Confessions Of A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off Grid (AMA)

Ron Melchiore
By Ron Melchiore November 16, 2016 13:50

Confessions Of A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off Grid (AMA)

By Ron Melchiore

Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness. No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left. Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!


That is the situation for my wife and me. When I look back on my life, I can only marvel and wonder at how in the world a city born guy who grew up in the suburbs could end up so far removed from society. We are indeed 100 miles in the Canadian wilderness.aerial-of-hockley-lake

Twice a year, a float plane comes in to pick us up to go shop, fetch mail, take care of appointments and interact with other humans. Then we fly home and we generally don’t see another person for the next 6 months. This computer/satellite becomes our link to the outside world.another-aerial-view-house-ron

As part of the back to the land movement back in the 70’s (I know, sooo long ago), I started on the path of self-reliance by homesteading in Maine for 20 years. My career was electronics and even back then, as a young man, I always felt there had to be more to life than working it away for someone else. At the suggestion of my supervisor, I explored homesteading and never looked back.

I teamed up with my wife Johanna a few years after my arrival in Maine. We make a formidable pair. After 37 years of living sustainably off-grid, the lifestyle has become second nature to us.


The Hockley “Hilton”, our temporary home for 4 months while we built our house

To that end, we provide all our power with a hybrid solar/wind system. We’ve mastered gardening and grow the vast majority of our vegetables and

My wife Johanna cans hundreds of jars of yummy delights every year so that our pantry is always fully stocked.


Our cookstove also heats our hot running water

Instead of raising, slaughtering and butchering livestock like we did during our years in Maine, we now fly in a side of beef and a whole frozen pig.


Digging our well and building our water system

We still cut and wrap meat, make sausages, cure and smoke our hams and bacon and as a last step, render fat to make the majority of our own soap.


Digging our own rootcellar


Our woodshed and our hand pump

Part of the attraction of this lifestyle is the freedom it gives us. Not only to live comfortably in the bush, but also to take opportunities along the path of life. I’ve been blessed to have winter thru-hiked all 2100+ miles of the Appalachian Trail, bicycled across the United States from Pacific to Atlantic oceans, been touched by a bear (I hope that doesn’t happen again!), survived forest fires and more.

What does all of this have to do with self-sufficiency and being prepared? You can have experience, all the neat gadgets in the world, and book smarts but if you mentally fall apart in an emergency, those things won’t be of much value.  The collective experiences I’ve had in life give me/us the necessary confidence to deal with unforeseen exogenous events. The mere fact that we live and thrive in such a remote location is only possible because we not only have the experience and knowledge but we also have the confidence to be alone out here by ourselves. We’ve certainly taken the self-reliant lifestyle to another level and by extension, are prepared for whatever may come our

I’ve written a book titled Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness which passes on some of the experience and knowledge I learned along the way. It is my hope that my book gives encouragement and a shot of confidence to others to pursue their dreams, regardless of what those aspirations are.

I love the name of this site, “Ask a Prepper”. I welcome comments, questions and feedback. Just as Claude and his website are trying to be a venue for disbursing information, I am trying to do my part as well. Based on the questions and feedback I receive, I will write a follow up post to address those specific questions and comments. I have a number of youtube videos and this video will give you a better sense of who I am.

Editor’s Note: Please feel free to ask Ron (in the comment area) any particular questions you have about going off the grid.

You may also like:

The Best 5 States for Living Off-Grid

The Only Deadly Disease Guaranteed to Strike in Any Crisis (Video)

Powering an Off the Grid House (Cost-Effective)

Best Fuels For Off-Grid Survival

How To Disappear Completely When SHTF

Ron Melchiore
By Ron Melchiore November 16, 2016 13:50
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  1. Lvj November 16, 17:12

    Do you have to pay taxes on the land you live on, assuming you are mortgage free?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 17:23

      Hello Lvj,
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We have what is called a crown lease. So each year, we pay a lease fee to the government for the land itself.

      But alas, there’s no way to avoid the taxes in life even though we are so far remote. We do pay tax on our house which we own. All the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
      • R2 November 16, 22:37

        So, if you’re “living of the grid” then why the buying of beef or pork from the store? What happens if the plane crashes? Do you have other folks to come & help out? Phones or internet or whatever. Is that considered “being off the grid”? What if there’s a “shtf” scenario where no one can get to you any longer? Can you live on just vegatables? Then, what if your machines like your windmills or solar panels breakdown? While I’m sure there’s lots of effort that goes into this kind of lifestyle that you’re living, It seems like you must have an awful lot of money stored away to do these things.I would think that a lot of folks who had a lot of money, & had the ability to live out in the wilderness in these long periods alone, would be able to do the same things if they thought it would be of some advantage or other don’t you think? I lived for 7 months in a “live like the Indians” kind of a thing. in an outback area several hundred miles from any civilization. It was 3 (straight) guys, ex-military buds, & we didn’t have all the stuff you have. We did bring vegatable seedlings to approximate around 1 months growth, to plant & a few other things like an axe & knife, but the rest of what we made was out of what was around us. We were next to a lake & a nice big stream as well. We were suppose to live there for a year but in the end I was glad to get back to our kind of civilization. Over those 7 months it got to be spending all our time just finding food. Even trout gets old after a while & we did kill some of the wild life around us & smoked some of it. We also had a SAT phone just in case.

        Reply to this comment
        • Ron Melchiore November 17, 01:03

          Hi R2,

          You ask some good thoughtful questions. I responded to mowgly somewhere below to offer my thoughts on the term off-grid. People might be confusing the term off-grid with self-reliance. Off grid has a number of definitions but for most, off grid simply means being disconnected from the traditional power grid. Being off-grid is just one way a person can strive to be self-sufficient. We provide our own power by means of solar, wind and small 6KW diesel generator. We have backup communications as well. We have VOIP (internet telephone) with SAT phone as backup.

          You ask what happens if our power systems go down? Fair question. What does any homeowner do when the traditional power grid goes down? What recourse do most people have? Not much unless they have prepared. In our situation, we have back up to the back up. In other words, it would be highly unlikely all systems fail. One is a back up to the other. Worst case, and everything fails, I still have a better chance of surviving out here.

          We are not wealthy people. This lifestyle actually keeps our expenses to a minimum.

          As far as buying and flying in beef and pork… I grew up on beef, pork, chicken and turkey. In Maine, we raised, slaughtered and butchered beef, pork, chickens and turkey. It doesn’t make sense to build a barn, fly animals and feed out to here and then have to fend off bear, wolves, marten etc. I’m not interested in eating wild game. However, bottom line, if I had to hunt, we could. We certainly know how to process it. In addition to bear, we have moose and caribou up here. So in addition to our vegetables and fruit, we are surrounded by wild game. We’ll survive fine if need be.

