What does it mean to live off the grid? There’s a wide range of answers to this question. Some will say it means a lifestyle that generally prioritizes self-sufficiency. Others will apply a more literal connotation related to independence from the power grid and municipal utilities. There are also interpretations related to maintaining privacy, security, or an innocuous appearance in order to remain under the radar. Each of these perspectives has validity, but the concept of living off the grid has existed for many centuries longer than the term itself.

In a recent documentary by Northmen, a film crew followed a 76-year-old grandfather through his self-sufficient routine at a remote cabin in the woods. As the video description states, “He is an old and experienced horse logger and is doing all the farm work all year round using only horse power… He has been living off the grid, before there even was a grid.” This 52-minute film is broken into four segments: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

As with previous Northmen short films we’ve featured, no narration is present — the beautiful cinematography is allowed to speak for itself. If you’ve got a free hour, check out the full Grandfather documentary above. It gave us a renewed appreciation for the persistent, self-reliant mindset that allowed this elderly man to thrive while living off the grid. There’s much we can learn from his example.


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