Contact from the wilderness

By Ron Melchiore
off-gridHello to all from the Canadian wilderness. I stumbled upon this great website recently and was impressed enough that I made contact with MD who invited me to make a guest post.

In 1979, this city born boy purchased some acreage in Maine where I embarked on a quest for a simpler life. Here we are in 2016 and we now have 36 years of off grid living under our belt. Twenty years of homesteading in Maine and 16 years spent in the Canadian bush.

If prepper is synonymous with being prepared, we are compelled to be more prepared than most people. As I peck this introduction, I look out a large picture window to snow covered trees overlooking a placid lake. My wife and I are alone out here on this remote lake and float plane is the only way you will find us. This computer/satellite is our only connection to the outside world. We just got home last week from our brief semi-annual supply run. Twice a year, we fly out to shop, get our mail, take care of appointments and interact with other people.

off-gridAs a general rule, we don’t see another human for 6 months at a time. We have no neighbors to count on. It is just my wife and I immersed in the silence of the forest and it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. To that end, we have mastered gardening, food preservation and a myriad of other skills which give us the best chance to survive if the worst case scenarios occur.

I’ve been blessed in life to have thru-hiked all 2100+ miles of the Appalachian trail in winter, bicycled across the United States, survived forest fires, the touch of a bear and more. All of these experiences form a foundation that gives me a measure of confidence I’ll be able to cope with whatever life throws my way.

I’ve written a book titled Off Grid and Free:My Path to the Wilderness  published by Moon Willow Press which passes on some of the experience and knowledge I learned along the way. It is my hope that my book gives encouragement and a shot of confidence to others to pursue their dreams, regardless of what those aspirations are.

We’ve been published in BackHome Magazine, Small Farmer’s Journal, and Countryside and Small Stock Journal, and appear in Life Off Grid, a documentary film and book about people living off-grid throughout Canada. Life Off Grid aired on British Columbia’s Knowledge Network and is produced by Phillip Vannini and Jonathan Taggart. I also blog for several websites including MotherEarth News.

I welcome comments, questions and feedback. Just as MD and his website are trying to be a venue for disbursing information, I am trying to do my part as well. Based on the questions and feedback I receive, I will write a follow up post to address those specific questions and comments. I have a number of youtube videos out and this video will give you a better sense of who I am. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DgNHm9_h9M   You are also welcome to get updates on our life via facebook at https://www.facebook.com/offgridandfree.mypathtothewilderness

Thank you!

Ron

Comments

  1. patientmomma says:

    Wow; I certainly want to learn from your experiences! I’ve ordered your book but because of satellite internet I’m limited on how many videos I can view.

    Your wife’s organizational and record keeping skills must be truly amazing! I was feeling pretty good about only shopping once a month but to hear of your semi-annual shopping trips gives me inspiration that I can do better.

    Do you grow your own animal feed, how you store it and what type of grow facilities you have for fresh veges? Do you have a root cellar or use something else? How did you learn to repair all the things that break on a homestead? What tools and spare parts are the most important to have on hand? What is the best way to store different types of fuel? So many questions….

    Thanks for inspiring me to do better!

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Patientmomma,
      Thank you so much for the kind comments, book support and questions. Most of your great questions are answered in the book in detail but I’ll briefly answer them here. Fuel is something I didn’t touch on much in the book. My next post, I’ll address fuel storage since it is an excellent question and we always have years worth of various fuels on hand.

      I know the limitations on satellite can be frustrating at times. We’ve used it for 16 years although it has gotten much better over the years. Hopefully you will be able to watch the video with this post and then watch my other videos as bandwidth permits.

      You are correct about organizational skills. We are both highly organized. The secret is not to take a chance on memory. As soon as we know an item is needed, it is written on a list. Six months is a long time to wait if by chance, we forgot to purchase an item.

