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.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

8:25 am - 42 degrees - 50+ mph winds...
 
 
A few things that I am truly thankful for today are:
- My husband, the calm in my storm and the true heart of this crazy venture.
- Our two children, each so much who he/she is, it makes me cry sometimes.
- Our family and friends that bless our days.
- Work. Hard, meaningful, often joyous work.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's A Bit Windy Out...

10:59 am - 37 degrees - 65+ mph winds...

The wind has been howling for the past several days with wind speeds easily hitting the mid 60s and up.  The wind has been so strong that it was shaking the house, it felt like we were being rocked to sleep. 

The trees are dancing in the wind.

It has also been blowing stuff around - like our culvert were going to be using to make a bridge {click here}.  The wind has blown it over 100 feet down into the lower yard.  We're waiting for the wind to calm down a bit before we try to roll it back up to the house.

Our culvert is being blown away.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brrrr, Baby It’s Cold Outside…

5:42 pm - 32 degrees - clear night sky… 

Two weeks ago we had our first snow for the season.  I wasn't able to get good pictures because the mountain was hiding in the clouds.  The mountain has only recently decided to come out, and you can see just a tiny sliver of the snow remaining.

Taken November 3rd - 0ur first snow of the season.
 
The mountain has stopped hiding!  If you look really hard,
you can see a small sliver of snow left from the first snow fall.
For the next few days, it is supposed to be nice out, although very cooold  Even with five layers of clothes on this morning, I was still freezing as I was running around the yard taking pictures - it was just so pretty out, I couldn't help myself.
 
 

It so cold out that everything is frozen right now.  And in the backyard we have strange looking ice crystal called needle ice.  Needle ice can form any place where the ground freezes.  Needle ice is made up of thin ice crystals that grow upward, starting just below the grounds surface.  These ice crystals have made the ground rise several inches.  I think they are really neat looking so I just had to take some pictures.
 
Needle Ice
 

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cooking Off-Grid...

5:00 pm - 42 degrees - raining and windy...

It amuses me when people find out that we live off-grid and they ask me how I cook our meals.  My response is always the same – just like everyone else does, with a few exceptions of course. 

I’m not a gourmet cook and I don’t have “gourmet” items in our tiny temporary kitchen, but I do have what is needed to cook from scratch – which is the preferred method in our home.  Cooking off-grid, for us, just means setting up our kitchen the way our grandmothers and great grandmothers did it - with plenty of manual (non-electric) kitchen tools.

These are a few of my favorite kitchen tools that I use all the time!
Grater, Sifter, Can Opener, Hand Mixer & Whisk
 
Sometimes I am startled by what people lack in their kitchen.  I’m not talking about newlyweds just getting started in life; I’m talked about established families whose kitchens lack mixing bowls or pie pans or a rolling pin.  I recently met someone who didn’t even own a single measuring spoon.

I understand why this is.  It’s because fewer people are cooking from scratch anymore.  People are busy, convenience food is cheap and abundant, and the art of a homemade meal is becoming rarer.

I don’t pretend to be a culinary genius in the kitchen, in fact I prefer baking over cooking and am way better when I have a recipe to follow – whereas my husband (who doesn’t cook very often) is way better when he’s not following a recipe.  Either way, knowing how to cook from scratch is, I feel, very important.  No, more than very important – essential.

Scratch cooking is one of those unheralded and under-appreciated skills that we should all learn because it’s the answer to an obvious question:  What would you do if a frozen pizza or canned soup or boxed macaroni-and-cheese were not available?  This is a particularly important question for Preppers because it affects what foods they store.

With a few exceptions, more of your food storage should be ingredients, not prepared food.  This means basic staples from which you can assemble complete meals.  Most staples (properly stored) will also last longer than most processed foods.

Endless number of Preppers have stored away endless amounts of rice and beans, but often they lack the ability to cook up those rice and beans in tasty ways.  Worse, lots of people have wheat stored away, without any real comprehension of how to turn that wheat into a loaf of bread.

Sadly that ability – to take raw ingredients and create delicious meals out of them – is either watered down or gone.  We are so entirely dependent on prepared foods from the grocery store (or deli or restaurant) that some peoples definition of “scratch” cooking means making a cake from a boxed mix.

Our pioneer ancestors were experts at cooking from scratch.  They had no choice.  The food they grew, raised, gathered or hunted was in “scratch” form and needed to be transferred into something edible.  And yet pioneer recipes have come down through the generations as testimonies of the wonderful and delicious ways in which basic foods could make marvelous and nutritious meals.

Although I may not bake or cook from scratch exactly like our pioneer ancestors did, I do use similar kitchen tools – that is manual (non-electric) kitchen tools.  And now I'm off to make dinner - cube steak with mushroom gravy, real mashed potatoes, and a tossed salad.  Yum!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You...

10:19 am - 46 degrees - 35+ mph winds...

Thank you to all who have served our great Nation. We are in your debt.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Drip...Drip...Drip...

11:58 am - 43 degrees - raining and windy (35+ mph)...

Wind in the mountains is unlike anything we have ever experienced.  Since the wind likes to swirl around the house, the rain and snow come from every possible direction – sometimes we feel like we’re inside a snowglobe.

Due to the high winds and heavy rains, that are very determined and persistent on coming down the stove pipe, we had to switch out the standard chimney cap with a high wind directional cap.  That seemed to do the trick...for a while that is.  After a few winters of heavy snow, broke the seal on the storm collar to the stove pipe.  So when the heavy rain storms hit, the stove pipe would leak. 


Up the ladder Tony went and climbed up to the peak of the roof, which is 34 feet up in the air, all to fix the first storm collar and add a second one.  He removed the old storm collar, cleaned it up, modified it to fit better, then reinstalled and sealed it.  He then installed and sealed a second storm collar on top of the first one.  We’re hoping that by having two storm collars it will be more rigid and withstand the heavy snow and keep the rain out.

Happy {belated} Halloween...

11:48 am - 43 degrees - windy and raining...

 
Hope your Halloween was spooktacular! ~ Sacagawea & Cowboy Jack

Sorry for the belated Halloween post.  :)

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