The Shed is Almost Finished

Hi Everyone! We have been very busy out here in St. David. Brian has been working hard on finishing the shed. He was going to install the doors today but it’s been raining non-stop. We are hoping this is the end of the rainy season.

The “garage in a box” has housed most of our belongings but it’s beginning to wear and rip. We will be able to move things into the shed probably in the next week. It’s just finding time to do it!

We have had one problem after another. Not sure if I can count them all.

New hot water heater had to be installed.
Ants have gotten into the RV 4 or 5 times. We have tried many different things and we think we got em licked!

My tooth got an infection, had to have it removed. Now I’m getting an implant and they had to do a bone graft. Not fun!!

Our daughter’s car was wrecked and on the way to help her our car overheated. On the way back from Phoenix it overheated again. We made it to Tucson and found we need a new radiator.

Just found another leak in the RV. Water coming in where they installed the new water heater.

Mice have found their way into the small shed and garage in a box. Not surprised. I don’t want to kill them because we moved into their home. I want to seal it so they can’t get in. We will attempt that when the big shed is finished.

Meanwhile, I have been trimming trees and trimming bushes and placing all of the branches in cracks that are opening up and eroding the land when it rains. It has been hot, sweaty, backbreaking work, and you know, we are still lovin it out here!

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The weather is a little cooler than in Phoenix and Tucson. Just the small town feel is really awesome.

We also have made it to 1,100 subscribers on YouTube and are very close to being able to make a little money on there. They put ads at the beginning and end of your video and when people watch we will get a small amount. Hopefully it will add up since we don’t have real jobs, we are going to need this income. We need more people watching our videos! It’s watch time we need to get there. We have enough subscribers just need people to watch for longer.

Many thanks to those of you who are suffering through some that weren’t the most exciting. As we get better at making videos, hopefully they will be more fun and entertaining to watch.

The next project will be adding more panels to our solar system. Stay tuned!

Thanks y’all!!!

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Big Shed

Hello everyone! I know it has been a while and I have been very bad about keeping up with the blog. I don’t get much feedback from the blog so I feel like I just forget about it most of the time.

If you follow the videos you may know that we moved our smaller shed and are building a larger shed. We have a garage in a box that we have our stuff in right now but we are in the middle of monsoon season and the garage is in danger of blowing away at any time. Not to mention that it has mice crawling around inside of it.

The monsoon rains have held off quite a bit this year. We haven’t had that much rain compared to last year. Brian got all of the materials and he already has the floor and walls done on the shed. He is in the process of starting the roof now but yesterday was challenging and it was also really really hot. We found out that our hot water heater has been leaking and there is a big wet spot in the middle of the RV on the carpet. It took us a while to find the source of the leak. Now it has started to smell in here. We have googled and looked up things on the Internet and can’t figure out what we should do. We called an RV repair place and they cannot get here until Monday. That means it’s going to be really smelly in here because that is three days away. And the hits just keep on coming. LOL

There are some days that I wish that we could just go back to a regular life. Then there are some days where I am working outside in the morning and it’s really cool and the sun is just coming up and it is so beautiful. I like working on projects and getting them accomplished. I feel really good about myself and so does Brian. Most of the time that is.

There are good days and bad days but it has been more good days. We are still having a lot of fun.

Everything will be ok.

We Moved Our Shed

Summer is upon us and it is getting very hot. It is still pretty cool in the mornings which is nice though.

Our old shed hasn’t been very good. Meaning it leaks when it rains and mice have found a home there. They set up camp in our leather recliners and pooped and peed all over the place. I managed to get the recliners clean though. Glad we discovered this early. We had a heck of a time moving all the stuff out.

Water was coming in at the bottom when it rained because Brian didn’t really know what he was doing at that time. Since then he has learned a lot and the new shed is going to be a big improvement.

He made a new base for the shed in a different area and we had five of our friends come over and we all picked up the shed at the same time and walked over to the new base/location. I am so thankful that we have such good friends/neighbors and live in a community where people are ready and willing to lend a hand whenever you need it. Even if it’s on short notice like this was. I really appreciate the help of Bill, Yvonne, Taylor, Melissa, and Doug. Thank you guys so much!

Brian is going to build the new bigger shed where the old shed was. The old shed was a shed in a box and it’s metal. The new shed is going to be all wood and it will be much better. At least that is what we are hoping Lol!

We are going to wait until after the monsoon season to even consider starting to build a house. We are still planning on doing straw bale.

Slow-going Off-grid

Hard to believe it’s June already! Time is flying by and monsoons are gonna be upon us before we know it.

Seems almost all our time has been spent building erosion control projects. Also trimming trees on our property. There are about 10 fairly large, and 7 or so smaller mesquite trees. We are using the branches to fill in cracks in the wash. Hopefully this will help save our land that could potentially wash away.

We had planned to do another strawbale workshop but that has been canceled.

We went to Pennsylvania for a couple weeks. Spent time with Brian’s Dad, Mom, brother plus nieces and nephews. Had a great time. Lots of laughs.