      For 20 years in Maine, we raised animals, did our own slaughtering, butchering, cutting and wrapping, sausage making, bacon and ham curing and smoking and even soap making. Nowadays, it makes more sense for us to fly a side of beef in and a whole frozen pig and do the routine that way.

      As far as vegetables… we have several large gardens. One for vegetables and the other for asparagus, strawberries and other fruits. We also have the greenhouse. Being North of 56 degrees latitude with a climate that can give us a frost in any month, we’ve had to adapt and do some special techniques to grow our garden. But even this far north, we can grow most vegetables including corn and some melons.

      We have a root cellar under the house and we have a refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen. As well, there are 2 chest freezers outdoors. Of course we can hundreds of jars of food which are stored in our pantry.

      I seem to have been born mechanically inclined. Being able to fix things is certainly a good trait to have. As you know, there’s always something that needs fixing. 🙂 I try to give myself a chance by having lots of repair parts and maintenance manuals out here. I carry spare plugs,air and fuel filters for every piece of equipment. Also various sized fuel lines. Then I assess each piece of equipment individually and try to figure out the most likely things to break. For example, a spare propeller for the boat motor or an injector for the backup diesel generator.

      As far as tools, it’s one of those things where that one tool can make all the difference even if it’s used once in a lifetime. Sometimes it requires being able to adapt a tool or be a bit clever if I don’t have the right tool. I would consider my tools pretty standard and basic with only a few more specialized tools. Specialized tools like an extractor set for broken screws, a good digital multimeter or a good tubing cutter.

      Thank you so much for the interest. I wish you the best! Ron

  2. Wow! I’m impressed!

  3. azrealityprepper says:

    Very interesting and inspiring. I would be interested to know about your diet; how much fish do you can? How much vegetable and fruit do you can? What wild edibles do you depend on? Thanks for agreeing to write for MD and this blog.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hi azrealityprepper,
      You are more than welcome. I am thankful for MD letting me make a post. I appreciate everybody’s interest in our lifestyle.

      In regards to our diet, we eat pretty much the same as everybody else. You would think that by living on a lake, we would be eating fish often. Unfortunately, neither of us are big on eating fish. It is certainly a resource if needed but rarely have we eaten a fish from the lake. I enjoy catch and release.

      We grow a large garden with many varieties. Johanna will freeze many things as well as can them. Meat is flown in and dealt with on a large scale. (side of beef and whole frozen pig)

      The two wild edibles we count on around here are blueberries and cranberries. They are abundant and I pick gallons and gallons of each. Bags are frozen, excess then is either canned as juice or made into fruit leather.

      Thanks for the comments! All the best! Ron

      • Axelsteve says:

        Hello Ron great article.
        As far as fish go I am not all that into fish either. Do you have elk in your area? I would love elk on my plate any day.

        • Ron Melchiore says:

          Thank you Axelsteve. I’m very pleased you are getting something out of this banter. We are too far north for elk. Instead, we have moose and caribou.

          All the best! Ron

  4. It would seem that WOW! is indeed the first impression we get!

    Very well done you two! My wife and I have built a couple of houses and know the work involved in creating a home that includes livestock, and garden. So much is attainable with hard work , commitment , and blessings. True wealth does not involve a large bank, but comes from within.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Amen Patrick! Thank you for the kind comment. It’s interesting. At the time, when we do these various things, it’s just life and we don’t think much about it. But making that video I’ve shared with people and looking back on the accomplishments, Johanna and I just shake our head. We don’t know how we pulled this stuff off.

      One of the lines in my book comes to mind.

      “This was really going to be a challenge, and I was stepping well outside my known comfort level. I say “known” comfort level because none of us really know what those bounds are until we try.”

      As you mention Patrick, hard work is key and a simple willingness to give things a try. I think it’s far better to have given an aspiration a hard effort and fail, than to have the aspiration remain a dream and eternally wonder what could have been. Thanks for stopping in. I wish you and your family the best! Ron

  5. How did you get heavy equipment in on a plane and lumber out?

    Sure looks like a good way to live.

