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Friday, February 29, 2008

More pix, again...

02-29-08

I have more pix:

This is our cabin from the opposite side of the valley from us, can you see the cabin? If you can, then you have super vision or are very psychically gifted.



Here is the same pic with the cabin pointed out, yeah I know, not very clear, but it's the best my cell phone camera does. :)



After we got back from town the other day, Bob didn't want to carry the cement powder (100 pounds) and all the groceries across the creek and up the hill, so he just brought the bug across, it took a few tries to get up the hill, but he made it.











Finally up the hill and parked in front of the cabin.



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2 Comments

Blogger Tracy said...

I spotted it right away. I hope that doesn't mean I'm being supervised; I don't like that idea at all!

June 7, 2008 11:16 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Naw, not being watched, you are just good! Now, your papers pleeze.... ;)

Wretha

June 8, 2008 11:55 AM

Construction Pix

More Pix

I took more pix, here they are:

This is Bob up on a scaffold that he made, he was putting up more panels of wood on the south side of the cabin, the scaffold is about 12 feet in the air.





These are in front (south facing) of the cabin.





This is on the west side of the cabin, this is where a lot of activity is going on, you can see one of the concrete (soilcrete) walls, it's not much to look at, yet, but it's a work in progress.



This is the same pix as above, I highlighted the concrete wall in red, it is poured in layers, each layer is about a foot deep, the first layer is highlighted with yellow, the next layer we poured is highlighted in magenta. Between the yellow and magenta layers, we poured that layer too thick, the problem that occurs is with the weight of the concrete, if the pour is too thick, it will cause the form to bulge, we got lucky, it did bulge, but not too much. The form for the next layers is the wood panel that is above the concrete, highlighted in orange. This is only part of the concrete work, this is sort of a bump out, the other concrete work is being done under the cabin just behind what is visible in this picture. The bump out is going to house part of the water system, the top will be as tall as the floor on the cabin (about 6 feet in the air), sorry if I'm not explaining it well, I'll take more pix as we get more done, it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. :)



This is Bob removing the wind part of the weather station, he had to do this in order to put up one of the panels on the cabin. You can see what is referred to as a radar net or camoflage net, it's old military surplus, we have several of these, it works good for us to hide the work in progress, we don't want our few neighbors who can see us to have to look at the half way done work on the cabin, it also helps us to blend in with the natural scenery, Bob eventually wants to place one on the roof so that when Google Earth updates their satellite images, our place will not show, we like being hidden from the world. ;)



I took more pix today of the cabin from much farther away, it will take me a few days to get it placed on the blog, it's quite a process, I have to take the picture with the camera in my cell phone, I have to send the pix from my cell phone to my email address, then I have to go to my neighbor to check my email and get the pictures, I copy them to a memory stick, take them back to my cabin, I put the pix on my laptop, edit them as needed (crop, resize, highlight...), then it's back on the memory stick and back to my neighbor's house, then I can upload them to this blog, one of these days I'll find my digital camera and many MANY steps will be eliminated.
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2 Comments

Anonymous Oldman in the boonies said...

NICE PICS. What is the tower ( or spire) close to you? Good idea on the combat como netting..Often wished I had done that. Too late they already got me...

March 2, 2008 1:46 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Oldman, I assume you are asking about the pic with the road and the dot as my cabin, if so, that spire is a utility pole, it is not near my cabin at all, it is on the south side of the valley, my cabin is well north of that, the road you see in the image goes down about 100 feet until it reaches the road that I live on, my cabin is about 75-100 feet above the road where I live, I'd say that pic was taken about a mile away. I don't have any utility poles on my property, there is one on the extreme south west corner of my property, but not on it, that is not the same one you see in the pic. If this is not the image you are asking about, please ask again and specify which one you are talking about.

Thanks!
Wretha

March 3, 2008 8:16 PM

Going to town...

02-27-08

Pizza night went very well, the dough I made rose very well, I love a happy dough! I used spaghetti sauce for the pizza sauce, I cooked some ground beef, I had some left over(cooked) deer sausage, but it smelled a little off, I set it outside well behind my cabin for the wild animals to eat. I used fresh spinach, chopped onion and mozeralla cheese, it was very good and quite fun, everyone enjoyed it.

