Go piss in the field

Well, we made it back from our overseas adventures in Ireland and have plenty of stories to tell… First and foremost, we are pleased to say that Sahalee was as we left it (minus the snow), which relieved the tremendous amount of anxiety that develops whenever we venture away from the homestead. As for the trip, well, it was. And, we’ll do it again.

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Traveling–For the win or for the birds?

Ben here…

As I sit here thinking about what I want to pack for my trip to Ireland and how excited I am to go, I can’t help but think about Spring…

Considering dying my beard orange and donning some Lederhosen for the trip–thoughts?

I can’t help but think about building my shop

I can’t help but think about getting a garden started

I can’t help but think about getting firewood going for next winter

I can’t help but think about all the vehicle maintenance we need to do

I can’t help but think about “shelter after the yurt”

I can’t help but think why I feel the need to travel when I have so much to do here.

Carey and I have always been explorers, wanderers and travelers.  CONUS and OCONUS—we love to see our country and we love to see our world.  We love to see the different cultures, the different ways of life and all the different smiles that our beautiful world and finances will allow.  As a couple we have never been into “keeping up with the joneses”… We sacrificed running the air conditioner in our house in Florida for 15 years to free up funds for experiences instead of things. Our newest vehicle is our Side by Side and it is over 17 years old, our Saturn has over 225,000 miles on it and is still running like a champ.

We have worked hard to see and experience most of the states in the US as well as Mexico a few times, Italy, Spain, Canada and now Ireland and the culture and peoples that make these places so very special and unique.  From the little Italian boy who threw one of our friends toy helicopter in the fountain simply because his dad wouldn’t buy him one (if I can’t have it no one can!!, damn that was funny!!) to a whirlwind weekend in Madrid to see the one and only Sturgill Simpson, to the frozen cliffs of Niagara falls to the hiking trails in Washington and the capitol in the other Washington. From meeting my Italian relatives to hiking the red rocks of Moab.  From seeing The Avett Brothers in St. Augustine to seeing Margo Price and The Dead South in Phoenix—Travel has brought us great enjoyment!!  Follow @sahaleeoffgrid on Instagram to see all the pretty pictures from our travels.

Understanding all the enjoyment that travel has brought us—at what point is enough enough.  At what point do we start investing that money into Sahalee upgrades, at what point will we realize that we have everything we need right here on our 15 acres.  At what point will our “traveling bug” be satiated!!!

Well, let’s hope it’s after Ireland, because I’m ready to get my hands in the earth and see some progress!!  But first—I’ll toast you all with a nice milky pint of Guinness straight from the source 😊

This ones for all of you–the rest are for me

Fire, Water, and Puppy Dogs

The days are at their shortest now. Sliding into the Winter Solstice, we definitely notice how limited our time is under the sunlight.

The dawn stirs us from under the cocoon of covers in the morning with a soft bluish glow through the wedges of the toono, and encourages the start to the day. Seemingly just a short time later, the multicolored late afternoon skies and falling shadows indicate the pending darkness and a brief anxiousness to steel ourselves against the drop in temperature.

This led me to reflect on how we’ve adjusted off-the-grid and the rewards for the sacrifices we’ve made over the past two and a half years to live where we love.

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Our Big Ass Texas Adventure

During our 30-day self-imposed sequestration, we were daydreaming about how we’d cut loose at the end of the month. As it happened during one of our mindless web scrolling sessions, we lucked into finding tickets to see yet another exuberant performance of the incomparable Miss Margo Price on September 7th in Austin. Not just Austin, but Austin City Limits (or ACL Live)!!

Our 17th wedding anniversary was September 5th, and this heel-kickin’ country concert to benefit the Texas Hill Country Conservancy made our celebration plans a no-brainer. When else can we break out the Lucchese‘s? Carey had watched the American all-star lineup cross the ACL stage on PBS for decades as a little girl, and Ben was chomping at the bit for another exceptional live event with one of his favorites bands, not to mention the songwriting joy of Hayes Carll as the opener. Game on!

