New American homesteaders – author

Click here to view the original post.

Sundeen – charting the upside of down

In new book “The Unsettlers:- Buy it on Amazon” , three American families go beyond ditching the Utility companies –they also walk away from supermarkets, cars and even banks — to define authentic living for themselves.

For “the Luddite curious,” says the LA Times “The Unsettlers” offers a compelling account of diverse Americans living off the grid. These homesteaders in Missouri, Detroit and Montana show us how the other other half lives.

Author Mark Sundeen will appear at Visit Skylight Books this Sunday at 5 p.m. Sunday, spoke to LA Times from Moab, Utah, where he himself spends time off the grid.

You begin with Ethan Hughes and Sarah Wilcox, a young couple who created an intentional living community in Missouri. Why them?

I’d decided that just living off the grid was no longer true dissent. I was curious to hear from people who could go all the way — stop using cars, stop using the banking system.

An intentional living community that forgoes cars, cash and electricity feels pretty radical, and yet you note similarities they share with libertarians and right-wing Christians, some of whom are their neighbors. Was this common ground surprising?

Totally surprising … and totally inspiring. I was so impressed that they were able to find that common ground. That’s something that I think’s important now that Trump is president. The divisiveness that he engenders, it pits people against each other who actually have the same values. Liberals and conservatives both want to live with moral integrity, but they have separate names for that. The right says, “We want to have Christian values, family values,” and that’s interpreted as anti-other religions or anti-single parents or anti-same-sex couples. Liberals say, “We want to end racism, we want to end bigotry, and we want to save the planet,” and that’s another way of living with integrity. I think there’s a lot more commonality than we tend to think.

You never suggest that the reader should renounce her worldly possessions and head to the farm — but are you hoping to influence people?

I’d specifically like the well-intentioned liberal to ask questions about their consumption and not just about their political stance. People say, “I’m going minimalist, I’m going to get rid of all my books and CDs and records and just use a smartphone.” Well, OK, I’m glad that your house is less cluttered, but you’re actually using more fossil fuels and doing more harm with that smartphone than you would with a whole library of books.

Each family’s commitment to the good life is inspiring but intimidating. For those of uswho are inspired to make a change, where do we begin?

I don’t think you begin by depriving yourself of things you love. On the one hand, this book is about the ethical boycott of destructive industries, but on the other hand it’s about following your heart and finding meaningful work. When you do work that you love, a lot of these needs tend to fall away.

Are there local organizations that inspired L.A. readers should investigate?

The Los Angeles Eco-village, the Urban Homestead and Root Simple, run by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.

The post New American homesteaders – author appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Pellet Power: Fossil-Fuel-Free Heating

Click here to view the original post.
Pellet Boiler, Wood, Heating, Renewable, Self Sustaining, Carbon neutral, cheaper,

Pellet boilers beat oil for price and efficiency

A clean, cheap and carbon neutral way to heat your home – sounds good. Its a reality for thousands of families and businesses in Europe and North America.

Pellet boilers are growing in popularity; with grants and incentives offered by various states and governments – often in the form of financial assistance towards equipment and installation, depending on location. Ecoheat Solutions, a pellet boiler provider, have put together a summary of incentives for US based consumers here.

Why a pellet boiler?

Pellet boilers function exactly like an oil or propane burner with fully automatic operation. The only difference being instead of oil, wood pellets are being used as the fuel. Pellets are a cleaner source of fuel, being completely carbon neutral. The reason for this is that for every tree burned as pellets, another tree is planted to take up the carbon released. Not only this but wood pellets are readily available in North America and Europe – a local renewable fuel source. This not only bolsters the local economy but pellets are also much less volatile than oil or propane. Pellets are also much cheaper than fossil fuels – try 60% cheaper. One pellet boiler owner cited a saving of upwards of $1,500 per year on fuel – you can watch the full video of their boiler experience here.

There are a couple of downsides to pellet boilers. Fuel tends to be a little bulkier to store than oil and the ash bin(s) from the boiler need to be emptied every month or so. However, due to this ash by-product containing natural minerals, it can be spread on lawns, gardens or back into the woods; acting as a mineral fertiliser. Some pellet boilers also have motors, just like a pellet stove, and so some noise can be heard. However if the boiler is housed in a boiler room or basement, the noise levels can be much reduced.

The upfront cost of a pellet boiler is also higher than an oil fuelled counterpart. Depending on the model chosen; average prices for a pellet boiler come in at around $15,000 compared to a more conservative $10,000-12,000 for a fossil fuel boiler. However, with the pellet fuel being much cheaper in comparison (and don’t forget those state grants), the long run savings will more than make up for the initial investment.

What’s the difference between a pellet boiler and a pellet stove?

These two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably because they use the same fuel, but there is a fundamental difference between the two. Pellet stoves are room appliances, meaning they heat the room they are in. Of course, depending on the size of the house, this could be an ample heat source (tiny houses I’m looking at you).  A pellet boiler however, replaces an oil boiler and is connected to a heating system and so is more suitable for larger houses and commercial properties.

The post Pellet Power: Fossil-Fuel-Free Heating appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks

Click here to view the original post.
Recycling, Eco-desks, Off-grid, school, South Africa

Waste for desks? Deal!

A cash-strapped performing arts school has traded a year’s worth of waste for 30 desks.

The off-grid school collected its community’s recycling, as well as its own, and bartered this for the recycled desks.

Set up in 2005, the grid wasn’t working for 65 pupil school Chistlehurst, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa so they devised a plan. Stick with their eco-friendly ethos and remain off the grid.  Unlike an on-grid school, there is no sprinkler system, no heating in the winter and strictly no technology in the classroom. So things are done a little differently, students carry buckets of water from the rain water tanks to the gardens and huddle by a bonfire to keep warm on cold mornings.

“Our kids have had to learn how to get along without certain ‘luxuries’, which is something they take a little time to adjust to, but end up loving the ‘quietness’ of it all,” said Jacyn Fanner, Headteacher.

When they moved into their current building, there were no roofs, doors or windows. Let alone functioning taps and toilets! But after a lot of hard work, the school reached their off-grid goal. Rain water tanks fill the toilet cisterns, solar lighting illuminates the classrooms and batteries, gas and a small generator provide extra energy.

The school is also home to a frog pond, vegetable garden and a recycling village with 12 bins for different materials. This allows the school to recycle a range of materials from mixed paper and cans to plastic and styrofoam. The majority of cleaning products and equipment are sourced from the local community and are as eco-friendly as possible.

Off-grid, School, Recycling, South Africa, Eco-desks, Water Tanks,

Drama Free! Water tanks & solar panels mean Chistlehurst doesn’t have to rely on the grid.

The school partnered up with the Wildlands Conservancy Trust 6 years ago, through their desire to recycle. The NGO, which operates in 6 provinces, provided the school with the recycling bins which are filled every week – even during the holidays!

Students have taken their eco-friendly lessons from school to home, encouraging their families to reduce re-use and recycle. So now recycling from the local community is brought to the school for collection. Each year the school get a rebate from Wildlands for the recycling they collect. However at the end of 2016 this rebate was traded for the eco-desks. The staff and students are very pleased with how they look in their eco-school setting and Headteacher Jacyn Fanner wants to see them fill all of the classrooms in time.

So what’s next?

“We have so many ideas and plans – which include a fully solar powered media centre – and we are so excited for what the future holds for Chistlehurst,” Jacyn Fanner said.

The desks are made from 100% previously unrecycled materials, are hard wearing and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Chistlehurst are so pleased with the outcome, they are encouraging other schools to get involved with green initiatives such as Sustainable Schools and Recycling for Life programs.

 

Images courtesy of Roger Fanner.

The post Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Bad news: Its Doomsday – Good news: You will die in total Luxury

Click here to view the original post.

DALLAS 11 Nov – AP – A Texas investor group is building a $300 million luxury fly-in community replete with survival tools – the underground homes and air-lock blast doors will be designed for super-rich families worried about a dirty bomb or other disaster.

The Trident Lakes community has begun with a flourish northeast of Dallas near the Oklahoma border: A statue of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, holding a golden trident will stand some 50 feet above a massive fountain billed as one of the largest in the world.

Subtlety won’t do for Texas.  Although the organisers are curiously self-effacing, and few photos exist, if any.

“The initial perception is that it’s defined as a doomsday scenario,” said James O’Connor, CEO of Dallas-based Vintuary Holdings, which represents the collection of investors backing the project. “I’m trying to change the perception to a long-term sustainable community, with the concept of a 200-year community. We’re not looking at just putting all our residents underground; we’re looking to put together a beautiful place to live that’s also secure.”

The standard luxury amenities will apply: 18-hole golf course, high-end spa, gun ranges, zip lines, shops and restaurants, and not just a single helipad but a row of them. But plans call for the 700-acre spread to also include an equestrian center, polo fields and 20-acre lakes with white-sand beaches. The entire compound will be wrapped by a 12-foot wall and have private security manning watchtowers. The project has received the necessary approvals, O’Connor said, and people are expected to take up residence in 2018.

Developers intend to construct about 400 condos that have 90 percent of their living space underground. Most would cost in the mid-six figures and each topped with a terrace overlooking one of the lakes. The community could have as many as 1,600 residents who, should disaster strike, can rely on water and energy production that’s off the grid. O’Connor said designs and concepts may change as the project progresses, but a navigable tunnel network and an air-purification system are planned.

As is a DNA vault. The vault is an opportunity for “family sustainability,” said Richie Whitt, spokesman for Trident Lakes.

“You can take DNA and preserve it, where if something should happen, then technology down the road could take DNA and replicate a person,” he said. “It’s kind of science fictiony but it’s also not that far in the future.”

Whitt said Friday that Vintuary Holdings has purchased land in Ohio for a similar community and investors hope to expand the idea to other states. He didn’t provide further details.

It’s not clear just how many similar bunker communities are open for business in the U.S. or other countries. The Vivos Group, based in California, has six in the U.S. and one in Germany.

“It’s definitely something, anecdotally, that we’re seeing more and more of,” said Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University in New York.

The center works with an array of companies, groups, states and other entities to ensure a broad, comprehensive response when a natural or man-made disaster strikes. The concern for Schlegelmilch is that groups like Trident Lakes cut themselves off from that shared response.

“The aggregate of individual preparedness translates into greater community preparedness, and the aggregate of community preparedness leads to greater national preparedness,” he said.

But Whitt says Trident Lakes is pursuing a sustainable community that by definition means people must rely on one another. He says residents are wanted with a varied skill set so that in the aftermath of a disaster everyone can contribute with the recovery.

O’Connor adds that Trident will offer more than protection from doomsday fallout. Well known celebrities and professional athletes have expressed an interest because of the privacy and security it will offer, he said.

“We think we have defined an untapped market,” he said.

The post Bad news: Its Doomsday – Good news: You will die in total Luxury appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Micro-nuclear power plants gaining acceptance

Click here to view the original post.

Dan Stout, TVA senior manager for small modular reactors

In the near future off-grid communities of ip to 20,000 population might be powered by a nuclear reactor the size of a container that is swapped out every 20 years.

Existing plants emit no emissions but overall are just too risky for some. There’s also competition now with low natural gas prices and wind and solar projects, which has allowed the small reactors to emerge. The Tennessee Valley Authority has become the first utility to apply for a permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a small reactor.

Others are following suit, there is a plan by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build one about 100 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park; it is said to produce electricity like no other.

Small nuclear reactors may be a safer and a cheaper alternative to nuclear power plants. They can be manufactured in a factory and hooked-up on-site, potentially avoiding the huge upfront capital costs and the overruns that have plagued many nuclear plants. They are theoretically safer, reducing the need for huge containment vessels and other expensive protections.

Unlike other nuclear reactors that usually produce about 1,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, the small modular reactors, are designed to be a fraction of the size at 50 to 300 megawatts. Rather than using electrically operated pumps and motors to circulate coolant and keep the core of the nuclear reactor at a low temperature, as happens in traditional plants, small reactors use no pumps and motors and instead rely on passive means such as gravity and conduction ­­to cool the reactors. The size also means that it is cheaper to produce, as opposed to the $10bn and up to a decade in planning to secure permits and build of conventional nuclear.

