Quick Links

Book Reviews *** Pictures *** Videos *** DIY *** About Me

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our First Thanksgiving…

…in our off grid home. As far as I’m concerned, this was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. we have been here for nearly a year now, a few days before Christmas will be one year, it’s been a challenging time, but we have done it, and with style!

Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/28/our-first-thanksgiving/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 of 100 Things

…that you may not know about me. … This is a continuation of a list 100 things that you might not know about me. Well, let me start out by saying, YEAH I finally got my memory installed! I have waited a long time to get this memory, and I must say, it’s nice to have...



Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/23/3-of-100-things/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/


Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green Laundry Soap

No it’s not St Patricks Day, but I do have green laundry soap. Actually I make it myself and it’s so simple, even a leprechaun* can do it. I have been making my own laundry soap long before I moved off grid, it started out as a desire to make and use something that cost less and worked better than the stuff I could get from the grocery store. I found recipe after recipe on line, some are so complicated that it’s not worth the time or trouble. I settled on a simple recipe and I have been very satisfied with the results...


Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/20/green-laundry-soap/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baking A Loaf Of Bread pt 2

Hey, were you curious about how that loaf of bread turned out? If you have been following my messages and read the comments then you already know, if you haven’t followed this thread, then you will have to keep reading to find out. ;)

Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/12/baking-a-loaf-of-bread-pt-2/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happiness Is A Warm Co-op

Being independent means doing things for yourself, seeing a need and instead of waiting for someone else to take care of it, the independent person would get creative and find a way to fill that need. I would like to introduce you to a wonderful lady and independent soul. Her name is Diane, I found her blog a couple of days ago and was thrilled at what I found.

Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/10/happiness-is-a-warm-co-op/

Direct link to Diane's site, go here to order from Diane.
http://bulkfoodsonline.blogspot.com/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

Wretha

Thanks for visiting. Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baking A Loaf Of Bread...

…the hard way.

Living off grid isn’t always easy, but it is almost always interesting. We are having a test kitchen today, last night we tried to use the bread maker to bake a loaf of bread. The way it’s supposed to work is it mixes the dough, it kneads the dough, it allows it to rise, it stirs it again, allows it to rise again, then it bakes the loaf of bread. Well, everything went well until the first rise. The heating element turned on and stayed on, that’s not supposed to happen, a short time into the first rise, the machine gave me an error code and beeped. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but it soon became evident that things were going wrong...

Read the rest of the story here:
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/11/04/baking-a-loaf-of-bread/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/


Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Gift Of Bread

I thoroughly enjoy cooking, I am very passionate about it, to the point that going to restaurants is a bit of a challenge to me. I can’t just enjoy the meal, I have to know how it was made, and then I am thinking about what I could do to make it even better.
 

Since moving to my mountain/desert home, my kitchen arrangement is dramatically different, depending on how you look at it, my kitchen has either shrunk to a mere few square feet, or it has grown tremendously. We only have 2 rooms in the cabin (originally started with just one), the main room is 16×16, this room contains the bedroom, dining room, bathroom, sitting room, utility room, home office AND the kitchen. So I could consider the whole room my kitchen area or just the corner where the small propane stove, wood stove, food storage and sink reside.

The other day, one of my friends out here, the lady who owns the Country Store, was going through her storage room in the store, she ran across a bread machine and asked me if I wanted it. I said “Sure!” and took it home. I wasn’t sure at first if I would be able to use it at my place because of the power requirements. Generally any electric item that generates heat, will suck up a lot of power (that’s why my counter top sized, professional convection oven is still sitting in the back of Bob’s van instead of in the house).

I turned the bread machine over and checked the wattage, this would determine if I could use the machine at my house or if I would have to use the machine at my neighbor’s house. Good news, its 430 watts for the heat coil (75 watts for the paddle), well under what my power setup is capable of running. I plan on testing it later today, I will not make a load of bread, but I will use the dough setting to make tortilla dough. I had been doing this by hand, it’s not hard, I have the tortilla mix already, all I have to do is add 1 cup of tortilla mix to 1/4 cup of water, that’s the ratio, I just increase it as needed. If I am making tortillas for just Bob and myself, I usually do 2 cups of mix to 1/2 cup water, generally 1 cup of mix per person. It also depends on how large the tortillas are going to be. I usually make about 7 inch tortillas. I prefer to roll them out by hand, I have a tortilla press, I actually have 2 of them, but they don’t work, period. They don’t make the tortillas flat enough for me, I like my tortillas really thin, so it works out better for my sanity to roll them out by hand.

I said that making tortilla dough is not hard, but since it’s such a stiff dough, kneading it is harder than kneading softer doughs. Add the fact that I don’t have any counter top space or even a table, I have to knead this very stiff dough in a bowl, not the easiest thing in the world to do. So today I will play test kitchen and do the dough in the bread machine. It will test my machine (I’m sure it will do just fine) and it will test my power setup (it should do just fine too).

I’ll try on another day to make a whole loaf of bread. One of Bob’s favorite breads that I used to make is a chocolate bread, it doesn’t really taste like chocolate, it’s not sweet, it uses rye flour, graham flour and white flour, I add the white flour so it’s not so heavy. I’ll have to find my recipe again, that should be fun, I haven’t baked this bread in a long time.

