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, December 30, 2016

Snow Much Fun...

6:50 pm - 28 degrees - scattered clouds...

Today was a gorgeous day on the mountain.  

After the last snowfall, there was a good layer of snow that was just perfect for making snowballs - which of course led to several snowball fights.

In between snowball fights and sledding the kids were busy playing the Oregon Trail game on the computer and I was busy splitting kindling.

Trying to get as much outside playtime in as we can before the super low temps come on Monday that will probably keep us inside and the kids have to go back to school.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A White Christmas Weekend...

9:17 am - 32 degrees - snowing...

It was a white Christmas weekend full of family and friends, and it even snowed on Christmas Day.  Love this time of year!

Tony and I have been very fortunate in the fact that we get to spend Christmas with both of our families every year.  My family has always celebrated on Christmas Eve and Tony’s has always celebrated on Christmas Day.  Perfect!

Now that the holiday weekend is over, it’s back to work we go.  While the kids have been on Christmas break, they have gotten quite a bit of sledding time in.  They’re currently waiting for the cinnamon rolls to finish baking before they head back outside and jump back on the sleds. 

Snow Report:  We currently have about 6 inches of new snow from last night with an overall depth of anywhere from 1 foot to 4 feet depending on where you’re at, and more snow is on its way.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

View From The Window...

9:37 am - 25 degrees - overcast...

My kind of beautiful... snowflakes on the window.  

Even after getting a touch of cabin fever from being snowed in for several days, there is always something amazing and beautiful to be found if you just look for it.  

Friday, December 16, 2016

Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken...

2:34 pm - 37 degrees - scattered clouds...

This Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken is very simple to put together and produces amazing results!  I begged my friend for the recipe after she brought it for lunch when a bunch of us were stuck at school working a book fair.  It was delicious!  Side bonus is that it can also very easily be turned into a freezer meal.

This is one of those amazing recipes where you don’t need to thaw the meat!  Just grab the few needed ingredients from your pantry and freezer, toss it all into the crock-pot, turn the crock-pot on, and walk away! 

This crock-pot chicken also stores really well in the fridge and is just as good, if not better the next day!

~ Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken ~
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 – 14 oz cans black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 - 14 oz cans sweet corn (drained & rinsed)
1 oz taco seasoning
1/2 jar salsa

Optional Garnishes
Tortilla chips
Sour Cream

Put the chicken breasts into the crock-pot then add all the rest of the ingredients.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high 4-6 hours.  When chicken can shred easily, remove to a cutting board and shred.  Mix the chicken back into the crock-pot and allow to cook for another 20 minutes. 

You can serve this over a bed of rice or wrapped up in a tortilla (my personal favorite) or with tortilla chips topped off with your favorite garnishes.  However you eat it, it will be delicious!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Winter Storm...

6:42 pm - 20 degrees - overcast...

We have had several winter storms in the past week and a half.  The storms brought freezing rain which left everything covered in a sheet of ice.  60-70+ mph winds that blew all the new snow around causing snow drifts everywhere along with causing trees and branches to break from the added stress of the ice.

Tony has been having to run chains on his truck every day, while I have been driving only when absolutely necessary.

In the past week, Tony has spent over 12 hours in the tractor blowing snow.  Monday night, he spent about 3 hours blowing snow, coming home just shy of 1:00 am.  He's out blowing snow right now and will probably spend another 2-3 hours tonight clearing the driveway and part of the county road.  He is just amazing, I love that man!  

Monday we had 19 inches of snow, but due to the extreme winds last night it was difficult to get an accurate reading today.  Due to the snow drifts, I was measuring anywhere between 3.5" and 8" of new snow.  Then I broke my yard stick trying to break through the ice layer so I could get an overall depth reading. 

Kids were excited that school was cancelled again today and thankfully it was a perfect day for sledding. 

Although the storm warning has officially been lifted, we're still in for below freezing temperatures with wind gusts up around 40+ mph for the weekend.

No denying winter has finally arrived!  Since moving out here, the weather has definitely earned my respect for its sheer power, ruthlessness and beauty.  A winter storm, out here in the middle of nowhere, is a call to action.  We've got the pantry stocked, fresh batteries in the flashlights, extra gas/propane for the generator, and lots of firewood.

For folks who have to work and travel in this kind of weather, it can be a major inconvenience and even scary.  But on days like this, where there is nowhere else to be but here, I feel such gratitude to have created our own refuge from the storm.

New Generator...

5:37 pm - 25 degrees - overcast, windy...

This past weekend our generator died.  So we had to run out and buy a new one before the next winter storm hit.  We spent all day shopping and ended up buying a Champion 7500/9375 Duel Fuel generator we picked up at Cabelas. 

Tony was looking at a couple others online, but everything he liked had to be ordered.  Since we were in between storms, we had to pick something out that we could take home with us.

Less than two miles from home, after putting ice breaker chains on the front tires, the rear end almost slid over the edge.  So he had to put another set of ice breaker chains on the rear tires as well.  Whew, that was a close call.

Finally made it home, took the generator out of the box, then had to push/slid/carry it over to the power house so Tony could hook it all up and we could have power again.

So far, we have run the generator on propane and gasoline and it's working great!

Lonely Elk...

4:54 pm - 26 degrees - overcast...

We saw the lonely cow again.  Think she may have lost her herd or is sick. :(

Monday, December 5, 2016

Winter Is Here...

4:55 - 30 degrees - snowing...

Yesterday we spent the majority of the day moving and restacking firewood.  We have almost 6 cords moved and stacked with just over 2 more cords still to go.

It started snowing yesterday...

...and by this evening we have 13” of snow and it’s still coming down!

Today the kids stayed home from school and thoroughly enjoyed their first snow day.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Graveling The Driveway...

7:24 pm - 38 degrees - calm night...

Ditches are cleaned out, and now it's time for gravel!  

This morning four dump truck loads of gravel was put onto the main driveway.  Tony spent the rest of the day grading it all out.  The driveway is looking really good!

While Tony was down working on the lower section of the main driveway, I was working around the house enjoying the falling snow flakes!  It wasn't cold enough for the snow to stick, but it sure was exciting to see!  Tony's hoping that the snow will hold off for a few more days so he can get the snowblower and snowplow mounted and running.

Red The Elf...

7:11 pm - 38 degrees - calm night...

Last night we got our Christmas tree up just in time... Red the Elf is back for another 24 days full of Christmas shenanigans!

By the way, that's a noble fir.  It's the only kind of Christmas tree Tony believes in, so that's the kind of tree we get every single year.


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