Water: It’s More Vital than You Think!

September 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm ($hit I learned living off grid, Eating Nature, Freedom, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Uncategorized)

Snow is Water Disguised as a Ground Cover20160429_105857

 

Sometimes you can’t always tell how many days water you have left as the lid is frozen on the cistern and you can’t peek inside. This is where tracking days since the previous delivery, doing some quick and dirty calculations regarding horse’s usage and whether or not anyone took a shower at home comes in.

We ran out of water during a storm and had a five gallon for drinking indoors. We needed to be able to flush the toilet, wash dishes and keep the horse trough full. Hmmm I see nearly a foot of snow on the ground and more coming every minute. We got out the big soup pots and started filling them and put them on the wood stove. As the snow became water we added more until it was enough to boil for dishes and add to the nearly frozen trough. We became quite proficient at this method and were able to carry on until the roads were clear for the giant water truck to come up with our 3500 gallons.

I started hand washing some delicates in my hot snow water at this point as the laundry mound was starting to look like a miniature mountain peak aka Blanca. Whether or not the sun is shining laundry dries here as you hang it. Low humidity combined with sunshine make for a scent the laundry soap makers have yet to duplicate. Winter Mountain Breeze with piney accents is my new laundry scent. I really started to enjoy this process and laughed out loud when the laundry was dry but stiff as a board. No problem! A minute or two above the wood stove hangers on the log rafters and it was back to dry and soft. The wind is a natural softener.

We used melted snow to water the potatoes growing in the green house…I use the term greenhouse with levity and brevity! It was colder in the winter and hotter in summer. More of a covered porch with no insulation and ready to use with complimentary chipmunks to gnaw on anything you start from seed. We once had one scurry inside and it ran in my daughter’s room. It was hollering and cussing at her as the dogs barked and she captured him eventually in a box to be released outdoors.

In the late spring after the perma frost had thawed we finally had a well dug. More on that at a later date.

Lesson: You never really know what you are capable of until faced with ridiculous situations and you may even come to enjoy not only the process but the alternate way of doing things. I learned to chop water and carry wood and be joyous in it all.

 

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Essential Needs in a Minimalist Life

September 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm ($hit I learned living off grid, Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Red Carpet, Style, Uncategorized)

20160418_113812Why Fashion No Longer Matters and Style within Function is Everything.

 

The wardrobe I brought from California included dresses made by up and coming California designers, quality vintage, business slacks, skirts and silk blouses and few pairs of blue jeans and tee shirts. My shoes included boots for riding and white leather Keds for sailing, leather flip flops and a couple of pair of high end kitten heels.

One year later I one two more pairs of boots for snow and rain, and haven’t worn most of my old life shoes. The snow boots were worn almost daily this winter as we receive a fair amount of snow frequently (November through May) and in drop loads of six or more inches at a time.

The jeans I brought were of the pre torn variety with cute embroidered flowers I had added. I had to make patches to cover the tears or freeze even with leggings underneath. My sensible daughter found this rather hilarious. Quality leggings matter as they need to be worn often. I now look at blue jeans with a different eye. Now is the weight of the cotton going to stand up to riding, barn chores, wood cutting, horse slobber, poo and getting stabbed at by unruly pinyon branches? Are there weak areas that are likely to tear? None of this spandex added for better fit! That makes for a weaker jean…I know it is a fact. I need boot cut as I am wearing them the bulk of the time and skinny jeans are just nonsense for so many chores and must be tucked into boots.

I have literally worn out most of my favorite long and short sleeve tees. They are cleaning rags now. I know that the cost difference in a quality tee versus fast fashion is worth every penny. Carrying a chicken back from the edges of danger means you may get a gougey chicken toenail poked through your shirt. Quality ones hold up cheap don’t.

Socks have taken on religious significance. Find a favorite and stock up. Comfort and quality are important far beyond the unicorn print or the frilly lace top. No microfibers or synthetics…ever. I never really wore socks much except when riding so this flip floppin’ girl had loads to learn. This isn’t about any certain number of pairs but enough to change once or twice a day and get me until laundry day…which may have been postponed due to a storm a day or three.

Cashmere sweaters rock. They are the perfect layer between shirt and jacket. I had to sacrifice three to daily wear and have mended two numerous times including making elbow patches. The third one has now become patching parts. The red sleeve is a sweater for the tiny dog to keep him warm and visible in snow. He can layer it under his winter jacket.

Cotton Knit camisoles are my religious garment. I have always got at least one on except in our delicious brief summer. Enough to get to laundry day 45 miles away in town but not so many they take up precious space needed for leggings and socks.

Hat means cowboy hat if you don’t want to fry your face off. Baseball caps are groovy and all but lack protection from sun, random tree branches your horse rides you through in the woods and keeps rain out of your eyes. I have given away most of my old hats. I have a summer cowboy hat and a winter one.

I had moments where I felt like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin but I too had chosen this and knew it would in time reveal many new splendors. I also felt like Ava Gabor in Green Acres and some days I felt like Eddie Albert her husband. The personal growth I have attained is beyond measure.

So I guess this past year I have learned to buy clothes for the life I have not some version of who I think I am supposed to be or a persona I represent. These clothes are the real me in my real ranch life.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

When Minimalism and the Simplicity Movement Meet Off Grid Homesteading you have Vitalism.

September 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm (Eating Nature, Freedom, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, Relationships, simple frugality, Travel, Uncategorized)

Vitalism is the necessary, basic and crucial needs of day to day life.

 

20160217_145306My daughter and I moved from our urban family home in San Diego a year ago. We moved to a very rural part of Colorado. High in the mountains at almost 9000’ elevation in the wooded foothills of the Sangre de Cristo range. Our home is totally off grid as there are no power or water or trash services. We do have county maintained roads…sort of.

We bought a vacation home built in 2009 and finished… well, not quite yet. We have solar and wind for power and propane for our kitchen appliances. Our water was trucked in for the first ten months we were here and put into underground cisterns. We had to have deliveries once a month at a cost of approximately $250.00. In order to conserve water we joined the community center in town about twelve miles away. There we could take hot showers and wash our hair, visit the tiny library with dodgy internet and go for a swim in the Olympic size indoor pool or use the gym and full size basketball court. We have a shower in our bathroom so we can take short showers if needed.

We produce more power than we can store so sometimes we would run out at night when the horse trough heater went on in the winter. We now know to vacuum or use the blender in peak sunshine hours and not at the same time to err on the safe side.

I moved out here with a small sports car and all my sorted, sifted and downscaled belongings. In my second week I was heading to town on a sunny day after the previous night’s rain and got stuck in a deep mud pocket about a mile down the dirt road from home. It was time to trade in the eleven year old sports car for a truck with 4 wheel drive. I have always driven sports cars so this decision was not based on the same criteria as previous vehicles but rather my new found vitalism. This has been a very different driving experience.

In late October while I was on a road trip my daughter called to tell me our county’s finest had just left after she called them out because poachers were hunting on our land…er in our driveway. Yes Elk and Deer and their corresponding predators live in our area. We have “neighbors” here and some are a half mile away others several miles and not all live here year around. Hmmm perhaps a post and 4 strip barbed wired fence is in order or the dental implants I need to have done? Vitalism dictates the fence was the priority. No question.

I will leave you reader with one thought before I end today’s chapter…Why didn’t we move to an area which is on grid or move to a town or city? We wanted to be more responsible for our carbon footprint and not subject to every power price increase, blackout, brownout or other grid failures. We no longer wanted to board our horses and wanted a big garden and woods to call our own. We are conservationists at heart.

 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment