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, July 27, 2016

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler...

10:51 am - 72 degrees - blue sky with lightly scattered clouds...

We’re going camping this weekend and this super easy and delicious Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler is on the menu!  Camping food just tastes better... it’s a fact.

If you are looking for a tasty, yet simple dessert recipe - this is it!  This quick, easy, basic cobbler recipe will satisfy and sweet tooth and can be modified depending on the type of cake or fruit that you like!  It can also be made in a fire pit, in a barbeque, or an oven.

~ Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler ~
1 box yellow cake mix
2 (21 oz) cans peaches
1/2 cup butter
Cinnamon, to taste
Dutch Oven
30 pieces of Charcoal
12” Dutch Oven

Rub the inside of the Dutch oven with cooking oil or butter.  Or you can use a disposable foil liner made specifically for Dutch ovens - make clean up a breeze!

Place the Dutch oven over approximately 10 charcoal briquettes or over coals on a flat spot in the fire ring.

Once the Dutch oven is hot, pour the cans of peaches into the Dutch oven. 

Spread the dry cake mix on top of the peaches and try to spread it out as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle the top with a little bit of cinnamon to taste.

Cut butter into even sized pats (small chunks) of butter and arrange on top.

Put the lid onto the Dutch oven and arrange about 16 hot charcoal briquettes or scatter hot coals over the lid.

Bake until done.  Depending on how hot your coals or fire are, this could be anywhere between 25-60 minutes.  After 25 minutes, check cake with a clean knife of toothpick, if it comes out clean, the peach cobbler is done.  If not, add a few more charcoal or coals over the lid and check again in 10 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whip cream and enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Catch and Release...

5:48 pm - 76 degrees - scattered clouds, light breeze...

Two of our cats caught a little chipmunk and when our 11-year-old daughter realized what they were playing with, she freaked out a bit.   

After rescuing this cute little critter, we let him go in a huge slash pile.  Hopefully he'll hide out for a while and stay away from the cats. 

It's never dull when you live in the mountains.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

DIY Faux Shiplap Walls...

7:57 pm - 61 degrees - scattered clouds, light breeze...

Over the holiday weekend, I decided that I wanted to finish out all the closets in our home with a wood planking look.

Real shiplap is more than I wanted to spend, but that’s the overall look I’m wanting in all the closets – it’s a nice neutral texture that can be added to any space and can be styled in a lot of different ways.

A popular technique to get the shiplap look at a lower cost is to cut a piece of plywood into strips that you nail to the wall just slightly spaced apart.  This will save you a few bucks, but on the down side you have to rip plywood into perfectly straight strips and balance coins or spacers between boards to get the perfect spacing which would make the project a lot more labor intensive than I wanted to attempt.

So the best solution, at a reasonable price, that I found was to use tongue and grove planks.  It still gives me the look I was wanting and it was incredibly easy to install.  Altogether - planks, wood filler, sandpaper, primer and paint totaled just over $130 and the project took about 9 hours spread out over three days to finish.

After a trip to the hardware store for supplies, Tony and I started getting out all the tools I would need for this project (I always have to get organized before I start a project).

What I used...
- 8 packs of v-groove pine wallplanks (6 planks to a pack)
- Tape measure
- Level
- Brad nailer with nails
- Putty knife
- Sandpaper
- Primer & Paint

The kids’ closets are 11’3” wide by 2’7” deep with a back wall + slanted ceiling measuring 6’10” with three door openings –-- soooo... there was a lot of measuring and cutting involved.

I started the first board in the bottom left corner, used the level and a scrap piece of sheetrock to keep the board half an inch off the subfloor (the spacing will allow for the future installation of flooring) and nailed in the board using the brad nailer.

After serveral trips up and down the stairs to cut boards, I quickly found my rhythm alternating the plank lengths as I worked my way up the wall.  It took me somewhere between one and a half to two hours to get all the planking up.  

After the boards were up, I went back and filled all the nail holes and smoothed out the seams with wood filler.  After the wood filler had time to dry, I went back and sanded all those spots smooth.  Then paint!  I used half a can of primer (one heavy coat + touch ups) and half a can Valspar Snowcap White (one heavy coat + touch ups).

He wanted to help so bad, so he's filling nail holes with wood filler.

Putting on a coat of primer.

Putting on the final coat of paint.  Final paint on the left, primer on the right.
I absolutely love how it turned it.  One kid’s closet done, one more to go!

All done!  Love it!


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