88 Years Old And She Still Lives Off The Grid Alone since 1960

Jeanie Lawson, KY ” I feel very blessed that a friend introduced me to a wonderful 88 yr old woman who has lived “off the grid” since 1960. She lives in an old log home her father built 83 years ago. There is not any electricity or running water. She has a cellar for her fridge. The front door was homemade and she re-did the chinking on the logs herself. Her bathroom is outside on the hill and family ran water from a spring to her tub which she proudly showed me. She cooks on a wood stove and served me sassafras tree she made from the mountains. (Very good) she gave me a bar of her lye soap she made and showed me how she makes dish soap from wood ash and water, also good for cleaning dogs. She washes clothes in an old tin tub. She made. Church in her barn and she goes there often to lie down. The pews were homemade. Her 60+ yr old brother died this week and she showed me pictures of him. The coroner came and pronounced him and family made the casket and washed and clothed him, no funeral home ow embalming. This is a woman who is happy and feels so blessed. She does not live off the system whatsoever and draws no food stamps or social security.”



In the first photo – Sitting on her front porch with her Bible. She was raised in this house from the age of 3. She is 88

Front of the old log home

Living room as it looks today in the old log home

Clock that she made that shows all the family (17 kids) in her family.

“Giving me a bar of her homemade lye soap.”

Where she makes soap for her kitchen and to clean the dogs with…made from wood ash and water.


      • It was wonderful to read about this amazing woman. Proof-reading doesn’t hurt. This is how to spell “negative” (sorry Chelly).

      • Margaret on said:

        Who really cares, the story is the important part, if the I admire this woman to end and it offends me that you are more concerned about spelling and vocabulary. I really get annoyed with language police.

      • Frances on said:

        I agree. Sloppy writing leads to sloppy thinking. It’s part of the post-modern dumbing-down of society. People are becoming careless in their speech and writing, and apathetic about their errors. Not many people value intelligent thought or articulate expression of thought anymore. It’s really sad. We are devolving as a species. I think our dependence on technology to do our thinking for us is the main cause. A secondary cause is our fast-paced society. Everyone has to text or type his/her thoughts quickly. People aren’t able to think or write in-depth anymore. Conversation consists of quick short-hand messages. I blame texting and the social media. No one has time to think, speak, or write intelligently and coherently. People skim through posts quickly and don’t have the attention span required to even read full articles. To make matters worse, people have stopped caring. They don’t even bother to correct their errors or try to use language correctly. They don’t want to think intelligently or read anything that requires thought. I fear for the future of the human race.

    • That lady has got more work ethic than you could muster on the best of days , you would not last a month living off the grid and you worry about ” proof reading ” , people like yourself is what’s wrong with America , lazy, effortless, self entitled welfare grabbers .

  • sheetal on said:

    Reminds me of my Granny who used to do similar things she would’ve been in her 80’s would she have been still alive TODAY…I miss HER ….admire people’s courage to live in Simplicity!! God Bless Her

  • Cindy on said:

    “She does not live off the system whatsoever and draws no food stamps or social security.” What an ugly thing to say, as though those who draw social security – which is OUR money and NOT living off the system, thank you – or food stamps are freeloaders. How ugly. What if this woman should get ill and need medical care with no social security or other benefits offered by the government? Deos she not deserve them after living a long life bothering no one?

    It was wonderful to see a bit of her life, but how nasty of the writer to say that.

    • Maria Herman on said:

      Funny, I didn’t get that inference at all. Simply an observation by the author. If you read the sentence again, it could easily mean that she doesn’t live off the system nor does she draw …social security.
      You don’t realize that most people who live in a healthy manner rarely need the medical care. Besides who says she would not have access to medical?
      We all look through different lenses, I guess….no nastiness observed here.

    • Alacia on said:

      She wasn’t trying to offend. If you took it offensively, it is because you are probably living off the system yourself, no offense intended, and could be an overly-sensitive snowflake, no offense intended. This lady is trying to share something beautiful and you are making it all about you. Wow. Grow up.

    • Katie on said:

      First of all, social security was set up by FDR as a temporary system to help people get back on their feet after the crash of 1929 & the depression. People were NOT suppose to be using it as their form of retirement. People should work, save, and take care of themselves and not be expecting the government to take care of them or the citizens to either. And those who DO receive other benefits should only get them temporary–those who expect a handout and expect to get them forever only perpetuate a lifetime of poverty & laziness for themselves, their children and their families; abuse of the system.

