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SurvivalGround >> Tell me about LIVING OFF THE GRID...


7/1/10 10:07 AM
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shibbytastic
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The main problem that I would have with attempting to go off grid is that I would require internet access to learn how to do it.
7/1/10 10:08 AM
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Big Pun
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Go solar, not wind.
7/1/10 10:22 AM
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disbeliever
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ttt
7/1/10 10:25 AM
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disbeliever
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Beautiful home man. More pics of rooms inside? Sq ft? etc


thewellhungarian -  We just moved to a new hom with the intentions of getting off the grid, but we aren't there yet. I have city power, but it isn't neccesay, I have a battery back-up, inverter, and lots of windows. I don't really need power if it came down to it. The house would be bright during the day and dark at night. The Dryer runs off propane as well as the water heater and stove. I have a water well with an air pump running off a windmill. A big wood stove that heats the house quickly even in -35. There are about 5 lakes within walking distance.

   I think living off the grid would mean never having to need anything from town.  Maybe one day I will ge there, but it's expensive.I still have to go in to get groceries, although i could hunt more than I do, but  I need some veggies that won't grow at my altitude and climate. I still need propane delivered once a year, and plan on putting in an oil furnace this year so I don't have to depend completely on wood. I would like to put in solar seeing as I have part of a system already with the batts and inverter, but that will have to come in time. All taht matters now is that I am better of in a power outage or loss of services then probably 95% of the people in North America.
7/1/10 10:26 AM
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thewellhungarian
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shibbytastic - The main problem that I would have with attempting to go off grid is that I would require internet access to learn how to do it.

 Between WiFi, aircards, and sattelite, internet service isn't really an issue other than cost.
7/1/10 10:48 AM
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thewellhungarian
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disbeliever - Beautiful home man. More pics of rooms inside? Sq ft? etc


 I will see what I have.
7/1/10 11:07 AM
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thewellhungarian
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 Upstairs hallway, to study and 2 bedrooms
7/1/10 11:11 AM
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thewellhungarian
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 Deer in the yard:
7/1/10 11:13 AM
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LoganClark
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kvr29 - 
LoganClark - I'm doing fairly well on the other end of things. Just butchered a couple of sheep and a hog in the last couple weeks. And I'll have four steers to butcher next fall. Plenty of produce coming out right now. I'll likely be selling at farmer's markets for the first time next year.

 are you butchering yourself?


I should have said that I had them butchered. I would like to butcher my own, and I have a crazy Russian who will help me, but for now all I could do is kill, skin, and gut. My local butcher shop is good and cheap, and I'll likely to continue to use them for when I take in cattle. People will want their quarters cut in a variety of ways, and I'm sure I can't provide that variety. I will probably butcher the home use animals though. It is good to have teachers around.
7/1/10 11:15 AM
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thewellhungarian
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All these pics are from the first week we moved in, We have changed all the paint to off whites and browns, as well as all the curtains ( you have no idea how much money it costs to change all those curtains), I have done some yard work and some wood cutting, Lovin the place, but a ton of work to do. It's 2000sq/ft on the two mains, and another 900 in the basement, with a 100sq/ft crawlspace as well.
7/1/10 11:28 AM
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LittleJoeMama
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Edited: 07/01/10 11:28 AM
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edit
7/1/10 11:31 AM
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LittleJoeMama
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Does anyone know anything about owning a cattle farm? I'd like to get off the grid and want a source of income while I'm there.

What's a good ratio of cattle to acres (assuming it's nice hay fields)?

How profitable is this?

What type of challenges can I expect?

I grew up in a rural area so I have some farming experience but never on a cattle ranch.
7/1/10 11:31 AM
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LukeCranson
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subscribed
7/1/10 11:42 AM
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Big Pun
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for those of you raising your own livestock, do you have any experience with heritage breeds? Me and my wife are hunting 10 acres or so to go as off the grid as we can do without going too crazy with it. We will only do about 4 head of cattle mixed with various poults.
7/1/10 11:44 AM
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thewellhungarian
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SteveWPolice - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603580816?ie=UTF8&tag=survivalcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1603580816

Good book for you Kvr.

thewellhungarian,
That seems like a big house to try to take off the grid, I think it will have some unique challenges. Most people opt for a smaller size house, as it uses less resources. Please keep us posted on your progress.

 I know what you are saying, but I only want off the grid for emergency's, when the power goes out I want my family to warm, with full bellies, and have water. Just the essentials. And as of right now, other than the veggie situation, I would be fine, I would just  have to live without some of the comforts that fully off the grid homes might have. The purchase of the house was a good middle ground for the wife and I. I like to live out in the middle of nowhere, and my wife enjoys having some neighbors and being close enough to town that daily trips are feasable if neccesary.  With the addition of a generator and a few solar panels, I won't be off the grid, but should be fairly comfortable. I am young yet, so I have lots of time for improvements.

    I will let you know if we do anything exciting in the move towards a greener, more energy efficent home.

KVR is the man with the knowledge, glad to have seen this thread. I am already reading up on some greenhouse plans.
7/1/10 11:45 AM
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Badmonkey
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Great info!

