Backpack Sheep Hunt…With The Goats

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For the second time this fall Sarah and I dragged our Dad up into the Mountains for an epic sheep backpack sheep hunt.

We woke up with the sun and started hiking. After four hours of hiking in the timber we started breaking out in to the open. Half an hour later we had found an old outfitters camping spot, and set up our tent. We all took a little rest and then started hiking up the valley that was adjacent to us. We sat and glassed for a while, but it started to rain and Sarah and I were getting quite cold. Dad turned around and pointed to a really big mountain that we were at the foot of. “Let’s go up there”, he said, “that will warm you girls up!” So we hauled ourselves straight up the mountain.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

There should have been sheep crawling all over the mountain face but there was not one. We sat and glassed, then walked a little further, then glassed.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

It was getting late and the wind was whistling across the mountain so we started slipping and sliding our way back down to camp.

The next morning, we hiked up a different valley. Half an hour into the hike Dad spotted a mule deer at the top of one of the mountains beside us. Then around noon we spied three mountain goats. We were hiking up the mountains and had just ran out of water when we walked around the corner and almost stepped right in a little stream.  It was trickling right out of the mountain! We drank our fill and replenished our water bottles with the water from the spring, and continued walking. The three of us had just crested the mountain when out of the corner of Dad’s eye he spotted a small herd of about 7 or 8 mountain goats. The herd of goats soon disappeared and we continued on our way. Soon after we had seen the goats we came across a whole bunch of sheep tracks. There were some fresh sheep droppings, and a sheep pee that was only a few hours old! We were really exited for a while, but were disappointed that by the time that we had got to the timber we hadn’t seen, heard, or smelled any sheep. We got back to camp just shy of dark, ate our homemade de-hydrated lasagna, crawled in to bed, and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

The rest of the week followed the same sort of pattern, get up, hike up a mountain, glass all day, and somehow managed to avoid all sheep encounters. We never ended up seeing any sheep on the trip, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Abigail

Backpack Sheep Hunt

Sick of all the words? Check out our videos at our YouTube Channel.

Have you ever been on a backpack sheep hunt?  Tell us about it.  Think separating the sheep from the goats is super biblical?  Whatever.  I’m kinda thinking you should share with your friends anyhow.

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Hunting in the Mountains: Grizzly Bear Encounter

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It’s time to hunt.  I’m not sure what else to say.  Hunting in the Mountains is such a powerful experience.  It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it provides food, it’s how people survived for a long, long time.  It’s also how they died.

This was more of a scouting trip for a future trip, and as it turned out, a beary exciting trip:

We are no strangers to bears, black or grizzy, they come with the territory up here.  We’ve had a fair number of encounters, even some that raised our blood pressure a notch, but I’ve not surprised a sow Grizz with cubs at short range till now.

hunting in the mountains

We were dragging ourselves through snow and sleet across an alpine meadow when we spotted her at only 20 yards.  To our collective delight, she did not immediately spot and kill us.  We managed to sneak away to about 40 yards before she pinned us.  She popped her jaws as she began to circle us with a nervous lope.  We were definitely not within her circle of trust.  As it turns out, we were also just outside of her kill-before-being-killed personal space, the importance of which should not be understated.  When she got our wind she was quick to turn, leaving the .243 an unproven Grizz defence system.  It was awesome!

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

The rest of the trip was loaded with beautiful mountains and valleys and streams.  That’s why we’re here, to be amazed.

hunting in the mountains

We were looking for sheep country and I think we found.  There were a few mule deer but no giants, which is all that was open.  We embraced some typical early season snow, which is good for us.  Being stuck in a cold, wet weather with few provisions makes our little house seem so much bigger and warmer when we get back home.

hunting in the mountains

Are you a mountain hunter? Married to a mountain hunter? Want to be a mountain hunter? Think mountain hunters smell funny?  Me too, lets spread the word.  Share this post on your FB or at least write a letter to your grandma and tell her about the awesome blog post you found about hunting in the mountains.

Sick of all the words?  Just go to our youtube channel for pure, don’t-gotta-read-nuthingness.

 

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Fishing Haida Gwaii

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Looking for an epic hunting, fishing, gathering do it yourself adventure?  Like the kind of trip where all you bring is a fishing rod, firearm and salt and pepper?  You’ve got to consider Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and you’ve got to check out the video, Fishing Haida Gwaii:

The ferry trip between Prince Rupert on the mainland and Skidegate on the island is cool but perhaps the most inhibitive part of the trip (approximately 8 hours and a couple hundred dollars each way).  You can get the ferry info here.  It’s a little pricey compared to staying home but is way cheaper than taking a boat to Maui.

