Traditional Mongolian gers were covered with animal hides with a regular cycle of replacement. The modern version from Groovy Yurts offers water resistant canvas with a lovely decoration. This natural cotton material helps the yurt to moderate humidity inside when combined with the natural felt insulation (and an optional modern moisture barrier in our case). We first setup our Super Ger in 2016 and then moved it to the big deck in 2017. Left in place under the intense New Mexico skies for the last five years, the canvas on our yurt started to show wear in a number of ways and required a total replacement. Read on to see more about yurt life.Continue reading “Super Ger Canvas Replacement” »
Completing the bathroom renovation at Casablanca to include some basic self-taught adobe repair was truly gratifying, but I knew there was a lot more to learn about finishing earthen walls (without special treatments for wet areas) since we have several more rooms to renovate. I decided to enroll in a proper adobe plastering class (online) and live owner-builder workshop with Adobe in Action at the end of September. Read on to see the pics and find out more about what I’m learning now!Continue reading “More Adventures in Adobe” »
After five years, the vinyl windows in our Super Ger toono (the compression ring or dome) finally gave out. We had a little spring hail storm roll through and the brittle vinyl couldn’t take the abuse. With more rain in the forecast, we had to hustle to make the fix. Check out the step-by-step below!Continue reading “Super Ger Toono Window Repair” »
Hmmm… It’s 2021. The Earth tilted over a year ago and we managed to hang on. How about you? What’s been your handhold?
We gave our last update about off-grid life at Sahalee last May (though we will continue to add post-dated content to help maintain a chronological timeline). That now seems like another Universe and in a lot of ways it is. Last February marked a major transition for us, not just because of COVID, but because we essentially left Sahalee for Ben to pursue his fire career and for us to renovate a traditional adobe home to be a rental property and office in town. You can catch up on that news at https://www.sahaleeoffgrid.com/blog/2020/05/01/on-again-off-again/.Continue reading “One heck of a year” »
Have you ever been to the Forest at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe? The feeling of walking on the floor under the big tree there is something indescribable… Maybe something like random mounds of spring-loaded marshmallows underneath the carpet. Well, that is how the floor of the porch on the south side of the casa felt when you walked on it. There were layers of dirty musty carpet on top of who knows what that gave way under your feet in certain spots. It was very unsettling.Continue reading “Let the south side sunshine in” »
This post has been a long time coming… A topic of high interest for many people wanting to live off-grid, we are now legally addressed and can reveal our methods without fear of negative recourse (we gamble). While our solution may not work for everyone depending on location and circumstance, we hope to give some ideas and advice for setting up an off-grid address. Feedback is welcome and encouraged.Continue reading “Off-grid addressing” »
The potty is an essential feature of any off-grid scenario. There are many, many options for how to set-up the facilities for long-term success to include a traditional outhouse, composting toilet, incinerating toilet, and others. We chose to go with the ‘bucket system’ for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was that it allowed for us to move the toilet without digging any new holes. Here is a brief review of our outhouse design evolution, and the steps we took to move the building last summer.Continue reading “How to move an outhouse/storage shed” »
Hello, All! We’re ashamed to admit it’s been a whole year since our last post… Here we are in 2020, and wow! Just, WOW!! April 2019 seems like a lifetime ago with all that has taken place for us personally and in the big wide world we all share. At this time, we are sending our sincerest heartfelt wishes to everyone for good health and happiness while the planet and all of humanity endures the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m sure there is plenty more to say here on the topic of global health crisis and the virtues of off-grid living, but we’d like to instead focus on a personal recap as a reflection and, we hope, as a much-needed distraction… So, here goes our year-in-review!
After we returned from our adventures in Ireland, life changed pretty dramatically for us at Sahalee. Namely, we started playing with fire. (Insert maniacal laugh here.) Thinking about the fire risk in our local forests and more closely on our fifteen acres around the yurt deck was terrifying as we headed into the Spring season. We knew we had to make wood clearing an active priority on our property to reduce flammable materials, and we wanted to become better educated about how we as landowners could work more closely with local fire agencies in the event we did have a wildfire start nearby. As it so happened, the opportunity came up for us to take part in a 2-day Prescribed Burn Workshop for Landowners hosted by the Forest Stewards Guild at the enchanting Fort Union Ranch in May. That was the tipping point to a series of unexpected and significant events that will be shared over the course of this post…Continue reading “On again, off again” »
Knowing that we want to build a more permanent structure, we were interested to learn more about traditional adobe construction using the materials that we have on-hand. Ben lead the charge after we watched a variety of how-to videos on YouTube.
The first step was to figure out if the native soil had the correct sand/clay composition. All of our samples from the immediate area turned out to be a reasonable mix. Next, Ben built a traditional 14″x20″ form for two bricks. (Full-scale production would require many more forms with 6-8 bricks in each.) Instead of the traditional straw addition to the wet mix, Ben opted to use the plentiful local pine needles and under-tree ‘duff’. Finally dried in the sun for several days, Ben had one very good brick and one that didn’t hold up so well.Continue reading “Adventures in adobe” »
The topography of our property is ideal for a sledding park since its all downhill. Over the past four winters, we’ve carved out several chutes between the trees and trialed a variety of sleds and saucers. This past season was the best yet since we had a decent amount of snowfall and found the perfect slippery discs to ride.Continue reading “Sahalee Sluicers” »