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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Off-Grid Kids Questions And Answers...

1:08 pm - 34 degrees - freezing rain (Snow Day #9)...

Our kids wanted to be a part of our new YouTube channel so our daughter wrote up some questions and they had a mini Q&A session.

This video was one take, unrehearsed, and just makes me smile!

We moved up here back in 2010 when our son was just over a year old and our daughter was four years old - so living up here in the mountains is pretty much all they know.  The off-grid portion of it is just normal to them and they usually don't even think about it.

We moved out into the middle of nowhere because we wanted property.  Any decent sized property that was close to town was way too expensive or nonexistent.  We were looking for someplace that would have ample room for our kids to run and play, to build a tree fort should they want or whatever project they dreamt up.  We wanted them to be outside and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.  To spend the days with dirt between their toes, playing make believe in the yard, and being outside from nearly sun up to sun down, doesn’t that sound like a wonderful childhood?

We want our children to learn the value of work and to have a greater appreciation and a deeper sense of gratitude for the things they have and what it takes to earn them.  We want them to have a strong work ethic – to work hard and honestly.  We don’t want them to be afraid of work or afraid of working hard.  That fear only leads to the feelings of entitlement which seems to plague our society today.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Monday, January 16, 2017

Driving Home - In Hyperspeed...

9:06 am - 25 degrees - 32+ mph wind gusts...

Our area was hit hard this month when about a foot of snow fell on the metro area in a 24 hour period - that usually only happens about once a decade.  The snow moved out and the colder air moved in and kept the winter scenery around.  Schools, businesses and most activity in the area was either halted by the snow or severely reduced as a white blanket draped the metro area and surrounding communities.

Most commuters weren’t prepared for the snow storm causing abandoned vehicles and a lot of accidents.  A week later and freeways are clear, main roads still have icy patches and side roads are covered in packed snow.

With all this crazy weather that we have been getting lately, several of our friends have made videos of portions of their commute.  They wanted to see what our commute home was like so here it is...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Winter Mountain Chores -- Clearing The Driveway

6:46 pm - 17 degrees - clear night, 54+ mph wind gusts...

It is definitely a work in progress as I'm learning how to take and edit videos.  Today I learned that I don't have any video editing software on my computer, so I put together this video on my phone - downside, the resolution isn't that great.  But hey, I edited my first video!  Yea!

Here's a clip of Tony blowing off the driveway.  We have lost track of how many hours he has spent in the tractor this season, but it is a LOT!

We've Started A YouTube Channel...

6:40 pm - 17 degrees - clear night - 54+ mph wind gusts...

We're constantly asked why we don't make videos or have a YouTube channel... well now we do!

It is definitely a work in progress as I'm learning how to take and edit videos.  Today I learned that I don't have any video editing software on my computer, so I put together a video on my phone - downside, the resolution isn't that great.  But hey, I edited my first video!  Yea!

{Click here} for the link to our YouTube channel.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Snow Day #8...

1:40 pm - 21 degrees - overcast, 33+ mph wind gusts...

A blanket of fluffy white snow, sparkling snowflakes, moonlit nights, twinkling starry skies... 

...sounds pretty dreamy until reality strikes.  The kids are on day Snow Day #8 and winter just started!

Actually it’s not that bad.  Yes, the kids miss their friends at school and Tony has had to take more days off work for snow removal than he planned... but, we haven’t caught that nasty bit of cabin fever yet!! 

We have just over 4 feet of snow and there have been patches of gorgeous weather so the kids have spent a lot of their time playing outside, sledding, building forts, having snowball fights with the occasional snowmobile ride.  

When the wind gets a little too brutal or the cold starts seeping in, it drives everyone back inside where we’ve been playing a lot of games, and doing a lot of baking.  When tempers start to flare everyone goes off to their own corners of the house to stick their nose in a book, watch a movie, or play in their rooms. 
Labyrinth - fun game that everyone can play and enjoy.

Nertz!!!  I love this game so much that I taught the kids how to play.
It's like Solitaire but everyone's playing at the same time.
Caitlyn is getting pretty good, and Jack still needs a little help.