Once on the island there are a couple small towns but mostly it’s a lot of mountain and coastal wilderness.  We headed out on the logging roads to Rennel Sound on the west coast and set up at a forestry site right on the beach.

fishing haida gwaii

In order to tame the wild waters of the north pacific we enlisted our sturdy 14′ aluminum Lund. While it is not advertised as an ocean vessel, I’m certain that Mr Lund had this purpose in mind because it handles the rollers and chop in style.

Once out on the water it was three priorities: 1) don’t die 2) catch fish 3) don’t die

fishing haida gwaii

We managed pretty well, no one died and we ate like Kings.

Jigging for bottom fish is wonderful for the kids or any beginner.  It is as simple as dropping your lure to the bottom and jigging it up and down until dinner strikes.  The other awesome aspect of jigging is the excitement of what you may bring up.  Rock fish are common and super yummy, Ling cod are great and look like mini-water-dragons while halibut are the steak laden cattle of the sea.  We caught them all and even hooked a spring salmon on the halibut rod.

fishing haida gwaii fishing haida gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

We ate fresh fish and chips, roasted halibut fillet, sushi rolls with tempura cod and crab but perhaps none was better than freshly campfire-smoked candied salmon.

fishing haida gwaii smoked salmon in Haida Gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

Fishing Haida Gwaii is a serious adventure for the serious adventurer.  Even for the not-so-serious it is seriously a world class adventure.  Of course, sometimes going to the public library on a Friday night can be an adventure, so whatever floats your boat, seriously.

Think you can stomach the seafood while fishing Haida Gwaii or do you imagine you would become food for the sea while fishing Haida Gwaii? Either way is fine by me and either way you should probably subscribe to the blog and leave us a comment or something.

Sick of all the words? Just check out our videos on the gridlessness youtube channel.

fishing haida gwaii

 

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The Perfect Kid Caliber: 243

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Well, it’s time to usher in a new big game hunter, and you can’t be a big game hunter unless you shoot a big girl gun.  The perfect kid caliber for us is the .243:

It’s a pretty special birthday when you get Federal .243 shells, hearing protection and a couple paper targets.  Time to do some target shooting!

The .243 has been a huge success for us.  Not only has it cleanly killed a variety of big game animals, but it can be safely shot by the smallest of kids.  Without much kick, it offers them a chance to target shoot and hunt with the same gun.

Not bad for the fist time shooting a centre fire:

perfect kid caliber

We had just put a new scope on the Tikka so we had to sight it in.  Her first group was taken at 25 yards and was under an inch.  Confident we would hit the target, we moved back to 100 yards and she piled them up in a two inch group high and to the left.  After making necessary windage and elevation adjustments to the scope, she put down another nice 2″ group at an inch high.

I’m thinking she’ll have no problem when we put a deer in front of her.

Check out last years moose hunt with the same gun, and the first Annual All Girls Tannerite Shooting Competition.

What’s the perfect kid caliber for you? Let us know, throw us a like or share us with your circle of shooters.  Think kids and guns should be separated?  Me too, lets expose this nonsense to the world by exposing this post on facebook!

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Squeezing Goat Teats: Getting Milk

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I can’t hide it, this goat has me mesmerized.  The miracle of squeezing goat teats has arrived at Tippercreek and I’m almost speechless:

Its crazy to get such yummy milk out of the hairy teat of a little goat.  Crazy, but true. We’ve had goats before and loved them but never had occasion to milk them.  Its been a long time coming and its even better than I had hoped.  The milking only takes a few minutes and is super yummy.

I’m not sure what’s more exciting about this arrangement; the milk or the vegetation control.  That’s the beauty of goats, they eat all the woody, prickly stuff that fancier animals avoid.  They are perfectly suited to prosper on the litany of willow and poplar around here.

Squeezing goat Teats

We built a simple little milking stand that seems to do the trick.  It holds her in place while she eats grain and we get to milk her at a much more convenient height (rather than 8 inches off the ground).  We don’t have a barn at this point, so the horse trailer is doubling as our milking parlour for now.  It works great.