  6. Why move south to north in winter?

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Rebecca,

      The Twin Otter is a big plane. If you watch my video, in the 4th segment, you will see the size of the plane as well as how we moved all that stuff. Thank you for the question. Ron

      • Ron Melchiore says:

        Oops, I missed the other question. The reason we moved during the winter is it was far easier to load and unload planes on the entire frozen lake surface, we could fly 10 big plane loads over a weekend and leave them scattered over the ice and it was much easier to get all the materials 200 feet to the house site via snowmobile. The alternative would have been far more brutal. If we had shipped things in during open water, we would have been limited to offloading plane loads at a dock and it would have been impossible to deal with all those plane loads the way we did. Plus we would have had a huge problem trying to get all that stuff up the hill to the house site. Thanks Rebecca for the question.

  7. mom of three says:

    WOW, I couldn’t do that I have to have some people interactions. But for those who can and do I applaud you WOW.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello mom of three,
      It does take a different mindset to live out here alone. We aren’t anti-social but yet, we don’t feel the need to be surrounded by people either. We have our hobbies and chores to keep us well occupied. Thank you for the kind comment! Ron

  8. Impressive. Great video. Do u get out for shopping, etc in the spring & fall?
    Have u had any medical emergencies or any illnesses or any health conditions that require prescription medicines?

    Thanks. Going to order your book.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Thanks RedC. So very glad you enjoyed the video. I likely spent an absurd 300 hours on it. Let’s just say, it didn’t go terribly well but I persevered. 🙂

      We do go shopping twice a year in the fall and spring. We just got back last week and won’t see another human until April.

      Yes, we have had some medical issues like me breaking a rib while digging the water line. Many years ago, I took an EMT course and a couple years ago, I took a 2 week EMR (emergency first responder course). Any prescription we would need is bought for 6+ months at a time and we always have prescription meds on hand for emergencies. I have been saved a few times by having antibiotics out here.

      Great questions! Thanks! All the best,
      Ron
      PS. Thank you for the book support. I’d love to have your feedback once you have a chance to read it. Would you please consider an Amazon review/rating? Thanks RedC!

  9. A fascinating article would be about how you got started in off-grid power? Do your hot water heater & stove run on natural gas or propane?
    At what point did you build your first greenhouse?

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      RedC as a follow up to your questions, life off grid was never on my radar screen. I’ll consider an article on how I got my start although you will have your answer once you read the book. Basically it was me posing the question “Is this all there is to life, other than working it away at a 9 to 5 job?”

      We are surrounded by free firewood. Propane is much too costly to be flying in and out. Wood heat is what we use to heat and cook with. Our cook stove is also set up with a thermosiphon loop to heat our hot water. We are 100 miles in the bush but if you were to come visit, you’d never know you are this remote. Hot/cold running water, shower etc.

      Our first greenhouse was in Maine. A greenhouse is essential where we live now. Thanks for the questions.

  10. Please don’t wait too long for the follow up. I can’t wait to read and hear of your adventures and to glean the knowledge of your wisdom and experiences.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Thanks DOC. I don’t mean to push the book but it truly sounds like you would enjoy reading our full story. There’s a paperback version and a cheaper ebook version as well. I believe if you are in the US, if you order the paperback version, you get the ebook as a free download. The ebook has full color pictures. (approximately 100 pictures) Stay tuned, I’ll have another post at some point. Take care, Ron

  11. I really enjoyed your video! How long is your growing season? I was also wondering where you met your wife?

  12. Ron Melchiore says:

    Thanks so much S. Really glad you enjoyed the video. Our growing season is relatively short. We can have a frost in any month. But we have season extenders such as the greenhouse and garden hoop tunnels. Plus we utilize special garden fabrics which act as a blanket. We also start most things indoors including our corn.

