Living off the grid - Catholic style


#1

Hi all,

I hope this the best place to put this thread. :confused:

Anyways, we have been doing some investigation into living "off the grid" and have found it to be a somewhat daunting task to convert a regular house into a self-sufficient one. This got us looking into off-grid communities that cater to this lifestyle. However, every community we've found is from the "non-religious" and "free thinking" types, and this just doesn't fit with our families' faith (we take the Faith seriously). The one Catholic website I did find, rosariansofthepoorchrist.blogspot.com/, does have the idea of what we're looking for, although it seems to be focused on creating a religious society built on farming. The idea sounds intriguing, but I don't know that we are being called to be part of an actual religious society like this. So it got me thinking that there must be other practicing Catholics out there who are thinking along the same lines as us. Does anyone know of something like this or is anyone thinking in that direction? My intention by starting this thread is to try to generate some good sources of information for us and anyone else interested. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

God bless,
Palomas


#2

First off, congratulations on your pregnancy!

Next, I would say that the idea you have, in my opinion, is fantastic. I used to work for a Geothermal Heating and AC installation company about 10 years ago. They install systems that use ground heat to heat/cool your house. It’s an expensive process to install but pays for itself within 7 years, if you live in the right zone (in other words, if you live in a climate with extremes in seasonal temperatures). The national website for this technology is igshpa.okstate.edu/ .

I would love to go “off the grid” but it’s just not something we can focus on right now. However, since becoming interested in it, I have found the same as you that it’s mainly “free-thinkers” and others that are really pursuing this.

I suggest instead of looking for other Catholics taking this route, that you should look into the technology you need to pursue this- no matter where it is found- and consider that you may be the first Catholics to blaze the trail. There has to be a first one, right? And while you are meeting some of these free thinkers and working with them to put this kind of home together for your family, consider that you may be witnessing to them the wonderful life that Catholicism provides. GL!


#3

[quote="Palomas, post:1, topic:225595"]
Hi all,

I hope this the best place to put this thread. :confused:

Anyways, we have been doing some investigation into living "off the grid" and have found it to be a somewhat daunting task to convert a regular house into a self-sufficient one. This got us looking into off-grid communities that cater to this lifestyle. However, every community we've found is from the "non-religious" and "free thinking" types, and this just doesn't fit with our families' faith (we take the Faith seriously). The one Catholic website I did find, rosariansofthepoorchrist.blogspot.com/, does have the idea of what we're looking for, although it seems to be focused on creating a religious society built on farming. The idea sounds intriguing, but I don't know that we are being called to be part of an actual religious society like this. So it got me thinking that there must be other practicing Catholics out there who are thinking along the same lines as us. Does anyone know of something like this or is anyone thinking in that direction? My intention by starting this thread is to try to generate some good sources of information for us and anyone else interested. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

God bless,
Palomas

[/quote]

Are you thinking along the lines of homesteading. I think there are huge number of Christians out there that are attempting to live self sufficient lives these days, but not necessarily Catholics. Many of them tend to be the type to homeschool, home church, plant big gardens and have a family/home business etc. Sort of living very seperate.

I think the one area where it is harder as a Catholic to do this is that you obviously need to live within a reasonable driving distance of a parish. Certainly not impossible, just more limited in places you can go etc.

Or maybe I'm totally missing what you mean by living off the grid...lol


#4

I love this idea, have for years. Right now I'm not financially or practically in a position to do anything about it in a big way, but the cool thing is, one can do small things.

Like in the summer you can solar heat some of your water simply by setting it outside if you live in a place that has hot summers. You can start composting and growing organic veggies and fruits. Even having those solar yard lights is a step in the right direction.

The "homesteading" concept too can be practiced on a small scale and gradually expanded. There are plans for making things like a solar water heater, or a cold frame for starting your plants - lots of stuff online, in library books, etc.

Palomas, you ought to consider starting a CAF Group for Homesteading/Off-the-Grid Living Catholics! :thumbsup: If you do, I would join!


#5

Hi.
Sometimes Catholic home-school families will also live semi-self sufficiently; homesteading skills, livestock, canning, beekeeping & so on. They’re not connected to a religious society and are not agrarian. Maybe there’s a Catholic home school group in your area of interest that could point you in the right direction.


#6

I sure am interested in stuff like this too. Although… being a freshman at college, I don’t think I’ll be doing anything like this in my life for at least 10 or 20 years. But, I’d be interested in joining a group if you made one.

I remember a Catholic community in the U.S. somewhere in the midwest like Missouri or Wisconsin, and it was based on farming, but it wasn’t like third orders or anything. Most of the families are descendant from a group of German Catholic immigrants that all settled together…I don’t think they generated their own power though.

Hopefully someone that knows more about this will post.


#7

[quote="gatorsmom, post:2, topic:225595"]
First off, congratulations on your pregnancy!

[/quote]

Thank you so much! We're very excited.

