I've been amazed at the asinine comments that Ernie has persistently and consistently received from a number of people from the homesteading forum since we decided to go off-grid. Amazed, because they seem fairly freakin' anti-homesteading. Amazed, because they seem to be fairly ignorant of living conditions in various parts of America. Amazed, because they don't seem to understand what basic terms such as off-grid and sustainable mean.
And I've been offended. We're now living about two hours from my family, two hours from where I was born and grew up. Imagine my surprise to hear that we're living in a hell-hole, that it's practically child abuse to bring my "poor" children to such a place.
Amazed. And people, you just shouldn't tell born Texans that their state is a hell-hole. It's just not smart.
This morning, while standing in front of my stove, reading my Kindle and making my morning batch of hot cocoa (a very nutritious drink, sugar-free and made with eggs), Ernie read off of his smart phone a comment he'd received. This was how I learned that I'm living in third world conditions.
I think the previous paragraph points out the absurdity of the accusation all by itself.
At the same time, we're accused of being worldly because Ernie still works, and he's accused of being less than a man for not taking care of his family.
I think the absurdity there is also fairly obvious. Ah, I hate arguing with people who don't even attempt to follow the rules of logical discourse! I can use reason, but it has no effect on emotional outbursts and petty ad hominem attacks.
And yet, there's no other way to have discourse, so I shall endeavor to define a few terms, an exercise necessary for thinking individuals to have reasonable discourse.
First, off-grid. Off-grid means that we have not connected to the government sponsored monopolies which provide water, gas, and power to the majority of people in this country. Their lines do not run to our property. Off-grid does not mean that we live without electricity. We have solar power, which we purchased.
Separate from the world means not dependent on the world and its systems. Dependent means needing it for survival. We are striving to reduce our dependence on the world to become a sustainable farm, a farm which returns to the land at least as much as it removes so that it can continue to thrive without bringing in chemicals, etc., from outside. Unless we actually move into a completely uninhabited portion of the world (do such places still exist?) and begin from the beginning--creating the wheel, and then a spinning wheel, wearing nothing but animal hides from animals we killed with our bare hands until we get the whole spinning operation started, going through the various ages until we can produce a real metal axe all by ourselves, etc.--then we will always be part of the world to a degree. Ernie says that there are those who will call us hypocrites for saying we're trying to separate from the world unless we're naked and starving, and if we're naked and starving, they'll smugly tell us we just need to get back on the grid.
The word absurd comes to mind again.
Ernie feels called to live this way, and I can't claim the same. I agreed to try off-grid living, though, because it's logical--the only way to live without an income is to own the land and reduce outgoing expenses. Our necessary (needful for survival) expenses continue to get smaller so that in time, Ernie will be able to completely leave the corporate world.
Pay attention to this part because it's important: Ernie's job has allowed us to buy the land and build the house. It's allowing us to dig a pond, put up fencing, and buy animals. It's allowing us to build a sustainable homestead that doesn't require a large income to maintain, and because of this, our children should not find it necessary to go out into the world to earn a living (become wage slaves).
Having a job is not a sin, but being dependent upon a constant source of income for the basic necessities of life means that someone else has the power of life and death over one at all times. Why else would they call it stress?
Five months into this experience, I can't imagine going back to an on-grid house. Sometimes the transition has sucked, as transitions often do. However, we live a better, simpler life now. My children are happy, I'm less stressed, and my husband is doing what he feels called to do. If you choose to live differently, that's your business.