Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday musings

I thought that as a farmer, I was pretty well tuned in to seasons of the old agrarian calendar. Life off-grid has taken me deeper into what I imagine the "old ways" were really like. I felt a little of the burdens of Winter ease away on December 21st, Winter Solstice, as it meant the shortest days would be behind me. This past week there's been more daylight later into early evening to do chores by. We even had two sunny days in a row. Well, one mostly sunny, one partly sunny. As we approach the end of January, I'm looking forward to February 2nd, Ground Hog Day, or Imbolc. Imbolc is a "festival of candles and light". Some traditions honor the Celtic goddess Brighid, guardian of hearth and home.  Whether  February 2nd is Ground Hog Day or Imbolc for you, it marks the half-way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, this year March 20th. I feel some far off distant knowing that Winter Solstice and upcoming Imbolc, were little milestones of achievement to our ancestors as I've recently discovered they are now to me. While being off-grid has left me feeling more vulnerable to the elements, I also feel more deeply connected, like I've got my ear to the chest of Earth, rising and falling with every breath and thumping of it's heart. Still, I'll shed more of my Winter worries on February 2nd as I would imagine those who were before us did.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter on steroids

Super cold. Three fires a day. Running out of firewood. Need chocolate.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What the f* Evergreen?!

Dear F*ing Evergreen,

You're lucky I already have my panels. What are you doing taking Massachusetts taxpayer money and investing it in another country and laying off US workers? Go f* your greedy SOB selves.

Rebecca Naylor

Dear US Government and State of Massachusetts Government,

Why are you so f*ing stupid?

Sick of you truly,
Rebecca Naylor

Here's part of the article:

Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China

New York Times
January 14, 2011

BEIJING — Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government
of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar
emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels
in the United States. But now the company is closing its main American
factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production
to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen
cited the much higher government support available in China. The factory
closing in Devens, Mass., which Evergreen announced earlier this week, has set
off political recriminations and finger-pointing in Massachusetts. And it
comes just as President Hu Jintao of China is scheduled for a state visit next
week to Washington, where the agenda is likely to include tensions between
the United States and China over trade and energy policy. The Obama
administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade
rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the
manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products. While a few
types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade
agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports —
something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has
strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules

For the rest of the article: Evergreen screws America

Just in case you have trouble with the link, you can cut and paste:

It's not rocket science US government. You can just follow the leaders. Canada and Germany.

Here's what Canada's up to:

The Canadian province of Ontario has launched a clean energy strategy to
maximize economic development while reducing pollution. A new report from the Institute for
Local Self-Reliance, details how Ontario's bold clean energy program - in just
over a year - has resulted in the promise of 43,000 clean energy jobs in
support of 5,000 MW of clean energy projects.

The centerpiece of Ontario's program is a long term contract for renewable
energy developers with a guaranteed return on investment. To qualify for
a contract, developers must source 60 percent of their project's value from
inside the province.

"The rule effectively means that no solar or wind project built in Ontario
can obtain a contract without having some components manufactured
locally," notes John Farrell, ILSR Senior Researcher and report author.

This domestic content or "buy local" rule has spurred a fast-growing
renewable energy industry in the province, with over 20 new manufacturing plants
proposed and scheduled to open in the next two years.

"The buy local provision in Ontario creates a simple, comprehensive
economic development strategy for renewable energy that is in stark contrast with
the complexity of clean energy programs and incentives utilized in the
United States," observes Farrell.

ILSR's report estimates a cost per job created of $143,000 for the Ontario
program, a cost comparable to or below non-energy related job subsidy
programs in the United States and significantly less than some recent clean
energy job creation efforts.

"A U.S. state adopting the Ontario strategy would almost certainly see a
much lower job creation costs than what's estimated for Ontario because of
our stronger renewable energy resources and higher electricity prices,"
remarks Farrell. "For example, Colorado's solar resource alone would allow it
to provide solar developers a similar return on investment at a 33% lower
price for power and its higher retail electricity price would further reduce
the marginal costs of the program and the resulting jobs."

The full report from ILSR - is available on ILSR's New Rules Project website, For more information,
contact author John Farrell at or 612-379-3815.