Several hours later…
Good news, the bread machine seems to work with my power system. When I plugged the bread machine in, my inverter beeped for just a second (EDIT- it was not the inverter that beeped, it was the bread machine), then went quiet. The digital numbers on the control panel lit up like it is supposed to. I don’t have a manual for this bread maker, but it looks pretty self explanatory. Before I tried the machine with dough, I tried some of the settings with the machine empty. I didn’t want to find out that my power system would not power this machine after I had tortilla flour and water in the pan! :) I punched a few buttons, set it on the dough setting so that the heat coil would not come on. The paddle in the bottom of the machine began to spin, YEAH! I canceled that one, and tried a couple of more times just to make sure. It ran just fine, I checked my inverter to see what it was doing, it seemed to be dealing with the load just fine. I had my computer on at the same time, if need be I will turn everything else off, but it appears that the load is not too much.

So I placed 3/4 cups of water and 3 cups of tortilla mix in the pan. I chose the dough setting (no heat), the timer on the top said 14 minutes, the paddle started turning, but it acted differently than it did when the machine was empty, oh horrors, what was wrong? The paddle would spin around one revolution, then stop for a few seconds, then repeat. It did this for a couple of minutes, then it began to spin consistently, I suppose that is how it’s supposed to work. I let it mix and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The dough was well mixed and looked like a happy dough, you bread makers know what I am talking about. I stopped the machine and removed the dough. It was elastic, homogeneous, and generally looked like it is supposed to look.

I pulled off golf ball sized chunks of dough and rolled them into balls. I placed these in a plastic container and covered with a lid. In about half an hour, I’ll roll these out and make tortillas with them. I suspect it will turn out great, the dough looks great. (EDIT-the tortillas turned out GREAT!)

I don’t believe in coincidences, when I went to visit my family (500 miles east of my location), I brought back some of my kitchen stuff that I had left behind at my Dad’s house. The most important thing I found was my electric knife. I had purchased this many years ago specifically to be used for my homemade loaves of bread. Anyone who has ever tried to slice a loaf of fresh, homemade bread will appreciate what I am talking about. Even with a really good bread knife, often you will end up with squished bread. With the electric knife, it slices cleanly through the freshest loaf of bread without pushing and mashing your bread.

Nothing smells better than freshly baked bread, soon, very soon my house will smell like a wonderful bakery! I hope my power system will be able to handle the heating element inside the bread maker, I haven’t tested that yet, I’ll let you know how it works, if it doesn’t, I’ll be baking bread in my cast iron pan on the stove top. :)

Added 11-26-11
I have since discovered that the bread machine cannot be run fully on my off grid system, the system will handle the power requirements, but since I have a modified sine wave inverter, the digital timer in the bread machine does not function properly and it will not make a loaf of bread, I would need to have a pure sine wave inverter with a sufficiently high enough power rating to do that, even though those have come down considerably in price, they are still pretty far out of my price range, so for now, I'll just have to dream about getting one of those :)

I do however make all of my kneaded doughs in a food processor, I just put in the blade attachment, the dry ingredients, I put on the lid and start the machine, then I slowly add the liquid until it forms a ball, by the time it has formed a ball, the dough has been sufficiently kneaded, no troubles at all.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

As Seen On TV

How many times have you seen those wonderful gadgets advertised on TV? These infomercials tend to air early in the day, or late at night, enticing you to part with your hard earned money, if you would just order within the next 10 minutes, your life would be so much easier… but wait, there’s more!...


Click to read the rest of this message...
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/10/30/as-seen-on-tv/

To read all of my messages on Off-Grid.net, click here:
http://www.off-grid.net/section/wretha/

Wretha

Thanks for visiting, Please leave all comments on the Off-Grid site instead of here, all the messages from this blog have been moved to the Off-Grid site, thanks!
.
.
.
.
.

2 of 100 Things

... that you may not know about me. This is a continuation of a list 100 things that you might not know about me. With this being October, late October, nearly Halloween, so this should be pretty appropriate.

I enjoy listening to a late night radio program called Coast to Coast am (Wiki for C2C), I have listened to this program for years. In my previous life, pre-off-grid, when I had to work a regular job, I couldn't stay up all night to listen to this show, I used to subscribe to the show and I received a download of the previous night's program. I would listen to podcasts of the shows on my mp3 player. Now that I don't "work", well, not a regular job, two things have happened, without a steady income, I can't justify paying a monthly fee to subscribe to C2C to get the podcasts, and the second thing is, without having a steady job, I CAN stay up late and listen to the shows I have an interest in. I don't get into all of the shows, so there is no reason to listen to each show from every night.

What is this show? Well, it's a combination of "things that go bump in the night", hard science, fringe science, psychics, UFOs, ghosts, hauntings, paranormal, history, odd things, conspiracies, medical alternatives, astrology, astronomy, economics, time travel, politics, mysteries of all sorts, mythology, and much, much more.

I believe this is just another side of who I really am, I tend to be an alternative thinker, and living what most people would consider an alternative lifestyle (NO, not like that!), you have to admit that living in a homemade cabin, off grid, pooing in a bucket qualifies as alternative living. :)

Well, this is another secret pleasure of mine, if you are interested in this sort of thing, or would just like to know what it is all about, you can go to C2C's website and find out what radio stations broadcast the show, you can even listen on the internet if you can't find a local radio station that broadcasts it. I listen here, KLIF. The show airs from Midnight until 4am (central time).



Happy Halloween everyone!



Wretha



Click here for more of 100 Things



Wretha

Thanks for visiting!
.
.
.
.
.