      It is a delight that this woman chooses to live alone on her own terms, I guess you can say those who take advantage of the government on their own terms as well–one is just more noble than the other. She gets my admiration & utmost respect.

      And for those of you who are going to sling mud and complain, well, remember this what the good book says, if you don’t work you should not eat. From the Bible.

      • Trese Young on said:

        Aren’t you are judgmental person! I hope you know what FOAD means. I have never received public assistance, but am very willing to help those in need. What a self-obsessed, self-richteous, arrogant human you are.

      • Social security is a forced contribution not an elected one such as 401k and we who contributed deserve to be paid back. That was the deal. Why anyone thinks it is an entitlement like food and housing assistance is just not thinking clearly.

    • That was not nasty at all. I guess if you look for something bad you’ll find it. Your interpretation! The writer only explains that the woman is totally financially independent. The story wasn’t at all meant to be critical or demeaning. Pray she doesn’t get ill, which she may possibly have that issue taken care of.the writer, as I ,am totally impressed with this woman and her chosen way of life! God Bless Her !

    • JImmy on said:

      If she would get sick and needs medical care she would automatically get it duet her age. Also due to her age she should be able to get SS and possibly food stamps, but maybe she has never applied or desires to do so. The article written is trying to make a point. I think the point is, she is not freeloading off the system as MANY do and THINK they deserve it. If you’re overly sensitive I have to wonder what your story is. But in reality don’t really care. It was a good article about a woman trying to be self sufficient.

    • susan on said:

      this was an informative article of an interesting woman. Your response makes no sense whatsoever, but it seems that it hit a nerve with you, that you have been offended by this article. I do not think the writer is ugly or nasty, but your comment is.

    • I agree. She couldn’t get any Social Security money anyway since she never paid into the system, so why bring it up?

    • Scott on said:

      Utterly disagree with you.

      It is to this woman’s credit that she has committed her life to being independent, and not dependent on money involuntarily taken from people’s paychecks and given to her by a socialist state system.

    • Mary on said:

      This show how strong and self sufficient some people are while others are so soft and spoiled with the things money buys.

    • Debbie on said:

      Omg wow! People get over yourselves. Again this isnt about you l. Im on medicaid and medicare . I dont care what anyone thinks. Why should you . And dont think thats what its about. You must have an high anxiety life.

  • Andy Carr on said:

    I enjoyed learning from this article. One of the things I learned is there are lots of critics who need everything prim and proper and formatted. Perish the thought of someone writing down and publishing their thoughts! Let’s just call it “off the grid” writing and enjoy the story of this lady.
    When society fails, people from flyover country will save America with their knowledge and can do spirit.

  • AJ Brady on said:

    Social security is not an entitlement, like the media portrays it. SS when it was set up was considered insurance. The Amish had to go to court to get out of paying for it or being included in it, because it was against their religion. It wasn’t until the politicians “borrowed the money” from the people that they started that awful rumor of calling it an entitlement and treating it like medicaid. The American people must stay abreast of things otherwise politicians will ruin us for the power and money they want.

  • SweetPea on said:

    The lady may have never worked a 9-5 & may not have much to draw & doesn’t apply for food stamps bc she is provided for& living well. There’s no mention that she doesn’t need medicare. Let’s not jump to conclusions & become nasty..

  • Sharon Eastman on said:

    It’s damn sad when normally good people say things that ate so thoughtlessly biased. Try not to hold it against this othereise inspirational story.

  • Lea Harris on said:

    I cannot image. To be able to live off the grid successfully for so many years because that is what makes you happy is absolutely amazing. What a strong woman. God Bless her.

  • Alacia on said:

    Oh, and by the way writer, thank you so much for sharing about Miss Jeanie,. She sounds like a remarkable lady. You do too. Learn everything you can from her because you will never find anyone else that knows such things anymore. Her pearls need not to be lost if you learn them and pass them on. 🙂

  • Lawd... on said:

    How offended people get just because it is said “she doesn’t live off the system.” It isn’t that she doesn’t deserve medical, it’s simply her way of life. There are alot of people who ABUSE the system. More often than not… alot of people get more money than they actually paid into THE SYSTEM. Some peope really need to understand that NO ONE is entitled to ANYTHING. You weren’t born with entitlements. The system is a bonus and that alone. It’s rather pathetic to hear people assume they should be handed money, food ect. and expect so much. Honestly more people should try it and be taught this way of life… There might be a whole lot LESS anger, viloence and entitled attitudes.