As for Germany, I don't remember all the details or sources and right now I'm not in the mood to blog, but Germany made a 10 year plan to "solarize" which they accomplished.

We are going to end up a third world country. It just keeps trickling down, doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What is my f*ing problem?

 Brrrr, baby, brrrr. The mercury is bottoming out up here in the UP. Wind is scheduled to come blowing through at a turbine cranking 10-15 mph with gusts as high as 25 mph. The Husband keeps telling me that we can fix our drafty a$$ problem. It's the worst in the loft. And that may actually be where all the draft is coming from that I feel when I'm on the main level. Notice in the picture, there's the insulation (paper backing that you see), then there's the blue board, then there's the drywall. The drywall job was so hideous we either had to take it down and redo or cover it up. We covered it up with cedar tongue and groove. Now here's what I'm wondering.

Below we see the tongue and groove is installed on the ceiling. This photo also shows before the knee walls were covered up. Now, there is a large access door that I can peek inside of the knee-wall on this side of the loft. There is insulation (again, you see the paper backing). That's it. There is no blue board and no drywall to stop the draft. Now, there is what I'm going to call vent proper. It's that styrofoam channel stapled to the underside of the roof under the insulation. I know from rooting around that it's there. However, I am guessing that the air is just coming in from the soffits and coming into the kneewalls and then through the walls right into the cabin because there's nothing, no blue board and/or drywall, to stop it from doing so.

 Seem like that's not a big deal? Just finish installing the blue board, finish the ceiling with the drywall on the ceiling and we'll be golden, draft-free, warm and efficient. Green and happy. Right? Yeah, right after I tear all this apart. 

But wait, there's more.

That's right. I wanted a nice place to put my clothes and linens, hence the wooden bottom, back, and top. I did not want to have to retrieve lost sock mates from the eaves. I was told that the drywall on the ceiling would be finished before they put the tongue and groove up. That did not happen here. The Husband and I stuck a mirror in here and saw that the blue board and drywall weren't there. These doors are usually blocked by furniture otherwise they blow open. It is super cold in there. My clothes are cold when I pull them out. 

Hindsight is 20/20. I could have f*ed this up like this myself. I wish I could have waited until after The Husband was retired to move and we could have just muddled through and physically built/remodeled the cabin ourselves. But, I really needed to move and get away from all the chemicals they were spraying on the fields adjacent to us. Remember, they already sprayed me and my crops. We were both worried about the cats too. The day our hay and I got hit, the fog reached the cat's outdoor pen. There was also a guy that did crop dusting in the area too. The last time he flew over the neighbor's crops he kept buzzing my horse who was in the pasture. This guy is lucky he didn't drive my horse through the fence and out onto the highway. I told my husband that the guy was unnecessarily dangerous and an ass. He did not have to fly over our place. There was an empty field that he could have turned around over. A week later the guy was lucky to walk away after he crashed into someone's barn. Thankfully, at least all that isn't my problem anymore. I've just got a little too much fresh air in the wrong spots now.

Not Alone in the Trenches After All

Now we're talking/blogging off-gridders and future off-gridders. We've got a fellow off-gridder hanging out with us. Horray! Here's a comment I received in response to my From the Off-grid Trenches post. Excellent information that we can all use so I want to share it up front here.

From offgridcabin: "We've been using our generator quite frequently in the winter as well. We're on the line of the lake effect snow, ten miles to the South and there is sun. My Dad looked up the specifications on our Honda EU 3000 and found out that on "eco-throttle" we run at about 750 Watts, so when we charge our batteries before going to bed we'll cut the generator the instant we get to float, or if we're really sharp, just before float so we don't throwout any extra watts - plus in the evening we'll run about 250-300 watts between lights and TV so in the end we waste very little gas (other than AC to DC charging losses). During extended stays we re-gen every 3 days.

I've also been researching wind power and hope to post something on it soon."

Also, be sure to add offgridcabin to your list of blogs to follow. A father and son have built an off-grid cabin in the woods, also in the UP. Looks like they've been working super hard as their place is beautiful. They've got a real nice system going too. Good example for researching and putting a system together. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow, snow, and more snow

Snow to infinity and beyond. Yep, pretty much snows everyday, all day. Ebony In Charge of Everything (left) and Brandi Jewel, one of the Jewel sisters (right) just hanging out at The Secret Cabin. 

