Imagine an old, decrepit victorian house in the middle of a forest. It is inhabited by a small family ages 8 to 25. The setting is the near future with no major differences from the real world (at least at first).
A little bit like this:
The climate is probably best described by "English", even though the story is not set in England: reasonably warm summers which can be rainy, rainy autumns, and cold, snowy winters. A city of 100,000 is nearby, about 7 miles away.
It's "off the grid" by necessity: it is so remote that it's not connected to any utilities except an ancient overground electrical line. The inhabitants do a certain amount of gardening.
- There are wood furnaces for warmth in the winter (a big one downstairs and small ones in the individual rooms)
- There is a well with an automatic pump
- Groceries and other everyday necessities can be purchased at a store in the city 7 miles away. They have access to a certain amount of money; the vegetable gardening is important to augment the budget, but not absolutely essential.
They care greatly about the forest around them and it's easy to imagine them doing some careful caretaking related to it. They love the forest's animals and interact with them frequently.
I live off the grid myself (although the closest forest is a thousand miles away) but I'm having a hard time creating a plausible daily life for these guys. What would daily chores look like around the house? What would be things that need to be done on a daily / weekly basis? What kinds of projects might be pressing? What kinds of emergencies might believably come up?
What I've come up with so far:
- Weed the vegetable garden and rid it of snails (daily or weekly)
- Fix leaky roofs
- Fix leaky windows
- Power going out due to problems with the old power line, or with the ancient wiring inside the house
- Pick up berries/mushrooms from the forest for food
- Harvest potatoes/carrots/other vegetables grown around the house, and store them