So, what’s the best way to get to Austin and back? Well, you make a big loop through Texas to include a quick a stop in Mexico.

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30 days at Sahalee

We are used to hearing people ask us, “Why?” by now…

“Why a yurt?” they asked us.

“Why New Mexico?” they asked us.

“Why thirty days?” is the most recent inquiry.

There are several reasons for our self-imposed sequestration:

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Off-grid kitchen and scullery

Most people couldn’t imagine doing dishes in the snow or cooking in the rain. Since we started with bare ground here, we’ve done both. Often. We’re thrilled to say that is no longer the case (for the most part). Two years in the making, we are now settled in to our more permanent arrangement with an efficient compact kitchen inside the yurt, and a full-featured utility sink and storage area within steps on the deck. Read on to see a review of our progress in photos!

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Our Sahalee is a different kind of country club

Every now and then we run a web search of ‘Sahalee’ to see what pops up. Since starting our blog a couple of years ago and promoting it more over the past year or so, we’ve noticed a much higher frequency of the posh Sahalee Golf Club in Washington. (We’re still not sure if they were feeling squeezed since we came on the web, or coincidentally hired a better marketing firm. haha) While our high desert Sahalee is worlds away from the lush greens of the Evergreen State country club, we admit the inspiration came from their neighborhood.

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Off-grid doorbell

It was a Sunday morning around 7am. The gate rattled. A mile and a half away from the pavement on a dead end 4-wheel-drive road, we were just coming out of our nightly slumber.

It had been three months since moving into the yurt and we were sure to expect some unsuspecting visitors who were more familiar with our place than we were. I heard the intruders first and Ben lit up in action to put on pants and grab the pistol.

As he snaked his way up the path toward the gate, I put on some clothes and quickly retrieved the little .22 that I first shot with my dad in our old Colorado backyard. I watched him from behind the trees and listened in…

He questioned the visitors – two rough-looking men standing outside of the green Chevy pick-up, the driver with one hand on the gate and the other holding a can of Bud Light. The passenger, watching warily by at the hood of the truck, coddled his own beer.

“What are you doing?” Ben asked over the gate with an authoritive tone and posture that emphasized the accompaniment of his sidearm.

“Oh! We were just out 4-wheeling and got lost,” said the driver in a slowly slurred accent with his arms raised, moving closer to the truck door. “We’re out drinking beer all night and took a wrong turn,” he said in a shabby half-smile.

Both men climbed into the truck with their blue cans and the driver tried to reverse. The passenger got out to put the hubs in so they could roll out in 4-wheel drive, and they lumbered on back down the road.

Ben and I hung back for about a 30 minutes to make sure all was clear before we went to see his mom in town who was staying at the B&B that weekend. It was a great way to start the day and gave us a dramatic tale to share over breakfast!

Since then, we’ve had a few more visitors rattle the gate, but most have been friends and neighbors showing up unannounced. The others are the subject of another story yet to be written…

Do you have any stories of unexpected guests – good or bad – to share? Tell us how you answered the door in the comments below. Thanks for reading and sharing!!

Groovy Yurts Super Ger Review

I mentioned ‘tipi’ with an air of seriousness, and the discussion wobbled clumsily off of the Airstream. (You can read more about why a yurt.) From viewing the enticing collection of nomadic structures at Colorado Yurt Co., to drawing out a footprint 20′ in diameter in our Florida front yard, our plans for long-term temporary shelter at Sahalee came full circle with Groovy Yurts.

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A half a kilo

We started with three, but that just wasn’t enough. Make it four. Okay, keep it coming… Double it! Eight- Eight it is!!

After nearly two years and a two-stage 500 Watt upgrade, our gruesome little 300W start-up stick-mount PV system has been elevated to its proper form and function to meet our off-grid power needs. (HUGE thanks to Mark for being our indispensable consult along the way… We’re waiting to see what’s next for the little yurt!!)

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