We went to something called an escape room. I had never heard of this. It was really cool and fun! There are different options but we chose the “magic” one. It was Harry Houdini based. Lots of great and creepy decorations. You have to solve different puzzles and things to make your way out.
It was an hour long and went by very fast. We worked together to figure out everything. We made it out with 3 minutes to spare!

We also went to St Vincent’s college where Brian went to school. Just explored the grounds. Its a catholic school and has really old buildings and a cemetery on the grounds. I love cemeteries. Just a fascinating and interesting place that I hope to stay above ground on. Lol

I couldn’t get over how green everything was since it doesn’t rain very much here it’s not very green and we don’t really get to experience the rain very often. It was pretty cool to see rain storms. I didn’t like the thunder and lightning though.

We ate a lot during those 2 weeks and both gained about 10 pounds. I’m trying to get back into my workout routine. It’s difficult to do everything before it gets too hot. Doing our best to get back on track.

Our RV toilet has a seal leak so Brian is trying to get that repair done as we speak.

We are thinking of building a shed out of wood because it will be quick and simple. We have to get our things out of the shed that is out there because rain leaks in and also mice have found their way in and are trying to chew up our recliners! Grrrr

Meanwhile, our neighbors are working very hard and are getting a lot accomplished. I’m very happy to have them here. They are very inspiring to us and help us out when we need it. They will probably be building their straw bale home in October and we will get to help them and get experience.

They have already built a shed (for solar equipment) out of straw bale and it is so incredible. I really love it and I can’t wait to have a home someday that is similar.

I hope you guys will tune in to our YouTube videos. Check out what’s going on because it’s hard for me to remember to do the blog. LOL

Until next time!

Straw bale workshop and Tires

Hello everyone! I hope you aren’t battling allergies like I am. LOL. I love the spring weather but I don’t love having the itchy throat and eyes and waking up and sneezing 100 times in a row. 😂

We went to a straw bale workshop a couple of weeks ago. Overall I would say it was great and we learned a lot. However it was a little crowded and a bit chaotic.
Bill and Athena Steen have been putting on this workshop for about 30 years now and I doubt that I have to worry about them reading this, but I guess I expected or hoped it would be a little more organized. I’m still very glad we did it, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that we are the type of people who like organization. 😄

We arrived around five in the afternoon and set up a tent. We met people as they arrived. That evening we all gathered in the living room and went around the room and individually introduced ourselves. There were 16 people in all. We went to bed that night and I swear I did not sleep a wink. It was really cold and windy and I had accidentally left my earplugs in the car. The next day I saw Athena and I mentioned to her that I had been cold at night. She said there’s a little house down the road and it doesn’t have plumbing yet but you are welcome to stay in it. It is one of the straw bale structures that is on their property. We took our stuff and slept in the loft on a futon cushion that was up there.
There was no heat but because it was a straw bale building, it was totally warm inside. I slept a lot better the next two nights there. I am very grateful to Athena for letting us stay in that building.
The first day we were there we had to start assembling bales for a temporary structure. They assemble and then take it down again to be reused. It was crowded and I had no idea what to do. The straw particles and straw dust was flying everywhere. Face protection is a definite must.
On the second day we met a couple who had already built their own straw bale house. Chad and Tiffany. It turns out they live about 30 minutes from us and they also said that they would like to help us when we build our house. I hope they really mean it because we will take them up on that. LOL We exchanged numbers and they invited us to dinner for next week.

On the last day of the workshop we helped a young couple who are in the process of building their house out of straw bale. They were working on adding earthen plaster to the inside and outside. Athena showed us how to make big batches of the earth plaster (clay, sand, straw and water). I never really understood how to plaster it onto the walls correctly or was able to do it well. Brian had the same problem. I just felt like there were so many people jumping in and doing it and there was really no room. So I just stood back and watched. I feel like people probably thought I was lazy or something but I really just didn’t know what to do. I need someone to tell me what to do. That’s just me. I need someone to tell me what they’re doing and explain to me what you’re doing while you’re doing it. It was strange. I didn’t like that last day much at all. But I did see some wild turkeys running around and we saw lots of deer.

Since we have been back we have been workin on getting tires into the big cracks on our land. Some of it is past our property but will eventually meet our land. I hope this will work. It is a lot of WORK! It’s a great workout though!

Brian and I also built a raised bed garden. It is still empty at this moment because I am waiting until I learn a little bit more about planting. I don’t want to plant a bunch of stuff and then have it die. We put a cover over the top with chicken wire so animals won’t be able to get to it. We are making a video of that as well.

Hopefully we can get to 1000 subscribers on YouTube soon.
We are close with 900 at this time. I’m not sure if people know we hope to make money from YouTube eventually. We can only achieve that by having people watching.
Doug? Are you watching our videos? Lol. We have to have 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 hours of watch time in order to get paid for ads on YouTube. The amount we will be paid will be very little but at least it is something. We don’t have jobs so every penny counts. LOL

For May we have a trip planned for Pennsylvania where Brian’s family live. We haven’t been back in about 10 years. Looking forward to that.

Hopefully we can visit Texas in September to visit my family. We haven’t been in a while. I miss them terribly plus my Dad is 85. I want to see him while he’s still around.

