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, April 5, 2019

Landscaping The Backyard...

9:08 am - 44 degrees - raining...

It is Spring Break right now, and we decided to stay home to get some projects done around the property.

Every year after the snow melts away, we are left with a mess! There is a 14'-16' swath of rock that is scattered in the grass alongside the driveway from the snowplow and snowblower. There are broken branches and twigs scattered all over the place. And the grass and all the plants are matted down and just look blah. I cannot wait for everything to perk up and start greening up!

All this rock had to be racked back into the driveway.

Now that the majority of the snow has melted I wanted to take advantage of the time off and get some work done around the house. So this week I have been cleaning up and burning in between rain showers.

Burning yard debris.

Yesterday there was another break in the rain and I decided to get rid of one of the many rock piles we have scattered here and there - we have very rock ground. About a year and a half after we moved up here, Tony and I used up some of our excess rock to build a couple of rock stars {click here}. After we were done, we intended to transplant plants around the stars... but we never quite got around to it. So fast forward to yesterday and I decided to add a third star.

I printed off my original grid star design that I made (each star is 12'x12'), grabbed my gloves, a tape measure, marking spray paint, stakes, and twine. Next I measured out where my stakes needed to go, strung out my twine, and marked my lines on the ground with my marker spray paint. 

Then I started to fill in my star outline with rocks. I found the best angled rocks for the star points, then made my rock outline, and lastly filled in the center.

After my star was completed, I raked around all three stars and just cleaned it up a bit because this year I AM going to plant around the stars and get that flowerbed finished!

I think it turned out pretty good. The whole project took me about 4 hours, and I already had all the supplies so it cost me nothing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

American Chinchilla Road Trip...

9:38 am - 51 degrees - overcast, light wind....

Last weekend Caitlyn and I went on a road trip through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge to pick up a few new additions to our mini-farm we seem to be starting. Where were the guys? They stayed home and worked on the chicken coop. I'll post about that soon!

Off for a fun 9-hour road trip!

I love the drive along the Columbia River and through the Gorge because of the ever changing landscape, so many breath taking sights and views! We also lucked out and had gorgeous weather the whole trip.

These wind turbines are HUGE!

Had to stop at Stonehenge.

Meet our newest additions - a breeding pair of American Chinchilla Rabbits! Aren't they just gorgeous... and huge!



Reuben is 3.5 months old and weighs in at just over 5 pounds. Trixie is 11 months old and weighs in at just under 10 pounds. 

When they are full grown, Bucks will weigh between 9-11 pounds and Does will weigh between 10-12 pounds. 



Trixie and Reuben, who are very soft, sweet, and cuddly, did great on the car ride home and are settling right in. 

Click {here} for more information on American Chinchillas.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

DIY Faux Shiplap Walls...

2:48 pm - 31 degrees outside - snowing, foggy...

A while back I decided that I wanted to finish out all the closets in our home with a wood planking look – aka shiplap. So far I have finished out both of the kids closets {click here} and I think they turned out great!

When I make a decision I usually jump with both feet, while Tony thinks things through a bit more. So Sunday night I decided that I wanted to finish out our linen closet in the master bathroom and tore everything out of the closet so I would have a clean space and be ready to get started the next morning... after I ran to Lowe’s to get supplies that is.

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. This is what I used in the kids closets, and it is so incredibly easy to install, yet it still gives me the look I’m wanting.

Altogether - planks, wood filler, sandpaper, paint, and boards for shelving totaled $126 and the project took about 4 hours spread out over three days to finish. Three days was to give enough time for the paint and stain to dry properly – otherwise it would have been all done in one day.

Here is what I used...
Miter Saw
Tape measure
Brad nailer with nails
Wood Filler
Putty knife
Wood Stain

The linen closet is 44” wide by 2’7” deep with a back wall + slanted ceiling measuring 6’10” –-- 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. 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 any seams or knot holes with wood filler.  After the wood filler had time to dry, I went back and sanded all those spots smooth.  Then paint!  I used less than half a can of Valspar “Snowcap White” (one heavy coat + touch ups).

Next, I figured out where I wanted my shelves to be at, measured and screwed in sidewall supports for the shelving to sit on. I cut each board, made sure that they fit properly, then stained them with Varathane Wood Stain “Kona”. After the boards were dry, I put them into the closet, and voila, all done!

I absolutely love how it turned it. Now 3 out of 4 of the upstairs closets are done! I love progress!


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