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.
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.
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!
Every now and then we run a web search of ‘Sahalee’ to see what pops up. Since starting our blog a couple of years ago and promoting it more over the past year or so, we’ve noticed a much higher frequency of the posh Sahalee Golf Club in Washington. (We’re still not sure if they were feeling squeezed since we came on the web, or coincidentally hired a better marketing firm. haha) While our high desert Sahalee is worlds away from the lush greens of the Evergreen State country club, we admit the inspiration came from their neighborhood.
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.
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!!)
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!