Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lion's Mane Mushroom

We found a lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushroom!

Then we harvested it and eat it too!

This is the first(but far from the last) mushroom that we found on the land that we have eaten, and only the second time for us to eat wild foraged mushrooms. We loved it, and have been keeping our eyes peeled for more. I did spot two more that we did not harvest because they were very small and high up on a dead tree that had big branches dangling over us. Glenn calls those dead trees “widow makers”, so it was not a wise move to harvest those mushrooms no matter how delicious they are.

    We found 2 more edible mushrooms that day, the blewit and the honey mushroom, but both of them have poisonous look-a-likes, so there is mush research to be done before we try those out.   

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Geodesic Dome Birthday Wish

When Glenn asked me what I wanted for my birthday… it didn’t take long to decide that I wanted to start working on the geodesic dome again and hope that we could get it done before any hard freeze did in some of my favorite plants.

This is about as far as we got before the rains came in.

 I weed whipped like crazy and Glenn did the hard stuff. He attached the dome to the outside walls of the tires and made the framework for the bond beam. Next we make a bond beam using concrete and bottle bricks. Once the dome is attached to the bond beam we will get the polycarbonate to attach to each triangle on the dome. 

We went through 4 bags of concrete and about 40 bottle bricks and that made it over about 4 tires.
The second day we did the same thing and we are almost halfway around the tire wall. 

This is how the first section looked after we took the wooden form off. 

My sweet honey also surprised me with a cake… and a washer/dryer, and a kitchen and all my dreams come true! He sets the bar pretty high, I don’t think I can top that for his birthday…

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rainy Day

This post should have been posted a few weeks ago... but that didn't happen, better late than never.

We went a full week with our solar tracker not moving at all, no solar gain and a ton of rain. The rain gauge was full… but I don’t know when we last dumped it out soo… 
not sure on how long it took to get 5 in.

Everything happens for a reason in my book and the extra rain that formed a steady stream of water into the tool shed and then seeped into the chicken coop must have been one of the reasons for all the rain. The tool shed is where we are planning on calling home for our two baby goats this spring, so aren’t we lucky this didn’t happen while they were occupying it, I don’t think the shovels and rakes minded quite as much as the goats would have.

The chickens were not impressed the flooding in their coop. The poor things, when I let them out that morning, I swear they were telling me the sky was falling.

So, to take care of this a trench was dug outside the doorway of the tool shed and cleared all the way down the hill. Then I took out everything in the tool shed and swept the water out the door, otherwise the coop would have gotten even worse, and who knows what those poor girls would do then, 
they would probably need counseling or something.
 It was a success, and so far no more water in the shed or the coop!

Of course while I was doing all of this, it was raining, and Mojo was trying to supervise and help dig in the muddy mess whenever he got a chance. So, he was a wet and muddy mess, luckily he loves to play "towel" and wiping his feet is one of his more practical tricks. :) 

Another awesome thing about the rain is … you guessed it, mushrooms!
 I had a lot of fun finding mushrooms in the rain.  
wood ear is all pretty and plump when its rainy, but dries up in a hurry.

This is our wet weather creek that was bubbling and sounded so peaceful.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winterizing the WOM Room

 Glenn has been hard at work to winterize everything that we can currently think to winterize. He added the door to the WOM (water organization module) room so that he could spray foam it to help seal and insulate it from the cold winter ahead. The plan is to add a ducting from behind our refrigerator that feeds into the WOM room and see if that is enough to keep it above freezing. He has also piped in the exhaust fan from the bathroom directly into the WOM room so if we needed to move some warm air in a hurry we could, and the last resort would be a space heater in there to ensure no freezing temperatures. We will see this winter….

So he ordered 2 canisters of spray foam and suited up in hillbilly style for the occasion. How he is ok with me posting this picture …. I have no idea.

 Before he started spraying we put a box fan in the doorway and it’s a good thing we did, there was a nasty haze of foam in the air. He sprayed all the walls except for the one that is shared with the cabin and he sprayed the ceiling too.

