I am 150% ready and on the ball with going off the grid. Now. Today.
No, Dewey isn't quite 'there' just yet...but he isn't living here and I can make some changes a bit more easily that way, right??? Nothing overly intense at all, just some lifestyle changes...some rather big lifestyle changes.
Honestly, I guess I'm not at all 'ready' in a truly 'prepared' sense. It isn't as though I'm starting from scratch, I have equipment and I have at least a decent amount of knowledge and skill, so the ability is certainly available. I just have to DO IT now is all.
- I have an electric stove. Can't cook without electricity unless I use the grill, and truthfully, grilling has never been my forte. I can certainly learn, though, when properly and sufficiently motivated..which I most definitely am right now!
- Our hot water is electric. I have that huge mega monster grill, though. And I have a fire pit outside. I can manage hot water I'm sure.
- My lighting is electric. We are using the lamps much more often now, for lighting needs, but from a practical stand-point, they aren't ideal. The light for reading just isn't very good for old eyes like mine...and probably not much better for younger ones, either. And the lamp oil costs and storage issues...it's simply not practical for permanent usage. Rise and bed with the chickens is probably a much better solution.
- My heat, what little we use here really, is electric. Ugh...an electric heat pump, no less :o( I am going to skip the cookstove for now I think and simply get a small woodstove for heat. I don't have a space readily available for both the heat and the cookstove, so in light of what I'm about to tell you here next, a heat stove is a better option. And I can cook on top of it...just won't have an oven for baking.
For the billing cycle from Nov 18th - Dec 18th, our electric bill was $439.35. A average daily kw usage of, they say, 151.7 More than doubled from the previous cycle, as well as more than doubled from the same cycle a year ago.
Yes...I wrote that correctly. It's FOUR HUNDRED. Can you even imagine what that did to my heart opening the bill? Or what it did to the budget, as I most certainly had not figured in anything remotely close to that amount.
This is winter. In the South. I'm sorry if I offend any true heart Southerners here, but this is hardly what I consider much of a winter. Yes, that billing cycle had some really really cold days in it, and several wind-chills here on the homestead in the teens. And it's been rainy and windy quite a bit the past month and more.
But this isn't what I look at as being classified as 'winter' yet look at that bill. Granted, this is a mobile home. They are not even partially constructed like a brick or stick frame house is. The materials are altogether different, the insulation is different. They are hardly air-tight in construction at all. They are not known for allowing an abundance of natural light in, although with the amount of air flowing in and out, you'd find that rather odd. We simply are not a traditional home style and that certainly adds to the electric bill.
That and the increase that went into effect of 17%. We were expecting 20% or more, so I will concede that 17% is to be considered a blessing.
If I could do it...if I had the fortitude of spirit might be a better phrase...I would flip and lock that main breaker outside today. Cut the cord completely and be off the grid now.
I'm scared to death of summer coming, given this bill. I may be well beyond able to tolerate and thrive in the 'winter' down here, but come summer, you might as well lock me in the looney bin. I can not handle being hot at all. I can not tolerate heat and humidity that sucks the breath from you almost daily. I'm a wimp. Given the current bill, I could guess-timate my summer bills easily being in excess of $600 a month during say July and August especially.
Six hundred dollars a month is well beyond even the remote outskirts of INSANE. I can't budget that in at all. Even if I could, I wouldn't even consider budgeting that in for something like electric! Surely somewhere in my history, generations of pioneering women lived a good and rich life without any of these trappings of today.
I just have to do it. I just have to take that step and keep walking...or in this case, I really ought to be running. We are already 2 weeks into the next billing cycle! My biggest problem is I don't have anything set up for back-up.
Well, I suppose I have the electric cord as a back-up for now. While I have the ability to do otherwise, I need to start getting better acquainted with that grill out on the porch. What all can I really do on a grill folks? I know nothing about them at all, really. But I'd rather foot the bill for propane for the grill than this electric bill.
- I'm canning up the rest of the meat. It won't happen overnight, but I will get it all finished and empty those freezers once and for all. We are doing ground meat today.
- I'm getting back to once a week baking for our needs. It's easy to do -- just requires I think ahead and make some plans. When it's gone, it's gone. We will learn quick enough that it's better to spread out whatever treats we have than to go totally without.
- Laundry is going to take a hit. We will start focusing on that hand-washing. I will do towels, the blankets and thick items, boys pants in the washing machine still as I don't have a suitable way to wring them out well enough to even hang dry. But they will only be done once a week. This having something to wash almost daily is ridiculous. I need to get back to a real schedule here. And it will be...has to be...carved in solid stone, no more written in pencil.
- I'm going to look for a small wood heat stove instead of worrying about connecting the cookstove up right now. I'm not set up space-wise to have both operating, and I think the larger need is for some alternative heat right now. I'd rather put $600 into a heat stove than the electric bill.
If you have any thoughts or ideas to share on helping us cut the cord, do let me know! I could use all the tips I can get.