When we were looking for a cabin, we weren’t focused on purchasing off-grid. It just so happened that when we decided to look at this one, that we discovered just how “off-grid” it was. A quick search online will find the definition of off-grid being various statements of living without the use of mainstream sources of energy. (dictionary.com). Little did we know what we were about to learn.
What we saw when we first walked up to our tiny cabin was a solar panel, an empty battery bank to harness said solar energy, an empty pressurized water tank, exterior hook up for a propane tank to feed our 2 burner stove, and a blue flame propane heater mounted to the wall complete with exterior hook up to twin 100lb tanks. Knowing we had some items to buy and personal adjustments to make to adapt, we were certainly up to the task.
Night one left us running our local Menards to buy a new power inverter. After hooking up 2 of his boat batteries to the solar power, we found the inverter had blown. Did you know in the fall and winter, sunshine in Michigan is rare? (insert cheeky grin here) This means after about 4 hours of power usage, the batteries are so dead, we couldn’t even charge our cell phone or run the bathroom light. Luckily we were equipped with long-life rechargeable battery laterns, a gas cook-top compatible coffee maker, and a sense of humor. (We’ll add I did most of the giggling, he did an awful lot of swearing).
Let’s not even get into the plumbing and facilities challenge we encountered, quickly combating that with our camper and a “honey wagon”. We have yet to even bother with the water tank. We find it easier to transport jugs and bottles back and forth.
In the following weekends, it was quickly learned that heating with a blue-flame propane heater, your windows are always clean. This is because you will find yourself constantly wiping the condensation off of them to see outside. As our visits into hunting season pressed on, he was constantly struggling to harness enough power to even run a TV. We find ourselves constantly wiping condensation off not just the windows, but the counters, and contending with sweating water bottles sitting in water collecting boot trays. With giggles, grins, and companionship we’ll work our way through the highs and lows. Hoping eventually to have mainly highs.
Purchasing mid-archery season, not only did we have to learn the cabin, but we had to learn the deer movement, the habitat, and just exactly how to function in our 13 acre wood. So begins, the adventure and the many stories to come.