Fire, Water, and Puppy Dogs

The 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.

This 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.

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Off-grid kitchen and scullery

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!

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Happy Sahaliversary!

On a bright and sunny June 4th last year, we pulled our happily weary caravan covered in Florida salt spray into Cuba, NM with the rest of our lives ahead of us. We had no idea what lay ahead, but we were eager to jump in with eight feet to realize our long-time dream of living off-grid in the New Mexico mountains.

No one could say if we would make it through the first year, let alone the first monsoon season, first snowy winter, first encounter with wildlife, first yurt-raising, among other character-building firsts. Well, we did (despite the bets against us), and we are so much better for it!!

This year, we celebrate all that we accomplished at Sahalee in our inaugural year with you cheering us along the whole way. The occasion was marked by a two-night camping trip on the ‘Back Five,’ where we explored the property we usually only gaze upon from a distance. We climbed chalk hills and rocky ravines to spy the yurts between the trees and name all the towering Ponderosa Pines we live underneath. We saw the sun rise and set from a different vantage, and were able to behold new blossoms and leaves, trails and markers, and feelings that we hadn’t experienced before. It was like our first day all over again!

Sahalee Off Grid New Mexico
Can you spot the yurt? It’s there, we promise!

As we sit on our new deck above the ground where we once camped out in the tent, and plan to move the yurt to the main stage, it’s still quite surreal. We haven’t stopped pinching ourselves, believing that it is still really too good to be true. Now, we look ahead to years two to twenty and are thrilled to bring you along with us as we continue to learn and define the ‘Sahalee Way.’

With that being said, please do save the date for our First Annual Sahalee Off Grid Open House on Labor Day Weekend. We’re hoping to make this a standing event where all are welcome to stop in for an hour – or a week – to enjoy all that we love about this place. Feel free to revisit our Guide to the Land of Enchantment for more information about the area, and let us know if we can help you plan your trip for September.

Finally, since you are reading this from our newly upgraded site, please do take a second to hit the Follow button and ensure you are on the list to be first to know about any new updates via email. We expect to be giving all our loyal followers some bonus material and special little extras in the near future.

From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you, and Happy Sahaliversary!!

 

 

My family bet against me

Our first winter season at Sahalee is now officially under our belts!! We learned just recently that we had a few family members bet that we wouldn’t make it (we’ll save the names for a more opportune time). Pretty sure there were even more skeptics out there, but we’re happy to report that we found ourselves on the right side of the wood pile for the winter of 16/17! Not to say that it was all pretty (and the mild weather may have gone easy on us), but we learned a lot and definitely feel a sense of accomplishment.

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Season's Greetings

From our family to yours, we wish you all a safe and joyful holiday with family and friends. 

Merry Christmas!!

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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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Upgrades

Working on things a little bit at a time over the past few weeks, we’ve managed to button up some for winter and get a little more comfy. Here’s a quick look at some of our recent upgrades…

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Home is where the hearth is

Suddenly, all seems right with the world.

We spent a full day on Saturday laying in the new flooring in the front half of the yurt so we could place the stove, pan, pipe, and cap. Everything came together on Sunday with the custom installation since they don’t sell pre-fab yurt roof chimney vents at Home Depot.

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