          We do not have anybody flying in to help us. We are quite capable of dealing with everything that needs to be done. I’m not sure what concern you have with a plane crash. Is it in the event we are on board? I would have the same concern driving a car down the interstate. It’s a calculated risk which each of us has to make.

          It sounds to me like the experience you had with your buddies was invaluable. Good job! You learned a lot about yourself while at the same time you learned some skills and gained confidence in your abilities. Doesn’t matter that you guys bagged it a little early. I think you learned perhaps more than you realize. Our situation is far from what you did with your friends. You were living in a primitive setting learning primitive skills. I think that is outstanding!

          Thanks R2 for your contribution and thoughts. I wish you the best! Ron

          Reply to this comment
      • Jamie June 6, 17:05

        Do you remember the defining moment in your life that you knew you needed to leave society?

        Reply to this comment
  2. TJ November 16, 17:58

    What was the defining moment that made you decide to finally do it. Move off the grid?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron melchiore November 16, 18:30

      Great question TJ. In looking back, although my career in electronics was an interesting choice, after working for a few years in the industry, I couldn’t envision a lifetime of getting up in the morning, slogging to work through traffic and repeating for the next 45 years.

      There are weird occurrences in life that really alter the landscape and the big one for me was chit chatting with my supervisor about the situation. He suggested homesteading as a solution to my problem. It was a completely new term to me. I researched it and the lifestyle had great appeal.

      Although born in a city, I’m an independent type with an adventurous spirit and it wasn’t long after his suggestion that I was running the roads looking for that perfect homesteading spot. I ended up in Maine for 20 years prior to moving to the bush 17 years ago. Thanks for your question! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  3. Graywolf12 November 16, 18:00

    How did you get the heavy equipment in there and the lumber out?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 18:44

      Hello Graywolf12. Purely by air! I have a video link with my post that might be quite informative. It is broken into 4 segments with the last segment being our Canadian adventure. You’ll see a fairly large plane in the video. That is the Twin Otter which can carry a significant payload depending on distance traveled.

      Everything you see in the pictures was loaded on a plane, flown out to our location, off loaded and then transported up to the house site, a brutal endeavor. There really isn’t any “heavy equipment” here other than the snowmobile and some small equipment like a rototiller and chipper. House root cellar, 200 feet of trench to the lake for the water line, leach field and water well were dug by hand with a shovel. Generally, you can figure I’m a one horsepower machine unless you give me some chocolate which turbo charges me. 🙂

      Thanks for a good question! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  4. Toolmandoug November 16, 18:14

    How are you able keep up with technological changes repairs, upgrades and replacement parts of your systems ? Can you get air drops in between your routine trips to civilization ?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 19:04

      Hello Toolmandoug. Thank you very much for stopping in. Keeping up with technological advances is sort of easy for me. I say “sort of” because it depends on the technology. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing principles seem to come naturally to me. It is the social media where I struggle. Just getting a facebook page up or creating my website is more baffling. I get it done but there is a steeper learning curve to it. There is such an overwhelming number of options these days.

      As far as repairs and maintenance, since we only shop twice a year, it is imperative to have repair parts on hand and common items such as oils, plugs, filters and the like. I also have manuals for different pieces of equipment. Something as critical as the inverter is backed up with a new inverter, just in case. Computers and communications are backed up as well. Fortunately, I am pretty handy and have been able to fix everything except the one time the diesel generator needed a new fuel pump.

      As far as getting a plane in here if needed, we have done that a couple times if the plane was in the area to drop off a part but that has been a rare occurrence. It’s a good feeling to have been able to handle every breakdown or problem over the years.

      I wish you the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  5. greener November 16, 18:36

    I write books, some on self-sufficiency though I don’t live totally off-grid. (You might like my off-grid place in Baja, though, to thaw out!) Just curious, how long can you stay away from the ole homestead (say, in the winter when pipes could freeze etc.) to do your freewheeling traveling? As Canadians, I know your’re restricted to six months unless the Jolt Act passes.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 19:20

      Hello Greener,

      Thank you for stopping by. I don’t know. Baja sounds a little too toasty to me. 🙂 We are not restricted to 6 months. We are United States citizens but we are permanent residents of Canada. In other words, we immigrated.

      We have a set up that allows us to leave our home all winter if need be. -40F or colder for low temperatures in the winter are typical. We can transport all of our canned jars of produce down to the root cellar and keep them safe along with our root crops through a winter if need be. With the use of blue board insulation and copious quantities of blankets, we can keep our food supply safe.

      As you note, pipes will freeze so I have a procedure I go through to drain water lines, pressure tank, reservoirs, water pump and sink traps of all water. The line running out of the house to the well 100 feet away has an electrically operated valve that I can hook a battery up to and drain the water line right to the well.

      So we can stay away as long as we care to without worry as long as we shut the house down properly. Great questions! Thanks Greener.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Charlie43 November 16, 18:43

    Every article I read, video I watch and conversations I have never speak to the elderly, disabled and challenged. It is as if every prepper or survivalist is 30 years old, in peak physical condition and has a head full of bushcraft and experience. Nothing addresses those of us who would have a real problem bugging IN, let alone bugging out. I couldn’t hump a ruck to my mailbox, let alone head to the woods, set up a camp and shoot and skiln a buck to feed myself. In the REAL world, there are those of us who are not only disadvantaged in our every day world, but in the world of prepping and survival. Are we the new expendables, or does anyone have the time and compassion to address these things?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 19:45

      Hello Charlie43.

      I certainly appreciate your honest thoughts and stopping in for a visit. Having done this stuff for 37 years, I’m no longer the spring chicken that headed to Maine years ago. You mention preppers and survivalists, which in my mind, are relatively new terms. We never set out to be a prepper or survivalist. Merely homesteaders that had a desire to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. As it turns out, by its very nature, being homesteaders who grew our own food, preserved that food and learned a myriad of other skills made us prepared people. (preppers)

      I have devoted the last couple of years to writing my book and visiting forums and blogs. I’d like my story to be a source of confidence and inspiration for others to follow their dreams, regardless of what those dreams are. Life is short. I encourage people to follow their own dreams and not to wait.

      You have raised an awesome question and one that I would like to ponder and address in a future post. Please give me some time to think about this. I am on this site responding to people because I want to try to help. If you have a specific follow up concern or question, by all means, please ask. One of the things that has taken an enormous amount of my time recently(months) has been doing an audio version of my book. I wanted to make something available for those people visually impaired.

      If Claude will have me back, I’ll see what I can come up with for a post in 2 or 3 weeks. Thanks Charlie43. All the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
      • Charlie43 November 18, 02:53

        Ron, I apologize if I am a bit off topic here. I am horribly frustrated with the lack of knowledge that is available for people in my circumstances. I am a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran that lives alone and must fend form myself. You can imagine the paranoia that comes with this situation.

