Today marks the end of an era and the start of a new chapter. Three years ago, we were formally introduced to “Ol’ Skraggly” as the ancient Ponderosa Pine greeted us on our first visit to Sahalee. Such an impressive feature, the woody elder is an immediate attention-grabber and landmark, and was a delightful surprise to us upon learning we’d be sharing the same space during some very precious moments.
Not a feel-good decision, but a necessary one we had to make to remove the ton or more of tinder from the property to help squelch the fire (and misplaced fall) danger. We very much relish all the character the towering giant lent to the skyline before coming down. We invite you to enjoy this musical interlude by the Plain White T’s as you gaze upon the gallery of Skrag’s final day…
The needle-less snag has kept watch over the grounds for an unfathomable number of years, and it is this history that we most revere when bidding the forest guardian goodbye. A loss for avian navigators and burrowing creatures alike, we grieve the majesty and comfort of the noble’s grand stature. An empty space remains…
Our good buddy Larry, of Larry’s Power Saw and Tire Shop in Cuba, is a trusted professional, and we were oh-so-happy to have his expert help to lay Ol’ Skraggly down properly. Here’s how it all went down…
You may have heard a quip or two about the schizophrenic nature of Rocky Mountain weather during the spring months (and snow on the 4th of July). If nothing else, I’m sure you are conjuring images of naked skiers with big grins and see-through skin underneath shiny-blue skies. The reality here in our first year is that after planting our garden too soon on exactly March 20th, the Sahalee Off Grid weather station recorded a high of 76 and low of 19 for the month of April (on the 18th and the 5th, respectively), we battled hail earlier this week, and it’s snowing as I write this! The week before that, we unexpectedly encountered the fallout of Spring’s moody temperament while on the road to visit family in Montrose, CO for the holiday.
Making the move from suburban Florida to rural New Mexico was meant to satisfy several wants and needs. One of the main objectives for starting a homestead from scratch was to live without the financial burden of paying a mortgage or facing the temptation to keep up with the Jones’ and live a life of pure convenience.
As we were wandering around the hardware store last summer we came across this AcuRite Weather Center (model 00615). We weren’t in the market for a weather station but it was on sale and as we walked the store getting the things we came for we convinced ourselves that we just couldn’t live off-grid without this particular weather station right now… Long story short we were the proud new owners of this piece of technology.
This is a 3 in 1 model, it measures; temperature/humidity (inside and out), wind speed and barometric pressure. The kit comes with a display unit and the 3 in 1 sensor that is mounted outside in a location of your choice. The display unit houses loads of good information as seen below and even has trending arrows for outside temp/humidity and pressure as well as a bottom scroller that you can adjust to flash the info that is most important to you.
The 3 in 1 sensor was very easy to install, and certainly seems like it would be easy to install in numerous locations. It is really the work horse as it wirelessly transmits all the data to the display unit inside. The instruction manual says to keep the display unit and sensor within 330 feet of each other and I think we are certainly at that limit and operating fine.
While this a great product overall and we are certainly happy we did make the decision to buy it. We have identified a few opportunities for improvement…
1. It has a “future forecast” feature in which it “predicts” near term weather using the trending temperatures and barometric pressure. We are doing better licking our finger and sticking it out the door to create our forecasts than this weather center does.
2. We think it needs a backlight on the Display Unit. It would probably be better if we didn’t know it was 45mph winds at 1:00 in the morning but dangit we still feel we should be able to if we want to.
3. You lose your historical data when you change the batteries in the Display Unit. Simple solution is to just write it down if you are interested in saving it, wish I would have thought about that before I changed the batteries. 🙂
It’s important to understand that we weren’t shopping for a weather station so we just got one on the spur of the moment… If we had been shopping for one, it’s pretty likely that we could have found one that would have solved problems 2 and 3 at least…These are very minor flaws for us, we definitely feel like we made the right decision on this purchase. While we may upgrade to a more robust weather station in the future we think this was a great start and was Worth the Cash!
Our first winter season at Sahalee is now officially under our belts!! We learned just recently that we had a few family members bet that we wouldn’t make it (we’ll save the names for a more opportune time). Pretty sure there were even more skeptics out there, but we’re happy to report that we found ourselves on the right side of the wood pile for the winter of 16/17! Not to say that it was all pretty (and the mild weather may have gone easy on us), but we learned a lot and definitely feel a sense of accomplishment.
We got very lucky and were gifted two attachments for our power tool batteries that turn them into multi-port USB Chargers. We will do a review-of our Makita tools in the near future, but for now I just want to tell you about our experience with this neat little attachment.
There’s not really much to say, the attachment slides right onto the battery. It has two USB ports so you can charge multiple devices at the same time. My favorite feature is the dust/dirt cover that seals the USB ports when not in use. I truly don’t understand why more items of this nature (cell phones, chargers etc..) don’t have this feature as fighting the Sahalee Mud Monster is a constant struggle!!
We have several other USB Chargers, that we will review down the road but this one is our go to source for our evening lighting and charging devices. Not only are we huge fans of something so simple as a dust cover but the cordless power tool batteries just charge so quick. This saves us from draining our solar power source or from running the generator, which we hate to do.
What’s that? You own Dewalt or Milwaukee tools or another brand that is not Makita? Don’t fret, Makita is not alone in having this handy attachment just follow this link and search your brand to get one for yourself!!
So, even though it wasn’t our cash– We absolutely believe this attachment is Worth the Cash!
So it’s been about eight months. Carey and I are starting to settle into our day to day routine and Radar loves doing her hourly perimeter checks. After this time we are truly starting to get a good feel for how all the items we spent our hard earned dollars on would fare once they got continued heavy use to include making it through most of the winter. Now it’s time to let the world know, did we make wise purchases on the gear that we would come to depend on or have we whiffed completely. Maybe a little of both. Let’s find out, are these items “Worth the Cash or To the Trash”!!
Our first contestant on “Worth the Cash or To the Trash” is my pair of Danner Boots. I chose to go with the Danner East Ridge 8 inch boot for a few different reasons.
If anyone is pondering their fitness goals for the new year, I can honestly say that nothing works as well as moving off-grid. Before we had a chance to hit the scales during our visit with the Colorado fam for Thanksgiving, we could only guess at how much weight we had lost since moving to the mountains in June.