Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Sand Creek National Natural Landmark

Posted by: Rick

A neighbor posted this link to Facebook a few days ago, and I thought I'd share it with you on the OtG site: Sand Creek National Natural Landmark.

Chimney Rock from the Wyoming side.

The cabin is about 5 miles further up this valley (or "park") and quite a bit higher.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cabin Dog Alex

Posted by: Lynne

Our beloved Alex on the back stoop of the cabin. How we miss our Big Boo!

He thought he was a lap dog too.

He is still with us in spirit and we see him eveywhere we look. He grew up going to the cabin from the time he was 10 weeks old.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The End of a Subchapter

Posted by: Rick

Lynne has characterized our lives together into several big chapters: the "Expat" chapter, the "Colorado/Cabin" chapter and the "New Jersey" Chapter. She may have different names, but I think she is right. We spent about 1/3 of our 30+ years together working in Europe. First in Germany, then The Netherlands, and finally in France. Then about 1/3 living and working in Northern Colorado where we enjoyed our mountain land and built our "off the grid" cabin. Finally, the past ten years in New Jersey, which has been a fun work and life experience. 

A subchapter of the New Jersey experience is having "Mia" our 2010 Mazda Miata. 

Mia is now gone. I sold her earlier this week. It was just not a practical car for the muddy, washboard roads we'll drive while living at the cabin. And, it sure didn't make sense to keep her in storage over another winter. So, while I got a bit less than I think she was worth, she is gone. 

I'm sad. I'll miss commuting to work on the winding NJ backroads, and weekend drives with Lynne. But, all chapters must end, and it was time. 

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A Busy Bunch of Beavers

Posted by: Lynne

Our land has always had a beaver pond. When we first bought the property back in 1988 there were active beavers. Something happened, not sure just what, but the beavers abandoned the pond and over the years it has actually started to silt over into more like a boggy meadow on one end. It's been that way a very long time.

We were shocked to hike down there this past trip to find it occupied again -- big time. Our little pond has tripled in size and we can longer reach it easily. The beavers had "beavered" away at tons of aspens. Chewed off stumps were everywhere. We now have a clearing where once stood an aspen forest. 

All that destruction to build this huge hotel of a beaver hut:

And this double dam:

In this photo taken from the beaver hut side of the pond you can see the clearing that's been made by taking out so many trees. It used to be solid aspen trees.

See that tree hanging over the pond on the end? The fourth photo down (above) is that same tree. Someone didn't have their engineering degree yet I guess because it obviously fell the wrong way. A waste of a good tree. A BIG tree.

Here's another example of bad engineering. This tree is almost there. But not quite!

It ended up resting on other trees. Pretty amazing. I am thinking that over the winter either the snow or wind will finally take it down. I bet that beaver was pretty frustrated after all that work!

I am glad we have beavers again but I wish they weren't quite so descrutive! I hope after all this work that they stay awhile and don't abandon it yet again! 

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.)

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  • I can help paint the trim while I’m there!

    Posted to: ‘Before and After (and In-Between)’ by Carolyn Clarke on 06/25/2017

  • Snow in late May! That’s crazy! Glad you got the cabin spruced up—it looks great!

    Posted to: ‘Before and After (and In-Between)’ by Steve on 06/25/2017

  • Hey Rick and Lynne - So awesome! It’s so nice to see you enjoying retirement!…

    Posted to: ‘We're Retired!’ by Anny Randel on 06/07/2017

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    Posted to: ‘We're Retired!’ by Carolyn Clarke on 06/05/2017

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