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).
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.
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.
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!
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!!)
It seems like a million years ago now that Mark and I hooked up the wee little 300W PV system for basic operations when we first arrived on-site in June. Ben and I made a few little upgrades over the summer to include adding a 4th panel, switching to a more robust charge controller for future growth, and adding both a remote inverter start and Ethernet communications port for the charge controller. All of this was fine and dandy for the past few months, but we needed to give the array a boost for winter. Below are the progress photos so you can see more about our shoot-from-the-hip PV facelift.
Against our bodies’ protests, we are still pressing forward with our aggressive start-up schedule… Yesterday, we successfully brought the PV system on-line and fired up the Internet in the yurt! HOORAY!! This was a critical element in putting together our master plan, and everything worked like a charm.