The definition of livable…

Yesterday, mid afternoon I had a long conversation with my Dad. We were discussing the up coming plans for the farm. Now let me say this, he is a wonderful person, a very loving father, super smart, but very conservative when it comes to big life changes.

As we talked about different plans that Maria and I have for the farm and in what order we were planning on doing things, it really boiled down to livability. He stated that as long as you had somewhere dry and warm to lay your head, some sort of privy or septic, a clean water source….well then it can be livable. 

That really got me to thinking. What exactly is THE definition of livable? And if there really is a standard answer to that question. 

I was nearly a feral child growing up, and spent just about more time in the woods sleeping in shallow hollowed out spots than at home, so my standard for livability is probably a whole lot lower than other folks. My lovely Maria is pretty hardy, but would probably require just a few more amenities than I do.

My Dad also brought up “going Amish” as he lives in northern Indiana where it is ripe with Amishmen.

I told him that with the generator, and some other equipment, we weren’t planning on going “full Amish”. But that was a possibility. It was a little surprising to me that he brought up the fact that it doesn’t take a lot to make a homestead livable.

This entire journey up until this point has caused me to really do some soul searching and reflecting on life.

What’s your definition of livable? Could you live in a 250 sq ft cabin, or do you require a 2000 sq ft house with air conditioning? Do you require a full time supply of electricity or can you operate off of an occasional generator run? After thinking long and hard about it, I think we can operate (but will probable add the full grid power) off of a generator. For our business, an occasional power tool, or sewing machine, and to charge the phones and tablets for our online sales is really all we NEED.

Let us know what you feel your needs are.

P.s. there is no wrong answer, lol.

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10 thoughts on “The definition of livable…

  1. I lived in a dry cabin for a summer up in Alaska, and it was the happiest I’ve ever been. The simpler the life, the better I think. The problem I have is that I want an off-grid house and my husband wants a smart house. We are headed in two different directions in terms of our goals.

    I will say though that I would need the internet. It is such an invaluable resource for learning new things. I know some people these days waste away hours playing candy crush and watching cat videos, but everyday I spend hours researching skills and ideas that can help me improve my life. It is insane the amount of information we have available to us via the internet. I regularly go to my library, and while it is also a great resource, the library doesn’t always have access to material I am interested in.

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    • As a family of three, we live off-grid in rural Alaska with currently no sewer, running water or electricity (other than our generator that we use sparingly). We have Internet in the form of our “smart”phones. It has worked pretty well for us so far. We also use the wifi in town when we do laundry or run errands. Also, there is the library, which I haven’t had time to use this year, but it is available as well. I’m sure there are places that don’t have good enough reception to do this, but it works for us in our area.

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  2. Our family (of 6 people at the time, plus a large indoor dog) lived in a 600 sqr foot cabin with a wood stove for heat. We had running water, sewer, and electric. That was one of my favorite homes we have ever lived in.
    After the flood we lived without any utilities for a week, and then without water or sewer for a few months, hauling water in from town and using a composting toilet concept. It was a stressful time because of the natural disaster and all, but it was definitely live-able.
    I know we could happily live without the basic amenities and have before, and I know we could live in what average America considers a very small space…but when we do have the amenities it makes me thankful for them all the more. I can hand wash dishes and clothes and haul water for bathing – but I must say I am very thankful every time I get to run my dishwasher or clothes washer and turn on a faucet for bathing. But technology and extra stuff like that are absolutely not necessities for us and we could happily do without.
    When we dream about what life will be like when we retire and our nest is empty we picture a tiny cabin with minimal amenities, a garden and some chickens. Simple living.

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  3. Livable? I need shelter, warmth, food, and admittedly the internet as well. So i currently live in a small community in what is called a “village”. It is a wealthy village with all the amenities one would want. That being said I live in a studio and have no car. I walk. And once I even took a Lyft! Now that was fun and easy.
    No way am I off the grid, however I resonate with having a small footprint and keeping myself and thoughts as simple as I can.
    The woods call to me weekly however that just isn’t happening for me. I would treasure such a place that is quiet, surrounded by trees and wildlife.
    That being said I would want a drone to bring in my little luxuries and also to ship the mobiles that I create and allow me to live simply.
    So your question is quite intriguing and I look forward to seeing what others contribute to your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of communal or village living! It’s convincing enough people with the same mind to join together that’s difficult in my area. I know of one such place about 50 miles from here, which has operated for at least 40 years that I know of. I had a couple close friends there when I was growing up and it intrigued me as a kid (growing up myself in a not close-knit family). As an adult, I love community, sustainability, smaller footprints, and supporting those around us instead of being an island.

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  4. We have found over the years that smaller is definitely better. A couple of times we have lived in 1,000 sq ft or more and it was just way too much space. You end up filling it up with *stuff* which becomes stifling. We (three of us) lived four months this summer in a canvas tent: about 180 sq ft if memory serves. It was close quarters but with organization it works fine. The key is: what are you willing to do to accomplish your dreams? Are you willing to give up some luxuries for a while? For us, yes. And when it comes time to finally move into our cabin (which is soon, I just know it!) and unpack our belongings, I think we will end up getting rid of more things now that we’ve been without them for almost a year. So awesome reading about your journey!

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  5. Great Post. I think my definition of livable has changed through the years. It seems like the more space I have, the more junk I collect. Anyway, livable is where you are happy, secure, and loved. I’m not sure any of the rest of it matters.

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  6. Hmm its hard to say…my husband would kid himself and say that he could live without a lot but also has a massive computer gaming set up! When we first moved into our house we didn’t have electricity, WiFi or heating ( we bought a house in a village but it needed everything done) and we had a great time just spending time together. I think long term though I would like more home comforts… Interested to see what everyone considers essential though 🙂

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  7. Very interesting question! We live in a 1000 Sq foot house, 3 kids 8 and 9 years old and 2 adults. We definitely have too much stuff. I try to purge but find it so hard. Going off grid would be tough. It’s amazing how accustomed we become to what used to be luxuries and have now become expectations. I never used to watch TV and was always reading. Now all I do is watch tv and am on my phone or my computer. One of my goals is to change that behavior and decrease my time with electronics.

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