Close up of Brandi Jewel, one of the Jewel Sisters. Brandi and her sister, Charlene Jewel are kleptomaniacs. They steal things and hide them. One time, The Husband and I were woke from a sound sleep by what sounded like a body being dragged up the stairs. It was Brandi Jewel coming up the stairs backwards dragging a faux sheepskin duster. Usually, their stash includes small things like a couple of bracelets, milk rings and lids, twisty-ties, an actual cat toy or two, and dragonfly wings. Never a dull moment. Thank goodness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

From the Off-Grid Trenches

Oooo, a box. Let's peek inside.

Behold! Twelve Concorde PVX-9150T 2V(each) 915 (total) Ah batteries wired into a 24V bank
sitting in a Radiant Solar Technologies battery enclosure
We set our box on a piece of insulation to insulate it from the concrete floor.

Okay, it's time to get serious. The Husband and I are knee deep in snow, firewood, gas cans for the generator and wind turbine research. We were talking about how it would have been nice to talk to someone living off-grid for "the rest of the story." Yes, there are numerous articles in magazines. Magazines that have paying advertisers advertising solar and wind systems and services. The articles are positive and polite which is a good start. We've been to seminars and workshops. Again, put on by individuals selling systems and services. Again, information that's much needed but only scratches the surface. A few years ago, we visited the one home in our area (Northern Ohio at the time) that was on The Solar Tour. This particular home had a wind turbine with a few batteries but they were grid-tied and did not rely much on the power they were generating. In fact, they were dumping the power. Dumping power! Horrors! The home was owned by a builder that was touting green building. Everyone selling something any more puts a green spin on it but I wonder how many people really know what off-grid living is like. No one, emphasis no one, was either able, because they weren't living off-grid or they considered it impolite, I don't know which, to really tell us what it is like to actually live off-grid. At one point in our building process, The Husband looked at me and said, "I hope this stuff really works." Shit. Let's all pause for a minute while our blood that has just run cold returns to normal and our face is no longer flush. Okay. Steady knees. Breathe. So, here's the dirty, naked truth: It does work. Is it easy? No. Is it perfect? No. We knew going into this that there was a very real possibility of having to make adjustments. What we started with is just that--a start. We knew we would need to add wind but we weren't ready to financially commit to anything that is on the market. We've been observing. Both our weather and the wind industry. The Husband wants a system that will tie into our existing system without frying our batteries. Batteries are a HUGE investment. Batteries are why people stay grid-tied and buy power at retail in the off-months. We are running the generator waaay more than we want to. While I'm happy with our generator, a Honda EU6500i, it's heavy. When I'm here by myself (along with the ferocious feLIONs and the Lady Smith, least you have any diabolic plans to overthrow my reign as Princess of The Secret Cabin or anything else evil. I don't know if I even need the Lady Smith with the biceps I'm building) hauling the generator out is not one of my favorite things. It's on par with moving hogs around. I can handle it though as I once held a mean 300+ pound sow at bay by the ear. I know. It impressed all the other farmers witnessing this incredible feat too. I use this move on The Husband sometimes. It's very effective. So we're running the generator more than we wanted to, using fossil fuels, and killing soldiers. Unacceptable. If I could go Jeep-less and tractor-less, I would. I'm trying to figure out how. I want more hot water. No, I refuse to go the propane or natural gas route. Besides, what are they going to do? Drop propane off a cargo plane? Here's your propane. BAM! Oops. No, at this point, I'm not paying the electric company to bring electric back 3/4 of mile. That would darned near pay for the turbine. I've heard talk in town. Obscene whispers of $200 a month electric bills. Two-f*ing-OMG-hundred dollars a month for electric. Cripes! I'd sit in the dark before I paid that. And you want to know the bare naked truth, some times I do sit in the dark. If it's 9:00 at night and the system is down to 24.2 or 24.1 volts, I put the fires in the heaters, light a candle, call it ambience and listen to the silence. Lowers the blood pressure as long as I don't think about contractors. If I can't sit in silence, I can read books on my iPad. More naked, off-grid living truth: we threw the breaker for the fridge off. The frig is, gasp, a major energy sucker. True. We don't have the heat running to the front porch so the front porch is my frig. If I need something kept frozen, I set it on the top step right outside the porch door. It's not pretty and there's something about it that feels uncivilized but it's working. They don't tell you that stuff in the advertisements, articles, or workshops. You need to know so you can plan what will work for you---plan what to start with, what to add next, budgeting, how you're going to live in the meantime and between time. The other thing they either can't or don't tell you is how amazing it is despite the work and, more gasping only this time more intensely almost causing a choking accident, inconvenience. I'm not sure what it is but when I figure it out, I'll let you know, but there is something about making your own power.... It reminds me of the first time we fed hay we grew by the sweat of our own brows to Diesel. We worked so hard. It's like Life is on steroids. Everything from the bale springing open after the sharp "snip" of the wire cutters, the fragrance becoming more intense in your nose as you remember how you worked all night until 6 am to beat the's like everything is more sharply focused....Life turned up on high, wheeeee with an exclamation point. Several. Yeah, living off-grid is Life on high. Wheeeee!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Icicles, Insulation, and Isolation