[quote="gatorsmom, post:2, topic:225595"]
Next, I would say that the idea you have, in my opinion, is fantastic. I used to work for a Geothermal Heating and AC installation company about 10 years ago. They install systems that use ground heat to heat/cool your house. It's an expensive process to install but pays for itself within 7 years, if you live in the right zone (in other words, if you live in a climate with extremes in seasonal temperatures). The national website for this technology is igshpa.okstate.edu/ .

[/quote]

Thank you for this information; I took a look at the website and the technology seems pretty incredible. It could potentially be an option for us down the road. It looks like, however, that it supplements a traditional heating/cooling system (meaning that it would be installed to defray costs of traditional heating and cooling such as natural gas or electric) -- is this right? Or can the geothermal be the only unit that you'd have in your house? Also, realizing that installation costs probably vary from house to house, what would be a "range" of costs to install something like this? $10,000? $30,000? Just want to have an idea. Thanks.


#8

I’ve heard the term “homesteading” used before but I’m clear on what it means, so I’ll try to be more clear about what we’re looking to do. Over the next handful of years, we don’t have the luxury due to our living situation to make changes to the structure of the house we’re living in since it’s not ours. But as 3Doctors mentioned; we are already composting and we’re going to plant a garden this year, I’m learning how to preserve food and do canning, etc. We do have the luxury of having a well, although it’s used to water the lawn/garden.

After this certain time period (we don’t know how long), we’d like to move away and really settle down on farm or other property that could be turned into a farm-like place. Ideally (and this is probably far-fetched), the house would already have the structures in place to have its own heating and cooling, have its own water supply (not an electric-based well), etc. Haven’t really thought about plumbing and sanitation but we’ll cross that road later. If the house doesn’t have those things, we’d obviously have to make an invest to make that happen. And while we want to be a little remote from a city/town center, at the same time we still want to be close enough to a town or community that has a good Catholic church and Catholic school (we’re not yet sure if we’re going to homeschool or send our kids to Catholic school, or do some combination of the two), a good hospital and medical services, etc.

We’re aware that there are many non-Catholic Christians who are attempting (and doing so!) to live off the land in a self-sufficient way. I’m also wondering if there are clusters of Catholic folks doing the same thing (not necessarily in a religious community like the Amish, but a more loose association), in which case that might steer us to that area to settle down in the future. And if there’s not, maybe a group of Catholics who are seriously interested in doing something like this in the not so distant future could get together and make plans to do something like that, to share resources and help one another out.


#9

[quote="3DOCTORS, post:4, topic:225595"]
There are plans for making things like a solar water heater, or a cold frame for starting your plants - lots of stuff online, in library books, etc.

[/quote]

That's a great idea, I didn't think about trying to make your own water heater. I guess I just assumed that the technology is too advanced for a do-it-yourself project. I'll have to look up stuff like that.

[quote="3DOCTORS, post:4, topic:225595"]
Palomas, you ought to consider starting a CAF Group for Homesteading/Off-the-Grid Living Catholics! :thumbsup: If you do, I would join!

[/quote]

Hmmm... well so far you and Semper Zelare expressed an interest in a group like this. If there are more people that express interest, I just might consider starting a group on CAF!


#10

Catholic homeschoolers – that’s another good source of information. Thanks for the tip!


#11

Here are some websites that may interest you:

Catholic Homesteading (no longer active, but has some good articles)
home-n-stead.com/about/blog.html

Simple Catholic Living
cukierski.net/library/simplecatholic.shtml

Catholic Homesteading Movement
catholichomesteadingmovement.blogspot.com/

Natural Gardening
naturalgardening.com/shop/indexD.php3

Urban Homemaker
urbanhomemaker.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

Homesteading Supplies
homesteadersupply.com/

I had some more resources, but my computer crashed :eek: and I lost all my links…sigh. I’ll try to find them.

MadameButterfly…a simple living/homesteading wannabe


#12

This is a great thread! I too, have always been interested in living off the grid / homesteading, although I have not yet been able to make it happen. However, I do have a vegitable garden and compost. I live where it is sunny over 340 days a year, so one day I want to go solar. It is good to hear from a fellow PRACTICING Catholic who is into this kind of thing. Thanks to those who have posted the websites.


#13

Cool! Thanks for all the links… I’ll check them out when I get a chance. And if you find the other links I’d be interested in those as well.


#14

[quote="renaissance_gal, post:12, topic:225595"]
This is a great thread! I too, have always been interested in living off the grid / homesteading, although I have not yet been able to make it happen. However, I do have a vegitable garden and compost. I live where it is sunny over 340 days a year, so one day I want to go solar. It is good to hear from a fellow PRACTICING Catholic who is into this kind of thing. Thanks to those who have posted the websites.

[/quote]

Hi Renaissance gal,

We live in a fairly sunny place as well, probably not as much as where you are, but still, solar energy might be a direction we head in. Do you have any plans (whether in the near or distant future) as to how you're going to live off the grid and homestead? Just looking to see what other people are doing or thinking of doing.

