After the day I have had, I’m going to get down to the nitty gritty especially when it comes to trying to live off the grid.
How do you find comfort when it comes to living off the grid? I can tell you we’ve had our share of adversity.
Baking To Death
Over the last few months my son, his dog and myself have resided on our property with no home structure in place.
What do you call home? I can say that our home at one time was living in our own automobiles. A bit later our homes became a tent for each one of us, the tent allowed for more space and a place to retreat too. When we first moved to the property warmth was needed and then air conditioning was a dire need of ours. Otherwise, you will bake yourself to death in California.
Shortly, after living in the tents the heat got so bad we had to venture out to purchase a travel trailer. During this time the dealerships that were reselling were turning over inventory so fast they didn’t even have time to get the most recent trailer onto their website. When you would call they would say if its still here or available when you get here. After due diligence we finally found a newer model that provided everything we needed.
After picking up the trailer, the placement of the travel trailer was important when it came to having an accessible location. It needed to be parked under trees for shade and near the shop on the property for electricity. This particular area had at least 500-1000 foot pine trees and a couple of massive oak trees that surrounded the travel trailer. Beautiful views from every direction accept for the side that had the view of the shop.
Side Note: Over the years, I’ve heard a still small voice say sell everything get something to live in that has wheels. I had worked for an organization that was involved with disasters and I saw and understand what displacement is like. In California you need to be able to flee from your hazardous situation and have something to retreat too. Hotels were normally the first thing booked up. California is an expensive state to live in and it is a state that is burning up and flooding all the time.
During the summer months PG&E turned off our power at a minimum of 1 x weekly for no apparent reason other than safety measures. Sometimes, when we’d loose power it would be up to 24 hours and at least 1 time or more in any given week.
We decided it was time to purchase a generator. My son went shopping on line and found a generator at Home Depot. To drive to this particular Home Depot was around 20-30 minutes each way. It took at least two weeks for the generator to arrive at the store for him to pick-up.
When my son got the generator home and connected it to our travel trailer is was in a wide open spot nothing around it or near it. After the air conditioning was running around 30 minutes the generator turned off. He went to check to see why and found that it was because of carbon monoxide. So, he restarted the generator again and again and to no avail it continued to shut off.
Needless to say, we returned it and got an entirely different brand and one with even more power. When the new unit arrived at the store he picked it up and brought it home and took it out of the box. It had looked like something dropped on top of the generator to crush it into the bottom of the generator. So, here we go with some more adversity.
My son had to go back into town to return this one and to re-order another generator from this same Home Depot. Although, this generator arrived in a weeks time. So, he had to drive back to town to pick it up and took it home. This time my son asked that the employees open the box to verify that it is indeed not damaged.
The returns checker said they gave my son a $50.00 credit on the third generator. When in reality it was only $5.00. Double check your receipt before leaving that checker!!!
Praise God this generator has ran flawlessly since.
Don’t get me started when it comes to the amps you need to run a piece of equipment. Especially when it comes to the extension cords and all the adapters for the generator.
Constantly going back and forth to the Home Depot to find help or the help you get is nothing more then you not knowing what you need.
Showing an employee a photo or trying to show them the generator you purchased and the photo of the plug on the trailer to asking a non trained employee is like trouble shooting. I know they are trying to help.
It really sucks having to run back and forth buying and returning, so much time and money being spent, what a waste!
Lesson learned was that most companies are not even training or hiring people with experience. Companies are so desperate for people right now they will hire anyone. COVID has taken a toll on society!
When you decide to get a generator make sure you have all the necessary adapters and the correct footage for the extension cords. All of this should be shipped with the generator all at once. Also, if you do not have the gas can or the propane tank for your generator make sure you have that when you decide to get a generator. Don’t forget the oil, parts, etc. that you will need to do the frequent oil changes. (every 100-200 hours) depending if you are using gas or diesel.
I really hope that my writing about this will help get this frustrating matter off my chest. Because, its really hard for me to deal with all this adversity.
The expense of the fuel right now is taxing on all of us. The propane prices are going up and up each week.
Originally, I wanted and requested that the travel trailer be placed at the top of the property near the electric and the well. Also, its were everyone that lives down from us must park during the winter when the snow comes. But, my son insisted that it should go to the bottom of the property near the shop.
So, under the trees we parked and I kept saying we need to move the travel trailer before winter comes. I don’t want the tree branches to come down on the trailer to break something on top. Side note: The resident squirrel loved to bombard us with acorn bombs. You would jump out of your skin when they’d land on the top of the travel trailer. Holley, my sons dog would jump on top of you to protect you while she shook uncontrollably. But my son refused to want to move the trailer.
If I had the vehicle to move the trailer I would have. But, my son’s main vehicle was with him at work. Its such a process to break down and set-up a travel trailer. Attempting to level it, factoring in the placement of everything; the slide out, the 300 gallon external septic tank that had to be moved when it was empty was a challenge because, you have to work around the company coming out to pump it. The distance the electric will be from the travel trailer, to needing another long electric extension cord. Then, to the water hook-up, hoses, etc. Oh, and all the gravel we had delivered to offset all the dirt going in the travel trailer.
Over the last week, a big branch came down and broke an item on the top of the trailer. So, that too was my breaking point. Telling my son that the travel trailer needs to get moved now! My son said he would pay for the part and understood that we do need to move it. We moved it to a huge open area finally. Not at the top of the hill like I originally wanted so, you’ll probably hear about it in the coming months.
Prior to moving the trailer to the new location it took hours. We had to move other vehicles out of the way and clear all sort of things from the area to prevent any other damage. Like nails, srews, bolts, metal fragments, pins that hold the industrial type of weed block on the ground. There used to be a bunch of greenhouses on the property.
After moving the travel trailer, using our existing extension cords they wouldn’t reach, it’s unsafe to use multiple cords together. Temporarily we had to set the generator up to have electricity. The noise is such a nuisance, generators can be so flip-pin loud! Running the generator from around 7 am till 5:30 pm we used around 8 gallons of fuel that is costing around $5.50 a gallon. My electric bill for the month last month was only $75.00. I cannot justify the $1000.00 dollar generator, fuel, extension cords, etc. expenses for 1 day being this much money. This generator will be used for back-up only. And, maybe for running the washer, dryer, the shop lights, power tools, welder, etc.
Our neighbors have been living off the grid for over 30 years and have spent lots of money and time to live in such a way. They’re now in their mid and late 60’s and I’m in my 50’s and I do not want to have that much money going out the door right now.
On Sunday, I ordered the extension cord via Amazon, you can go one place to find what you need and with Prime you can get it in 1-2 days. Praise God for that! The extension cord arrived as stated and it is plugged in now. The trailer is now back on electric, everything is operating without noise, we have heat for the fireplace to warm us and now we have the propane regulator needing to be fixed then we will have the propane up and going.
Now, I have to run outside now to move the generator to keep it accessible to the shop before the rain comes. I thank God for not having to be employed at the moment because, I honestly cannot handle more stress in my life right now.
Owning property definitely has its advantageous and its disadvantageous. I can say the view, the waterfall, the creek, the wild life and the wild blackberries has rectified my sanity at this time.
We’ve only been living here since May 2021 and so much adversity has transpired. The adversities included the purchasing of the property. The timeliness of closing escrow on the home. To being homeless living in our cars, then to living in tents if it wasn’t too cold out.
Shortly after selling the house I was able to purchase a 2019 28 ft travel trailer. My son who is 24 years old a pit bull mix and myself all live in this travel trailer.
Holley, whom I call sweet pea because, she is loved beyond all means. She lives in doors and loves being outdoors.