Today was a good day, we drove into town in the bug, we left out about noon, it is the first time in over a month that we went to town on our own, I have gone to town with our neighbor many times, but this time Bob and I went together, it was quite fun. To my knowledge, we have the only VW Bug in or around town, we are getting to be known a little, I believe people are beginning to recognize the little blue bug, it's fun! We went to the resale shop, the sales here benefit the local animal shelter. It was full of lots of fun things, I got a couple of shirts (for $1.00 each), Bob got a pair of shoes, and we got a few other misc things.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

02-26-08

The month is almost gone, time goes by so fast here, it seems like we just got here and it also seems like we have always been here, I can't say that I have forgotten my life before this, but it is fading. Before we moved here, I didn't know how I would be able to leave all of my responsibilities, I felt a great responsibility to do the jobs I had, both at Best Buy and at Curves. I did a lot of key things at both places, things that no one else did for the most part, and I enjoyed working at both places. I enjoyed the people I knew there. I know that I did a good job at what I did and I cared about it, I am afraid that things aren't getting done as well as I would do it because I did care about what I was doing. The few weeks (or was it months?) that I was still in Irving after I quit both jobs, I felt like a fish out of water, I felt like I didn't have anything to do, in reality there was lots to do with all the last minute packing and keeping the items on the trailer safe from the weather... well, once we got here, that all changed, I do not worry about things back in town like I thought I might, I do miss everyone I knew there, but I am pretty busy here, and what I do is so much more enjoyable and rewarding, I do not regret making this major life changing move.

Tonight is pizza night, I am making the dough, I make a yeast dough and right now it's rising on the wood stove, the stove is still warm from this morning and it's the perfect temp for the dough. I have some hamburger meat that needs to be cooked and I have some left over deer sausage that needs to be eaten, that will go good on the pizza. I am making the dough here in the cabin, but I'll cook it at our neighbor's house, it's pizza night for him too! :)

Bob just scared me to death! I am inside the cabin, he is outside on a very narrow scaffolding attached to the house, he is putting up more siding, he is up pretty high, I heard a crash and other sounds that you don't want to hear in this situation, I had a vision of him falling, I jumped up and ran to the door while calling out to him, he answered that he was OK, I still went out to see what happened, he had nearly fallen, the scaffolding he is using is a ladder with some boards on it to walk on, he said he was focused on what he was doing with his hands and took one step too many to the side and stepped off into the air. I heard him scrabbling to catch himself, he dropped the board and the drill he was holding, that was the crash I heard. So far we have done very well not to get injured, just a few minor bruises, scrapes, cuts, blisters, splinters and the occasional cactus thorn. We have to be and have been very careful here, there are no doctors or hospitals very near by, there is a volunteer fire department, and I understand they are in the process of training EMTs as well, the little community here is trying to be as self sufficient as possible. Our neighbor has some medical training, so if anything bad happens he will be our first stop for help.

Yesterday was a good day, our other friends out here just bought a property just around the mountain from us, there is a mobile home and a travel trailer on it, both were fully furnished, everything was from the 70s, and in pretty good shape, they allowed us to go through some of the kitchen stuff and take what we needed, we got a small 3 burner stove with oven from the travel trailer, it's so cute, it's turquoise blue, and it should be set up for propane already, if not, Bob can change what needs to be changed to make it run on propane. We also got a lot of other misc kitchen stuff, one of my favorite things is a set of coffee mugs, bright orange, made by Fire King, I love free stuff! :)

Well, I think I'll go back out and see if I can help more, at least try to get Bob to knock off for the day and get cleaned up to go eat pizza.
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3 Comments

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered cooking in a solar oven? From what I understand, they're pretty easy to make and use.

TheMajor'sLady
lornkanaga.livejournal.com

February 27, 2008 12:48 PM

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Anonymous Oldman in the Boonies said...

I hope your Pizza night went well. It sounds like you still need to work out an oven. Well I am sure you will. Nice of other folks to help you guys out.

Just a short story here. When We were building our house 24 years ago, I was putting up the steel beam in the basement. My son was 14 at the time and had an 8 ft section of the beam on a chain hanging from the tractor bucket. Well it slipped, he yelled and I looked up. Good thing I did because all I got was a bad cut instead of a smashed skull. 3 stiches but no death..... Be thankful and BOB BE CAREFUll !!!!

