#5. It’s easier to stay warm than cool when you’re OFF-grid
Okay so this may be a matter of opinion. Tom and I are fortunate that we both feel it is easier to stay warm than cool when you are OFF-Grid. This is a double edge sword because one of the worst
things about starting an off-grid homestead in the winter is not having properly dried fire wood. This has been problematic for us. Nonetheless, we’ve maintained 70 and 80 degree temperatures in the cabin. It has been a matter of the fire staying lit throughout the night that has been the issue. We did come up with a semi-solution and are anxious to cut and season wood this summer! Regardless, having a nice warm cabin has been great for moral and productivity.
#4. Learning to Cook on a woodstove is easier in the Winter
Because we use a wood stove for heat, we had ample time to cook at our convenience as the stove was always hot. As spring is upon us and we have had warmer days; we are finding that is no longer true. Keeping the fire going on warmer days is a waste of fuel (wood) and leads to 90-Degree temps in our cabin. Therefore, our cooking on warmer days occurs during mornings and evenings. When we first started, we were trying to acclimate and it was super convenient to cook whenever we had the time or to slow cook something all day.
#3. Water collection & hauling was easy!
Water hauling was easy because we could utilize a sled on a snow path to get water jugs from the truck to the cabin. And said snow that we hauled on also provided us with a water source. When we were not cooking on the wood stove we had snow melting for bath, dish, and wash water. Consistently, we had two 20-gallon totes filled with snow sitting in our cabin. It would melt itself or we’d scoop it into our snow pot on the stove to melt. We found ourselves quite spoiled by snow for water.
#2. Most mammals hibernate
We were not very concerned about wildlife because most mammals hibernate through the winter. And as soon as we had our first consistently warm week above freezing we found bobcat tracks passing within feet of our front door. Prior to our purchase, our place was not a primary residence and was left empty for years. There is evidence all around that animals became used to a lack of humans. Now as spring is upon us, the reality is that WE ARE in the animals’ backyard. Once again, we were spoiled by winter.
#1. All we had to do was survive and meet our needs
It was like vacation. Winter forced us to plan for spring and summer while simply allowing ourselves to acclimate to this new lifestyle. We gathered wood for heat and cooking, learned how to cook on a wood stove, practiced new fermentation projects, gathered/hauled water, explored our new hometown, unpacked our possessions, tracked down an internet service, shoveled snow, worked on small improvements on the cabin, and just settled in to our new home and daily lifestyle. This without the pressures of building outbuildings, taking care of livestock, starting a garden, and other tasks we would have overwrought ourselves with if we had started in any other season. It is easy in a fast-paced world to try and race yourself thus burning out before you really get started. For us this easily could have been the case. Starting our homestead in the winter forced us to take it slow. AND we loved it. Such an impact this made on our mentality that it has set a pace for our life. We’re quite happy with easy does it!