picking okra
July 19th, 2016 by Off The Grid

Join me today as I get back to the off grid camper talking about my homemade AC cooler, gardening, and coping with summer heat. As you may know I have been house sitting quite a bit these last few weeks. It seems like going back to a live that most people quite frankly take for granted left me in the same spot.. Honestly I got lazy while enjoying the AC on brutally hot summer days, cooking like civilized folk in a “normal” kitchen, and just plain relaxing in front of the TV with a good movie. In case you are wondering NO I do not miss the urban city life. I very much enjoy being out in nature with the peace and quiet that only the birds, bees, and rustling trees can bring. I do however very much want to stay comfortable when the elements are extreme though. So take a listen as I revisit the idea of putting my homemade AC unit cooler to use with a couple of slight modifications to the design. As the birds chirp happily up in the trees recording today’s episode of the podcast got difficult as the off grid camper began to quickly heat up. As always thank you for listening and if you have any questions, comments, or ideas to share please post or email me. 🙂

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Its easy to get lazy when your life is easy. Get up and make the life you want because each day you are either taking one step toward or away from your goals.
  • Be social! Connect with me and the podcast on Facebook, like the page, and tell a friend! 🙂
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seasoning cast iron dutch oven
September 29th, 2015 by Off The Grid

As the title suggests today’s podcast is ushering in the new season of fall with a seasoning cast iron skilletsmajor show update in number of weekly episodes for Off The Grid Podcast along with some new additions yet to come. I started recording episodes back in February documenting my journey from living an average suburban lifestyle to here in a little camper off the grid. If you have been following the show these episodes have been posted 5 days a week for about the last 3 months. Now that podcast episodes are pretty much up to date its time for fun projects to begin right in line withe the start of fall weather. The edge of summer heat just gave way no long ago and for the first time this year I was able to enjoy an entire weekend here off the grid.

My brother and I had been planing to get together and he was wanting to check out the off grid camper. My brother and I hung out this weekend catching up on old chopping away stumptimes, cooked out on the rocket stove, built a good fire, and seasoned a lot of cast iron cookware. Despite having rained all weekend we made the best of it and just enjoyed the down time away from it all. It literally rained all day Friday, all day Saturday, and eased up on Sunday as he sunshine finally wrestled free from the clouds. We put up a good sized canopy tent shielding us from the rain making for a cool place to hangout. Building a nice campfire while enjoying the sights & smells of wood smoke was a relaxing bonus to combat the rainy day. Once the fire got going we added all of the cast iron cookware. Cooking with cast iron is always good and once in a while they need to be re-seasoned. Swapping out a cast iron skillet, dutch oven, and cast iron pan over several hours enjoying the smell of good campfire was really nice as the sun went down. Sunday the sun managed to start winning the battle with the clouds above as my brother headed out. brewing beer fermentationHopefully he had a great time here off the grid!

After my brother headed out I got to working on the fermentation of my new “Off Grid” brew. (Spoiler Alert) ~ Last week I recorded an episode on brewing beer. The brewing beer Episode will be posted very soon. As the sun went down and the Super Moon graced the night sky I get everything out for the second half of fermenting my batch of chocolate peanut butter off grid beer. This is indeed a very special batch of beer because not only is it the first beer I have brewed off the grid (on a rocket stove by the way) but it is also being made during a very rare celestial event. The second fermentation of this brewing process was done during a lunar eclipse blood moon. Will it make a difference brewing beer during a full moon? I honestly don’t brewing beer fermentation 2know but one thing is for sure this is going to be a very special Off Grid Brew no matter what! Speaking of which.. if any of you listening have a good idea or few I am asking for your help to name this special batch of Off Grid beer. It is being made with chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and vanilla bean extracts so the flavor profile should be quite interesting to say the least! Do you have a cool or unusual idea to help me come up with a name for this brew? Please post in here in today’s episode with your ideas 🙂

Yes I like to do a lot of cool stuff here off the grid and learning to be more self sufficient in having the ability to garden, preserve your own food, make your own deodorant, soap, hunt, and learning new skills is always a plus. Invest in yourself. You can’t go wrong learning new “old skills” because you are investing in yourself. It will always pay benefits when you learn to do something new for yourself.. and others as well. Everybody stay safe and enjoy the ride! 🙂

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Invest in yourself, learn something new, and enjoy a weekend camping even if raining!
  • 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 🙂

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cooler bug
September 23rd, 2015 by Off The Grid

Today’s podcast is a short one and I am really looking forward to getting caught up with posting day to day with current shows. We are getting close so these Off The Grid Podcast shows should be current as opposed to recorded months earlier by the start of next week. Just posting a quick update here with the batteries as kind of a follow up to yesterdays Off The Grid Podcast episode along with last nights rainwater collection. If you missed it listen to Episode 52 on the Big Solar Battery Bank Update for more info. This morning I was running short on time because it was shaping up to be a busy day but wanted to at least get a show recorded for you guys. 🙂 Due to the solar charge controllersometimes dangerous heat and humidity I have only been able to run the equalization cycle for an hour or so before heading out for the day. If your wondering why its because I would feel more comfortable having a full day to “babysit” the batteries as they go thru a full equalization cycle of 4 hours. Again if your having problems with your batteries draining down or not holding a charge you may want to check out yesterday’s show for some helpful info from what I learned.

The next exciting bit for the morning at least for me being off the grid was checking to see just how much rainwater was collected from the night before. It rained a good deal and also made for good sleeping weather with the sound of rain all around in the forest, the comfortable cool temp, and yes the rain on the roof of the camper. 🙂 I don’t have my rain barrels set up here off the grid yet so whatever I can collect each time it rains is indeed exciting! lol Aside from maybe an avid gardener you wouldn’tcollecting rainwater think so much about getting excited every time it rains but I still do. The night before I set out 3 containers to collect the wet sunshine 😛 Two of the containers are round stainless steel kitchenware type bowels. The third is a small plastic tote I picked up a while back at a flea market. Oh.. I almost forgot a fourth container was a good sized water cooler with a removable lid and spigot at the bottom. In total the previous nights rainwater collection was about 2 1/2 gallons. Measuring the small rectangle clear tote came out to be about 2 inches of rainfall. Ok so if your reading and living in an average house on the grid this may not sound significant to you. But for people living off the grid dependent more or less on the sustainable nature of rainwater collection then this is a big deal. Either way you look at it its always great to appreciate the little things in life.. simplicity at its best in the form of liquid sunshine during the day! lol 🙂

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Try to appreciate the little things in life every day even something as simple as the rain.
  • 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 🙂

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small off grid battery bank
September 22nd, 2015 by Off The Grid

This just in ~ BIG BATTERY UPDATE in the off grid camper! If your a regular listener to the podcast you are aware of some of the problems with my deep cycle batteries not holding a charge from the solar panels. Due to the heat I have not been able to stay out here in the camper all day long in order to keep an eye on the batteries during an equalizing cycle. First and foremost I want to say I am not an expert here but I am learning very quickly! lol I have been having an issue with the batteries not holding a charge. The solar panels were putting out electricity. The charge controller was supplying the off grid battery bank with the proper DC power in order to charge the batteries up. The issue ultimately wound up being with the deep cycle batteries themselves. I have 3 deep cycle batteries in my off grid battery bank in total with a fourth battery on the side. The fourth battery is a gel cell battery where as the other 3 are lead acid deep cycle batteries. A gel cell battery is sensitive to overcharge so this is why it is not hooked up to the main off grid power bank.low solar battery

After figuring out that all three batteries in the off grid solar power system were low on fluids I researched on how to correctly top them off. It turns out that all three deep cycle batteries needed to be topped off with distilled water. If by chance you found this this episode of Off The Grid Podcast in seeking an answer to your own deep cycle marine batteries not holding or keeping a charge then please research thoroughly. I found that you can not use tap water, spring water, or filtered water for topping off a battery. Only use distilled water because other trace elements in waters can cause calcification as well as other issues with the plates inside your lead acid battery cells. It took about two thirds of a gallon of distilled water between the three of them. Time would tell as to weather or not this recent lesson in off grid solar power problem with the battery bank was going to work. Crossing my fingers and holding my breath a moment I decided to hook everything back up so the solar panels would charge the batteries the next day. Just because your of the grid does not mean you do not need power. Well.. um I guess ultimately you don’t but it sure makes thing easier. Really the only thing I want right now is to have enough power here in the off grid camper to be able to run a refrigerator. This would give me the ability to refrigerate and preserve food like normal! lol I couldn’t wait to find out if this was going to work or not.

If topping the off grid batteries off with distilled water and then running a couple of water for deep cycle batteriesequalization cycles did not work then this was going to be a $200 – $250 mistake. Why a semi-costly mistake you ask? Because I bought the deep cycle batteries used. Comments, questions, or lessons anyone? If your off the grid solar power system does have an equalize feature integrated within your charge controller please use caution before using. Why be careful equalizing your battery bank? Because running the equalizing feature charges the batteries at a slightly higher voltage causing the lead acid battery cells to literately boil. Use caution because when equalizing deep cycle batteries because the boiling is meant to clean the plates within the cells themselves. Again I am not an expert but I have learned a lot in the short while of my off grid journey. If you are having an issue with your battery bank draining and I can help I will. Yup.. today’s episode of the podcast motto rang true. “Its not what you have its what you know”.

 

Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast

  • Today’s lesson: Save money ~ If your running a solar powered battery bank check your levels regularly!
  • 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 🙂

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