If you don't mind my asking; what do you guys do for a living?
7/1/10 11:48 AM
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LoganClark
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Big Pun - for those of you raising your own livestock, do you have any experience with heritage breeds? Me and my wife are hunting 10 acres or so to go as off the grid as we can do without going too crazy with it. We will only do about 4 head of cattle mixed with various poults.


I raise Scottish Highlands. I picked the breed because they are more aggressive browsers than typical cattle, and I am using them to rid my grandparents' farm of invasive buckthorn. I first used them on another overgrown farm to test my theories. I was quite impressed.

If your acreage is overgrown, I would recommend something similar. If you are looking to get some milk as well, get a Dexter cow. Just enough milk for a family and a calf. If you are only going to have a few cows, would you just do artificial insemination or would you take the time and money to keep a bull on hand? If you want to have the bull, make sure to pick a docile breed.
7/1/10 11:55 AM
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LoganClark
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LittleJoeMama - Does anyone know anything about owning a cattle farm? I'd like to get off the grid and want a source of income while I'm there.

What's a good ratio of cattle to acres (assuming it's nice hay fields)?

How profitable is this?

What type of challenges can I expect?

I grew up in a rural area so I have some farming experience but never on a cattle ranch.


The cow/acre ratio changes drastically depending upon location and quality of the field. If you intensively manage the pasture (move to fresh grass everyday and restrict access to grazed land), you can moderately increase stocking rates as the years go by.

Profitability is all in how much work you are willing to do and how smart you run the business. There is more money but a lot more work in direct marketing. If you just want to sell animals at traditional livestock sales, it will be significantly more difficult to turn a profit.

Challenges are numerous. Getting used to the idea of sometimes losing stock takes a bit. If you start small, even a couple dead animals can be significant. Different management styles present different challenges. Raising cattle is much easier than raising most other species because they require the least labor intensive fencing arrangements.

I am trying to work out a deal with a restaurant that sponsors me. They want me to raise animals that they own and sell the steaks in their restaurant. I believe this could be a lot more profitable for me than my current plan of selling quarter animals to various friends and family.

Money can be made, but it isn't likely to be huge money, and you really need to enjoy the work without the prospect of money since it will require a fair amount of money and effort before you can start to have cash flow.
7/1/10 12:01 PM
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NHBDaddy
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^so how do you pay your bills currently?
7/1/10 12:04 PM
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thewellhungarian
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 Selling beef privatly to fine dineing establishments sounds like a good money maker if you have a premium product. Great idea. I have seen more and more organic farms popping up, selling everything from organic beef to organic veggies. These items seem to be more and more in demand as people get more informed about healthy eating. There has to be money to be made. I imagine each comes with it's own set of challenges. Very cool
7/1/10 12:06 PM
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LoganClark
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Me? I participate in human cockfighting. And during the school year I substitute teach a day or two a week.
7/1/10 12:10 PM
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LittleJoeMama
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Thanks for the feedback Logan. Good luck in your future endeavors.
7/1/10 2:39 PM
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Big Pun
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LoganClark - 
Big Pun - for those of you raising your own livestock, do you have any experience with heritage breeds? Me and my wife are hunting 10 acres or so to go as off the grid as we can do without going too crazy with it. We will only do about 4 head of cattle mixed with various poults.


I raise Scottish Highlands. I picked the breed because they are more aggressive browsers than typical cattle, and I am using them to rid my grandparents' farm of invasive buckthorn. I first used them on another overgrown farm to test my theories. I was quite impressed.

If your acreage is overgrown, I would recommend something similar. If you are looking to get some milk as well, get a Dexter cow. Just enough milk for a family and a calf. If you are only going to have a few cows, would you just do artificial insemination or would you take the time and money to keep a bull on hand? If you want to have the bull, make sure to pick a docile breed.



Dexters are my choice right now because of a small grazing area. I do not know if I will keep a bull yet or not. That depends on if I can find any avaiable in the area. Dexters doo good in Texas heat I have heard. I am just looking to make enough for property taxes and butchering fees. Dexters also require much less grazing room so I should be able to get away with 4 head on 10 acres. They will split the grazing area with a few free range chickens and turkey. Luckily I have a built in consumer base already so I don't have to mess with any sales. The livestock really just has to pay for itself. The profit from the land is primarily from the orchard and a small pick it yourself farm. Here in the Texas panhandle we have great growing soil and a long season. Used farming equipment is readily available as well. I would like to incorporate pigs at some point, but I'll need to pick up more acreage for that. Plus I hear they can get pretty mean. I have some experience with horses and cattle, but poultry and pork will be all new to me. Have you messed with turkeys at all?
7/1/10 2:40 PM
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Big Pun
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My job pays my bills just fine. I just want some of the land to pay for itself (taxes and equipment) and put food on our table.
7/1/10 3:02 PM
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jscorbett
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One of my students works on a family farm that raises primarily charlois breeding cattle. He cut a deal with his dad to take the reject heifers and bulls. He markets them privately as grass fed beef and yuppies will drive out of Atlanta (about 4 hours north) to buy his beef at inflated prices.

He markets them as grass fed beef simply so he doesn't had to furnish them with any other feed than just grass or hay. His customers think he is doing this for environmental and health reasons. hahaha

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