winter wonderland in the woods
January 29th, 2016 by Off The Grid

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday proved to be one of the most eventful weekends to winter wonderland pathdate out in this little part of the world. This last weekend the weatherman was calling for some snow, sleet, and rain. At times it almost seemed like the weatherman was a DJ spinning gusts of snow storms like records.. skillfully adjusting the knobs that controlled the weather conditions along the way! Friday I had a reminder from the powers that be that as of yet I am still exploring the lesson(s) to which I am supposed to learn from. By this I am referring to two chance encounters with my ex-girlfriend on the same day at two different locations. Friday was only the beginning as the winter weather snow storm was just getting started. Moving into Saturday here in Virginia we really got hammered by a solid day long blizzard. I realize this may not mean a lot to some people living up north or in areas where you are used to a lot of snow but down here that is significant! When the weekend was all said and done it seemed like life had surprises and challenges around almost every corner. I had an issue with my Mr. Buddy Heater not turning on in the hard freezing cold of a sleet and snow filled night. Thanks to the blizzard and snow accumulations on Saturday managed to completely miss my “driveway” and almost got stuck in a ditch. Went for a super peaceful yet invigorating walk WAY of the path in the woods.. because I knew with my footprints in the snow I could not get lost!! 🙂 Oh and I already mentioned the interesting angle from my personal life. Yup! This truly was an off grid Winter Wonderland out here complete with a healthy sprinkling of wildly eventful weekend moments compared to the normal peace and quiet nature has to offer. lol

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Two is one, one is none. When it comes to heat in the winter, needing to drive, or whatever you better have a backup!
  • Be social! Connect with me and the podcast on Facebook, like the page, and tell a friend! 🙂
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November 25th, 2015 by Off The Grid

If you tuned into the last episode of Off The Grid Podcast you know that I have not had heat in the camper until now! With only a week left for the month of November the serious drop in temperatures down into the 20s made me rethink the Tea Candle & clay pot strategy. So after a long productive weekend trying my best to get the wood stove into the camper I fell back to plan “B”. I bought a Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater.

Video Post notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: If you can’t have a wood stove and you don’t have heat have a backup plan for winter.
  • Like to watch videos about off grid living? Please connect and subscribe to my new channel on YouTube.
  • Be social & Connect on Facebook, subscribe YouTube, or send me an email through the Contact page!
  • Get The Off Grid Podcast on the go with iTunes and Stitcher. Please Subscribe and rate the show!
  • Please help support this show and the off grid community by checking out Off Grid Singles.

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buddy heater vs wood stove
November 24th, 2015 by Off The Grid

If you have ever had to go without heat for any length of time during winter or an icy cold spell then you can identify with what I was facing this last weekend. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and the colder months now upon us life here in the off grid camper just got a bit colder. I have been making slow progress with installing the pot belly stove. Saturday was really nice outside but they were calling for the temps to plummet down into the 20s on Sunday so I was getting concerned about having no heat yet. On Saturday I went head on taking the cabinets out of the kitchen making room for my wood stove in the off grid camper. With a new space cleared for the pot belly stove I hit the road in search of the vent pipe and needed attachments for the installation. Surprisingly the big box stores did not have what I needed. While I was in the area I visited some friends and picked up some free ceramic tiles so it was still a good trip. I spent the rest of the day and night insulating several key trouble spots on the camper’s exterior that were drafty. With my LED headlamp on I was diligently working until just after 2AM considering a backup plan just in case I could not get the wood stove in on Sunday.

Sunday morning I woke to a stark drop in temperatures, the scattered patter sound of cold rain drops dancing across the ceiling above, and the shifting winds curling the tarp off the roof. Waking up to a day like that was not one I was looking forward to because the icy cold rain made most of the day a bit uncomfortable knowing I had no heat inside the camper. After calling around and realizing my hopes of enjoying a nice warm night next to the wood stove this weekend inside the camper were fading i went to plan “B”. It was time to get serious about buying a heater for the camper. Thanks to some of you guys I decided to get a Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000 – 9,000 BTUs because of its reputation and safety features. The Buddy Propane Heaters have (2) key selling points for safety features.. 1. They have an automatic cutoff if the heater tips over and 2. they also have a low oxygen cutoff built in as well. If you know anything about heating small spaces carbon monoxide poisoning is one main thing to keep in mind. They say CO2 can be the silent killer because you can not smell it. So needless to say when I figured out that I the wood stove was not going to be a go this weekend I went with plan B and bought on of these little propane heaters. It really made my night as sat in front of the warm glowing Buddy Heater reflecting back at the weekend’s challenging moments. So the next time you find yourself face to face with what ever difficult times life has in store try to make sure you are prepared with a backup plan “B”.

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Always have a plan “B” Life’s more challenging seasons and times can be tough.
  • Be social! Connect with me and the podcast on Facebook, like the page, and tell a friend! 🙂
  • Please help support this show and the off grid community by checking out Off Grid Singles.
  • Get The Off Grid Podcast on the go with iTunes and Stitcher. Please Subscribe and rate the show!
  • Like to watch videos about off grid living? Please connect and subscribe to my new channel on YouTube.
  • Got questions, comments, or tips about living off grid? Please share your thought below or Contact me!

