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Is the Midwest the best place to live off grid?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by DevilsBrew, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    There are a few towns near me that are into sustainable living and supporting local mom & pops. I'm not sure if this is because of the close proximity of Amish communities or Midwest culture that has spilled over the border. It is so nice to be able to network and not deal with the concrete jungle and chain stores. I'm curious as to what is next door (I'm in NWPA). Is this a common trait of the Midwest? My long term goal is to get a little place, be off grid as much as possible, get out of the snowbelt, be near water, and have the same sustainable small town community/local networking as I do here.

    Hearth.com type questions would be: Are there burn bans in the Midwest? What about the possibilities of solar? Are the zoning codes and regulations strict? Are you over regulated?

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  2. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Which state?

    As far as Missouri:
    1. Never heard of a burn ban till I got to this forum.
    2. Its either pouring rain or sunny with few of the in-between. Decent solar possibilities but electricity is cheap enough that few people bother with it.
    3. Depends on in town or out in the country. Also which town. An example of what you consider strict would be good.
    4. For regulations it depends on your definition. Anything to do with nature and natural resources I wouldn't say is overly regulated but it is protected. Towns and citys will have more regulations of course. Thinking back I can't think of any time that over regulation ever came up in conversation nor have I ever really thought about it.
  3. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan have all been recommended to me. The feedback is appreciated.
  4. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    One downside which may or may not affect you is that all the rural area's and real small towns are emptying out, young people are heading to larger towns and cities and few stay behind. If you are in or near one of those towns that have enough industry of one sort or another to support itself then you are good, otherwise you are living in a small town that is mostly residential and driving just like everybody else to the next nearest large town for just about everything. Those towns that are of that critical capacity to support themselves do tend to have a lot of mom and pop stores. And a Walmart.

    But on the other hand, there are a fair number of people that are moving down economically (cheaper to live here) and bringing money with them. They tend to do pretty good and enjoy the area cause there is less of need to find good employment.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You said "get out of the snow belt" and "Midwest" in the same post. Funny.
    I guess if you consider Missouri "midwest" - that can hold true, but to me, Missouri is a southern state.
    The best info I can give you is "stay the heck out of IL unless you plan to go to the southern end" (which is a southern state as far as I am concerned.;))
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I had thought snow in most of the mid-West paled by comparison to northwestern PA, NY and/or Michigan.

    754px-Great_Lakes_Snowbelt_EPA_fr.png
    DevilsBrew likes this.
  7. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Wisconsin and Michigan get a fair amount of snow. Southern Missouri/Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas not so much snow. Snowmageddon is 8" that melts in under a week. Got to get to around I-70 and north for winters to really be anything to worry about.

    Lots of lakes in those parts. Fair number of rivers too. Lakes are not private so you can't live on most of them but nearby isn't too hard to manage.

    I know that there is a decent amount of "green" stuff going on down in Springfield MO. College town so it is a big younger/hip then most of the area's and ICF, straw bale houses, solar, and similar are almost more popular there then Kansas City and St Louis, and you are talking a town of 160k people vs a couple million for KC and St Louis.


    Well if it makes you feel any better northern IL is almost Canada to me ;)
    Jags likes this.
  8. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    [​IMG]
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Not exactly snow free, for sure... but still no where near the "greater than 72 inches" kind of snow seen in NW PA, NY, and Michigan! Looks like Illinois varies from 6" at the southern tip to 36" at the northern tip.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The state of IL has a stark difference from North to South. The only other state that I am aware of that rivals the change from one end to the other is CA.

    "Greater than 72" can Bite Me. Ain't gonna happen. The OP asked for the "best place" to live off grid. Extremes should be mitigated against, if possible.
    Hearth Mistress and Joful like this.
  11. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    You haven't experienced a true winter until you have lived in the snowbelt. I'm not being arrogant, that is the truth. A snowmageddon here usually means over 20 inches of snow in about 24 hours. So you can see why I am favoring more moderate temps.

    Living in the Rust Belt I am used to towns emptying out. I kind of like that. Makes it more rural. Thanks for the heads up about the greenies in Springfield. I'm all for a community that is environmentally friendly.
    343amc and Joful like this.
  12. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Since you like greenies, look for college towns. Being green does not occur to many in any other way then being thrifty, the problems in the news and the environment seem to be problems on the coasts (or cities in the midwest), not rural small town midwest. Get outside of college towns or cities though and things turn shades of very conservative. Speaking purely for MO, KS, IA, and southern IL, don't know enough beyond those boundaries to comment.

