Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

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...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Making Lists and Checking Them Twice

Posted by: Lynne

"Don't Fence Me In"

One week from today we'll be on the road west, somewhere in Ohio. I'm starting to make lists upon lists. Lists of things to take. Lists of things we need to buy and take with us. Lists of things I need to do to the house to get ready to leave it for three weeks in case someone comes to look at it. Stop the mail. Buy paint so Ray the Painter can paint our outside walkways while we're gone. Leave a check for the cleaning ladies and the plant watering lady. Don't forget the cowboy hat! And so it goes ...

I don't know what kind of weather we'll find up there since they've had lots of variety in the snow and rain categories. But we'll take whatever it gives us and enjoy each day. 

Our new furnace was hopefully installed this week so that is one less thing we'll have to deal with when we get there. We'll be planting our grass seed that instead of being delivered to our neighbors up there, is now making its way from Cheyenne, Wyoming to our address here in New Jersey. The FedX guy could not find the address for the life of him. The seed will be well traveled.

Here is a look at the mess our meadow was in after having it logged back in 2010.

Here is how it looked last year after having it cleaned up.

The slash piles you see have been burned over the winter and are no longer there. Here is where the grass and wildflower mix will be planted.

We have plenty of other things going on while we are there such as a refurbished propane generator to replace our tiny little gasoline one. Much better than lugging fuel cans full of gas from town, this will be hooked directly in to our propane tank for the cabin.

And of course, there are jigsaw puzzles to be done, books to be read, walks to be taken. Hopefully we'll see some moose while we're there since this is "baby" time for them.

And maybe a herd or two of elk.

We're counting the days!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How Fast Does a Pine Tree Grow?

Posted by: Lynne

This little pine tree in our "front yard" started itself as a seedling. We've been keeping track of its growth.

Here is the first pic we took in 2010:

I thought we had taken once per year but I can't for the life of me find one from either 2011 0r 2012.

 

Here is 2013:

And last year, 2014:

It's coming along nicely!

NOTE: for clarification, Rick is 6"2" to give you an idea of scale.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Feeding Time

Posted by: Lynne

With only two weeks to go before we leave for the cabin (yikes!) my mind is already there. My head is whirling around trying to take that in. So much to do before then!

I thought it might be fun to post what feeding time used to look like. I have to wonder just what were we thinking with such a crew of dogs and cats?!

(from back: Millie, Bode, Bart, Sailor, Daisy, Alex, Indy & Heidi)

(Left to right: Vincent Van Goatee, eBay, Two Shoes & baby Sam)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Wolves

Posted by: Rick

About ten years ago I spotted a large gray wolf while I was fishing down at the beaver pond. I looked up and saw a large gray dog-looking animal staring at me from across the water. It jumped with its front paws in the air and twisted to run away from me. And, it was gone. I was sure I had seen a wolf. It was too big and it was the wrong color to be a coyote. It was not one of my dogs which are black and can't move that fast. The whole episode took about 3 seconds. But, I was sure of what I'd seen.

I told this story to a few people, and none believed me (other than Lynne.) It was well known that there were no wolves in Colorado and had not been for decades. However, a couple of years later, a gray wolf was spotted along I70 between Denver and the Eisenhower Tunnel, and my sighting became more credible. It became even more credible when the department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife released a wolf sighting form to be used whenever a wolf was spotted.

Wolves have been reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park, and it is now believed that some of these wolves have migrated south. I'm including a video, below, that hypothesizes the impact this wolf reintroduction has had on Yellowstone.

Recently, a Sand Creek Park neighbor wrote me warning us to be careful with the dogs the next time we visit. Three calves (cattle) have been found killed near Bull Mountain. And, the kills have been confirmed as wolf kills. So, I guess we'll need to keep a close eye on the dogs, make sure they wear bear bells, and not let them wander outside alone.

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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

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