Our little town got pummeled with snow a couple of weeks ago!


That’s R in the background trying to get some snow off the roof.

We got 6 feet of snow in a week. The office I work in was shut down 4 out of 5 days, and we got to spend that time at home both dealing with, and enjoying, the storm. I don’t even want to think about how much snow we shoveled… just a crazy amount. We were all sore – Loki included. Because he does things like this:



Goofy dog. He loves it.

A lot of our energy was put into making sure nothing we had collapsed… like the dog run, the bird coop, the greenhouse…



During a peek of sunshine between snow storms.

Our house stood up to all the snow very well, the woodstove inside heats up the roof pretty quickly and big sheets of snow and ice just slide right off. Since we kept up with it pretty well, we haven’t seen any major damage on any of our structures because of the heavy snow.



It was awesome being able to snuggle up in the sunroom with the woodstove going, just watching the snow come down. It just wouldn’t stop! We are so happy to see it all too, even though it is hard to deal with that much of it at once. Southwest Colorado has been in such a terrible drought (last Winter we got basically no snow at all), so to see all this on the ground is a relief. We’re hoping some of our poor pines that have been looking so sad come back to life this Summer, and the wild plants should actually flower and fruit this year, providing some much needed food for the wildlife. We’ll actually have a RIVER in town this year, instead of a sad creek! And fire danger shouldn’t be as bad as last year.




As we were continually trying to keep our driveway clear so we could get out if we needed to, we eventually came across the issue of not having anywhere to put the snow anymore…



You can only throw snow so high at some point. I mean, look at that! That snow pile is like 8 feet high on both sides! At one point I gave up and starting throwing snow to the other side of the road. Then, of course, the plow comes by and piles up another 2 feet of snow/ice chunks right in front of your driveway. It’s great. Luckily we had stocked up and didn’t have to go anywhere for 4 days. We were snowed in and it was awesome.





Eventually, the sun came out and the storm had rolled by. I couldn’t resist doing a few  minutes of yoga in the snow…


The birds handled the storm pretty well – their coop held up fantastic and the chickens got a little curious and hopped out a few times into the snow. One of them even started laying eggs again!


Check out how high it got next to the house…


It made for an interesting week for us, that’s for sure. We got a workout and a half and felt extremely grateful for the sun when it came back out. Now it’s March and it has been sunny and in the 40s this week, so the piles of snow are melting fast into big muddy messes!

Springtime is going to be absolutely beautiful here.



Winter #4


Happy new year!!

Can you believe this is our 4th Winter out here? It’s hard for us to believe at times. Winters always have their amount of difficulty when you live off-grid, but overall, each year Winter gets a little easier for us. We have a solid idea of how much firewood we are going to need to get us through comfortably, we don’t procrastinate on certain chores we need to survive (like, bringing firewood inside, covering the firewood outside, making sure our water jugs aren’t going to freeze, etc.), and we’ve gotten pretty good at cooking over the woodstove, minimalizing our solar-energy usage, and staying entertained during the long nights of mid-Winter.


Loki loves it.


I have to say, I love Winter. I love watching wood burn in our stove, I love watching it snow, I love snuggling up with my boys to watch a movie at night, and I love the quiet down time. We don’t have a garden to tend to, large amounts of water to haul, big projects to work on. I’ve written in the past about Idle Time, and that’s exactly what Winter gives us. We have the time to pick up books we’ve been wanting to read, and I get to pick up my journal again.


Holy icicle.

This season can be tough on the animals, but it’s good for them in its own way too. The ducks and chickens haven’t been laying since before Thanksgiving, and they’ve now all gone through a molt cycle too. The black chickens molted late, and I worried about them last month when the temperature dropped fast and they didn’t hardly have any feathers! But everyone has survived so far and it’s actually good for them to not be dropping any eggs right now – they need to be storing that energy for the cold nights.


Loki is fine with whatever, really. He loves playing in the snow just as much as he loves being curled up in front of the fire. We do leave really early for work in the mornings (before dawn), so some mornings aren’t real pleasant for Loki since he gets left outside. But he has survived too. In fact, right now he’s curled up in my lap – spoiled rotten dog.



Flamingo in CO.

We haven’t started planning much for next year yet, as far as the garden and some other things (we have some big projects on the docket for next year, but no real solid planning yet). Part of that is because we’re still coming down from the high of this year! We accomplished a ridiculous amount of work on the homestead this year – another reason I quite look forward to Winter. It’s like one long rest day after a really long work day (Summer). So, since I haven’t updated this thing since Summer – here’s all of what we managed to accomplish this year:

We built a fence:




We moved our house (that was a wild day):





We built another greenhouse:




We bought new water cisterns:


We moved Loki’s run down by the bird coop:


We built a sunroom (truly the biggest accomplishment of this year)!









We had a busy year. I also started a new job in the Fall which allows me more freedom to be myself, learn from people smarter than me, and really flourish, and continue to improve, in my skills as a leader. It also gives me more freedom to work from home… which is rad, considering I’d rather be here anyway! At the moment we’re getting snowed on pretty hard and there’s about a foot and a half already on the ground. More snow than we’ve had in 2 years! It’s beautiful out.

Anyway, more to come this year! Happy 2019!


And yet again, the year has gotten away from me! I can’t believe it’s already mid-July, how did that happen?? We’ve been totally swamped and busy with projects galore around here… and kicking butt at it. Already we’ve managed to accomplish quite a lot this year. Of course, that means we’re busy from the moment we get up, usually around 5:30am to get ready for work, work all day in town, then come home and work until sunset. But we remind ourselves everyday that we’re working so much to save enough money to do all these big projects we want to do. The project list never gets any shorter around here… homestead projects tend to multiply instead!


Coffee in the garden.


A little gnome-juju for the tomatoes.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we scaled back our garden this year. We only have maybe a dozen garden beds growing right now, and really a lot of the stuff that’s growing are flowers & low-maintenance plants. A few cucumber plants, zucchinis, pumpkins, tomatoes, & peppers as well. Oh, and one okra plant. We battled with chipmunks earlier in the Summer, and those little jerks ate most of our spouts. Our neighbor who’s been here forever told us, “chipmunks are not your friend.” The little rodents were getting into our chicken feed as well, eating all their seeds and leaving a great big freaking mess everywhere. As a weird side-effect, they were apparently stashing sunflower seeds in various places around the homestead from last year, and this year we had weird bunches of sunflowers sprouting up in garden beds where we’ve never planted sunflowers. Silly chipmunks. We have allowed Loki to go after the chipmunks when they pop up, and he has “taken care of” 2 of them now. We seem to have less chipmunk issues now compared to a month ago. Good boy.




New addition to the family – Boris/Henrietta the Tiger Aloe. I can’t decide if it’s male or female. Ha.

We’ve also had bear issues this year. Since this Winter was so dry, the wild berries & oak around here in the mountains aren’t producing the way they should be. Literally, bears are starving. It’s actually really heartbreaking. Now we have a starving young bear attempting to infiltrate our bird coop. He’s tried 3 times in the last week to get in. THANKFULLY we put so much effort into making that thing a fortress that he has not succeeded. The first night we didn’t hear anything, but the next morning when we went down to feed the girls, we saw a whole bunch of destruction of their outdoor run. We couldn’t be sure it was a bear at first, but something had busted down their run, and pulled at the chicken wire that envelopes their coop. And the girls were quieter than usual and definitely spooked that morning.


Bear damage.

The very next night, we were woken up at 3am to metal breaking (the t-posts that hold up their run) & chicken wire being ripped at. R grabbed a baseball bat, and I just had a flashlight, and we went outside to investigate. And there was a little skinny starving bear standing by the coop. We ran right at him, R threw the bat at him, and the bear ran off. I went into the coop and our poor girls were scared to death. But they were ok. We actually discovered the next day, as we were looking over the damage, that the bear had broken off part of the roof to their coop, like he was up there and fell off, probably when he heard us coming. He still would’ve had a lot of material to go through to get to them, but he did do some damage. And because of that, we will be doing some re-enforcing of certain areas of their coop this week.


We then decided to set up some “noise traps” around their coop so if he came back, he’d knock some stuff over to wake us up. We also had our shotgun loaded and ready to take down with us. We don’t want to kill him, we just want to make it very unpleasant for him to be here. We set up a lot of empty beer bottles and other things around their coop, in ways that we would hear if they got knocked over. And lo and behold, he did show up a couple nights later, knocked over a bunch of bottles, and ran off himself before we even got outside. The noise was enough to startle him. We haven’t had any bear activity since then, but we’re still setting up things at night and we’re ready to confront him again if it comes to it. I do feel really bad that he’s so skinny and obviously really hungry, but sorry man, you can’t have our chickens or ducks.



We feel very lucky that we haven’t lost any of the birds in over a year since we brought them home. And that’s because we did put so much effort into their coop, and we will absolutely protect them in any way we need to. Those girls are as much a part of our family as Loki is.



They totally know that Loki is their protector too. One of the black chickens has been broody the last few weeks. Broody basically means that she’s incubating eggs… she wants to be a mama. I keep trying to explain to her that, since we don’t have a rooster, her eggs will never hatch (she doesn’t seem to be listening to me though…). She’s sitting on un-fertilized eggs. But, I know from working with birds professionally for so long, that it’s better for them to go through this cycle on their own, than try to break it. So I’m just letting it happen, and she sits in her little nest all day and all night. I assume at some point she eats and drinks, but in the last almost 3 weeks, we’ve seen her leave her nest once. She came out, ate some food, drank some water, had a little dust bath, and went back to her nest. ONCE in 3 weeks. I don’t want to baby her, she knows where the food and water is, but it is weird that she just stays in one spot all day, day after day.


Broody chicky.

The really funny part is that she even won’t get up or leave if I touch her or feel under her to see how many eggs she’s sitting on. She just fluffs up and growls at me. Have you ever heard a chicken growl?! It’s hilarious. So I just pet her and scratch her and talk to her, and she’s SO mad, but she won’t move. Sometimes the ducks will crawl in next to her and lay their eggs in the same nest, and she moves the duck eggs under her too! One day she was sitting on 3 gigantic duck eggs in addition to her little chicken eggs. Poor little lady just wants to be a mama so bad! I’m hoping she gets out of this cycle soon so she can get back to the rest of the flock. I think the other black chicken is a little lonely without her friend, so when we have the birds out, we’ve noticed that she hangs out with Loki. She literally follows the dog around. Pretty funny relationships they have.


It’s like West Side Story.

I can’t believe we’ve been living out here for almost 3 years now! Gets better everyday. Monsoon season started last week (yay!), which has literally helped everything around here, from fire danger to our garden to the end of the yearly cedar gnat life cycle. I’ve decided that June is my least-favorite time of year. June is just hot and dry and the cedar gnats are relentless, and everything sucks outside. Then July and monsoons come and everything is awesome again. We have been surrounded by wildfire this season and the rains could not have come at a more perfect time. There have been days when the smoke is nearly unbearable here… smothering the whole town. We watched as dark red smoke blew right over our house from a big wildfire about 60 miles from us. Happily, now those fires are mostly contained and we aren’t consumed by smoke in the mornings anymore.



Check out that smoke.


Ok, well there’s a lot more, but that will come in future updates!


The smoke did make for some pretty sunsets…


We didn’t have much of a Winter in SW Colorado this year. 6″ of snowfall in one storm was the most we got here at the ranch. Compared to last year when we got 2 feet in one storm, it’s been pretty mild. We’ve gone through maybe a cord of wood this entire Winter season, whereas last year we went through about 2. And now we’re into late March, and we probably only have a few more weeks of nightly fires in the woodstove. Last night the low was 41! Warm.


“Snow storm.”

As far as the garden is concerned, we’ll be starting some seeds indoors this weekend: tomatoes and peppers in particular. I might start a few herbs too. Last year we jumped the gun and planted some stuff way too early outside, and went to all the trouble of covering it at night and uncovering it in the morning, only to have a freeze in April and everything stunted or died. We learned our lesson.

We also will be re-vamping our watering system this year, but we’re waiting to save some money to get the proper things we need for it. Hauling water in the back of the truck did some major wear-and-tear on Maximus, causing us some semi-expensive repairs 6 weeks or so ago. So we’ll be saving up for a small trailer and a bigger cistern to haul water on said trailer. Until we get that all together, our garden will be on a smaller scale than we’ve had the last two Summers. And that’s not even our big project this year. Our main, big, number one priority project this year is moving the cabin. Which, obviously, is a whole thing. We’d like to accomplish that this Summer, but it’s looking like Fall is probably when that’ll happen. Since we also want to pay off our truck, maybe get a storage shed, build another greenhouse… homestead off-grid life is never a dull moment!



The flock has been doing wonderful. They’ve been taking turns molting, and for the most part have been laying pretty consistently. The ducks don’t get annoyed at much as far as inclement weather is concerned; they love mud and rain. It took some time for them to get used to snow, but they soon discovered that it’s fun to eat and they enjoy throwing ice chunks around. It’s pretty hilarious actually. The chickens on the other hand, are vocal about their annoyance when it’s not sunny and warm outside. It’s raining outside right now and I’m sure they are not thrilled about it. They make a pretty funny annoyed noise and look at me all sideways when the weather isn’t just right. We get so much entertainment and joy from having those girls around. Our favorite post-work afternoon activity is sitting outside with a couple of beers, giving the ducks a big bowl of fresh water, and letting them run wild. The chickens will dig around in our currently-empty garden beds and dust-bathe and throw dirt around, while the ducks make a racket and make mud out of everything. It’s great.


Check out those eggs! Soul-fulfilling, right there.



Cedar, the queenly red chicken.

For the most part, when the weather has been crappy outside (which, honestly, hasn’t happened a lot this Winter), we hang out inside and read and cook and organize our tiny house. I’ve been getting rid of more of our useless stuff around here, downsizing even more. We’ve also been cleaning up our diets, eating more and more fresh organic veggies, fruits, meats, and whole grains, and less processed and packaged food. More tea, less coffee, lots of fresh eggs, that sort of thing. We’ve been feeling pretty good, and the birds get all the leftover scraps. Even Loki gets the occasional egg. Nutrition for the whole family!


My bestie from Utah knew I needed duck leggings for xmas 🙂


One of those beautiful mid-Winter days. Wait… where’s the snow?

So right now I’m snuggling with Loki in front of the fire while it rain/hails outside! Doesn’t get much better than this. Tumultuous Springtime is here!


The ladies having a walk-about.


So we did something only minorly-crazy for xmas. We had made plans last Summer to see R’s family in Minnesota for xmas (he hadn’t been home for xmas in like 9 years!), and we took the whole family with us! Yes, the dog, the ducks, the chickens, and all!


Max is packed.

Now why, on Earth, would you EVER bring all your creatures with you on such a trip (we’ve been asked by almost everyone we know)?! Well, because as crazy as it sounds, it was less stressful for us to bring them rather than leave them at home. We’re talking about Colorado in the middle of December, and we live quite aways up an unplowed dirt road. First, we would need someone to trust with our birds to care for them for 2 weeks, over the holidays nonetheless, while we were gone, and second, what if it snows 2 feet?! What if our reliable pet-sitter can’t make it up the hill to the house? Too many factors to think about, so we decided to bring them.


Such a baby.

To be honest, the girls handled the trip better than Loki did. We had the three chickens in one crate, and the five ducks in another, with Loki riding in the backseat. The truck was packed. Especially since we were feeling generous and got lots of gifts for our families for xmas this year! The trip was 5 hours the first day (from our place to my parents’ house in Denver), then 13 or so hours from Denver to Minnesota.


Settled in under the heat lamp.

We were able to stay in MN for 9 days or so, which was awesome. We spent lots of time with R’s family and friends, and got to play around with the little nephews; Oliver & Charlie (who we started calling Chaos & Mayhem by the end of the week, they are 2 and 3 years old, after all).


That’s Charlie!


R’s parent’s dog, Roscoe! He’s silly.

R’s dad was awesome enough to put together a dog run for the birds in his garage, complete with straw, dog house, heated water bowl, and heat lamp. The girls stayed happy and busy in there for the week, and only by the last couple of days you could tell the cold was getting to them. The last day we were there it was -15 outside, and a balmy 5 degrees in the garage. All 8 of them huddled under the heat lamp as best they could. But they made it through, they even kept laying eggs all week, and were happy when we piled them back in their crates and headed back to warmer climates.


Where the chickens decided to roost at night.

We got to do some fun stuff like visit a frozen lake, which I’ve never really experienced before. There were already a handful of ice fishing shacks out there on the lake, and we wanted to go ice fishing while we were there, but didn’t get the chance to this time around. It was beautiful out there on the ice. Xmas morning it was  a lovely -20 wind chill outside!


