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Is Off-Grid Life The Right Choice For You And Your Family?

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Off Grid Eco Living

It might be the “new American dream.” We’re talking about off-grid living. 

For those not in the know, living off-grid means that you have absolutely no connections to the power grid, community water or gas. You’re a self-contained little unit. That means that you can’t rely on the outside world for any of these basic necessities… but it also means that you don’t have to.

Off-grid living isn’t just for hardcore preppers waiting for the end of the world as we know it. It’s also for people seeking greater financial independence and greater resilience against changes in financial markets. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it can be an attractive option for people looking to get out of the rat race and live a slower pace of life.

Homesteading

At the end of the day, off-grid living isn’t a hobby. It’s a lifestyle. You have to be prepared to live that lifestyle otherwise the benefits probably aren’t going to be worth it. It comes with a whole new set of challenges that might be worth it or just a big headache you don’t want to deal with. 

Is Off-Grid Life Right For You?

Before going any further, you should consider some of the things that will be radically different if you decide to live off grid.

First, if you’re not handy or technical, living off-grid can be extremely difficult unless you have a massive pile of cash. You can save tons of money and move off-grid for very cheap provided that you know how to install things when they arrive and fix things when they break. Even your house can be tens of thousands of dollars cheaper if you, for example, know how to assemble a kit or add a solar system to an RV – or if you can quickly learn how to do these things.

Another thing to consider is that when you live off-grid you’re usually far removed from civilization. In certain parts of the country, like Arizona, Montana or Alaska, “far removed” might only mean half an hour… but that’s an hour round trip every time you need to go grocery shopping or run other routine errands.

So these are a couple things you should consider before you start learning about what you need to start living your life off of the grid. 

Getting Electricity To Your Off-Grid Homestead

Power is the backbone of any off-grid living situation. Fortunately, solar technology is much better, much cheaper and much more accessible than it was even five years ago. Another good thing about solar power is that it’s very scalable and modular, so you can start with something that just runs the bare essentials, lean on a generator when you need it and build out the rest of the solar as money comes in.

Solar systems are a bit more complicated than you probably think. You need panels, batteries, a charge controller and an inverter to make the electricity usable… not to mention all the wiring you’re going to need. The costs can add up quickly, but if you can do it yourself you can save a bundle. If you can’t, it’s certainly not a dealbreaker for off-grid life – lots of handymen won’t touch anything electrical related. 

Knowing how much electrical power you need can be a real challenge and a lot of it is going to be contingent upon where you decide to build. You’re going to need way more panels in Oregon than you will in Arizona. Locals will probably be able to hip you to what they have that works for them so don’t be too intimidated when you start trying to figure out volts, amps and watts. You don’t really have to get too bogged down in the weeds here if you don’t want to.

Getting Heat To Your Off-Grid Home

Heat is fortunately much more straightforward than the power part of things, but there are some variables.

For example, if you decide to live in an RV or similar (even temporarily until you build up your homestead) it will probably have its own heating system and then it’s just a matter of getting propane in to heat the place. 

Homesteading

When you build your new home it might come with a heating system similar to what you have on the grid right now. Then it’s just a matter of always making sure that there is a steady supply of propane (or whatever fuel you’re using to heat your home). Simply. 

Slightly more complicated – though not much more – is a wood heating stove. Lots of people use these because firewood is comparatively cheap (depending on where you choose to live it might, in fact, be free) and what’s cozier than looking at a roaring fire heating your home? You have to make sure that you’re properly ventilating and expelling the smoke and you have to take all the precautions that you would take with fire inside your home. 

Propane-powered space heaters are a great way to efficiently heat a single room or a small area to prevent you from having to run your main heat when you’re just kind of hanging out in one room. 

Getting Water To Your Off-Grid House

When you first get to your land chances are good that you’re going to be hauling water. From where? Well…

Ever see those water tanks on the side of the road when you’re driving? Turns out a bunch of them can be used by just about anyone with a quarter. So you basically drive up in your truck, fill up a water tank, haul it out to where you live and use a transfer pump to get it from point A to point B. 

