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.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Morning View...

10:29 am - 30 degrees - scattered clouds, light wind...

It snowed on and off all day yesterday but it just would not stick – not quite cold enough.  So you can imagine the pure delight when the kids woke up to a blanket of white this morning.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Washed Out...

4:25 pm - 41 degrees - scattered clouds...

Over the past couple days, we have received well over 7” of rain.  The heavy rains were trying to wash the road out... and it did a pretty good job of it.  Driveway repair has now been bumped to the top of Tony’s to-do-list.

Today the constant rain stopped.  The howling wind stopped.  It was in the mid 40s (that’s winter t-shirt weather).  It was the perfect day to spend outside.  So I spent the day cleaning up around the house, picking up items that the wind had blown around, and picking up and burning the fallen branches from the heavy rains and wind storms.

It turned out to be a very nice, calm, relaxing and productive day on the mountain.

Pull-Apart Sticky Buns...

3:41 pm - 45 degrees - scattered clouds...

My mom has been making these gooey and delicious pull-apart sticky buns since I was a little, and I absolutely love them!  There is just something amazing about the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. 

But sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make cinnamon rolls from scratch.  That’s what makes this recipe so amazing.  You can make them really quickly (about 10 minutes) the night before, leave them out to rise overnight, and put them into the oven first thing in the morning for a quick and delicious breakfast.  This would be a perfect Christmas morning breakfast, or anytime of the year when a bowl of cereal just isn’t going to cut it.

This recipe uses Rhodes frozen round rolls.  It’s the speed scratch method of baking – when you combine a good quality prepared food with fresh ingredients to make the recipe easier and faster to prepare.  You could make this recipe with homemade rolls, made completely from scratch, but then it kind of loses its quick and easy appeal.

~Pull-Apart Sticky Buns~

18 Rhodes Frozen dough rolls (half of the package)
1 pkg. Cook N’ Serve Butterscotch Pudding
½ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Grease your bundt pan and place 18 balls of the frozen roll dough into the pan.  {Note:  You may also use a 9x13 pan if you’d like.}

In a medium bowl combine the butterscotch pudding, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.  Stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are well combined.  Pour the mixture over the top of your frozen rolls.

Cover with a plate or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Set the pan aside and allow the rolls to rise overnight (6-8 hours).  {Note:  If you get up in the morning and your rolls haven’t risen as much as you hoped, just heat your oven up to 170 degrees, remove the plastic wrap and pop the pan into the oven.  The warmth of the oven will quicken the rising of the rolls.}

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the cover off the pan and place the pan carefully in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through.

Allow the sticky buns to rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert them onto a large plate and serve.


Friday, December 12, 2014

West Coast Wind Storm...

11:23 am - 44 degrees - foggy...

A massive wind storm raced up the West Coast and arrived in our neck of the woods late yesterday afternoon.  While the strong winds wrecked havoc in town with downed trees falling through homes, blocking streets and causing power outages – all we had was a mild breeze. 

Yesterday evening and this morning we kept getting texts, messages, and emails from friends and family wondering if we were still safe on the mountain or if we had been blown away to the Land of Oz. Everyone was surprised (including myself) that the wind storm completely missed us.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Walk In The Snow...

6:04 pm - 18 degrees - clear skies, 56+ mph winds...

We woke up yesterday morning to find everything covered in white.  So when a break in the snow fall came, I went outside with my camera for a quick walk in the snow.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Evening Post…

7:08 pm - 23 degrees - clear night sky, 52+ mph wind gusts...

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…

{Messaging back and forth} 
Me:  “Stuck on the mountain due to downed trees.  Someone needs to teach me how to use a chainsaw!!”
Friend #1:  “Get a rope and drag it out of the way.”
Friend #2:  “Move it out of the way.”
Me:  “There’s a total of 4 downed trees, too big to just drag out of the way.  Tony's on his way and is using a chainsaw and tow rope to move them out of the way.”
Brother:  “Don’t you have to carry a chain saw, tire jack and 4 sets of spares already?  Never dull up on the hill.”

Hubby:  “Cutting a tree, hung up on an embankment, under load plus inexperience equals disaster.” 

Friday, November 14, 2014

'Tis The Season For Baking...

10:08 am - 29 degrees - blue sky with 35+ mph wind gusts...

