By registering with us, you'll be able to discuss, share and private message with other members of our community.

  1. Welcome to the 12ozProphet Forum...
    You are currently logged out and viewing our forum as a guest which only allows limited access to our discussions, photos and other forum features. If you are a 12ozProphet Member please login to get the full experience.

    If you are not a 12ozProphet Member, please take a moment to register to gain full access to our website and all of its features. As a 12ozProphet Member you will be able to post comments, start discussions, communicate privately with other members and access members-only content. Registration is fast, simple and free, so join today and be a part of the largest and longest running Graffiti, Art, Style & Culture forum online.

    Please note, if you are a 12ozProphet Member and are locked out of your account, you can recover your account using the 'lost password' link in the login form. If you no longer have access to the email you registered with, please email us at [email protected] and we'll help you recover your account. Welcome to the 12ozProphet Forum (and don't forget to follow @12ozprophet in Instagram)!

The Off Grid living thread (Dropping out the rat race)

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by misteraven, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. lord_casek

    lord_casek 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jan 24, 2006 Messages: 27,168 Likes Received: 1,083
    Raven, what was it like with older children to make such a drastic move? Your kids were brought up in the hustle and bustle where things are a subway, cab, or short walk away.
    Was it neat for them to experience farm/country life?

    I grew up living like you aspire to live. Milk from cows, vegetables from a garden (canned in the winter, fresh in the summer), meat from farm animals (pigs and chickens), well water, etc.
    Even had to bathe in a barn more than a few times when pipes froze in the winter. My entertainment was exploring, damming up streams, catching critters (turtles, bugs, snakes, crawdads, etc).
    First big city I went to I guess I was a little like Andy Griffith going to Mount Pilot. The shimmer, shine, and bustle was intriguing to me.
  2. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Well, we actually moved twice... Left NYC to LA where I was for just over a year before moving rural. Surprisingly, they hardly reacted to the decision to leave NYC. My son was playing a video game and didnt even pause. My daughter was excited, if anything. Though we were in LA, it was actually a fairly rural part of it and my wife decided to home school. It was a pretty easy transition as it allowed the kids more free time and pursue interests and kept the wife feeling fulfilled and busy. We sort of started experimenting with a more rural lifestyle by hiking a lot, grilling a lot and not really going out much unless it was to hike or go to the beach.

    I hated that period, mostly due to a douche bag neighbor that made things miserable (another story) and eventually that same guy bought the house I was renting and forced us out. I was at the tail end of a large contract client gig and was already wanting to move rural and feeling the pressure to buy something. That guy pushing us out was the catalyst I needed to get the wife on board and with a lot of work, a bit of luck and some family help we managed to pull off buying a property my wife had found. The dynamic was sort of like, she'd do it if it were done a certain way and the property we found was at the heart of it. Meanwhile the kids had gotten settled and my wife had found a really great home school group that met up once or twice a week so both my kids had formed solid bonds with friends. This created a lot of drama when we decided to move, but we got through it with the understanding that we'd finally own something and never have to move again. Also that what we were owning was far nicer than anything we'd been in before. We painted a picture of how ,much better life would be and all that living rural on sizable land would allow for and managed to soften the blow of leaving friends and family.

    Getting out here, it was impossible to find a non religious home school group as its just too sparsely populated. After finishing out the year home schooling they both started asking about going back to regular school. There's an unusual situation out here where an extremely wealthy individual has allowed for a lot of public projects and among them was building a completely modern high school. It's literally like a college campus with a school store and cafe and super open. They're now finishing off an huge greenhouse project for school / community agriculture programs and permaculture so its really super nice. The Junior High was rebuilt and shares the building with a renovated public theater building and sits at the center of a historic downtown area that literally feels like something out of a movie. Both are making tons of friends and after being here 13 months we're all starting to settle in and get used to the situation. My kids are old enough to remember NYC and understand what I do for 12oz. In fact, Supreme is a thing out here (oddly, but yeah...), so both my kids have sort of become the "cool" kids. Meanwhile I do my best to leverage my connections to all that to turn them onto the bigger picture and introduce homesteading / rural living topics.

