Last month we were pretty hard-up and did the unthinkable...
We had to buy "applesauce" from the store. And what is worse...we were actually eating it!
Yes, we don't put much stock in the nondescript, store-bought, beige colored substances that loosely resemble applesauce :-). But this family REALLY likes applesauce and our homemade supply from 2 years ago was exhausted.
Needless to say, we were REALLY looking forward to apple season this year! Continue reading
Okay, I’m a granola guy.
No, not in the cultural sense. But I really like to eat granola for breakfast. I could eat it for breakfast 300 days a year.
For years, Lisa has worked to dial in a granola recipe that we all really like. And she has nailed it!
Here it is… Continue reading
One night it happens…the storm of the decade hits and your power is out.
Your water is gone within a couple flushes, your freezer is going to start thawing out, and the food in your fridge will start spoiling shortly.
But no worries…remember that generator you bought a few years ago? That’ll light your house up again, right?
Maybe. Or maybe not. There’s a good likelihood that your fuel has gone bad (if you even have any stored).
So here are some key tips to make sure your fuel is in top-notch condition when you need it. Continue reading
When space is at a premium and you need an all-purpose tool, it's hard to beat a Swiss Army Knife (or in my case, I use a Leatherman).
These multi-purpose tools hold an assortment of tools and fold up into a compact package. The Swiss Army Knife was popularized in the MacGyver TV series from 1980's, where MacGyver is constantly using his Swiss Army Knife to solve all sorts of problems.
When I think of essential oils, Lemon is the one that comes to my mind as the all-purpose "Swiss Army Knife" of oils.
Here in the Northwest, fall is in full swing—and the wood stove is seeing action again.
Right about now, lots of wood burners are taking stock of their firewood supply to make sure they have enough for winter. If it’s been a busy summer, you might be running late and only now starting to acquire your winter’s supply of firewood.
I have a quick tip that might save you a bunch of time and money this year if you find yourself running out of both. Continue reading
Last year we decided to add a freezer on our homestead. Up until then, we had been doing fine with just a fridge, but there are some things that are just better when frozen, and it was a convenience thing for us. Also, having a freezer enables us to stock up on certain items when they are on sale, thus saving us money in the long run.
And anytime you buy a new appliance, it's an excellent opportunity to become more efficient--whether you are currently off the grid or not. It will save you money now (on your power bill) and will save you a LOT of money when you do go off the grid in the future.
Be aware that many freezers can add a lot of extra power usage and run up the cost of your off-grid power system. But if you are careful, shop wisely, and use a little strategy, you can end up with an excellent freezer that is super efficient.
Here's how I chose mine. Don't feel like you need to choose the same one (models are constantly changing), but I think the process and info I used will help you in making an informed decision. Continue reading
Much of the West is covered in smoke at the moment. It has been a rugged fire season.
As terrible as the fires are, their effects filter throughout huge areas of the nation, leaving polluted air for millions of people to breathe. And unlike city pollution, heading out of town won't save you from this stuff.
We live in a remote area, and at one time the smoke was so bad that it would burn your nose within less than a minute of being outside! And for weeks we have hardly been able to let the kids play outside. Every now and then the air quality improves for a day or two and then it gets bad again.
Our oldest child was sneezing and coughing more and more, alerting us that this air quality issue is not a figment of our imaginations. And with the specter of more fires in the future, we finally decided to clean up the air in our home.
After much research, I zeroed in on an air purifier that does a good job, is reasonably priced, and is SUPER efficient for running off the grid. Continue reading
Recently, Lisa and I moved an 1,800-pound forklift battery system all by ourselves—and without any heavy equipment! In this post and video, I’ll show you how we did it and give you some tips and pointers from the numerous times I’ve had to move big batteries.
Forklift batteries (aka industrial batteries) are hands-down the most cost-effective options for an off-grid solar system. But the biggest question I get from clients is “How can you possibly unload and move a huge battery like that?”
You see, forklift batteries can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. I’d say that a battery weighing 750-1,500 pounds is the most common size of individual forklift battery found in an off-grid solar system. Smaller systems might only have one battery, while larger ones could have several.
Moving that much weight at one time can be intimidating, to say the least. So in this post, I’ll be sharing a bunch of tips I’ve picked up after moving and installing a number of forklift style batteries.Continue reading
It was the most embarrassing day of my life! A stomach bug caused me to throw up for the first time ever...while presenting a seminar to a large audience!
And I'll share the most amazing option for dealing with stomach bugs when they strike.
I was a twenty-something bachelor at the time. Having presented dozens of seminars at small to medium-sized venues, this was my first time to speak at a large location with potentially thousands of attendees.
I was excited and intimidated at the same time. It was exciting to help folks learn about things that I am super passionate about. You know, things like off-grid power, country living, and independent living.
In the middle of sharing the most valuable tips that I could pack into one-hour slots, it happened. If memory serves me right, it was the third day out of 5. Continue reading
There are so many gimmicks and gadgets out there that I pretty much tune them out. And when they make big claims, it’s especially obvious!
When it comes to extending the life of batteries, there is no exception to this rule. Lots and lots of gadgets out there! Some good, and some a waste of money (or worse).
In this post, you'll see one of the very few “gadgets” I use with my off-grid solar batteries. It’s called the Battery Life Saver, but generically most folks refer to these devices as a battery desulfator.Continue reading