The group wants to replace their old coal-fired plants and it won the approval from the US Department of Energy earlier this year to analyze the environmental and safety impacts of the small nuclear reactor. If it passes the test, the consortium plans to build a power plant there with 12 reactors totaling 600 megawatts in capacity.

 

The Utah consortium will hire Washington state-based Energy Northwest to operate and maintain its 12 reactors in Idaho if they are built. The Utah group expects the project to come online by 2024.

Gene Grecheck, a former president and the current co-chair of a policy advisory committee at the American Nuclear Society, which represents engineers and scientists. Grecheck says that scientists are studying other ways to improve nuclear technology. “There is also a lot of research going on for advanced reactor concepts to take used fuel and reprocess it to reduce [the spent fuel] even more dramatically,” he said.

 

Startup companies are working on using spent uranium fuel include the Bill Gates-backed TerraPoweras well as Transatomic and Terrestrial Energy. Another start-up, Oklo, seeks to create 2-megawatt reactors that fit inside shipping containers to provide electricity for remote off-grid locations. Toshiba has worked on a micro nuclear reactor that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbours who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

 

new report by the U.K.’s government-backed Energy Technologies Institute outlines what it considers to be a reasonable timeline for the country to also adopt the new smaller reactors. It has been estimated that they could be in use by 2030. For that to happen, talks between operators, developers, and the government would have to begin next year. But fears about the safety of nuclear plants have made them so costly as to discourage investors. “Creating the right environment for increasing investor confidence is critical if this schedule is to be met,” says Mike Middleton, the author of the report.

 

Even if it does happen in the U.K. they will still lag behind America. If all goes as planned, the facility in Tennessee could be up and running by the mid-2020s.

 

 

 

 

The post Micro-nuclear power plants gaining acceptance appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Woodland community receives notice to quit

Click here to view the original post.

Jon from Steward Wood shows us his house

Dartmoor PArk bosses want to demolish this house

Steward Wood in Devon is one of the UK’s largest off-grid communities but after ten years of peaceful existence the 15 residents have been given notice to quit.

In this film, shot at Off-Grid Festival last weekend, Jon from Steward Wood tells us about the battle to stay in their land, and shows us his home and the products which the residents of Steward Wood manufacture and sell.

The people like Jon and Merlin who created the woodland hamlet in Dartmoor National Park near Mortonhampstead endured harsh winters and years of uncertainty as they set out to show that living an entirely eco-life was possible. They have become one of the country’s most respected environmental learning centres and advocates of Permaculture.

The whole off-grid movement needs to unite around Steward Wood and help them in their battle. Apart from the local bearacrats, they are fighting against ridiculous planning laws which fail to distinguish between eco-dwellers enhancing the land and property developers exploiting the land.

They had been living for ten years on a series of short terms permissions from the local government, so “we could not believe it when we were told we had lost” said Jon when we spoke.

Off-Grid.Net will be working with Steward Wood to raise awareness of their situation – amidst the wider context of Off Grid Living as a choice of lifestyle – at the highest levels of media and government.’

“We are in shock and utter disbelief with the Planning Inspector’s decision,” says the official statement on their web site

“ (We) believe that it is the wrong decision for the following reasons (amongst others):
• The DNPA have a policy in place which allows low impact development in the open countryside and we do conform to its requirements.
• Attendees of the Public Inquiry, who we spoke to, were under the impression we were going to be successful having heard the evidence given.
• His decision goes against previous Planning Inspectors’ decisions.
• Not enough weight was given to the importance of the project and its holistic”

Please visit the StewardWood web site at http://stewardwood.org/

The post Woodland community receives notice to quit appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

New TV series off-grid in Scotland

Click here to view the original post.

The series due to launch tonight on BBC Channel 4, will chronicle the successes and failures of a new social experiment in Ardnamurchan, near Lochaber, in Scotland’s wild western Highlands.
Using only natural resources to build shelter, hunt for food and cook.

Making up the rules of their new society as they go along, the 23 contestants in the rather unoriginally named “Eden” will spend a year getting to grips with the remote countryside and learning to live with each other. The series shows that the appetite for life in the wilderness — both experiencing it and watching it — remains strong, and really gets to grips with the idyllic notion of self-sufficiency.

the series bills itself as an antidote to the usual trivia you see in reality shows, but the early signs are not good – the press releases stress that the inmates got drunk and flirted with each other. And the idea that they would be cut off from their nearest neighbors makes it more of an unreality show.

