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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bulls Are Out...

43 degrees - 9:26 am - cloudy...

On our way to school this morning the kids and I were delightfully surprised to see a pair of huge bull elk standing alongside the road.  Normally when we see the elk, it is usually a herd of cows, so to see two bulls this morning was truly a treat!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Evening Post…

53 degrees - 10:09 am - cloudy...

A small glimpse into our lives as we live off-grid… sort of like eves dropping.  It may be a thought, quote or a conversation; funny, sweet or sad; but it will always be true.  We will see if it resonates with you…


{Hubby and Me texting back and forth}

Me:  Backsplash for the bathrooms!
Hubby:  Who said you could go to Home Depot unsupervised?
Me:  LOL!  I am at Costco.  :)
Hubby:  That might be worse…
Me:  :)  I love you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter's Morning...

30 degrees - 9:19 am - gorgeous...

The glow began, soft and warm, growing stronger as morning was breaking through, warming my heart if not the air and I began to revel in the beauty of the approaching day.


After what seems to be weeks of rain and snow I just had to stop, to smile, and to savor the bright beauty of this cold, frosty winter morning. 


 

This morning, up on our mountain, in our own little piece of paradise, our world is filled with enchantment and the gift of a beautiful cold winter day that is just brimming with possibility....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Evening Post…

33 degrees - 7:34 pm - calm night...

A small glimpse into our lives as we live off-grid… sort of like eves dropping.  It may be a thought, quote or a conversation; funny, sweet or sad; but it will always be true.  We will see if it resonates with you…


Me: “What are you doing?”
Hubby:  (on the computer) “Looking at snow plows.  The county says expect up to 10 days of being snowed in before they will get around to plowing our road and the snow blower doesn’t work in this wet, slushy snow.”
Me:  “What are you going to put the snow plow on?”
Hubby:  (smiles) “Not sure yet.”
Me:  (laughing) “Well whatever the snow plow goes on, it cannot be a stick shift, because I am not going to try driving a stick shift up and down the mountain in the snow.”
Hubby:  “Oh, it’s easy!”
Me:  “Ha! You jump into any kind of machine, car, truck, or whatever and drive it like you’ve been doing it forever.”
Hubby:  (laughs) “Oh, I forgot you are vehicle challenged.  Okay no stick shift.”
Me:  (big smile)  “I love you!”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gravity Fed Water System {Uh-Oh}…

40 degrees - 12:29 pm - raining...

We Have Water – Well, Kinda…

Before the winter storm hit, Tony was able to get the intake line for the gravity fed water system laid out.  The only thing he has left to do now is a small bit of plumbing at the source end and then he can hook it up the house.  The last few steps have been delayed due to the weather.

Yesterday we topped out at 40” of snow.  The falling flakes then turned to heavy rain, which is still coming down hard.  We have had over 2 inches of rain since yesterday turning the blown off driveway into a big slushy mess.

All of the rain and snow melt are now causing the streams, creeks and rivers to swell.  Basically the water table on the mountain has seriously risen, which caused an ‘uh-oh’…

Last night Tony went out to turn off the generator but instead found water squirting everywhere.  The water pipe, which had been taped off so dirt and whatnot couldn’t get in, had sprung a leak! 



What?  The water pipe isn’t even completely hooked up at the source end yet!?!?  Apparently due to the drastic increase of water on the mountain, the missing parts were not needed to fill the holding tank which then filled the 1,000 or so feet of pipe to the house, in addition to having the overflow pouring out water, and have the pipe at the house squirting like crazy.

What a day…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Storm...

32 degrees - 9:43 am - 38"+ of snow and still coming down...

the picnic table is getting buried

the chicken coop is half buried



our driveway
the blown section already has 14" of new snow on it

Tony trying to clean off the picnic table so it wont break under the
weight of the snow once the rain starts (possibly later today)

the guys out blowing snow

Jack just had to help Tony blow the driveway

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter Storm…

28 degrees - 5:39 pm - 29.5 inches of snow and still coming down...

It’s here.  The National Weather Service said there was a big storm coming.  It’s expected to dump anywhere between 16-24 inches in the next 24 hours.

