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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love Is In The Air...I Mean Sky...

52 degrees - 8:00 am - overcast and cold out...


Just had to share what the sky looked like yesterday when I got home.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Morning Hike...

56 degrees - 9:30 am - calm chilly morning...

The kids and I went out for a quick morning hike around the main driveway loop.  You may be thinking that walking the main driveway loop isn’t really a hike, but believe me it truly is!  And boy oh boy are the views spectacular!!!
 


Kids had to make a detour to check out (aka climb all over) the fallen tree.

Another detour to check out a side trail.

 
The past several weeks, when I wake up in the mornings all I hear are chainsaws running or the “beep beep” from the yarder pulling logs up.  They are logging a ridge to the east of us, and this is where all the noise has been coming from...


Kids had to make yet another detour to check out this monster stump.

This is where the rrrrRRrrrrRrrr beep beep rrrRRRrrrrRR's are coming from.

This is the view from the top of our personal
driveway.  You can kind of see a few of the
loggers vehicles at the top of the clearing.
Now that we’re back from our quick morning hike, and the kids have been successfully gotten their wiggles out, we are heading into town to the library.  This is our last week of freedom until school starts, and we’re going to try and make the most of it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wildfire Defensible Space...

75 degrees - 4:28 pm - blue sky with scattered clouds...

Along with the dry summer weather, brings an increased danger from wildfires.  That is something we are very aware of and hope we never have to deal with. 

Several years ago we had a few wildfires that were very visible from our house.  During the day we could watch as water and fire retardant were being dropped from airplanes and helicopters.  During the night we could see the glow of the raging fire, which was on the next ridge line across from us.






A few weeks ago Tony had a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) Fire Forester guy come out to look at our place and let us know how we would fare if a wildfire came through.  The outcome of that visit was the knowledge that we would be on our own.  We were told that ground fire crews would not be sent out due to the steepness and inaccessibility of the mountain ridge we live on.  They may send out an aircraft to drop some fire retardant on our house but that’s about it.  On the positive side, the DNR guy did say that we have a great start on the defensible space around our home and had the right to stay and protect it.  Before he left he gave us a bunch of information on how to make the defensible space around our home even better.


If you are not sure what ‘defensible space’ means...it is an area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire towards the structure.  It also reduces the chance of a structure fire moving from the building to the surrounding forest.

Defensible space survivor (Source: napafirewise.org)

(Source: napafirewise.org)

In addition to making sure we have a good defensible space, we also need to create our own Wildfire Action Plan.  This is so our whole family will know escape routes, communication plans, emergency meeting location, emergency contacts, etc.  Here are a few good examples of Wildfire Action Plans...

Get Set! {click here}
As The Fire Approaches {click here}
Outside Checklist {click here}
Inside Checklist & If Trapped Checklist {click here}
Personal Wildfire Action Plan {click here}

After the visit from the DNR Fire Forester guy, going thru all the paperwork he gave us, a little extra research online, and talking about what we still need to do around here to improve our defensible space...I’m learning very quickly that fire is a very capricious thing.  It can find the weak link in your home’s fire protection scheme and gain the upper hand because of a small overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor.  While we may not be able to accomplish all fire safe measures, each will increase our home’s, and possibly our family’s, safety and survival during a wildfire.

Yes, of course I know a wildfire or any home fire for that matter is bad.  But I think most people have the attitude of “it will never happen to me”, I know I do.  Which is why we are trying to change and have a FIRESAFE attitude.  We have started off with the easiest and least expensive actions.  Beginning our work closest to our house and we’re moving outward.  We are continuing to work on the more difficult items until we have completed them and can mark them off of the to-do-list.  To see a Wildland Fire Suppression Kit (this is on our to-do-list) that our friend made {click here}. 

While fire insurance might replace property destroyed in a fire, there is no insurance available to replace human life.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Couscous Cucumber Feta Salad...

73 degrees - 5:22pm - blue sky and sunshine...