  • Sylvia on said:

    I read this twice now. What a wonderful story. I loved reading it and it is inspiring! I wish to live like this would be possible where GOD placed my family and myself. Back to basics, learning about and using all things GOD provided, simply wonderful. Thank you for sharing this article. I am grateful I was able to read it.

  • How was that comment nasty? It was stated as a fact. She doesn’t rely on them, or use them. The author didn’t berate or make negative or snide comments to those that do…. that would have been nasty… and rude. Just making a simple statement about the fact that this woman chooses not to use government funds… is not. Just a factual statement. You getting so offended by this statement is the same as me getting offended if you were to say that you choose to eat a healthy diet and not consume sugar…and me be offended because I’m overweight. It’s stupid.

  • Merete on said:

    If she goes to the Hospital she will be taken care of,that’s the law but she probably won’t .She is so used to take care of herself and do bartering for anything else she need plush have family who gives her whatever she needs.She has pride and does not want any Government interference in her life ,she is doing just fine ,thank you.You on the other hand sounds very touchy about Foodstamp etc,Why????

  • Thanks for posting! I notice she wears an Amish dress! We cann learn alot from such folk. I too live off grid in TN. Once you know how and get used to it, city life just wont do! Thanks! And Cindy…Im sure the author meant no offense.

    • Debbie on said:

      Just trying to wrap my head around the fact that you live off the grid Gina…..but, your on here writing to all of your good friends here. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      • Now I wonder about your thoughts. Living off grid does not mean primitive.Debbie does living off grid mean that you can not have a cell phone? That you can’t use social media? Surely you didn’t mean Gina can not have friends living off grid. Check it out Debbie, there are many new products to make your life more comfortable living off grid without having to use public utilities. JS

  • Jennifer on said:

    Wow what negative comments. I didn’t take any of the comments as nasty. The author was just stating fact. What a brave lady. Thanks for the article.

  • Lindsay on said:

    The article just stated that she doesn’t live off the system l. It didn’t say anything disrespectful about people that do. It’s an article about living off the grid. Relax

  • Denide on said:

    Wow! Sensitive much? They were just pointing out thatshe doesn’t partake in any programs for money or food. Smh. I don’t recall the author saying there was something wrong with collecting it in the article… Quit reading your own negative spin into everything.

  • Alisha W. on said:

    I really enjoyed this story. God bless this wonderful woman. Wish I could meet her and hear all the wonderful stories she has. Thank you for sharing

  • It was rude to say that about living off system but in all honesty this is where the church has failed to care for orphans and widows and expecting the government to pick up slack. She was fortunate to have a father give her a house. There’s a lot women who don’t have fathers these days sadly. This person who wrote this is just ignorant of people who live real lives and they know nothing about life apparently

  • I understand how misleading she wrote the statement about state aid, but I believe she didn’t mean harm when she said it. I talk out of my ass sometimes and people are way off. But they are human enough to understand that I am not perfect and screw up. I look at the point of the article (an elderly lady who continues to live the life she was raised up in) as well as the tone (which is nay Always on point) . From what I gathered from reading this is that the writer is impressed by this beloved lady whom lives and cares for many things all by herself, literally. Most of us today have convenience included in our lives and yet this lady is making soap from wood ash to clean her dishes and dogs. I bet your soap comes from a place from a person who made it to sell so you could run out and conveniently Buy it, not plan time to make it or else you’ll have nothing to wash with. That’s impressive to me.
    In all , have some mercy on a writer who is starting out or even seasoned, because we can only do our best.

  • “She does not live off the system whatsoever and draws no food stamps or social security.” I’m sure the writer’s intent wasn’t meant to be misunderstood or perceived to be ‘ugly or nasty’.. The writer was simply stating the facts, that this woman doesn’t receive social security or food stamps, and is completely independent.

  • kelli anne moody on said:

    Hi, if she receives no monies how does she pay for the store bought eggs on the counter?maybe sell her soaps?

    • Kelli Anne Moody I suspect that she has hens that lay eggs and friends that bring her the egg cartons and may sell or give her eggs to them.

  • Nubz713 on said:

    I don’t understand where you say this comes off offensive? The writer was just stating she lives totally off the grid . No SS benifets being drawn or food stamp subsidies being used. She is totally independent. Propably a lot healthier than any one us as well. To live “off the grid” means to be independent of using any resources other than your own. If you or your husband pay into social security then you recieve what you paid in.