February 27, 2008 3:23 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

TheMajor'sLady, yes, I am familiar with solar cooking, it's something I have been interested in since I was a teenager, (that's a LONG time... grin!), check out my earlier messages on the blog http://wretha.blogspot.com/2007/12/solar-cooking-first-attempt.html, you will find what I have done so far, not much, but it is a start, and I have heated foods in it. My hubby used to own/run a restaurant equipment repair business, he is well versed in cooking equipment, with his knowledge about that, and my knowledge of solar cooking, we plan on making several solar ovens, I'll write about them as it happens... thanks for your comment, keep them coming! :)

Oldman, scary story! I do worry about Bob, but he is careful and so far, so good, no injuries or problems, we are both very careful, we know there's not much help if we get hurt or sick out here. Oh, and pizza night went very well, thanks! Keep the comments coming, I appreciate each and every one!

Wretha

February 29, 2008 12:14 PM

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stuff To Do

Today was a banner day, it was a beautiful day, sunny, slight breeze, warm , the high was 75 f. After lounging around most of the morning into the afternoon, we got up and started working on concrete. We poured about a foot in depth and about 10 feet long, we are pouring a three sided wall, we pour, allow it to set for a few days, remove the forms and reattach them higher on the wall and pour again, this keeps the forms from bulging out too much, concrete is heavy. Bob mixes the cement powder, local soil, local gravel and a little water in the cement mixer, pours it into a bucket and brings it to the wall, he pours it into the wall cavity, I tamp it down and smooth it out as best as I can with a stick. We also throw in fist sized rocks and poke them into the wet concrete.

After that, Bob got out the powered post hole digger, my Dad gave it to us, so far, digging has been so easy that Bob hasn't felt the need to use the auger, but he tried it tonight, and was very impressed, he dug 3 holes a few feet away from the south side of the cabin, he set some long 2x6 boards in the holes, filled the hole back in with dirt and a little water and tamped it down. His intention is to make a scaffold structure so he can work safely on that side of the cabin. While he was doing this, I made dinner, I was instructed to post the recipe on my blog, so I will. It's a recipe I made up when I was a teenager, it's extreme comfort food.

4 slices of bread (your choice-white or wheat)
4 wieners (hot dogs)
1 can chili
1 can cream corn
mayo
shredded cheese (your choice)

Heat the cream corn and the chili in separate pans, you can heat the wieners in the chili if you want or heat them separately, leave whole or cut into bite sized pieces, your choice. Take 2 slices of bread for each serving, place it on a plate, slather each slice with a thick layer of mayo, I like Miracle Whip, my hubby likes real mayo, make it thick, pour the chili with the wieners) over the bread, place some shredded cheese over this, as much as you want. Next pour the cream corn over the top. Eat. This serves 2 hungry people.

I don't have a name for this, anyone want to name it? When I made it as a teen, I didn't add wieners or cheese, I add this now to make it more of a meal. It may sound like a strange combination, but it's very good, have lots of napkins. Don't ask about the calorie count, if you have to ask, then you probably shouldn't eat it (grin!), we aren't worried about calories out here, as hard as we work, we burn off more than enough. Walking up and down the property with buckets of gravel and dirt in this thin air is a super workout!

Work

Before we moved out here, we did a lot of research on how to build and live off grid, I found a lot of websites boasting about how green they are while spending lots of money and using heavy equipment and lots of hands helping them. It can be discouraging to the average person who wants to do this but doesn't have much money (or equipment or help). I am here to tell you that it CAN be done, we have done everything with very little money and mostly by hand. The most expensive part was buying the land, before we moved we started buying a few thing here and there, the deep cycle batteries, the solar panels, yes I know those are expensive, but they are coming down in price, and if you are willing to live a more simple life, you can make it with a few batteries and a few solar panels, we are doing it, and we are doing it very well. We would not be able to power the same amount of stuff as we used to have when we lived in the city, but living out here, in a small cabin, using the bare minimum of lights, a radio, a small cube refrigerator, cell phone, computer and the water pump, our little system is working great. We don't watch TV, it's just a time waster and an energy hog, I don't miss it very much at all, but then again I didn't watch it much before.