Take care,
Palomas


#15

Came across this today and remembered this thread...hope this helps someone!:)

directory.ic.org/21324/Catholic_Ecovillage


#16

Hi Palomas~

I live off the grid. We made the move recently from the city to about 30 acres of woods, stream, and a few semi-cleared patches of blackberries and sunlight. Right now, we live without electricity or plumbing in a 24' yurt (nomadic, mongolian dwelling). We are in the process of building a premanent house, clearing, planting huge gardens, and generally making our little piece of land into a proper homestead.

Honestly, it isn't as daunting as it sounds. We live very much "off the grid," tucked away in privacy at the far end of a dirt road, but we are only about 20 minutes from our parish, my gym (for showers right now it's essential), schools, hospitals, cafes, and the bustle of city life. You can find areas (they're more common than you'd think) where you can be both secluded and within range of everything you might want.

Obviously too, you don't have to go as primitive as we have. If you find a property that has some necessities on it already, it saves you the "extreme primitive" step that we are living right now. You'll still be off the gird and homesteading. We don't know too many Catholics living this way, but they are out there, and I've discovered, since moving onto our land, that the lifestyle is ideally compatible with Catholic family life. Doing so much with your hands, in connection with nature and the seasons makes me more in tune with the liturgical seasons and gives me a greater appreciation of God's hand in all of life. It's also a wonderful way to give children an understanding and appreciation of the mysteries of life and death as they raise animals to sustain your family and watch the world be reborn each spring.

I'm not sure if I answered your questions, but I'm usually online a couple times a week, so feel free to respond if you wanted something more specific.

Blessings,
Masha


#17

Thanks! This may be more of the direction we’re thinking.


#18

[quote="masha, post:16, topic:225595"]
Hi Palomas~

I live off the grid. We made the move recently from the city to about 30 acres of woods, stream, and a few semi-cleared patches of blackberries and sunlight. Right now, we live without electricity or plumbing in a 24' yurt (nomadic, mongolian dwelling). We are in the process of building a premanent house, clearing, planting huge gardens, and generally making our little piece of land into a proper homestead.

Honestly, it isn't as daunting as it sounds. We live very much "off the grid," tucked away in privacy at the far end of a dirt road, but we are only about 20 minutes from our parish, my gym (for showers right now it's essential), schools, hospitals, cafes, and the bustle of city life. You can find areas (they're more common than you'd think) where you can be both secluded and within range of everything you might want.

Obviously too, you don't have to go as primitive as we have. If you find a property that has some necessities on it already, it saves you the "extreme primitive" step that we are living right now. You'll still be off the gird and homesteading. We don't know too many Catholics living this way, but they are out there, and I've discovered, since moving onto our land, that the lifestyle is ideally compatible with Catholic family life. Doing so much with your hands, in connection with nature and the seasons makes me more in tune with the liturgical seasons and gives me a greater appreciation of God's hand in all of life. It's also a wonderful way to give children an understanding and appreciation of the mysteries of life and death as they raise animals to sustain your family and watch the world be reborn each spring.

I'm not sure if I answered your questions, but I'm usually online a couple times a week, so feel free to respond if you wanted something more specific.

Blessings,
Masha

[/quote]

Hi Masha,

Kudos to you -- you sound braver than I at this point! It sounds like you have it figured out and are making your living situation work until you can get into a more permanent house. Like you, we are thinking along the lines of living somewhat close to city or a bigger town. There are a few areas we have in mind already but are by no means locked into those at this point. We'd prefer that our house already have some of the amenities in place, but with a sustainable power source or two (not electric-powered) so that we wouldn't have to invest so much time and energy getting it to a point we'd consider livable.

You brought up a good point about doing things with your hands and how being so much closer to and part of nature and the cycle of seasons makes you have a greater appreciation for God's work. That is very appealing to us as we want to raise our children to understand and appreciate the totality of God, His church, the liturgical seasons, and how they are all interconnected.

I do have a question, though -- did you just find your place to live before finding out that there are other Catholics that are living off the grid or did you already know about that before you decided to move? Did knowing this influence your decision in where to live?

Pax,
Palomas


#19

Palomas~

I knew, in a broad sort of sense that there were other Catholics somewhere doing something similar, but it didn’t really affect my decision. Around here there are none. We picked the area because we wanted to stay close to my husband’s job and the parish we liked, but if we had gotten desperate, we would have moved further and just started over to get out on land of our own. I guess we have always just felt that this lifestyle is ideally Catholic (at least for our family), and we didn’t want to lose that just because we don’t know any other Catholics doing it. :slight_smile: We’ve definately raised some eyebrows at our parish, but they all love being shown around and seeing how we do it.

I hope you find what you’re looking for!

Blessings,
Masha


#20

There is a wonderful Catholic Homesteading Forum which is quite informative.


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