    Carbondale IL is in southern IL and its pretty beautiful there, not the flat farmland of middle IL, and is home to SIU. Lawrence KS has KU and they are about as liberal and green as you can get in the middle of the country without continuing on all the way west till you hit the ocean. Columbia MO has MU and is a decently happening place. Des Moines IA is also becoming known as the place to be, lots of farmland if that strikes your fancy. I am sure there are other college towns too that aren't coming to mind.

    All in all though, I hear of more people retiring or semi-retiring or moving down in economics to the SW Missouri/Springfield area then the other places I mentioned.
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I have family connection to the Erie area, and I remember stories of one winter in which is snowed every day for 42 consecutive days. My wife thinks its funny when people here get all excited over a foot of snow... was just part of regular weekly winter life in her childhood.
  14. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I have a manager that works for me in Utica, NY - they get over 100 inches...no way I'd survive there. Here's a list for snowfall, stay away from these cities.... http://www.city-data.com/top2/c464.html

    Granted, it gets cold and snowy here but I've been stuck in Detroit in the winter and their 30 degree days seem a heck of a lot colder than the 30 degree days I have here.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Love that Seattle and Portland are not on the list. We get snow maybe once every few years. Sometimes heavy, but usually just a dusting. If we want snow we just go to a higher elevation in the mountains. I just bought my first snow shovel a couple years ago. It makes a dandy dustpan for the garage. :)
    Joful and Frozen Canuck like this.
  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    How much water do you want to be on? Burn bans vary widely by municipality. Bloomington IN is a great town.

    We don't get much snow around here. Maybe one 8"+ and a handful of 1-2" events.
    DevilsBrew likes this.
  17. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    I never considered those places. Maybe you can respond to the rumors flying around the East -

    1. Way too expensive. Everybody is moving there; Californians are retiring there; and not a lot of good land available for a reasonable price.
    2. Too cloudy. SAD is mentioned often.
    3. Burn bans. Rumors of counties limiting types of woodburners. (I come from an area where campfires/bonfires are part of life so the thought of a burn ban is shocking.)
    4. High taxes.
  18. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    As much as possible. I can't be landlocked without at least a recreational river or lake nearby. It would make me miserable.
  19. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    I should add that I totaled my car this winter during a routine storm. I'm getting older and the winters aren't worth dealing with any longer.
  20. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Living in the south has its own downsides. I use to think i wanted to live in the south. As i get older it seem the heat bothers me more than the cold.IN summer i find myself wishing for fall so i can stop sweatin all the time. Winters have been pretty mild here in central PA for a few years now. Spring and fall are perfect and so is much of the winter.
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  21. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I live in a small Midwest town on the river in illinois. Right where IL, MO, and IA meet. We have all of the seasons in the fullest of their glories. It gets into the negative teens yearly, it gets well over 100 yearly. Winter snows vary wildly and sometimes an inch will sit on the ground all winter, sometimes more, sometimes we'll get a few inches and it will be gone in a week, sometimes we get two feet with drifts well over my head that will bring everything to a halt for several days.

    I live in town, but grew up in the country. We do have burn bans in the drought seasons, but almost never in the winter, probably because burn bans here apply to outside open fires almost exclusively. I've never heard of a burn ban in the country, but in late summer there are thousands of acres of crops that could light up if you aren't careful.

    Permits outside of towns are nonexistent and inside smaller towns aren't enforced and are lax compared to other larger cities I'm experienced with.

    Wood is aplenty, wind power could be feasible, water taps, or drills are easy peasy most places around here, fishing on the mississippi will always yield something, hunting deer, pheasant, quail, and other small game could feed you with any garden food you harvest and freeze/can.

    Self sufficiency here would be easy, just my 2 cents.
    DevilsBrew likes this.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    DB dont you get lake effect snow in NW Pa.? If so no wonder you are getting tired of it.
  23. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Yes. The lake effect also brings in the rain when the winds are coming off of Erie during the warmer months. Add that to what rolls across Ohio and it can get pretty dreary around here. Don't get me wrong, this place is like Heaven on good days. That photo in my avatar was from a gorgeous day down in the Tionesta area.
  24. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    How do you like hot and humid? Upper 90's to 100's and sticky.
  25. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Ummm...no. Lol. I that has been our July for the last two years. Is that what your weather is today?

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