We have built out home ourselves, with hand tools and sweat. It's not the Ritz, but it's ours, free and clear. We get a lot of material for free by doing things like Bob did the other day, a neighbor around the mountain from us was tearing down a building, he gave us the material as long as we took all of it, we ended up with a lot of good, usable wood, some of it is no good, but for a half a day's work, we got a truck load of wood for free. You gotta network with the local people to find out what they need and what you can offer, the barter system is alive and well. If you have skills, especially out here where it is remote and costs a mint just to get someone to come out to your property, and that is before they start doing any work, you can go a long way toward getting the things you need. Bob is good with his hands, he can repair most any appliance, motor and is good with carpentry, electronics and a hodge podge of other things, it has come in handy for us as well as for a few neighbors who help us with other things.

For anyone who really wants to do this, let me say that it CAN be done, and you don't have to be wealthy, you just have to be willing to do the proper research, learn from everyone, and be willing to work hard. It's not a vacation, but it has been worth it. It has been worth everything we have given up, which by the way hasn't been much:

Noise
TV
pollution
Stress
Close by stores
Close by neighbors (packed in like sardines)
Traffic problems
High bills
City codes (building, parking...)

There is more than I can list, the main thing is the noise level, it's so quiet out here, and the air is so clean, you can see so many more stars. I do have to collect wood for heat, for now I have to tote water, I have to be aware of my power usage, but I don't get a monthly bill for my electricity or heating, it's a trade off, and I don't mind it at at all.

I am thinking about what I am going to grow for food this spring, we will have to decide where to put the garden, and we will have to protect it from the animals who would like to eat our veggies as much as I would. I plan on planting carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers (hot and mild), beans, peas, spinach, kale, okra, lettuce, garlic, herbs... and I don't know what else, I ordered some seed catalogs, I can't wait to get them.
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2 Comments

Blogger HOLLIS said...

I am in the research stage. I just found your site and love it. If you don't mind me asking what did the land cost and how much did you get? I am researching on how to do this with kids. We have a 7 & 8 yr olds. Any advice there?

May 21, 2008 7:28 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Hello Hollis,

I don't mind answering most questions (grin), we purchased just under 6 acres, we paid $11000 for it. The land had nothing on it, no improvements at all, most properties around here cost more, the reason ours was less was because accessing the largest part is difficult, there is a dry creek bed running across the front of the property, getting a vehicle across, or anything else for that matter is not easy, but it's doable. You need a 4 wheel drive vehicle or you have to use a winch to get across and up the other side. We park our vehicles on the street side and walk across most of the time. When it rains, we just stay on the high side and don't leave the property.

Where are you looking for land? You can email me directly if you want. :)

Wretha

May 21, 2008 9:11 PM

Thursday, February 21, 2008

02-21-08

It's been several days since I wrote anything, that is because not much has been happening, Bob has been gone during the daytime, I do get some things done, dishes, cleaning, taking care of the humanure toilet. Day to day life is becoming normal here, at least normal for me :) I get up in the morning, I look outside to see how the day looks, I take the dog out, I change out of my pj's, I take a sponge bath using the water from the stock pot that is still warm from last night's fire. I put on my clothes, I do any dishes that were left from the night before, if I am hungry, I eat something, usually I make a bowl of oatmeal, if the water in the pot isn't hot enough, I have a 2 burner propane stove, it doesn't take long for the water to get hot enough to cook the oatmeal. Sometimes I listen to the radio, we get one station, it's a NPR radio station out of Marfa, they play a variety of music, I have heard everything from rock, classic rock, country, old country, ancient country (grin!), pop, jazz, classical, Cajun, folk, blues, and some I can't put a name to, and that's all in an hour or two! It seems that they don't want to offend anyone or leave anyone out, so they play this crazy variety of music one after another, you might hear Pink Floyd then right after that they might play Hank Williams Sr, then something classical... it's like a crazy quilt for music. Anyhoo, at some point during the day (or evening) I go to my neighbor's house for water and company, once Bob gets home and gets cleaned up (as much as possible), I make dinner, we eat dinner while watching the most beautiful mountains and sunset. Our mule deer show up just before sunset on most days, they have gotten quite used to us, for better or worse, they hang around for an hour or so, depends on how many crackers I toss their way. After dinner, if I haven't gotten water yet, I will go then, otherwise, we have movie night a few nights a week, IF the weather cooperates. If the wind is gusting, we can't hear anything but the wind, many movie nights have been canceled because of the wind. But that is OK because we do like to talk to each other, actually we are opposites from most couples, in most other couples, the female talks more and the male talks less, often to the point where the female wished her mate would talk more and the male wishes his mate would hush up! :) In our situation, Bob is the talker, I like to say that he narrates the world, this is a good thing, I appreciate his gift for gab, I on the other hand, tend to be a bit on the quiet side, at least as compared to most of the other women I know (though I can chat up a storm when I need to), so for us, it works out quite nicely.

