Walls are going up…

Today’s project is putting up our wall covering.  We helped my twin brother construct a new fence in trade for his old fencing material, or as we call it, new walls!

We came home with multiple bundles of “cleaned” fence pickets.

Cleaning them requires using a rip saw to remove the top and bottom of the pickets and then using a sawzall to cut the nails holding the center slat.  We obtained about 5 bundles!This morning after breakfast we began attaching them to the wall.  We used a miter saw to cut them to length (about 4ft each) and then to cut the angles against the stairs.To attach them we used a small, fine-finish nail gun.  It took most of the day to get them up and then trimmed-but it went smoothly and the results are fabulous!We chose used fence pickets because we like the look-old wood always has interesting marks, holes, bug damage and often human damage as well. (Note the pellets in the wood below…inserted there many years ago by my nephew and his pellet gun.)Additionally-it’s always great to re-use materials. They are often free, very cheap or easy to trade for and their use follows the trend of most of what we have built and will continue to build.

Next project on deck:  finish the bricks behind the stove and put up the used tin behind both the gas and wood stoves.

Updates soon!


I’m not sure I ever told the story of the dog that has appeared in so many posts.  His name is Happy Jo Jensen-Happy for short-and he came to us in October of 2014 as a free agent of the high plains…

I had left for work one day and half way there remembered I had left some borrowed art supplies and decided to turn around and come back.  When I arrived at our house I saw a strange black and white dog roaming around.  I was wary of him (never know about country dogs) and told him to go on-which he did, sort of.

That evening we were sitting in the tool shed after dark and the same black and white country dog walked in and sat down on my husband’s feet.  As my husband tells it, the dog told him his name, Happy Jo Jensen, and that he was now his dog.

I was dubious (that is my job after all) and said I’m not sure about keeping this one.  My husband said well, we’ll just see if he hangs around-not invite him in the gate or anything…Not only did he hang around, the next day when I came home he was in my fence.  Apparently he climbed the woodpile and hopped in.  When I got onto him for being in the yard, he promptly jumped back over the fence.  Oh yeesh. 

One thing led to another and suddenly I’m ordering dewormer online and he’s sleeping on the floor on my husband’s side of the bed.  Yeah, he was a part of the family and I totally fell in love with him and wanted him to STAY in the yard.  I told my husband, if he stays in the yard, we can keep him and keep him safe.  My husband argued against it saying, “Happy came to us a free man, and he will leave and not come back some day, the same free man.”  

I didn’t like that one bit, but trying to keep him in the yard risked him hanging himself trying to get out.  So we built him a launch pad in both sides of the fence so he could maintain his free agent status, coming and going as he pleased.

The result was that Happy kept very close watch on our house and land and kept all the coyotes, bob cats, porcupines and every other critter imaginable a safe distance out.  

Every time we would drive up the road he would busy himself making sure our path was clear and all was safe before we got out of our vehicle.   Once out he would greet us with great, loving enthusiasm.

When I ran on our roads, Happy ran with me.  When we worked around the place he stayed close, keeping an eye on us.  Anytime we ventured out to use the restroom at night, he waited patiently beside the outhouse for us to return to the safety of our shed.

On cold mornings when I would get up and start a fire, he would sit by me, keeping me warm until the fire place heated up.  He was a constant I could count on and one I became quite attached to.

Last Wednesday morning he was spotted by a neighbor a mile across the valley.  She took a pic of this super friendly dog and sent it to our friends wondering who he belonged to.  Before she got the response-he took off again, not to be seen since.  

I have spent hours driving through prairie, finding roads that barely exist, and calling his name-nothing.  No body-no leads-just gone.  

Happy has reclaimed his free agent status in full and has disappeared.

My mind spins with the possibility of what could have happened.  Each time I drive up my road I long to see him clearing my path.  Each night I wait to hear the sound of him coming over the fence or to see him laying in the front porch in the morning listening for coyotes.

But that hasn’t happened and I think I have to go ahead and accept that it will not.  

My heart is sick.  I have to say goodbye to my friend but I will only do so with the following wishes:

  • May the place you have found keep you as purposeful as ever,
  • May those that you protect in the future know that you love tight hugs, ear rubs, chin scratches, and that you MUST ride in the center console of any vehicle, 
  • And may you never spend a moment bound where you cannot run fast and be absolutely free.

I love you Happy Jo.  Goodbye.

Base is dry-ready to do walls!

OTG philosophy…

One of my great joys in life is the opportunity my job affords me of working with adolescents.  They are brutally honest and rarely cut me any slack.  The result is when asked a question by one of them, I’d better have my ducks in a row when I answer-if I want them to get anything from what I’m saying.

One such incident occurred last week when a young lady made a comment about a TV show she enjoys and asked me if I’d seen it.  I replied no and she looked at me as if I lived under a rock.  Not being able to help myself, I continued with, I don’t watch TV, because I have no TV.  Increduality suddenly appeared on her face as she froze in mid action and said, “Oh, you must be Amish.”  

I chuckled and replied, “No, I live off-grid.”  “Huh?”  “I have no electricity, no running water, etc.”. “And you’re not Amish?” “No, I just prefer to live a bit more simply.”  Then in true adolescent fashion, “Ugh, that must suck for you.  So that show I was telling you about…”

Ah, no ducks-no row…the small dream of sharing a bit of philosophy with her solidly missed. 

Here’s what I wanted to say:

Living off grid means we often concentrate on the basics of living (food, water, shelter) and spend very little time sitting in passive consumption mode (aka-butt time). Do we consume media?  Of course!(Because we live in a shed with cell phones, and not under a rock.)

Media consumption happens via listening to AM radio-for my better half, and Pandora for me while washing dishes or building something.  We also peruse various news sites and mess around with this blog and others.

The result of all that  finds me writing a blog post on a holiday morning (Happy 4th y’all) while drinking coffee, eating a nanner with my friend Clizzy and scheming on the projects for the day.

Is it better than watching TV? For me, yes-but maybe not for everybody.  Finally, (no wonder teens don’t listen to me) here’s the philosophy piece: there’s more than one way to live and the way you live, whether it be with a TV or without, should be a source of happiness. That’s all.  

Done for the day…

Picking up tomorrow morning!  2nd coat on cabinets and continuing with the tin behind the stove!

Then onto the bricks behind the wood stove!  Not expected back at work until Wednesday…

We got a lot completed today! 🙂