30 days at Sahalee

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:

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Off-grid doorbell

It was a Sunday morning around 7am. The gate rattled. A mile and a half away from the pavement on a dead end 4-wheel-drive road, we were just coming out of our nightly slumber.

It had been three months since moving into the yurt and we were sure to expect some unsuspecting visitors who were more familiar with our place than we were. I heard the intruders first and Ben lit up in action to put on pants and grab the pistol.

As he snaked his way up the path toward the gate, I put on some clothes and quickly retrieved the little .22 that I first shot with my dad in our old Colorado backyard. I watched him from behind the trees and listened in…

He questioned the visitors – two rough-looking men standing outside of the green Chevy pick-up, the driver with one hand on the gate and the other holding a can of Bud Light. The passenger, watching warily by at the hood of the truck, coddled his own beer.

“What are you doing?” Ben asked over the gate with an authoritive tone and posture that emphasized the accompaniment of his sidearm.

“Oh! We were just out 4-wheeling and got lost,” said the driver in a slowly slurred accent with his arms raised, moving closer to the truck door. “We’re out drinking beer all night and took a wrong turn,” he said in a shabby half-smile.

Both men climbed into the truck with their blue cans and the driver tried to reverse. The passenger got out to put the hubs in so they could roll out in 4-wheel drive, and they lumbered on back down the road.

Ben and I hung back for about a 30 minutes to make sure all was clear before we went to see his mom in town who was staying at the B&B that weekend. It was a great way to start the day and gave us a dramatic tale to share over breakfast!

Since then, we’ve had a few more visitors rattle the gate, but most have been friends and neighbors showing up unannounced. The others are the subject of another story yet to be written…

Do you have any stories of unexpected guests – good or bad – to share? Tell us how you answered the door in the comments below. Thanks for reading and sharing!!

Groovy Yurts Super Ger Review

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.

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A half a kilo

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!!)

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Stairway to Heaven

Sahalee is heavenly, and the big deck is our perch over the world. For the past year, we’ve been without a formal staircase and gained access by the lowest point on the uphill corner.

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Suncloud Duet Rose Stripe Sunglasses Review

As John Conlee reveals, rose-colored glasses show only the beauty…

My rose-colored glasses save me day after day, backed by psychological research reinforcing the therapeutic effects of viewing life through lenses tinted with Baker-Miller pink.

Beyond vivid UV lenses, the other requirement I have for my sunglasses is that they have to be constructed of a no-frills lightweight solid frame with an inset or molded nosepad. This design has fewer entrapment points to catch and pull my hair, and make the gear easy to wear and store while living an active lifestyle.

BONUS: Made in the USA!!

After going through one incredibly stellar designer pair made in China that caught me in a retail therapy splurge when I had a lot of money to spend, then a well-functioning no-name sport design from China for $40 on special at a race expo, and finally desperately seeking a made in the USA option that was less expensive than these “unstoppable” Oakley’s, I was incredibly pleased to stumble upon the Suncloud Duet Rose Stripe sunglasses for UNDER $30!They are super lightweight with stable hinges and a comfortable fit around the ear. The lenses are happily clear and polarized, helping to better define the horizon and distant figures in an expansive landscape. The pink lens is bright but not too disruptive. A subtle wood-grain design akin to tiger stripe adds a little flair to the translucent rosy frame.  Along with the glasses came a satiny storage pouch in the same color with a smooth black flat ribbon cinch, all delivered inside the minimal clear plastic zipper bag packaging.

I’ve been lucky enough to take them out in a variety of conditions in places near and far, and I am completely smitten with my new specs. When I wear them, I feel like I know a secret about life that only those in the rose-colored club can truly understand. I still might follow my urge to buy just one more pair as a back-up before I can’t find them anymore!!Adding just a little bit of color to life…

 

 

 

Resolute. Or something like that

Thirty-one days into the new year and most resolutions have already flown out the window. I’m not really one to make resolutions, but I am one to hold myself to high expectations of achieving. Something. My quandary over the word ‘resolute’ in light of time’s passing, i.e. the new year, has me further reflecting on my decision to achieve in this relatively new off-grid lifestyle. Or more to the point, succeeding at life in general.

According to my dictionary.com app, words like ‘bold,’ ‘courageous,’ and ‘firm’ are acceptably interchangeable for resolute, and actually lead me to further puzzle over my standing in relation the goals I set for myself and the actions I take thereafter. These days, to be honest, I’m not apt to describe myself with any of the aforementioned synonyms. I’ll explain…

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A power house fit for the birds

Our little solar power system here had another makeover this weekend, and has been much improved from where we started last summer.

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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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“Worth the Cash or To the Trash”–AcuRite Weather Center review

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.

Interior Digital Display Unit for the AcuRite Weather Center
Display Unit

 

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.

3 in 1 Sensor for the AcuRite Weather Center mounted about 12 feet high on a fence post
Mounted 3 in 1 Sensor

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!