Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, May 16, 2016

And So it Begins

Posted by: Lynne

The furnace rumbles to life and the new day begins. Awake and out of bed by 5:30 a.m. Our internal clocks have not adjusted yet. Hailey and Bella were ready to get up too. Above is the view out our dining room window. (Note those slight blue blurs that you can see are Stellar Jays.) More rain is expected today. I don't mind really, although it feels kind of like New Jersey-colored sky, but if it helps the fire danger I am all for it. It's very wet!

Our first rule of order was to get the snow removed so we could drive the trucks down to the cabin and get them unloaded. My poor plants! Oscar came with his wonderful machine and got the job done in no time.

Without the kindness and helpfulness of neighbors, life up here would not be as pleasant. It's nice that we can all count on each other to lend a hand when needed.

Now the trucks are unloaded and "stuff" is piled everywhere. We need to figure out a place for it before tomorrow because our goods arrive at the storage facility at 9:00 a.m. sharp! We'll have to decide what to bring home first. Somehow it seems like we just did this, only in reverse!

Looks like rain is moving in.

We need to do one more really vital chore today and that is clean up the packrat nest on the screened-in porch. Not a pleasant job, very stinky.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Moose Stuff

Posted by: Rick

Over the years, we've accumulated a lot of moose-themed stuff at the cabin. After all, that is one of the special things about it -- moose. In 2009, Lynne took photos of much of the moose stuff. And, I've just posted some of those photos to the photo gallery on this site. 

Looking at all this moose stuff makes us think that the cabin may need to "grow up" some. After all, it is no longer going to be a weekend getaway, but our full-time residence. We may want to get rid of some of the kitchy stuff and decorate with a bit more taste. We'll see...

You can find the OtG Photo Gallery by clicking on it's link on the right side of this page. (Toward the bottom. It says "Photo Gallery Entries"). Then select the Moose Stuff gallery. Or just follow this link directly to it.

Let us know what we should keep and what must go!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Return to Sender

Posted by: Rick

At first, it may seem to you that this post is about getting mail at the cabin. It is, but it is also about establishing legal residency in Colorado, and having a way to prove it. This is likely to be the first post in a series on this topic.

Here is the story (as we currently understand it): while we have a legal address in Colorado (it is 100 Hidden Meadows Lane, Red Feather Lakes, CO, 80545), there is no mail service to this address. 

Truth is, Red Feather Lakes is only a few miles away "as the crow flies", but anywhere from two hours to four hours to drive there depending upon the season and which roads are open. 

So, mail sent to our legal address will be returned. Or, so the story goes.

Most residents of the area establish an alternate mailing address using the Laramie, WY post office. The process is simple, although we have yet to test it: plant a mail box next to others located at the Wooden Shoe Ranch (which is about 5 miles into Wyoming). Place a letter in that mail box addressed to the Post Master of the Laramie, Wyoming post office. In that letter, ask that mail addressed to "100 Hidden Meadows Ln, Sand Creek Park CO, Laramie, WY, 87020" be delivered to this mail box. And, according to the story from neighbors, junk mail will start arriving within days.

This seems like a reasonable solution. We only have to drive 10 or 11 miles to send and get mail. (By the way, when the roads are open UPS will deliver to our door!)

There are serious problems with this strategy though, and to learn what they are, click through to "More ..."

More...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Off the Grid

Posted by: Rick

There is no public utility providing electricity to Sand Creek Park. And, according to the local rural electric utility, there never will be. So, we are truly "off the grid" and must produce our own power.

We won't live without the modern conveniences of running water, electric lights, Internet access, radio and occasional TV. So, it is necessary to rely on alternate and more renewable forms of energy. We can generate electricity three different ways:

1. Run a gasoline (or propane) powered generator. This is fine for emergencies or when supplemental power is needed beyond what we can provide otherwise. But, impractical and expensive for everyday use.

2. Use PV panels. "PV" stands for photovoltaic, and these panels turn sunlight into electrical power. A PV system provides DC or direct current power at lower voltages and must be turned into AC (alternating current) at 120 volts to conform to standard power for the above list of electrically powered items. This is done with something called an "inverter". (The word "converter" is used for the opposite--it turns AC power into DC power.) Our inverter is capable of delivering 2000 watts of power continuously, so we can never use more than that at any given time.

3. Wind. Wind can be used to power a generator which also creates DC electricity. This can also be converted to AC through the inverter and used to power the cabin.

Of course, we need electricity even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing, so we have a bank of batteries to store extra power generated by the PV panels or wind turbine for later use.

So, our system and any typical off the grid electric system works something like this:

(Click More... for the rest of the article.)

More...

Friday, June 05, 2015

Laundry

Posted by: Rick

One of the challenges we have at the cabin is doing laundry. We don't have an automatic washer here, although we plan to add one in the future. And, that will be a project I'll post about at the time. It will require some plumbing and electrical work, but I think we have a nice spot for something like this

Meantime, we use a hand washer. It can hold up to 4 pounds of laundry, uses very little water and soap, and takes just a few minutes to do a load. Simply add the water and soap, then your laundry, and take it for a spin. Wash times vary from 1 minute to 4 minutes depending on the size of the load! After washing, it is easy to drain the soapy water, add some cold water for a rinse, and tumble again.

We find that the clothes need 2-3 rinses. And, while they do get cleaner, they are not perfectly clean. Still this is fine for a pair of jeans, kitchen towels, underwear, etc.

A few minutes on the clothes line outside and things are dry in no time at all.

Once each "vacation" visit we go to a great laundry in Laramie and get everything done thoroughly there. This year we'll go one or two days before we plan to leave for the long trek back to New Jersey. That way, all the sheets, towels and clothes we leave here will be fresh and clean for our next visit.

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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…

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

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