    I met Johanna while at a work stint. Neither one of us was bush people. Just had an interest in basic self-reliance. But surprise… here we are in the wilderness. One never knows what life has in store. Thanks for the comments! Ron

    • Interesting that you start your corn indoors. I live in an agricultural community in the Deep South (U.S.). I have been told and also read that you can not transplant corn; it must be planted where you want it to grow. Doesn’t sound to me like that’s necessarily true.

      Would you mind to explain to me how you do it? Thanks!

      Can’t wait to get my hands on your book, though I can’t use downloads, either, because of limited bandwidth/poor quality internet connection “out here”. It’s worth it.

      • Ron Melchiore says:

        Hello patr,
        Thank you for stopping in and commenting and I am most appreciative of the book support. Please consider an Amazon review if you enjoy it. It validates to others that the book is worth their time as well.

        If you watched my attached video… at about the 10:58 mark, you will see Johanna standing in a lush garden next to corn taller than her. We have always heard you can’t transplant corn too. Utter nonsense!

        After being successful a number of different ways, we have settled on the following method. In spring, determined by your individual planting season, we mix 1/3 sterilized garden soil, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 perlite as our planting medium. We start the seedlings roughly 3 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Then in small individual plastic plant pots (roughly 3 inch diameter), we plant 2-3 seeds in every pot. Once they are germinated, we select the strongest 1-2 plants and cut the weakest out. Don’t pull it and disturb the roots, Use scissors to cut out the unwanted plant at soil level.

        Water as usual and once germinated, water with a manure tea or fertilizer solution after germination. Roughly 2 weeks after germination, we take all the plants outside to be hardened off and bring them in to protect them at night. Harden of for perhaps 4 days. Then when ready to transplant, Johanna drills a hole with a bulb planter, carefully pop the plant and root ball out of the plastic pot and gently set in the hole disturbing the roots as little as possible. Water with fertilizer solution and then back fill the hole and water again. Then we use a fabric n-sulate supported by wire hoops randomly placed in the ground to cover the corn and create a micro environment for the plants. Because of our latitude, we also use plastic covered hoop tunnels. But that gives you a general idea.

        One note here. Don’t use peat pots. We found the corn will germinate fine and we thought we could plant the whole peat pot in a hole. What happens is the peat pot acts as a tough barrier and severely impedes the roots from spreading out resulting in stunted plants.

        You might want to record what dates you have done all this so that the following year, you can tweak things based on your climate and results. Best of luck! Ron

  13. All I can say is lucky, lucky bastard! Very inspiring, thank you for sharing ;-D

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Pete. Thanks for stopping by. You are right of course. I’m mighty lucky to have done this stuff in life. Part of the reason I wrote my book is to inspire others to follow their dreams and I hope I might give a measure of confidence to them as well. All the best! Ron

      • G’day Ron. Thanks very much for taking the time to reply in person. I, like many others I suspect have lined up a copy of the book and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. I’d like to think that one day I can carve out a piece of Aussie bush for my solar passive, off the grid place. Hearing from and reading about folk like you only increase my desire to live the dream. Cheers to you and the missus and good luck with winter. Pete ;-D

        • Ron Melchiore says:

          Good Morning Pete,
          I sincerely thank you and anybody else out there that has purchased the book. The book covers a lot of topics but there is one topic that is near and dear to my heart. That chapter is titled “Forest Fires Burn Me Up.” It’s an accounting of how we have dealt with a number of forest fires out here and in particular, my experience of being surrounded by fire. As if the entire world was on fire that night.

          I am well aware of some of the big fires that can occur in the Aussie bush and I hope you will be able to take some useful, practical information from that chapter to help protect yourself out there.

          Don’t hesitate to drop me a note with questions or feedback on the book once you’ve had a chance to read it.