Frozen lake time.


Playing frisbee on the ice.


Happy xmas morning at 20 below!

We had such a great time visiting MN in the Winter. And the little bit of time away from work was nice too. The great thing about our little cabin is we had really nothing to worry about while we were gone. There’s no pipes to freeze or anything like that. It was cold in the house when we finally got back home, but after a few logs burnt up in the woodstove, the place was back to warm and cozy!

What’s a little ironic is one of the reasons we brought the birds with us was in case of harsh weather while we were gone. Which totally didn’t happen. In fact, it’s been an extremely mild and dry Winter here in CO. We didn’t really get our first real snow until last week. And finally, tonight and for the next few days we’re expecting real Winter and snowy weather! Better late than never, that’s for sure.


Beautiful sunset.

Catching Up.

And… the Fall and beginning of Winter have gotten away from me! Overall, we’re good here; everyone is well and the homestead is just as fabulous as ever. Currently, it’s almost the end of January, and Winter hasn’t even really started here yet. We’ve gotten a few inches of snow here and there, but nothing compared to what it should be. Last week we had some cold nights, lows in the single digits and one night below zero, but now the weather is back to 40s (even low 50s), and sunny during the day, lows in the teens and low 20s coming up this week. What the hell, Winter?! This time last year we had several feet of snow on the ground! This year, nothing so far… Hoping March and April will be snowy months?!

If we don’t get the snow pack we need, fire season is really going to suck this Summer. But let’s not dwell on that right now. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that a few feet of snow will dump on us sooner than later, ok?

So here are a few things I meant to blog about 2 months ago:

We went with a couple friends of ours and their pup hiking, which was pretty rad. We visited a place called the Ice Caves nearby where we live, and what do you know, no ice… but it was pretty fun regardless. Loki and Willow had a good time running around in the woods and in and out of the caves.

I harvested all the thyme from our garden and let it dry in the window:

R built a sweet cabinet! He took apart the table he had built originally, turned it into a liquor cabinet/pantry, and now its even more functional than it was. And looks awesome. The rug was a birthday present from my parents. It actually makes our tiny cabin look and feel more open, less cluttered.

We have a gate now! Back in November I had decided it was time to put a gate up in front of our driveway (finally). This was a project I’ve been wanting to accomplish for awhile, it just required us actually transporting the supplies (the gate itself, two 8-foot 6x6s, and a bunch of bags of concrete), and making the time to do it.

It was a messy project, with all the digging and concrete mixing, but it wasn’t too terrible. Just a couple of days of work and we had a gate up! At the moment it is still adorned with solar xmas lights, which I love.




After the harvest in the Fall, we started letting the birds into the garden. It’s great because they can till the dirt, eat the bugs, eat the weeds, and poop in it all at the same time! Not only is it extremely entertaining to watch them rummage around in the garden beds, but it’s beneficial to the soil, and good for the birds’ health to be able to forage and scratch and dirt-bathe and do their bird stuff.




After we harvested our sweet corn (which didn’t do great… hopefully a better harvest next year), we weren’t quite sure what to do with all the green parts, the stalks and such. There’s so much extra foliage that comes with corn. So we dried it and burned it! Seemed like the most appropriate thing to do.


We pretty much spend most days hanging out with the animals, whenever we can:


The wild tarantulas come out in the Fall; the males sometimes travel long distances to find females, and you’ll see them walking across roads and fields. This one was caught in a friend of mine’s driveway, and I released him in a field behind the resort where I  work. Good luck finding your lady little dude!


So there’s a start to catching up. This is what I get for taking 2 months to get a blog together! Hope everyone is having a nice Winter so far, and more updates coming soon!

Shorter Days.

There’s quite a lot of beauty this time of year. With leaves changing colors, plants dying, things decaying, storms rolling in and out, fires in the woodstove at night. It’s much quieter these days up where we live; most everyone that lives up here seasonally is gone for the Winter. Which is great for us. There is a lot less generator-noise and “traffic” (and by “traffic” I mean, like the dozen or so cars that drive by our house every day). The woodstove is being fired up almost every night now, and we love the atmosphere it creates in the cabin. Warm and crackley and cozy.