Sequence - Caitlyn and I really like this game,
but Jack can only stand about one round at a time.

So far so good considering we haven’t left the mountain since last Tuesday and they don’t go back to school until this coming Tuesday!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Another Snow Day...

11:47 am - 29 degrees - snowing...

It's another snow day for us (5th one I think). Tony left the house early this morning to blow off the snow/freezing rain/snow that came with the latest winter storm over the weekend.

Just over two hours in the tractor this morning and he's only been able to do one pass about a half mile long down the driveway.  The snow is deep and very heavy and he's sliding around on the icy layer that he hasn't been able to break through yet.  He broke a couple shear pins so he had to come home and grab some more.  Now he's off again to finish blowing the driveway.

The temps have warmed up a bit and the water line to our wash machine has finally thawed out.  It's been frozen for well over a week now.  So I'm busy doing laundry and cleaning house while Tony's clearing the driveway and the kids are playing.  Just a normal winter day on the mountain.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Simple Trip To Town...

5:33 pm - 14 degrees - windy...

...isn’t so simple – especially in the winter time. 

When we have a lot of snow, each trip to town has to be planned out.  Extra time is needed to unbury, scrape off, and warm up the rig and extra time is needed to slowly (and hopefully safely) make our way down the mountain.

During the winter months, the drive down the curvy mountain road (that’s skirting the edge in numerous areas with no guard rail or anything to stop the rig from going over) can be extremely nerve wracking, especially when you are supposed to be driving straight and all of a sudden your rig slips sideways due to ice or super slushy snow, sliding towards that 100+ foot drop-off.  At least there is currently a built-up wall of snow on the edge of the cliff that gives me a small false sense of security.

Besides the nerve wracking drive itself, there is always the very real possibility of getting stuck (it's happened a few times).  So when there is snow on the ground (regardless if it’s an inch or a foot), before I ever head out, I always make sure that I have a snow shovel, tire chains, extra food, blankets, snow shoes, and snow gear for everyone in the car.  This year I even added a few travel games to help the kids beat the boredom of being stuck.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

This mornings adventure took us just over 2 hours to make the 30 minute drive to school.
The wind was blowing so hard, the snow was blowing back into the road.

Clearing snow drifts on the county road.

Over the past several days it has been very windy causing a lot of snow drifts to form on the road.  After last night's 62+ mph wind gusts (all night long and into the morning) Tony jumped in the tractor and slowly started clearing the snow drifts on the county road as we followed behind for a few miles.

Due to the extreme wind, in addition to the big snow drifts, there were also a lot of downed branches and trees.

Some of the smaller trees and branches the kids and I were able to move.

Some were too big for us, but thankfully two wonderful loggers were able to clear the road for us!

Our trip came to another halt with this downed tree that also took some lines with it.
But the two wonderful loggers once again showed up and cleared this one also!

When we finally do make it off the mountain and into town, I try to have all my errands done as quickly as possible so I have time to make it back up the mountain with plenty of daylight to spare; just in case we get stuck or have to put chains on.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

View From The Window...

4:40 pm - 27 degrees - foggy (15" of new snow)...

I will never get tired of this view, especially when everything is covered in a blanket of white.

Happy New Year...

4:48 pm - 27 degrees, foggy...

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." ~ Neil Gaiman
Today brings us the beginning of the 2017 year!  We don’t always make a big deal out of it on New Year’s Eve, but I sure love what it means… a year full of possibilities; some of which might be life changing.

A new year is… a fresh start… a chance to correct the wrongs of yesterday… a chance to be a better person – listen more, love more, care more and give more.
As I bid farewell to 2016, I am filled with gratitude – gratitude for my daughter and son, for my husband, for our families and for many great friends.

I love a New Year!  2016 is behind us and my arms are open wide for 2017!

"I hope that in this year to come, you  make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world.  You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.  So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.  Make New Mistakes.  Make glorious, amazing mistakes.  Make mistakes nobody's ever made before.  Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.  Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.  Make your mistakes, next year and forever." ~ Neil Gaiman


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