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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Movin’ on up

We’ve had a couple of weeks to settle in now to the new routine upon the big deck. It’s been longtime in coming since we endured a mud-laden summer, fall, winter, and spring in our old roughed-out location buoyed on cinder blocks down the hill. (Quite literally, we have had to shake off our sea legs from walking upon our very poorly platform for the past 12 months.)

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Reality bites

Happy December!! Since we are celebrating six months, I guess now is as good a time as any to do our best to explain how we’re making out since La Nina left laughing at us…

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La Nina leaves this lady leery

Forty below they said. Nine feet of snow they said. First flurries by Halloween they said. All of these threats weighed heavily on our minds since loading in at the start of summer. We prioritized our to-do list accordingly by trying to amass a mound of firewood, situating and insulating the water tank to avoid freezing, raising our solar array, mounting our snow tires and securing chains, ordering snowshoes, stocking up on dry goods, and enclosing the potty, among other things. While there is always more to do – And you never quite feel adequately prepared going into the cold season no matter what you do – we were also making mental preparations to steel ourselves against a typical bitterly-cold winter to arrive on schedule. Now, it’s almost Thanksgiving and we’ve barely touched 20 degrees overnight with only a random rain shower. As if we didn’t have enough to anticipate for the first of the year with the election fallout, we’re left wondering if La Nina is going to make this winter a non-event, or bring it on with a furious force.

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The calm after the storm

If you have been following over the past few weeks, you will have seen that we’ve been operating in a figurative – and literal – whirlwind. After raising a second yurt, spending time with Hurricane Matthew, and marching on with homestead improvements, we are looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with the quiet surroundings and slower pace that Sahalee so wonderfully delivers. That being said, winter is on its way, as the falling leaves remind us, and we still have much, much more to do before we can comfortably and confidently nestle in for our first cold season on the side of the mountain.

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Groovy baby!!

The Sahalee Off Grid family welcomes our newest addition… Mark’s little yurt!! Yet to be officially named, the ‘mini-me’ version of our Super Ger arrived in typical ‘Groovy’ style when Yves pulled into Cuba with the big rig. (Several curious locals stopped to inquire, and one even made comment that the yurts are very much like a portable hogan used by the well-established Navajo people in the area for eons.) After loading up Buffy with the pre-built platform and entire structure (described as a one-camel yurt in Mongolia), we climbed the hill to unload and started set-up around 9am. It was a mild sunny day and all went off without a hitch to adorn the deck with a beautiful handmade dwelling. Mark was anxious to move in and spend his first night solo, so we bid him adieu after a celebratory toast. Please join us in congratulating Mark and welcoming the new baby to Sahalee!!

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So far away…

We’re three weeks out from putting this Big Top Circus on the road, and I’ve been completely hands off of the operation over the past few days while I worked on some very meaningful farewells to dear family in MD and PA. (Well, I ordered our new composting toilet on-line, if that counts.)

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