Off the Grid Tuesday: What’s Next

The fridge is the bane of my existence.

Last August when we headed to the boat, we turned off the furnace and the stove. We shut off the water, so that the pump and water heater were not running. We turned off every light.

What was our electric bill? $70.

We have two refrigerators. They both ran, empty. And that’s what they cost us. When we return to the boat on Friday, I’m unplugging them.

There is a growing movement, online, of people living without any refrigeration. For more information, look at this website. We have tried living this way, and discovered some of its merits. For example:

–We ate fresher foods.

–We were forced to plan our meals better.

–We ate less meat.

However, we decided that level of voluntary simplicity was not for us, for these reasons:

–We spend much less money if we shop for 2 weeks of groceries at a time.

–We do like to eat meat, and the frequent trips to the grocery store were leading us to spend more.

–When we cook meat, we plan on leftovers and bone broth; both require refrigeration.

–We like to home brew, and the bottles do need to be refrigerated to stop the fermentation.

So, we started looking at smaller, more efficient fridges. Happily, one would pay for itself in a couple of months!

And then we saw something better.

It was hideous. It was $50. It didn’t use any electricity.

So why is this a practical idea? Am I going to buy ice in the summer? Of course not! We spend most of our summer on the boat. Right now, the fridge on the boat is broken, but it will be fixed. Or replaced with a small, travel unit. When we anchor out, we will fill it with ice (or not eat meat that day!). Not exactly off-the-grid, but not $70 a month either.

Then, in the “off” season, we will only have a couple of months before winter. We will use our travel unit from the boat then. And after it freezes–we simply leave totes full of water outside and get free ice blocks!

It’s worth a try. I’m unplugging the fridge. And if that ice box is there when I get back from the boat, I just might buy it.

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