Building "off-grid"

- The Bug -

The bug was probably planted in the mid-70's when my mom started talking about buying a hobby farm on the outskirts of Grand Forks, North Dakota, where I was born and raised.  She had all sorts of ideas about self-sufficiency and ecologically conscious living, but with a career husband, 5 kids (maybe 8-16 years old at the time) and a business of her own, it simply didn't work out.  I was only 10 or so back then, but was reminded of her dream when I tried to buy my first house back in 1990 - a 10 acre hobby farm between River Falls and Hudson, Wisconsin.  That purchase didn't work out for a variety of reasons, but the ideas remained in the back of my head.  Ironically, I ended up buying a house right in town (St. Paul, MN), where I lived for 5 years.  Living right in the middle of a metro area neighborhood convinced me that the peace and quiet was in my future.  I sold the St. Paul home in 1995 and bought a little rambler on 5 acres in East Bethel, MN...very much 'boonies' at the time.  This was a pretty new house on a small wildlife lake surrounded by 40 empty acres at the time...exactly the serenity I had been seeking.  But... (click pictures for larger view)

St. Paul home and aerial view

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Not a bad little house or a bad little acreage, but...

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..."progress" kicks in one day, and suddenly you're surrounded (again).

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"Why so far out?  Why so much land?", you ask?   (a note about neighbors)


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