  • Betty on said:

    I fully admire this lady and appreciate, errors and all, that you took the time to pass this along. I don’t feel that you were being ugly when you said “No food stamps, etc.,” but rather showing what she had done, and giving hope to those who might not be getting help. I found this inspirational and will pass it on to others. God bless you and God continue to bless this lady. BTW, I am in my 80’s and I think that makes the difference in my comments and 2 of the ones above.

  • Sally on said:

    I think the writer was only making a statement and not trying to be ugly. Maybe this lady never paid into the system and has always lived off the grid. It’s an admirable lifestyle she’s leading. Get your panties out of a wad, jeez.

  • I think you’re reading way to much into that. She was trying to make the point that this woman is completely self sufficient, doesn’t get any help of any kind from the government or anyone it seems. She lives completely of the land. Really, no money even needed.

  • Its a statement, not people are bad who draw SSI its people like you, that cry and make it all about what they didnt get or how they were wronged. Get over it, no where did the writer bad month you.

  • Oakley on said:

    Nice article. Always good to be reminded, that much of the things we waste our time to aquire are not needed. A quiet simple life is healthy and a blessing.

  • Molly on said:

    This is awesome! I’d love to live off the land and be self sufficient! I love things of yesteryear, we could learn a lot from her. What peace she must have! Thanks for sharing! I was not at all insulted by the writer saying she didn’t collect social security or food stamps, she was just stating a fact.

  • WOW!!! What an amazing story about a woman who is so self sufficient and does not rely on the any kind of modern day technology. It very inspiring article. It’s unfortunate others have to post negative comments.

  • She probably never paid into anything or wanted to and I think she should be proud to say she has not lived off the system

  • Heidi on said:

    That’s what you got from this article? Really?
    Editing recommendations or offences to social system status?
    May she continue her blessed life free from any connections to govt control. Hope she also lost or gave up her last name which is only another form of same control. May any ignorant readers be guided to their bliss and know soon enough we will all be speaking text and emoji symbols soon enough. H

  • Gordo Humphrey on said:

    You say she didn’t “like on the system ” which btw is super judgemental, but where did her food come from. Did she raise her own meat, fruits, veggies and grains? None of this information is in this article. If she doesn’t grow all her own food without any assistance then she has to get hep from somewhere. And are you saying this 80+ year old gets no help from her family? That seems very unlikely. This seems more like a poorly written story than an article. I will be unsubscribe for.

  • Nancy on said:

    I have (in the past) had assistance from “the system”. However, I found no offense to your article or this extraordinary woman you wrote about. I choose to be inspired rather than offended. I will always strive to honor and acknowledge another’s achievements regardless of where I am in this journey of life. Thank you for this beautiful and inspirational article. People, please consider exercising love and not be so critical…

  • Andrea on said:

    I’m a black woman and I don’t think what Ms. Keefe said was ugly at all and I don’t think she was being ugly or nasty or disrespectful to anyone. I get what she is saying. She’s just stating that this woman has lived her life the way she has for all these years and survived and that she’s content. Eventhough she mentioned social security and the system. It’s plenty of people who live just like her. She just doesn’t need probably nor want any help from anyone. People read things the wrong way. That’s whats wrong with this world now. You can’t say anything without someone inturping it wrong. I agree 100% with what Susan said and with what Sheetal states. She understands exactly what Susan has said. I might have misspell some words also. But who cares because you know what she was saying so I’m not proof reading either.

  • Sunny on said:

    The author was just stating facts that she is living without government subsidies. The author did not make any statement of judgement. You can tell by the clock the lady made that she has a big family that likely help her out when she needs it. This is how it used to work before government programs. It looks like the lady living off grid doesn’t need to spend much money the way she has chosen to live. Be careful about placing your own value system onto others as it will likely frustrate you when it doesn’t match.

  • Nick on said:

    Awesome story! I love watching shows where people are living off the grid and being self sustainable. It’s nice to be reading about these amazing people. They are a dying breed now days. Ignore the whiny people above. Love the story!

  • nancy oliveria on said:

    thank you very much for writing such a lovely article about that woman this is not about us or how we live our lives I have been on food stamps and I am off food stamps I have asked for help and I have gotten help it’s not about me it’s about the wonderful way this woman live her life and her spiritual belief thanks again God bless you and God bless that lady

  • Faith on said:

    If she does not have electricity, how does the clock operate. Batteries? How does she purchase batteries with no income. Also, I do not see the relevance of her not getting social security. I know I have paid money for SS all my working life. I intend on getting every dime back!

