How Basic Could You REALLY Go ??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Helena, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    north central Pennsylvania
    If it wasn't for your family basic.. back to the land.. could you or would you really want to go. My city sister can't believe the way we live now ..stone age she calls it. I think I could do with a lot less than we have...but when you already have it..might as well use it. Thought if we ever moved again I would like to really, really go basic. How have you done away with things on your homesteads that you had before ?? Figure in a few years won't be able to afford much of anything anyway with the increase in prices in utilities and all. What would you really do ??!!
  2. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    For about a year and a half,we didn't have any Electric,Running Water,No Phone,did have Gas Cook Stove but we could have used wood.And we had Lanterns for Light to get ready for work in the Morning.

    We had lots of fun back then,really missed it.

    big rockpile

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 26, 2003
    New York
    I live without a clothes dryer, microwave, dish TV, etc.. I do have power and running water, and heat with propane. I would love to live more basic, but since I have to go to work 5 days a week, I don't have time! Seriously, I owe another 10 years on my land, so I need my income from the hospital. Chopping wood and tending to a fire, hauling and heating water, that stuff takes a lot of time to do. IF I had the time to do it, I would love to live more simply (Basic is probably a more accurate word!)
  4. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    We lived without power, had gravity running water, an outhouse, wood heat, for two years and two months. It was the best time of my life.

    This will sound a little corny, but, here goes anyway: I didn't even know how the days pasted. I, and I want to say we, but, I need Nancy to answer for herself, had the best and simple times of our life.

    Have you ever had two years of your life pass without even knowing time was passing? Sure there was winter and all, but, it was perfect -- I didn't have an idea about time, or at least not a worry about it. I did so much in that two years, it seemed like a life time, looking back now.

    It wasn't; it was just intense; whole life times were packed into that two years. It was just two years and two months, just like Thoreau. Kill your TV as they say, heat with wood, grow a garden, do all those things: you will be amazed how good it is and how little we need -- which was the original question, sort of.

    I can do with very little; the big problem is life will suck you back into ideas of expansion and you (I) will see (saw) seemingly endless opportunities -- and acted on that vision. Sadly, however, that action was the greedy destruction of a nearly perfected simple life.

    You can get simple, but you got to get strong, to protect and guard that simplicity or it will flee away. It is a massive internal struggle to not get more. I think a lot of us are in love with an idea of a simple life: we need to struggle to make it work.

    All the best to us all.

  5. knottyknome

    knottyknome Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    I could do it in a hotel room. It would have to be in a Comfort Inn.
    Motel 6 says they'll leave the light on and I need it dark to fall asleep. :D
  6. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    South East Iowa
    How true Alex. You hit it on the head. You have to know yourself and understand your desires. And be forever vigilant in the constant pressure of doing a materialistic freefall into the blackhole called DEBT.
  7. roncarla

    roncarla Well-Known Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    I would seriously like to be off-grid...but I have a problem. I have severe allergies in the spring, summer and fall and find relief only in air-conditioning. We don't use a dryer, watch TV (except one rented movie or a movie we own per day), or use a microwave. If we owned a house, we would heat with wood and hot water in the floor. We used to heat entirely with wood in Colorado and really enjoyed it. When we build, we would like to use solar and wind power for as much as we can afford to install.

    So my requirements are:

    1) A/C
    2) Internet connection
    3) Light to read by
    4) Automatic washing machine
    5) Plumbing

    That's all I can think of at the moment.
  8. Mary in MO

    Mary in MO Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Alex, you are so right.
    I've lived without power, water and heated with wood. It is so much less "demanding" in many senses. The need for income is what makes the ability to continue it iffy.

    We'd go in a flash but..and this is a big one. My meds w/o insurance would kill us. My Rheumatoid Arthritis w/o meds would make me bed bound. I'm working hard on figuring out how to handle it with minimal or no meds. We committed to staying the three years to pay off the debts, build the cabin, pay off the land and increase the equity in our house here. We have a large garden and fruit trees and herbs. We suppliment our heat with wood here in the city. Our cabin will have electric and a cistern system for water. We'll heat with wood.

    I guess the biggest question is how to maintain it past 60 or so. We'll be pushing mid 50's when we go. We've both noticed it hasn't gotten any easier splitting wood or hauling rocks year to year.

