Sometimes, living in a big city can get just plain tiring. There are always places to go, people to see, coffee cups to fill, and jobs to fill up your day. It’s only reasonable that you may sometimes fantasize about kissing it all goodbye, moving out to the country, and forgetting all about life in the hustle and bustle of things.
Everyone has dreams like these from time to time. But, one family in British Columbia, Canada, made their dreams a reality! They built a house in the country’s beautiful northern region and moved there with their five daughters.
The family tries to live self-sustaining lives. The husband, Jeff, explains that this means they live off the land around them. They don’t have running water, get all of their electricity through solar panels and a wood stove, and grow their own food.
They designed the space themselves, so they paid special attention to space-management. Because the home is so small, they’ve focused on “building up” whenever possible. They do this by stacking their five daughters’ beds into bunks, hanging things like pots and pans on the wall, and assigning each child a small place to store their belongings.
The family also practices homeschooling. The mother, Rose, explains that it typically only takes her daughters three to four hours to complete their traditional schoolwork each day, but that they incorporate learning into everything they do. This could be as simple as learning about different plants while hiking, studying Biology while swimming at the lake, or writing letters to family members who live far away. They also ride horses daily- this allows them to learn about animal care and physical fitness. This is certainly an unconventional approach to academics, but it seems to be working for them!
The girls are responsible for helping their parents with chores, including gardening, fetching water, and collecting firewood. By dividing up the work among all seven family members, they can accomplish all they need to do each day while also saving plenty of time to do what they want.
In order to power the house, the family has created a unique system of electricity, complete with wood stoves, solar power, and a backup generator. They say that, typically, there is no need for the backup generator, except for in the winter. When there are several weeks of below freezing temperatures and snow, they have to rely on it for a little bit of extra warmth. However, this is only necessary about forty hours per year.
Keeping their home environmentally-friendly is also very important to the family. They compost all of their waste (even the waste from their toilet!), use any gray water to nourish their plants, and recycle anything that can’t be composted.
When life in the city gets too wild, it’s easy to think about escaping into the country for awhile. But, if you follow the advice of this family in Canada, you can actually make your dreams reality. Going off the grid can be fun, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly. If you’re brave enough, go ahead and try it!