Chance favors the prepared!

Off Grid and Free – A homesteader’s story

garden-house-and-outbuildingsEditor’s Note: Please welcome Ron Melchiore to Plan and Prepared. Ron has lived “Off-grid” and self-reliant for over 30 years. He has a wealth of information on this subject. Here is his story!

A chilly hello from the Canadian wilderness! A plethora of websites on the Internet cater to the prepping/off-grid/homesteading communities and it can be mind numbing to sort through them all.

I like our host James’s site for being clean, uncluttered and straightforward. I also like the name he has chosen. Plan and Prepared. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! If you plan properly, everything else falls into place.

My wife and I have lived an unconventional life and I now find myself in the strange position of writing articles for some of these wonderful websites. We come to you as two experienced homesteaders who have lived our lives unconnected from the power grid for almost 37 years.

I write to you from 100 miles in the Canadian wilderness. This computer/satellite link is our only connection to the outside world. We shop twice a year in the spring and fall and it is only during those 2 times when we take care of our resupply needs, appointments and interact with other human beings.

plane-dockingWe live alone on a remote lake. When that float plane brought us home  in early October, lifted off the lake surface, and disappeared beyond the horizon that would be our last touch with our fellow-man for quite some time. We won’t see another human until April.

The mere fact that we live so isolated dictates a measure of preparation most haven’t even considered. We have taken self-reliance beyond theory and live it daily. After 37 years, it has become second nature to us.

It is important to note that we did not start out in the wilderness. Far from it. I was a city boy who grew up in the suburbs. My career was as an electronics technician. I always felt there had to be more to life than working it away for someone else. When my supervisor suggested homesteading as an alternative, the blue light special started flashing and I’ve never looked back.

Shortly thereafter, I headed to Maine to homestead. I was part of the back to the land movement in the 1970’s and made my land purchase in 1979. My wife joined me a few years after I arrived in Maine. We spent a total of 20 years  learning and mastering gardening, food preservation and a myriad of other  preparedness skills. Part of the appeal of our self-reliant lifestyle is the freedom it affords.

aerial-view-of-the-homestead

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In my life, I have been blessed to have winter thru-hiked all 2100+miles of the Appalachian Trail, cross Country bicycled across the United States, spent 17 years in the bush, been touched by a bear yet lived to tell the tale, survived forest fires and more.

All of these experience form a foundation which gives me/us confidence that we will be able to handle whatever the world throws our way. I note that our host James has some reservations about the term “Prepper” and to be honest, I have some too.

But you don’t have to be an extremist to be a prepper as news and TV imply. In fact, quite the contrary. I am finding many down to earth prepper sites that are simply trying to provide others with the knowledge to tide them over in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Whether natural or man-made.

Prepper is a relatively new term compared to a “Homesteader” which has been around for a long time. As I think about terminology, anybody from the past who homesteaded or had a simple interest in self-reliance and self-sufficiency was in fact a prepper. As homesteaders, we grow and put by most of our food, We provide all of our power needs. We provide all of our water and heating needs. You can call us homesteaders, preppers or prepared people. Makes no difference to us.

The reverse is not true though. You can be a prepper in a city apartment but are obviously not a homesteader. You can be someone who has a plan and has made some preparations for that unforeseen natural disaster or outage from the power grid. Something as simple as having extra food and water is a good start.

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.

me-at-home

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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 James 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.

You are also welcome to get updates on our life via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/offgridandfree.mypathtothewilderness

Thank you!

Ron

voteStay safe out there!

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