I just heard the Bug pull up, it will take Bob about 5 minutes (+/-) to walk up to the cabin, once he gets here, we are supposed to go to our neighbor's house for dinner, our neighbor is cooking a pork roast, Bob just walked in, I stopped typing and started heating water for coffee, Bob is a coffee drinker, he likes it semi-hot and very sweet.

I have figured out a glitch in our power system, not a bad one though, I dug out my alarm clock a few days ago, it runs on 110 and has a battery backup, it's just a standard, digital alarm clock. The first night I had it plugged up, it worked just fine, but the next morning, I noticed the time was wrong, it was a head about 20 minutes, I assumed that either Bob or I had hit the wrong button and made the time jump ahead, I reset the time and watched it for a bit and it ran just fine. A few hours later, I noticed the time had jumped ahead again, not much, between 5 and 10 minutes, again I reset the time and assumed that one of us must have bumped the button that resets the time, it's quite sensitive. So today, I was watching the clock to see if it was having a problem, the digital clock was a minute behind the clock on the weather station, I heard the power inverter's fan kick on for a few seconds (that happens when the refrigerator comes on or some other load occurs), right after that, the digital clock jumped a minute ahead of the weather station clock, that was the "aha" moment, I started making the inverter fan come on by turning on lights and other things that cause a power load to occur, each time I did this, the digital clock would jump ahead 30 seconds to a minute, so I am going to have to isolate it from other power loads in the future, Bob thinks he can do something to change the "flavor" of the power, we will see if it works, it would be great of it did, but it's not a big deal if it doesn't work, for the most part, we don't need an alarm clock. :)

Moon

Last night I watched the lunar eclipse, I saw it from the point where the moon was red, I got a late start and missed the first half. I went out about once every 10 minutes to see what was happening. I must say that I wasn't very impressed, it was kind of fun to see it, but not a huge thrill, I understand our next full lunar eclipse will happen in about 3 years... A strange thing that happened during the eclipse, I don't know if it was associated with the event or just a coincidence, my cell phone couldn't acquire a signal at all, this went on all night, it worked during the day just fine, but about sun down, it started "looking" for a signal and it did this all night. This morning, it finally started working again, I hope this doesn't happen often, I get a marginal signal at best, it's always a "roaming" signal, and for the most part, I have to stand in a certain place in the cabin, if I move around, my signal drops out and I may even lose the call alltogether.

Comments

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been leaving comments, I really REALLY appreciate each and every comment, keep them coming! :) Comments, questions, I read and respond to them, so if you ask a question, go back to that comment and look for my response, it may take a few days to get back to you, but I will respond.
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5 Comments

Anonymous Oldman in th eBoonies said...

Perhaps I missed it in your posting but Unless you have a true sinewave converter you will always have problems with a power inverter and some elctronics. Variable speed motors and standard inverters do not get along well. I replaced the variable speed fan on our Wood burner with a equivilant CFM bathroom fan and some flexable ducting. The inverter is much happier now. This was a much cheaper solution than a Sine wave converter.

Thanks for the info on the water pump. I keep forgetting about RV and Marine stuff. I am building a rainwater catchment system and 12 componants are essential. Since we are in the frozen great north the project is on hold for a while.

February 22, 2008 7:17 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Yeah, we have an inexpensive inverter, it was the biggest one I could get where I used to work, Best Buy is not known for selling inverters, computers yes, but not the bigger inverters, but it was a good deal for me so I got 2 of them, eventually we will get a bigger/better one, but for now, what we have is working just fine.

