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, March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring...

1:12 pm - 60 degrees - overcast...

Wow, what a day!  The first day of spring, started off with a rare total solar eclipse and it will end with a supermoon!  What a way to start a new season.


Berry Garden...

12:47 pm - 59 degrees - overcast...

Just imagine walking outside your door and picking fruit from your berry patch to enjoy with breakfast in the morning, or whip up a berry pie, or can delicious jams and jellies!  Ooooh the possibilities!

Having my own berry garden has been a dream of mine for a very long time – since I was a little girl actually.  Whenever we would go to our Grandma’s house, one of our favorite things to do was going into the backyard and eat the fresh strawberries and raspberries that she had growing back there.  Fresh berries straight off the vine are just delicious!

To start my berry garden I have Reka blueberries, Honeoye strawberries, Caroline raspberries and Anne raspberries.  These are all winter hardy varieties, which is what we need since we’re somewhere between zones 5 and 6.

I purchased four Reka blueberry plants and planted them yesterday.  Reka’s are an early season blueberry variety bred in New Zealand.  It’s one of the fastest growing and most adaptable varieties.  They have a great flavor too.

I planted the blueberries along the south side
of the fire pit area.

Ollie didn't think I should be planting
blueberries at that time.

I purchased twelve Honeoye Strawberry plants, but I think I need to go back and get some more.  Honeoye’s combine winter hardiness, high productivity, good appearance and color, together with an excellent, firm, large-sized berry.  The berries are easy to pick and produce high yields over a long berry season, making it a very consistent berry producer.  They also freeze well.

I haven’t planted the strawberries yet because Tony hasn’t had a chance to make me some planters.  Instead of planting them straight into the ground, I wanted to try planting them vertical. 

This is what I want Tony to make for me so I can plant my strawberries.
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A friend gave me a wheelbarrow load of raspberry starts which I believe are Caroline Raspberries.  They are a large berry, with a rich, full and intense raspberry flavor, and they freeze well.

I just ordered 5 Anne Raspberry starts since I couldn’t find them anywhere locally.  I discovered these delicious golden raspberries last year at a local farmer’s market and fell in love.  Anne’s are a sunshine-colored berry that has a unique sweet taste unlike any other raspberry.  Some say it’s like crossing a raspberry and a green grape, while others describe them as having a hint of apricot flavor.  Anne’s excellent size, appearance, and very sweet flavor make it an excellent addition to any berry garden.

Anne Raspberries
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I haven’t planted any raspberry bushes yet because I still have to figure out where I’m going to put them and then I need to make a trellis of some sort for the bushes to grow on.  Not sure what style of trellis to make yet though.

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I bet you can guess what I'll be working on this weekend... berry planters and a trellis.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

We Have Power...

11:55 am - 63 degrees - gorgeous day...

I am beyond excited to finally be able to say... we have power! 

It has taken a long time to get to this point - reliable 24 hour power.  The end of May will mark 5 years living off-grid with only a generator for our occasional power needs.

For the past several months, after Tony got home from work, he would go straight to work again on our “control room”.  Some concrete, framing, plywood, insulation, sheetrock and the room under the stairwell was enclosed to house our power system.

Once the control room was enclosed Tony was busy making battery cables, connecting the 16 deep cycle batteries together, connecting the batteries to the inverter, wiring the inverter, numerous trips to different stores to get parts, and several phone calls to Magnum Energy to get questions answered.  

There are still a few small details that need to be finished or worked out, but for the most part... our battery bank and inverter are finally hooked up and working!

Last night was the first time we were able to turn on a lamp without having to run outside to turn on the generator first.  It is amazing how exciting it is to be able to turn on a simple lamp.  

This morning, as I'm tying out this blog post on our desk top computer that is being powered by our own power system... I am in awe of my amazingly awesome husband who I believe can do anything and is Superman in our children's eyes.


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