Now for spraying under the cabin, this is where he really got foam all over himself,
 and probably some chicken poo too. 

Here is a close up to show how much the foam didn’t really expand.

This is the end result, all we had to do was scrape off the ends of the two by fours and we were done. The foam did not expand as much as it did when the crew sprayed the cabin. It did fill in all the spaces and gaps that would otherwise have let all the warm air out, so we are happy with it. 

Our on demand water heater uses propane, so Glenn has the tanks outside, behind the WOM room. He wanted to have them stabilized for winter and so he went to work mixing the concrete for the pad they sit on. He has been getting a lot of experience working with concrete, he is kind of a pro now ( I think so at least), even though he is using a tile trowel. He still plans to secure them a bit more and also add a little roof over them. 

We have also been cutting and splitting a ton of wood, the beautiful fall days are great for it! He splits and I wheelbarrow them to their new stack.  

Cooking and Cleaning Off the Grid!

This is our Stove Tec rocket stove, an easy and effective way to cook when I need to boil eggs or make quinoa. I don't like to turn on the electric burner for something that takes a while to cook, so this has been my go-to for a lot of different meal components. Now that it is getting colder, I will not be using this and instead just cook inside on the wood stove. 

 Speaking of wood stove, we made our first batch of chocolate chip cookies in our wood stove oven. They were yum... This is a very small oven, a normal cookie sheet does not fit in it, so we had to improvise a bit. A frozen pizza fits like a glove though! 
The stove top is just one huge burner that varies in temperature. Normally it is anywhere from 200 all the way to 600 degrees when the oven is heated to about 350 or so. We have an awesome laser pointer temperature gauge thing that helps decide where to put the skillet. 

This is our simple two burner hot plate. I use this if I really don't want to burn something, and I know it will be a quick meal. This was our first experience eating wild edible mushrooms! I went foraging with my wonderful friends Nancy and Greg and we found comb tooth (that's what is in the pan), shaggy main, and maitake mushrooms. They were AMAZING!!

I am loving my kitchen! With Glenn's great idea of pulling the cabinets out from the wall a bit on the back wall of the kitchen to make them a little more flush with the huge refrigerator, we have a ton of extra counter space. So, I have an out of the way spot for the dish drying rack, and I could not be happier with how everything has turned out.  

I have been going to the laundry mat weekly for about 5 months now, and most of the time, I just barely dry everything, then bring it home and line dry it. 

Yeah don't feel bad for me because this is the amazing view that I get to enjoy while I'm hanging everything. Glenn says "ahhh it smells like sunshine.."
 when he smells the clothes that I bring in once they are dry.  

I did say my goodbyes to the laundry mat just this week when Glenn brought me home our brand new LG washer/dryer! So this is what I came home to!!!!
 He somehow managed to get it from his truck down to the cabin... I have know idea how because we just barely managed to get this beast up the stairs. Oh, and I had never heard of such a wonder machine that washed and dried your clothes, but she does it! 

Glenn decided he wanted to make it even more awesome by adding an upstairs sink too. He said it would be easy since he is already running water up and adding a drain, so that's what he did. 

BAMMM!!! Our washer/dryer plus a sink! Sweeeeet!!!
 When you turn this beauty on, she sings a little tune and lights up like she is as happy to see me as I am her! :)   She takes quite a load out of our solar bank, so she will only be used when the array is in FULL sun and our battery bank is mostly full. The drying takes the most energy, so I don't plan on drying clothes to their fullest, just like I got use to doing at the laundry mat.

You may notice that the walls and floor are still unfinished... this is really the least of our worries and are very happy with what we have accomplished and don't plan on focusing on the finishing touches. Ha!! Most people may think that finishing touches would be painting and trim work, nope we think they are drywall and flooring! :)  Life is becoming more and more convenient and cozy in our tiny  off grid cabin every day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


We have lots of updates, but we are out of our gigabytes on our internet service until October 15th, so check back to find out what we have been up to. Thanks for your interest.