This time this is actually my fault. This is exactly where I pulled a piece of insulation out to put in the bathroom exhaust fan. It is also exactly where I have yet to replace the insulation. I need another set of hands to avoid donning an itchy, pink fiberglass cocoon. The Husband is on his way here and this is on the top of the list. 

Yesterday, on my way in from the barn. I stopped and just stood there for a few minutes. It was so quiet. At first, I heard nothing. No wind, no animals, no people. Nothing. I could hear and feel the quiet never ending expanse of space spiraling out away from me for what seemed to be infinity. I could hear myself breathe. I could actually breathe deeply and expand my rib cage as far as my lungs wanted to push because there was all this space. There have been a few comments regarding how isolated we are. This completely befuddles me. I have neighbors right at the road. I can't see them but they are there. The comments have been made so often now The Husband asks me, "You don't feel too isolated, do you?" Um, I'm a weird, creative person that society has no use for now that I'm a woman past my second decade and I don't earn a paycheck outside the home in an occupation deemed worthy by said society. I'm invisible. I've been invisible all my life with the exception of when I had an 1100 pound horse by my side in the show ring and men stared at me when I was in my 20's/early 30's. Even then no one saw me. I get the comment all the time, "Sorry, I didn't see you there." It's like my Romulan cloaking device is always stuck on. Right now, I prefer this isolation. This quiet space. I need this quiet space. I don't clear the driveway unless I need groceries more than I need quiet space. And then, when I'm in town, I can't get out fast enough. There are contractors everywhere. You couldn't swing a 2x4 and not hit about half a dozen of them. Hey, a girl can fantasize. So, for now I welcome what others consider isolation. Besides, I much prefer the more exceptional company of our feLIONs. 


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Well, that's kinda scary

We're in the middle of a WINTER STORM. The wind drove tiny, stinging arrows of snow into my face and stole my breath on my way to the barn last night. I couldn't tell that I had cleared the driveway just a day ago. It was actually kind of scary. The Garden Shed is nice and toasty. On that note, I need to go put another fire out there for the feLIONs. More tiny, stinging arrows of snow in the face. Do I get some kind of Winter Merit Badge, like a Girl Scout, after my first, full Winter in the Keweenaw?

Friday, January 7, 2011

This just in from The Dept. of Wind

The Husband is the Head of The Department of Wind. At least in our little world. I look forward to several, romantic candle-lit dinners discussing the pros and cons of Bergey and Kestrel wind turbines. Because you probably weren't cc'd on this:

The Kestrel e300i is on my radar, and it may shove the Bergey XL.1 out of first place.  Here is a recent news blerb:

Kestrel turbines performed flawlessly during one of the highest wind speed storms experienced in recent years here on the West coast of Ireland"
Most of the wind turbine suppliers in Ireland had phoned their customers to brake their turbines before the storm to prevent damage. This was not necessary with the Kestrel turbines due primarily to the rugged design and blade pitch control. 
Two Kestrel e400i 3KW wind turbines installed here in the West of Ireland continued to produce their maximum power output of 3.2KW throughout a really severe recent storm with incredible gusting of 112 mph (180km/h) recorded by an anemometer mounted on one of the Kestrel masts.
As one would expect at such high wind speeds, the mast swayed significantly in this wind but both Kestrels maintained their blade pitch shift and maximum output with no problems whatsoever when most of the installed small turbines in Ireland had been braked to avoid any damage when this storm was forecast.
Following this storm, many phone calls and messages were sent to the website reporting dramatic blade fractures and in one case, a blade from a fixed blade furling turbine had shed a blade that was found some 250 metres away. The Kestrel e400i’s were observed to be in complete control throughout the storm.
Len Jones and Sean Thompson
Irish PV and Wind