In reality, trying to forge a community from scratch can be a lifetime’s work. There are, however, a number of alternative settlements in Scotland in place that eschew conventional ways of life in favour of an existence focused on the land, spirituality, or making a living from traditional crafts and techniques.
Experts say that many of these communities are finding favour with burnt-out city-dwellers looking for a break, a new business opportunity or a complete change of scene.
We look at some of Scotland’s most interesting rural villages and settlements where it is possible to buy — or acquire membership — into a different way of life.Findhorn Ecovillage, MorayConceived in the 1970s by the Findhorn Foundation, a community began to evolve on the north coast of Scotland. It includes an on-site theatre and concert hall. Governed by members of businesses within the eco-village, such as a publishing house and an arts centre, the settlement can be found to the south of Findhorn, on the Moray Firth.
Andrew YeatsEDENTV, a partner at Eco Arc, has seen the settlement flourish. “When I was an architecture student it was my thesis to design the concept of a sustainable eco-village,” he says. “Initially I went to Findhorn for six months, and ended up staying for six years. I’ve been working on the eco-village ever since.
“Originally, the community group bought a 35-acre caravan park and sought planning permission to change the use of the site to house permanent dwellings. The idea was to build a village that translated their ecological aspirations of being lighter on the Earth.
“The eco-village now has some of the most environmentally efficient buildings in Europe, with electricity produced from wind turbines and the ability to treat sewage. Residents grow a lot of their own food on site. They co-run a Rudolf Steiner school and a number of independent shops and businesses. It started with around 200 people but now there are more like 5,000 in The Park and in peripheral villages.”
The key to Findhorn Ecovillage’s success, says Yeats, is its appeal to those who have tired of the rat race: “A lot of people experience urban isolation or discontent with a city lifestyle. Being part of the community and living in a supportive environment is very attractive to many.”
While Eco Arc is responsible for 18 residential houses, there are about 100 in the development. They bear many shared qualities: individualistic design, brightly coloured cladding and timber frames more reminiscent of Scandinavia than the Scottish seaside.
“If you were to characterise the residential properties, they all have super-insulation and triple-glazed windows,” Yeats explains.
The village has also kept abreast with modern advancements. Eco Arc is to begin work on the first on-site Passivhaus this week, a strictly low-carbon-footprint template of housing inspired by German design credentials. It is to be the most northerly property built to Passivhaus standards in the UK.
“The clients are a woman and her daughter from London who have sold a small flat and wanted to build an eco-house to live in,” Yeats says.
Established properties in Findhorn Ecovillage come to market relatively infrequently (Cluny Estate Agents has recently accepted an offer on a four-bedroom bright orange house that was on the market for offers in excess of £400,000), but the preference within the settlement is for build your own. Even after employing the skills of specialist architects, prices are keen: Eco Arc has worked on projects beginning at £15,000 for a small roundhouse (now rented out through Airbnb from £40 a night), to a four-bedroom property costing £220,000.Brodgar and Skaill, Orkney An archipelago of 70 islands, Orkney is one of the UK’s earliest neolothic sites and has a number of ceremonial stone circles, tombs and settlements. Unsurprisingly, each year it attracts scores of visitors keen to discover more about its history. A number of sites have also been excavated in recent years, including the Ness of Brodgar in 2002, where annual digs have led experts to conclude that the islands were a hub for trade and worship in neolithic times.
Orkney is now home to a strong spiritual community living and working on its islands. Many are centred on the Mainland, the archipelago’s largest island, working in the craft and tourism industries around Brodgar, near the stone circle and the Unesco World Heritage Site, and Skaill, where the Skara Brae neolithic village was discovered in the 1920s. Many offer tours of Orkney’s most famous sites and stones, which can also be used as locations for weddings and blessings conducted by humanists.
The smaller islands are home to a number of significant sites. ASG Commercial is marketing a business package for offers of more than £950,000 on a clifftop site in Cleat, South Ronaldsay. It includes the Skerries Bistro, three holiday lets and a stone-built three-bedroom property. The star of the sale is the Tomb of the Otters, a recently discovered Stone Age chamber excavated in 2010 next to the bistro. In season, visitors can pay to visit the tomb, providing a steady flow of clients to the bistro.
In Harray, on the Mainland, there is a chance to continue Orkney’s historic ceramics industry, which dates from neolithic times. A pottery studio and shop is being marketed through Lows Solicitors for offers of more than £250,000. It includes the three-bedroom Fursbreck House, which has an office, dining room, kitchen and bathroom.
For house-hunters looking to enjoy the islands’ small communities, rather than to capitalise on their historic industries, Savills is selling a seven-bedroom property in the town of St Margaret’s Hope. Roeberry House features a snug, games room, library, two secluded gardens and a 150-year-old wood. Its price is available on application and it is close to the A listed Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war in the Second World War.Isle of Erraid, Inner HebridesAn experience quite unlike any other, the tiny Isle of Erraid, west of Mull, is home to a transient group of “caretakers” who are responsible for looking after its buildings and gardens for 11 months of the year. The island’s owners, a Dutch family, struck a deal with the Findhorn Foundation in 1977, and in exchange for being able to return for one month in the summer to enjoy Erraid, a small community of self-sufficient residents are permitted to live in cottages for lighthouse-keepers built by the Stevenson engineering dynasty at the start of the 20th century.
Residents adhere to traditional ways of living off the land, with a focus on growing fruit and vegetables, crop tending and herding Erraid’s native flock of Blackface sheep. Members subscribe to the principles of the Findhorn Foundation and promote mindfulness and connecting to the natural world.
There are about ten people on the island at any given time, with many moving on after about three years. Annual activities focus on a number of festivals where guests are welcomed to sample island life. While it is not possible to buy property on Erraid, membership to this uniquely Scottish existence is permanently open to new residents.

The post New TV series off-grid in Scotland appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

3 Taster Locations To Try Unplugging

Click here to view the original post.

Off-grid home in Majorca to rent on airbnb, perfect for a getaway from technology

Enjoy the Spanish sun and views whilst unplugging from the rest of the world for a getaway

Curious about what living off-grid would be like but not quite ready to give up the mortgage? Thinking where to live out the rest of your days in idyllic peace but not quite sure?

Not to worry, if you’re considering the big leap into the unknown, you can try a short break disconnecting from the big brother system — renting an off-grid home from Airbnb.

In Chelan, Washington State, for example, there lies a hobbit hole which any Lord of the Rings fan would die for a night in. Upon a mountain hill, surrounded by rabbits and deer is the perfect place for someone on a quest for off-gird living to start their journey.

Kirstie Wolfe built the 288-square-foot rental into a hillside on a five-acre tract of land she bought in Orondo, a small town between Chelan and Wenatchee along the Columbia River in central Washington. After burying the structure, she went all out decorating the space with an obsessive attention to detail. “I try to make it as authentic as possible,” builder Kristie Wolfe explained. She succeeded with flying colours, visitors walk past a small outdoor garden through a big circular door — just like in the books and movies. The rustic interior uses reclaimed wood, hanging lanterns, and circular arches and windows to evoke a fantastical feeling, a point underlined with small charms like a cobbler’s workbench and several subtle “Lord of the Rings” touches inside.

As well as being the perfect place to let your imagination run free, it is also a fully functioning off grid home with its own septic tank and solar panels, you can unplug in style and comfort. To see the photos and more details on the hobbit home, click here!

 

For those in Europe – nestled into the mountains on the quiet North-West side of Mallorca it is the perfect place to turn off from the outside world and relish nature as it is.

It is a 30-minute drive down the mountain to a beach or an exhilarating hike away, which in turn, gives you the most breath-taking views of the blue Mediterranean. It’s located inside a national park which means you will live side by side with exotic birds and wild flowers. The house comes complete with a water tank which collects 40,00 litres of rain water which you can then filter into drinking water and use to flush the toilet and wash with . Also, it is furnished with two flushing toilets, solar panels a shower, a gas fridge and hob and a fireplace and wood burner for the winter months. There is an outside kitchen with a BBQ so you can cook cooley in the breeze whilst taking in the glorious views.

Outdoor hot shower in off-grid home in Majorca

Beautiful heated shower located outside to give you the perfect mixture of comfort and authenticity

If you’re not so keen with the cooking, you can hire a cook who will show you how to use the outdoor facilities and make your meals for you. The estate is broken up into separate houses which you may choose to rent altogether or just the one/two. The top house comes with two bedrooms and wireless broadband from a solar panel.

How secluded you are is completely up to you. You can have someone show you around the house and neighbourhood with you and immerse you into the off-the-grid lifestyle or you can do it alone and test yourself. You can view its profile on Airbnb here and watch a narrated tour of it here on youtube for more details on the property and how to book it.

 

Our third home was named as one of the best homes in America by Dwell and top ten homes in the world on Airbnb. And it’s completely off-grid. The humble abode is situated in a pristine remote valley in the beautiful Californian high desert and the views are amazing.

off-grid home in California desert to rent

The desert home underneath the stars

 

It is completely powered by solar panels which allow you to have a comfortable stay whilst venturing off into the unplugged world. There is no wifi or TV to encourage you to completely immerse yourself into your stunning surroundings and your own thoughts. It’s architecturally significant green home with large floor to ceiling windows, a fireplace, flushing toilet and hot shower and a fully functional kitchen. So why not check it out on Airbnb for pictures and the chance to enquire about booking it for a weekend away from your stress and worries.

The post 3 Taster Locations To Try Unplugging appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Buy a town in Southern Nevada

Click here to view the original post.

meme1There’s an entire town on the market in rural Southern Nevada; Before the economy crashed there was a queue of buyers.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s hometown is a rural community with double-wides and abandoned mines. Some 540 people lived there by 2010.
About 350 people live in Cal-Nev-Ari today, a town about 70 miles south of Las Vegas which is being sold for $8 million.Broker Nancy Kidwell is selling the town, which is mainly land. Some homeowners in the area have their own hangar at the town’s airstrip. Two to five aircraft land there each weekday.

It’s dark and mostly empty in the low-slung, 1960s-era casino here, with a handful of people at the bar and just one or two others playing slots.
The streets in this dusty, isolated town aren’t paved, but there’s almost nothing to drive to, anyway no doctors offices, shopping centers or much else around here.
But there’s plenty of vacant land, and Cal-Nev-Ari’s co-founder is again embarking on a tough but not-unheard-of task in Southern Nevada: selling real estate in the middle of nowhere.
Nancy Kidwell is trying to unload more than 500 acres of mostly vacant land here for $8 million, after her attempts in 2010 to sell for $17 million fell flat. Looking to retire, the 78-year-old is offering most of the town, including its casino, diner, convenience store, 10-room motel, RV park and mile-long dirt airstrip.
Listing broker Fred Marik said the “main thing we’re selling,” however, is land.
“That’s the value,” he said, noting the businesses here are “just breaking even.”
During the bubble years in the past decade, investors bought land in rural towns sprinkled outside Las Vegas for projects that eventually fizzled, including suburban-style subdivisions and a resort designed like a fairy-tale castle. At one point, people even got into a bidding war for Kidwell’s holdings but backed out when the economy crashed.
Today, a sale in Cal-Nev-Ari could bring new life to this hole-in-the-wall community of 350 people, some 70 miles south of Las Vegas off U.S. 95. But without the development craze of yesteryear or skyrocketing land prices pushing builders out of Las Vegas, who would buy property in a place like this?
By all accounts, the pool of prospects is relatively small. It includes people who already own real estate in the area; are willing to gamble on remote, unincorporated towns with little to no growth; or would develop an attraction that lures visitors, according to local brokers who handle these listings.
“It takes a person with some vision,” broker Tony Castrignano said.
Castrignano, owner of Sky Mesa Realty & Capital, is trying to sell the 80-acre town of Nipton, Calif. Owners Jerry and Roxanne Freeman, of Henderson, are seeking $5 million.
Nearly an hour south of the Strip between Interstate 15 and Searchlight, Nipton has a handful of businesses, including a hotel, an RV park and a country store that offers, among other things, lottery tickets.
It also has a solar array, water rights and ample space, and it gets visitors “from all over the world,” Castrignano said. An ideal spot, perhaps, for people to live off the grid in an eco-friendly compound?
As Castrignano sees it, investors “could pretty much do what (they) want” with the town.
“We like to say that it’s conveniently located in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

Compared to Las Vegas, land in rural towns an hour or so outside the city can cost cents on the dollar.
Some owners want anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 per acre in such places as Sandy Valley, Logandale and Searchlight, listings show. Kidwell wants around $17,000 per acre, Marik said.
In the Las Vegas area, by comparison, land sold for a median of about $317,000 per acre last year, according toColliers International.
Then again, Las Vegas has jobs, schools, hospitals, an international airport and other trappings of a major metropolitan area that are largely missing from outlying communities.
Keller Williams Realty agent Rick Brenkus said there are “dozens of properties for sale” in these towns but “only a few sales per year.” In some areas, Brenkus said, his group is the only one that has “sold anything in the last six or nine months.”
Some investors prefer to buy land rather than deposit money in a bank and collect small interest payments. But with little to no construction in the rural outposts, the chances of selling land to developers “is kind of remote,” he said.
“I certainly want to paint it with a positive brush, but it’s very competitive right now,” he said.
Land broker and investor Bill Lenhart doesn’t expect any new projects in Cal-Nev-Ari to materialize for a long time, as there’s plenty of other land in the region at reasonable prices and with more infrastructure that “make a lot more sense.”
Lenhart, founder of Sunbelt Development & Realty Partners, knows firsthand that selling property in a small town is no easy task: He has a listing for a failed, boom-era subdivision in Searchlight, about 10 miles north of Cal-Nev-Ari.