Goats are notorious for escaping.  We’ve been using 4 strand electric fence and it has worked well so far.  The baby has blasted through it at high speeds when she gets excited but has quickly returned to momma inside the fence.  Under normal circumstances they have avoided it and haven’t tested it like they would a “normal” fence.

The baby is a couple months old and still nurses a little.  Stealing milk is what I call it, and she won’t be doing it for too much longer.  Once we goat proof a few more of our fences we’ll be able to separate them for a bit and ween her completely.

Squeezing Goat Teats

Love milking goats and milking goats and drinking goat milk?  Share this story with your whole herd, goats and sheep alike. Think squeezing goat teats is for hillbillies and sillybillies?  I can’t believe I just committed to the word sillybillies on the internets.  Never mind. I need to re-think just exactly what I’m doing.  Sillybilly.

have you checked out our Birch Beer Video?  Beer and milk, that’s a thing for sure.

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What she said: Confessions of a city survivor

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What she said….

I’m not sure I can add any value to that testimony, so I won’t try (with the exception of the following pictures).

Even children can operate the Woodmizer LT15, hardly any are lost to serious injury:

What she said

Mill-hand with her freshly milled stack of 12′ and 16′ 4″x8″s:

what she said

Think operating a saw mill is only for adults?  Check out Beer for Children!

As always, if you like it, like it and share it and subscribe.  If you think we should be reprimanded for our off-grid behaviour, level your judgement with repeated online shares and shames.

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I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

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People used to be able to pee wherever they wanted.  Not so much anymore.  So often we are left to clench and hold it, hang our head in shame and meekly ask “can I use the bathroom?”.  I’d had enough, and now, I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

Gridlessness is a state of mind. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t try, just watch the video:

(The awesome new song in this video is Chopping Wood by our friends Last Horse Standing)

Going off grid is basically about doing what you want.  Want to build a house but don’t have a permit?  Sorry… a permit?  What’s that?

Can’t afford a house? No problem, just whip up a little hovel.  A nice big house won’t make you happy anyways (we had dirt floors for the first year and Rose loved it!)

I'm off grid

We love to travel and adventure together as a family and homeschooling lets us do it. Wherever or whenever we go, the kids studies can be worked around it.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Wanna be a part of getting your own food?  Collecting and making our own food has got to be the most rewarding work we do.  Hunting, fishing, foraging and gardening is our favourite pastime.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Want to build a culvert house? A forced air incinerator? Blow something up?  Go off grid baby!  No one is out here to tell you what to do or how to do it. 

I'm off grid

Tell us what you think of I’m off grid. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly off grid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Beer for Children?  You should check it out, it’s an off grid essential.

Think that being off grid is just for granola eaters and not for girl breeders? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how confused you are.

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Bee Reproduction: A lesson from the Drones

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Sarah – Some of my bee colonies are starting to get quite large so I decided to split them and hopefully avoid a swarm. Swarming happens when the bee colony grows quickly and feels cramped or overly contained; The queen takes off with half of the colony and leaves the hive for somewhere new. It’s time to manage our bee reproduction.

Try to identify the least helpful helper in this video:

Dave references a few things that he “learned”, let me mention them here just to make sure that you weren’t mislead. I’ll also give the ‘Dave reference’ so you know what I’m talking about.

Burr comb: (Dave reference = bird comb)

Bee Reproduction

Burr comb is wax comb that the bees draw on the bottom, top or edges of the frames. It doesn’t mean anything is going wrong, it just means that you as the beekeeper have more of a mess to clean up. It doesn’t work very well if the bees try to store honey or raise brood in the burr comb as it breaks apart when the frames are removed..

Swarm cells: (Dave actually got this one down pat)

Swarm cells are special cells that the colony makes when they are thinking about swarming. The swarm cells they make are to raise a new queen in; when the new queen is just about ready to hatch, half the hive population and the old queen leave for a ‘better’ home.

Drone cells: (Dave reference = drone frames)

Bee Reproduction

Drone cells are the cells that drones are raised in. The drone cells have to be larger than worker cells because the drones (the only males of the hive) are the biggest bees around. A drone cell can be recognized by the raised cap (it looks like a bump on the top of the cell) where as a worker bee cell is capped flat.

Drawn comb: (Dave reference = drawing comb)

Drawn comb is fully formed wax comb in the typical hexagon shapes that the bees have produced.  When a new frame is introduced to a hive it has a mostly flat base and requires that the bees draw the comb before it can be used to raise brood or store honey or pollen.