The Husband further states:

I love their tower.  It looks VERY durable & easy to lower. Instead of dropping the complete tower, they just drop part of it.  Seems much much safer.  Plus no vehicle needed.  Kestrel is a division of Eveready, believe it or not.  The turbines are made in South Africa instead of China.  Kestrel's reputation is actually on par, if not better, than Bergey.  They are both considered very very reputable, but the Bergey is best known for the Excel turbine, which is 10,000 watts (the Bergey model we are looking at is 1000 watts).  Kestrel is best known for their 800 watt to 3000 watt turbines.  Both turbines would be very good.

Well, there you have it. Aren't you just swooning? Important Wife note/clarification: That's either turbine would be good. We aren't getting both. No matter how romantic the candle-lit dinner. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Off-Grid Living

Schew-y. It's The Secret Cabin Super Shape Up Plan. Bob and Jillian, of Biggest Loser fame, have nothing on off-grid living. I make roughly six fires a day. That includes the fires in the Garden Shed. I move any where from 100 to 150 pounds of firewood a day. That's up a flight of stairs. I figure by the end of Winter, I'll be able to really throw a punch or wrestle a mere man to the ground, tie him up, and hang him from the meat hooks on my Jeep. I'm just saying. We store the feLION supplies in the cabin so I'm always hauling bags of food, litter, and water to the Garden Shed. I scoop litter boxes twice a day. I walk down to the barn twice a day to take care of Diesel, Pumpkin, and the birds. That's a 400 foot trek each way. Sometimes through knee high drifts. I have to break ice out of all the buckets in the barn and refill twice a day. Beating on the buckets usually raises my spirits. I monitor the solar system, haul out the generator, fill it with gas, run it, and put it back away.

I have had to use our squeegee on a giant pole to clear the solar panels a few times so far this Winter.  I refer to that as my "Shuffleboard on the Aloha deck" activity. I keep an eye on the weather forecast and if something nasty is on it's way, I'll make sure I've got food for me. We've got another month's worth of groceries for the animals stashed. I usually run the tractor and clear the driveway once a week and go into town for groceries and to rent a movie or two to watch on my laptop. No TV right now. It's still at the other house. I'm not sure we'd get any reception or not. I wash a load of clothes every few days. I usually time it with running the generator and on a day I don't need a shower. Even though I wash laundry in cold/cold, the wash machine requires the cold water be 55 degrees so it will pull some hot water out of the boiler dropping the temperature in the boiler by 2 or 3 degrees. Usually, even if I run the wash machine, the boiler is still hot enough for a hot shower. Of course, when you wash laundry, you dry laundry. Here's my "dryer". It's set on high in this photo. You can kind of make it more up right to save floor space. I refer to that as the low setting.

I clean the cabin and collapse in a chair in front of the fire the remaining five minutes of my day. But remember, I still do nothing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I've changed my mind

Banner "borrowed" from

Woman's prerogative. I miss The Husband. Soon, he will be home for holiday (vacation) for a few weeks. I will allow him to take me dinner, buy me not one but two Thimbleberry Margarita's, convince me that The Secret Cabin can be fixed (heads up Lonnie, LR Contracting), and charm me into my approval for the wind turbine. Once sober (yes, two will do it), he will have to assure me each time the wind blows through the cabin that it can be fixed and everything will be warm and efficient and okay on Planet Bheki. Of course, more margaritas will be necessary when we have to do the stupid paperwork and pay the stupid fees for nothing but guff to the building department. The Husband will then have to distract me with some tasks, no doubtlessly involving my skill on the tractor while he deals with the building department. Also in The Husband's efforts to maintain his wife's freedom (as in not being thrown in jail for, I don't know, smacking men I think are stupid/useless, for instance, hypothetical, of course), I will be put in charge of Project Wind Turbine Installation. I will have to educate myself on what it takes to actually raise the tower. I've heard that it can be done with a tractor. I'll have to look into that. I don't want another excavating incident. I know that I want Lonnie, LR Contracting for the foundation. The foundation for the tower is very specific. I also want Wayne, Hanson Electric for the electrical. Of course, The Husband will handle the controller, software, and integrating it all with the solar system. Until then, I will temporarily postpone selling everything and living out of my back pack.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Well, at least somebody's warm

