Off Grid...Chapter 51
It is a great morning and I have a "real story" to tell. Woo hoo.
We woke up to beautiful blue skies and 10 inches of snow on the ground. I can't believe that was only last week. First thing that morning Mike went up to clean off our solar panels. After that I went outside to clear a path for the "princess Niki". She will not go outside in the snow. We have to literally throw her outside and close the door. Pitiful.
Next I went up top and took a couple of beautiful pictures. Here is one of all the snow and the blue skies.
Another of the mountains.
Later that day Nicole called and said the neighborhood lost power for a couple of hours. Mike and I are really in our own little world up here. We had no idea the power went out which for us is really awesome.
Tuesday- It is sunny out and we are stranded.
Wednesday- Still stranded.
Woo hoo. It's break out time. We are fearlessly, well Mike is, headed down our driveway and going to town. It's about time. We went bowling just for a little exercise, lol. We were terrible but we had fun. Next we went to Lowe's and while I was drooling over all the spring gardening supplies Mike bought stuff to make our air vent. After that groceries and home.
It is a much warmer day. Mike started working on the fresh air vent for the Fireplace. He already installed the one on the inside of the house but it has taken awhile to come up with one for the outside. You can't just walk into a store and find these things. He decided to go with a thin dryer vent and he added some screen to it to keep any small "critters" out.
Just checking to make sure the location is right.
Drilling the first hole so he can get the jigsaw blade in.
Using the jigsaw to cut the hole "to size".
After he gets that hole cut and out Mike has to cut the insulation out.
Putting the vent on. Now we just have to paint it.
Here is the vent from the inside. Now we finally have a fresh air vent that works for the propane and the fireplace. Just in time for Spring when we won't need it, lol.
Oh what a beautiful day. I'm going to have to hold Mike back so he doesn't kill us today. This is the day we have been waiting for. Woo hoo. First we have to stop at David's, the Farm Supply, to pick up some supplies. We picked up a couple of poles. One for the mailbox that Mike ran into and one for the entrance gate. We also got some quick mix concrete and I got peat moss and coarse vermiculite for my garden. Yippee, it's almost time for gardening. I can't wait.
When we got back home the front gate was open which means Howard is inside feeding the cows. We pulled in and Howard and his friend, Norman, were by the barn so we stopped and talked for awhile. Everyone is feeling good today because it is warm and sunny. Howard and Norman helped Mike and I get the vermiculite and pea moss into the barn. Who knew 1 bag of peat moss was so heavy?
Howard was worried about us. He said he didn't see any tire tracks from the house all week. Mike said "I told you Lisa and I don't come out when it is cold" and he wasn't kidding, lol. Now when the warm weather breaks we will bust our butts.
We are hoping the cows will have babies in April. I hope Mike and I can watch at least one of them giving birth. If that happens I will get pictures. I can't wait.
Next Mike and I went up to the house to load up the trailer with tools and supplies to first go work on our mailbox. It's amazing how many tools are needed for such a small job. I took the jeep and trailer down and Mike followed with the tractor. I need to learn how to drive the tractor this year.
Here is the mailbox we hit.
First we started digging out around the bottom of the pole. Then we attached a chain to the pole and around the tractor to pull it out.
We tried to pull it out but it isn't budging. I told Mike "I think we put concrete in this hole". We dug out more and wiggled some more. Finally we got it out and there was no concrete. It was buried from the road shale. Yeah, we got it out.
Next we get out the chainsaw and Mike cuts down the new pole.
We put the pole in the ground and I go down to the creek and get a bucket of water. Mike starts pouring in the concrete mix while I add the water. Here I am tamping down the concrete mix.
And the new mailbox is finished.
Next on our list is to work on the gate to the barn(at least one side). For years and years there has been a gate and a corral gate across the entrance to the barn. It is held there by lots of rope and a couple of chains. So anytime you have to get into the barn you have to climb over the gate. Mike and I are going to undo the 2 gates, get rid of any wood and debris, and install bolts so the gate can swing open.
This is what it looked like originally.
We got both gates down and now Mike is pulling out some wood.
Twisting the first bolt in.
We put the second bolt in and installed the gate. Now it swings open. I pounded a small piece of rebar into the ground to keep the gate form swinging too hard.
After that we went up to the house for lunch and a break. Mike says "let's go, we can do another job". And this is how our life is when it is nice out. So down we go to the front gate. Remember way back we tried to install a new front gate and we hit rock? Well we just left it for a nicer day and that day is here. We took our new gate off the new pole. Then we took the old gate out. Next we took off the barbed wire that was on the old pole. We are going to take the old pole out of the ground using the tractor and install the "new" pole into the same hole.
Here is the new pole in the old hole.
Then we installed the bolts into that pole and hung the gate.
Next I had to go out to the road to turn the jeep and trailer around. Mike was very impressed that I could back up the trailer. I said "I can back it up with the jeep but I can't back it up with the 4-wheeler".
We loaded the old gate onto the trailer and I headed up to the barn with it.
What another great day. We have the door open and we are sitting at the kitchen table having our coffee and listening to the birds chirp. I can't wait to be sitting out on our deck and having coffee. Oh yeah, we have to build the deck first, lol.
Time to work. This time we have to go and fix the fencing that attaches to the pole for the front gate. Yesterday we did a quick fix. This old fence goes from the gate pole down the hill, across the creek, and up the hillside.
This is what the old fencing and wiring looks like.
The old poles in the creek weren't even buried. They were being held up by the gobs of wire. We took it all out.
Next Mike pounded in 2 T-posts, one on each side of the creek, in a straight line with the gate pole.
Here I am "miss redneck in brown"(I mean no offense to anyone). Mike says "he owed me because I've taken bad shots of him for all of you to see, lol." I am putting in the eye bolts to hold the barbed wire. When you work with barbed wire you have to put on your worst clothes because you usually end up ripping them.
The eyebolts are in the pole and the fencing is attached.
We forgot to bring the barbed wire stretcher down. Back up to the house for a short break and to pick up the stretcher.
Here is Mike with the stretcher on the pole and the wire pulled through it.
The new fencing is tight and across the creek.
Next we go up to the barn and get a pole. Mike cuts it down and we wedge it into the ground under the wire. This time we want to keep the cows "in".
On our way back up to the house we unload the trailer into the burn pile. It's going to start growing really fast now.
Back at the house Mike "finally" put on our 2nd screen door. We really only use the one door so we weren't worried about it. Now with the nice weather I want to keep the house open as much as we can.
After dinner Mike, Niki, and I went for a walk. As we walked one of our easier sections we talked about clearing some big branches and some downed trees to make a nice walking path. Ah more work for our list. We love the outside work.
I hope this next week is as good as this past week. It felt great to be back outside and working. I hope you all enjoyed our story.