Inconveniences.

When you live off the grid, there are some obvious inconveniences that you expect. Normal things like no electricity, no running water, etc. Those are “inconveniences” that people who move off-grid are expecting, and not only that, but oftentimes, welcoming. We find those lifestyle changes challenging and interesting, and they keep us on our toes. But there were a couple of things that we weren’t expecting.

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King of the mountain.

My driver’s license was set to expire, and the small town we live in does not have a DMV. So we made a day of it and drove over an hour to the town that has the DMV, so I could take care of my license. I brought all the things I thought I would need, and of course, it’s never the right things. But not only that, it turned out it was way harder than I thought it was going to be to get my license renewed.

They need 2 proofs of physical address. Under normal circumstances, that’s not that hard to come up with. However, when you live off the grid and don’t get mail at your house, it’s surprisingly difficult. Utility bills? Don’t have those. Deed for the land? Not in my name, in R’s name. Pay stub? Has PO Box on it. Same with car insurance and bank statements (because, ya know, they needed to MAIL stuff to me). So after explaining all this to the lady at the DMV with no personality, she basically told me I couldn’t renew my license then. I asked at that point if I can just renew my license with the same address it already has, and… no. So…?

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Does this prove it?

I spent the next week obtaining proofs of address, and both my employer and my bank pulled together for me to get them. My second DMV trip was no problem, easy peasy. But what if you can’t prove where you live? You’re just not allowed to drive anymore? Homeless people or people who live in an RV or something like that just can’t get licenses? Seems weird to me. When we got another cord of firewood delivered to our cabin last week, we joked that that’s our utility bill! Think they would take that receipt?

It’s one inconvenience that, while annoying, is something easily dealt with so we can live the lifestyle we want to live. Next time I’ll renew online.

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Heating bill.

Windows.

It’s been pretty nice weather here the last week or so, 30s and sunny during the day. Just a touch of the snow is starting to melt, creating some mud puddles that Amelia loves to get dirty in. R decided to take advantage of the nice weather while we have it (it’s supposed to snow tomorrow again), and he’s been doing some treatments on our windows to help keep the heat in. Nights have been well below zero, so we’re going through quite a lot of firewood.

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He got some thin insulation strips and put them all around all 5 windows, and has been making trim to go over the 2x4s that frame our windows. So far it seems to be helping keep some heat in, but we’re not quite finished with all the windows yet. And it looks a lot better than the standard 2x4s with random printing all over them that say, “STUD” and “MADE IN CANADA,” and things like that.

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And since it has been nicer, we’ve been having loads of fun with Loki in the snow banks. He likes to attack the snow as we shovel it. And it’s pretty hilarious.

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And here are some cool pictures of ice crystals on top of the snow, I thought they looked pretty neat anyway.

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And Amelia decided for about a week it was a good time to start laying eggs again. She laid 4 or 5 in about a week (so she provided breakfast for a few days!), then stopped laying again. Funny duck.

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New Year.

Oh, hey guys! Happy 2016!

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Wonderland.

We’ve been busy and distracted trying to a) survive winter, and b) work a lot. We needed some extra income so I picked up another job in town and basically every day has been a balancing act between work for both of us, the animals, and your basic off-the-grid living which includes moving firewood every day, shoveling loads of snow, hauling water, and keeping the place warm. With over 2 feet of snow outside, getting the cars up and down our hill (even in and out of our driveway) has been a challenge.┬áIt’s been a steep learning curve for wintertime!

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Keeping warm.

So while it’s been challenging, even a struggle at times, we’re still here and still living the dream. With the tons of snow outside we don’t have much of a workspace, so building projects have slowed to halt for now. We knew winter was going to be a slow-going sort of challenge, so we spend our nights just stoking the woodstove, keeping warm, cooking, reading, and watching the occasional movie. Could be worse!

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Stay tuned! I’m sure with wintertime more stories will come about…

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My nose is cold!