It's 3am as I'm sitting writing this and when I got up to load up the fire I discovered it was nearly out. I am nursing it back to life before I return to bed to try and ensure the yurt is warm when everyone wakes in a few hours. I'll fill the kettle and put it on the stovetop before going back to bed so it's hot for Grants morning cup of tea when he gets up at 6.

The yurt has very little thermal mass, so once the fire is out it quickly cools down. Last night I slept through and the kids grumbled all morning as they shivered getting changed.
This is the reality of living off-grid. There is no backup system. No heater we can quickly plug in because we can't be bothered or because the fire went out. The wood always needs to be sourced, chopped, stacked and split, the wood box inside needs to be filled once or twice a day. 

To write to you now I have had to unplug most of the house and turn on the inverter so we have power. I can't keep it on for long as I'm running on our very small battery bank. It's not good for them to run out. 
To save power, I light candles when I'm up overnight. To run the washing machine, dishwasher and vacuum I need to turn the generator on. Fortunately, these days our generator has a remote, but it still needs fueling up, and that fuel has to be lugged in. If we don't keep an eye on our fuel stores, we loose our backup power. Which is fine unless someone accidentally drains the batteries by plugging in something we can only run when the sun is shining. Which happens, because people make mistakes. When that happens we have no power, no lights and no wifi/phone service. 

When we first moved here we had two small solar panels and one car battery. It ran some 12v lights, a tiny fan and the 12v telly but not all at once. It also allowed me to turn the internet on briefly a few times throughout the day, as that required the inverter which uses a fair bit of power on its own. 

Over the last 3 years, we have become accustomed to living like this. It has made us more conscious of our ecological footprint, and we have become more connected to the seasons. When it's hot, the yurt is hot. When it's cold we feel it also. Due to the design of the yurt, we are connected to the nature around us. The rain and the wind is noisy, we can hear the rustle of the trees and the birds sing. Even when all the doors and windows are closed. 

Over the last few years our systems have become more technological, we have a bigger solar system and battery bank which allows us to run power all day. I even run a dishwasher and washing machine on the generator with ease. 

Recently we were discussing if we should bring a second-hand cottage onto the property, which I mentioned a few posts back. After a lot of discussion and too-ing and fro-ing, we have decided against it. 

Instead, we will be putting on a large deck, with a couple of rooms on it for the boys. The deck will have big panels that can be closed for winter and it will be a kind of outdoor/indoor room. We have an old wood oven we will put out there as part of an outdoor kitchen for off-grid summer cooking. We can rejig the living space of the yurt a bit to add some more kitchen bench along the outer edge and a wall of bookshelves. Elsie will be moved up to the loft, her room will become a home office/sewing room for me and Grant will put a door at the opening so they can be closed off for privacy. One day we can retrofit the yurt to have better insulation, windows and cladding. Many people do, but there is no rush.  

We have decided to make do with what we have got, to utilize every spare cm and keep our debits down. Rather than put ourselves under unnecessary financial pressure, we are choosing time. Time with our family. Time to work on our property. Time to sit around the campfire, go on bushwalks and tend to our small, but slowly expanding garden.  

Our home here will never be big, but I'm fine about that. I like my funny little house. I like feeling connected to the seasons. I like that living small forces us outside. Humans are prone to taking the easy path, which I don't think is always good for us. In many ways, our lives have never been easier. We have 24/7 connection at our fingertips, tools for every job, climate control at the press of a button, and endless food at our disposal. Instead of being happier, we are more stressed with mental health issues at an all-time high. The cost of living is higher than ever before. People suffer from disconnection and loneliness. Longing to be part of a community. 

The reserve bank is going to keep increasing interest rates for at least the remainder of the year. Currently, they are still low but combined with the record-breaking house prices and subsequent mortgages, it's going to hurt. There is also increasing talk of a global recession.  

The cost of fresh veggies is going through the roof, $10 lettuce, anyone? (to be fair, it's not the season for lettuce, but nonetheless.) and going to the fuel pump is an exercise in pain. Not to mention there's been a drastic increase in the cost of energy. 

It seems like many people are experiencing or are about to experience a level of financial hardship they have not experienced before, with no sign of things improving any time soon. The growth economy is clearly broken and unsustainable. Yet our world leaders and those in power refuse to back down. 
But we as individuals do have a choice in how we live our lives. Now is a good time to be trying to grow our own food, or to join a community garden if space doesn't allow much. It's a great time to have chickens, who turn kitchen scraps and garden greens into little balls of protein goodness. It's a wonderful time to support our local op-shops and to learn how to mend and make do. It's a brilliant time to learn how to cook delicious, frugal, healthy meals from scratch. 

But if we focus only on saving money from a purely a scarcity mindset, life can become pretty miserable. 
Instead, if we can shift our perspective to look for the joys and delight within an experience we can change our perception. Despite living in perhaps the fastest moving period in history, it is possible to re-learn how to focus and be entirely in the moment, rather than distracted by all things trying to compete for our attention. 

Elsie and I went with a dear family friend to a local historical village the other day. She loved the 'choo choo' train especially. The big beautiful Clydesdale horses had my heart. 

Entertainment doesn't have to cost much for it to be fantastic. Picnics, bushwalks, going to the river/lake/beach. Spending time at parks or in the garden, watching a movie or even starting a family-friendly series together are all good fun. Having friends over for a make-your-own pizza is a delicious and cheap way to feed a crowd, and gives everyone a shared project to focus on. Recently an old friend taught us a couple of new card games, and now whenever we go out I need to make sure there is a deck of cards in my bag at the boys request. Checking out your local historical sites can be a super interesting experience too. The possibilities are endless, and I find if we are still feeling uninspired or restless, we just need to add some more people into the mix and suddenly they bring a whole different perspective. 

I don't believe we are designed to do this thing called life alone, rather we are meant to do it surrounded by friends and family. Wether they be people we share the same genetics with, or similar interests. 
On that note, I had best get going. My favorite people need me. 

Much love,
Get Discount