          All the best Pete and have a good summer! 🙂

  14. Always Forward says:

    Ron,
    Just ordered a copy. Thanks for contacting MD. Also the tip for the ecopy as the hard copy will be a gift for my son-in-law and one for me. Sometimes one piece of information gleaned is worth a fortune.
    All the best.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Thank you Always Forward. I truly appreciate the support and would love to get your thoughts and feedback once you have a chance to read my story. Please feel free to touch base anytime. I wish you all the best as well! Ron

  15. Wow. Very impressed. Looks like a good life to live. I like my peace and quite but I think the isolation would get to me.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Thanks Mechanic! It is a wonderful life out here. No question, this isolation is not for everybody. We have grown so used to it, we simply don’t notice it at all. Thank you for stopping by. Ron

  16. Weathergirl says:

    Ron do you and your family have health insurance? Getting older, is it becoming an issue. BTW I don’t sell it.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Weathergirl,
      Canada has a basic health care system that we are able to utilize. But it only goes so far for coverages so we still buy supplemental insurance which covers some prescriptions, dental, chiro etc.

      This lifestyle forces us to keep active and we are in great shape still. Once we let the body slow down, it’s game over. The season dictates what activities we do. In winter, we have a couple mile loop trail that we try to do daily. Thanks for the questions! Ron

  17. Chuck Findlay says:

    What do you do for entertainment outside of the net?

    Also how many watts of solar do you have, what kind and how well do the batteries hold up?

  18. Ron Melchiore says:

    Hello Chuck,

    Our entertainment varies with the season. Spring/summer and fall we are outdoors gardening, canoing, boating, fishing. Of course that also entails canning and processing all the garden produce and berry picking etc. We each have lots of hobbies. Johanna quilts, knits, sews, spins wool yarn, bakes lots of good stuff to name a few things and I wood work by hand. We also have SAT TV that has very little worth watching but occasionally we find some educational show to tune in to. A lot of my time is spent on the computer. I’m a type A personality to the max so once I set my mind to something…I see it through to the best of my ability. Since my book came out in February of this year, I have been really focused on trying to let people know about it. Whether by making a video or writing an article or ?? it is all consuming and takes time. I’m also focused on recording an audio version. In winter, we ice fish, snowmobile and hike our loop trail for exercise.

    I think I’ll do a post specifically to address our power system. But in short, we have an 800 watt solar array, 2 KW wind turbine and 1576AH battery bank. The batteries are holding up just fine after 16 years and I would expect another 16 years out of them.

    Thanks for the questions Chuck! Ron

  19. Hi Ron, thanks for the informative article! You are living the life that many people would like to live but are simply unable to for one reason or another. My family and I are doing our best to be self sufficient on our homestead but it is a hard slog. How big is the closest populated area to you? Do you ever have people who stumble upon your homestead either by boat in the summer or by snowmobile in the winter?
    B

  20. Ron Melchiore says:

    Hello B. You are more than welcome. Thanks for taking some time to respond.

    Self sufficiency can come in stages so don’t get discouraged. Even after 36 years, we are learning and improving. It’s my belief if a person stops learning and improving, they’ll be in trouble at some point. It sounds like you are well under way to being self-sufficient. Good job!

    La Ronge is the closest significant town with a small hospital, grocery stores and supplies. That is 100 miles south of us.

    We have no worry of anybody stumbling upon us via boat, canoe or snowmobile. There has been a very rare occasion where an acquaintance has flown in. Maybe 3-4 times in 16 years. We’ve had more fire crews here over the years.

    Good questions. Thanks B! Ron

    • Ron, do you own the land where you live or is it crown land? If you own it, what channels did you go through to purchase it?

      • Ron Melchiore says:

        Hello B. It is crown land. We have our place up for sale if you are interested. http://www.inthewilderness.net/ gives you an idea. We are grandfathered into a park so no more leases in this area will be granted. I’m uncertain about leasing policy anymore for the rest of the Province. You would have to inquire with land management. Good luck! Ron

        • Ron, I would love to buy your place but since I can’t take my foster kids to live out of province, I’m SOL. I do know the La Ronge area though as my first summer job was at Chicken Delight. Made me want to leave the modern world and run as far away from deep fryers, ice cream machines and drunk people at the take out window as I could possibly go. I was sad to read today that the same social issues continue to plague the community almost 35 years later.

