Monthly Archives: October 2015

Blown Engine

by Woodsbum

The end of life for my truck’s engine came at not only the wrong time, but right when I need a truck more than most other times. I was hoping that I either needed new injectors or coil packs for a couple cylinders that were misfiring. Unfortunately, this was not the case…..

Last Tuesday I was on my way to an appointment. I had to pull into the bank and grab some cash, but when I came back from the ATM my truck would barely run. After poking and prodding things a bit I ended up nursing it home and called to let the office know I was not going to be in due to vehicle issues. I also called in to my main job to let them know I needed at least Wednesday off.

After several hundred dollars in replacement parts, I thought I had everything figured out as being bad fuel so I added some octane boost, fuel treatment and high octane gasoline to try and dilute the impurities in my fuel tank. While driving it on the highway to blow out the bad fuel I started hearing the sounds associated with bearings going out.

To shorten this story I will just cut out all the wait for the tow truck, the calls to get a car loan from my bank, car shopping and all the paperwork associated with the vehicle purchase. I will jump to the part where I now have a new to me Subaru Outback.

I apologize for no post on Monday. It was a hectic day due to the vehicle, babysitting family, and recovery from taking a bowhunting education master instructor class this last weekend. On Friday I will cover the class.

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by Woodsbum

In keeping with my edible plant posts, I am including the bedstraw. This plant is actually quite prevalent around here. I see it a lot while up in the hills.



The stems, leaves and flowers can all be eaten raw. If you eat a lot it can and will act as a laxative, so be careful. It is a good source of vitamin C, however.

There are a few varieties to include cleavers, Northern bedstraw and sweet-scented bedstraw. You can find it and all of the various varieties alongside low growing vegetation and disturbed soil sights. I see it a lot around relatively fresh clear cuts before all the new production is planted.

This plant is best when cooked, by the way. It will have little to no taste if you get a young plant. Older plants are a bit nasty tasting and you will think you are eating something out of a bale.

Keep your eyes peeled for bedstraw and give it a try!

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Log Furniture

by Woodsbum

Being the rustic type family that we are, the wife and I have been thinking about making some log furniture as opposed to buying and new couch and chairs. Considering how handy I am and how much I like to be able to do things myself this might be the way for us to go.

From what I have seen the hardest part of building the furniture will be making the cushions. Even this didn’t seem that hard and I am not that expert at sewing.

There is an entire YouTube channel with videos. Here are some links in a relative order so you can get an idea how the process works.






I have not started any projects on this as of yet, but I can definitely see me doing this. Now that I have a decent flat bed trailer and only need to get a few tenon cutters with matching sized drill bits these type projects don’t seem too difficult. The first real thing I would have to build myself would be some sort of a jig to hold everything straight. Oh darn, I might have to fire up my welder for that…..

If anyone has done any of these type projects, please let me know. When I start on a build I will add my progress here.

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Ban on Off Grid Living

by Woodsbum

Here in America we are under the misconception that we are free to do as we want. Instead, we are now under all sorts of controls and scrutiny that can only be described through literature like 1984. The idea that someone cannot camp or live off the grid on their own property is absolutely idiotic. Why can’t someone live off the land, off the grid, and completely removed from modern life if they so choose? In Colorado’s Costilla Country, the land-use administrator is one that has started to create barriers from people living off the grid and it is now illegal.


Modern day homesteaders seeking an off-the-grid lifestyle in one of Colorado’s most rural areas have triggered what they moved there to avoid: a battle with the county government over land-use regulations.

Some off-grid residents accuse county officials of harassment and trying to run them out.

The battle turned a routine county commissioners’ meeting in San Louis, Colorado, into an ugly shouting match between sheriff deputies and off-grid homesteaders, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reported. A YouTube video supplied to CPR shows deputies arresting off-grid demonstrators for chanting about the Constitution.

Located on the New Mexico border in the south-central part of the state, Costilla County is considered the oldest and ninth-least populated county in Colorado. In recent years it has seen an influx of mostly young and lower-income families seeking an off-the-grid lifestyle.

The newly proposed code would require a well, septic tank, and electricity to be installed in a home prior to receiving a building permit, CPR reported. That would require many off-gridders to leave, because water is scarce.

“We’ve been regulated out of life,” resident Robin Rutan told CPR. “I came here because I couldn’t live by the codes [in other regions]”

Many of the newcomers are veterans who want to get away from the city. Others simply cannot afford the high prices for land and homes in other, more fashionable parts of Colorado such as the Central Rockies. The situation is explosive because around 800 new residents have moved into a county that has a population of around 3,700, The Denver Post reported.

U.S. County Running Off-Gridders Out Of Town

“People who come out here have already been through a lot,” resident Chloe Everhart told CPR. “For a lot of us, there’s not much of a home to go back to. … What’s next could be under a bridge in Denver.”

A combination of cheap land, lack of zoning regulations, scenery and solitude is luring the modern day homesteaders to the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. Sundance Stadler, a newcomer from Vermont, told The Post that he had paid $3,250 for five acres in Costilla County.

Is Camping on One’s Own Land Now Illegal?

One contentious issue is camping permits which are now required in the county. Many of the homesteaders are camping out while they build permanent homes, but the county has stopped issuing camping permits which makes it illegal for residents to camp on their own property.

“A lot of time we find families living in run-down sheds or in RVs, or some actually in tents,” Matthew Valdez, Costilla County’s land-use administrator, told The Post. “We tell them they cannot live in these conditions. A lot of them abandon their RVs here and they get vandalized, and after a while they become a trash issue.”

Water War

Water is one of the divisive issues because its supply is limited in the San Luis Valley. Most of the water rights are in the hands of farmers who have lived in the area for generations. Some off-gridders go to town (such as to a public facility) to fill up water containers.

Other issues include the effects on the schools and services. Costilla County’s chief administrative officer, Ben Doon, said that around 58 new students have enrolled in the local schools – a big increase for a small county.

“The vast majority is from people out there,” Doon told CPR, referring to the off-grid residents.

The conflict in Costilla County is not going to end anytime soon. There are around 40,000 subdivided lots in Costilla County — some which are being sold on the Internet to newcomers for a few thousand dollars.

“When you buy the land they make you think you can do anything with it,” said Rutan, who told CPR that she and her husband moved to the area because they no longer could afford to live in Glenwood Springs.


Yet again we Americans have come under the overwhelming pressure that governmental regulations and controls forced down our throats. Even if any of the County’s allegations are true and this has actually become a serious hazard in any form or fashion, isn’t it mostly a hazard to the person who OWNS the land and not those living nearby?

Things like this make me think harder and harder about a life off the grid in Alaska. At least they aren’t nearly as socialist about living off the grid up there.

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