Millbridge — In a huge “win” for sustainable living, one Down East man has been without electricity since 2008.
Gary Beal lives with his dog in a cozy house built in the early 1900s. His home is without a phone, internet, or electricity, putting him off the grid and back to the kind of simple living Mainers are famous for.
Not only does Beal eschew modern conveniences, he makes a living working off Maine’s plentiful, renewable resources. In the summers he digs clams and rakes blueberries, and in the autumn he tips fir trees for wreath making.
Beal doesn’t use fossil fuels for anything other than his 1988 Ford pick-up truck, and when he does he only adds 2 or 3 gallons at a time. Unlike most Maine houses using heating oil, Beal’s home is heated entirely by a small woodstove he picked up from the side of the road.
“I burn whatever,” Beal said, meaning he keeps trash out of landfills, where it would otherwise sit for thousands of years.
This modern Thoreau doesn’t think what he’s doing is anything special, but there’s no question he’s living deliberately.
“I do what I have to do to get by,” he said. If only we could all be that fortunate.