          • Ron Melchiore says:

            Yes B, I suspect very little has changed other than store names in the community although there is a good sized supermarket now.

  21. Had to join up to comment on Ron’s post. Ron and Johanna are fellow survivors from the 70’s and 80’s “back to the land movement” (in my case 60’s). I recently read Ron’s book and I rated it five stars.
    Ron and Johanna get it! I feel I speak with some authority on the subject as I am just months short of 50 years off grid. Ron’s whole book details the whole philosophy but in the last part he summarized it very well. Read it and understand why Ron and a few others of us survived where millions gave up. There are many books written by old back to the earthers but one thing you will notice is they are mostly about homesteads long gone.
    Stay warm up there Ron and Johanna.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Joel,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. This is quite an awesome site with like minded individuals.

      As a disclaimer for others, I only recently became aware of Joel when he contacted me about my book which was on Goodreads.

      I learned he is a long time off-gridder who also is an author so we share quite a bit of common ground. Joel’s book is titled “Impossible Beyond This Point: True Adventure Creating A Self-Sufficient Life In The Wilderness”

      I have not read the book yet but anything with self-sufficient and wilderness in the title has my attention. 🙂 I have no doubt it is an interesting book.

      In regards to staying warm… the proper weather term for the weather we are experiencing now is: Pity City! Lightly snowing again and it got all the way up to 26 today. The last 10 days have been much colder and snowier than average. There’s a couple inches of snow on the ground. Too soon!

      Thanks again Joel for stopping by! Ron

  22. Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

    Howdy Ron , still a Flyers fan ? You and I are almost the same age . My goal in the mid 70’s was Maine as well .

  23. Ron Melchiore says:

    Hi Crazy Joe,
    South Jersey huh. My stomping grounds were Cape May, Wildwood and the Villas.

    Sounds like you read the book to know about my little Flyers story ; I’m still traumatized 🙂

    I haven’t followed the Flyers for a long time. There will never be a team like Clarke, MacLeish, Barber etc. AHHH, the good ol days!

    Thanks for stopping by. Isn’t it amazing you are able to relate to a somewhat local guy and yet we now live so far remote. If you did read the book, thanks so much for the support! Please consider an Amazon review. I treasure every one. Thanks Joe. Ron

    • Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

      Ron , we could have been in Wildwood drinking in the
      ” Penalty Box ” at the same time . It has always been s0mewhat of a challenge to ignore the traffic and people in this metro area . Living in Cape May County and Cumberland County has its peaceful moments . Trick is to be on the Delaware Bay side of both counties where Shoobies do not come and taxes are cheap . Good luck selling your place . Where would you go when selling this one ?
      Joe .

  24. Ron Melchiore says:

    Hi Joe,
    I spent many summer vacations down on the Bay side. I love the bay and the ocean. As our last adventure in life before hitting the checkout counter, we plan on starting another off grid homestead right smack on the ocean or mighty close in Nova Scotia.

    You are at that special time of the year when most of the tourists are gone and the boardwalk is a fantastic place to go for a walk, whether Cape May or Wildwood. I’ve heard of the penalty box but have not been there. You might have guessed, I’m not much of a party animal. 🙂

    What I find amazing is that there had to be a time in our distant past where we must have been within a stones throw of one another. Hey, weren’t you that guy that… Oh, never mind. 🙂 Have a good one Joe.

    • Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

      FROM AN INTERVIEW , IN JULY 2016 , WITH RON BY AN ECO WOMAN .