Bee Reproduction

Tell us what you thought of Bee Reproduction. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly offgrid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Spring bee checkup?  You should check it out, my apologize for the dance.

Think we should just get out of the freakin’ way and let the girl tend her bees? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how unhelpful we are, that’ll teach us!

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Beer for Children: Pint Sized Pint Consumers

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The kids don’t have to stand on the sidelines any longer while you build a brew!  No, they don’t, there is Beer for Children!  Yep, exciting as any home brew, but way faster and for those concerned, less complicated and less intoxicating.  It is, to the delight of pint sized pint consumers, super fizzy!

Check out this bottle bursting brew:

I just started my first batch of birch beer and was so pumped about it I had to find a way to get the little people involved.  The ginger beer and apple cider was so easy to make and so yummy and so fun for the kids I had to share it with you.

Beer for Children

What do I need:

The ginger beer consisted of some grated ginger and sugar and sparkling wine yeast.  The apple cider was pure apple juice and yeast.  Thats it.  We have made the ginger beer with honey instead of sugar and I think it was better.  You’ll need a sealable bottle to put it in, plastic is probably a little safer than glass if you’re into safety.

What do I do:

Warm up the water, add the ginger and the sugar and the yeast.  Or, warm up the apple juice and add the yeast.  Cap the bottle, sit it on the counter and watch it bubble and foam all day long.  Just before it explodes, chill it in the fridge and serve when cold.  If it’s in a plastic bottle it should not be a problem to predict its explosion point by palpating the bottle.  Seriously, it’s that easy. The yeast is the only kind-of tricky part, you can buy it in little packages at the ubrew or at some grocery stores.

Beer for Children

Beer for Children research:

We installed a pressure gauge on our bottle of ginger beer and it reached 22psi within 10 hours.  After placing in the fridge overnight, the pressure decreased a little to about 20psi. It turns out that 22psi is a little more than sufficient.  After opening and re-sealing the bottle a number of times over a couple days, the pressure sat closer to 10psi which was perfect.

Will my child get a red nose and will I go to jail?

That would be funny, but no. After just a day or two no significant amount of alcohol is generated, just a lot of CO2.  In fact, keeping this brew in a sealed container is a built in safety mechanism, the bottle will explode before the beer ever reaches an intoxicating level of alcohol. They will love the whole process and the fizzy product..

Beer for Children

Tell us what you thought of Beer for Children. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly offgrid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you checked out Jalapeno and Cheddar Smokies?  They go great with ginger beer.

Think we should go to jail for letting our kids make their own beer? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how irresponsible we are, that’ll teach us!

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Coming of age on the girl farm: A charcoal retort

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There are certain ages where everything seems to change.  Coming of age on the girl farm can mean different things.  This week Abby plays with a little fire and shows us that age 12 is the age of oxy-acetylene.

Check out the video here, (Alicia Keys has got nothing on me):

She was cutting like a pro in no time (or like a farmer, which is the best that can be expected given the proficiency of her instructor).  She even got a little MIG time on the Millermatic wire feed.  An important side project, she laid some critical bead on a freshly installed trailer jack.

coming of age on the girl farm

coming of age on the girl farm

The main project of the day was a custom incinerator/retort combo.  The incinerator is for quickly and cleaning burning paper garbage and scrap wood. A retort is an oven type of device for making charcoal.  The idea is to clean up the waste and scrap wood and make wonderful charcoal at the same time.

Natural hardwood charcoal, clean and homemade, is the most perfect BBQ fuel.  It burns slowly, totally smokeless and nice and hot. An efficient retort will bring us very close to propaneless future.

coming of age on the girl farm

Charcoal is created when wood is heated in the absence of oxygen.  This drives off all the water and gases but, without oxygen, the remaining carbon cannot burn.  Check out this guys video on a very simple retort.  All I did was add the chimney and fan which will help it to burn hotter and cleaner.

Our machine worked awesome.The key was the 24V, 5″ PC fan connected to a 20V Cordless drill battery.  With the battery fully charged via our solar system, this fan will run for ten hours.  It provides enough draft to ensure a clean burn but not so much that it will burn out the barrel right away.

coming of age on the girl farm

coming of age on the girl farm

Tell us what you thought of Coming of age on the girl farm. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly offgrid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you checked out our Free camping in Maui video?

Think we’re irresponsible parents?  Hate the video? Share it with all your friend to show them how lame it is, that’ll teach us!

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