Living Off Grid: Water Vats, Solar Power & Chickens
Learn about what it’s like living off the grid in Belize.
We have been at our current house sitting job in Belize for over a month now and we are embracing Living Off Grid full on. Belize is a stable, english-speaking democracy, on the Caribbean coast of Central America and the small eco-friendly fishing resort, Steppingstones Resort, is built right on its shore line and is only accessible by boat.
The resort is surrounded by dense jungle and thick stands of mangroves on the remaining three sides. It is about an eight minute boat ride from the nearest village ‘Monkey River’ and 40+ minutes from the nearest town ‘Placencia’.
Water vats, solar power and chickens are a must-have when living off grid.
Local fishermen at Monkey River in Belize
Living Off Grid: Water Vats
When living off grid in Belize, or anywhere in the world, the first thing you need to consider is clean drinking water.
You will need clean water for cooking, cleaning, taking showers and doing laundry when living off the grid. We have enjoyed taking rain water showers these past several weeks. Our hair has changed for the better and our skin is very soft and smooth these days. At Steppingstones Resort the rain water is collected from the roofs of the buildings and stored in multiple large poly water vats.
Water from the roof flows directly into a poly water vat
Water is stored in vats under the main building.
You will need to know your own water needs in order to figure out how may vats you will need. Consider average yearly rainfall and the longest dry period in order to determine the number and sizes of your own water storage tanks you will need. You will also need to consider the best collecting areas to use, usually under a building or protective roof.
Living Off Grid: Solar Power
Having plenty of water vats to collect rain water is a must have when you’re living off grid, solar power on the other hand is more of a comfort creature. Solar power is used to heat water, for the stove, radio and lighting.
This Solar Dynamics solar unit heats up our rain water for taking showers and to wash dishes and do laundry.
Solar power panels are used to heat rain water
Nick is washing laundry in a bucket
Silke is rinsing laundry in the sink
Steppingstones Resort also has solar panels on the roof of the main building and an inverter system with backup batteries and a fuel oil generator for backup. Search for the best solar company in your area to provide you with the most efficient Solar Panels along with an inverter system to convert the solar power.
Off Grid Solar Power System
There are a variety of solar power set ups available online, check out the link above, that deliver different outputs to provide you with the freedom to maintain a high standard of luxury with self sustainability. In warm and sunny Belize, solar power is a great solution offering you freedom of sustainable independence.
Living Off Grid: Chickens
Taking care of chickens off the grid is a little bit different than having one or two chickens in your suburban back yard. The most important thing you need to know about chickens is the fact that they eat differently than we do. They don’t have teeth or stomachs and when chickens eat, the food goes directly into a little pouch called the ‘crop’. The crop bulges after a meal and eventually the gizzard will ground up the food for digestion.
Chickens will not eat foods that are poisonous to them. They will forage for food themselves when they’re not held inside a cage or confinement. The traditional chicken feed is called ‘scratch’, consisting of a mixture of various grains and can be quite expensive. It is very expensive to purchase scratch here in Belize.
Try to utilize existing greenery as food for your chickens. As you can see in the pictures below we’re doing just that by giving them sea weed that washed on shore, coconuts and mango.
The Rooster and Chickens in Belize
This chicken is picking little critters out of the sea weed
Chickens love to eat coconut – Living Off Grid in Belize
Chickens are low maintenance, easy to care for and will add a great source of protein from their eggs to your daily diet while living off the grid.
Living off the Grid in Belize can be a paradise come true or a complete nightmare.
It all depends on your attitude and willingness to accept a few things that can’t be changed, like cockroaches, sand flies, various other biting insects, corrosion from the salty air, hot and muggy weather, and so on. On the other hand, it’s a quiet and relaxing lifestyle that will be a heaven for many.
Do you have experience with living off the grid? Please leave your comments below.