If you’re in for the longer term, you might want to think about getting a well. However, wells are not as cut and dried as you might think. Exploratory drilling for a well is expensive and if the exploration comes up with nothing you don’t get your money back. You’re just out potentially tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of finding out that you’re not sitting on enough water for a well.

Homesteading

If you do happen to strike water, however, all you need to get water for the rest of your life is enough electricity to power the pump. That’s not a heck of a lot and even the most basic solar systems generally can handle that. 

A quick word before we direct you to our long-form guide to living off grid: You need a truck, preferably one with a decent towing capacity. A lot of things you’re used to having delivered you’re going to have to go and pick up for yourself. Hauling water is almost certainly going to be a necessity at first and if you’re the kind of handyman who is going to be doing a lot of your improvements, that’s a lot of building material to haul back and forth.

So is off-grid life right for you?

We can’t say. But we hope we’ve given you a better insight into what is involved so that you can make that decision for yourself.

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Supreme Court Declines Appeal: Minnesota Woman Denied Unemployment Benefits Over COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal

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In a significant development highlighting the intersection of religious freedoms, COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and employment law, the Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a Minnesota woman who was denied unemployment benefits after refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The case, involving Tina Goede, sheds light on the ongoing debate surrounding vaccine mandates and religious exemptions in the wake of the pandemic.

The crux of the issue revolves around Goede’s termination from her position as an account sales manager at Astra Zeneca in 2022. Her refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine stemmed from religious beliefs that prohibit the injection of foreign substances into her body, which she considers to be a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Additionally, Goede expressed objections to the vaccine on the grounds that it was either manufactured or tested using aborted fetal cell lines, despite the fact that not all available vaccines were produced using this method.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development denied Goede’s request for unemployment benefits, arguing that her refusal to get vaccinated was based more on skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy rather than purely on religious grounds. A judge concurred with this assessment, noting that Goede was willing to receive other vaccines but refused the COVID-19 vaccine due to her distrust of its effectiveness.

Despite Goede’s attorneys arguing that her religious beliefs were unfairly questioned and discounted, both the initial denial of benefits and the subsequent decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals to uphold the ruling remained unchanged. The rejection of Goede’s appeal by the Supreme Court indicates that there may not be a clear legal precedent or overarching question to address in this specific case.

However, the broader implications of this decision are significant. The case raises important questions about how religious objections to employer policies are evaluated, particularly when those objections coincide with secular concerns. It also underscores the complexity of balancing religious freedoms with public health measures, especially in the context of vaccine mandates aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Moreover, Goede’s case is just one example of the ongoing debate surrounding vaccine mandates and religious exemptions. As the pandemic continues and vaccine mandates remain a contentious issue, similar cases are likely to arise, prompting further examination of how religious beliefs are considered in the context of employment law.

In conclusion, while the Supreme Court’s rejection of Goede’s appeal may not have established a new legal precedent, it has brought attention to the nuanced challenges surrounding vaccine mandates and religious freedoms in the post-pandemic era. As such cases continue to emerge, they will undoubtedly shape the ongoing discourse on individual rights, public health, and the role of government intervention in safeguarding both.

Did the Supreme Court make the right decision? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Escalating Russian Attacks on Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure

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The recent wave of Russian drone and missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure represents a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two nations. These attacks have caused extensive damage to power plants, substations, and natural gas storage facilities, posing serious challenges to Ukraine’s ability to provide electricity and heat to its citizens.

Russian airstrikes have targeted virtually every thermal power plant in Ukraine, rendering some plants inoperable for several years. Additionally, attacks on substations and the Dnipro Hydroelectric Dam have raised concerns about ecological disasters and threatened the stability of Ukraine’s power grid. The loss of grid connectivity at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has heightened fears of a potential nuclear incident, highlighting the grave consequences of the attacks.

