“I’d say the best thing about living off-grid is independence,” Kate says. “This was really driven home to us this winter when much of northern New Mexico experienced a natural gas outage for a full week as the weather outside dropped to -25 degrees. The situation was chaotic and in many cases costly and dangerous for people who were dependent on natural gas, but we were unaffected.” Kate writes in her blog, Juniper Journeys, that pipes froze and broke in many homes, businesses and schools were closed, and stores ran out of electric heaters during the power outage.Off-the-grid living has also helped Kate realize how little she needs to be comfortable and happy. “I don’t miss having a microwave, regular internet access, or a washing machine in my house,” she says. The couple has found many secondhand items for their home once it’s finished, including an oven on Craigslist, a 100-pound propane tank on “Trash and Treasures” a local call-in radio “swap meet” and a galvanized metal ceiling fan from Habitat for Humanity.“The hardest thing for me about living off-grid so far is the lack of an indoor shower,” Kate says. Outdoor showering is lovely in the summer when water can be heated by the sun, but Kate often uses friends’ indoor facilities in winter. Jeff occasionally builds a small fire under a cast iron tub in the yard for a hot bath. “Luckily, this is a temporary situation as we are putting hot water and a shower in our house,” Kate says. “It will probably be a year or two before we get to this part, and I know I’ll really appreciate it when it’s completed.”
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