The one little pumpkin I managed to grow!


The girls aren’t laying as much as they did over the Summer, but we’re still getting 2 or 3 eggs a day. Cedar (the little red chicken) is our champ, laying almost everyday. And her eggs are big cream-colored eggs that are just about as big as the duck eggs. She is also kind of the loner of the flock; she goes rogue and does her own thing most of the time. She stands up for herself with all the other birds. Cedar is a cool chicken. She’s our star.


Cedar egg, Black chicken egg, Duck egg.

As far as the garden goes, everything is finished for the season. We’ve started letting the birds into the big garden to tear things up. They’re pretty entertaining. They got to eat up all the greens that were still growing at the end of their season, and have a new big area to explore and scratch up. Even though the birds are more used to us by now, they are still fairly skittish (they’re very different than Amelia was!). Luckily though, they all know where they’re safe, in their fortress of a coop we’ve built. So if they get startled or when the sun starts to go down, they all waddle back inside safe and sound.

Mmm, kale.


The Fortress.

I find Fall to be a beautiful time of year, when the leaves drop and the plants go dormant for the Winter. Unfortunately, that also means we lose a lot of our privacy from our road, as the front of our property is lined with oak brush, which dropped all of their leaves a few weeks ago. We did, however, stack all of our firewood on that side of our house, so we get a short wall between the cabin and the road.


Speaking of our firewood pile, we didn’t spend a single dollar on wood this year, just the price of labor and renting a splitter for a day. We have 2 full cords split, stacked, and covered next to the cabin, and at least another cord stacked and covered in another spot, which will have to season over the next year until it can be used next Winter. All of it was free, either from our own property, or from a thinning project that happened in town a couple of months ago, where the conservation crew left all these big rounds free and up for grabs for the public. Since R works for the city, we knew all the details and the areas they were in, and snagged a bunch of it for ourselves. Another wonderful benefit of having a truck!


Falltime Beauty.


We have lots of brush to burn right now too, from general clean-up around the property. So we’ve indulged in a few bonfires, both by ourselves and with friends, and generally been enjoying everything about Fall. It’s supposed to rain/snow this week, and while it’s a bit of a downer that the days are getting so short, we’re loving snuggling by the woodstove and getting settled for the Winter.


See Ralphie flapping!


Happy happy Fall!


It’s Fall now! The garden is just about done now; we harvested the rest of the Fall crops and started letting the birds into the garden so they can eat all the leftover greens, bugs, tear up the soil, and poop in the beds while they’re at it! We’ve been busy getting ready for Winter: gathering, cutting, and splitting firewood, winterizing the house and coop, and just the other day I had to get all of our Winter stuff out of the storage loft. All of our jackets, boots, scarves, hats, comforter, etc. I love this time of year, cool and crisp. We feel ready for Winter and ready for the snow!


Watermelon radish, cucumber, tomatoes, and greens all from the garden.


Mustard greens.






Cucumber and Sweetness melons!

We’ve had a lot of visitors this Summer. Both of our families came to visit, as well as lots of friends swung by. We were even able to take a couple of weekends off, one to get out of town to Silverton & Ouray for a weekend, and another couple of days when my brother and his girlfriend came down to visit. We went out camping in the National Forest, which R and I haven’t done in *what feels like* forever! We basically fancy-camp all the time, so to be out really camping in the woods felt really good.





Outdoor cooking.



Napa cabbage.



I enjoy decorating the dog.


Sweetness melons.


Garden bounty.


Juniper rounds.



The gang.


Loki’s a good boy.


Some beauty from the wildflower garden.

We have just a few more projects to complete this year. For now, this is just a quick update until I have more time to really post something. We have been swamped getting ready for Winter. More coming soon!

Late Summer Update.

“We’ve been busy” doesn’t begin to give justice to just how busy we’ve been this Summer. Between us both working full-time jobs in town, 9 animals to care for at home, and a gigantic garden that needs attention, and generally keeping an off-the-grid homestead up and running, we haven’t had much time for anything else! Every once in awhile we get to hang out with a friend or something, haha.


