Up this week: More thoughts on this off grid situation. It’s a lot more than I think most people realize. Or at least it was for me!
– 1 –
Yea, I know. I haven’t written much the last few weeks. No, we haven’t been doing anything spectacular like backpacking across Europe. Nor hiking the Appalachians. Yet, anyway. We’ve just kinda been drifting along, processing and redefining our path.
– 2 –
The power company’s decision didn’t change anything in one sense, but in another, it seemed to change everything. It wasn’t just coming to a place of acceptance for God’s will, but finding contentment with it. A virtue I am still learning to be better at. And when you are surrounded with people telling you there is no way they could live without electricity, and you shouldn’t either with 6 children, then telling their answer to get it done – everything from running 600 feet of electrical cords to flat lying and saying a well was dug this week and a variety of questionably legal methods in between – it messes with that contentment you are desperately seeking.
We are not anything special to live off grid. I think people drastically underestimate their abilities when coupled with the desire to follow the path the Lord lies before you. He never promised it would be easy. He only promised it would be worth it. And honestly, He never even promised that we would see those rewards here on earth, but up in Heaven we will. We don’t know what the ripple effect will be. We don’t know who or how or what we do (or don’t do) will impact somebody. We just have to follow His will for our life, trusting in Him.
– 3 –
I’ll be honest. It has been a lesson of the tongue as well. People are curious. The first question we are always asked is why. They want a reason. But not any reason. They don’t want to hear it is because it is the Lord’s will. That He laid it on hearts and laid the path to follow. They want concrete answers. Answers that fit in with their views of life. To tell them “well, it just seemed the most logical thing to do financially – build a small house and pay along the way” seems to be the most acceptable answer, yet it brings more questions.
More questions that again, most want answers to fit with their views. “Oh, well I guess that makes sense. So you’re going to build on additions and in a few years you will have a normal house, right?” Most don’t really want the truthful answer. That maybe there will be a small addition or two, but you would really like to keep it small. That just brings up the “why in the world would you want to do that?!” and “that’s just crazy” comments.
The power has been no different. “Why don’t you have power?” Up until recently, the reason was because we weren’t ready for it yet, I was the holdout, it was cost prohibitive – but never because I felt God was pushing us to be offgrid. Now we have a concrete answer to give that seems acceptable to most people – the power company won’t run it. And based on the previous answers, they will form their own “answers” to our “problem” of not having grid power. When in reality, we are not after traditional answers because grid power isn’t the goal.
– 4 –
And what has all this taught me? It gets tiring trying to decode people, guess their possible reactions to determine what answers to give. And frankly, at times it just seems untruthful and invites more decoding and round about answers. Why is it so hard to just be frank with people? The truth is, after hearing negative comments so often from those close to us, we don’t want to hear it from acquaintances. Of course how it is said seems to have a big impact on how they respond. “We heat water by the sun. Love free hot water!” And suddenly, while it is still strange to them, and sometimes they are still negative about it, more often than not the response is positive.
– 5 –
To switch it up just a bit. June 16 is when the 2nd borrowed generator died. Exactly one month later, on July 16, (I say tentatively) Mr. was able to get the 3rd borrowed generator working. I say tentatively because he has had it fixed a handful of times… to find it only a momentary fix and something else needed to be done.
It’s crazy. It’s only been a month, but it seems like forever. I have gotten fairly good at the rocket stove and with the sun oven. (Yes, I am working on a post on how we built it and how it’s working now that I have some experience with it!) I guess that happens when you are cooking 3 meals a day with alternative methods. It’s not only the cooking method that is different; the timing has to be adjusted as well. No longer can I wait until 6pm to start supper like we are accustomed to. The days have to be semi-planned and a new routine established.
– 6 –
Slowly but surely we are adjusting to this powerless life.
It tickled me one day. Mr. was working on the generator again; it worked and then died, over and over. It was almost like I could hear the Lord’s quiet voice using a phrase I use a lot “Do you understand me now? I said off grid. I even did it slowly!” I laughed and shared with Mr. It really is like He has transitioned us off, little by little. From full grid, to intermittent power via the generator, letting us stay with people during the major highs and lows of the seasons in our first year, to now. With nothing but alternatives. I’m thankful it was a slow change because it has been interesting to figure out. In the middle of summer, having never been without A/C before (sans the couple of months in Texas), it takes a while to adjust, to figure out alternatives, what and where you need things to help out. Like how difficult being hot is for sleeping and how cranky everyone is the next day. Then finding alternative ways to cool during that time.
– 7 –
And suddenly I have a renewed focus. I know it’s what He wants, I know it’s what I want. I think I was still holding onto an idea, the generator was “as hard as it would get”. A desperate wish from not knowing, hoping it wouldn’t get harder. Maybe ‘off grid’ wouldn’t really start until the solar panels and windmills were installed. When you know it will only last a little while, it is a lot easier to not really deal with it. To know you have 6+ months before the envisioned alternative is possible, it changes your focus. Likely goes back to that “If… When…” thinking we humans are great at.
And now that it is mid-July, it is time to start preparing how we will fair in the winter again. By next year, we might just have this off grid thing figured out!
I am totally unsure how I did an entire 7QT and NOT insert a single pic!