Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Remembering Good Times Last Summer with the Kiddos

Whenever I go home to my property so many things remind me of my children and the fun times we had together last summer. I eagerly look forward to being with them again next summer.

Building rockets in my classroom.
Launching rockets on our land.

A jumping spider that hitched a ride from Idaho and had babies in our motor home. They are harmless and very good at catching flies.

One of the many camp fires we built in the fire pit we made. We roasted hot dogs and hamburgers and made smores a lot.

My kids helping me stake out the corners of our property with a GPS.

One of the many cool cacti.

This lizard let me pet it shortly after taking this picture.

The airport.

The Great Salt Lake

A zorse is a zorse of course of course.

A huge fly eating??? a small fly.

Building Home Depot birdhouse kits.

The whale rock is eating us!


At the beach in the middle of the desert.

Jesus taught them well.

My kids were so excited to discover we had a beach in the middle of the desert!

We be ghosts.

Toad hunting.

Right before we left the east coast.

Camping near Big Lake.

Living Full Time in the Desert

So almost two weeks ago I transitioned from part time apartment living part time living in the desert in my motor home to living in my motor home full time in the desert.  It has been a trying yet beautiful experience so far. There have been times while working outside in the day I've seen the ravens fly by and it was so quiet I could hear the amazing sound of their wings flapping against the air. I have never seen clearer skies at night that fill me with such wonder, yet, at the same time I've had nights where I was realistically scared I might freeze to death.

Living where your survival depends almost entirely on you is definitely a different ball game.  I produce all of my own electricity. I have to bring any water that I use in from town in water tanks or collect rain/snow. There are so many challenges. Staying alive and surviving are always on my mind. In a way it helps me feel liberated from societal worries.

My first attempt at burning a paper log I made by manually smashing wet paper together soaked in fry oil. 

I put some new shelves in my trailer to organize all my stuff--since literally everything I own is on my property now.

The first snow of the year.
Three Labradors were roaming around my property barking at me. I think they might belong to the person with the Old Hickory Shed about a mile away.

I've been surviving the cold by burning pieces of scrap wood I chop into kindling and with a Mr Heater propane heater which I don't use when I'm sleeping because dying is a bad idea.  To keep me warm at night I boil water and fill 3 old Barilla pasta sauce jars, put them in socks then stuff them in my cold weather sleeping bag covered in blankets.  With my sock monkey and a source of heat I almost feel not so alone on cold nights.

Paper Briquette Press

Bits and Pieces - Newspaper Briquet Maker-Heavy Duty Steel Press Paper Log Maker - Brick Press measures 10-1/4" long x 5-1/4"
I was very unsatisfied with the paper brick presses you can buy on Amazon for a few reasons:
  1. They make bricks that don't fit the dimensions of my tiny stove very well.
  2. They make bricks that require a lot of heat to burn them to the inside.
  3. I have to buy one if I want one.
So, I decided to design my own using a few resources as possible, and this is the first prototype. 

Put the paper pulp in.

After watching the video below I realized it would drain the water much better if I drilled holes all over the end of the center pipe and it definitely does.

Flip it upside down over a bucket and pull up on the pipe.

Here is the end product.
I'm going to build a new design with a lever when I get the time similar to this one I found on at the end of this video:

Update: Jan 15th

I haven't had the time to build a big press yet, but I improved my over the bucket design by adding a lever. It works great now, and it's easy to reuse the water.

I added charcoal left over from my fire and shredded cardboard. I also added salt and bleach to the mixture to prevent it from growing bacteria and smelling. The quality is much better now and they burn longer and better.

Modifying the Shower Recycling Pump

So the container I used for my shower recirculator wasn't very substantial and the rocks I put inside were getting nasty. I decided to abandon the filter and just design it so it was easier to clean and empty all the water out after each use. 
I modified my old bilge pump to suck the water out directly from the bottom instead of  the sides using a piece of vinyl and a hose clamp. This way I can empty the container all the way.

 I decided to use a 2 gallon bucket so I could fit all the hoses and wires inside an make it so I can wrap the bucket with insulation.

Drain valve.

I made an overflow hole and used a strainer hose washer to keep the bugs out.

This is the bucket when in place under the shower drain pipe.

To sanitize the shower system I just run some warm bleach water through it for a while, or peroxide.

I Built a Fire Door

So I used an old metal shelf I tore out of the laptop cart I made into my electrical box to make a fire door that attaches to the inside of my cupboard door. I've used my stove several times since and it heats extremely well. I still need to make a few adjustments to the exhaust to make it absorb heat and vent smoke out better.