This was our 2nd xmas off-grid, but this year my family came to visit! They stayed in our neighbor’s cabin, but we mostly hung out in our little cabin. It was so fun, and everyone got to experience living off the grid in the Winter! We cooked every night over the woodstove, including an awesome turkey xmas dinner and green bean casserole, and made jell-o shots in the snow. We all tried, and very much enjoyed, nog-a-sake’s (egg nog and sake) with a dash of cinnamon, and whiskey, red wine, and ciders. Delightful.
We’ve had a few snow storms, leaving a few inches of snow at a time. The layers of snow build on each other and leave beautiful white blankets all over the trees and the roads and the landscape. Our house is holding heat a lot better than last Winter, and we usually only have to re-stoke the fire once during the night to keep the place warm. We get it going before bed, then throw a couple pieces of oak in there around midnight, and it’s usually in the 60s when we get up in the morning. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to get out of bed when it’s warm in the house. Getting ready for work seems not so terrible at 5.30am when it’s warm inside.
One thing I really love about this season is xmas lights. Since we don’t have electricity, or a solar system, I figured I’d have to miss out on this particular joy until we could afford it. Then I did some searching online, and what do you know, solar xmas lights exist! So I took it upon myself to buy two strings of xmas lights, one white and one blue, to decorate outside. Each strand came with its own little solar panel. On a full-sun day, the lights will last all night, and even still be on when we get up to leave for work in the morning. They turn on automatically when the sun sets, and back off at sunrise. They’re AWESOME. They make my little heart so happy. We’re the only ones out here that have xmas lights. We’ve already gotten, “did you guys get electricity…??” Nope! Just another awesome solar gadget for me to get obsessed with!
Loki’s been having a blast in the snow, the snow shovel is his favorite Winter toy. He even runs outside and hits it with his front paws, because we apparently need to be told what he wants! His life kind of sucks during days we have to work, since we leave him outside in his run before the sun even comes up. By the time we get home, the sun is going back down, but he survives. His doghouse is small and cozy and full of fluffy blankets. And lucky dog gets to snuggle with us in front of the fire at night.
Overall, life has been really good to us this Winter. Compared to where we were this time last year, we have few complaints. We’re taking the quiet of Winter to plan for projects in Spring and Summer, and work at our silly day jobs and save money. We’ve only had to dig the truck out of a snow bank once… maybe a guard rail alongside our driveway might be in our future. That snow piles up fast, and it is hard to get out of. The side of our driveway trapped the ol’ Subaru last Winter, and got a hold of Maximus last night. Not fun. Guard rail.
But here we are! Still smiling through the snow and the cold. Living off the grid has its challenges for sure, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Xmas was awesome here at the ranch, and here’s to a bright and beautiful 2017! Snowy and cold here on this side of the world.