My sister recently went on a rafting and camping trip with some friends and came back with this wonderful new recipe.  I have never had couscous before but as she was explaining what all went into the salad, it sounded fairly quick, easy and healthy.

So on our last trip to the beach my sister made this salad for our Saturday potluck dinner.  Wow!  This salad packs a ton of flavor, and it’s really summery and refreshing.  This dish is easy to put together, and incredibly tasty.  We’ll definitely be making this salad again and again!


 ~ Couscous Cucumber Feta Salad ~
2 boxes flavored Couscous (garlic, herb or parmesan) cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (*optional)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (*optional)
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions (*optional)
1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
¼ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp White Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients with the olive oil and white vinegar, to taste.  (*Optional items are listed because I have now had this yummy salad with and without these extras.  Either way, the salad is still delicious!)

Refrigerate and serve cold.  Hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do!

---Enjoy!

Booming Thunder and Flashy Light Show...

57 degrees - 10:35 am - misty fog...

I woke up around 1:30 in the morning to booming thunder and a very flashy light show.

We can get some pretty awesome storms up here, which we normally love to watch.  The last storm {click here}, we were sitting outside with the camera enjoying the light show...not so this time.

This time, although it was the best nighttime lightning show that we’ve ever had up here, it was a little too close for comfort.  There were actually a handful of cracks of thunder that made me jump...that’s never happened before.  The booming thunder actually shook the house, the lightning was quickly turning night into day and back again, and this time around we enjoyed (although a bit nervously) the storm from indoors, so no cool photos this time around.

this shows the lightning strikes from this storm
if you look closely you will see a black + which marks our place.

Once this misty fog cover dissipates a bit, aircraft and fire crews will be out roaming the area for any possible fires that may have been caused by lightning strikes.  Hopefully there are none!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Evening Post…

68 degrees - 8:07 pm - it is finally starting to cool off...

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…


3-year-old son: (as we’re driving home) “Mom!  Dad drove me down that road yesterday and took me to see the tooter!”
Me:  “The what?”
3-year-old son:  “The tooter!  Dad let me have a ride on it.  It was really fun!”
Me:  “Do you mean the yarder?  The yarder is the logging machine that pulls the trees up the mountain and makes a toot toot sound”
3-year-old son:  (very seriously)  “Mom.  Dad said that we can call it a tooter.”
Me:  “Ooooh, okay.”
3-year-old son:  “Dad drove me down that road yesterday and took me to see the tooter!  Daddy pulled me up on the tooter, and I got to ride it and it was a lot of fun!  I also got to ride the workers excavator.  That’s all.”
Me:  “So Daddy took you to see the loggers working and let you sit and ride in some of their equipment?”
3-year-old son:  (very seriously)  “Mom.  That is what I just said!  When will Santa be here?”
Me:  “Santa will be here in a little over four months.  Why?”
3-year-old son:  “Because I want to ask Santa for a tooter and excavator!”
Me:  (laughs)  “Oh Jack, I love you!”
3-year-old son:  (smiles)  “I love you too Mom!”

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back From The Beach...

75 degrees - 8:37 pm - hot, hot, hot...

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks but... we’ve been at the beach!  I’ve mentioned before {click here} that every now and then we like to get off the mountain and head to our family beach property on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State.  So we headed to the beach for an end of the summer get away, and had a blast!  

Here are a few pictures from out beach getaway...

a group of us drove out onto the beach
to let the kids get some beach play time in

the kids had a blast playing on the beach and in the water

while driving along on the beach, I was amazed at how many Pelicans we saw

we always have to stop in at our favorite ice cream shop Scoopers

the kids enjoyed riding their bikes {after the first couple of days, I finally
gave up the fight of trying to keep shoes on them, so most of the time they
were running around barefoot and having fun}

everyone enjoyed wathcing the bunnies and deer wander around the place

who needs 4-wheelers when you have riding
lawn mowers?!?!  {and no, the lawn mower
blades were not turning when the kids
were riding them!}

of course it just isn't camping with out S'mores and a rip roaring fire

and boy oh boy were the ocean sunsets gorgeous!!!

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