Impact on Ukraine’s Gas Infrastructure

In a further escalation, Russia has targeted Ukraine’s natural gas storage facilities, which play a crucial role in supplying gas to European customers. Although the storage facilities themselves are underground, the attacks on pumping stations have necessitated repairs and raised concerns about gas supply disruptions. Despite assurances from Ukrainian officials, the attacks underscore the vulnerability of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and the potential for broader consequences on regional energy markets.

Geopolitical Implications

The timing of the attacks coincides with reports of pressure from the White House on Ukraine to halt its drone strikes on Russian oil refineries, citing concerns about oil prices ahead of the US presidential election. This has led to outrage in Kyiv and highlighted the complex dynamics surrounding energy security and geopolitical interests. As Ukraine’s recovery efforts face mounting challenges and Western capitals navigate competing priorities, the path forward remains uncertain.

Amidst the destruction of its energy infrastructure, Ukraine urgently requires adequate air defense systems to protect against future Russian attacks. Without crucial military aid and faced with pressure to restrain its actions, Kyiv’s ability to defend its sovereignty and infrastructure is increasingly constrained. The resilience of Ukrainians working to restore their country’s energy systems is commendable, but the road to recovery remains arduous in the face of ongoing aggression.

The situation in Ukraine is important for American preppers because it showcases just how crucial a working electrical grid is for basic survival. While America might not be under threat of attack from Russian bombs, our electrical grid is very fragile and creaky. American families must be prepared for the worst when it comes to our grid.

How are you and your family preparing for a “grid down” scenario? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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The MISO Power Grid Bottleneck and Its Implications

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The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) manages a vast portion of the North American electric grid, serving 45 million people across 15 states. However, a critical bottleneck exists where the northern and southern regions meet, limiting the flow of power between them and creating inefficiencies in the system.

Understanding the Bottleneck

The bottleneck arises from limited connectivity between MISO’s northern and southern regions and a contractual agreement known as the regional directional transfer limit (RDT). This agreement restricts the amount of power that can flow between the regions, partly to protect neighboring grid operators like the Southwest Power Pool and the Tennessee Valley Authority. However, this constraint stifles the efficient exchange of electricity and contributes to disparities in pricing between regions.

An analysis by Catherine Hausman of the University of Michigan suggests that major utility companies in MISO’s southern region, such as Entergy, may have financial incentives to resist improvements to transmission connections. Entergy’s subsidiaries in Louisiana and Arkansas stand to lose significant profits if market integration is achieved, according to Hausman’s research. Despite accusations of hindering transmission upgrades, Entergy maintains that its profits are not contingent on power generation frequency.

Challenges and Stakeholder Perspectives

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The persistence of the bottleneck poses challenges for utility regulators, industry stakeholders, and consumers. High-demand areas, known as load pockets, struggle to access cheaper electricity from other regions, leading to reliability issues and price disparities during severe weather events. Efforts to address the bottleneck face hurdles related to cost allocation, regulatory approval, and competing interests among stakeholders.

MISO plans to address the bottleneck as part of its long-range transmission planning process, but progress remains slow due to disagreements over cost sharing and project prioritization. Achieving grid integration between MISO’s northern and southern regions is essential for improving reliability, lowering costs, and maximizing the benefits of a regional energy market.

The MISO grid bottleneck underscores the complexities of managing a vast and interconnected electric grid. Addressing this challenge requires collaboration among utilities, regulators, and policymakers to prioritize investments in transmission infrastructure, overcome financial incentives that may impede progress, and ensure equitable access to affordable and reliable electricity for all consumers across the MISO footprint.

American prepper families should be aware of bottlenecks in the American grid. These bottlenecks can quickly turn into life-or-death disasters for the American public.

How are you and your family preparing for the dire consequences of a grid bottleneck?

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