the TAO of CHANGE

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Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Conveniently Off-Grid – a Summer Adventure

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

It’s beginning to look like I just might make it happen – an off-grid Summer. Since last year, I’ve been planning and hoping and dreaming about a low-carbon adventure in Vermont for the Summer. I’ve found a spot near Brattleboro – it has a small 100-year-old building on it which used to be a blacksmith shop. No frills, that’s certain, but a hopefully non-leaky roof over my head. The rest? Minimize and create is my mantra. Here are some of my ideas so far:

I’m ready to use a composting toilet, and solar shower, filled in a nearby pond. Bonfire and a candle lantern at night will be enough to get me through the limited hours of darkness during these warm months. I’m used to eating mostly raw food during this time of year so I won’t worry much about cooking, though some kind of makeshift root cellar would be nice for vegetables – I’m still working on that one, so if you have ideas, pass them on. Although I’ll be next to 100 acres of preservation and near a State Park, I will also be within a 6mile bicycle ride to town, so I can feed myself healthily without refrigeration by making the trip every few days.

Everything but the kitchen sink, right? Well, actually, I found a couple versions of that, too! If you’ve been to music or other festivals, you’ve probably seen the “Use Yer Foot” washing station, made here in NC. One soapy jug and one fresh water container is perfect for washing up on demand. I can also collect the grey water in the tub below to wash dishes. For the more portable “sink”, you can also try the collapsable nylon and cable versions holding between 5 – 20 liters by Sea to Summit. Fill at your nearest water source, then carry back to camp.

This one I’ve been waiting for – grid or no-grid. The collapsible Solo Pack, by Fozzils – a bowl, plate, cup and spoon, made from bisphenol-A-free plastic that fold perfectly flat and weighs only a few ounces. The cup is what I’ve really been after – something more convenient than a water bottle that I can have with me everywhere.

What will I be doing up there in the North East, you ask? Getting back to the basics, doing some outdoor yoga on used plywood, hiking with the dogs, and writing and dreaming about a simply sustainable life for everyone. After that, I’ll let you know!

Grid-Free and Off The Beaten Path – a journey

Monday, August 11th, 2008

by Jeannie Newell, Crested Butte, CO

With my 20/20 hindsight, I have seen a few things I would do differently for ‘off-grid’ living if I had to do it all over again.  I would definitely consider buying a second solar panel ($150 a piece) so I could plug in the fridge – we have a cooler / fridge that can be plugged in or not.  It would be easier than carting frozen water in milk jugs back and forth to the camper every other day.  This worked well in May, but July proved to be much more of a pain 😉

Also, I would have known that our handmade tarp based awning would be no match for the Colorado winds, and would have bought something more durable, because moving our wooden chairs and dog beds in and out of the camper during the daily rains is also a pain.  I might find a little something extra for storing things – the truck occasionally gets filled with crap that we don’t have room for in the camper, and so is annoyingly full when we are driving ourselves / our dogs / our recycling around.  Bigger waste water tank — we use a pretty small one, and dish water fills up the tank so fast, emptying it is a weekly job.  Bi-weekly would be nicer.  Its funny experiencing all of the reasons people sought to live more comfortably and conveniently in the first place.  Let’s see, I would buy  travel size bottles of shampoo & other toiletries, because I need to keep them in my backpack at all times and they can be re-filled by the bigger bottles as needed.  They can be kept for future travels, too!
I would have a back up toothbrush and deodorant.

Just some random thoughts about this so-far adventure that I hope will continue through September.

The summer is coming to an end here in Crested Butte. ‘The monsoons’ roll in this time of year, cooling things off.  The camper and truck have been getting nice ‘n dirty from muddy dog paws and just from mud in general!  I now have cows on my street.  Apparently ‘the cows come home’ – seriously – around this time of year.  They drive them here in trucks and drop them off!  sometimes we drive too fast around a bend in the road and get startled by a big mama cow standing in the middle of the road, hanging out.  I am bummed that I still ride my bike less, but at least I carpool with Michael, and I vow to live somewhere (even if it’s here, just in town) where I can bike everywhere.  I would still bike with toiletries and stuff, I think, just because.

Right now I really need some rest.  I’ve been working sooo much lately.  My sister and her friend, Patti, were up from Boulder this weekend and I was busy working a lot of that time.  Also, our little dog Django has been very sick this past week, and we are waiting to hear what the vet thinks about his condition.  Please send prayers and thoughts if you can…

Love and peace,

Jeannie



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