Merry “White” Christmas and a Happy New Year

Engine sputtering. Truck rattling. Snow falling... It's time to get the job done.

Engine sputtering. Truck rattling. Snow falling… It’s time to get the job done.

After the Thanksgiving  Holiday, my wife and I were beginning to look at the muddy ground and wondered if purchasing a snow plow truck was a wise decision.  It wasn’t until December 19th that I began to realize the extent that I would use our snow plow.  By the twenty-first, I was plowing the driveway, easement, and lower portion of our road at least once each day until Christmas Eve. It was a beautiful white Christmas.  The snow weighed down the bows of each tree, like a Currier and Ives Christmas card.  The full moon on Christmas lit the forest in a white reflective light so bright I thought the solar panels may wake from their sleep mode, sadly they didn’t.

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The beautiful finish… The view of the end of our quarter of a mile easement and driveway. Before the plow truck, I used to walk behind my 28″ Craftsman Snow Blower.

Even though the days were filled with snow plowing, we also took the time to enjoy sledding the hill on the freshly plowed road, had a few snow ball fights, and warmed up in the house to the warm flame of the wood cook stove while having Apple Cider, Tom and Jerry’s with coffee, and watching the Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Listening to the sweet sounds of Christmas... Our iPod is connected to a single battery operated speaker that is portable throughout the home and even the radioless plow truck.

Listening to the sweet sounds of Christmas… Our iPod is connected to a single battery operated speaker that is portable throughout the home and even the radio-less plow truck.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we Skyped our parents and families.  We also went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at our church. During our in between moments, we took some  time and  enjoyed the Christmas music from the iPod on a new Vivitar battery powered speaker system we purchased from Staples.

On Christmas Day, we invited our neighbors over for homemade split pea soup, bread, salad, and some fellowship.  Our neighbors proceeded to tell us they  were without power for several hours earlier, being off grid this was news to us.  Also, a special thanks to our neighbor for teaching me how to even operate my snow plow truck.  It takes quite a bit  ingenuity and forethought than just pushing snow into a pile, and my neighbor provided a few lessons to get me started.

This New Year’s Eve morning we pull-started a stubborn generator to life  for the last charge of the year 2015.  The generator had to be coaxed with starting fluid sprayed directly into the carburetor.  It was 17 degrees Fahrenheit outside and a slow start for any motor.  The generator has been used a dozen times this year, the most it has ever been needed since the installation of the solar panels.  I would credit the extra usage to  several factors.  First, our small business, Pauper’s Candle Company has received many orders for the Holidays and many candles had to be made. Second, our well pump is fully automated and is turned on by a float switch.  I no longer have to open the cistern and look directly in to see how much water is available and when it needs to be filled.  The cistern is filled when the float switch drops to a certain level in the cistern; this means the well pump turns on more often than desired during a solar shortage. Lastly, we are now a family of three.  More demands are made upon the electrical system to accommodate us all.  When reviewing the increase use of the generator; it is not very sustainable.  However, all the reasons for an increase in power usage this year brings joy to my heart, so a few extra gallons of gas were used this year. Next year, we may have to invest in a few more panels or wind turbine to off set the increase usage, or purchase a more efficient generator, but until then, it is a happy new year.

7 thoughts on “Merry “White” Christmas and a Happy New Year

  1. A. You are not going to convince me that snow is pretty.
    B. 17 Fahrenheit is way too cold. It’s 45 here and I want to escape.
    C. Wait! How do you get internet if you live off the grid? Isn’t that medieval?

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    • A. It’s beautiful when you’re not in it.
      B. Global warming is in N. Idaho because it should be negative 17 right now.
      C. Broadband and 24 trees chainsawed down for connectivity. Firewood a plenty for this winter and Internet too; it’s a win-win.
      D. Miss afternoon lunch after the Tillamook Farmers’ Market with you. It was much warmer then. Good times.

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  2. I always enjoy your updates so much. The snow looks so beautiful, but the Temp’s don’t sound as beautiful.. (Haha) You never cease to amaze me, with how you get along so well, living off the grid. I admire You and Krista so much, I don’t think I could do it. I love the snow, but just for a few day’s, not MONTHS of it. The “Snow-plow truck: looks to be a necessary, and a great purchase!
    Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous, New Year.
    Love to all three of you.
    Aunt Dawn and Bruce

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    • This lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But, there are moments of peace, relaxation and having fun. After plowing on the 23rd, we had a fire in the fire pit outside just for fun while the snow fell gently around us in the quiet. Today I went cross country skiing on my acreage, came inside to watch the Neverending Story with my son, play a little Uno, and now I typing to you while my son is looking at my wedding pictures and planning his very distant future wedding before dinner.

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