        I have a friend whose mom and dad have a place in Canada that they also lease and have for many years. They must a;so fly in. Although your setup is really great, I have to think it is well beyond the income of many readers of this site. Trish told me many years ago what it cost to just fly in, and that alone is a king’s ransom! I believe there isn’t a reader here who doesn’t look at your place with much envy and wishful thinking.

        And Ron? As far as speaking from a survivalist/prepper POV, I must remind myself that I am on a site aptly named “Ask A Prepper’.

        I, for one, look forward to any comments you may make for many of us in similar situations. I appreciate you taking the time to show us your beautiful home and all you have done with it.

        Reply to this comment
        • Ron Melchiore November 18, 14:36

          Good Morning Charlie,
          Thank you for your service to the Country!

          No need to apologize. As far as I’m concerned, you are right on topic. The last few nights I’ve laid awake at night pondering the situation.

          I had a great question from Kevin yesterday and I think you would find my response to him informative. It somewhat addresses our need for money and cost of living out here.

          Stand by Charlie for a post in a few weeks that I hope might be helpful. I can’t promise answers, but I can promise Johanna and I will give it our best shot and I’m hoping collectively as a group on this site, we can come up with solutions to specific concerns. And thank you for the kind comments about our homestead.

          I wish you the best! Ron

          Reply to this comment
    • Izzy November 17, 01:11

      Charlie; I am considered disabled. However, despite lack of strength, I still do small things to prep. We have to think positive. NO, we are not the “new expendables”.

      Over the past several years my life became a medical nightmare. Due, in large part, to my FORMER doctor. At 70 yrs of age, it was not fun to be told I was dying due to malpractice. I am somewhat on the mend, but doing better thanks to a new team of doctors. So, we must not give up. Plod along as best we can Charlie. We aren’t finished yet. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • Charlie43 November 18, 05:06

        Hi, Izzy!
        Good to hear you are making the effort. I am too. I always buy a little extra when I go grocery shopping to add to my stash, and I have decent weaponry here. Have to when ya can’t get around any better than I can! There is rioting near here due to the election,and I am ready. Hope if the SHTF near you, that you can care for you and yours.

        Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore December 15, 15:44

      Good Morning Charlie,
      I wanted to touch base with you and tell you we have not forgotten you. We’ve had our response post in the queue for a few weeks now and are waiting for our fair rotation to have it posted.

      Reply to this comment
    • Queso March 13, 17:33

      How did you finance all of this? Also, what sort of work do you and your wife do in order to keep financing this life? I’m very interested in the self sufficient lifestyle however I’m trying to figure out the logistics of how to buy/ pay for the lifestyle I’m the beginning and find a career I could do remotely in order to keep living the lifestyle.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Mike November 16, 18:47

    Not what I expected. Too dependent on modern industry like solar panels, windmills, piping, airplanes, GPS…it looks like you took a house out of the city and plunked it in the middle of nowhere. You could have bought a farm house and done all the same stuff. Then you wouldn’t have to take a plane to get your mail.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 20:41

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for stopping in. Please read my answer below that I responded to Wannabe. For starters, I think that response might help to put things in perspective.

      As an addition to my response to Wannabe, let me say it was years before I even had a tiny RV refrigerator. You are welcome to go to a minimalist life and go to significant extremes. Been there, done that! There’s no reason in the world we need to do that anymore. No reason not to surround ourselves with some of the modern conveniences.

      Sure, our lifestyle depends on solar panels, wind turbine, piping, etc. That’s what gives us such freedom to live where we do. A person doesn’t need to live a life of deprivation to be off grid.

      We’ll let you have the farm house. Nothing wrong with that at all. As you note, we have a beautiful home in the bush. Respectfully, you are missing the point though. To live on a beautiful lake in the middle of the Canadian wilderness… priceless.

      I wish you the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  8. Wannabe November 16, 19:01

    Curious, how is you tube and any other internet avenues u might be on off the grid? Internet is the most grid connected we can be. Just wondering. I think it is great how u r living.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 20:22

      Hi Wannabe,

      Fair question! Thanks for stopping in. And I appreciate the kind comment. I think the best way to answer this is with a book excerpt. To put that excerpt in context, you should know the following information. My first 20 years in Maine were spent in an off grid cabin. Outhouse behind the home, no running water, many years with kerosene lanterns, woefully inadequate dinky solar electric system that struggled to keep a couple 12V lights going and the US mail being my mode of communication with family and friends. Forget computer and internet. For years, I didn’t even have a phone. I’d have to drive 4 miles to town to the nearest pay phone to place a call. I’ve paid my dues with the spartan life. The following is the book excerpt:

      “We are sort of homesteading out here. We still do many things the old-fashioned way, and we do provide for much of our needs. Even when there are chores we don’t “do” the old fashioned way, we have practical experience and knowledge of how to do them that way if we had to. Except for the rare times when we need to utilize the generator, we are completely self-sufficient for our power. We provide our own fuel for heating and cooking. Our monthly bills are minimal. We grow our own vegetables and a lot of our fruit. We use a blend of the old-fashioned techniques along with the newer bells and whistles of modern society. In a sense, we have picked and chosen what amenities we will take advantage of to make our quality of life better.”

      I hope that answers your question a little better. The gist of it is that we had a tough 20 years homesteading in Maine learning and living a bare bones existence. We still have a tough life out here in the bush but it is made much better and easier having some of the technological advances. Keep in mind, society works on money and communications. We utilize the internet not only to keep in touch but also to pay bills, pay taxes etc. As you note, there are different grids, but typically, off grid means being disconnected from the power grid. The only way we’ll know if there is a problem with the world is if the internet went down, otherwise, we are unaffected and we’ll survive just fine. 🙂

      Good luck! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  9. M.M. Green November 16, 19:36


    Thnaks for your facinating story! I was wondering regarding health care and illnesses; how do you deal with the reality of the unavailability of emergency healthcare ad prescriptions? Also do you have an ‘exit strategy’ for when you feel it’ll be time to move back to population? Thanks again, and wishing you good health and good fortune.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 21:06

      Hello M.M.Green,

      Thank you so much for your kind comments and taking time to visit. So glad you find my story of interest. Excellent questions you have asked!

      Many years ago, I took an EMT course and a couple of years ago, I took a 2 week first responders course so I can put a band aid on with the best of them! Living remote like this, medical problems are always a concern. In fact, we are at that time of year, freeze up, when float planes are off the water and unavailable. Until we make safe ice, we are truly on our own. Medevac chopper is the only option now. The other time of year when this is a problem is in spring, when ice is breaking up.

