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Life On A Dirt Road And Off The Grid

June 8, 2021
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The following post was published on my other blog Next Phase In Fitness & Life in 2018. It occurred to me that my descendants may be interested in reading about the way I live in 2021. I know I would be very excited to find a blog post written by an ancestor, about their life. As this blog is archived at the National Archives of Australia, I feel it’s only appropriate that I re-publish this post. I’ve made a few tweaks to the original post.

I live on a property of 20 acres, on a dirt road, 25 kilometres from Bendigo, in an area called Axe Creek. The land is not suitable for farming, but is perfect for living a sustainable and relaxed lifestyle, as it is surrounded by beautiful bushland and adjoins the Greater Bendigo National Park. There is nothing at Axe Creek except farmland, small lifestyle properties and bushland.

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Our property is totally off the grid, meaning that we rely on solar power for all of our electricity needs. We have no access to power at all, from the electricity companies, This property is my first experience with living off the grid, and has been an interesting experience. In the first couple of years trial and error was necessary, to understand the solar system. A few years on, and it still a bit of a learning curve at times, but most of the time there are very few problems.

Off The Grid

Off the grid means that there is no electricity connected to the house at all. The house is completely powered by solar power, with a back up generator when necessary. There is also no water or gas connected. Rainwater tanks and dams are used for the garden, and our gas is delivered in bottles.

This type of life may sound austere to some, but it’s not at all uncomfortable.  It just means that a little thought needs to be given to power and water use. Contrary to what most people think about off the grid living, our house has most mod cons that anyone would expect to have in the city.

The  use of some electrical appliances that use large amounts of power, such as a hairdryer and an iron, needs to be limited, but the generator is there for back up power, when needed. In the winter, when I need to use these appliances, I simply turn on the generator to limit the power that is sucked out of the solar batteries. In summer, when there is plenty of sunshine, there is no problem at all.

There is no air conditioner in our house, but this isn’t a problem, as it’s built from mud brick and only gets hot if we have a run of very very hot days. Fans are all we need to cool us on those extra hot days.

There is also no dishwasher. I know that’s unimaginable, in these days of convenience, but I really don’t mind washing dishes  In past years, I’ve always had a dishwasher, but rarely used it, so this is not a sacrifice at all. I consider that the choice to live here is a lifestyle choice, so any small inconvenience is tolerable.   Small inconveniences are a small price to pay for the benefits and experience of living off the grid.

One of the big advantages of living off the grid, apart from the lifestyle is that we don’t have any of those annoying utility bills. I’m sure there would be many living in cities who would be envious of this.

In March last year, I stopped working due to Covid-19, and had a full year at home, for the first time in a long while. Living here has been so easy, during isolation. The large garden and surrounding bush area, mean that there is plenty of space to get outside. For that reason, I haven’t felt that life in isolation has been a hardship at all. I find myself these days looking ahead to retirement and can see myself having a great retirement lifestyle here. One of our goals is to be as self sufficient as possible, by producing quite a bit of our own food such as eggs, vegetables and fruit.

**In March 2019 content in Pandora became part of the Australian Web Archive which is searchable in Trove.

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  1. Who needs irons with modern fabrics? Unless people are big entertainers I think dish washers are a waste of time – and water and electricity. For posterity, a photo of your house showing the power generating and water conservation equipment would be useful!

  2. Really interesting Jennifer. I admire you. Don’t you get cold?

    • Alex we have a wood heater which warms the living area well. But it does get cold in the bedrooms and bathroom.

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