  • Leilani Mayhone on said:

    How is that nasty? I think his point was that she is completely independent. She took care of herself. No where did I ever here Jim put down on anyone who did use assistance. He stated facts. She is completely off grid, she doesn’t use or need our corrupt government or political system.

  • Billpayor on said:

    I really wish you had left her home as anonymous as possible. Even printing KY is too much info for government officials to stick their noses in!!

  • Diane on said:

    How does she buy stuff does she sell eggs or what ? Id does not collect any monies from any system ,An it’s wonderful she can do this , because being brought up like that she knows how great love it

  • Sirk on said:

    The truth can be ugly. If you need it use it. We unfortunately have too many people who consume our resources without contributing. You should feel offended by this fact as much as you are offended by her comment

  • Annie on said:

    The article mentions that she’s been living off the grid since 1960. I wonder what her life was before then? Perhaps she was raising a family and/or had a career? I’d love to know.

  • Tammy Lawson on said:

    Cindy if you truly understood southern folks you wouldn’t be offended or so touchy. She doesn’t take public assistance because of her pride….pride in her independence, confidence in her ability to care for herself, and pride in carrying forward the traditions and teachings of her father and other ancestors. Please don’t bash. Just try to understand.

  • Crystal on said:

    Came to comments to write the same thing. Don’t publish without proof reading. And if someone says something in the comments, FOR GOD’S SAKE edit your article!!

  • Most people who have chickens and sell eggs RECYCLE those egg containers from other people who don’t reuse them. So those cartons don’t mean the eggs are store bought.

  • Mairi Scott Douglas on said:

    Splendid woman! Proud and strong. A suggestion if I may…to all of you that want the author to proof read, please just read the story with your “heart”
    Cheers, peace and blessings to all

  • I truly admire her way of life, simple, clean, and peaceful! Wish I had the guts to let go of my conveniences, and spend my time making soap and doing the things to live this way, instead of the wasted hours spent on the rat race!

  • I love the whole concept, a woman living alone successfully…..off the Grid , dam impressive…..only a very tiny group could do it, I think 98% of the rest could not.
    We can all learn a lot from this amazing woman.

  • What a loser .This is not English class I understood it perfectly.People like you are so unpleasant to be around& the kind you dont want around..

  • John Stewart on said:

    people who are so bored that they need to correct others in the way they speak,, should eat a box of razor blades. but don’t forget to wash them down with a vat of battery acid.

  • Could have been a great article if the grammer and spelling wasn’t so terrible. Not sure if the author is smart or dumb, but she sure is making herself look stupid. Also, pointing out grammatical errors is not judgemental. Errors are either there or they aren’t.

  • Interesting story. Looks, dresses the same as Amish. Is she Amish because she does the same things a lot of old order Amish do in my area.

  • Mikey on said:

    If you can’t proofread an article it undercuts you legitimacy. This article was an anecdotal story to begin with, but seriously, it sounds like you’re not smart enough to maintain a standard of writing.

  • Deborah on said:

    I want to know more! Where does she get her food? Does she have a garden, chickens, etc.?? I see several cartons of eggs in one photo – where did they come from? I’m so impressed, and also very curious. Hoping for a follow-up article!

  • People please remember. There is such things as learning disabilities which makes people unable to spell perfectly. Also not everybody has had an opportunity at a fine education. Some people do the best they can. It is nice tho to have an absolute perfect human to point out others mistakes. I guess that’s why we have this perfect word we live in. <—- sarcasm for us imperfect people that didn’t get it

    Great story very interesting read

  • Jeanie Watson on said:

    I find this article refreshing and inspiring . I think all of you …ladies… arguing back and forth is childish . I truly admire this lady and wish I could live this way . I did when I was a child and truthfully, those were the best times .

  • Not being a leach on society is something to be proud of. Those who live off the “system” are NOT truly self-sufficient. It is easy to determine by the comments those who are leaches on society.

  • Anonymous on said:

    I, too, enjoyed the article. Very interesting. However, the MULTIPLE typos and misspellings, as well as the incorrect words being inserted into sentences was distracting. At the very least, consider using spell check.

  • Nice story. Stupid comments. If one is offended, just move on.
    I feel embarrassed for the subject of the article, an amazing 88 yro who should be appreciated.

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