75 – Hipcamp

We’re 4 months away from the 2 year mark of living off grid full time. The updates are further and further apart as we’ve switched gears from huge projects to simply maintaining what we’ve built, living the life we set out to live and expanding the farm business when possible.

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This winter was bitter cold with a wind that never seemed to stop blowing. We had very little snow to deal with early on followed by months and months without measurable rainfall that extended into June. These are not ideal conditions for working soil, planting grass seed or many of the outdoor projects we typically do. Most of my life this would have sent me to the nuthouse. I had to have 10 projects going. Finishing some, researching others, planning new ones- I didn’t sit and relax well so we decided to sell firewood. I built sides for the trailer we use to haul the freezer and we’d deliver 2.5 cords per trip to Havasu which worked out to be decent money and a way to stay in shape. It started out slow and comfy until the first big cold snap then it was game on. We quickly found ourselves making two runs per week and in just over 2 months we had sold and delivered the 40 cords that we had been stockpiling. I enjoyed the firewood more than expected but will take this winter off from it as we have some other stuff lined up. All that hard work left us with a few bucks for a decent winter cushion and a desire to relax for the first time in years.

Temps in the 20’s, wind howling- I’d start the coffee before heading out to break up frozen waters and make sure critters had feed then double time it back to Amy and our warm bed with no immediate plans for the day. A bright sun shining through our bedroom window was our new alarm clock. I’d spend time on the phone with customers, feed suppliers or our butchers lining up the winters few large beef deliveries but purposely kept my list short. Daily chores were light, plenty of time for reading or watching a good movie and even more time to sit, talk and dream up our next moves and ideas for the coming season.

Amy did a lot of cooking as usual, trying out new recipes our customers are always passing along. She also pulled the sewing stuff out of storage and starting working on quilts again (because the best naps are wrapped in a homemade quilt).

Over time, plans came together but not at the speed or intensity we had been used to. We were finally slowing down and it felt great.

Something called “Hipcamp” came across my Facebook feed that looked interesting. Basically, it’s a site that manages and connects travelers with unique places to stop for the night giving landowners a $1,000,000 insurance policy and community vetting of campers. You set your schedule and pricing, they collect the dough and deposit it in your PayPal for a 10% cut. Based on some of the other popular listings, we felt like we had a lot to offer so put a little campsite on our project list. We used boulders for a retaining wall and fill from our place to build the pad then capped with river sand. Fire pit, picnic table and potable water (that was already there) along with killer views make for a good destination or overnight spot for people doing the Route 66 tour or Vegas to Grand Canyon run. The service has been flawless and our guests have been great. Some choose to keep to themselves while others invite you over for cocktails and a meal. Its been a great way to meet interesting folks and add a few bucks to our diverse income stream through site rental and having campers walk over and buy eggs, ground beef or veggies while they are there.

Here’s a link to the program: Hipcamp

My neighbor and old friend Dan brought his new skid steer and attachments. These things are super handy. What you won’t see is 5 days of hauling fill with the dump truck and about 40 large boulders with a grapple bucket.

The finished site…

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