August 29th was our 2 year off-the-gridiversary! We celebrated with a bonfire, a bottle of homemade mead from R’s Mom (thanks Jodie!), a couple of cheap cigars, brats, and reminiscing on how far we’ve come in 2 years. We love our homestead, our land, and our lifestyle more every day. Ok, some days are harder than others, but generally, this is pretty awesome. We have no intention of going back to how “normal people live” anytime soon.



We have about a billion things to do before Winter comes, and right now I’m only taking a quick break from working outside to have a beer and throw out some updates! So here’s a bunch of pictures to tide you over! Happy September!


Red Swan green beans.


Rich Sweetness melons.


All from the homestead!


Beautiful eggs from the girls, the rest from the garden.




Wildflowers I had planted for my aunt who passed away last Summer.




Hungarian hot wax peppers.



The ladies.



Sweet corn.





That guy.

Toilet Upgrade.

Ok, I had some laptop issues the last couple of weeks, which is why I haven’t posted anything recently. But we’re back up and running now, so here’s what’s happening with our toilet (because I know you were wondering about our poop)! 🙂

If you’ll recall, we had a Nature’s Head composting toilet. And it served us well for the last almost 2 years. However, that system definitely has its flaws. The toilet itself had too many small spaces that were hard to clean and, as we discovered, housed flies. The urine collection was hard to clean, and got pretty gross over those 2 years. We had been quietly dealing with these various issues, and I feel like I’ve been battling flies for two full Summers now. Occasionally I defeated the flies, but this Summer, the flies defeated us.


I ordered us this awesome book at the beginning of the Summer: The Humanure Handbook. This has turned into a must-have for living off the grid. As we read more into it, we had been discussing making a simpler move to a bucket toilet instead of our “fancy” composting toilet. We started making some plans, but it was a project that didn’t seem like a big priority at the time, just whenever we got around to it.

Then we had a Code Red Situation.

We came home from work one day, one regular normal day, and R had to use the toilet. When he opened the seat to our composting toilet, a whole swarm of flies flew out. A SWARM OF FLIES. THAT HAD BEEN ALL OVER OUR SHIT. AND WAS NOW OUT IN THE HOUSE. I was outside with Loki at the time, and R came out of the house and declared with urgency, “we have a Code Red Situation. Flies. The toilet is coming out. Now.”


The spaces for both buckets.

And it was so. That toilet was out and dismantled in a matter of about an hour. While the toilet pieces laid out in the sun in the driveway until the flies all left, I went about deep-cleaning the bathroom. Ceiling to floor, every single little fucking fly (pardon my language), was destroyed. DESTROYED. I waged war on those little bastards. We sealed up the hole in the wall that had been used as the vent for the toilet, and we both felt a lot better, and cleaner, about the whole thing. It was seriously so urgent I didn’t take any pictures of the old toilet at all. I figured you’d understand. Then we went about putting together real plans for our bucket toilet.


In progress.

The next day we hit up the local lumber store, and purchased a 5 gallon bucket and a toilet seat. $20 total. We then stopped at the saw mill on the way back home and chatted with the owners, who we’ve gotten to know pretty well over the past 2 years now. The saw mill here has started to get into the tiny house business, and had a tiny house in progress on the property that they’ve been building. As we’re looking at rough-cut lumber to finish our toilet project, they mention that they’ve been looking at composting toilets for the tiny house.


Ok, to be honest, we were just going to throw the thing away. I mean, who sells a used composting toilet? No one wants that. Well, turns out the saw mill wanted it. So we made a deal: we’ll bring them our cleaned out used toilet, and we get the rough cut lumber to finish our new toilet project free. We also get all the free sawdust we want from them for use as cover material for the bucket toilet.


We got home and busted out this project in just a few hours. It was really just a matter of sawing and sanding the rough cut, attaching hinges to the top, cutting a hole for the toilet seat, attaching the seat, and putting the buckets inside. One bucket you poop in, the other bucket holds the sawdust that you cover your poop with.


Danny DeVito watches over you.

For a tiny fraction of the price of what we bought our composting toilet for, this bucket toilet system is SO MUCH BETTER. It’s easier to clean, easier to empty, smells better, is more comfortable, looks better, and so far, no flies. We love it. I can’t tell you how happy we are to have our old toilet gone. Look how awesome this one is!


Seed porn reading material while you relax?

I cleaned out our old composting toilet, and now it sits in a mobile tiny house at the saw mill. Success.