Still, housing investors laid bets on the town during the go-go years. The Cottonwood Lake Homes subdivision, across from Harry Reid Elementary School, called for 65 houses spread over 16 acres, according to county records. Sales prices initially were strong one house sold in 2007 for $511,000 and another in 2008 for $499,000 but the project went bust. Today, the walled subdivision contains paved roads, 13 houses and lots of empty land. The original developer sold four of the homes, and investors who foreclosed on the project in 2011 sold the other nine, all in the $100,000 range, county records show.
Lenhart doesn’t have an asking price for the 52 remaining vacant lots in Cottonwood, but he expects to sell them for less than $400,000 total. The property is an hour’s drive from Las Vegas and about 13 miles west of the Cottonwood Cove marina, though homebuilders “are lukewarm on it,” he said.
Out-of-state, publicly traded homebuilding companies, which dominate Las Vegas’ new-home market, “won’t touch it,” but a private builder might, Lenhart said.
All told, brokers take listings in outlying areas “out of obligation,” he said without elaborating, not because they’re hunting for deals.
“I don’t know anybody who’s prospecting for assignments in Pahrump,” he said of the rural town of 36,000 an hour west of Las Vegas. “And you’re talking to a guy who owns hundreds of acres in Pahrump.”
ïïï
When real estate values were soaring in Las Vegas, plenty of investors looked outside the metro area for cheaper land and launched housing developments in places such as Pahrump; Mesquite; and Bullhead City, Ariz. Buyers also went to the smaller, pint-sized towns in the region.
Sandy Valley, on the Nevada-California border, had only 2,000 residents by 2010. But during the bubble, Focus Property Group, developer of the 3,500-acre Mountain’s Edge and 1,200-acre Providence communities in Las Vegas, bought swaths of land there. According to court records, the company acquired at least 300 acres in the town.
After the economy tanked, Focus lost much of its land in Sandy Valley to foreclosure, property records show. Focus founder and CEO John Ritter was unavailable to comment, a representative said.
About 15 miles east of Sandy Valley, Goodsprings is known for its Pioneer Saloon, a bar and restaurant built in 1913. Just 230 people lived there by 2010.
But in 2006, investors Charles Whitley and Melissa Henry bought 25 acres there for $1 million and unveiled plans for Nova Town. At the time, Henry described their proposed resort as a “fairy-tale-like town” with “enchanting fountains, ponds, little bridges and flower beds.” An artist’s rendering showed a Disney-esque castle with portholes, stained-glass windows and blue flags flying from towers.
The resort was never built, and Whitley and Henry lost the land to foreclosure in 2010, county records show. Efforts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.
Cal-Nev-Ari, meanwhile, is by no means desolate. It has water, electric and natural-gas service; a community center; and a volunteer-run fire station. Homes sit alongside the airstrip, and some have their own hangars.
About 25 people work for Kidwell’s businesses here, and all but one of them live in Cal-Nev-Ari. The other resides in Searchlight.
Kidwell founded the town in the mid-1960s with her first husband, Everette “Slim” Kidwell. They learned about the property when Slim, who operated aviation facilities at the Torrance, Calif., airport, flew by and noticed the abandoned airstrip, which had been used as a training facility during World War II.
They acquired 640 acres from the federal government, named their new town after its home state and the two nearby, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, installed a sign: “Cal-Nev-Ari, Population: 4. Watch Us Grow.” The other residents were their cat and dog.
Slim, 34 years older than Nancy, died in 1983. Years later, she married Verne “Ace” Kidwell, Slim’s son from a prior marriage, who was 14 years older than her. Ace died in 2011.
The two Kidwells, who both died from Alzheimer’s disease, are buried in a small, private cemetery here, with space between them for Nancy’s plot.
By almost any measure, Cal-Nev-Ari is a speck of a town. But during the boom years, would-be buyers eyeing the place for housing developments were “bartering back and forth” over the land, bidding up to $24 million, Kidwell said.
“My attorneys were astounded,” she said.
She was interested in selling, but once the economy collapsed, the buyers “all just drifted away.” Kidwell listed her holdings in 2010, but by that time, the bubble had already burst and the economy was a mess.
“We had a little interest, but not a whole lot,” she said.
Marik, of Las Vegas Commercial & Business Sales, had never visited Cal-Nev-Ari until he got the listing a few months ago. But he’s familiar with this part of the county.
He brokered the sale of the Searchlight Nugget casino and some nearby property to the Herbst family last year and the sale of an abandoned, bank-owned subdivision in Searchlight to a couple in Seattle.
Marik is pitching Cal-Nev-Ari as a blank canvas. His marketing materials say the town could have, among other things, a dude ranch, parachute center, survival school, marijuana resort, shooting range, paint-gun park, drone center, air races, and motorcycle and ATV tours.
The town already is an attraction of sorts: People fly here to eat, gamble and then take off, an afternoon outing for a retiree with a pilot’s license. Two to five planes fly in each weekday, with 25 to 30 a day on weekends, Marik said.
Kate Colton, who has lived here for about 20 years, said a marijuana business would be “a little scary.” But she’s happy Kidwell, whom she says is one of her closest friends, is trying to open a new chapter in life, and Colton figures new investors would bring a shot of commerce to the area.
“The economy here could use a boost,” she said.
Her husband, former Nevada state treasurer Stan Colton, said it “would be wonderful” if someone paved the streets “You can’t wash your car and expect it to stay clean for the day.”
He’d like to see more housing and also figures Cal-Nev-Ari would be a great spot for warehouses, distribution centers or other industrial property.
Kidwell, he noted, is offering more than 500 acres right on a highway.
“What more could you ask for?” he said.

The post Buy a town in Southern Nevada appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Airbnb’s hottest properties – yes, they are off-grid

Click here to view the original post.

Airbnb, holiday let, vacation rental, tree house, offthegridnews

Most sought on Airbnb – Atlanta tree house

Airbnb has just released it’s 10 most wished-for properties on the vacation web site. Quirky, unique properties are most in demand. Four out of the ten properties are tree-houses and three of those are located in California.