      Along with having some medical training, we have an herb garden, have a substantial array of medical “stuff” and we have an array of prescription medicines as well. I’ve had a few funky infections over the years and the antibiotics were a life saver.

      As far as an “exit strategy”, we do have plans. We have one more adventure in life before we hit the checkout counter. We want to start a new off grid homestead on the ocean. I grew up vacationing as a kid at my grandparents summer house in southern New Jersey and grew to love the ocean. We’re getting older and there’s no point trying to start anew at 80. Now is as good a time as any while we still have our health and giddy up. This April, we depart our beloved lake bound for Nova Scotia.

      Back to population? Nah, the homesite we are seeking, on or close to the ocean, will still be isolated and neighbors will be a distance away so we’ll have that sense of wilderness.

      I wish you all the best as well! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  10. mowgly November 16, 21:54

    Hi, My daughter is disabled and we have been talking about going off grid for a couple of years. The livestock and gardening would be no problem but the heavy manual things like chopping fire wood might be a problem. I m 65 and the man of the house is deceased. Any ides?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 16, 23:54

      Hello mowgly,

      Thank you for stopping by. I’m a little younger than you, early 60’s. One of the toughest things I’m coming to grips with is the realization that things I was able to do easily in my younger days are becoming more difficult. I/we all need to come to terms with our limitations, whether young or old, and adapt and modify along the way. For me, easier said than done. 🙂

      The term off-grid isn’t synonymous with doing things the hard way, roughing it or even homesteading. Off grid can be a part of a more self-reliant lifestyle but it doesn’t have to be. A person could be off-grid and have no interest in being self-sufficient. A person might live in the suburbs and be off grid or grid tied with the capability to sell power back to a utility company. The motivation could be purely financial or a person might have a core belief that they wish to lower their carbon footprint.

      I only mention the above because it sounds to me as if your interest lies with being a bit more self- sufficient. I heartily applaud your desire to do that. I know only what information you provided so I will talk in general terms.

      Take it in small steps. If you have no experience with a garden, maybe plant a small one to start with. If you have no animal experience, chickens might be the way to get started. Capitalize on others in the local area who might have some experience in exactly what you are trying to do. Utilize resources like this site with lots of knowledgeable people and don’t be afraid to ask how to do something. I started out as a clueless young guy who grew up in the suburbs. I had no idea what skills were needed for homesteading. I armed myself with books and tapped into the locals as a knowledge base. I learned through experience simply by trying. As I gained confidence, I added or expanded on my skills.

      Consider barter as a means to get something done. Instead of fretting about getting the firewood supply in, perhaps you can exchange something for the help of another. You don’t need to chop firewood. Gas powered splitters come so that you don’t need to lift a heavy log onto the splitter. They can mount vertically and the log stays on the ground. Or buy pre-split firewood delivered.

      As for your daughter or anybody else who has a disability or limitation, consider consulting with an occupational therapist who would be able to offer suggestions on what adaptive equipment and technologies exist to help with the tasks contemplated.

      I wish you both the best! I hope I was of some help. Ron

      Reply to this comment
    • CT December 16, 20:38

      How did you go about getting your land? How many acres do you have?

      Reply to this comment
      • Ron Melchiore December 17, 15:40

        Hi CT,

        We lease a small plot for the homestead and garden from the government. We had to find a location and apply for our lease. Of course, we are surrounded by millions of acres of forest. Thanks for writing.

        Reply to this comment
    • Cory June 5, 15:15

      You can get tools to help with wood spliting. Or traid for some one to do it for you

      Reply to this comment
  11. Mark November 16, 21:55

    Thanks Ron!

    What is the medical situation like?

    Prescriptions to cover your situation usually aren’t possible unless you pay out of pocket.

    My biggest concern is that being so far from everything it serious medical situations and transforms them into life threatening. What is the emergency plan? Will it change as you age?

    I am amazed with your work. Thanks again!

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 00:16

      Hello Mark,

      Great questions! Thank you for visiting and commenting. I had a similar question from M.M. Green earlier today and I cut and pasted some of the information below. There’s no question that medical emergencies are a concern, especially as we get older. We are both healthy and stay active so we are trying to put the odds in our favor. I also have wondered if our situation is any different than the first settlers traveling by wagon train across the country so long ago or even now in modern times, is our situation much different than in the more remote areas of the world?
      Many years ago, I took an EMT course and a couple of years ago, I took a 2 week first responders course so I can put a band aid on with the best of them! Living remote like this, medical problems are always a concern. In fact, we are at that time of year, freeze up, when float planes are off the water and unavailable. Until we make safe ice, we are truly on our own. Medevac chopper is the only option now. The other time of year when this is a problem is in spring, when ice is breaking up.

      Along with having some medical training, we have an herb garden, have a substantial array of medical “stuff” and we have an array of prescription medicines on hand as well. I’ve had a few funky infections over the years and the antibiotics were a life saver.

      Thank you for the kind words Mark! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  12. Susan November 16, 22:47

    Have either one of you fallen sick? If so, what was your course of treatment? Do you have full first aide kits for emergency? Do you have plumbing?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 00:25

      Hello Susan,

      Thank you for the good questions. In regards to the medical questions, please see my response to M.M Green or Mark above. They have asked a similar question on medical. We’ve never been sick while here at home. Only when we go out to civilization for resupply or visit do we get sick. I’ve had some infections and broke a rib but other than that, no problems.

      Yes, we have plumbing. If you were to visit, you would not know you were a 100 miles in the bush. We have hot and cold running water and shower. Leach field takes care of our gray water. Toilet is more of a composting design.

      Take care Susan! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  13. zip November 16, 23:22

    thank you for sharing your home! you are living my dream life stile.i am to old and ill to try or even try this . but we do can save everything we can and have a few “GO” BAGS READY!
    thank you-glen and judy

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 00:00

      Hello Glen and Judy (Zip),
      I am so pleased you stopped by to comment. Thank you for that. It truly has been a rewarding, dream life in many ways. All we can do is work within the limitations of our capabilities. I hope others will get a measure of confidence and inspiration to fulfill their dreams. I wish you both the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  14. Izzy November 17, 00:53

    Thank you so much for this story….your story. Your garden looks amazing.

    I went ahead and watched the video. You and wife, Johanna, have had an amazing life. And what a lady your wife must be to endure that kind of lifestyle. Her quilts are lovely. And your furniture is the antique of tomorrows….beautiful. Do you sell these things to help earn a living?

    Who could possibly get bored with all that you both do.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 04:21

      Hello Izzy. You are more than welcome. Thank you so much for viewing the video and your kind comments. We are quite pleased with our yearly garden. It provides all we need and then some.

      We do the woodworking and quilts more for the joy of doing it. We’ve talked about making and selling but it would be quite the task to ship something out of here. Johanna has made a few quilts for charity raffles.

