Tag Archives: fireplace

Update on the Greenhouse

Work has been non-stop, as much as possible anyway. As so often in the case with the off-grid lifestyle money is always an issue. The work that needs to be done often is limited by the materials you have at hand. In my case a bit of health issues never helps. I am happy to say though, seeds are in the ground.

The creeping fear we just wouldn’t be able to get it going this fall was alleviated when we got the stove into place.

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We got enough of the Gabion wall in place enough to get it in and the chimney up. The stove had been int he little Cabin but was simply too big for the space. That meant to make it hot enough to keep the chimney clean the house became an oven even with the windows and doors open.  It was a great day when the first fire was built.

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James painting the top boards for the back wall. Vent fans will go into these come spring.

The back wall, had to be closed in. Even though there has been next to no snow the temps here have stayed below freezing and the ground freezes early up this high. The extra panels, a few tarps and an promise of ongoing effort to deal with cold air leaks all winter we had to put a halt tot he rock work.

The fire place section us in and the nest nine foot segment of base wall was done.

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the section north of the fireplace, mid build. The 15 gallon pots still visible.

Even before the back wall had it temporary paneling put up James and I got to putting in beds and moving all the craft, art, and home school extras to the greenhouse. The ground here is nothing but rock. Putting soil directly down would simply wash down and away forever. Using a layer approach is the only hope to keep the soil in place without using completely sealed boxes. The hope is the cardboard and straw add enough fiver to the base layer to help bind the soil and prevent erosion.

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James at work layering cardboard, straw and top soil in on the the ground beds

last week the first seeds went into the soil. Its a little cool in there at night but all the plants going in are cool weather and hopefully will pop out of the ground any day. Snow peas, spinach, kale, and garlic are in.

A friend gave me a few heritage potatoes and squash that had been forgotten on the edge of his garden to throw in and see what happened. We’ll see if the join the party.

This week was spent clearing more of the the mountain side and thus adding to the wood pile but we had time to get up some of the gutter gardens and get them planted as well.

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The gutter, though a bit warped I picked up at the Restore in Missoula for under $20. I love that place. Nearly all of the building material I have used has come from there. Some I have had to buy new, some small amount has been donated, some collected from clean up jobs, but the Restore is a massive asset to the area. Reusing material takes patience and conviction. Most people have access to planers and routers to clean and trim down their reused lumber but off-grid that just isn’t really an option.

This morning with snow on the ground, and the house a bit chilled I went out pre-coffee to check on the greenhouse. It was by far warmer than the house. The larger stove was stacked up before bed and still had embers. A few logs and handful of paper garbage and the fire came back up to life. Coffee in hand Thor and I went on back out to sit by the fire and enjoy the quiet of the first real snow of the year.

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Dark by 5:30

This morning the thermometer was stuck a 0, a bit chilly if nothing else. Snow came down in tiny flakes making a wintery view, like a post card in motion, out the windows. The morning was beautiful.  I sipped my coffee and watched winter settled in over the mountain. It seemed at that point I would get a lot done.

As soon as coffee gone, the work day began with a few hours at the Buddhist Retreat further up the mountain.  Then, fighting with the chain saws, (neither would start) and a debate with a generator that refused too stay running.  Too many pull cords for me today.  A lot of effort gained no reward, but there will be days like that. Walking away I headed down the mountain and spent  the rest of the daylight hours were spent helping put up more of the skirting on the 5th wheel.

Soaked from kneeling and sitting on the frozen and snowy ground, my knees hurt as much as my shoulders from yanking on pull cords earlier, I headed back up the cabin. Its cold and the sun is down by 5:30.  Tonight the sky dark with clouds so it felt like a rather long hike.

When I got home though the fire place is glowing with deep embers and its warm!  Gloriously warm! OZ (my son) has kept the fire going all day and has a bowl of soup ready for me.  The Dishes are done and the plants are waters.  I love my little cabin and what an amazing boy I have.

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We trek back down, to get online, he has a blog to post as his writing assignment for the day, and I think I’ll post one as well.  Then we are headed back up the warm little cabin to play games… Magic the Gathering or Kingdom Builders?  Perhaps we will opt to read one of the several books we have open and take turns reading out loud from.