The top ten roundup of wish-listed abodes on the property site shows that quirky, unorthodox residences are the places where most people wish to stay.

From a secluded treehouse with rope bridge in the woods of Atlanta, Georgia to a ‘seashell’ house in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’-themed guest house in Topanga Canyon, California, the properties that were the most popular were strange and fanciful.

It is also number one on the site’s list of most popular property types. This author has his own https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2589762″ target=”_blank”>off-grid property on Airbnb – in Majorca Spain – Check it out here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2589762″>https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2589762
The U.S. was the most represented country on the list, with three of the four properties represented in California.
The second most popular destination was Italy, with three locations in the top ten. Mexico, Canada, and Bali rounded out the list.

PICK OF THE OFF GRID PLACES

No. 10: ($380 per night) This off-the-grid solar-powered house in the high desert of Pioneertown, California does have heat, hot water, and a washer, but of course no TV or Internet – Joshua Tree National Park is nearby

No. 8: ($76 per night) This ‘mushroom villa’ as the locals in Bali call it, comes with a beautifully lit private swimming pool with ocean view and garden where you are free to pick your own fruit and veranda where you can watch the sunrise – there’s a hot water shower and Wifi spot

No. 7: A Pirates of the Caribbean themed tropical guest house contains a deck with a teepee for lounging (not overnight sleeping!) N($95 per night/two nights minimum/$225 for one night)Guest house contains a Jacuzzi and BBQ fire pit – the property contains waterfalls and ponds.

No. 6: ($110 per night) A mushroom shaped dome cabin in in Aptos, California is called a ‘geodesic dome loft’ and it has a large outdoor deck shaded by oak and madrone trees and abutting a redwood grove on ten acres of prime forest chiming with birds – there’s also a nearby beach – there’s a flatscreen TV with DVD player but no television reception

No. 5: ($157 per night) Another treehouse, this time in San Salvatore Monferrato, Alessandria, Italy – it contains one bedroom, one bathroom, a garden solarium and swimming pool on the property – and a cat

No. 4: ($100 per night) This unique cob cottage in Mayne Island, British Columbia is sculpted of local, sustainable natural materials – guests have access to all of the surrounding lush property, including the small private vineyard

No. 3: ($281 per night) This glass paneled treehouse in Tuscany, Italy is only only twenty minutes’ from the Duomo and one hour from Siena – the tree home is surrounded by olive trees, and boasts a kitchen garden, tennis court and small swimming pool

No. 2: ($249 per night) This seashell shaped house in Isla Mujeres contains private pool, two king beds, a kitchen and free Wifi and air conditioning

And te most desired property ont he whole of AirBnb: ($350 per night) A secluded treehouse only a minute Atlanta contains three connected treehouse rooms in the woody area of Buckhead – the house was featured on Treehouse Masters – each room is furnished with antiques, natural artefacts

The post Airbnb’s hottest properties – yes, they are off-grid appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Slab City – American Dream Deserted

Click here to view the original post.

 

slab graveyardXOff-Grid living is the American Dream manifest: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
For the residents of Slab City, an encampment in the Sonoran Desert,freedom is paramount. But what happens when the ideal morphs into the un-ideal? Peace and love has been replaced by drugs, strife and Law Enforcement officials. A vision of utopia became dystopian.

The definition of off-grid living according to the Oxford Dictionary is “not using or depending on public utilities, especially the supply of electricity.” Yet if ‘The Slabbers’, as they call themselves, live in “the last free place in America”, what does it mean to be free? And is the sacrifice worth it?
Sandy Parker, an upper class Brit taking American Studies at College, pointed her feet at Slab City, 156 miles northeast of San Diego, whilst studying abroad. She had transferred to a Californian campus to follow her love of 20th century American poets such as Walt Whitman and the Beat Generation, championed by Ginsberg, Snyder, Kerouac and Ferlinghetti.

“I just got the feeling out there that I wasn’t too safe,” Sandy told me later. “… that it was highly dangerous. In London you can walk through a supposedly rough neighbourhood. This neighbourhood had burnt out cars, the roads were terrible and there was extreme poverty around every corner”.

Sandy was a high achiever at school, learned the clarinet and piano from an early age and took ballet lesson as a child. Having been exposed to the wonders of American Studies, and absorbing herself in the sub-culture texts on offer, she now wears her hair in dreadlocks, practices Taoism and veganism. With much anticipation she began her road trip around the USA in Seattle in a hired Toyota Camry, then headed straight for Slab City.

The site was converted by the The Slabbers from an abandoned World War II marine camp to sub-culture commune in the mid-60s. It entered into the mainstream with John Krakauer’s book Into The Wild – Buy it on Amazon (1996) and Original Poster from Sean Penn’s film – Buy it on Amazon.com,(2007)
Both works document the travels of Christopher McCandless who spent time amongst the slabs in the early 1990s whilst journeying up to isolated living in the Alaskan mountains. As for many others, it was these works that drew Sandy to Slab City. However she was acutely aware (having researched the site) that McCandless had arrived at the Slabs when the last “vestiges of a generally safe community” were still visible.
Ecological reasons for off-grid living are not high on the priority list of the average resident in Slab City. When I asked Sandy what problems the residents faced, the issues were both environmental and ideological. Sandy arrived at the edge of a homestead to be greeted by a bullet hole riddled ‘Welcome’ sign. The car thermometer read 44 degrees Celsius. Without electricity and therefore “the luxury of air-con” in the car, many residents flee the oppressive heat in the summer months.

Propane is used to generate electricity; there is no running water or sewage. Supplies have to be bought in nearby Niland. Sandy spoke of her trepidation as she drew closer. On the outskirts were “caravans lying abandoned at the side of the un-kept dust road and dilapidated trailer parks lined the dirt tracks around the area”. The harsh Wild West environment is reflected in the attitudes of those who wish to live there.
Vice Mag documented The Slabs in 2009 with the Youtube video Living Without Laws: Slab City USA . A classic Vice documentary, a no holds barred, “let’s find the most dysfunctional people living here”, approach. Most of the 20 minute film is spent driving around with a meth-addict who makes stone ornaments without any tools and the documentary travels with him to visit his dope dealer to pick up some meth.

