Hooray!! The day has finally come for our earth to be celebrated by people around the world! Phew!! I was getting a little worried there… The other 364 days pass by and our little blue planet spins at 1,042 mph without much fanfare from the bi-pedal creatures with opposable thumbs. Besides those of us who hug trees on the daily and go to church under the stars as part of a normal routine, billions of people hike concrete jungles and harvest food from plastic boxes, only stopping to consider their place on this planet during one contrived semi-sacred occasion. The reality is that on any given day here upon this shiny orb, there are still 1.5 billion people in the developing world living without electricity, 1 in 10 people worldwide who have no clean water whatsoever, and 2.3 billion people in the world have no access to a toilet! These fragile souls live much closer to the natural elements and are left taking stock of all that planet Earth affords them upon every waking moment.
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.
A new year has a lot of folks looking ahead to making travel plans for family vacations and quick getaways over upcoming three-day weekends. We thought that since we have been posting about our road trips around New Mexico and Colorado, some of you may be inspired to head out west in 2017. Here are a few attractions and travel resources to help you decide where you want to go and when.
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.
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.
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…
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!!
Following through on his threats, our friend Mark showed up from Florida for a long weekend to put in the 12′ x 18′ deck for his little yurt that is due to arrive in early October. In customary fashion, we managed to get the loaded-down HD rental truck stuck in the mud on the way in after the fast-moving rain showers rolled through on Friday afternoon. We walked in for the night and got back to unloading in the morning after the road had dried a bit. (We managed to get the rental truck back to the store Saturday afternoon with ten minutes to spare and no additional penalty!)
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.