Off-Grid Homestead - Week 1: Driveway, Storage, Water

Ariel view of driveway on off-grid property
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Updated October 23, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been here a week. We got so much accomplished and it’s starting to sink in that this is our HOME! We get to live here! It’s all so very exciting.

So, let’s take a look at what we did our first week on the ‘homestead’. Can I call it that? I know it’s not technically a homestead yet, but it will be :)

Outdoor Garage Storage

First order of business was to get our ‘garage’ set up. We desperately needed a place to store tools and all our stuff that has been in the bed of the truck for the last 5 years!

Building Shelter Logic Garage in a Box

We have some friends that we visited in Benson that showed us their Garage-In-A-Box from Shelter Logic. We were so impressed that we decided to go with the same structure. We bought the 20’x12’x8’ Garage-In-A-Box and wasted no time setting it up. In fact, we worked on it the first night we moved here!

The next morning we prepared the site by scraping off the desert vegetation which is actually quite simple to do with their shallow roots. We got it as level as we could and finished setting it up. The hardest part about setting up this Shelter Logic structure is getting it square. Plus, the directions are extremely hard to follow so watching a few YouTube videos about the process was a huge time saver. The kids helped so much on this and we worked so well together, it really got us excited for all our upcoming projects.

Shelter Logic

With the tent set up, and the truck bed empty, it was time to prepare a place for our water tank!

Water Tank Pad Level

Water Tank Storage & Transfer

We ordered a 2600 gallon Enduraplas Tank from Rick Weisberg at Oasis Water Harvesting. These tanks aren’t cheap, but after much research, we wanted to go with a tank that is made to last and Enduraplas fits the bill.

Endurplas Water Tank

While our end goal is rainwater harvesting into several of these large tanks, right now we are set up with a well service down the road that allows us to get as much water as we need for a minimal fee. We haul it ourselves and transfer it into the big tank. It's a great temporary solution that takes a lot of stress off of us trying to find water.

Driveway

And let’s not forget the driveway! We got in touch with a local guy here named Darrell Johnson to get our driveway cut out! He gave me an estimate of 7 hours but he was done in just THREE!

Driveway to Homestead

We are LOVING having a real driveway. He did such a great job and highly recommend him to anyone in Cochise County that needs any site preparation. We will definitely be using him again once we begin building our home.

After seeing it overhead we laughed because it looked so similar to many of the boondocking sites we’ve been to over the last 5 years. 

Having the large loop will be great for any large equipment we bring in plus any friends visiting in their RVs won't haven any trouble maneuvering. We also love the slight curve in the beginning of the drive that gives us some privacy.

Picnic Table & Outdoor Seating

Last but certainly not least, we picked up a wooden picnic table at Lowe’s because our outside situation is getting out of control. We really, really needed a place to set things down, and a place to sit outside that wasn’t in our camp chairs. We are dreaming of the day we can splurge on a couple zero gravity chairs, but until then, we have a picnic table.

Not just any picnic table though. The kids and I sanded this down (by hand because we don’t have a good sander yet) and I thought it would be super fun for them to draw all over it. A little keepsake if you will.

Lowe's Picnic Table

We traced everyone’s hand, and the rest was up to them. I absolutely love how it turned out. We added a protective stain also purchased at Lowe’s called Cabot Australian Timber Oil. This will be a good test to see how well wood will hold up here in the Arizona sun.

Our first week here has been one for the books. We are exhausted, but in the best way. We have so much to learn about the land, the wildlife, and how to live in this climate, but we are willing and ready. It’s been so fun to watch the kids explore this new place and really dig into all things desert.

Let’s just ignore the fact that by 1:00 we’re literally roasting inside :) Think cold thoughts and send them our way. We’re now accepting donations for bags of ice. We are officially desert dwellers!

Next up, we start researching, planning, and prioritizing what in the world we do next out here. 

Let us know what you think our next project should be in the comments!

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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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Posted May 05, 2020


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