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.

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.


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


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.

Living In Bear Country...

1:53 pm - 80 degrees - blue sky...

We live in bear country.  We know and understand the fact that we moved into their territory.  We are living in their natural environment, and we respect that.

Seeing a black bear is an exciting experience, one that happens often up here in the mountains.  We watch them walk through the yard, or walk along the driveway, or hear them crashing through the thick brush.  Once they see us watching them, they turn around and walk or run away.  The awe inspiring experience is over and we all go on about our own business.

The presence of bears has never been a problem or a threat in the eight and a half years that we have owned our property.  They have never tried to get into our trash cans, gotten into our compost bin, bothered our bird feeder, or come sniffing around the barbeque – all of which can attract bears.  The vast majority of bears want to avoid humans.  Encounters with aggressive bears or predatory attacks by bears are very rare, but do occur.

Saturday night we had our first negative encounter with a black bear...and it didn’t end well.
Right around 9 pm I heard noises downstairs.  Tony and the kids were asleep so I thought it was our cats or our neighbor’s dog.  I walked downstairs to see what all the ruckus was about and that’s when I came upon a large black bear standing about 10’ feet away.  It took a second for it to register that there was an actual bear right in front of me, then the bear and I took off running in opposite directions – me into the house yelling for Tony and the bear running to the firepit area.  I thought that would have been the end of it, it usually would have been – we both had scared each other off.

As Tony and I were looking out the window in the direction the bear had run off, we were both very surprised to see the him walking in a zig zag pattern back towards the house.  This had never happened before.  We’ve never had a bear so close to house, and we’ve never had a bear run off only to immediately return.  When a bear gets scared off it leaves – it doesn’t come back!

Tony went back downstairs and tried to scare the bear off several more times by trying to run him off, yell at him and fire a warning shot with the loudest gun we own.  Each time the bear would retreat up behind the firepit area, only to turn around and start stalking back towards the house.  This is not normal bear behavior.  The bear was showing aggressive behavior, he kept trying to come back to the house while being hazed off, pacing side to side, the bear had no fear.  Neither of us has ever encountered a bear like this before.  Even though he didn’t want to, in the end, Tony ended up shooting the bear

Male black bear, 5'8", about 200 lbs.

Tony called the Department of Fish & Wildlife to report the incident and they came out Sunday morning to pick up the bear.  The DFW officer took a look around, snapped a few pictures of the bear, filled out a report, loaded the bear into the back of their pickup truck and told us that given where we live and the behavior the bear was displaying that we made the right choice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spring Projects...

1:17 pm - 48 degrees - windy and drizzling...

It is a cold, raining, windy, overcast, dreary day...and that means that we have to stay inside for a change and it gives me a chance to write a blog post. 

The past three or four weeks have been gorgeous out, and that means we have been spending a lot of time outside.

We've been going on hikes and
Caitlyn found some extra love on this hike.

Jack and I have been cutting down the small Alder trees
that are within 10 feet of the driveway.

Jack found a snail while I was weed whacking and was mesmerized for
about half an hour before he was off and running again.

These adorable babies are now out and about
and oh so cute and fun to watch.

Jack keeps catching and releasing Northern Alligator Lizards.

The area around our house is still too rocky to use an actual lawn mower so Tony and I spent several days weed whacking the grass, raking up the clippings and hauling them to the compost bin.

Tony has also been working on concrete footings so we can start to frame and enclose the space under the stairwell.  This will be the control room for the whole house where the inverter will be kept.

I acquired a free table (I love free stuff!) that was the perfect size for our firepit area.  I wanted it to blend in, so I spray painted it.  I love our firepit area, it is the perfect spot to sit back and relax after a long day.

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