Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tuesday is “Foraging” Day

Posted by: Rick

We've been asked by the Governor to limit our shopping activity to one day a week. We can do that. It is ironic that we've worked so hard not to have the mass-shopping instinct we had at the cabin, (see our article on Winter Provisioning, for example), and now have to move back toward that behavior. One of the things we enjoyed about being "in town" was the abiity to run out and buy anything we needed at any time 24x7.

Now, there is no way we can buy everything on a weekly list at one place, so we have to go foraging among various shops and grocery stores to get supplies. 

Today, Costco started it program of early shopping hours for seniors. Lynne and I technically qualify although I still don't think of myself as a senior. We went a bit early, arriving in time to fill up with gas and still be at the door at 8:00. Only, we ended up a couple of hundred yards from the door and had to stand in line, in the cold, for 20 minutes. We were glad we arrived when we did because by the time the line started to move, it had tripled or quadrupled in size. It must have been 1/2 mile long!

Photo of the line in front of us

Photo of the growing line behind us

They let in 150 people at a time and we were number 142 and 143, I think. There was an immediate mad rush for paper products and meat. We are okay on TP but needed paper towels, so we got some. We also stocked up on chicken parts, hamburger, some nice NY strip steaks, eggs, flour, etc. Actually, we got almost everything we had on our list (and a little more). We stopped at Safeway on the way home and managed to pick up the remaining few items that Costco does not carry. In summary, a very successful day with little actual foraging required.

It is a beautiful day outside and we will likely take the dogs for a walk mid-day. 

I've started a batch of cemita rolls, and we are planning on hamburgers for dinner. More on that coming up.

It is now about 7:00 p.m. and we've finished our dinner of grilled hamburgers. Mine had Hatch green chili mixed into it and slathered on the top. Lynne's was just a normal burger. We had sweet potato fries and we served the burgers on homemade cemita buns--recipe available on request.

Sweet potato fries

My burger

After eating, we took the dogs for a walk. It is a beautiful evening and we saw a lot of people out walking dogs and kids.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Thoughts on COVID-19

Posted by: Rick

This blog has been silent for several years. Since we decided to move from off-the-grid life to life among other people in Windsor, Colorado. And, it has been a great couple of years. We have enjoyed a more active social life, the ability to shop for anything we might need in a matter of minutes, our trash and recycle being picked up each week! We miss the cabin, but not so much in winter. We've spend the past couple of summers at the cabin, only coming down to bring trash, shop and take care of the lawn.

Now that we are practicing social distancing due to COVID-19, it feels very much like being at the cabin and off-the-grid again. All the activities we most enjoy living in Windsor are now restricted or just downright difficult. We look forward to being able to get back up to the cabin for a while. But, there is too much snow right now. Maybe in a week or so.

Meantime, life is kind of crazy. Sometimes I feel like we are actors in an apocalyptic movie. We have definitely cut back our exposure to people. We try to do our shopping once, or at most twice a week. But, that does not mean visiting only one store. Getting basic necessities has required a foraging practice among various stores. We get a few of the thing we need at one store, and then go to another to try to complete the list. We are okay on toilet paper! With what we have on hand along with a box I ordered from Amazon, we should be okay for a while. What we are struggling with are the basic staples. Things like: eggs, milk and flour.

We recently decided to stop shopping for ingredients and cook from our pantry and freezer. So, we've inventoried both and found that we can eat pretty well (minus fresh vegetables and fruits) for quite a while.

Last night we cooked a pork schnitzel from some thin-cut, center-cut, boneless pork chops we found in the freezer. We simply pounded them out to be about 1/8-inch thick and dredged them in whole wheat flour, a beaten egg and some fresh bread crumbs made from a slice of whole grain bread. We fried them in a little avocado oil. We served them with eggplant slices from 1/2 an eggplant leftover from a meal several days ago. We mix equal amounts of room temperature butter with finely grated Parmesan cheese and spread it on both sides of 1/2-inch thick eggplant slices. Sprinkled those with a little salt and pepper and baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Yum.

I'll update this site once-in-a-while. Not sure anyone is reading it, but it will be a record of our activities and thoughts during this pandemic.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air

Posted by: Rick

“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Snow Guards and Other Winter Topics

Posted by: Rick

The “front” of our cabin faces north(ish). I quote the word “front” because our use of “front” and “back” when describing the cabin is highly ambiguous. By the plans we used to build it, the front is where we have the screened-in porch and a set of steps leading down to the yard. And, the back is on the opposite side, of course. However, the driveway is at the back, along with the outbuildings and the door we use to go in/out about 90% of the time. So, that entrance is often called the front. And, the front is called the back. But, sometimes we call the back the front. So, it can be very confusing.

We’ve always used the front landing for a wine fridge 

Anyway, in the past we did not use the front steps to access the yard. It became impossible to use after the first snow or two because snow would avalanche off the metal roof and pile up on the stairs and landing at the top of the stairs. Since this side of the cabin faces north, we got very little melting, so the snow would continue to pile up all winter. Sometimes, one could even climb it up to the roof. The snow pile on the landing was used more for storage of wine (we just pushed the bottles into the wall of snow), than access to the yard.

Now that we have a fenced in yard area, it is really nice to be able to let the dogs out/in via the front door. So, we really needed fix the snow avalanche problem.

Lynne, illustrating the height of the front snow bank

Because several feet of heavy, wet snow would sit on the landing and steps for many months at a time, the railings and steps had begun to rot. They were actually dangerous to use. So, we had a contractor (actually, the guy who was the general contractor for the cabin build), replace the steps and railings. (The steps are done, but the railings are custom built and not yet installed as I write this.) And, we had him put snow guards on the roof to keep the snow from avalanching. 

Snow guards are small attachments to a metal roof that stick up a couple of inches and hold the snow on the roof instead of allowing it to slide.

We also had him put some on the back of the cabin above the new deck to keep the snow there from also sliding down and covering the deck. 

So far, they seem to be working great. We did not put snow guards where the solar panels are since I want the snow to slide away from them. I actually have to get on a ladder and use a snow rake to pull the snow off the roof below the panels.

Here, there are no snow guards. Note the snow overhanging the gutters. I climb the ladder to scrape snow off the roof and solar panels here.

Here, there are snow guards on the roof. Notice how disciplined the snow is.

We may not have really gotten any avalanching like previous years anyway.

We had gutters installed on the front and back, and the gutters were acting a bit like a snow guard in that the snow did not tend to slide off in huge chunks. Instead the gutters held it back. But, it would cover the gutter and start to hang off over the eve, and then form icicles as well as drip into ice pools on the ground or the steps or the deck. Very dangerous. And, not good for the gutters.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Timberrrrrrrr!

Posted by: Rick

We had a couple of 100+ year-old beetle-killed pine trees close to the cabin that we cut down recently. I guess the correct term is "felled". I don't think they'd have damaged the cabin or fence when the fell naturally, but they could easily have taken out dozens of still living trees and caused a lot of damage.

The trees are just to the left and right of the center of this photo, taken from our front porch.

Here is an "after" photo for comparison.

We hired a lumber jack (of all trades) to cut the trees. My saw looked like a toy next to the saw required to bring these trees down. One now lays pointing north along the side of the ridge, the other pointing south. He felled them in exactly the positions we wanted to allow for game to still come up from the valley and to minimize collateral damage. You can see videos of both trees below.

Jay (the lumberjack) would cut a notch at the bottom of the tree to direct the tree to fall in a certain direction (although with old dead trees with some rotting, this can be a challenge), then a cut from the opposite side to create a hinge arond which the tree falls. It took a lot of skill to be as precise and he was. His son, James, would also push on the tree with a long pole to direct it. All this was done in pretty high winds that were not blowing in a helpful direction.

While here, we also had Jay cut up the large tree that had fallen across our hiking trail last year. Here are before and after shots of that:

We'll get some great firewood out of that tree! And, we may use some of it to create an entry sign at the driveway. Maybe. Someday.

This first video is of the tree that was felled to the south. The video is a bit long because there were some problems getting the tree cut. Despite the use of a huge saw and wedges, the saw blade got bound in the tree and a second saw was called into action;

 

The next video is of the tree that was felled to the north. It went a bit smoother:

It is nice to have these trees down. The view from the porch is a bit nicer. And, we also now have a better view of the bottom of the valley where moose and elk often hang out. The beetle-kill epidemic from several years ago has certain changed the whole ecosystem around the cabin.

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  • Thank you for many years of wonderful reading.  I wish you both all the best.…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Alica Humphryson on 03/06/2018

  • Lynne and Rick, I’m sorry to see that your blog is going by the wayside!…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Steve on 02/26/2018

  • I want to thank you two for all your hard work.  I enjoyed reading everything…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Tom on 02/06/2018

  • Marsha, I’m afraid not. We won’t be blogging anymore! We need more privacy!

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Lynne on 02/03/2018

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