Where in the frozen north are you located?

Wretha

February 23, 2008 9:07 PM

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Anonymous oldman in the boonies said...

We are in Central Wisconsin. We got 14" of snow last sunday after it had been -20 for a couple of days in a row. we have had about 80 inches so far this year. It is in the high 20's yesterday and supposed to be 35 today.

We are in our late 50's. We have about 5 acres. We grow about 75% of our vegetables. We have 5 chickens.

We do have a nice 6" well that gives us all the water we could want. it runs on 220 and that scares me. I have put together a rather extensive rain water catchment system. while it is still evolving I am always looking for better ways to do things.

You and Bob are doing great. I look at your every day to see if you have posted.

February 24, 2008 8:11 AM

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OpenID nanabird2000 said...

Hey Wretha, everyone sends their "Hello's" sounds like things are going well for you guys. Was nice to talk to you the other day. If you keep up all talking to the animals you may turn into Dr Dolittle and the animals talk back to you, :) Glad you guys are doing good your neighbor sounds like a heaven sent, you must be company for each other. Keep up the blogs look forward to reading them and enjoy the pictures too, explains alot of things, thanks. Until next time......Nancy

February 25, 2008 9:53 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Oldman, wow, that is too much snow for me, and too much cold! I really love living in the desert AND on a mountain, I get the best of both worlds. We are going to get chickens sometime this spring (I hope!), I can't wait to have fresh eggs and the occasional chicken in the pot... we are also going to grow lots of fruits & veggies. How do you store (long term) what you grow?

Nancy, thanks so much for keeping up with me, I miss each and every one of you! I will keep up the blog, it's great fun and honestly, it allows me to remember things that I might forget, especially about the early periods, and helps me to appreciate each step.

I have more pix that I will be uploading soon, stay tuned! :)

Wretha

February 26, 2008 10:07 PM

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snow, Power, Wind...

02-16-08

Today was different, quite fun actually. The weather has been fairly quiet the last few days, sunny, calm, a little wind now and again, warm days (in the 40s & 50s), cool nights (30s-40s) but for the most part, uneventful. The humidity is generally pretty low, in the 20-30% range, higher at night, lower in the day.

Last night the humidity got up to 91%! I looked out the window and could see low clouds coming across the mountain tops, obscuring them. Today, it snowed, not much accumulation though, a couple of times it looked like we were in a snow globe and someone shook it up. :) I really enjoyed the snow falling and blowing, the snow fell for a short time, and as soon as the sun peeked out from the clouds, the snow that had accumulated, immediately began to melt. A couple of times, during the snow fall, there was so much snow falling and blowing, I couldn't see the mountains around me, it was so pretty to see. Sorry I didn't get any pix, but my cell phone takes terrible pix and with all the snow blowing, all it would have shown was white to light gray on white/light gray...

The snow is gone, but the wind stayed, it's not that cold outside, but with the wind blowing and gusting, the heat that is generated by the wood stove is pulled out almost faster than we can make it. It also messed up movie night, it's nearly impossible to hear the little computer speakers on the laptop, that is something that I overlooked before I left Best Buy, I wished I had known, I would have gotten a small set of powered speakers, but live and learn.

Power

We have been doing very well with the power, we have learned how much we can use and still have power left over, ie we don't run out of battery power any more! We have a total of 4 deep cycle batteries, 2 are hooked up to one set of solar panels and 2 are hooked up to another set of solar panels, we use one set for the water pump on the sink and one light, the other set is for the rest of the lights, computer, fan (rarely used), cell phone and occasionally a small electric blanket. Oh, I almost forgot, we are now running a small cube refrigerator, right now we are leaving it outside, covered with a piece of plastic to keep it dry (just in case). It is in the shade (it's on the north side of the cabin, so it never gets any sun), and for the most part, the outside temp stays cool to cold so the fridge doesn't run very much, even so, I unplug it at night, and sometimes even leave it unplugged during the day, just depends on how cool the temps are. This summer, when we need to leave it plugged up all the time, we will have longer days to charge the batteries with the solar panels so that should not be a problem.