    If we have minimal overhead we could get by on minimum wage-part time. It's the health problems that tend to crop up as we age. We don't have any hobbies that require money except a fishing/hunting liscence. We don't go out to movies, have no cable, eat out seldom to never, thrift shop for clothes, scavenge things that people/companies pitch. I'm not afraid of "hard scrabble" living.

    I'm afraid of getting very sick and the powers that be put a lien on our property and take what they can get their hands on away. I might deed the property to my son and have him rent it to us for a nominal amount (he's a r.e. broker and investor) to work around that one. Can't attach a rental. That's about as far as we've gotten. We're just praying our jobs hold out until we're ready to move.
  9. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Mar 11, 2004
    Northeastern Minnesota
    When I first got out of the Army in '71, I was really bummed with the world in general. Folks killing each other over skin color and politics, politicians lying to the people with every breath (not much has changed). Herself and I got married and lived without a TV, elctricity, running water, or anything that made me think of the world outside.

    I was young and fiddle fit so our firewood was cut with an axe and a "misery whip." Herself cooked on a wood cook stove.

    We eventually (15 years later) got a TV and electricity, but we still don't have indoor plumbing or running water, and Herself still cooks on a wood cook stove.

    My son used to work for a company as a computer programmer/troubleshooter and he was once asked if his family had always had computers, and his response was that he didn't have eletricity in the house until he was 12 and never had indoor plumbing at home.

    We have always lived a lifestyle that some would call "rough" but we were just choosing our own path rather than following a beaten trail. Or maybe, we were following an old path that so many avoid today.
  10. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002
    I've lived off the land for months at a time when I was younger (canoeing up in Canada. That was spring/summer/fall but I think I could deal with winter if I put some stores by. Not having electricity doesn't bother me. Water from the creek. Plenty of animals to hunt and berries around.

    Having said that.... I like little luxuries like screen doors and windows. Glass windows in winter are also nice. Waking up on a crisp morning like today to the sound of squirrels playing on the roof of your cabin or the racoon underneath the cabin shifting around....priceless.

  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    One thing about worrying what anyone else thinks of your lifestyle is that they are not the ones living your lifestlye, so let them worry about it.
    What one is used to in the city is not something one necessarily HAS to have in the homestead. Your state of mind and acceptance to having basics, and mostly be RESOURCEFUL is what gets you through it.
    I am doing away with more of what I don't need or want. Colllections of 'things' are better traded for useful homestad 'things' like garden implements and those basic things to use to be more resourceful. The bottom up approach seems to make sense. In that way you help yourself with putting to use and build up to grow with a homestead lifestyle. It's like add what you need, and utilize things making sense for that to grow into something more enhancing to your garden. Basically, most can do with a lot less, but it's something you accept and not fight.
  12. homestead2

    homestead2 Member

    May 11, 2002
    "How basic could you really go?"


    I have a feeling that it won't be long, and we are all going to get to find that out. Most of us haven't "unhooked" from the conveniences yet. If the world goes to stink, we will find ourselves "unhooked". It won't be our doing, but we can be ready for it. We've been getting ready for a long time. We may be about to see what we are made of.

    Attitude will be the best prep item you can have. Attitude will be everything.

  13. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I've lived pretty 'basic' for quite a bit of my life already. Right now I'm enjoying an all-electric house (which belongs to my grandmother), but I'm thinking about, and starting to plan for, going about as basic as is possible, and spending several months or even years living nomadically in the National Forests after Grandma doesn't need us anymore. We would use our goats for packing, and as a source of food, and all our belongings would have to fit in the goat packs. I'd like to find another family or two to do it with, not so much for the company (though that would be nice with the right people) as because there is some safety in numbers. No house to clean, no telemarketers calling at all hours, outdoors most of the time . . . it sounds pretty good to me!

  14. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    I could live pretty primitively. I've done it on the short term and it certainly was do-able. If the need arose I could get along quite well. On the other hand I do enjoy modern things. I like my computer and other conveniences. I like using a chainsaw when compared to cutting wood by hand. I like using an ATV and a truck rather than keeping a horse or hoofing it myself. I like having hot water and electricity. I can however survive just fine without it. I think the trick is to be able to enjoy your conveniences without becoming a slave to them. I stay out of debt, live within my means and plan for the future. Part of that planning is maintaining the knowledge and skill to live without any of the trappings of modern life should it become necessary.
  15. cabe