In July we will attend another strawbale workshop. Until then we got plenty to keep us busy! Thanks y’all!

Hiking the Grand Canyon

The South Kaibab Trail of the Grand Canyon is supposed to be the best but least traveled. On the first day of our hike this is the trail we followed. It descends 4,820 feet to the bottom. It is very steep with very little shade. It is 7.5 miles to the Bright Angel campground where we stayed two nights.

Craig, Nicki, Brian, and I each had a backpack weighing 17 to 30 pounds. Mine was the least, weighing 17 pounds and Craigs weighed 30 pounds. They have a little weigh station where you can see how much it weighs before you take off.

When we started off We all felt great. I was very excited and felt like I could conquer the world. But the constant downward motion wears on your feet and knees. After a while it starts to hurt tremendously. Pretty soon every muscle in your body is just crying out in pain. There is no turning back though. All you can do is take a break and continue forward. The hard part is knowing that you’re holding everyone else back. Ha ha! Fortunately, the scenery is just spectacular and out of this world beautiful! We took a lot of breaks. You keep telling yourself I am going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! It’s just unreal.

We got to the campground and set up tents and sleeping bags then set out to make our dinner.

We had these bags of dehydrated food and Craig had something called a jet boil. He would boil water and we would pour in to our bag of food and stir it up and it becomes like a meal. It wasn’t bad at least on the first day. After two days it was getting pretty old. LOL It’s something like army rations I believe. My favorite was chicken and dumplings.

We had to completely empty out our backpacks into a lock box, then hang the backpack on a tall hook. You cannot have anything scented in your tent either. Apparently the squirrels have gotten smart and figured out how to get into peoples backpacks for food. It makes it a real pain because then you have to pack everything back up in the morning. We had to do that at each site. Squirrels are not afraid of you here. They come after you! Lol

The second day getting up was pretty hard since my legs and feet were very sore. I wasn’t alone though and misery loves company! We all got up and had oatmeal and did some stretching exercises to loosen up and then hiked to a place called Ribbon Falls following the Bright Angel trail. It’s 6 1/2 miles to the falls, 13 miles round trip. It was really a spectacular sight.

You are so deep in the middle of the Grand Canyon and the walls are just towering around you. It is just unbelievable. The scenery is breathtaking the whole way and in every direction. It didn’t even seem like 6 1/2 miles, (13 miles round trip)and went very fast. The aching muscles and soreness eased up. We had to cross a river and that was somewhat difficult but we made it. Then we could see the falls in the distance. It is very narrow and that is why they call it ribbon Falls. It is surrounded by greenery and moss. I wish I had better words to describe it.

We had started out at 10:00 in the morning and didn’t get back until 7:30 in the evening We were exhausted but it was worth it.

Day 3 we wake up and start the 5 mile hike to Indian Garden campground. This is following the bright angel trail heading back up the very steep inclines, working our way back up to the top. It was very shady at Indian Gardens and cool. Craig, Nicki, and Brian, decided to do a sunset hike that’s 3 miles round-trip called Plateau Point. I just did not have the energy and stayed behind and did stretching exercises and relaxed which was really nice. They were gone until after dark and had to use their headlamps to find their way back. It was pretty chilly at night, every night and I don’t think any of us really slept all that well.

Day four we wake up and all of us are very sore except for Brian who said he could’ve done it again with no problem and I wanted to punch him. 😆

While waiting for everyone to get ready I saw 3 deer very close up. That was an amazing experience!

We start off to begin the 4 1/2 long miles to get to the very top on the bright angel trail.

It really is a mental struggle. Plus the added weight of the pack you are carrying. You have to keep telling yourself I can do this. Really there is no other choice because it’s keep going or a helicopter is going to have to rescue you.

There were times when pack mules passed by. (I got some footage that will be in the video.) A long line of people on mules and then another line of mules carrying their belongings. The mules were very sweaty. I felt sorry for them but Craig said they treat them well. I hope he is right.

I would go as far as I could until I felt like my heart would explode and all of my muscles in my legs and feet hurting so bad. I couldn’t take it and then I would stop and rest. They were letting me lead the way because of course I am the slowest. I am also the oldest!

As we get closer to the top there are more and more people because all of the tourists come down from the top a little bit and then turn around and go back. It is also a lot colder at the top.

As you near the end you feel like it’s going to never end but you keep pushing forward. Finally, we make it! We were all very excited. I had to use the bathroom very badly and it turns out some of the bathrooms were out of order so the lines were extremely long. I was getting cramps in my legs and my stomach and a couple of people ask me if I was OK. I told them that I had just hiked about 30 miles over the past few days. Then it seemed like everyone wanted to let me go in front of them. I think they felt sorry for me because I looked like a homeless person ( or because I hadn’t showered in four days!). It made me feel good that there are still nice people in the world.

All in all it was an excellent trip. I can say for sure that this was a one time thing that I will not do again. I am glad I did it but it was just too painful. We got some pretty good footage and plan on making a video. Of course It can’t compare to seeing it for yourself.

I will forever be in awe of the Grand Canyon. I will never forget it, that’s for sure!

Now it’s time to get to work on things here at home. I am so glad to be home !!!