A Few Days With Mom.

Last week I went to Cleveland to visit Mom for a few days.  Mom had a full schedule for us and kept us running for all 4 days.  It’s great to see Mom and all the new sites of the city where I grew up!

Above, the Cleveland skyline from the Westside of the Cuyahoga River.



I decided to take advantage of the trees I cut down a few weeks ago and use what I can for fire-wood.
I needed to make a fire-wood rack and ran across some used industrial pallets at a local container store.  The pallets worked out great and can be moved if I need to change the location of the fire-wood.

Above, the used industrial pallets used for a wood-rack base.

Below, the stacked wood ready to be covered and dried for use.



This past weekend I invited a dozen friends to my property for a bonfire.  We had a great time,  and of course we cooked smores over the open fire.  The “Stonehenge” fire-pit worked well and guests stayed late into the night.

Above, I snapped a picture of the fire as I got it started, before the guests arrived.  A small amount of wood went a long way… it was a great evening.  I was hoping the “Hillbilly Beast” would show up but one friend informed me that he was probably afraid of the fire?


Spam-bled Eggs…. It’s What’s For Breakfast.

Even though my camper and off grid set-up don’t have elaborate kitchens, doesn’t mean I can’t eat well.  Today I decided to make some “Spam-bled Eggs,” ummm ummm they were good!  Easy to make and took about 5 mins.

Above, all the stuff needed to make Spam-bled Eggs!

Below, the finished product!


“Stonehenge” Fire-pit.

I like bonfires and I have a lot of rock on my property so I decided to make a fire-pit with stone.  The cost for materials was $0.00 and the labor cost was a bit of sweat.  I call it the “Stonehenge” fire-pit because the stone are dry stacked vertically and placed in a trench around the base rock.  It’s big enough to place 3 ft logs in it.

Above, base rock for the “Stonehenge” fire-pit.

Below, the trench for the vertical rocks.

Below, the fire-ready “Stonehenge” fire-pit.


Clearing Brush

I have been working hard to clean-up a few areas on my property.  I have a small grove of trees on a hillside that needs a haircut.  I want to save the trees by getting rid of all the climbing vines and weeds.  Eventually I plan to add a few chairs under a big oak tree for a sitting area.  I have been using a “bush-hog,” a weed eater and even the weed scythe (golf-club size tool with a blade) to battle the tall weeds.  It’s a great work-out in the 90 degree Kentucky temps and the chiggers and ticks make it most enjoyable.  I will post some before and after pictures of how a little bit of brush clean-up makes and area look so much better.

Below, the before picture of the brush clean-up ( there are actually a tree and a person behind all the tall weeds…).

Above, one of the trees that recently got a haircut.


Uninvited But Welcome Visitor…

Everyone has those neighbors that just drop in uninvited but are always welcome.  Today a four legged visitor dropped by the farm completely uninvited but always welcome.  This morning my neighbor’s cat, Saucer, was camped put on a shed I built.  I gave him some attention then put him to work hunting field mice.  While saucer was busy with the mice, I decided to burn the 7 brush piles from the trees I cut down the other day.  It took me most of the day to burn them up…. thanks to my friend Ice Water it only look one day!

Above, Saucer the uninvited visitor caught on camera.


Yeti Cooler, Good Piece of Gear.

I bought a “Yeti” brand cooler last May just before I departed on my camper trip out West.  My camper has a “Dometic” refrigerator but I wanted to be able to store more food, specifically fruit and vegetables, and I didn’t want to rely on my camper battery or propane tanks to maintain low temperatures. I read some good reviews on the “Yeti” brand and decided to give one a try.  The “Yeti” was expensive, but  has exceeded my expectations.  It’s strong, sturdy, and keeps ice for about 3 days in hot temperatures.  During my travels in the truck camper I put the cooler in a back seat of the truck cab and I can access cold drinks while driving.

I give the “Yeti” brand coolers 4 out of 5 “Big-Feet.”

Above, a “Yeti” brand cooler.
Below, I give the “Yeti” 4 out of 5 “Big-Feet.”  It is a very well constructed cooler!


Hot Shower Off Grid

This morning when I woke up the ole mercury was at 54 degrees.  That means the water in the holding tank would be a bit chilly for a shower.  Not wanting to wait until mid-day to shower when the tank warms up with the sun, I decided to use my “Zodi Extreme” self-contained camp shower.  Basically the “Zodi” camp shower is a 2.5 gallon aluminum  canister with a separate 3 leg stand that it sits on when heating with the small one pound propane cans.  It took about 9 mins to heat the 2.5 gallons to 100 degrees.  The canister has a built-in temp gauge and a hand pump on top to pressurize the tank. The shower nozzle has an on-off capability with a simple twist of the shower head.  You pump the canister 10 – 15 times and then twist the shower nozzle for hot water flow.  It worked well and I had a hot shower without using the Camper shower.  The Zodi shower just gives the off-grider one more option for comfort!

Above, the “Zodi Extreme” self-contained camp shower.

The “Zodi Extreme” self-contained camp shower gets 4 out of 5 “Big-Feet” in my rating system.   See earlier posts for an explanation of the “Big-Feet” rating system.


Two Weeks Off Grid, Some Thoughts…

Today is the 2 week mark for me staying on a 20 acre piece of property I own in Kentucky.  I am as “off the grid” as one can get.  Remember, “off the grid” does not mean doing everything by hand or not using power tools or modern electronics.  “Off the grid” means not being tied into the electrical grid or the city water system.  I guess if you don’t get an electric bill or a water bill you are “off the grid.”  Even the nicest motorhomes when not plugged into an electric supply are “off the grid.”

There have been some small challenges but all in all it has been great seeing that it is possible and not that difficult.  As I mentioned before, water and power are your two big concerns.

I have been collecting rainwater in tanks and purifying it with chlorine for washing cloths and showering.  It’s a gravity supplied water system with no heat.  It has worked great because we have had a lot of rain this summer and the temps have been hot.  So even for showering the water temp has been pretty warm.  For drinking water, I have a Berkey Water Filter.

For power, I have a Truck Camper that has all the necessary lights, fans, stove etc… for daily needs.  To charge the Camper battery system, I can run the truck’s diesel engine or I can hook up to a generator I have and run it for an hour or so for a full charge on the Camper battery.

To cook, I have a LP stove / oven in the Camper and a small multi-fuel one burner stove (camping stove) that I can run on liquid fuel.

Comfort…. The only thing I have missed is air-conditioning.  But to be true to my experiment, I have not slept in a home with air-conditioning in the past 2 weeks.  There have only been 2 nights that were hot enough to make sleeping difficult.  Kentucky weather is crazy, last week it got into the mid-90s one afternoon and last night got down to the mid-40s? Go figure?

Lots of work to do….. gotta go…. an axe and some logs have my name on them…..

The finches have enjoyed the new thistle in the bird feeder.