Ten Revelations from Living Off the Grid and Eating Locally in Quebec
If you EVER try going off grid completely and eating strictly locally here are our 10 beat do's & don'ts.
Don't try to carry more than one bottle of wine per panier on your bike (La Route des VIins) , unless of course you live in Saskatchewan.
Don't be in a rush: making fundamental life changes takes time and so does making fires and slow cooking.
Don't expect clean clothes unless you can find a washboard or a hand/pedal-operated washing machine.
Don't expect uninterrupted internet access unless your solar panel is better than ours!
Don't worry about your waistline; you are sure to lose weight whether you need to or not.
If using a real reel lawn mower have a small yard; better still, think ground cover.
When bathing in a pond use Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (18 in 1 hemp almond pure castile soap) (Dr. Bronners) or another non polluting soap. But remember also that daily bathing is over-rated.
Expect caffeine withdrawal and carbohydrate cravings.
Expect that you can cycle further and faster than you ever imagined.
Understanding, appreciation and support will come from almost everybody, even from the most unexpected people even if they wouldn't dream of doing it themselves.
How Much Cheating During the Month of June?
Deane was very strict and often Don would ask for an exemption and she (who must be obeyed) would reply "absolutely not!".
But there was a tiny bit of cheating that took place.
First of all, our solar panel and batteries did not arrive on time and then when they did arrive the Fed-Ex Ground delivery man would not try to find our house even though it is his job. We had him drop off the two boxes at our friend's the Riker/McGowan's. Don took the car to Sutton to pick them up. In retrospect if the boxes had been opened by our friend Paul, they could have been transported by bike.
We had some windows delivered to a nearby farm because the semi-trailer could not get up our road. They were put onto a pick-up that Don then drove the couple of kilometers to get here. Don did bike to the neighbor's and home again after the cheat.
There was a retirement party for Don that he really had to go to as the honoured guest, so he got the night off to drive and eat!!! Deane, staying at home, drank a cup of tea for her treat.
So... nothing dramatic. We really enjoyed our time doing this challenge, are a little wistful that it is over, and are thinking of ways to make permanent changes. We will always be reminded of our fortunate situation when we recall that a woman said " you are doing out of choice what I do out of necessity". Our conclusions from this experience are both general and specific. We can make simple decisions that effectively reduce our carbon footprint. We will ride our bicycle more often; we will use the car less and amalgamate errands; we will buy local food wherever and whenever we can (just found a new site (Mangez Quebec - Eating Quebec food) ; we will purchase less while supporting the local economy when possible; we will investigate solar and wind power.for our home. Sometimes it all feels overwhelming, especially on a visit to a huge city like NYC, but it always comes down to the individual and each person's ability to reduce, reuse and recycle.