Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I haven't blogged in a long time as we have been away on a trip to visit both sides of the family. We got back home Monday night and have been fairly useless since. Leo repeatedly empties his toy boxes and touches every single one of his things before putting them all back. We're not quite that bad, but it is nice to sleep in our own bed.

The trip was pretty full, so I'll break it down into two more blogs: Florida and Shelly's wedding. But before I even start in on those, our departure from here was an adventure in itself.

We left Monday 27th October and it had been raining solidly for a week. This year has been a strange year for rain. Overall, we got 10 inches more than either 2008 or 2009, but the majority of that fell during one week in July and then the week before we left, with it being fairly dry in between.

At 9 am we were all packed and ready to go, house tidy, fridge empty, baby excited. The ground was so slick and saturated that your footprint would fill with water. We knew it would be a ride up our hill, but we've made it before without issue. In fact, we made it out the afternoon before, without an issue. Today however, our Isuzu decided it would be an appropriate time to give the four-wheel drive a vacation. Abe tried and tried, but the front wheels would not engage. We slipped and slid, but only succeeded in going backwards, and then it started drizzling.

Well, Leo and I went back inside, while Abe tried to come-along (hand winch) the truck out of its hole. He was moving it about a foot and a half an hour. So while he was out there in the cold drizzle, covered in mud, he was figuring out how long it would take to move the truck the rest of the 100 feet. He was getting despondent.

I had tried calling friends, but with the weather people's cellphones weren't getting a signal (there are no landlines around here). I finally got through to someone who turned up a little while later. It wasn't easy, but he managed to pull us up the drive.

We stopped by the river and washed our feet, legs and floor mats, and then continued on our way. We left at 2pm.

Because the wedding was near Tucson, Arizona, we had booked flights from there to Florida. Combining the two trips saved time and money, but it meant an 11 hour drive from us to Tucson. Luckily, we had given ourselves two days to get there, so it all worked out. We drove until 9 pm the first night and slept in a motel. The next day was pretty easy and we arrived at Emily's (Abe's sister) house with plenty of time to relax.

It was a pretty exhausting and stressful start to a vacation, but it did mean that our new rain catchment tank filled up and overflowed. We now have 9000 gallons on the house system.

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