    All in all, it was fairly smooth. Most the bumpy parts had more to do with getting over the hump of such a big move / purchase and having the ability to get them more involved with the lifestyle that this affords. For example, my daughter rides horses and was just getting to the point of learning to jump / compete. I'm not quite in a place to throw down on horses and that's been a bit tough since we own a barn and have so much land.

    But then again, I'm older and understand its a marathon and not a sprint and work pretty hard to improve my situation, so hoping that it all balances back out and my income once again exceeds my expenses. Honestly if I made the bottom end of what I'd been doing in NYC before walking away from it all, I'd be beyond living like a king now. As you guys have likely noticed, I'm sort of recalibrating things and changing focus. After having ignored 12ozProphet for so long because I was running an agency (and had monster overheads), I'm now going back and rediscovering new ways to bring it back in such a way that it makes sense to me and makes sense to where the market is. So far I'm constantly blown away by the feedback and every day presents new evidence that I'm probably on the right track. But it all takes time and because I work hard to preserve the integrity of what I work on, takes a bit more extra time. Guess I'm straying a bit from what you asked, but its all pretty intertwined.
  3. lord_casek

    lord_casek 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jan 24, 2006 Messages: 27,168 Likes Received: 1,083
    That's such a cool story. Really great that your kids didn't put up a fight about leaving the city. In my opinion every kid needs to step in cow shit once or twice in their life, or experience horseback riding,
    hiking, and all the other stuff that comes with living in a rural area. Makes for a very balanced adult.

    Thank you for sharing that aspect of your life with all of us. It really sounds like you're on to something that will lead to a lot of great things (fresh country air is good for the soul).
    I'm glad you're back and getting refocused on 12oz and life. Any chance we're going to see a sick (traditional) barn mural in the future?
  4. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Yeah man, my pleasure. I could go on for ages with all the gritty details, but figured I'd just everyone to death.

    LOL, actually was planning to bring it up to Os Gemeos when they come out to visit. Would be cool to see a giant yellow character on the middle of an alfalfa field. Not sure I'll ever get around to it, but has crossed my mind to maybe find a property edge and eventually put up a cinder block wall just to be able to have little jams. Likely my painting days are mostly behind me though. Somebody needs to be here working on the interwebz, designing tees and packing orders.
  5. lord_casek

    lord_casek 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jan 24, 2006 Messages: 27,168 Likes Received: 1,083

    Although the thought of an Os Gemeos piece on the side of a barn in the middle of Montana does sound pretty cool.

    Edit: Have you run into Mes3 yet? She's out around your neck of the woods from what I remember.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  6. Mercer

    Mercer Moderator Crew

    Joined: May 2, 2007 Messages: 10,652 Likes Received: 1,072
    Very good read, I wanted to ask but wasn't sure how much you'd feel comfortable sharing publicly.

    Really glad to hear the kids are doing well, and that you've both been able to focus more on something important. Even though they're in a school now, hopefully you guys keep up that home schooling aspect and encourage them in subjects they're interested in. Being somewhat of an autodidact myself, I feel like being able to teach yourself the skills you need, or just want to learn is probably the #1 most important skill kids can learn. Not that I don't see strong value in schools for learning social skills, learning how to deal with administrative BS, etc. but I think schools can only be relied upon for a fraction of what's actually needed to be successful.
    lord_casek likes this.
  7. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    I dont think she's out here actually. I heard through a round about way she married Abysmal and is now living in Maine I think. He was from Wyoming originally. A good friend of mine was best man at his first wedding and still talks to him every once in a while.
  8. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Yeah man, happy to share. We still need to get on a call and I'll fill in as many blanks as you have the patience to hear.

    In regards to home schooling, I'm largely against government school and know full well that most of what they're learning (if they learn at all) is next to useless as far as practical application. If anything, they're learning to operate in a world that seems hell bent on producing drones that sit in a seat all day and put in their time. Its slightly better out here and we keep going back and forth, but reality is that they need to know how to navigate the world (and its bureaucracy) and personal relationships are important. I'm holding out to see how it goes and if we feel strongly that we're setting them down the wrong path we'll pull them back out. For now, simply going and learning to get through it is a lesson learned.