Wow, that was a big gust of wind, it sure is noisy and makes the cabin rock and roll, I hope I can sleep tonight, I took a nap today, if this wind keeps up, I expect I will be listening to my MP3 player all night in bed instead of sleeping. Oh well, I can always sleep tomorrow if I need to. :) I am sitting near the wood stove, it really feels good, it's a comfort to hear the logs crackling and the stock pot full of water bubbling away. It's only 39 degrees F outside (it's just past midnight) and the humidity is still pretty high, at 68%, inside the temp is 58 and the humidity is 23% (it normally sits at 16%), but with the wind howling, it feels a lot colder tonight. I guess it's time to shut this down, put on my pink pj's and get to bed.
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3 Comments

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog. I may be mistaken but I guess you are in Texas?? I have a few friends down in that part of the country. Having built my home and shops from recycled material I can understand what you are going through. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your next post. Chuck in Phoenix

February 19, 2008 9:41 PM

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Blogger Dragon said...

Hi,I just stopped by to see how ya were doin.I hope all is well in your neck of the woods,Dragon

February 20, 2008 12:18 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Chuck, thanks for your comment! Yes, we are in far west Texas, I used to live in Irving Texas, this is quite a change for me, though I have always dreamed of living in the desert AND on a mountain, I get the best of both worlds, :)

Dragon, thanks for your comment! We are doing great, I have been learning about bees on that Yahoo group, I plan on trying to find their hive this spring, and I might try to harvest some of the honey if I can, to my knowledge I am not allergic to bee stings, and these bees are very docile, I have learned there is a hydroponic tomato farm not too far away from me, and they use bees to pollinate the tomatoes, I believe my bees may be from there.

I checked our your blog, very nice!

Wretha

February 21, 2008 6:29 PM

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Pix

More Pix

I took more pix today, here they are:

This is the hole that Bob dug, it's about 6 feet deep and 6 feet across, the bucket you see in the hole is a standard 5 gallon bucket, the caption "My Hole Has A Bucket In It" is a play on words, the first person who can tell me why that is funny and where I got it from wins an award. ;)


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This is me, I am standing in the "bathroom" corner of the cabin looking into the medicine cabinet.


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This is the humanure toilet, complete with the obligatory reading material, the orange bucket on the left has the cover material, the smaller red container on the right is my pee bucket, this gets dumped outside on the compost pile.


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This is the inside portion of the power plant, there are 4 deep cycle batteries on the bottom, on the top, from left to right is the on-off switch, on top of that is the small charge controller, to the right is the big charge controller, the red thing on the right is the inverter. This is all sitting on top of a chest of drawers. I know it looks like a rats nest of wires, and for the most part it is, but it works and quite well and is more organized than it looks.


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This is the heat and water heating and sometimes cooking area, you can see the stock pot on top, it is about half full with water, it stays warm for hours after the fire goes out. This is what I use to wash myself and the dishes with.


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This is the food pantry, we have mostly canned goods here, I also have food stores in other places in the cabin. We are eating out of cans a lot, I do try to get creative with what we have, and on a semi-regular basis, I get to town and get some fresh food (salad, greens, cheese, bread...) to add to the mix. We had salad a few days ago, I'm not a big salad eater, but I loved eating the crunchy greens, it made for a different meal and I know it was good for us too. I can't wait to start growing a garden, we will have lots of good stuff to eat then! :)


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This is the bed that Bob built. It's not much to look at, but it is off the ground and sturdy. You can see my pink PJs on my pillow.


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This is my sink, complete with pot and pan storage, a shelf over the top for various things, and lots of room under it for storing our junk.


