Cope’s Gray Treefrogs

Yes, I have them . . . one or two in particular on my porch.  What a delight!  I never know where I will find them next.  In the distance, they serenade me.  On my porch, it is quite loud when they speak up.  Just one of the many displays of Nature that I am enjoying.  Here are a few of the spots I have found them.  They are only 1-1/2″ long so they may be a little hard to spot right away.  See if you can find them.  Well, the one in the pail is quite obvious.

A Special Presentation and Thank You

I want to thank the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Rockford, IL, for inviting me to share my off grid story with everyone who attended.  It was a wonderful opportunity to give people ideas on how one goes about living an off grid life.  If we are to save the Planet and us, as well, we need all the ideas we can get.

I also want to thank everyone who came, whether to support me or to find out how I can possibly live without electricity.  Believe me, I wondered many times when I first moved in how that was possible.  I truly appreciate everyone who attended.



Life is busy . . . it gets away from us sometimes.  Here is my garden plot newly plowed some weeks ago.  Waiting . . . waiting for me to get those plants in.  Then, Nature has her say in the matter and it rains . . . and rains.  No way I can get those plants in mud, right?  Somehow, I think that the experienced gardeners get in there no matter what and plant.

I will get the planting done . . . and there is a lot of it to do.  Raspberries, blackberries, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, pole beans, green beans, onions, garlic, lettuce . . . oh . . . there is more . . . but you get the picture.  Here is some of it.


This is all part of being food secure.  We need to get off the grocery store.  I am trying!


Trial of the Century

Here is some awesome information about the trial that will be happening October 29, 2018.

Trial of the Century

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon set October 29, 2018, as the first day of trial in Juliana v. United States, the constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 young Americans against the U.S. government. These youth allege that the U.S. government has knowingly violated their constitutional rights by contributing to climate change. They are asking the Court to order the development of a science-based climate recovery plan by the federal government.

Stand in solidarity with these brave young people to empower them as they head into the courtroom to face the federal government. Help them show the Court that we need a climate recovery plan and that we need it now!

Even if you can’t make it to the courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, where the trial of the century will unfold, you can still participate in this historic moment from wherever you are in the world. We will continue to update this event with important information on how you can be involved. To join the #youthvgov movement, sign up now at

Wood Stoves 101

Wood stove

What did I know about wood stoves when I started?  Nothing.  Even though I have survived winter and have been making a fire twice a day, I am learning how much I still don’t know.  And, if I worry about anything regarding my new lifestyle . . . it is the wood stove.

I did some research before I bought my wood stove but I ended up buying a used one so I don’t really know what I got . . . well, in terms of emissions and burn time.  I looked into soap stone and cast iron stoves, which hold the heat longer but are really expensive.  My neighbor looked at the stove and said, “It is a pretty little stove.”  What he really meant was, “Dufus, why didn’t you get a real stove to do the job?”

Then there is how to get the fire started.  And, you might think, that is simple.  Not really, at least for me.  My dear friends bought me a box of fire starters.  What a life saver.  Seasoned wood stove friends have their paper, cardboard, kindling, and wood all ready for the winter season.  Me?  I am just scrambling one fire at a time.  I found a place that sells scrap kiln dried wood, which helps get the fire started, too.  There are places to get newspapers.  Next year I will be better prepared.

Creosote . . . now there is an issue.  It comes from wood that is not seasoned or dry enough.  And, if the stove pipe gets a buildup of creosote, you can get a chimney fire.  That’s nice.  And, each day when I come around the bend . . . and I can see my cabin . . . I think . . . ah, it is still there.

I bought a small stove.  All along I am thinking . . . it is a small cabin . . . 312 sq. ft and a loft . . . a small stove will be fine.  And, it is when it is 10 or 30 degrees.  I wasn’t thinking -17 and my cabin is on piers . . . ok . . . maybe I am a dufus.

Back to creosote.  I wasn’t thinking about that either until I had a small chimney fire one morning.  It was making crackling sounds when I started it.  That was alarming to me.  I tamped the fire down a bit and went outside to make sure flames weren’t shooting out of the chimney.  All clear there.  I texted my friends, and they came over in the afternoon.