      ” Mary: Now with climate change upon us, something that in the 1970s perhaps didn’t get much attention, do you feel you’re in a safe place by living off grid in Saskatchewan? ”

      I had to listen to GLOBAL COOLING from 1968 to 1979 . On the cover of Time , Newsweek , all the magazines and crack pot scientists predicted a new ICE AGE by 2025 . Then it switched to GLOBAL WARMING in the early 1990’s for 10 years . Then a pause then CLIMATE CHANGE .

      YES MARY , you did not hear about climate change in the 70’s because they called it Global Cooling . By 2020 it will be SPACE RADIATION . Ron , throw some more wood on if it gets cold .

      • Ron Melchiore says:

        Good thing we have a super insulated house Joe. We’re good either way the climate goes. It certainly has been a cooler fall than normal. Roughly 3 inches of snow on the ground and a snow warning in effect for another 4-6 coming later today and tonight. This is typical November weather.

  25. Chuck Findlay says:

    Without a big supply of money I would think it would be hard to do this today. Living as you do I don’t see how to make enough money (Books probably don’t generate much money?) to buy all you need for an off-grid life of this caliber.

    It would be interesting to see how it could be done.

    I’m working for a much more remote life location wise, I’m putting away a lot of silver, supplies, tools and the like. But at the same time I still need to be close enough to do my work.

    Age aside, do you think you would be able to do it today?
    Buildings, barns, tractors, wells, wood stoves, A portable wood sew to make lumber, fuel to run it, and the 1,000 other things needed cost much more today then in the past.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Chuck,
      My book gives the reader a real good idea of how we have pulled this off so I don’t want to rehash a lot of it but, in essence, we lived spartan for 20 years. Outhouse, hand water pump, work hard from sun up to sun down 7 days a week until I couldn’t go anymore, rest a day and then repeat. Have a wife that worked hard as well. I never had that paternal instinct so we don’t have kids. Save every penny, live frugally, if you absolutely have to go in to debt, make sure to pay it off long before it is ever due. Credit cards are OK as long as each month it is paid off in full. If you owe money to a bank, in essence, you are now working for the bank to make money to cover interest as well as principle. Banks haven’t made much in interest on us in our lifetime.

      Even while living in the bush, I/we have been able to get a job working in a bush camp for a few months some years that has helped a lot. Our expenses are very low compared to most which helps as well.

      Obviously any endeavor like the sawmill I built, has to not only pay for itself, but is has to make some income to bank.

      As for your question would we be able to do it again today… absolutely! Once I get a notion in my head, it’s full steam ahead. Standby, for we will be making a life change in the near future. We will be starting from scratch to create a new off grid homestead.

      If an off grid homestead is what you want Chuck, don’t let anything stand in the way of your dream. Pursue it with everything you’ve got. I wish you the best of luck! Ron

  26. Chuck Findlay says:

    Then you add to that the government’s dislike of off-grid life (doesn’t generate enough tax for them) and you have another problem to deal with.

  27. Great going, Ron and Johanna. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Ron Melchiore says:

    You are more than welcome Mari. Thank you so much for stopping in and commenting. All the best! Ron

  29. Encourager says:

    Sigh. If only I were even 20 years younger! Would love to give this a go. Sounds like you have created your own paradise, Ron. Thanks for the article and I look forward to others from you.

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Hello Encourager,
      Alas, we aren’t getting any younger are we? Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I’ll try to submit another article by this weekend. All the best! Ron

  30. Something I’d suggest for the things that use different fuels. When the shtf we won’t have fuel, so my suggestion is there’s a guy who tells you how to recondition old even dead batteries using solar. I wouldn’t worry too much about the greenhouse, it can use direct sunshine. Other that you use fuel for though I’m doing the same thing, trying to get them on solar and not panels. Nobody is getting younger (I read the above post) I’m a sniper from the Viet Nam War(?) If you can’t find that battery reconditioning thing and want it just let me know.

  31. Ron Melchiore says:

    Thanks Rob for stopping by and commenting.

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