      And you are quite correct. It’s impossible to be bored out here. Too much to see and do. Thanks again for stopping by. I wish you all the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  15. Cindy November 17, 02:20

    What an amazing journey you have had! Thank you for sharing. I wish I had explored homesteading earlier in life. I’m 56 and and not as spry as I once was, but plan to join my sister at her homestead when I retire. We’ve both made it a point to know how to do things and be self sufficient. We both grow, preserve and hunt and are always developing our skill sets. I make soap and sew and she raises sheep for wool and goats for milk, meat & cheese. I feel like we could easily make it. Even though my life is in a city now, my mind is most often homesteading 🙂 It’s so wonderful that you have things to make life comfortable. Going off grid should not equate with suffering as some seem to think. You’ve accomplished so much!

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 04:40

      Hello Cindy.
      What nice comments. We truly appreciate not only your feedback but everyone who has taken some time to stop by.

      I’m a little older than you but still have some giddy up and go although I’m not quite as flexible as I once was. I have to oil my hinges with a piece of chocolate. 🙂

      Isn’t it a good feeling that you not only have the experience and the knowledge to be able to do this stuff but you exude confidence in your abilities which is an important trait as well?

      We both have lots of life ahead of us still so please enjoy those future homesteading days with your sister. I have no doubt you both will be just fine!

      And as you note, going off grid does not mean hardship and suffering. To the contrary, going off grid is a step towards freedom and self-reliance. There is a spectrum of choices in regards to off grid living. From living in a cave on up to a castle. Everybody gets their choice of where they want to fall in the spectrum.

      All the best to you and your sister! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  16. Bill T November 17, 05:47

    When you make your exit to Nova Scotia. What are you going to do with your homestead by the lake.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 13:50

      Good Morning Bill,

      Better sit down for this one and let me tell you of our sad tale of woe. We are abandoning our homestead. It will be one the hardest things we will ever have to do in life. Come April, we will watch the float plane come in and we will load the last of our possessions on board for our last float ride out of our beloved wilderness. It will be crushing!

      Why leave you might ask? As I mentioned to another poster yesterday, we have one more adventure in our life we want to accomplish before we hit the checkout counter. We love the ocean and will start a new off-grid homestead on or very near the ocean. We aren’t getting any younger so we need to start now.

      Why abandon the place? Because after 4 years trying to find a buyer who will love this place as much as we have, we have given up. I have corresponded with hundreds of inquiries. When it comes right down to it. It is a dream homestead for many but unfortunately. that’s where it remains. Everybody has the fantasy. Everybody is a dreamer. I guess that’s why the reality TV of Alaska etc is so popular. Seems the population likes to sit in a chair and live it vicariously at home.

      I know it’s not a money issue, especially with the currency exchange. Seems folks want the kind of wilderness that is in range of the supermarket and mall and we have been unable to find the right buyer.

      Reply to this comment
      • Colorado Country Boy January 3, 21:16

        Ron, I hear you. I’d buy your place in an instant, but my wife’s father is in poor health and she wants to be near him. This means I am just dreaming right now….

        I grew up on a farm where we did not have any “newfangled things’ until Grandad went into the nursing home. We had electricity from the local co-op in the barn because the state said he had to in 1952. But it was only in the barn until 1968. We got a telephone in 1965 and running water in the house in 1974. I graduated high school in 1976, so grew up off the grid. I know how to can, how to butcher animals, how to give inoculations to animals, how to garden, how to grow apples, how to tend bees, and basic carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. I have almost 6 acres near to the National Forest in Colorado and am building an earth-sheltered house there. We have 2 100 watt solar panels and am building a wind turbine for electricity. The nearest electric line is 5 miles away and the city is 62 miles away. Our house will have passive solar plus wood/coal heat, with indoor plumbing and composting toilets. right now water is a cistern, but have plans to install a well.

        I am 61 and my wife is 54 so we are starting to find things we used to do easily are now harder. Our long-range plans are to complete the house and move out there within the next 8 years,b buyt the timing depends on me completing the physical labor and how long her father lasts.

        Thanks for sharing this, it is great!

        Reply to this comment
  17. KiKo November 17, 11:49

    Through you I have just experienced a lifelong dream.
    Thank you. I live in a development of nice homes in
    central NJ – not where you’d expect an off-the-grid to be.
    But I am – partially. I have a solar generator, wood stove, water purifier (so I can use water from ANYwhere), a camp stove that uses cylinders of
    fuel (though I usually use my house electric for
    cooking on a hot plate. I do use my microwave. But,
    very few people know how self sufficient I am; my
    grown kids say I’m foolish, but I like knowing that
    in any disaster, if they can get to me, I’ll take care
    of them. I have about 2 years’ worth of food for 4.
    Visiting me, in this upscale neighborhood, you’d
    never know. (my solar panels are out of sight in my
    back yard.) I have peace of mind at age 80. Yes, I
    have a camp toilet to use in case of …So I’m kind of
    an invisible partially off-the-grid gal in the middle of
    a populous area.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 14:12

      Good Morning KiKo,

      What a nice way to start the day. With comments and feedback like yours. Thank you for the visit. I am so glad you have found our story worthwhile. I grew up across the Delaware River not too far from you. And now look where we live. 🙂

      You are a beacon of hope for people growing older who still have a desire to be self-sufficient. Well done! I am so impressed. And you are doing it all low key. Quietly getting things together, learning new tricks, gaining confidence and peace of mind.

      Thanks KiKo for stopping by. I wish you all the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  18. Country girl Jo Ann Bender November 17, 17:07

    Dear Ron: So you’re leaving for Nova Scotia. For a further adventure, visit the Money Pit. There’s another book in there for you, I’ll bet, if you see it to figure out why it’s there.
    Meanwhile, you have done an amazing thing going out into the wilderness and SURVIVING happily. More important, however, is your courage to take the next step in life to enjoy yet another adventure in your final years. Due to limitations of aging, it does take longer, and often more energy expenditure, as you found, to do the things one used to accomplish. Anyway, as one book author to another, congrats on illuminating a unique pathway for others. I tried to do it with my little memoir on vintage rving.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 17:58

      Hello Jo Ann,

      In regards to aging, that’s what we figure. If we are going to head off for our last adventure, it’s now or never. I don’t like that “never” part so it’s full steam ahead. I am slowing slightly as I age. Instead of going 100, I’ve dropped to 90, still fast enough to get a ticket if an officer could catch me. 🙂 But seriously, I’m a firm believer in staying as active as possible. Once we let our bodies slow down, aging accelerates and it’s all over.

      I looked up Money Pit but I’m uncertain what that is. Is it the movie The money Pit?