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pallets for pallets
October 27th, 2015 by Off The Grid

Making good use of a plentiful resource like recycled pallets for heating and for building solar projects just makes a lot of sense when working on a budget. Many times when you are starting something new on a budget all of the materials may not be immediately available. The number of pallets being used in the U.S each year are staggering. Amazingly there are an estimated 2 billion pallets in circulation within the U.S. alone. A majority of those wood pallets are replaced each year putting a major drain on hardwood resources. (Dick McCarrick. Analyst, Foresight Science & Technology). After recently finding a local resource for free recycled pallets my creative juices were now kicked into high gear. Let the building of solar heating projects to provide warmth during the frigid winter months begin! This weekend I was looking at some of the best weather to date out here off the grid. With the colder months coming up fast I wanted to take full advantage of this beautiful couple of days by building something. Something cool, something hot (radiant heat from the sun), and something solar had begun being built out of recycled 2 X 4s and pallets out here in preparation for winter.

“Its good to have less than you need and its good to have more than you need to figure out what you actually need.”

About a month ago my brother gave me a lead on a perfect sized pot belly stove for the off grid camper. Two weeks later I had it in the back seat of my car with a seat belt on the way out to its new home. I was grateful to have found such a solid and sturdy heating source. Aside from the heat this cast iron pot belly stove would give me the ability to cook as well. There was only one problem. I needed fuel to feed this hungry pot belly stove. Recycled pallets seemed like a good option so this last week I managed to find a good source for free pallets. After visiting twice this week I was able to building steps recycled palletsscore 3 heavy duty pallets for building along with another care full of recycled pallet pieces, kindling wood, and yes.. more wood (8 foot long 2 X 10s) for building. Needless top say last week was a good one and I was really looking forward to the weekend off the grid. Saturday I spent the day cleaning in and around the outside of the camper. Saturday’s highlight was cleaning the kitchen and reclaiming the meal area from the grip of countless items that made their way for storage. If your a regular listener you know I love to cook. The last year has been frustrating with not having a kitchen or refrigeration. This was one small step for man.. and great leap for me! lol I celebrated by firing up the rocket stove for several hours until the sun went down. As the sun waved good night through the trees I started dinner on the rocket stove. It turns out that recycled pallets burn really good! Splitting up some pallets into pieces was easily done with a hatchet and hammer. The split pallet wood fit perfect for the rocket stove allowing just the right amount of airflow. Ahh. Another perfect end to a perfect day with the satisfaction of work done during the day, the anticipation of a good meal, and the smell of wood smoke out here off grid among the chirping crickets.

Waking up to the promise of another beautiful fall weather day out here off the fall leaves off grid campergrid meant one last opportunity to make good use of the day before heading back to work tomorrow (Monday). I wanted to make the day a productive one so I started building a new solar project for the camper. Observing the sun as it rose in the morning, graced the sky at high noon, and set in the west in the evening gave me the opportunity to figure out the best placement for my new solar project. I had been wanting to build some solar projects ever since arriving out here off the grid but the unrelenting summer heat made it intolerable. The fall and winter months turned the tables on the whole heating / cooling issue and meant that I could go full on with my solar projects. My recent finds with recycled pallets gave me new inspiration for some off grid solar projects. As of now the camper has no heat. The only thing I have been using are candles for a minimal heat source. 4 – 6 layers of clothes don’t really count! lol Using pallets for firewood is a great free option but again they burn fast. I gathered several 2 X 4s, some deck screws, a cordless screwdriver, the video camera, a couple of free recycled pallets, and some ingenuity. By days end I had the basic framework of an 8 foot by 8 foot wooden frame for my new solar heating project. The nickle sized mosquitoes started coming out like vampires on Halloween night so I called it a night. Quickly gathering my tools with the mosquitoes giving chase I felt a sense of accomplishment with the days work on the start of my new solar heater. In the end it was a great weekend with awesome fall weather. Forcing yourself to work with what you have is a good exorcise for critical thinking skills. I would suggest everyone give it a try once in a while even if you do have all the materials you need for a new project!

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Sometimes you need to work with what you have in order to build your solution.
  • Here is the link mentioned in the podcast to the site with cool pallet furniture.
  • Be social! Connect with me and the podcast on Facebook, like the page, and tell a friend! 🙂
  • Please help support this show and the off grid community by checking out Off Grid Singles.
  • Get The Off Grid Podcast on the go with iTunes and Stitcher. Please Subscribe and rate the show!
  • Like to watch videos about off grid living? Please connect and subscribe to my new channel on YouTube.
  • Got questions, comments, or tips about living off grid? Please share your thought below or Contact me!

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July 24th, 2015 by Off The Grid

Sitting in my car I try to think of everything else that I might need to live better off grid. Preparing for life in the cold at this time of year means you need to think ahead! At a cold 27 degrees outside its a chilly reminder that the weather and the unforgiving elements must take priority if you are to survive in mother natures world. Pausing briefly to watch my breath in the freezing air as the car warms up several more things come to mind. Thinking about the pros and cons of a good LED headlamp with regular batteries vs rechargeable batteries. Talking about an inexpensive way to heat a small area with a paint can, rubbing alcohol, and a roll of toilet paper. Also I bought a bucket for poo because the camper does not have a toilet.

This off the grid podcast episode was recorded back in February ~ These shows are being posted in an effort to document my entire journey off grid. My camper is now in mother natures back yard and I am a visitor here! Life off grid is awesome! Thank you for listening and please stay tuned! I am still having to do a lot of work (July now) so if you have any tips for things that will make life easier please share them here and post your ideas! Thanks!!! 🙂

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