Our Philosophy

Festina lente
-make haste...slowly

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Equinox 2017 - Back At It!

Alright.  I give.  I can't stay away from this.  It's too fun.  And I've got some great pictures for you to get things started again here in this new year.  Let's just jump in, shall we?

The overview - We've worked some on a driveway below the house, and will probably be wrapping that project up soon. But this winter's big project was electricity!  And that's our whole solar panel setup, bottom right of the photo, all 400 Watts.   

Looking up from the driveway through the outdoor living and kitchen areas. 

Quick route to the garden!  And the new freezer... 

The other end of the escape hatch, looking up from the garden. And the tell-tale sign of off-grid greenhorns - the extension cord running under the door.  One tip on setting up solar power - use the heaviest gauge wiring you can.  This 50' extension cord cost $65! But it's thick and heavy, and doesn't add much ghost load to the power draw, like a lighter, longer cord would. 

Established peaches, established plums.  Apples, pears, and others elsewhere.  I've tried to plant for climate weirding - e.g. 6 plums total (so far), 3 low chill hour, early-blooming Asian varieties, and 3 higher chill hour, late-blooming European varieties.  As if to drive the reasoning home, we will probably lose the 3 Asian varieties this season due to back-to-back killing freezes this week.  The Euros haven't even bothered waking up yet.

Its youth is evident in its lack of polish, but this area is our sunniest spot available, so where else would we stick the clothes line and the solar panels??  I have a solar oven planned for this area as well.  If I get to it. (Foreshadowing)

Part of this year's power addition was building a "power shed" onto the back of the bath house. There's the chest freezer I mentioned earlier - a 10.6 c.f. GE Energy Star unit, that is super quiet and a real boon to our lives.  The right side houses the solar equipment, fertilizer, coolers, disc golf bags, and lots of new tool storage.  More weather protection in the works.

View back up toward the casa through the spring garden. 

Cozy outdoor spot, brilliant cool, sunny day. 

Outdoor kitchen, firepit, cob oven area.  

This is one of my favorite spots on the property - the clawfoot tub in the private bath house.  Steam it up, lock the door, pour up a home brew, and grab the latest copy of deindustrial sci-fi rag Into the Ruins, that just arrived in the mail.

From sort of inside in the bath house to sort of outside in the southeast corner passive solar dining room. This is a helluva place for a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning with the sun pouring in on your back.

Turn to the left...this hoosier cupboard has been our mainstay kitchen cabinet through it all.

More to the left (north) and you look through the living area/library to the family heirloom 1880 wood cook stove.  My great-great-great grandmother cooked on this stove every day of her life until she died in 1954, then it sat unused in her cabin until we installed it in late 2014, the year we built the house.  It provides almost all of our heat and a whole lot of our cooking. 

Lookie what I inherited (early) at Thanksgiving - this really beautiful old pie safe that has been in my family for longer than I know.  My first memories of any piece of furniture are of this cabinet.  Curiously, I built the space for it well before I knew I was getting this from Mom, and was already installing something like a built-in pie safe!  Punched tin doors...looking to create something like this.  Thrilled to have the real McCoy instead, and blown away by how well it fits in my spot.

To the left of there and down a step is the kitchen, but I won't show it yet.  It's the next project on the list, the last vestige of our camp days still hanging on. It doesn't match the rest.  Not yet, but it will.  But that project will also give us hot and cold pressurized water in an actual sink!  For the first time in five years.  Ah, dishes in a sink instead of a canning kettle on the stove...the simple things...and could be reproduced very easily in the bath house for showers and baths.

But here's the biggest news of all.  It's for sale.  Our beautiful little off-grid property is for sale.  It's on the market with a friend of ours who works with Coldwell Banker.

And here's the back-story - my dad just bought a 260-acre farm in the Missouri Ozarks near where we go every October for the annual trail ride.  My brother is likely going to move there too.  The real estate market is pretty hot here, and interest in off-grid, self-reliant living is on the rise.  The real estate market we're moving into is much less expensive.  We can finally have what we're looking for - sunny pasture, fencing, cross-fencing, a pond, small creek, barn, more living space.  As much as we love this place, and want to fit, we openly admit that we just don't.  We have lots of great furniture (you've seen our stuff!) in a storage unit, waiting for future additions of space.  But even then we still won't really fit.  

So we've made the decision to be who we are, and buy the property we want, instead of trying to be who we think we ought to be.  We fully intend to keep living this way.  I doubt we'll ever plug back into the grid again.  Life like this is just more interesting!  So deliberate, so quiet, so DIY, so empowering, so present in the moment.  But this isn't our place.  It's someone else's.  Although it tears my heart out to say that.

But if you're interested, let me know.  I want to sell it to good people.  And you're reading my blog, so it naturally follows that you're a good person! Ha.

Cheers, everyone.  Glad to be back...
Tripp out.


  1. For some reason this riff just popped into my head...

    "I'm bloggin' on sunshine! Wha-a-o, I'm bloggin' on sunshine!"

    Making ice with sunshine too. That one is kind of amazing to me.

  2. I noticed some shadowing of your solar panels caused by the clothesline. One less well-known fact about solar panels is that their output drops significantly with just a slight bit of shadowing.

    A good resource for designing and building off-grid solar is the RV boondocking community (extended duration with no hookups). "Jackdanmeyer" has a good post on the topic.

  3. Well this is freaky. I haven't clicked on your blog for many months, and then, on a whim, click and find this update. Awesome news, and how exciting to get to a place where you can really stretch. I hope this means you will continue to share the adventure, and keep sharing what you learn.

    Funny how we all finally finish all those features we've wanted for our home just before we leave it. I've done it three times, but no more! Our roots are set now.

    The ozarks are another of those beautiful forgotten corners that sustainable homesteading would work well in. Good luck!