Off-Grid update

Winter RoadWhat a great early Christmas gift, I know that to those who get snow every winter, it’s not that exciting, but for those of us that live in places with little to no snowfall, it transforms everything into a winter wonderland.

I am very happy that this is a rare occurrence for us, the mess it creates, not to mention the damage it can do to our stuff. This lasted about 3 days. It did get cold enough that our 12 volt water pump cracked. Fortunately it didn’t flood us, and double fortunate it only costs $20 to replace the cracked part vs paying $130 to replace the entire pump. The part should come in early this week.

With the rainy season behind us, Bob has been working on pouring more concrete. We want to finish the room at ground level (under the main living area). That means digging out the ground/dirt. In order to do that safely, Bob has been undermining the concrete/soilcrete wall one small section at a time and back filling it with more soilcrete. Once that is complete, we can finish digging down to make the floor level and give a pleasing ceiling height.

We plan on making this our bedroom. With the thick soilcrete walls and being partially buried in the ground, the temps should stay more constant, keeping warm during the winter and keeping cool during the summer.

We have been here, living 100% off-grid since Dec 07, this is our third winter. I can say with all honesty that I still love living this way, as primitive as it may appear to the outside world, I wouldn’t want to live any other way. I was asked a few questions a few days ago, here are the questions and my answers:

What would you have done differently if you were starting out now?
Perhaps planned out the layout of our buildings and such on the property, we have just placed things as we went along, I would prefer some of the buildings (outbuildings, sheds and such) had been put in a different location,

What 3-5 things do you need most right now?
There are always lists of things that are needed and wanted. Right now we need to get pipe to plumb our water system, tanks and such. Always could use more building materials (wood panels, dimensional lumber, cement powder…). We need to get Bob’s big army truck from Dallas to here, we could use that for hauling water and such, the truck is not drivable and would need to be trailered here. Bob wants to get 2 or 3 GM alternators, to make a system to charge up the batteries. Of course, I would like to have more deep cycle batteries and solar panels.

What would you buy if money were no object?
Pretty much all the things I listed on the previous question. Honestly, if I were to hit the lottery, not much would change, I might buy up more property lots, I would finish our skycastle, complete with good insulation. I would have enough batteries and solar panels so that we would have to have weeks of cloudy skies before we ran out of power. I would make sure the bug was street legal, and would buy a second bug, just like the one I have now for a backup.

How is the Berkey water system working?
It is still working just fine, we have it plumbed into the water system, to fill it with water all I have to do is pull a lever for a few seconds. This was one of the best things we have purchased.

How many solar panels do you have now?
We have four 55 watt Siemens solar panels, and we have four sets of 45 watt Harbor Freight solar panel kits.

What do you miss the most?
This is really bad, I miss eating fast food. We have a McDonald’s in the next town, it’s not something we get to eat very often, I do miss eating fast food on a weekly, or semi-weekly basis. I know we are healthier for it, and I’m not complaining, but sometimes I just really miss calling Domino’s Pizza or getting a burger from McDonald’s or Jack in the Box. I also miss the spur of the moment meals I used to cook, the deal is before, when there was a grocery store just minutes from my house, if I decided I wanted to make a meal using ingredients I didn’t have, I could just hop in my car and within a half hour, I could be back home with said ingredients in hand, cooking the impromptu meal.

The other thing I miss the most is my family, we both left our families behind, some 500 miles away, so hopping in the car and going for a visit is not a practical thing for us to do.

That’s about it for now, here are some pictures of the snow and ice, enjoy!

Click here to view these pictures larger

Another exciting development, on Monday, Dec 14 from 7-9 pm CST, I will be interviewed on an internet radio program, the host of the show is the well known Big John Lipscomb. I am very excited to be part of this show. Be sure to tune in, you can also download the show at no charge for 24 hours after the show airs on Big John’s site.

Listen here,
listen here.

2 Responses

  1. Have been looking at those west Tx lots for awhile. They don’t seem to have much forest, but your property does. I recall you stating in a previous post that you were in west Tx.
    How bout some ideas for locations-no build depts etc.

    1. Yeah, I think I know where you might be looking, and it’s a bit south of where I live. I don’t disclose my exact, or even inexact location as a general rule. But if a person wanted to find out about this area, it isn’t hard to find. Just think “north” of where you are probably looking now, still in west Texas. Good luck, don’t buy sight unseen, make sure you have had your boots on the ground and know for sure what you are buying. :)

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