Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “moving off the grid

Early Fall Photo Gallery

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Late Summer Photo Gallery 2

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September spun by with a cool breeze and warm sun. This morning was first frost. A light one, but definitely a frost. My green tomatoes hang heavy with my first bumper crop, I think I wasn’t aggressive enough in pruning them back this year and they became quite the jungle. Towards fall when I was worrying about this day coming I started ripping off new blooms and excess growth. I did this twice earlier in the summer as well. The compost alone I’ve gained from all the tomato greens has certainly paid for the transplants. I am looking forward to ‘harvesting’ my compost in the spring. I must tell you that the compostable chip bags do not compost in 18 months and made last years compost unready this spring.

The kids and I are heading off hopefully this weekend for a few blissful weeks of water and central heat and fun city things to do. We will be in internet zone for almost a month, so hopefully I can get back in the swing of blogging.

Mr.T is going to juggle some building work for us and for a neighbour and we will come home when our laundryroom/family closet/bathroom is built. I’ll warn you, it’s gonna be rustic.

We will be back in the Kootenays for November for sure since I am having the following surgeries- Laparoscopy, Bilateral Salpungectomy, Hysterosypy, Ablation and possible removal of endo/hysterectomy.  I’m planning on watching the surgeries on You Tube, but haven’t gotten the chance yet.  If you’ve been through any of these and are feeling chatty- fill me in.  So far, the big question for me is “Is that going to make my belly button hurt?”

Oddly, the Gyno told me that that isn’t what most women ask, they are usually more worried about the scraping down/removal of internal organs. I however am pretty darn excited about missing out on 30 more years of menses!

Coach Rapper is enjoying school.  He is in love with his teacher who he describes as “slim and beautiful with long blond hair”.  It’s true, she is lovely, and very sweet.  I met her today and the adoration is mutual. We are having a few little hiccups along the way as my little man works out the big bad world of social dynamics of the school bus, including a marshmallow gun going off right into his eye with some nasty swelling and our nieghbour and his little friend deciding he is “bored” of sitting with him.  He is rolling with the punches though and comes home happy with his day, and lots of questions.

Well, I better be going home right away, it’s almost 11pm!

Never take your dishwasher for granted

We all had baths/showers today.  The kids all smelled great for about 20 minutes, as soon as we got home they had a swim in the pond in the garden.  Now that it is hot out, we’re just going to keep Coach Rapper at home for the summer.  He’s too dirty for school anyway.
We’ve been working hard on all the free things we can do around the property.
Main projects include:
moving a ton of lumber so it doesn’t rot and so the propane truck can come up the hill
#3 proofing everything- I swear that this is about 3-4 weeks worth of work
garden prep

Tonight while I did dinner clean up, #3 lounged on the kitchen table for a good 30 minutes.  Well, actually alternating between crowing and lounging.  He is becoming such a mountain boy.  The other day he walked up and down the “old road”.  Which was about 20 minutes of hard core hiking, for a baby.  He walks easily up to the garden site and down.  Doesn’t seem that far, except- 2 short weeks ago I was short of breath walking up the garden site.

I’ve been tearing out all of the thimble berries and black raspberries from in front of the yurt, with a pitch fork, rake and shovel.  I have a serious of Kitchen Garden garden beds going terracing down the hill with some stairs dug in now.  It’s been my Work Out(doors) for the last 2 weeks and I can definitely tell the difference in my upper body strength, especially when shovelling rocks.  I’ve had to halt progress on Magician Creek in the upper garden ever since my promise to Mr.T that I wouldn’t mess with the gravity fed lines.  And I really like having water in the yard.

A lot.

Now I am dreaming about an outgoing grey water hose for the sink.  It just sounds so luxurious to not have to take and dump the grey water when doing dishes.  We ran out of paper plates yesterday, so tomorrow I really have to get into gear with figuring out a sink set up.  I have the sink- the hose- an rv pump, a very large blue water barrel and a small propane on demand water heater.  I need a faucet.  Probably some fittings.

Oh yeah, and some mad plumbing skillz.  Which I don’t have.  But might in a couple days.  I hope.

Today we burned 3 large piles of brush right below the Kitchen Garden and the Bird Tree.  It really is opening up the “front yard” a ton.

Tomorrow we also need to get the washing machine going.  We’ve got about $20 worth of laundry and well, I hate the laundromat.

