Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

easy way out


One doesn’t chose to live off grid on an island if they want it easy. Normally, we enjoy the work involved to succeed here.                        April 2 264

Shhh don’t tell anyone but we drove down our new driveway yesterday.. That’s right. We drove to our door. We (E) did not carry the four tanks of propane down the hill in a wheelbarrow one at a time. Each 40 lb tank weighs 72 lbs. While we were heading down the hill we loaded the truck up with firewood.  We didn’t carry the logs one wheelbarrow at a time… Our groceries, a flat of water bottles and a ten pound container of water from the well at SoHo were also given a free ride down the hill. DSCN8932

E had to see a Specialist in town yesterday for test results. The water was calm and the sun came out so we multi tasked and brought our propane tanks to fill. We go to the Husky down the highway for the best price. We were late for the appointment but our good and wonderful and kind and sweet friend BD put the full tanks on the boat for us while we rushed to the appointment. The news wasn’t perfect and involves another trip to the big city in the next few weeks to get thinks sorted out. It isn’t urgent but needs to be taken care of before it becomes urgent… We forgot E’s phone in the car at BH. Living on this island you just can’t forget your keys or phone or wallet when you go back or forth. It takes a lot of time and boat gas when you make a mistake like that.. MB is going to town today and offered to save us a trip to retrieve the phone.. She came through the cut and stopped by our stoop for our car keys…


We use about 14 pounds of propane a week.. The fridge, stove and on demand hot water are on propane. The fridge is the biggest consumer, about 1.5 pounds per day. One day we will have a solar Sunfrost fridge… They cost a ton of money ($3500.00)  but would pay for itself in three or four years in saved propane.. It’s on our list.

In the summer the eagles leave our neighbourhood for better eating elsewhere.. But in anticipation of herring season, they are back. Close examination of the tree tops on the island often reveals the tell-tale white scarf of an eagle fishing. april 13 126[1] We have two in the tree beside our living room chatting all day… Hopefully the herring season is a good one and we will have a show like two years ago. If for no other reason to give me something interesting to write about.

So there is the update or confession if you will.. We made a rookie mistake leaving the phone behind. We imposed on MB to retrieve it for us AND we drove down the hill with our heavy load. I freely admit, lately we have taken the easy way out…



Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

9 thoughts on “easy way out

  1. Well said. It IS a rookie mistake…one we have all made and will likely continue to do as we get older and more forgetful. The interesting thing is that almost all of those errors are fixable in advance – a spare set of car keys on the vehicle, a spare set of glasses in your luggage and vehicle and so on. Tip: the local barge service will deliver propane. Buy a PIG or a tank and have it done once a year. Here’s an irony; we came out here to be healthy and work and live simply….and we have…..but much of the time I have worked to make things easier, put in conveniences and tried to be more ‘comfortable’. Weird. Even more weird? The absolute luxury and bliss experienced from a good, hot, plentiful shower. Who knew?

    • No barge propane delivery here. We wish! There is a guy who will deliver 100 pound tanks at more than double the price of us going to town.. But he is getting old and the service won’t be round much longer. In a glass house facing south we are going to move our money to solar dependency and away from propane. Eventually… It’s on the list… We have car keys hidden on boats and boat keys hidden in cars….. Need to hide car keys on cars!

  2. You had the driveway done for a reason. You are just working smarter now! Hope they didn’t find anything significant with E’s results to worry about.

  3. lights and small appliances is fairly easy. It takes a lot of solar panels and batteries when you plug in something refrigerated. The amp/hours demanded require a pretty good size array of panels with battery storage to match. The inverter, 2000 watt minimum is fairly expensive also. You would probably still want to have the propane for a backup. two or three cloudy days in a row, would bring your stored power down to unusable levels. Of course, you could charge the batteries back up with the generator if it will handle it. When the sun don’t shine, you will need fuel of some kind. It’s an interesting challenge.

    • Agreed. I have 2100 watts and 600ah of storage with most things on propane. The genset sits idle for half the year. The sun does it all. And does most of it on the shoulder seasons. But even 3000 watts is not enough for the winter and that is without any heavy draws (biggest is water pump at 9 amps at 120v). It might be time to get ‘cooperative’ and join with ten others to put in a large tank somewhere? The good part? You don’t need as much refrigeration in the sun-less winter. Our outdoor food shed is a giant fridge in the winter months – no power draw.

    • We have already 1000 watts of solar panels and a 2000 watt inverter and about 600 Amh of storage. A 7 kilowatt generator for charging the batteries when the sun don’t shine. To add the fridge we will add battery storage and prob upgrade our inverter. Two of our neighbours have the sun frost solar fridge and it is sweet! I don’t think they have too many more panels than we have …. The solar panels are down to about 280.00 for 250 watts.

      We have 600 watts of extra solar panels which when installed with an upgraded inverter and increased battery storage would allow us to run the well pump off the inverter. We have a 7 kilo diesel Kubota generator doing the job now. Be nice to save on the diesel.

      On this island there are as many systems as houses and none are the same… If nothing else it provides endless hours of dinner conversations…. Don’t get me started on septic!!

      • Ah, yes, the perpetual and popular ever-so-fun topic of pooping.
        It may get stinky but it never gets stale. We all love to eat and, it seems, love to talk about all the ins and outs of it. And some think mankind is complicated!
        I can hardly wait for Elons batteries. Then I’ll suggest he get on the toilet issue. What would we talk about then? Sex, religion and politics, perhaps?

      • No more politics for me….. I go back to tomatoe talk 😉

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