Self-sufficiency is, at least to us, a very interesting concept that sprung somewhat unintentionally out of a positive feedback loop that started with an internet line and a tomato.
Having purchased the Bois Cotlette Estate in December of 2011, our family relocated to Dominica, from the New York metropolitan area, in the summer of 2012 just after school for the children let out. There was excitement in the air as the amorphous shape of the upcoming adventure began to materialize.
Not knowing anything at all about farming we weren’t too concerned about a transition to a rural off grid estate because the property had been abandoned a decade or so ago, and forgetting about the lack of power, water or other similar utility services, it was entirely uninhabitable. So, we were headed to an apartment, with all of our familiar comforts, in the nearby village of Soufriere. (picture of christines house)
Each morning, we would walk about an hour (2miles) to reach the property with our first mission to peel back the overgrowth, familiarly known as “bush”, which had consumed the main courtyard rendering the contained buildings invisible. All sorts of neat discoveries came our way over the ensuing couple of months. None so amazing to us as an underground telephone line.
Can you imagine, we’re fond of saying now, in modern day Dominica at Bois Cotlette, the definition of off grid means no electric, no water, no sewer, not even cell phone coverage in our volcanic valley, but our estate is fully wired thanks to an underground internet cable that cuts right under our courtyard and ends up in the former stable!!
After some exploratory phone calls to the local telephone providers, we learned that the line could be activated and would also support internet. Translation. The property just became inhabitable !! By Septermber of 2012, our first pilot solar system sufficient enough to power 2 computers was installed and a clearing was made in the former slave village area of the property where we pitched our tent.