In the blistering heat, a few other tourists had undertaken the 2 hour drive from the nearest major city, Palm Springs. Like her, they were young 20-somethings from various Californian Universities. Sandy said, “it’s a commitment to get there, no one just passes through that area because there’s just nothing there and to the South is Mexico”. She felt upon her arrival a distinct lack of welcome, “most Slabbers had left for the summer and those that remained in a trailer next to Salvation mountain (a two decade in the making art sculpture) didn’t talk to tourists” she said.

When I asked Sandy whether she would ever consider living there, it was a decided “no”. Having entered into what Vice caught on film, Sandy explained how with “no police, hard drugs, armed residents and the American trope of lethal defence of property, Slab City is a volatile and dangerous community”. An anarchic perception of their existence appears to be rife, the defence of liberty involves the housing and testing of high explosives out in the desert. One man keeps a family of some of the most dangerous snakes in North America as protection. He said he would use them just like a hand grenade, instant devastation.
The opting out of mainstream society for the people of Slab City is a battle. The police have descended upon the settlement citing obscure permit issues as reasons for dismantling parts of the commune. Sandy confirmed the angst and uncertainty felt by the residents, she said;
“the people who live in Slab City are constantly worried that the government will throw them off the slabs. The people who live there are varied; some are old hippies, others are teenage runaways, some are war veterans who can’t cope in mainstream society, and some people moved to the slabs to escape partners, bills or capitalism”.
“The freedom to exist” is cited as “severely limited” by one Slabber in Thrash Lab’s documentary Life Off the Grid in Slab City . The State of California is constantly trying to sell the land but have so far found no buyers. With law enforcement knocking on the door and tourists flocking to the site, they are fighting for their isolation. For in isolation, the Slabbers see freedom.
Sandy’s residing memory of her time at Slab City is exactly that sense of isolation. She said, “It’s in the middle of a barren desert and a few miles west is the Salton Sea which is so large it goes up to the horizon”. The Slabbers trade amongst themselves, respect each other’s pitchers and take care of one another as a community. Off-Grid living for the purpose of living sustainably, away from the controlling measures of the utility companies is one way to approach the lifestyle. The Slabbers appear to have simply run from the world. Freedom is achieved through the removal of oppression, however The Slabbers seem to have merely replaced the perceived coercion of mainstream societal living with the oppression of the desert. Drug addiction remains untreated, the land is uncultivatable, alcoholism invades and the heat drives them away to continue a transient existence.
The spiralling meth problem in Slab City heightens the judicial attack on the commune. Yet is it not the case that if you have travelled out into the middle of nowhere, live in relative squalor and in no way impact upon the rest of your country or state, should you not be able to live as you please? The land is owned by the State of California, the state has no use for it, but the Slabbers do. The governmental pressure comes from the fear and knowledge that outlaws are living outside the confines of society.
Now as an outsider stepping into an environment such as Slab City, there is certainly potential to feel intimidated and alien. However the people who live there are happy with the lot they have chosen in life. Art installations and live music venues have been set up, tThey even hold their own prom (the majority of the residents missed their high school event). Although highly protective and cautious of interlopers, they are a happy crowd who preach ideals.
I asked Sandy for a quick snapshot of Slab City: “The American Dream lay dead in the desert” she said. This may appear a rather bleak statement, but perhaps the death of the American Dream is the first step towards freedom. The constitutional idea of freedom is one of a mass collective working together to form an ideal. Through hard work, you will reap the rewards. Yet, as we well know, human greed destroys. Sectors of society lose out. The troubled, the rebellious and the less fortunate are faced with an uphill battle to seek success and joy. In the city you are merely a grain of sand being tossed about in the great sea of people. People who want to be better than you, people who want to tell you what to do, people who make you conform to what they believe to be true. In the desert, there’s nothing but sand, the sea has dried up and you can do whatever you want.
The Slabbers face many problems and it is by no means an easy life out there in the desert. They are an inclusive community, wary of outsiders and wish to be left alone to do as they please. However, running away from the world might be the only way to get as close to freedom as possible. Freedom to have a good time, smoke what you want, raise your children the way you want, live without material possessions, no authority telling you what you can and can’t do. Maybe the desert is one of the few places where this possible. A place where life is raw, real and dirty. In the words of the character Heavenly Blues, the counter-culture, motorbike gang leader of the Wild Angels DVD – buy it on Amazon, “We wanna be free…we wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time”!

Maybe we should leave the Slabbers to do exactly that.

 

The post Slab City – American Dream Deserted appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

 

Amanda Gang: I HAD IT WITH THE MAN

Click here to view the original post.

Amanda Gang is weary of consumerism – appalled at the way her own parents are such avid shoppers.

She just wants out. so she is hoping to wander across the USA on a bicycle. She lives in Manhattan.

In this video, Amanda tells us she is looking for passionate and like minded people that feel her need to go living off the grid. She would like land, where she can just be and a community which will let her do what she likes to do and that is to get back to mother nature. This appeals to her and her friends.

She would like to attach herself to what her heart tells her where to be within a community that she relates with as gardening and building a home. She thought the art community was this but the four white walls and zero eye contact makes her think what her mind and heart tells her — that an alternative of living in contact with the earth is the answer.

Amanda is starting from scratch and she is surrounded by a cycle of destruction where her body yearns for nature. She has to learn from trial and error.

 

The post Amanda Gang: I HAD IT WITH THE MAN appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Cabin Porn – the official book

Click here to view the original post.

download (6)You loved the Cabin Porn web site – now Buy the book from Amazon US.

Its amazing how Tiny Homes in general and remote cabins in particular have caught the public imagination across the developed world.

People are yearning for escape, silence, peace, green spaces. Its what we all want, and the Cabin Porn web site, this Off-grid web site and others like it are fulfilling a need.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0316378216/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0316378216&linkCode=am2&tag=offgrid-20&linkId=XNB7GB2GLWTTA6UL>Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere

The post Cabin Porn – the official book appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.