I’ve got the Evil Wizard and #3 in the van and there are starting to be protest noises, and I’m not willing to risk someone waking up.

Until next time- enjoy your dishwasher for me.  Never take it for granted.






A flurry of yelling, stick waving, dogs exploding barking.

Young Griz saunters through the forest, over the road and through the garden.

Kids inside.

Baby wakes up in the yurt.

Mr.T is so happy to get out his BB gun.

Celebrate!  What fun!  We chased off the bear!

Was that a Griz?

Didja see that hump?

Totally a Griz.

Don’t worry babay, I’ll shoot that griz with a face full of angry hornets for you.  Me and my trusty BB sniper gun.

A serious kudos to our brave dogs who are on super high code red alert now.

5036 feet above sea level is not a hill. It is a mountain. Dammit.

Today, at least 4 people referred to the Bonanza Summit as the top of the hill.

Oh yeah, Cal-Gas- at the top of the hill.  Like that.

Now, I know I am from the prairies and anything over oh, 50 ft is a mountain to me.  But seriously a major PSA for those born in the mountains- 5036 feet is a mountain.  Period.

If you had mentioned Mountain, I may have found Cal-Gas sooner.  You know as in- Cal-Gas- way the  hell out of town, on the mountain.

Luckily the folks at Cal-Gas were amazing.  Breaking news!  Before Mr.T even knows!  On Thursday morning the worker dude is coming out to have a boo (not my words!) at our generator and yurt and to figure out where to put a giant propane tank that would last us all winter.  This will be our major power source.  We scored Guardian Plus Generator last fall from Wild Bill.

As in hot water all winter.  As in baseboard heaters on a timer that start up at 4am all winter.  As in a dishwasher.  That is right mother fuckers, a dishwasher. Maybe an industrial dishwasher that power washes the hell out of my dishes in 90 seconds.  If I can find one.

Apparently I have a potty mouth today.  My mother and husband would not approve.

Speaking of Wild Bill I went and had some words with him (polite ones) about my bath tub, water tank and propane stove.  I told him I would come back and bug him about it in a couple days.

Very successful thrift day today.  We got a free bike for his Lordship as well as a toy lawnmower and a tonka dumper from a lady in the parking lot of the thrift store.  Apparently we look like a more needy charity.

Hey Auntie G- I must have taken those wool slippers that belong to K-man, I have two pairs of the beige-white ones in the same size.  Sorry!  Want me to mail them, or you can get them when you come?

To everyone who has commented, emailed or otherwise sent me a message- I appreciate them all, and do read them and will work on replying individually!

Right now I’m in the van on the little notebook I bought plugged into the lighter with a little inverter outside of the laundromat.

I tried to take Coach Rapper to school today, but they wouldn’t take him.  He will start on Wednesday, probably in the K-1 split.

It was cold this morning, but the afternoons are pretty hot- in the 20’s.

Sorry about the lack of pics- I left my battery charger and extra camera battery behind but hopefully they (and my rain coat!!!) are on the bus now.

I’m going to try and drag my butt out of bed tomorrow morning before any of the kids or Mr.T wake up so I can run.

Talk to you all soon!

It’s sooo good it smells like artificial colors

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He groaned in pleasure as he washed his hands with the pearly pink soap in the Visitor Center’s washroom.


Yep, I had just pulled into Sparwood to see the Largest Truck In The World.

I’ve NEVER stopped for the kids at the truck before.  I’ve never driven the Southern route in 3 days instead of 2 before.  *I* feel like I am on holiday, and that’s a great feeling after a month of mostly single parenting.  The Super 8 was fine, but the Days Inn is really nice and feels like a major treat even though it was cheap off of

Seeing the world through these eyes is such a gift.

They alert me to beauty all around me.  They alert me to misery all around me.  I want more beauty than misery in their lives.  This is the gift my parents gave me. In the car the boys play, talk to each other, fight, and spend a lot of time looking out the window.  We don’t have any babysitting devices in the car.  We used to, a portable DVD player, for a couple of years, we used it a ton.  It broke shortly before Finn was born and neither boy even notices.  However, today it took us 9-10 hours to complete a 5 hour drive.  This is most I’ve ever enjoyed travelling with the kids, which is remarkable because it is a 3 day, 14 hour drive alone with 3 boys 5 and under.

