Having lived almost 30 years in an off-grid home, with no electricity and no refrigeration, we finally bought a new solar powered refrigerator. Here are our impressions.
I admit to being something of a Luddite. It’s not that I dislike technology, it’s just my feeling that many modern ‘conveniences’ and technological marvels can get in the way of enjoying the simple pleasures of living in a beautiful, natural environment. And so my wife and I chose to live in a rural “off-grid” community and raise our two children in this setting.
One of the difficulties of living the simple life in a rural area is income. Although we try to be self-sufficient by growing our own food, bartering and trading for things we cannot make ourselves or otherwise provide, large discretionary expenses have always been out of the question. We feel our lives have been rich beyond compare, but money has never been part of the equation. In the past few years, however, this has begun to change. Our sons have now both finished with school, the tuitions are paid, and our online family business has grown to the point where we could now afford a few ‘luxuries’ – and topping the list: a refrigerator! In past years, we got by with a small 2 cubic foot RV refrigerator, run on propane. But propane now costs $1 a pound, the bottles are heavy to pack in; and I was always concerned with the risk of fire (the pilot light being just a few inches from my cedar house). Because of these limitations, we only ran the RV fridge during the hottest few weeks of summer.
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Greg Seaman is the editor of Eartheasy.com