Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid
or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency.
You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power.
Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Winter Readiness...

3:02 pm - 54 degrees - scattered clouds, windy...

The first week of October, we were having 70 and 80 degree days, but according to the latest weather report that’s all over for the year.  Fall is finally here.  


The cooler temperatures and rainy days are on their way.  That means old man winter is just around the corner.  Literally, winter could be here in a month!

This summer and beginning of the school season, we have been swamped with project – unfortunately most of those have been off the mountain.  So we’re running behind on our winter prep.

We bought our property back in 2005, and every winter has been different.  We have had everything from little to no snow up to over 10’ deep snow with 14’ deep snow drifts.  It is hard to determine what type of winter will be in store for us this year.  Regardless of what Mother Nature brings our way, it is best to prepare for the worst. 

To get ready for winter we have been cutting and stacking firewood and kindling, which is a never ending project, and we are way behind on our firewood supply this year.


Our kids and my dad picked grapes so my mom, sister and I can make some more grape jelly.


We’re still working on getting our electrical system up and running.  This has been a slow process...but we’re getting very, very close!  Actually having a real fridge will be life changing! 

16 deep cycle batteries are in place and hooked up.

Power cord is installed that will run from the
batteries to the generator shed.

Building up a rock foundation for the generator shed.

Drainage ditches need to be cleaned out, so the yard and driveway won’t flood.


The freezer (which is in our storage unit) needs to be filled so Tony went out and shot an elk during muzzleloader season.



Yard debris after the latest wind storms needed to be picked up, but we waited to do this project until the burn ban was lifted so we could sit back at the end of a long day to enjoy a campfire and the gorgeous view.


Meat. It’s What’s For Dinner...

1:35 pm - 57 degrees - scattered clouds, light breeze...

It’s that time of year again... hunting season. 

Hunting wild animals for food used to be a part of everyday life – for some it still is.  Hunting may not be for everyone, but it’s a part of our lives.  Hunting is simply harvesting wild food, and we only harvest what our family will eat.

There are a lot of shocking things about meat.  Sometimes I find that the most shocking thing about meat to some people, is that meat is actually made of dead animals!  Crazy right?  Sorry for my sarcasm, but I do seriously think we maintain a cognitive dissonance between the animals we see and the meat we eat.

One of the problems with our current food system is that there is this real disconnect with where our food comes from.  The same person who would squeal if they saw a farmer shoot a cow can easily buy packages of ground beef at the grocery store...or a package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts...or fish fillets.  While we understand what meat is in a cerebral way, we don’t really understand what that means.  We don’t equate a dead, bleeding animal with this delicious looking meal on our plate.  We literally and figuratively remove the life from our food.

Tony hunts for deer and elk every year – one deer and one elk will put enough meat in the freezer to feed our family for a whole year and be able to share some with family and friends.

Shot a bull elk on the third day of
muzzleloader season.
  
Hunting for our own food also gives us peace of mind that the meat in our freezer has not been tainted by antibiotics, artificial hormones, pesticides, herbicides, or unnatural feeds that are not needed and are possibly harmful.

This is the most "organic", "free range" meat you can get!

Nutritional wise, Elk comes in pretty good.

To hunt and butcher an animal is to recognize that meat is not some abstract form of protein that springs into existence at the grocery store tightly wrapped in cellophane and styrofoam.  Meat is life.  It still astounds me how many people actually believe that the meat they buy at the grocery store...is just meat at the grocery store.  They forget or choose to forget where it really came from – a living breathing animal.  In order to appreciate that slice of steak on your plate, I think you need to also know and appreciate where it came from.

Elk Steaks.  It's what's for dinner.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Windy Ridge...

12:52 pm - 75 degrees - blue sky with 40+ mph winds...

For the past several days we have had 40+ mph winds with 50+ mph wind gusts and it has wrecked havoc in our fire pit area.  It even blew the glass top off the table, which thankfully didn't break.



We also had a couple stacks of cedar shingles that were scattered all over, a sheet of plywood that hit my car (it only left a small scratch), and a bunch of other random things that got blown all over...but at least the wind turbine is loving this windy weather.

video

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grounding Rod...

8:28 pm - 51 degrees - clear night sky...

Last week Tony spent just over hour driving an 8 foot copper coated steel rod into the rocky ground using a fence post driver. 


Me:  “What is that rod for?”
Husband:  “It’s a ground rod for the electrical system.”
Me:  “What’s it supposed to do?”
Husband: “Grounds the electrical system.”
Me:  “What does that mean?”
Husband:  “It helps to keep you from being electrocuted.”
Me:  “Oh. Does every house need to have one of these?”
Husband:  “Pretty much.”