The difference is a) nice weather and b) time to actually stop and enjoy the view

view c) stopping and doing enough fun stuff that my kids realize that their siblings really are their best friends.  That’s pretty much how life on Erie Mountain is in the spring/summer- like an extended summer vacation a peter pan land of no bathtubs, showers in waterfalls, nightly fires, rope swings in trees, early morning hikes while the clover is still damp and the air still cool.  Sweltering Kootenay afternoons in a cold mountain lake nestled between green peaks.  Experiencing the seasons by integration.  This is the why.

The Brotherhood

The easy movement, lack of pretension

I watch laugh pauses, all their deep breaths

They are alone.  Fragile. I am still the mothership

and can see their minds crunching away without

calculating I am not him.

Open,a book of boys, they play

Lithe bodies rolling and climbing

Exploring movement; Because.

I cherish these moments; Because.

“Secret club of Erie Mountain,

Hip hip hooray -we’re going home”



The how isn’t quite as intuitive or poetic.  It will be hard.  So hard that I couldn’t face the first night straight up, I need to arrive in the day time so I can acclimatize without having a panic attack.  I’m learning to figure out what I can handle, and what I can’t.  I’m going back with the understanding the kids and I will leave in the fall the second I am not handling it.  I’m really hoping we can get this lovely summer home winterized over the next few months and we can spend our 1st winter in Erie Kingdom.  The combo of post partum mood disorder and off grid living was just way too much for me to handle.

Today is the day.  A small bird is caged in my chest trying to get free.

All of these pics are SOOC, no cropping, no editing.  I would love any critique.  I`m just starting to feel at ease holding a DSLR.  I don`t have time to edit, so I`m just working on getting it right in camera.

PS.  The water in Cranbrook tastes like fish in April.

PPS.  Makes me scared to try the lobby coffee.

PPPS.  Free hot breakfast!!!  Love the Days Inn, Cranbrook!

Goodby to the Grid Life, Packing Day

So, here I stand procrastinating on packing while Coach Rapper and His Lordship crafting away on a Easter gift for Gramma and Grampa and #3 strapped to  my back.  The Easter Bunny always brings a birdfeeder for the kids and this year we are turning it around and Easter Bunnying my parents with feeders the kids have painted. 

We are leaving earlier than planned because my parents stairs are being torn out on Monday.  I got a good deal for a hotel on Monday night about 1/3 of the way home, and in the process of booking one ( ) for Tuesday.  I’ll have 2 500-600km days and 1 300ishkm day alone with the 3 wild boys.  Should be fun.  We have a hot dog roast planned with good friends for lunch on Monday 2 hours into the drive.

I am nervous.  Oh yes I am.  When I left, it was dark, rainy, I felt terrible.  The laundry was overwhelming onces the days got colder and muddier.  On more than one occassion I filled every single washing machine in the Castlegar Laundrymat.  !On the upside- the laundrymat has free wifi so I aim to post at least 1x a week from there

There is gravity fed water in the yard now.  Wedged into the crack of our hand thrown Magician Creek.  The water comes out so crytal clear and tastes like magic, or well, nothing.  I am not actually sure if I am okay with this or not.  A) I said I wasn’t going back until the pump was in for the well and we had running water and B) this divertes the water from our little garden pond and dammit, that’s my secret garden go dig your own mother effing water supply!  But then, I would rather not haul water from the neighbours well than have a pond.  Le sigh.  I have no idea if Mr.T has purchased a pump or not.  We speak briefly every 4-5 days when he calls from a payphone or a friend’s house.  I get the odd email.  I have to not really think about it, because I worry about him falling out of a tree or lighting a forest fire ( he assures me he can put out the fires he starts with a shovel.)

So there is that.  We have a small black hose with potable water running constantly in the yard.

I have no idea where our new woodstove is- if Mr.T has picked it up, or if it is still in Castlegar.

I have no idea if our new big! propane generator is going yet. 

I have no idea if there has been a pump purchased, or if a plumber has been found.

I actually have no idea what the new steps up to the Yurt look like.

And he has no idea we will be there on Wednesday.  Last we spoke I told him Friday.

!Wednesday should be interesting

Hey darlin’- if you read this before I get home, we will be there on Wednesday now and uhh, can you please make sure the composting toilet is shovelled out before we get there?