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).
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.
Carey and I had to take a trip to town for some groceries, the laundry and to take the dog to the vet (don’t worry, she is fine!). We decided to stay the night and since we did we figured it would be great to go get some dinner. We have stopped at Turtle Mountain Brewery in Rio Rancho a few times, they have a great patio for Radar, great beer and we always get in great conversations with the patio people. Check them out on FB here and while your there make sure you check out Sahaleeoffgrid on FB also!!
We currently have 8- Scepter 5 gallon water cans, giving us 40 gallons of water storage. At Sahalee Off Grid any water we use gets hauled several miles in the back of our pickup truck as we do not have a source of fresh water right now. That being said, it was very important for us to find a vessel to haul and store water that is made with good quality and would be reliable for us in less than ideal conditions.
The Scepter can truly is ideal for our situation. We can fit all 8 of them against the cab of the truck, so they ride just perfect on the rough road back. We have read several reviews about this container and many of them note that the containers give the water a “plasticy” taste…..While we haven’t experienced any funny or off tastes in the water we have used out of them our max storage time in the container is likely 6 weeks or less. We do not use them for long-term storage.
They are made of good thick/durable plastic that have withstood being dropped and tossed around in freezing temperatures as well as riding around in the back of the truck on rough roads with Pick Axes, Shovels, Winches etc… The Water Can has an articulating nozzle which I found brings a little less struggle while emptying the container. Attaching the nozzle to the container while it is not in use is a thick black cap with ridges around the outer edge which makes the closing/opening process a breeze. There is an airvent on the back, it has a good sturdy plastic cap that screws on, but also has a “safety attachment” keeping the cap tethered to the can even while it is off. This airvent cap is my only complaint–it takes 4 turns to put it on but 20 or more to take it off. I can’t explain it….While I haven’t seen anybody else having that problem in the other reviews, it is a pain in the butt for me to get off . That being said, the Scepter water can gets my absolute recommendation.
As we were wandering around the hardware store last summer we came across this AcuRite Weather Center (model 00615). We weren’t in the market for a weather station but it was on sale and as we walked the store getting the things we came for we convinced ourselves that we just couldn’t live off-grid without this particular weather station right now… Long story short we were the proud new owners of this piece of technology.
This is a 3 in 1 model, it measures; temperature/humidity (inside and out), wind speed and barometric pressure. The kit comes with a display unit and the 3 in 1 sensor that is mounted outside in a location of your choice. The display unit houses loads of good information as seen below and even has trending arrows for outside temp/humidity and pressure as well as a bottom scroller that you can adjust to flash the info that is most important to you.
The 3 in 1 sensor was very easy to install, and certainly seems like it would be easy to install in numerous locations. It is really the work horse as it wirelessly transmits all the data to the display unit inside. The instruction manual says to keep the display unit and sensor within 330 feet of each other and I think we are certainly at that limit and operating fine.
While this a great product overall and we are certainly happy we did make the decision to buy it. We have identified a few opportunities for improvement…
1. It has a “future forecast” feature in which it “predicts” near term weather using the trending temperatures and barometric pressure. We are doing better licking our finger and sticking it out the door to create our forecasts than this weather center does.
2. We think it needs a backlight on the Display Unit. It would probably be better if we didn’t know it was 45mph winds at 1:00 in the morning but dangit we still feel we should be able to if we want to.
3. You lose your historical data when you change the batteries in the Display Unit. Simple solution is to just write it down if you are interested in saving it, wish I would have thought about that before I changed the batteries. 🙂
It’s important to understand that we weren’t shopping for a weather station so we just got one on the spur of the moment… If we had been shopping for one, it’s pretty likely that we could have found one that would have solved problems 2 and 3 at least…These are very minor flaws for us, we definitely feel like we made the right decision on this purchase. While we may upgrade to a more robust weather station in the future we think this was a great start and was Worth the Cash!
We got very lucky and were gifted two attachments for our power tool batteries that turn them into multi-port USB Chargers. We will do a review-of our Makita tools in the near future, but for now I just want to tell you about our experience with this neat little attachment.
There’s not really much to say, the attachment slides right onto the battery. It has two USB ports so you can charge multiple devices at the same time. My favorite feature is the dust/dirt cover that seals the USB ports when not in use. I truly don’t understand why more items of this nature (cell phones, chargers etc..) don’t have this feature as fighting the Sahalee Mud Monster is a constant struggle!!
We have several other USB Chargers, that we will review down the road but this one is our go to source for our evening lighting and charging devices. Not only are we huge fans of something so simple as a dust cover but the cordless power tool batteries just charge so quick. This saves us from draining our solar power source or from running the generator, which we hate to do.
What’s that? You own Dewalt or Milwaukee tools or another brand that is not Makita? Don’t fret, Makita is not alone in having this handy attachment just follow this link and search your brand to get one for yourself!!
So, even though it wasn’t our cash– We absolutely believe this attachment is Worth the Cash!!
Ridiculous. That’s what I originally thought of the ‘pooch pouch‘ because I always had big dogs, and packing around little designer pocket dogs was just a little too ostentatious for this gal. But, here I am, the very proud and unbelievably happy owner of an 8-pound joyful pup we call Radar Love, whom we believe has never left the state of Florida.
Having dogs out West is a necessity, but the itty-bitty variety pose a bit of a challenge when we’re looking at spending a great deal of time outdoors working and playing amid miles of wild mountain terrain home to big boulders, tumbled timbers, clingy cactus, and snow. Dare we mention all the resident beasts.
I guess the pooch pouch elevated its status since it will help keep Lil Girl warm and safe as she adjusts to her new home.
I can’t really say when it was I first discovered Doug Fine, but his story has been a major motivator for this adventure over the years. If you’ve never heard of his book Farewell, My Subaru, I encourage you to become acquainted, and hope you find the same comfort I did in knowing that we all have the power to make our lives what we wish them to be with a little creativity – and a lot of hard work.
Enjoy this short video of the Organic Cowboy’s transition to rural off-grid New Mexico while still enjoying the creature comforts of big city life:
We’ve been anxiously anticipating the arrival of the slickly-designed All American Sun Ovenfor months, and jumped right in to trying a few recipes on day 1. First up, a boxed cornbread mix doctored with fresh jalapeño from the Cuba Farmers Market.
So it’s been about eight months. Carey and I are starting to settle into our day to day routine and Radar loves doing her hourly perimeter checks. After this time we are truly starting to get a good feel for how all the items we spent our hard earned dollars on would fare once they got continued heavy use to include making it through most of the winter. Now it’s time to let the world know, did we make wise purchases on the gear that we would come to depend on or have we whiffed completely. Maybe a little of both. Let’s find out, are these items “Worth the Cash or To the Trash”!!
Our first contestant on “Worth the Cash or To the Trash” is my pair of Danner Boots. I chose to go with the Danner East Ridge 8 inch boot for a few different reasons.