Off the Grid Living and Blogging!

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I just thought that I would show everyone how I am publishing this blog right now while we are off the grid.

Since we have no electricity on the property we are using a tablet and wireless satellite thing to get onto the internet. Not really sure how that works but it does.

As night falls the kiddos head to bed and we get a few hours of quiet time that consists of planning and working out the next days work. When that is done I sit down to write at a flimsy card table with 1920’s Rayo Kerosene lamp and a tablet that does lot of weird things.

It definitely makes things interesting as the sounds from outside come in, the Rayo Lamp radiates heat on my face, and the tablet randomly does whatever it wants as I type.

Since leaving our home and coming out here I have felt very much at odds with technology. From the get go when we were packing up after selling our house, we started having problems with our modern machines. One truck had electrical problems that caused run issues, while the other had its muffler blow up and leaf spring break.

The day we got here to our homestead, our four wheeler decided that it no longer wanted to run despite having less then 100 hours on it. Our lawn mower would not start to clear a spot for our tent, and when as a back up we tried the year old Echo weed wacker, it failed to run as well.

Soon after that both our laptops died within a day of each other for no apparent reason followed by our small 12vdc to 120vac inverter.

So all that to say that I am struggling with the fact that I question keeping the technology in our life as it seems like the more we lose these things the better off we are for it. It simplifies things while removing some of the stress of an already very stressful situation.

We supposedly have this technology to make life more simple, but what it really does is complicate things and cause stress where it is not needed. It has been freeing in a lot of ways and I am kind of nervous about having a house where these things might creep back in. Granted if we have electricity it will be via solar, and our water will still come from a hand pump well, but living simply in tents on our property has stripped away much of what modern society has imposed on us and it really feels pretty good.

Belongings are starting to lose their importance to me and I do not fear the loss of what I have. That was my biggest fear leaving our old house. I had worked and saved for so long to build the machine shop I had always wanted. For nearly ten months before leaving I stressed out so much about what I was going to do to move and store the equipment that needed fork lifts and semi trailers to move.

Now tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment is sitting in a storage over a thousand miles away and the stress and anxieties associated with this “Stuff” is gone completely. Do I want to have it back and build a shop to put it in and use again? Of course, but if I never see it again…….., well, whatever. That sounds really bizarre to read after writing it, but things are changing for me. My focus if redirecting and my priority’s are changing.

Interesting don’t you think. All that because I was going to post one picture of my blogging set up . I suppose I will do that now.

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There you have it. I started this as a short post and got all lost in thought about a simple lifestyle decluttered of stuff and technology. We can build a better future with less and I intend to prove that. Stick with me and lets see where we go from here.

Take care — Dave

On Our Homestead!

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I just wanted to do an update to let everyone know what is happening.

We made it up to our property in northern Minnesota back in the middle of July. We spent 6 weeks camping on the property in a tent with our two small children while we got all the permits and so forth filed and approved for building.

Then my father and brother came up and spent about two and a half weeks helping me get the place framed up and dried in. We did everything from the concrete up ourselves.

I would like to have posted a few blog posts during that time but living in a tent with a small child and baby did not give me much time to do it, let alone the ability while living without electricity or so forth.

For the past week we having been in the cabin shell and working to get things ready for the winter. There is so much work to be done and the temp’s have been getting below freezing at night already. Without insulation it has been in the low 40’s in the cabin which is hard with the kids.

I am going to break down the cabin building process into several parts and try to catch up to where we are now. I am working on that series of post right now and should start getting them up this week.

For now here is a picture of our story and a half 16×28′ cabin we are building on our 40 acres.

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This is just the beginning and we hope to have a small scale organic farm set up in the next few years. There is going to be a lot of exciting things coming up in the new few years so keep watching and follow us on our journey to a more sustainable and hands on lifestyle.

Dave

P.S. – If anyone is interested I am typing this on a tablet sitting at a card table using an old Rayo oil lamp as light. I tried uploading a picture but this old tablet is extremely frustrating and nothing seems to be working right. Plus I am trying to get this thing to work over a spotty wireless space connection.

Sold Our Home!!

Well we just put our house on the market yesterday and had a showing today and already entered into a contract to sell it. I was hoping for a little more time to sell it and get ready to move but it is good we are selling it. I am surprised that it sold in one day of being on the market. That is cool though.

So now the journey really begins. We have to get packing and work towards getting out to our land. This is going to make getting there a little harder since we will not have gotten a temporary building put up yet out at our property. I guess we will be living in a tent for a little while this summer. That wont be the first time, but it will be the first time with kids.

Whoo, I am feeling a little amped at the moment. Things are moving a little quicker than I thought they would. Time to get into high gear and finally make this happen.

I will give updates to let everyone know how things are going. I probably wont be doing any other kinds of post other than a quick update here and there because things are going to be crazy. My biggest concern is moving my machine shop. That will be fun!! :-0

I will post more later.

Dave

Still Here

Just a quick update to let all of you know that I am still here and alive. Life has been pretty busy and my blog has taken a back seat because of it.

We had a new baby this December and have been working to get the house ready to put on the market. We are hoping that the house will sell early summer and then we can move out to out property. The realtor seems confidant that the house will sell pretty easily so that is good.

I have a number of projects that I have documented with photos, I just need to get around to working on the written end of things. So don’t lose hope, I am still here and will be posting new content hopefully soon.

Thanks for your support.

Dave

Wooden Tool Chest

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Hey everyone. For some time I have been thinking about making a wooden tool chest.

There are three plans that I am looking at building. In order from easy to more difficult we have the following chests.

Woodsmith — Grandpa’s Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 22″W x10″D x 8.5″H

Made by MichaelT77 on Lumberjocks

Woodsmith plans from Issue 161 — Traditional Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 33″W x17″D x 15″H

Made by Bob Wolak

Roy Underhill’s Joiner’s Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 31.5″W x16.5″D x ?”H (His plan shows 1/4 tall?)

Made by Bob Rozaieski from Logan Cabinet Shop

The main thing I have not made a decision about is the size of chest I would like. I do not want something huge, nor do I want a tiny chest either. The reason I want to build a tool chest is to transport my woodworking tools when we move out to our homestead this summer. It will also give me a way to store my tools and easily access them when we are working on building a shop and house.

I am leaning towards the Traditional Tool Chest from issue 161 of the Woodsmith magazine. I like the overall design and look, and it seems to be a decent size. I am also contemplating skipping dovetail joints and going with box joints or just a simple rabbet joint as in the Woodsmith plans. I like the idea of the dovetail joints, but skipping them would save quite a bit of time and still give me a serviceable tool chest. Besides, I have seen plenty of tests comparing the strength of dovetail joints against box joints and the box joints tend to slightly edge out the dovetail joints in strength.

This is going to be a user chest not a piece of furniture and will end up getting beat up in the move and on the homestead. When I have the time I can then make another chest that is more elegant. I think cutting all the dovetails by hand would a be a fun exercise, but I would never get it done right now if I went that route.

I am open for advice on building a tool chest. What have you guys built? How did you build it? Has it served you well and if you were to make another one what would you do differently?

Thanks,
Dave