Breaking Ground

We are planning a trip out to the ranch to break ground on a 14′ x 14′ cabin, the weekend of Feb 23rd. We were going to do it the weekend of the 9th, but the footing forms we’re going to use for the concrete piers won’t be here until the 12th or so. And Allison’s going to be in Oregon the weekend of the 15th. So, the 23rd it is!

We’re going to be using concrete pier forms made by Bigfoot Systems. On top of those, we’ll be using cardboard concrete forms called sonotubes. I’ll be posting videos of our progress.

In case you don’t follow our FB page, I announced a few days ago of our change of plans for the property. We were going to move there for 1 year to see what it’s like to live off the grid in a permanent state.¬†We’ve been thinking long and hard about that decision and we’ve decided to cancel our 1 year sabbatical from the grid. We have lots of reasons (as you can imagine), but the chief one being we’re just now settling into our new community. Just didn’t seem like the reward was worth the sacrifice at this particular time in our lives

The good news is, we’re STILL going to build a small cabin on the property and we’re still going to outfit it for living so that in the event we do have to high tail it for our own safety, we’ll have a place to go and more importantly, a place to LIVE, that is off the grid and sustainable on it’s own.

So, the purpose of this blog hasn’t changed. We’re still going to chronicle what it takes to build a cabin and set up off grid living. It’s just that we won’t be residing full time at the property for a year as we had previously planned.

So I hope you’ll stick with us and see what it takes to do all this.

You Had Me at Chickens!

Post from Allison…

Once Daniel and I realized that the cabin plan could really work, we had to talk about it with the kids. We asked Haley (our oldest), “What do you think about building a cabin on our property and living in it for a year?”. She thought about it for a minute and said “OK”. Not really enthusiastic, but not negative either. Then we started talking about how we would live off the land as much as we could, including having a few chickens. From that point on she turned off her music, pulled out her headphones and she was all in. “CHICKENS????? I CAN HAVE CHICKENS????” She was hooked. I guess the move to Arizona last year would have been easier for her if only we had promised some chickens in the deal!

Zoe was a little less interested, but she followed Haley’s lead and warmed up to the idea the more they talked about the chickens. In the following 3 days we added a goat and some bunnies to the mix. The bunnies are for pets, not for food. We learned our lesson in Oregon that bunnies don’t belong in a suburban garage, so while we live out at the cabin we agreed the girls could each have a bunny or two. For Zoe it was sweetening the pot and it worked.

For the rest of our trip this move was pretty much the only topic of conversation. The kids loved talking about their bedroom (they want to share), looking at the spot on the land that we’ve picked for the cabin, discussing chicken coops and bunny food and hikes with Phinny. One morning at breakfast I reviewed all of the things we’d done this summer: day-long pool parties with friends, a trip to Oregon, several summer camps, a trip with the cousins and several trips to the property. I asked both Haley and Zoe to name their favorite part of the summer- the activity that they’d like to do more of next time. Both of them named the trips to the property as their favorite parts of the summer. Later that day I snapped the picture of the girls (above) at our Holey Cave near the top of our property and texted it to my mom. She responded that they both looked so content. I guess there’s just something about the place that feels good for all of us.

PS: In case you are wondering, here are the names they have chosen for the animals so far: GOAT: Tony Stark; CHICKENS: Mrs Doubtfire, Pepper Pots, Mr. Clucks, Mrs Clucks, Mrs Marvel; BUNNIES: Nemo, Om Nom. All of these are subject to change as we see more movies in the next year, I guess. Frankly I’m surprised we haven’t named something Katy Perry yet.