      I think my book writing days are over. We have received feedback from others that they would like to hear the story from Johanna’s perspective, so she is busily crafting some chapters of her own.

      In regards to the move to Nova Scotia, I think there would be a book there to document how we start all over from scratch again to build a homestead from the ground up but it might take the form of daily updates on a website so others interested in the lifestyle might tag along. I’ll wrestle with that after I finish this eternal audio version of my book. I record my last chapter today (YAY), then edit, do some technical stuff and figure out how to make it available to everyone.

      Speaking of audio books and writing, I see you have a number of books yourself as well as an audio rendition, so great job to you!

      Thanks Jo Ann for the kind comments and I wish you safe travels when you hit the road again for some rving. Ron

      Reply to this comment
  19. Kevin November 17, 19:40

    I can appreciate your idea and need to move out to the outer reaches and exist in an area where your neighbor can not only just look through your window when they feel a curious itch, or develop an irritation about the wood your cutting and noise your making or things your doing on your own property that are truly none of their business or concern but still happen. I get where your coming from about the day to day grind and the feeling of wasting your life going on a day to day grind with the industrial world to make a living that you can sustain the house over the head and the bills that go along with it and family too boot.
    I can see why you’d want to be where you are and put away from society but as some of your earlier people asked I have to say that based on what you’ve done and how you continue year to year seems that there has to be a substantial income or nest egg somewhere, I know myself from past experience in the Canadian outback that airplane deliveries into the bush are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination and beef and hogs aren’t either in Canada anywhere. Then the flying out of so much material for the original building and then the ongoing upkeep of equipment and parts and pieces and just general everyday expenses, so how is it that being off grid as you say you are that there is enough income to continue the purchases you speak of to keep you out where you are, including the lease taxes for the crown which I’m very aware of as well. Also from all that I’ve heard and defined off grid really means a good bit more than what you and your wife seem to be doing, yes I agree you are remote and also away from civilization but you have SAT phones and internet and the VOIP connection that are used commonly in Canada bush territory so how can it be defined as off grid?
    I understand not being on the electric grid but based on what you’ve said in your comments and explanations your really not as off grid as most would consider that to mean. So maybe defining it a little more would be helpful. I myself would have stayed in Canada and off grid which to me means no connection with the outside world at all and completely self sufficient as allot of the reality based TV shows I’ve been told would lead you to believe they are.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 20:58

      Hi Kevin,

      I appreciate your thoughts and comments so let’s delve into it a bit. You have asked some great questions. You and I are in complete agreement in your first paragraph about how nice it is to have that buffer between us and humanity, not that we are antisocial. And the fact there’s more to life than working it away.

      You brought up another point I think is important to discuss. Our need for income and the thought that we need a boatload of money to live this way. I think people are making the comparison to their own lives and the large sums of money that are needed for them to carry on. One cannot extrapolate that we must therefore have the same financial burdens. We have not had income for close to 3 years and we are tapping into savings. There have been a few years in the past 17 where I/we have picked up an exploration job for a few months which pays well and has paid for a year or more of our expenses. When we move to Nova Scotia, we will be living in an exploration tent, much like the “Hockley Hilton” image in our above post. That tent will likely be home for a year or more. Hardly what wealthy people would choose to live in although we don’t mind a bit. We counted on the sale of this homestead to fund the next step of our lives. Doesn’t look like that will happen. We will adjust, adapt and move on.

      I’m a type “A” personality to the max. When I worked in Maine on our tree farm, I worked 7 days a week, sun up to sundown, for weeks at a time logging and saw milling until I physically couldn’t go anymore, I’d take a day off and repeat. I did that for years. Because we lived such a spartan life, we were able to save some money.

      Keep in mind 17 years ago, planes were much cheaper to hire. Also keep in mind the currency exchange between the US and Canada was I believe around 55% when we moved up. In others word, show up with $10,000 US , collect $15,500 in the exchange. We have no kids to fund. Sure, float planes are much more expensive now. That’s why we only fly out twice a year. It’s still cheaper for us to fly than to run a vehicle for a year, incur insurance, maintenance, repairs, depreciation and fuel expenses. We have a vehicle that is parked at the float plane base which costs us nothing to park.

      What expenses do we have? They are minimal. SAT phone, internet, VOIP phone and TV. Add some insurances, lease fees and property taxes. Some food items and supplies every 6 months and there you have it. The side of beef and whole pig is flown in roughly every 2 years. It’s far cheaper to purchase a pig or side of beef whole. Let’s say it cost us (I’m guessing) $1500 to purchase that meat. We eat for two years like kings and queens on that 1500 expense, plus we get the best soup stock on the planet. Soap making is an added bonus. When you tally it up, I hate to disappoint everybody, but we do indeed live quite cheaply here in the bush compared to someone in civilization.

      And lastly, some folks seem to be fixated that because we have internet, VOIP phone, SAT TV and a SAT phone that we aren’t truly off-grid which is perplexing. I’ll leave it that there are hardliners who believe any connection to civilization is not off grid. My response is two fold. Life is hard enough as it is, take advantage of some of the technological advances that give us the freedom to live where we do. And part of Wikipedia defines it as follows:

      “The term off-the-grid (OTG) can refer to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. … Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services.”

      If someone wishes to take it a step further and have no contact with civilization, no means to call for help, no desire to listen to a radio program, touch base with family, has no tax or bills to pay of any kind etc etc. so be it. The above definition is by far the accepted definition of living off-grid. We live off-grid. Thank you Kevin for some nice banter. I wish you the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  20. JustMe#6 November 17, 21:26

    Ron, thank you for sharing your slice of Heaven on Earth with all of us. We too share your aspirations and way of life. Having grown up in *very* rural Vermont in a family of 10 with a father too proud and stubborn to accept help, we grew up living with the land on a small farm in a very old farmhouse that to this day still has the waterbox near the kitchen, that was fed from a natural spring off the mountain. Our water froze every winter, we lugged from a nearby river using cream cans, which for those of you who don’t know are tall heavy milk cans used to store cow milk. After milking, my father had a rope he tied around the top and we just set it in the river until needed, then back to the river to fill with water and then back to the river after milking…..we had a system after a while…. and of course we used *outdoor* “plumbing…ha! It helped having 5 brothers, all over 6 ft tall and super strong….and being surrounded by field after field for gardens in the summer & fall, and for our animals. Making yogurt, kefir, cheese, sewing, wood-working, tinkering about creating what is needed….it simply never ends and happens by itself. My mother still lives out that way, and only upon my father’s deathbed, did he have a well dug. So lasting on a homestead can be hard with age, but having a routine, efficiency, plans, back up plans etc can enhance and ease the journey.