    cabe Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    This is a good question ,and some fuel for thought . When our family first moved back here we lived with my Grandfather while buliding our home.This man still had mules and a wagon , and gravity water, woodstoves etc..It was the best time we ever had. I miss it , and to be honest I would love to create it for my family, but alas... this money oriented world requires me to stay electric dependant for now. But I have some land, and I have promised myself one day when the kids are off to college, I am building a no frills cabin, wood heat, gravity water, and if my kids do choose to have a family of their own I want to show our Grandchildren an alternative way.We have made sure all our children can ride ,shoot, fish ,and garden. Not at the same time though , just kidding. Marty
  16. outsideman1

    outsideman1 Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    i kind of have the best of both worlds . here at home i have all my animals plus most of the modern stuff ,but i also have a 16x16 cabin with wood stove , no electric , no indoor plumbing , no generator . my wife says the cabin is nice to go and eat supper with me and the boys but she wont stay over . the kids love it and i love being able to get them away from the video games and tv . its about 6 miles from home and sometimes we really rough it and ride the horses to the cabin . everyone that goes always say you could put in a generator and have lights, my response is usually yeah then i could put in a tv and dvd and vcr , ac , electric space heater , hey wait a minute these are the things im trying to get away from right . besides without all these things not many people want to visit , which is also the idea lol
  17. outsideman1

    outsideman1 Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    sorry i didnt finish. i could go as basic as i had to . when it comes right down to it all you really need is shelter, food and water
  18. appjuli

    appjuli Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    nw NC
    This is good food for thought. In my life, there's a striking difference between "could" and "would like". I've worked in living history, and know what it's like to cook over a fire, do EVERYTHING from scratch... but I wouldn't want to keep it up for too long at a time.

    We have no dishwasher (and a family of 6), microwave, satellite, etc., and that's all fine. I love heating with wood, but a few years ago we put in a propane heater and I have to admit it's kind of nice.

    So, to answer the question -
    I could be *happy* with no electricity, but I do like indoor plumbing and running water. I'd want to keep propane appliances. I love it when we raise and butcher our own animals, and I'd like to be a much better gardener than I am. It's a season of life thing - the kids will grow up and maybe we'll simplify again.

    We talk about a little cabin somewhere for the summers, and could go very primitive for spurts of time. And if we had to, we could do it all - but we don't have to yet, and there are other good things to do with time and energy right now.

    And I'd still like a sauna and hot tub someday (yes, a Snorkel)...

  19. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Sep 18, 2003
    Like most of you, I can say with pride "Been there, done that."
    But I am spoiled.
    I love my cell-phone, my laptop, my A/C, and the easy wipe ceramic topped range. I dearly love the chamber pot with the wee lil lever on the tank. My DVD player loves to show me Brit-coms!
    But I have carried water. Cooked in the fireplace. Dug pits for outhouses. Rode a hoe for acres, and butchered my own game/livestock. I've trapped, hunted & fished for critters everywhere I've lived.
    To answer the posting, I want my conveniences, but self sufficiently. Let me produce my own electricity, pump my own water, and thumb my nose at the utility trucks as they pass.
    My dream is getting closer to fruition. My home is posted with Coldwell Bankers/Realty. I've been in recent correspondence with a realtor for ultra-remote properties.
    Wish me luck.
    For the lady with the allergies. Think of a positive pressure dwelling. It need not have A/C to supply filtered air mechanically.
  20. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Progress is a great motivator for me. I started here as many have aready said without any amenities. I hauled water, heated it on the stove so I could take cup showers, do dishes, just basically roughed it. It took 9 years to build the house, one trip to Home Depot per paycheck. All of that time progress was being balanced with budget but I was moving forward. That was hard fought for ground. Now I have a second home in the mountains and am doing it all again at that location. No grid power available, hauled water, etc. Only this time I have some experiences to draw upon so it is a little easier. Is it exciting, thrilling, romantic? No it is just a lot of hard work. There are some internal rewards, knowing you are strong enough and savvy enough to make things happen when the need exists. But, for me at least, there needs to be a goal, a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. I'm 57 going on a hundred so I have time. But I don't want to spend all of my years working like a dog (desdawg that is). There is a certain amount of enjoyment doing those things when you are new to them. Today however, hauling a load of water up 12 miles of washed out mountain road is not my idea of a pleasure trip. But it sure feels good when you can light the propane water heater, start the generator and take a shower that doesn't get poured out of a cup. And that is what progress looks like.