Welcome to creektreat
My name is Kelvin “creeky” Hodges. For the fun of it, I live in a field next to a small river/creek in Canada. I’ve been living here “full time off grid” since December of 2010.
The purpose of this blog; with its stories, art work, builds; is to keep me occupied … those winter nights can get l-o-o-o-ng. And hopefully you’ll get some entertainment out of my labours.
I also hope that you can find inspiration and joy watching me play through the years. Living off grid is an exploration. Sometimes when you’re exploring you find amazing vistas. And sometimes you stub your toe on stuff you didn’t see coming.
To live off grid I’ve built / experimented with:
- a solar system housed in a shed. My 1 kw (now 2) system runs all kinds of stuff. Electric fridge, microwave, lights, air conditioner, smoothie maker, tv, internet, water pumps, stereo. You know, modern life. I use on average about 2 to 2.5 kw/day.
- I just added a dishwasher. I can only run it on sunny days, but yahooo!
- a kitchen and living / writing / painting Great Room. Propane cooktop / oven. Water system for the sink. Heat comes from a wood stove plus a propane furnace. 10 cu/ft regular electric fridge. All in a repurposed and insulated Amish shed.
- A washroom with composting toilet and propane hot water shower and furnace. Yet another shurflo pump. The washroom is housed in a miniature pole barn I built. It has some cool features.
- I had a canvas tent as my summer bedroom. Glamping. It is one of the best thing I’ve done out on the farm. It keeps you in touch with the rhythms of the natural world, for sure.
- now I sleep in the winter bedroom. It’s much more comfortable than the tent, but I miss that morning light. sniff.
- NEW — fall 2014 I got ambitious and built myself a winter bedroom. I loved the tent, but at about the freezing point come late fall I realized … yikes. So check out my Chalet build, aka, the Hay Rack. It’s pretty modern in design and concept, but from the inside it looks like any old cabin. I put up a lot of posts on this, hope you enjoy.
Life on the farm
Living off grid offers the luxury of time. Time to do more than just swing hammers, but also to think about and research solutions for off grid life.
Some of my solutions are creative. smile.
- Of course I build with recycled and repurposed materials. And some new stuff too. I’m about 70% recycled/repurposed so far.
- I use a lot of xps and polyiso insulation board to cope with my very cold winter climate. These insulations have two important attributes. One there is a lot of it available recycled. Two it is manageable for small ongoing building projects. I like Roxul too.
- And I use small buildings instead of one big one. I like my morning walk from the bedroom to the studio to start coffee. That hike to the washroom at -30, well, you sure know you’re alive. And the need to move between buildings keeps you out in the environment. You experience different things like cold dew on naked feet. Birds singing. Northern lights. Stars. Owls calling.
- I’ve done quite a bit of “tiny house” off grid experimenting. Check out my dock hinge pivot for the solar panels. My cool roof on the washroom. My “perfect wall” chalet bedroom build. Well, you get the idea. I like to play.
Life in tune
Life on the farm has also meant that I’m more in touch with myself and with nature. I’ve discovered that as I slow down I see more. I get more done. I enjoy life more.
- I do eat wild harvest stuff. I put plantain in my morning smoothies. It’s best in the spring, so I like to harvest “shade grown, early morning” leaves. I also eat mushrooms that are easy to identify. Wild berries and fruits.
- this year I learned you can eat bits off of milkweed. Always something new!
- I’d like to eat more wild harvested meats. But I’m a pretty poor hunter.
- I have good relations with my neighbors, the critters, and have had many fun adventures with them. You can read about some of them in my cartoons. Look for anything with a critters tag.
- It’s actually quite neat how I’ve learned to speak bird. I can tell which predator is around. And they do like to laugh.
This blog, it’s my description of a life on the path less traveled. I hope reading it you’ll find inspiration and ideas for your off grid and camping experiences. And hopefully a laff or two too.
- solar/camping etc suppliers to submit products for review (yay. free stuff!) Just remember. This is a vapourware free zone.
- and, of course, you: the reader: to comment and share