    Whole other subject, but I doubt college as we know it will look much like what they get presented with. We all know that going to college isn't worth the money it costs and that having a degree in most circumstances is hardly worth the paper it was printed on. Obviously there's professions that are definite exceptions to this way of thinking, but I've seen way too many people drop a quarter million dollars on a degree to wind up bar tending. Better off getting involved in real estate with that money and jumping straight into the work force so that you get your feet wet a half decade before whats normal and hopefully wise up enough (and be young enough) to consider going into your own business. My opinion is that the world will continue to spin out of control and that the few opportunities still available to a young person will be even less for their generation. I simply hope that teaching them independence and self sufficiency might give them a leg up and also hope that my own endeavors present an opportunity that they can consider taking over. Sucks to be so cynical but the idea of spending 4 years and a quarter million on a liberal arts degree or some other such nonsense and then join the ranks of working class so they can own a house in the burbs, squeeze out 1.4 kids and have two weeks off a year for vacation is a fantasy. Even if true, I'd sooner hang myself from the rafters then lead a life like that.
    lord_casek likes this.
  9. lord_casek

    lord_casek 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jan 24, 2006 Messages: 27,168 Likes Received: 1,083
    That's wild. I remember when she left our parking lot to the north she was headed to Wyoming to do the off the grid/farm life thing. Maine, geez. Those Canucks can't stand being away from subzero temperatures.
  10. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,943 Likes Received: 462
    Oh man, so freakin jealous over here.

    Thanks mate, mighty generous of you. All I have to do is convince my wife that we need to holiday in the US rather than going back to China and Europe each time we get on a plane. She might get a bit suspicious when I start loading my MTB into a suitcase though....
    misteraven likes this.
  11. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Maybe I'll get my boy to reach out to them. Would be wild if they stopped back through.
  12. lord_casek

    lord_casek 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jan 24, 2006 Messages: 27,168 Likes Received: 1,083
    Please do. That would be wild.
  13. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Since usually pictures are more compelling than written narratives, I figured I'd share some photos across a couple posts that might help paint the picture a little more of what life is like out this way. Many of these were posted to my personal Instagram (@allenbenedikt) but figure I'd share them here as well. If you guys dig them, I'll post more. Also happy to answer more questions.

    Last Spring...





  14. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Here's a couple of the chicken coop I built...

    Paid to have a cement foundation poured as it helps predator proof and also makes it way easier to keep clean once it's been sealed. I finished it off in rough cedar fence pickets since its the cheapest cedar you can buy. Looks good, smells nice and is naturally pest and weather resistant. Windows came from Craigs List and were like $20. They're 100+ year old farmhouse sash windows. Still finishing the interior as I was planning to run some electrical and possibly plumbing into it to help automate some of the chores like opening / closing the coop door and keeping their water dish filled. It's designed to accommodate up to 60 birds, but presently I have 13 chicken hens, 1 drake and 4 duck hens. Plan is to start considering meat birds come spring since this is a laying flock and also planning to start selling eggs to the neighborhood despite many already have their own birds. Reason for it if I generate $1200+ a year in documented agriculture income, my property taxes are reduced 50% due to the AG zoning out here.





    Fist 666 likes this.
  15. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 8,992 Likes Received: 413
    Also put in some raised beds and though we lost our first round of seedlings (family did a shit job watering when I was away fro two weeks), I think we did okay with it. I built two 4 x 12 x 1.5' raised beds. We got way more leafy greens than we can eat and did okay with the tomatos and really well with cucumbers and some other stuff. Its not hard, but does take some learning in regards to soil acidity, organic pest control and what to plant next to what. Even basic shit like learning that most leafy greens are only good when young, so you need to stagger your planting was something I had no idea about. I knew that at the supermarket, it often says "young greens" on lettuce and spring mixes, but never thought about it. Come to find out that as leafy greens mature, they grow tall and the plant starts developing a milky sap that tastes bitter. Even though you can keep picking leaves and eating them while the weather holds out, after about 6 weeks it goes from tasting amazingly fresh and rich to mostly bitter. Birds live them anyways so they got a bunch of old greens at the end of the season. Also learned that some plants can function stack. Like beets for example... The green leaves actually taste really great as salad and then you can also harvest the beet itself.






    Fist 666 likes this.