They have taken me under their wings as the newbie trying to navigate the back-to-the-land lifestyle.  Having built their own house 30-40 years ago and heating with only wood, they know a thing or two about wood stoves.   But, while going to check the piping on the roof, my friend slipped on the snow and fell off my roof, which was a horrifying experience.  He is ok . . . thankfully . . . miraculously . . . with only a fractured hip at 75.

The fluctuations in temperature in the cabin at -17 when I get up or come home after working all day were a little wearing.  One morning it was 37 in the cabin, and it barely made it to 50 before I went off to work.  It takes a long time to get the temperature back up.  Investing in a slightly bigger stove that is cast iron or soap stone may be the best solution.  My stove is steel and doesn’t hold the heat long.

Keeping a bed of coals?  I try . . . then they are gone.  Hardwood versus soft . . . they all look the same to me.  Friends say get my wood for next year now.  I can do that.  Looking into the stove window and seeing the inside engulfed in flames . . . that is just plain scary to me.

Forget what size the stove is.  I want to wake up to a warmer cabin at -17 outside.  A little shopping around and some more researching . . . now that I know a little more about running a wood stove, will get me there.

I am so glad -17 is very . . . very . . . very far away.

Nature Reveals Herself


Nature . . . happens by . . . if we let her reveal herself to us.

In a full moon rising over the ridge . . . against a deep, indigo sky . . . not quite dusk.

A bluebird perched on the top of the small apple tree planted last fall . . . flashing the brightest royal blue wings against a rust breast.

A rabbit sauntering across the driveway . . . we are friends now . . . until he starts nibbling at my garden.

A deer prances across the field . . . and then runs in what appears to be wild abandon . . . with 4 or 5 more deer in the distance . . . each flashing a beautiful white tail.

The littlest bird, a gray or brown, with the sweetest song . . . next to the robin, of course.

Even an off grid cabin can keep one away from Nature . . . kept prisoner to routines and lists.

But . . . in a stolen moment . . . resting on a patio chair . . . Nature reveals herself.

CO2 Level at 407.98

Looking up some facts on coal, I wondered what the CO2 level in the atmosphere was, which is the carbon level from burning fossil fuels. had it at 407.98 parts per million (ppm) for January 2018, and it was at 402.5 in January of 2016.  My stomach felt sick.  How could it be?

It was a new number I began to understand and take notice of.  350 ppm is considered a safe level, and 450 ppm is not safe.  It went up almost 5.5 points in two years.  It had been going up 2 ppm each year.  That is a big increase at 5.5 ppm!  Do the math.  It will take us hardly 14 years to get to 450 ppm if it continues to rise 5.5 ppm every 2 years. That is nothing.

And, on the subject of nothing, that is what the US is basically doing when it comes to climate change.  We are supposed to be the best country in the world, and we are doing nothing?  The US consumes the most resources and pollutes the most per person.  There are only 320M of us in a world of 7 billion and counting.

There is an overwhelming consensus among all the countries in the world that climate change is happening, and it is created by burning fossil fuels.  This affects everyone on the planet.  The only thing the US is doing is burning more fossil fuels.

The Center for Climate & Energy Solutions has a section on the history of the climate talks.  They started in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit.  It has a good rundown of what has been proposed and agreed upon at each summit.  We have been talking about this since 1992!  We really haven’t made much progress in that amount of time.

Business Insider, June 1, 2017, states 195 countries were on board with the Paris Agreement in 2015, except for Syria, which is in a civil war, and Nicaragua, which declined because it did not go far enough.  Trump joined them and pulled the US out in June 2017, which won’t take affect until 2019.  The greatest country pulls out of the Paris Agreement?  It is mortifying.

Why can’t the US have a goal to get off fossil fuels like Norway, Sweden, Costa Rica, and other countries?

The clock is ticking.  14 years?  The US is doing nothing.  Why do I just want to scream?