walk around off grid garden
June 3rd, 2016 by Off The Grid

Join me today for a walk around the camper to see this years off grid hugelkultur garden. If you have been enjoying the audio podcasts this video edition is for you! For the last number of months I have been working on prepping the hugelkulture wood core garden bed. In the last few weeks I have been putting up the fence around the camper, planting okra, tomato plants, peppers, beans, and other gardening projects.

 

Video Post notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: If you want a bountiful garden start early and plan ahead.
  • Like to watch videos about off grid living? Please connect and subscribe to my new channel on YouTube.
  • If you want to be part of the conversation say hello on Zello! Search for Off The Grid Podcast channel.
  • 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.

Posted in Podcast, Videos Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

solar heating project
November 10th, 2015 by Off The Grid

Welcome everybody to another episode of Off The Grid where it was a good productive weekend out here but on the flip side I have been feeling a little BLAH! The weather has been back and forth out here with the eternal battle up in the heavens between the courageous sun and unrelenting fall clouds. Despite the sometimes torrential downpours I managed to get a lot done out here off grid on the new solar heater project. Late Friday night (until about 1:30AM) I was outside with my LED headlamp on fastening and securing a huge tarp to the front of the camper. Preparing for the chance that if the weather man was right about the rain I could still get some work done outside on the two most productive days of the week out here. Sure enough it rained off and on for half of the weekend. The tarp is big enough that I was able to comfortably work outside on the solar heating project without getting drenched, made room for a makeshift kitchen next to the rocket stove, and collected about 8 gallons of rainwater. In between the bouts of liquid sunshine I worked my way in and out of the off grid camper which made for a great weekend outdoors.

Another highlight to my rainy weekend was taking a mini adventure through the 6 foot tall overgrown brush with a machete. The exorcise turned out to be one of the best things this weekend because for the last week or so I have been feeling just plain BLAH! Not sick or anything just kind of sluggish, tired, and to be honest a little eh. After talking with a couple friends over the last few days it seems like a lot of people have been feeling this way. One theory is the recent setting of the clocks for fall. On Friday it was best put like this.. “It still feels like 5 o’clock”! Another factor is sleep or more importantly the lack of it. Not getting enough sleep will through your brain for a loop. Another obvious one.. the weather which we already discussed. One other thing that came to mind after I recorded today’s episode of the Off The Grid Podcast was the fact that I the camper is still a major work in progress! I mean think about it. While I did choose this and still would not trade it for anything the fact that the off grid camper is indeed a construction project can be daunting sometimes. If you remember back to the early episodes of the podcast I had it extremely rough compared to now so I guess I just need to focus on gratitude. I need to remind myself of where I have been, the current state of everything as is, and how it will be once I get things the way I would like.. by this I am referring to the camper. Looking back at how far you have come when you take a moment in the present reminds you to stay focused on your goal(s) for the future. Its funny because I keep envisioning how it will be freezing cold outside this winter while inside it will be warm and toasty by the wood stove.. taking a few deep breaths because most of the projects inside the camper are done and it looks/feels more like a tiny home. lol Well I guess that pretty much it then. I need to exorcise more and focus on the future completion of easily manageable projects.

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Exorcise more and break down long term projects with a focus on future success of goals!
  • Also as a quick reminder I will be posting this weeks new video up tomorrow! 🙂
  • 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!

Posted in Podcast Tagged with: , , , , ,

firewood space camper
November 5th, 2015 by Off The Grid

The fact that it is now November is the calender’s way of reminding us all that cold months are on the way and the time to get prepared for winter is NOW! Last episode I responded to some of your questions comments, and feedback but forgot to address one.. Tom emailed and asked about some backstory to this whole journey off the grid thing, guy living in a camper, and with no power or water. After thinking for a moment I realized that I forgot to talk about some backstory so it was added for you in today’s show. If you are new to Off The Grid Podcast then please take a listen to this one for a better idea about my journey from the suburbs to here in the woods away from utilities and civilization to an extent.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”

The other main topic for today’s show is all about how I am getting ready for winter out here off grid in the camper. When all of this began it was super cold.. fast forward a few months and then it was crazy hot! This is where my story began with the camper and the podcast beginning a journey smack in the middle of summer months. With the turn of the month November is simply a reminder that despite the warm weather here in Va. the cold months are almost upon us. I am indeed getting ready for winter out here both inside and outside of the off grid camper. What am I doing to get ready for winter you ask?