    My mother had been an Registered Nurse and my father being ex-military and seemingly a man of every trade, in addition to what had been his trade, gave them a bit of well-roundedness and fearlessness to venture and have so many children without the ‘safety net’ of society. We were homeschooled, but in our mid-late 20s we all went to college but one, who stayed with my parents, and now resides at and maintains the homestead. We do all visit once or so a year, but some family have their own homesteads and the rest have chosen lives in/near the city.

    I think one of the difficulties of going off grid, is doing it alone. I do not believe that one has to be alone to achieve that. Actually having some neighbors within 5-10 miles could increase likelihood of success, for companionship, to break the routine, and for bartering.

    One question though, since I am not a member of social media websites, but a friend of mine showed me a picture of your Maine homestead from your FB page, last I was in town.

    Do you have any more pics you could share, or a website for that homestead. I am always curious the most usually well thought out or well-arrived at set-up of fellow steaders.

    Also in your picture with your greenhouse attached to your home, coming off as a sun room would- did you have any moisture problems on the wall it was attached to? what material did you use-does it hold up to the snow? how far does the floor go down? (we are planning to build year round greenhouse, which will go down at least 4-5 feet below ground, but allow us to grow lemons and such year round. Did you ever think to do that at your above homestead?

    What was the cost to have the plane, per trip? per hour? to come and pick you up, and return you with your necessary purchases?

    What do you use to keep the bear away? Deer? other vermin?

    darn, I had a few more questions but forgot, since i have been interrupted by my kids a few times…..

    look forward to hearing from you and hoping to hear anything more. My sister will be purchasing your book and getting it to us, next she is up this way….very excited to get my hands on it! Many thanks for being you (and you wife) and sharing….

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 17, 22:03

      Hello JustMe#6,

      Wow, you have quite the story yourself. Thank you very much for your kind comments and I am so glad you have enjoyed my story thus far. I’m thinking you will get a real kick out of the outhouse description in my book. ( I mean outdoor plumbing 🙂 )

      I think that is great that you have a wealth of knowledge and experience with the way you were brought up. I do have a few pictures of our Maine homestead to share but I have no way to upload them to this post. I received an email notice which I suspect may have your email address and tonight, I’ll send a quick email to you as confirmation before sending any pictures out.

      Having homesteaded alone for a number of years, having a partner definitely makes it better. As for our attached greenhouse… our house is sheathed in metal. Both sides and roof. So the greenhouse does attach to the south side of the house and there are 2 downstairs windows that are in the greenhouse. In spring even if it is 10F outside there is enough heat generated with the sun, we can open those windows and heat up the downstairs. There are 2 types of plastic used so that the greenhouse has 2 layers of material. The inner layer is UV stabilized greenhouse plastic. The outer layer is a product called wonderweave. I’m not sure it is made anymore but I have no doubt there is something similar made. That too is made for the exterior of greenhouses and is mighty tough stuff. It took a bear some real work to tear into it. Snow loads are no problem. Of course, the frame the plastic goes on needs to be rugged.

      We’re a little too far north to consider a year round, dug down type of greenhouse. We would need a serious heat source to keep things warm. Coldest temperature we experienced here was -57F. Plus the sun is so low in the sky with short days in winter.

      No deer here. Moose and caribou. We use nail boards which are scraps of board with nails driven in a grid pattern every inch or so in each direction as bear deterrents. We also have an electric fence around the perimeter. Those things help.

      Please thank your sister for me for the book support. I treasure every book review on Amazon so if she or you would consider a review, I’d truly appreciate it. It is confirmation to others that the book is worthy of their time. Thanks again for taking time to write to me. All the best! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  21. flattop November 17, 22:50



    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 18, 00:18

      Hi Bob,

      I truly appreciate your kind comments. Thanks for stopping by. It is a lifestyle best started as early as possible but there’s never an age where we can’t incorporate some tidbit that makes us all a little more independent.

      As part of your travel kit in winter, may I suggest a shovel, blanket and some energy snacks. Especially if you or anyone else heads out on more rural highways.

      Take care Bob and be safe in your travels! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  22. Secret to Everything November 18, 14:21

    Hi Ron,

    would love to have you on my international broadcast radio show…let me know

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore November 18, 14:53

      Good Morning Secret to Everything,

      I would be honored and delighted to do a show with you. I received an email notice about your post and I believe I have your email address. I will send you an email in a few minutes and we can go from there. If for some reason you don’t get my email, my website has an email address for me. Talk to you soon. Thank you! Ron

      Reply to this comment
  23. James December 15, 13:42

    Got morning Ron,
    I’ve come across this wonderful article, but was wondering what you do about security. I’m sure you don’t have many strangers stumbling through, but if a hostile person does walk up what do you do??? Or even an upset bear… I’m from the city and, will hoping to be out sooner than later which is why I ask… Thanks, and enjoy…

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore December 15, 15:38

      Good Morning James,

      Thanks for stopping by with your comments and questions. We have zero worries of anyone stumbling out here. We are just too far removed from people for that to happen.

      However, bear is another thing. We’ve had numerous run-ins with bear including one bound and determined to climb through the window in the middle of the night. No amount of banging and yelling would dissuade him from trying.

      By the time he started tearing into the greenhouse, I was able to get outside and persuade him to leave.

      Best of luck getting out of the city for a more self-reliant life. All the best,

      Reply to this comment
  24. Lucy March 6, 18:41

    Oh, how delicious to read of your homesteading experiences! Even though this 100-pound, 72-year-old happily single woman won’t be reliving what you’ve been able to do, I feel enlivened and uplifted by your vision and your making your dreams a reality. Vicarious joy is good, too!

    You clearly both have enormous energy, mental clarity, ingenuity, and vision. An impressive partnership. You must also derive great satisfaction from seeing your dreams unfold with dedicated hard work, or you wouldn’t have kept doing what you’ve done. What an inspiration!

    I love hearing about how your dreams have unfolded gradually. In thinking about why no purchaser for your place has come forward yet, it occurs to me that many people who love the end product of what you have developed may not have begun (or be far enough along in) the steps of skill building and experience so that they feel competent to take over the reins.

    It wasn’t until I spent 8 years of my life laboring on this earth-sheltered home with windmill and solar panels that I gained that sort of “mental muscle” to trust my abilities. Now it’s time to for me to move on, too. I admire your continuing dream of “what’s next?” because you are focusing on Nova Scotia, which anchors (and energizes?) you.

    You are giving such a gift to those of us who are privileged to bear witness to your process. Thank you so much.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Sillyfilly January 13, 11:50

    is there any hope that a paraplegic country raised 58 yr old could possibly live off the grid? I may have 22-3 other people willing to pool resources to buy land. We can hear Nero and his fiddle in California, but my disability and lack of a thyroid gland adds to the challenges. You’re thoughts appreciated!