Hi. My name is Sophie. I'm not coming out as it's 75 degrees and NO drafts in my Garden Shed. Kitty Hugs and Purrs to Roger of Bob's Sheet Metal for the wood stove installation and Lonnie and the talented crew at LR Contracting for the solid, draft-free building. These contractors have received the Catnip -Tuna Party Award of Excellence issued by The Naylor-Kohler Exceptional feLIONs. (This is the highest award achievable by mankind. Other than those involved in this building, only those rescuing cats and kittens from perilous situations have been awarded this honor. Yeah, that big. According to the feLIONs.) Sorry Mike and Bheki, feLIONs only-get your own draft-free building.

Sigh. The Garden Shed. Sophie's right. Simple, but solid. Warm and draft-free. Cheaper than the damn cabin. Lots cheaper. Went up in a blink of an eye. The guys were even nice to me.

The wind has calmed down today so the hurricane force winds have died down in the cabin too.

Bigger sigh. If we didn't have the cats I'd sell EVERY f'ing thing except my backpack and live out of it. I wouldn't even buy an RV. Or a tent. I hate tents anyway. They have a habit of getting blown across the campgrounds with me still in them. If you've got anything to sell. Forget about it. I'm not buying anything. I'm disgusted. My poor Husband is putting together all the information for the wind turbine. I've got a big, red crayon I can write a big NO across his findings. That's if I don't lose my temper and shred the information with my bare hands. I'll be damned if I'm going to put one more penny or one more ounce of my efforts into this place. I'm certainly not paying for any more damn building permits and site visits and listening to anyone's stupid little rules only to end up with the furthest thing from energy efficient. And you know what? It's all my fault. That's right. The one that doesn't wear the tool belt. I got blamed for everything from forgetting to double up the main support under the cabin before setting the cabin back down on the foundation (Oh, yeah, I was hiding it in my purse just because I thought it would be cool to say I once hid a 28 foot glue-lam in my purse) to holding up the job by not making timely decisions. You know the one where I told them no how many times? When I'd had enough of a contractor and fire them, they'd whine that they were going to tell the building inspector on me. Things that make you go hmmm? For the garden shed, I caught a rash of crap too when I tried to apply as a home owner for a permit to do the work myself. "What are YOU going to do?" So I hired LR Contracting. Even though I hired a local contractor, I did start the excavation work myself. I accidentally killed a rat. I didn't see him, but still I felt bad. That was the end of my excavating career. Lonnie is quite the gentleman in my opinion as he did NOT make fun of my excavating attempt. I made a straight outline but the more I went too deep in one area and tried to fix that, the worse things got. I'm fairly certain if I drove my Jeep through there at about 45 mph, I could have rivaled the General Lee in the opening scene of The Dukes of Hazard.

Getting back to my disgust regarding the cabin, I'd like to know how a building with wind blowing through it meets code. By the way, Dudenas Contracting has been in trouble before for "quality issues". Would have been nice to have been given that information BEFORE they f'd up my cabin and took all our money. Boys Club. Maybe if everyone stopped giving this woman a rash a crap, paid at least as much attention to what they were doing as they were talking about their latest bear or fish or whatever animal they bagged or hooked or whatever, maybe I'd have the energy efficient, off-grid cabin that I wanted and paid for. 

Speaking of money, all offers considered. 80 acres with a drafty-@ss off-grid cabin, 30 x 60 pole barn, and a 20 x 30 toasty, draft-free garden shed. Might, depending on my mood that day, consider trade for land that is NOT under zoning/building department jurisdiction. Prefer deserted island. I did not work my @ss off all my life for this. Unless they changed the weather predictions, the wind is supposed to start up again tomorrow. Brace for impact. Or bribe the feLIONs with some tuna.