Looking for some tasty holiday appetizers or desserts, or maybe you're wanting to start planning your Christmas Cookie baking list... here are a few of my favorite recipes for this joyous holiday season.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Fresh Basil-Wrapped Cheese Balls... Combining the creamy richness of gorgonzola and mascarpone, the salty bite of Parmesan, and the fresh green flavor of basil, these cheese balls are a new twist on an old favorite. {Click Here}

BLT Bites... These are always a big hit, pretty easy to make and are oh so delicious, with lots of flavor packed into a little bite. {Click Here}

Pumpkin Cheesecake...This is a delicious twist on the traditional pumpkin pie and it’s always a favorite! {Click Here}

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting... The name says it all, and screams rich, yummy, deliciousness! {Click Here}

Date Nut Cookies... These are a new favorite.  They are simple and full of delicious flavor! {Click Here}

Oreo Truffles... These are rich, delicious, very easy to make and perfect for holiday parties! {Click Here}

Orange Juice Cookies... These are light and refreshing with a nice burst of orange flavor and are a nice option from the regular holiday goodies. {Click Here}

Molasses Cookies... This is the perfect holiday cookie!  There’s something about ginger, cloves and cinnamon that makes me think it’s Christmas!  Just the aroma of these baking in the oven brings back lots of happy holiday memories! {Click Here}

Winter Storm Update...

9:22 am - 26 degrees - blue sky with 32+ mph wind gusts...

Our early-season winter storm has come to an end and left us with a frozen water pipe, several downed trees, lots of broken limbs and other debris scattered around.  It also left behind anywhere from 4-8 inches of snow.  Due to the extreme winds, it’s hard to get an accurate snow depth reading.

Snow angels and sledding.
Bitter cold temps and high winds would not keep these two inside...
however they didn't stay out very long either.

Although the storm warning has officially been lifted, we’re still in for below freezing temperatures and wind gusts up around 40+ mph for the weekend and beginning of next week.  Winter is here.

The view this morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First Blast Of Winter...

3:51 pm - 28 degrees - a few scattered clouds, 53+ mph wind gusts...

We’re getting our first blast of winter with sharply cooler temperatures, a result of frigid air pushed in by a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds.  The big chill is now spreading into the Pacific Northwest.

Many people started feeling the arrival of the bone-chilling cold yesterday along with high winds that caused a lot of power outages.  Just one more reason to love living off-grid – we don’t have to worry about the power going out.

Today it took us an hour and a half to get off the mountain due to numerous downed trees.

Tony cleared four downed trees off the road,
so we could get off the mountain.

Tony thinks it a good practice run before winter really hits.  We spent the day doing some last minute vehicle repairs, making sure the house is stocked with lots of firewood, hooking up the snowplow (snow is supposed to be on its way), dug out all our snow gear out of our storage unit and the kids dug out their sleds.

Fixing my 4-wheel drive.

It's very windy out with 54+ mph wind gusts.

Last nights 70+ mph wind gusts knocked all our chairs and table over.

Getting the snow plow put onto the Dodge.
Getting their sleds out, they really want snow!

According to the weather report, this arctic storm is just beginning.  The kids are hoping to wake up to a blanket of white, while Tony thinks we’ll have our first snow day of the season.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day...

12:30 pm - 37 degrees - scattered clouds, 56+ mph winds...

Thank you to all our family, friends and those we've never met - the past, present and future veterans.  We humbly thank you for your sacrifices for our freedom.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Dip...

2:14 pm - 43 degrees - raining...

I love a good Irish Sunday aka loaded baked potato.  So when a friend brought this to a barbecue, I just had to get the recipe.  It is only 4 ingredients, super quick to make and it is so good!  All of the classic loaded baked potato flavors in dip form just waiting to be scooped up by some crispy potato chips!

~ Loaded Baked Potato Dip ~
24 oz tub Sour Cream
3-4 Green Onions, chopped
2-3 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 package Bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, cheese and green onions.

Crumble the cooked bacon and stir into the sour cream mix.

Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Serve at room temperature with Ruffles chips or waffle fries.

--- Enjoy!


1:06 pm - 44 degrees - raining...

The nights are getting colder, the mornings are getting darker, the constant rain has returned, and the wind has been howling.

Over the past few weeks we have had several windstorms with winds reaching 70+ mph that have resulted in a lot of debris and several downed trees.

We did have one afternoon last week where it stopped raining long enough for us to get some of the storm debris cleaned up.

Tony limbed and cut the downed trees... I could burn them.

With winter right around the corner, we’re trying to keep yard debris down to a minimum before everything gets covered in a blanket of snow.  Last week the mountain received a light dusting, so we know the snow is on its way.

{P.S. – Sorry for the lack of posts lately, we have been experiencing technical difficulties with the internet.  It’s frustrating but it happens.}

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 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.


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