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, February 27, 2015

Elk Crossing...

8:45 pm - 38 degrees - drizzling...

Stopped to watch the elk cross the road.  I love off-grid mountain living!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Driveway Repairs...

6:57 pm - 36 degrees - windy...

The lower section of the driveway has been in need of repair for some time.  That section has not had a good ditch line due to all the large rock.  Repairs have been delayed because we needed to get a larger excavator to dig through the rock. 

After the last heavy rains the driveway was almost impassable. 


The rain finally stopped and the ground dried up enough where Tony and a neighbor were able to do some repairs to the driveway.

The driveway is looking much better now, but still needs a few loads of rock.


Cookie Season...

6:29 pm - 36 degrees - windy...

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  But whew, life off the mountain has been busy this past month and a half. 

On the mountain I am an off-grid stay-at-home mom.  Off the mountain, I am the President of the Booster Club (similar to PTA) at our children’s school and a Girl Scout troop leader to 18 amazing young ladies.

So why have I been extra busy lately?  Have you started to see colorful boxes floating around your home or office?  If you haven’t, you soon will because it’s Girl Scout Cookie Season!

We have been busy making lots of cookie posters.

 Picking up, sorting, and delivering cookies.

And now we are doing booth sales, booth sales, and more booth sales!

Of course we need to buy a few boxes for ourselves, plus a few extra boxes to make Samoa Cupcakes {click here}.

Love Girl Scout cookies and what it allows our troop to do, but can't wait for cookie season to be over.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup...

9:00 pm - 43 degrees - raining...

The past week and a half has not been fun.  Cold and flu season hit our house hard this year.  We have been battling colds, flu, strep throat, ear infections, ruptured ear drums, sinus name it, and it feels like we’ve had it! 

I have been searching for different ways to help boost our immune systems because let's face it, it doesn't matter what we do - constantly washing hands, sanitizing everything, quarantine - we keep getting sick.  Uhg!

Do you know what elderberries are?  We have both red and blue elderberries here on the mountain {click here}.  I knew that I could harvest the blue elderberries and use them to make jam, jelly, pie, syrup and tea but what I didn’t realize was how good they are for you!

You can turn these tiny little blue berries into an amazing little liquid called Elderberry Syrup that is delicious and boosts your immune system, making it ideal for the cold and flu season.

Hippocrates is said to have called it his “medicine chest”, and for thousands of years it’s been revered in folk medicine for its healing properties.  Now studies are starting to confirm what tradition has long held: elderberries are a delicious and effective way to support immune function during cold and flu season.

Why elderberries?  Elderberries contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant and immune boosting properties.  They are also a good source of vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamin B6, and iron. 

Elderberry syrup has also shown to help reduce cold and flu symptoms along with nasal and sinus congestion relief.

“Elderberry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C Source”

See, good stuff!

Making your own elderberry syrup only requires a few simple ingredients and can be made in about 45 minutes, start to finish.  The result is a syrup that’s delicious (so kids easily take it), immune-boosting, and can last for a couple of months when stored in the refrigerator.  Here is a recipe...

~Elderberry Syrup~
3/4 cup dried elderberries {buy here}
3 cups water
1 cup raw honey*
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (optional)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

1. Add water, elderberries, ginger and cinnamon stick (if you are using them) to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, reduce the berry mixture to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
3. After 30 minutes, remove from heat.  Using a potato masher, mash the berries (still in the juice mixture) to remove any extra juices.
4. Strain to remove the berries.  Allow the liquid to cool to just slightly warm (not hot) and stir in the honey.
5. Transfer the elderberry syrup to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

{*NOTE: Because this recipe contains honey, it should not be used by children under one.}

How much should you take?  Even though elderberries are valued for therapeutic purposes, they are a food.  They are used to make jelly, pies and wine, so there isn’t really a specific “dosage” for them.  However, here are some guidelines that have been traditionally followed:  To support immune function throughout cold and flu season children are usually given 1 teaspoon per day, while adults usually take 1 tablespoon.  During illness, the frequency increases to every 2-3 hours until the symptoms resolve.

Don’t want to make your own?  You can find pre-made elderberry syrup online {click here}.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Backyard Herb Garden...

6:55 pm - 43 degrees - cloudy... 

Every year I have grand gardening plans.  But then life gets in the way and I get distracted by things that “need” to be done instead of the things that I “want” to get done.

But this year nothing is going to stop me; I’m going to put in a backyard herb garden. 

When a recipe calls for fresh basil, I want to be able to skip the poor substitute of dried basil.  A last-minute dash to the grocery store for some overpriced wilted basil is out of the question since it would be over an hour and a half round trip.  I want to be able to walk outside and pluck a few tender leaves off of the basil plant growing in my very own herb garden whenever the need arises.

I have the location picked out that fits the basic requirements of a successful herb garden - well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly acid and at least five hours of sunlight a day.

I have the herbs that I want picked out - Basil, Chamomile, Chives, Garlic, Lavender, Mint, and Parsley.

Now I just have to figure out what design/layout I want.  Below are some pictures of backyard herb gardens I found online to use as inspiration...

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