After the conduit was laid out all the way to the grounding rod, we used the shop vac to suck a piece of string from the grounding rod through the conduit and into the "control room" under the stairs.



Once we had the string pulled through, we attached it to one end of the copper wire and started to pull the copper wire back through the conduit.



Once we had the copper wire pulled all the way through, Tony attached it to the grounding rod and sealed up the conduit.


After a little backfilling, the ground rod install is complete.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Break...

3:20 pm - 92 degrees - sunny with a light breeze...

It’s hard to believe August is almost over!!  Maybe it’s true what they say about getting older; the hours in the day wiz by and weeks turn into months in the blink of an eye because summer has certainly flown by! 

Although I love the heat and sunshine, and the sound of kids playing outside all day, the end of August signals the start of school, the end of sunshine at 9 pm, and the beginning of our descent into winter.

Here are a few pictures from our busy summer...

Tony graded the driveway (over a mile long) a few times this summer and then the kids and I get to clean all the gravel off the bridge.

We went on several family hikes this summer including another trip to the Ape Caves!


Firewood is a never ending project of falling trees and cutting them up into rounds...


...then splitting the rounds into firewood.


Summer time is all about playing in the water - trips to the creek, river and lots and lots of water fights!


 It's just not summer if we're not outside bbq'ing!


We love to go for drives and wander around looking at and enjoying all the spectacular sights around us!


Tony spent just over an hour driving the 8 foot copper coated steel rod into the ground using a fence post driver.


Getting some of the parts of our power system organized - a pile of cables and wiring, 24 batteries (3 groups of 8) and 8 solar panels (5' x 2'6").


Some concrete, framing, plywood and the room under the stairwell is almost enclosed.  A little more work and then the "control room" for the electrical will be done.

And of course, we made several fun trips to the beach.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top 10 Posts...

3:08 pm - 93 degrees - hot and muggy...

Out of all the blog posts I have written, it's always interesting to me to see which ones are the top posts.

Today I am sharing with you the top 10 posts from Off-Grid Home Sweet Home.


#10 - Off-Grid Power {Battery Bank}... (March 13, 2013)


#9 - Alaskan Chainsaw Mill... (May 26, 2013)


#8 - Peanut Butter Corn Flakes... (December 1, 2011)



#7 - Swedish Torch... (June 23, 2013)



#6 - Gravity Fed Water System {Water Storage}... (January 5, 2012)


#5 - Off-Grid Power {Generators}... (July 16, 2013)



#4 - Questions and Answers... (October 26, 2013)



#3 - Log Reindeer... (October 20, 2013)



#2 - Board and Batten Siding... (July 27, 2012)



#1 - Kids Handprint Stepping Stones... (May 6, 2011)



Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great day!

Summer School...

2:04 pm - 88 degrees - hot and muggy...

A small glimpse of our mountain morning fun... learning ABC's and 123's on one end of the table and what a complete subject and complete predicate are in a sentence on the other end.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Firewood...

1:52 pm - 80 degrees - sunny...

The firewood cutting for this coming winter is underway.  In past years we have aimed to have all the firewood done by Memorial Weekend, but that has never happened.  So this year we’re giving ourselves a realistic deadline.  We are going to have a minimum of eight cords and hope to have the majority of that cut and split by the end of next month.
 

Besides getting all the firewood cut and split, Tony wants to build a firewood shed so we have somewhere to stack the firewood besides under the house.

While Tony has been busy cutting and splitting firewood, I’ve been busy splitting cedar rounds into kindling.  A warm cozy fire in the fireplace is a great idea, but sometimes that fire is a challenge to start.  That’s where kindling comes in; kindling is an excellent way to start a fire on the first try.  Even though kindling is essential to heating one’s home with wood, it’s often overlooked.

We store our kindling in 5-gallon buckets and crates for a couple of reasons: kindling is inconvenient to stack; stored vertically, any dampness tends to wick away faster; and its an easy chore for our kids to fill a 5-gallon bucket full of kindling from the kindling crates and then bring it into the house.



Monday, June 30, 2014

County Road Strikes Again...

2:30 pm - 83 degrees - blue sky...

Yesterday Tony was attempting to come down the mountain and go to town when he ran into a road block.  There is one sharp hairpin corner on the gravel logging road to our house where accidents regularly occur.  It's not the first time and it won't be the last time where this happens...





Once help showed up, it didn't take them long to get the flatbed pulled out and the culvert pieces reloaded.
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