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore January 13, 13:57

      Hi Sillyfilly,
      Without a doubt, you could live off grid. I’m not sure if that is the proper question you want answered though. Because off grid is simply disconnecting from the conventional power grid and setting up an alternative source of power such as solar, wind or water. For the most part, you would never know you are in an off grid home versus grid connected. Another simplified way to look at it is this: you have a house that has all the amenities. The house doesn’t care if the wire coming in is from the grid or solar. The house essentially functions the same regardless of power source. So I see no reason you or anybody else can’t live in a home with your chosen power source, grid or alternative power.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think you are asking if you could be considerably more self sufficient than you currently are. Being off grid would be a large step towards self sufficiency but there are many more things one can do. Like raise a garden and can food for example. Or heat a home with wood. That’s where the physical limitations of each individual come into play.

      I don’t know your specifics so I’ll ask some questions for you. I don’t need to know the answers. These are questions that once answered, might help determine what you are able to do. Please keep in mind, we are all capable of great things once we set our minds to something. We all have limitations but most can be overcome in some fashion. For example, I can’t move a 400 lb stove by myself but I can if I put rollers underneath of it. So my point is we all have our limits on what we can do and we simply do our best given the situation and our circumstances.

      If I understand you correctly, you have a couple more people that might like to do this with you? Is someone able to till a small patch for a garden? If there were solid pathways for you to navigate around the garden, are you able to plant and tend the garden? Water the garden with a hose? I knew someone in a wheelchair that was still able to get around in the kitchen and cook and can. Are you able to do some of those things? We each have our weaknesses and strengths. Are the other people you might have helping able to do some of the things you might not be able to do. I strongly suspect you have a lot of practical knowledge of this stuff and that has great value. You will be an asset to the other people. I hope you are able to team up with those other people and give it a try. Can you be totally sufficient? Maybe, but perhaps the journey towards self sufficiency will be the great reward. I wish you all the best. Ron

      Reply to this comment
  26. Jan March 28, 22:32

    My question is how did you make money for the things you need and to build your house?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore March 28, 23:12

      Hi Jan,
      I have a chapter devoted to how we made income in my book but essentially, work ferociously hard, scrimp and save and stay out of debt if at all possible. If debt needs to be taken, get out as soon as possible.

      Reply to this comment
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  28. Raven May 8, 15:18

    What ya’ll did is AWESOME. Very well thought out. My question is why you didn’t get a pilots licence and buy a sea plane which back years ago were not expensive.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron Melchiore May 8, 15:28

      Hi Raven,
      Thanks for the kind comments. I did look into a pilots license etc. It’s all relative. Planes are not cheap, especially a float plane. Then the maintenance and insurance is brutal. Plus, we would still have needed to hire the larger float planes when we were building or had lots of stuff to bring in. Bottom line, even though chartering a float plane is costly, it was still cheaper than having our own float plane.

      Reply to this comment
  29. Ron Melchiore June 5, 00:59

    You are welcome. Thanks for the nice comment. There’s always something new to learn for us all. Take care! Ron

    Reply to this comment
  30. Ron Melchiore June 5, 22:58

    Glad you found the my post and this website of value. Thanks for stopping by with your comment. Ron

    Reply to this comment
  31. ahowes15 March 5, 21:45

    So a couple questions 1), What area of Canada? 2). Did you just show up or did you buy the land? 3). If you did buy it where and how?

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  32. Linda December 28, 01:21

    Hi Ron; I have been reading with interest about your life experiences. My husband and I have had some of our own life experience being more self-sufficient. He is almost 75 years and I am 73 yrs now. We met through writing when I was 26 and he was almost 28 yeas. We wrote to each other almost five years before we married. He grew up on a Nova Scotia dairy farm and I grew up in the country out side of Toledo, Ohio. I also had four children from a previous marriage. The children were 6, 8,9 and 11 when we married. Our first home was on Bon Portage Island Light House Keeping. There we stayed two years and grew our food and raised a cow and calf. Next it was five years in a rented house again developing gardens and raising goats. Finally we were able to get a loan and bought 10 acres and a run down farm house and barn. There we spent the next 32 years redeveloping the farm. My husband worked doing flower beds and hedge trimming for other people while developing the farm I started a dog grooming shop at home. With all this and selling vegetables we cleared $5,000 to $6,000 a year income. We bought a small horse and refurbished old horse drawn equipment and what we didn’t have we made or bartered for. He planted organically and our land never saw a chemical fertilizer or pesticide. He hauled tons of seaweed from the beach for fertilizer. The gardens flourished. The kids grew up and left. In 2017 we sold the old house and barn and two acres. We had no money to repair the house and it needed fixing badly. We kept five acres and moved our 10 ft x 12 ft wood shed on to the land we kept and started re-establishing gardens. From the time we started writing 43 years earlier both of our dream was to live a simple life, self-sufficient, old style farming with a horse and living free from the grid and 9 to 5 jobs. By selling our house it got a re-build by the new owners. We turned our wood shed into a cabin and added a sun room. Total for both is only 216 sq. ft which is all we were allowed to build with out a building permit and without a building code. We are only allowed to live there seasonly because it is zoned for farming only. So far we have established new garden beds all fenced to keep deer out and other wild life. We have no electric or running water. This next year we plan to dig a well which we are allowed and we have an out house which is also allowed. 2017 when we sold the farm house we had to sell our animals and lived in an apt for the winter. Just prior to winter we bought an old house trailer a mile from the farm. It has a good acre and is also near a like as is the farm. We made upgrades that were required and live there Oct to April. Then we camp at the farm April to October. It has taken 47 years to accomplish what we dreamed of doing when we were young. Right now the farm is still a work in progress. We are looking forward to next Spring when we can get back to planting. We are also looking for a Shetland pony to keep company with our six hens. What I tell people is to never give up on your dreams. Getting older it may take longer but you also learn easier ways to do everything even with out electricity. I have canned, dehydrated and froze food for years but am eliminating most of the freezing now. We could live quite well just at the cabin with no power if we were allowed. We also raised our own meat and butchered but are no longer meat eaters and my husband hurt his shoulder years ago and can’t butcher like he used too so we get our protein from plant sources and fish now. You are wish starting over in your early 60’s. We were in our seventies and it was hard and we wished we had started earlier. Folks should realize life changes every decade and what your needs are in your twenties, thirties and forties or fifties changes and changes more every decade after that. So you have to make adjustments along the way. I hope you do find what you are looking for in Nova Scotia. It is a beautiful province but it does have tough building codes and some places living in a tent would not be allowed year round while you build. So check out municipal by-laws before doing anything. Good luck and have a fine day. Linda Rose

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  33. Mike July 11, 17:24

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for sharing. Can you reach out to me via email? Thanks in advance. Mike

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