by Jaymi Goetze
Editor’s note: Jaymi Goetze has written for the Forks Forum in the past. This week starts a series of articles she will be doing as she “goes off the grid” and readers will get to experience her journey. As the series goes along and if you have questions, feel free to e-mail her at [email protected]
It started in 2007 when I began pursuing my education through Peninsula College. I enrolled in Environmental Science, taught by Ed Ansorg. First thought, “Hippie.” Every day he reused the same bottle and he smelled of Dr. Bronner’s Soap.
Every aspect of life was brought to my attention including how my carbon footprint was affecting everyone and everything around me. Deforestation (I support the timber industry), rice, poverty at home and around the globe, ways to be self-sustainable, the list of topics goes on.
One simple assignment asked me if I bought lunch meat. “Duh, who doesn’t like sandwiches?!” I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember my score being pretty high all because I bought lunch meat. Another lesson was about garbage. Where does it go after the dump? It goes nowhere; it may decompose but most of it just sits.
That’s when I started really considering doing my part. But what was my part beyond not buying prepackaged lunch meat and recycling (which I’m really terrible at doing)?
I gave it thought almost every day, but there was always something else to do and always an excuse. I lived in an apartment, I made little money and I moved across country about 10 times.
When my husband Philip and I moved to Michigan, I got to experience a real farm. Although my grandparents had a farm with cattle and a garden, Pleasant Home Farm is a real working farm, 120 acres, a giant tractor, giant barn complete with a silo — Philip’s dad worked all day long on the farm.
They sold produce, raised chickens, turkeys, cattle. It was incredible. Philip’s mother made her own noodles and bread from scratch! Yeah, most people can make their own bread, not me.
I don’t know the first thing about operating a farm or a homestead. I’m positive that the first step is buying an apron. I’d sew one but let’s be honest, I can’t do that either. To top it off, they ate what they grew.
I wanted that and I wanted to take it a step further.
Now that I’m settled down, married with three kids and a giant Great Dane, it’s time to do our “part.” Ed and I stayed close after that class was over. We have a great friendship. Ed is my husband’s and my best friend in the entire world.
He always has been a part of our family. We do everything together. Why not start a homestead/farm together? Ed has the land. That was his plan when he moved out here from Ohio. Get some land, have some friends, be self-sustainable. Here we are now, sounding like a cult, but I can assure you that we are not a cult (I have a dark sense of humor, sorry).
After a couple years of talking about it, we have decided to go off grid. We have a beautiful home that functions on a 24 volt DC solar-powered system with deep cycle batteries. Yes, we have water and lights. Ha ha! There is no Internet and no Direct TV though.
We have fruit trees that are thriving, but the entire 20 acres of land needs a lot of attention. But that will be fun and the satisfaction that we will get from completing the endless projects will be awesome!
We are a very modern family switching up our entire way of life. If Phil and I can teach our girls anything, it’s to be self-reliant. We are ready to live, get our hands dirty and be as self-sustainable as possible. Wish us luck! We are going to need it!