off-the-Grid Living

Wayne and I have chosen to live where we are surrounded by nature.

We've always been outdoors kind of people. We met each other on a flying camping trip to Canada and have gone on many adventures since.

In 2000, we stopped at the Powell River airport for fuel and an overnight stay. We fell in love with the area, so we returned the following summer and discovered floating cabin. We knew immediately it was where we wanted to live.


One of the main draws was the opportunity to live a simple, off-the-grid lifestyle. Off-the-grid is typically defined as living away from public utilities, especially electricity.

Our float cabin isn't connected to electric, water or sewer grids, so we had to find other ways to handle our utilities.

The cabin came with propane as a power source for lights, refrigeration and cooking, and a woodstove for heat.

The cabin floats on the surface of a freshwater lake so our water source was located four feet below our floor.

A hand pump at the kitchen sink brings water into the cabin with just a few pumps of the handle.

Because we wanted to have some electricity for cell phones, computers, lights and a few small appliances (think shaver, spice grinder, radio), we installed a solar panel and two batteries. Over time, that has grown to three panels and two sets of 8 batteries.

To augment our solar power we added a wind generator, but we only create power during stormy weather.

During winter we periodically recharge our batteries with a 1000 watt fuel efficient generator that's fairly quiet.

When we purchased our cabin we started with an outhouse that was three flights of stairs up the cliff.

When started living here full time we upgraded to a compost toilet and added a bathroom onto the cabin.

Off the grid living isn't for everyone, but for us it's the perfect choice.

Want to know more about float cabin living? Wayne's written a book: Off the Grid the Grid: British Columbia Stories. It includes stories about how we do off-the-grid living on Powell Lake in Coastal BC. It's available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.com and other online booksellers. -- Margy

24 comments:

  1. I must admit that I'm REALLY impressed with your OFF the grid choice.

    ROG, ABCW

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    1. Thanks. It's a fun way for us to live right now. - Margy

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  2. I am not so sure hubby could handle it but I could totally live there!

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    1. It's not for everyone. Fortunately both Wayne and I enjoy it. It would be tough if one of us didn't. - Margy

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  3. It is really off the grid, and it is incredibly amazing. But the amenities can only be possible in advanced countries like yours. Many parts of our country, specially those in remote barangays and islands are even more OFF the GRID, and no amenities, even food is as easy as yours! Yours is indeed envious.

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    1. You are right, we are off the grid in an optimal location to access town for essentials. - Margy

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  4. Very interesting!
    Have a great week!

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  5. What a lovely, peaceful way to live!

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    1. It is peaceful, especially from fall until spring. Summer can be a lot busier when the other cabin owners arrive. - Margy

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  6. It all sounds very wonderful, I have a lot of admiration for your choices. The surroundingd are gorgeous so I can understand why you made those choices but I don't think I could have done, to be honest I am so used to all the utillities we have.

    Have a nice ABC-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/20-o

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    1. We enjoy all the utilities when we are in town, but having just what we need at home at the cabin is fine with us. - Margy

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  7. I imagine that your utility bills are quite low. Perhaps in another lifetime, I would consider living offgrid.

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    1. It isn't as cheap as you might think. The propane runs about $60 a month and the solar system has a fairly high startup cost that you have to average over about 10 years. But in between it is a lot more reasonable than town electricity. - Margy

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  8. I like the idea of off-the-grid but I'm not sure I could do it! I applaud you for your simple life!

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    1. You can do bits and pieces of it at a time, even in town. - Margy

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  9. Fabulous post about off grid living. We are working towards it, solar panels & wind generator next xxx

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    1. Your barge project is amazing. - Margy

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  10. Hi Margy,
    i rather like the idea of your life style,
    maybe when i was younger and fitter, but
    I like my home in suburbia more.
    I do admire you for taking up your life
    style and plenty of peace to write, that
    must be good!
    Best wishes,
    Di,
    ABCW team. xx

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    1. It was the best choice we ever made, especially for the first part of our retirement. There will come a time when it gets too hard, but for now we love it. - Margy

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  11. Replies
    1. Thanks. I never get tired of the view. - Margy

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