  1. Firewood – I have a small woodpile going with plans to selectively cull, chop, and collect more wood from the surrounding land.
  2. Pallets – Now that I have a reliable source for pallets I have been recycling those incredibly useful wood things. Why pallets you ask? They are primarily being used for kindling firewood. Pallets are also a great source for building materials Check out episode 67 & watch video of my solar heater project. I also used some of them to complete a small spplace for firewood camperace in the camper to hold reserve firewood. (see today’s featured image) No need to go outside when its crazy cold & let all the heat out!
  3. Insulation – I still need to fill in every single crack, crevice, and hole that might zap my heating efforts with a steady cold draft. Also I am going to try my hand at building a basic frame with either plastic or recycled windows around each of the camper windows. That last idea came from a listener just like you! Thanks for the email Carl!
  4. Painting – I have seriously been thinking about painting the camper. Painting a slightly darker color would allow for collecting more solar heat from the sun, look a lot better, and could be camouflage as a bonus! I will also be putting another 5 gallon bucket of printable rubber on the roof. This would also give me more solar gain because it being rubber.. is black in color so it should heat the camper roof quite nicely.
  5. Solar Heating – I already mentioned the solar heater project that I’ve already started. Yes it is a big one. At about a 45 degree angle with an 8 foot by 8 foot solar collector made mostly from recycled materials. It should provide a majority of my heat needs during the day when the sun is out. The solar heater project will have 2 thermal batteries (55 gallon rain barrels), hold 2 large solar panels providing electricity, and several glass windows collecting solar heat into an air circulating system for the off grid camper.
  6. Wood stove – I recently acquired a small pot belly stove that is technically a coal stove but should work fine for small pieces of wood as well. While not the best way of heating a small camper it should take the edge off the cold for about 3 or 4 hours at a time.
  7. Propane Heater – I forgot to mention this one in today’s show. Brian emailed with great info on the Buddy propane heaters. Yet another great suggestion from a listener just like you that I will be purchasing soon because on their low oxygen sensor cut off feature. Living off grid in a small space like a camper, tiny house, or log cabin means never forgetting Safety First!

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Even if its nice outside in November winter is still on its way so get ready now!
  • As a quick reminder to new listeners. Episodes are posted twice a week: Tuesday and Thursdays
  • 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!

Posted in Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

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!

Posted in Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

repair camper floor
September 8th, 2015 by Off The Grid

Finally the day had arrived to repair the off grid camper floor! My cousin Jason and I were out there off the grid on a nice summer day gutting the poor frame work from about a month earlier. We were finally getting to repairing the skeleton of a floor where bare metal and insulation had been mocking me for about a month now. If you remember back in June I had an extremely frustrating weekend with some contractors bad camper framing floorin the camper (Off The Grid Podcast Episode 31). We got started late in the morning with the sun going easy on us. Normally most summer days here in VA can be dangerously hot and humid. I checked the thermostat reading 89 degrees inside the camper but fortunately for us the humidity was low and the breeze aided the fan.

We went to work clearing out the hacked up wood, old insulation, and remnants to make way for the new floor. Then Jason took some measurements and planned out the best way to replace the framing for the camper floor. We had a lot of fun on this little diy off grid camper project. As you can hear my cousin has a good sense of humor! lol The fan going in the background kept good airflow going and made a big repair camper floordifference. I found a small DC powered handy-vac that worked great.. it just had to be emptied a lot! lol With the camper door open most of the time so we could go in and out of the camper the bugs found their way inside. A couple of bees, flies, and a few mosquito made their way to the excitement here in the off grid camper. Measure twice and cut once! If your building a one mile road by the time you get to the end your minor measurement can be way off so do it right the first time. 🙂

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”

the best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.. or in this case the floor! After about two hours of removing the old framing, cleaning, and cutting the first 2X2s we started putting the new flooring back into the close to 40 year old camper. Time flew as the excitement of a new floor quickly started to take shape. The anticipation was kind of like Christmas! lol For the last month I had a single 2 foot by 2 foot piece of plywood as a stepping place once just inside the camper by the door. I had to sprawl like Spiderman every time I needed to get into or out of the camper. On the rare occasion I missed a step there was a chance of going through the bottom of the off grid camper. Today’s Off The Grid Podcast was recorded back in early August 2015. I also had a video camera recording along with the audio. With all of there excitement going on I forgot to take a lot of pictures so I will get some images from the video camera and upload them soon! Once again every day here off the grid proves to be not only an adventure but also a wealth of opportunities to learn. Neither of us had worked on a camper before so it was a good exercise in critical thinking skills. My cousin had years of wood working experience along with a good background in general construction. I had very little construction experience aside from building forts as a kid. Today’s off grid build was a great experience and we had a lot of fun! If you do try anything like this please stay safe and use your brain!

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: If you measure twice and cut once you will save a lot of time, materials, and money!
  • Got questions, comments, or tips about living off grid? Please post and share them here or Contact me!
  • Please help support this show and the off grid community by checking out Off Grid Singles.
  • The Off Grid Podcast is now available on iTunes and Stitcher so please Subscribe and rate the show!
  • If you like the show please tell a friend about the podcast 🙂

 

Posted in Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , ,