Ready for Winter and a string of bad luck

These past few months have been full of various trials with our vehicles. Our cars have reached that age in which we have to choose to repair them or sell them. It seems like nothing is going right, but despite all that has happened, I am grateful for my wife, son, our homestead, and the life we have.

May you find some time today to enjoy the people and home you are thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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.

Electric Chainsaw Work in the Forest (For prepper’s?)

I am using dyed diesel instead of gasoline to cut trees in the woods. The Winco tractor generator helps power my electric chainsaw. I wanted to see if it was possible to gather firewood with an electric chainsaw, and it was. However, I have found it more feasible to use the gas powered chainsaw to cut logs to length and then use the thumb on the tractor to bring the logs to the woodshed and use the electric chainsaw to buck the wood there.


The reason why is the Winco tractor generator trailer has a difficult time backing up in the woods.  If I was to do it all over again, I would possibly prefer a carry all attachment versus a trailer.  I found that a 12 gauge, 100 ft. cord worked just fine and I did a single wrap around the generator to prevent me from pulling it loose.  I didn’t trip over the cord because I was focused on not doing so, but I did find that the cord could easily get caught up in the branches.

Why a cord over a battery pack?  Here’s my reason why; a battery powered chainsaw has about 20 -30 minutes of life before it needs to be recharged.  When gathering firewood, I spend hours cutting it; I don’t have time to hike back to the house and charge my batteries every 20-30 minutes for an hour and half of down time.  These battery operated chainsaws are for quick hedge or limb work, not gathering 4 cords of firewood. The plug-in will operate indefinitely as long as it has a power source.  I used the Winco PTO generator to see if I could collect wood beyond the reach of my home’s power.  It worked, and it did really well.

Why for prepper’s? I remember attending a living sustainability shows, many preppers would attend as well, and the wood gathering “fear” was their chainsaw would not operate if gasoline was rationed.  I wanted to prove that a person does not have to resort to hand powered crosscut saws to buck firewood.  In desperate times when the tractor is down, a person could use an axe or crosscut saw to bring a tree down, and hopefully, use a beast of burden to drag it out of the woods and buck in place at the solar powered off grid home using an electric chainsaw.

Thanks for following us at Living a Sustainable Dream and supporting what we do here.

Breakfast a labor of love

Our wood cook stove is truly the heart of the home during the winter.  It heats the home, cooks our food, and heats the home’s domestic hot water.  Thanks for joining us on this quick video on us cooking breakfast on the wood cook stove, a true labor of love.

If you have never cooked on a wood cook stove before there really is nothing to it. The firebox is on the left side of the stove under the bacon pan. The egg pan is in the middle of the stove, but cozied up to the area in which the stove pipe leaves the stove for more heat.  The french press coffee is keeping warm on the right side of stove over the oven box.  The surface of the wood cook stove top is like an electrical stove burner for a conventional electric stove, except for the entire surface is hot to some degree.  The electric burner has a high, medium, and low temp setting.  The wood cook stove also has these settings. The difference with a wood stove is the high setting is over the firebox. The medium setting is in the middle of the stove and the low or simmer setting is above the oven on the far right side of the stove.

If you have a wood stove and not a wood cook stove, you could easily cook on the top of it during a power outage.  The only differences between a wood cook stove and a regular wood stove for heating the home is the top surface does not have a medium and low setting for heat.  Ways to adjust cooking heat on a wood cook stove is to damper the wood stove down or you could place fire bricks on top or use a medal trivet with legs to remove pans or pots from the surface to create a lower or warmer setting for cooking.  Wood stoves are great during a power outage because it could be used for heat as well as cooking and boiling water for tea, coffee, or sterilization.

When we lived on the Oregon coast, we had many power outages.  During these days of no electricity, we would cook on the top of our wood stove often.  Anything you cook on the top of an electric burner can be done on a regular wood stove with just a little more effort and planning.

Snowplow Success!

This is my final post on the snowplow this year.  It has been a battle with the carburetor, battery and electrical system, as well as a replacement of the entire pump and motor assembly.  I am happy to say the snowplow truck functioned the entire season without a major break down unlike the 1st and 2nd season of ownership.  I was not only able to plow our quarter of a mile easement, but also the lower portion of the private maintained road we live on.  I was able to add a third plow truck to the road and ease the burden on the 2 gentlemen who have maintained it, one for the past 20 years and the other for the past 10.

For the first time, my wife and I did not have to rely on the kindness of our neighbors or Craftsman snow thrower to be able to leave the property after a major snow storm.  It still takes about 3 -4 hours to clean up our property, driveway, easement, and road using the snowplow. On the plus side, I’m able to sit in the warm cab of the truck listening to music as I run the course, which is far better than walking behind a snow blower for a 1/4 of a mile.


In this episode, I hook up the plow to the mount on the truck and also remove the old hydraulic fluid from the power angling cylinders.  I discuss some of the issues we’ve had with the plow truck that I haven’t shared before, and  I celebrate by using it during one of our snow storms.

One thing not mentioned is that our area is having the warmest January on record.  When we first moved here eight years ago, a typical high in January was in the single digits, now we are seeing 40 degrees F easy on most days.  This warm system has caused much havoc on melting snow and slush on the back roads.  If we didn’t have the plow truck running this year, we would be in serious trouble getting in and out of the property.  Our 4×4 Suburban on worst days, gets me out to work, but without the plow truck I could even have issues on high melts days if the road was not at least cleared.  If you are thinking about locating in snow country, you need to consider your snow removal system and cheap these days does not equate effective.  So, if you have a plow truck you know exactly what I am talking about, and if you don’t, you should before you buy one.  And, if you don’t live in snow, count your blessings and enjoy our adventures.

Did I forget to mention the plow truck’s oil leak?