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02-13-08

This evening, close to sundown, I sat outside on a big rock, out behind my cabin, this is where the deer walk through, they seem to follow the sun, they walk toward sun up in the morning, and walk toward sundown in the evening. I was not disappointed, I heard then saw the small herd of our deer, the young male spike, the several does and the baby, there used to be two babies, but we found one of them on a trail on the west side of our property, it had been partially eaten, and it was stinking pretty bad, poor thing, but that is the way it is out here. I am starting to recognize individual deer, the most aggressive one is a doe with a notched ear, she will kick the bigger males out of her way if I throw a few crackers down for them to eat. It seems that they like crackers, I have been throwing crackers to them in the evening, and they do like them. The other day I had been feeding them when Bob got home, he stayed near on the street side of property (on the south side of the dry creek) and worked on the Bug, I made hot dogs and took them down to Bob, the deer with the notched ear followed me all the way down to the creek, she wouldn't follow me down the bank until well after I had crossed, she stayed about 10-15 feet behind me, every time I turned to face her, she would stop and just look at me, my hands were full, I had 2 plates of hot dogs in one hand and two drinks (of tea) in the other hand, I tried kicking a bit of dirt at her to scare her off, but she just looked around to see if I was throwing more crackers. Each time I turned my back to start walking again, I could hear her following me, I'm not afraid of the deer, but I do respect them, and if startled, they may react toward me with aggression, they can kick to beat all thunder, and I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of those hoofs! This evening, while I was sitting in the place where the deer usually gather behind our cabin, I purposely didn't take any food for them, I only feed them from the safety of my cabin, or very near the cabin, as long as I have something between them and me. I don't want them thinking I always have food, only when it's safe for me to do so, and only from one place, that way I will be safer when I am out away from the cabin, at least that is my plan, we will see how well it works. :).
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11 Comments

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG i love your blog, you and Bob. How do you'll do coffee? And what about the wind generator? Lots of pics and blogs please.
jealous, Elevator

February 15, 2008 9:33 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Hi Big D, miss you much! Coffee is easy, we keep a water heating on the wood stove all the time, or in a pinch, we have propane, but try not to use it much, gotta save it as long as possible. The windmill is on hold for now, we have more concrete to pour and we can't do concrete work when it is too cold. Hopefully we will be able to work on it more as spring gets closer.

Wretha

February 15, 2008 8:29 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see some pictures!

February 17, 2008 10:58 AM

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Anonymous Oldman in the boonies said...

Your Adventure is wonderful. I am in the hinterlands of the great white north ( especially today). I am curious about your 12 volt water pump. Can I ask where you got it and how much it cost Please

February 17, 2008 3:11 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks oldman in the boonies, the pump was given to us, I was told it came from a RV, do a search for 12 volt water pump and you should find lots to choose from. I like the fact that it's 12 volt, it works directly from our batteries, and the way it's hooked up, it pumps water as soon as I turn the faucet, the biggest drawback is the noise, it is noisy, but I will deal with that to have running water.

If you have any other questions, or want clarification about anything, just ask, I am happy to talk about our systems! :)

Wretha

February 17, 2008 8:02 PM

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Anonymous lindy said...

I can't believe I am the first one to get your "Bucket in a hole" question! If we ever meet, I play this song on my ocarina lol (poorly, but all the same!)

There's a hole in my bucket... dear liza ... dear liza

There's a hole in my bucket... dear liza ... a hole!

Well, fix it dear Henry... dear Henry... dear Henry.

Well, fix it Dear Henry... Dear Henry... FIX IT!

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lovin' your blog!!!

Lindy :) the off-grid bus dweller

February 23, 2008 11:13 AM

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Blogger lindy said...

Wreatha
Have you thought about starting sprouts? I eat A LOT of sprouts in the winter.. mung (bean), alfalfa, etc. It really helps with the "I need something green and crunchy" cravings I get in the wintertime.

February 25, 2008 4:52 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Hi Lindy, yes, I have considered sprouts, and will probably do it later, and you do "win" the "contest" for the song, I am working on your "award"... notice all the quotes, I hope you have a good sense of humor... ;) you may need it to appreciate your award.

Wretha

February 26, 2008 10:12 PM

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Blogger lindy said...

:) I do have a good sense of humor! :) and I really love your blog.

March 3, 2008 7:05 PM

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Blogger Annie said...

Shucks
I knew that song immed--only I am later getin here boo hoo. My dad always used to sing it with his accordian.
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza
with what shall I fix it, with what
With a rock dear henry, dear henry dear henry
with a rock dear henry, dear henry, with a rock etc yada yada
Love your blog wreatha--wil have to show my hubby your power sys--cool--we have an rv, so maybe we could double up on the water pump when in the hunter's cabin, and put it back in rv when it's warmer and the cabin isn't needed!!! hmmmm annie

March 8, 2008 6:31 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks Annie! I'm glad you like reading this, I enjoy writing it and I appreciate all the comments...

Wretha

March 8, 2008 6:52 PM