Outside my window the flakes fall and swirl like those from a snow globe; the scene is achingly beautiful, but can also be deceptively treacherous.  Along with the snow, the winter storm will bring strong winds causing snow to blow and whip around making huge snow drifts, smothering everything with a fluffy blanket, finding its way into every nook and cranny.  Snow’s tricky that way.

taken this morning

our neighbor got out the tractor and started blowing snow
before it reached the 2 foot mark

Since moving to the mountain, the weather has earned my respect for its sheer power, ruthlessness and beauty.  A storm like this out here, in the middle of nowhere, is a call to action.  We’ve got the pantry stocked, fresh batteries in the flashlights, extra gas for the generator, and extra firewood hauled in.

For folks who have to work and travel today, a snow storm like this can be a major inconvenience and even scary.  But on days like this, where there is nowhere else to be but here, I feel such gratitude to have created our own refuge from the storm.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It’s Sledding Time…

27 degrees - 11:50 am - snowing...

The snow came in last night in a fury and it hasn’t stopped.  According to the National Weather Service it looks like it will continue through Wednesday with a possible accumulation of anywhere from 2-3 feet of snow.

We currently have 4-6 inches of fluffy snow, which is just enough to pull out the sleds that Santa brought the kids and have some fun.








{Update: 26 degrees - 5:46 pm - still snowing...}

While Tony and the kids were busy sledding, I snuck off to snap a few more winter pictures.

one of Jack's many tractors



our driveway

the main driveway aka the runway

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Don’t Break The Sugar Bowl…

35 degrees - 10:29 am - overcast and foggy...

Last night I discovered that all these years, I have been playing the “Quiet Game” all wrong!

When our neighbor was a kid, his mother used to always play this game with her eight children called “Don’t Break the Sugar Bowl”.  When he grew up and had four children of his own, they played “Don’t Break the Sugar Bowl”.  Last night he introduced this game to our kids.

Basically, it’s a game to see how long one can be quiet.  Essentially, the first one to speak – breaks the sugar bowl and loses.  Of course an extra incentive can’t hurt…

Caitlyn and Jack were so excited to play a game where they had the chance to win a dollar bill!  They went and sat on the floor ready to play “Don’t Break the Sugar Bowl”.  Rules:  No talking… no giggling… no noises of any kind… you have to look at each other… no grabbing the dollar bill or it’s mine… first person to make a noise loses… the winner get the dollar bill!

I have never seen a 3-year old sit so still and in total concentration, or a 6-year old, who never seems to stop talking, sit silently as they both tried to will that coveted dollar bill.


I cannot tell you how long they sat their silently staring at that dollar bill… it seemed like forever.  The game ended in a tie, each splitting the dollar bill and getting fifty cents each.  Although, as Caitlyn was jumping up and down, jabbering her excitement… Jack silently took his fifty cents with a big smile.  I think he thought he was still playing the game!  At any rate the game was a success and I will be using it – a lot!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gravity Fed Water System {Water Storage}…

37 degrees - 9:14 am - foggy... 

All the trenching for our gravity fed water system is finally done, now onto the cold-water storage tank.



We are using a used food grade IBC Tote (which has been cleaned out several times) that we got off of Craigslist.


Tony has placed the water tank at the end of the trench and plumbed it with an intake line, vent pipe, and a p-trap.
 


The tank is surrounded on all sides with plywood to keep the dirt from crushing the tank.  All water lines and tank will be completely buried; the only thing you will see will be the top two feet of the vent pipe, which will be spray-painted brown.


The only thing left to do is lay out the intake line, which will be above ground, to the water source.

To be continued…

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year…

36 degrees - 10:10 am - clear morning with 48+ mph wind gusts...

Today brings us the beginning of the 2012 year!  We don’t always make a big deal out of it on New Year’s Eve, but I sure love what it means… a year full of possibilities; some of which might be life changing.

A new year is… a fresh start… a chance to correct the wrongs of yesterday… a chance to be a better person – listen more, love more, care more and give more.

As I bid farewell to 2011, I am filled with gratitude – gratitude for my son and daughter, for my husband, for our families and for many great friends.


I love a New Year!  2011 is behind us and my arms are open wide for 2012!

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