Autumn in North Idaho

My wife and I were blessed to take a date day and see autumn in it’s full glory.  No plans, just drive and see where it would take us.  We followed the trees to my favorite spot in downtown Sandpoint.  The colors were brilliant, the sky crystal blue and the lake pristine.  Here’s a video of the trip, edited to music and mellow.  If you didn’t get a chance to experience fall.  You can experience fall in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Enjoy the simple things in life.

Bucking Challenge: Electric v. Gas

I have wanted an electric chainsaw for a few years now, and when I was asked by my wife and son what I wanted for Father’s Day, I went with the Oregon CS1500.  The Oregon electric plugin chainsaw was one of the few chainsaws left out there that doesn’t use batteries.  I did not want a battery-operated chainsaw because who wants to wait an hour to recharge to work 20 minutes then wait another hour to recharge for another 20 minutes of work.  With the plugin, I can plug directly into my solar powered home and begin bucking wood for free, minus the need for bar oil.

In the video, I created a split screen and put myself side by side to make it appear I was racing myself in the challenge.  The Stihl was not warmed up, and had a slow start.  The Oregon electric just started and ran when I pulled the on trigger; however, it did not have the power the Stihl had.

I believe the electric chainsaw is a great option during the summer months when the solar panels create a lot of extra power.  Not having to buy gas or perform engine maintenance also helps with the decision to have one.  When looking at the cost, the MS 311 Stihl is $499.00 while the Oregon CS1500 was advertised at $99.00.  I will keep my Stihl for the deep forest work of collecting of firewood, but I will try and use my lighter Oregon electric whenever I can.

Will I drag the electric chainsaw into the forest connected to my tractor’s PTO generator?  I have thought about giving it a run just to see how it would perform, but the idea of hauling all the video equipment out to film it, doesn’t seem appealing when I want to just get the work done.  “The Bucking Challenge” video I created took an entire Saturday morning and afternoon to film and about another 10 hours of editing.

Where does this Off Grid Family Vacation?

Where does this off grid family vacation? Since we have lived off grid, our vacation of choice, camping, has diminished.  We generally decide to use AirBnB or hotel it, but camping only in a desperate situation. This year our vacation included my wife’s folks. We decided last year to unravel the mysterious raves about a place we never heard of before, Medora, North Dakota.

Medora Musical after the show on a beautiful summer’s eve.

My wife and her mother planned the trip with the Medora Musical as the central focal point of our visit and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park as the bonus for making such a journey across Montana.  Plus, the entrance to the park is also in Medora, ND.

We made it to the Medora Music despite great adversity.

However, this vacation has a twist or let’s just say a major wrench thrown into the mix.  Stay tuned for more updates from a smart phone, not a computer.



Cistern Pump Quick Change

When the pump failed, I knew I had to change it before I left for work.  If I left the house before changing the cistern pump, my family would be without water for the day.  Unless they hand bucketed it from the cistern.  This was an early morning emergency that turned out well considering.

Behind the Scenes: We have been very busy lately, and I can honestly say I am really needing a break.  Jury duty has been aloof as my number was missed by 6 spots this week.  However, the last week in March, I am sure to be called up unless no trial is scheduled.  My son’s basketball season has come to a close and we now have our Saturdays back, but from the exhaustive week and fighting a cold, this Saturday will most likely be a day to relax and regroup.

Our business has slowed down, and we are retooling and getting geared up for the show/late spring and summer season.  YouTube an avenue/platform we are trying to use to help create some business exposure has been a demoralizing task after we lost any possibility of monetizing even though we chose not to monetize in the first place.  After a little bit of research, we noticed channels that still can monetize are promoted more by YouTube suggested videos watch, which means our exposure has been stifled. Not sure what to do.  Thinking of taking a hiatus from the channel, but I hate admitting defeat.

Thanks for your participation in our blog.  Let us know some of the daunting tasks you are facing right now in the comments below.

Snow Throwing the Roof & Wife’s Surprise

Our derelict cabin left by the original owners of our property has been slowly disintegrating with each winter.  One section almost collapsed, and in the past, I did a video in which I hand shoveled the roof to prevent the cabins creaking demise.  It was hard work, and I couldn’t physically do it again without wreaking havoc to my body.  We bought the smallest and cheapest snow thrower to get the job done.

I cannot emphasize the importance on knowing how to create the correct pitch roof for the trusses and the span that the home is designed.  We had our trusses for our home professionally engineered and delivered to our home site.  The company used a crane to place them on top of the walls, and we walked them to the correct location and nailed them in place.  We designed a 6/12 roof pitch to easily shed snow during the winter and give us the most peace of mind.  What I will do for the barn shop this summer is still in the air.  I have not decided as of yet if I will build the trusses myself or if I will hire it out.

When I finished snow throwing the roof of the derelict cabin.  My body was still pretty beat, but to my surprise my wife had been baking a special dish for me.  The  surprise my wife made for us is located at time index 06:22 in the video.

To learn how to start a stalled snow thrower without pulling the starter cord to the point of feeling your arm fall off, See time index: 04:30

Thanks for following our journey as we battle the elements in snow country.  We are still many inches of white slushy snow before we will see dirt again, but from what I hear, spring is just around the corner, somewhere.

Cleaning the Wood Cook Stove Surface

This week I am demonstrating how to clean a stainless steel wood cook stove surface.  Many of you probably do not have a wood cook stove in your homes. This still may relate to you if you are considering purchasing a wood stove to have a backup heat and cooking source.

I have created a playlist on maintenance for cleaning a wood cook stove. After the several years of owning it, I have resorted to cleaning the stove during my vacations from school.  I usually clean it once during Christmas break, and again during or near spring break in which it is the last burn for the season. As far as cleaning the surface, I have only cleaned it once in the 6 years we have owned it. I probably would have gone longer if it weren’t for requests asking for a demonstration from YouTube.

I can honestly say I love having a wood cook stove.  The cleaning of it is not really that much effort when you consider the stove does not consume electricity or gas to heat the home, cook the food, or heat the water.  If it wasn’t for its versatility in our home during the winter, I would probably not use it much because of the need to gather firewood.  Gathering firewood is a chore.

We hope you enjoy the video.  We are making changes to our YouTube channel to accept our permanent demonetization and we’ll keep you posted on it soon.

Christmas Eve… Enjoy the Moments

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone.  This is truly a blessed day at Living a Sustainable Dream.  We are blessed to have both our parents visit for the Christmas Holiday.  My son gets to know both sets of his grandparents on his Ma and Pa’s side.  When I was his age, I was not so blessed.  I only got to know my grandmother on my father’s side.  My other grandparents had already passed on.

Today, we prepared virgin Tom & Jerry batter for everyone.  We enjoy mixing the batter into our morning coffee.  Our friends a few years ago introduced us to the Tom and Jerry drink and being fans of the eggnog latte’s for years during the holiday season the batter has become a traditional hit for us.

If you would like to access how to make a Tom and Jerry, watch our YouTube video

Today, we are going to church this morning to celebrate Christmas with our parents.  Both our parents have been married over 50 years, so my wife and I are humbled when we think how marriages can last in the culture of today. Tonight, we will attend the Christmas Eve service at church, our son is one of the Magi in the play.  We saw a pre-performance last week and he did great.  We are so proud of him and both my wife and I were choked up during the performance.  We are becoming a family.

In the midst of a world full of problems, my wife and I decided to take moments to be joyful and thankful for what we have.  Even if the moments are only few minutes or seconds, just seeing the metaphorical sun through the parting clouds is enough. May you have a Merry Christmas today and find the moments that you can look back on with joy.  If nothing comes to mind, this is the evening we celebrate a baby being born and placed into a manger because there was no room in the inn.  A baby who would change the world and asked that we love our neighbor and even more importantly love our enemies by turning the other cheek.