We called one of our favorite and most majestic Ponderosa Pines at Sahalee Louis Vuitton, or Louis for short. The way it caught the light on its richly textured bark emanated luxury and royalty, much more so than the pedestrian handbag designs we see in the high fashion carousels. When we first moved to Sahalee, Louis sheltered us when we took care of our personal business before we had a potty. It became a warm and friendly companion to us that summer. Sadly, Louis was bit with the bark beetle a couple of years ago and we had to take it down.
Enter the new 36″ Granberg Alaskan Saw Mill to Ben’s livery. We knew that we had other beetle kill pondos to fell on the property and that the moody blue-tinged wood grain would be much better put to use as planks or dimensional lumber than hacked into firewood, so this purchase was an investment in future building projects. First, however, Ben set to work on learning how to run it properly and Louis was number one in the practice line. (The video of him dropping the hog last year has been mysteriously lost, sad to say.)
Continue reading “Louis Vuitton Meets Granberg Alaskan”
Seven years ago, I confided some hidden and sometimes unsavory truths about the off-grid yurt life. I’m not real sure why it took so long to put more of my frustrations and failures down before now, but I’m feeling compelled to share what’s behind the smiles and reveal more of the darker side of our sunshine-filled days here on the Continental Divide. Honestly, reading my first two entries makes me both chuckle and sob. What I thought were serious problems now seem so inconsequential, like dirty feet (chuckle), and some of the very important plans we had in mind then for our mountain-side homestead are still left to be actualized, like water catchment (sob).
Continue reading “Confessions, part 3”
One of the benefits of living in a yurt is the many options for DIY repairs that can save money and exercise practical skills. While authentic Mongolian gers are made of traditional natural materials not found at the Home Depot, our ‘Yurt Daddy’ Yves encouraged us upon set up of our Super Ger in 2016 to not be afraid of innovating and making fixes with more conventional hardware store items. As much as we’d love to keep the authenticity of the horsehair ropes and other original equipment for time eternal, this was one more repair where we took Yves’ advice (after upgrading to ratchet straps). Read on to see what we did this time!
Continue reading “Super Ger Urgh Replacement DIY”
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”
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”
Editor’s note: This post is ceremoniously post-dated to mark the occasion of Pete’s homecoming.
The sky was hot and blue with a warm breeze. A Friday. Dusty with no rain in sight. The day was long and the travelers had an urge to cover some ground. The rolling pastel landscape beckoned them to a new place.
In and out of sage brush and around the looming mesas they meandered until they found the destination. An outpost. Familiar to few. A destination for many. On the borderlands. A safe harbor for all flags. Offering the promise of new agreements and the finality of settlements passed.
The group didn’t know what was in store. They waited patiently. Seemed there were some happenings that weren’t part of the expected scene. Being strangers themselves, the strange was familiar. These days, even the familiar had folks feeling out of sorts.
Once inside, treasure-seekers have a sense where to look. It’s the getting there that can raise a challenge. Prying eyes in forgotten corners. Navigating disorderly order. Finding the unpolished gem, an exchange is made. Albeit lopsided. New parcels in hand, the companions make their way back to cross the arroyos begging for rain.
The blur of pink, gold, green streak by. Bright white clouds marching across make moving shadows on the ground. A jet black flash just at the right front fender. The rear view reveals opportunity for disaster. Small furballs and 18-wheelers don’t blend well on the asphalt.
And, so, the story goes…
Continue reading “The Tale of Sweet Pistol Pete”
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.
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.
Continue reading “Fire, Water, and Puppy Dogs”
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.
Continue reading “Our Big Ass Texas Adventure”
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:
Continue reading “30 days at Sahalee”
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!
Continue reading “Off-grid kitchen and scullery”