Off-Grid Agrarianism

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60 articles in category Off-Grid Agrarianism / Subscribe

IMG_8384 IMG_8390 IMG_8396 IMG_8412IMG_8415The days were warm, the nights cooler, the sun visibly moving from summer to fall. The season of abundance was upon us and the dehydrator ran consistently with trays of peppers, herbs, zucchini, and various fruits and berries. The freezer was stuffed daily with freshly picked blueberries and bunches of cilantro and parsley. Tomatoes were jarred and put away, peaches cooked all day into smooth butter. Soon I would bring home boxes and boxes of winter squash and potatoes.

Summer was nearing its end and an urgency pushed us on. They were some of the best days of the year, those weeks of August on our northern suburban homestead.

I often think of July and August as our off months here in Texas – the gardens looking not unlike those succumbing to frost. We lay low for a good part of the afternoon taking in books and school or just shade and water. Even the children – the most resilient among us – often struggle with the mental and physical aspects of getting through and it all reminds me a bit of the toll the months of January and February often take on those of us in the north.

In a few weeks we may start up some more seeds for the fall garden. September may come and bring with it just a little bit of a shift. Maybe the tomatoes and peppers will rebound in the fall as they so often have when rain and double digits return. But for now, we wade through the deep, hot, slow days of August.


Gravity-fed water means one of two things: either our house goes down or the water tank goes up. In our case, the water tank had to come up. IMG_7735

On flat ground, everyone got into the action – even little Ruthie who somehow became the one-shoe wonder at some point. (Stewart is on the other side of the tank, ensuring that nothing gets out of hand.)



When the uphill climb took place, Stewart and the boys were able to push it up side-by-side. IMG_7762

I often wonder how much of this they’ll remember, these days of working alongside their Mama and Papa, life and work and family inextricably intertwined. I would have never dreamed a six-year-old could do much of what they often find their way to but then again, why not?


Flipping the 1500 gallon tank proved to be the trickiest part so the boys stood back on another hill to watch while the tank was flipped, slid, and then pushed back up into place.


Once settled into place the inspectors came in to make sure all was in order.


We then filled the tank part-way with water from a lower tank using a solar-powered pump. Rain not long after everything was hooked up topped things off and we had a supply of water running into the new kitchen sink, laundry sinks, and bathtub.

I can’t believe I just said bathtub, but there it is: we have a bathtub. Again, I am dizzied by all that is new and making our days just a bit smoother and more doable. Water running into the house is bringing everything together, it seems. Washing laundry by hand with a toddler at my feet is happening more and trips to the laundromat are happening less. Kitchen tasks are streamlined so that more fermentation and preservation are now an option alongside those three meals from scratch every day.

Bathing and washing hands and helping little ones when they are sick and brushing teeth and soaking laundry and filling the water filters and all of those tasks requiring water from somewhere that we so often take for granted… well, I can’t help but notice that things seem a bit more sustainable around here, in every sense of the word.