An article in our local newspaper sparked this blog. Also a blog that I
have had written for a while, Titled: Ben, the wind generator and a
battery bike falls right into perfect place as part 2.
Cheryl Mecham writes for our local news paper, The Uinta Basin Standard
and in this one article asks her husband what is off grid? Off the map?
Outer space? The top of a mountain peak? Where? He explained that that
it meant some folks choose to live without electricity, water or sewage
systems. That is not quite how I would explain it but she goes on to
write it was a real "Jaw-dropper". She had heard of the Cedar-billie's,
a popular derisive term in the Uinta Basin for those who live in
substandard housing (lean-to's and even vehicles) amoung the vast acreage
of Cedar forests. There was more to her article and it was favorable to homesteaders/Ceadar-billies having pride and satisfaction when saying we
live off grid. It does bring up the question of the quality of life.
We are homesteaders and have had many set backs on our utilities. That
struggle goes into more detail in part 2. I personally did not set out
to be self sufficient. I wanted to live on Main street, any small town
Utah with Sheriff Andy Taylor, Aunt Bea and Opie as neighbors and friends.
I am not SURE that this remote mountain is the best place to raise an only
child. But, I do know that our old residence of 20 years was NOT a good
place. Living off grid is certainly not an easy way of life. We have a
farmer friend and his wise words are: To make a life out here, you have
to be 1- rich 2- very tough and 3- stupid. Two outta three, not bad.
We are almost out of cash!
Quick basics on how we do it: We drive off the mountain every other day
to collect water and the mail. Aprox 7 miles round trip. We drive to
town once a week to get grocery and clean clothes. Aprox 50 miles round
trip and round town. Everything takes alot of time. We get all cooking
and drinking water from our daughters house in Roosevelt, and keep it in
seprate containers. A few people have drank the well water we use for
washing and without names they all seem fairly normal, but in my family
I can't rightly say what normal is. Sorry Pa .
We heat the water each night for dishes and the baths. I was so worried
about this and taking care of Eli. I never want it said the he is not
clean, happy and healthy under the circumstances that we live. But just
the opposite is true. More needless worry . He gets the best care and
the same care as any home with running water and modern conveniences.
He gets a bath every night, we prepare food the same and our home is
clean and comfortable. It just takes a little extra special care and
work. We have an outhouse and a chemical "potty" in the house bathroom
for after dark.
My husband Dean has put everything into this homestead. Our small 900
sq. foot cabin house is beatiful inside and on a solid foundation.
We have spent the last two years on it and the loft divided into two
rooms. I have a lot of creativity and Dean has alot of muscle. He is
the brains behind it all. There was nothing here but the shell of our
house, no pipes, only basic outlets for power. Dean has designed and
built it all. From the make - do for now - power supply, to the cistren
and underground water lines. He had jack hammer in 80 feet out of
300 feet of water lines, buried 3 feet deep for frost protection.
They don't call this place Rim Rock for it's great soil. We have
been denied a septic sewer twice. Bad soil out here. He had to put
in bathtub, sink, wash and dryer hook-ups, and all lines , water heater
to put in place and plumb it in to the tub, sinks, washer. How do you
set up a fully functioning home with limited power? He has done it.
We are almost there. Dean put in propane lines and we have a
cook stove and a propane fridge and the water heater will be the insta -
hot - power saving one. All lights have energy efficient
low watt bulbs.
Once the cistren is in (1200 gallons) we will fill it with a 300 gallon
tank that sits in the back of a pick-up truck. Dean will go into Duchesne
to fill it prob 3 times per week. We can buy a water card for a nominal
fee of $35.00 per 8000 gallons. Part 2 will explain why the cistren and
a monthly water bill was not a part of the master plan. But things they
do change. Also the cost of gas will be greater hauling water.
Dean likes to collect things and this adventure would never have been
possible without his knowledge - determination - and all the "stuff"
he has gathered. LOL . It may look bad but it works good.
Dean can fix - learn - and - do everything. I have heard (by many)
that I am also a rare breed, as not many women like to camp and would
never consider this style of living. We have had our struggles, but no
more than anyones and certainly less than alot of people. Amazingly,
I miss television shows more than water, power and sewer. Oprah, Dr.OZ,
Dr. Phil, Little House (yes - for real), Law and Order, A- Idol ! All
things are possible and with permanent power station maybe satellite dish ?
This is a very challenging place and way of life. We must be up for the
challenge, we are still here. Any one can ask questions about our
"Hill- billie's ways by sending an email from my profile page (I think)
and I welcome all questions. I no longer have internet so it may take
time before I reply, but I will get back to you. Also I shall blog part
2 from Amandas house on saturday.
Fun Utah Facts
The name Utah comes from the Native American Ute Tribe and means people of the mountain. Utah has five national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef. Utah has seven national monuments: Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave and Hovenweep. Utah has six national forests: Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-Lasal, Uinta, and Wasatch-Cache. Utah has two national recreational areas: Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon. Utah covers 84,900 square miles of land and is ranked 11th largest state. The Great Salt Lake, which is about 75 miles long and 35 miles wide, covers more than a million acres. Of the 50 states, Utah has the youngest population; one of the highest birth rates; the second lowest death rate; the heathiest population; the hightest literacy rate; the highest percent of high school graduates; and the highest number of people with a college education.