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The Grid Is For Squares
15 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
The End of A Season
Hey friends! We come to you today with news… we’re officially taking a wee break from The Grid Is For Squares. Over the course of 36 episodes, we went from getting the idea for a homestead to buying 10 acres to building a greenhouse to building a yurt, and we thought that right now might be a reasonable time to call the end of Season 1. It’s good timing in a few ways, actually, because although the main reason I’m putting a pause on the show is because I’m INSANELY STRESSED AND EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME AND SOMETHING HAD TO GO, it also makes a lot of sense to pause right now because we just completed our Big Big Project (the yurt) and the latest “phase” of Vince living off-grid with his family just ended a few days ago. The rest of the summer, we’ll mostly just work on smaller projects like improving the rain catchment basin, firescaping, and saving money to build more things. So enjoy your summer, everyone! We’ll pop back in if there’s anything major to report, otherwise we’ll return with Season 2 in a few months. It’s been so great going on this journey with you all and we look forward to what the future holds for our homestead. ❤️
33 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
We Have A Yurt!
It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s finally here! We have a yurt! It’s been months of excavation and building the platform and installing the flooring and waiting for the yurt company to fabricate the thing, and now we finally have a yurt. A few days prior, Vince and his mom and brother rented a UHaul and drove up to Grass Valley CA to pick up our finished yurt— or at least, the pieces of our finished yurt. It was on us to actually put it together on site. Which, as you can imagine, was a bit of a project... listen to today's episode to hear all about it!
28 minutes | May 25, 2021
The Miscreant Zone
Well, we have another “Grid Is For Squares Unplugged” this week… a little shorter than other episodes in the past. But Vince and I have been so busy lately and I know everyone understands. We’re doing our best. The podcast I was recently hired to produce professionally, The Suburban Women Problem, cracked Apple Podcasts’ Top 200 in its first week, which has been a strange and interesting and extremely stressful ride. But SWP is a political podcast with high-level guests like Chasten Buttigieg and this is a totally different beast… weird, small, and very personal. I’m fine with The Grid Is For Squares never topping any charts or getting any press—in fact, I prefer it that way. But if you are here and you have been traveling with us on this journey, thanks. We’re glad you’re here. So while I’ve been doing that, Vince has been living up on our property with his mom and his brother Morey, just like he has since the beginning of April. Most of this episode is him updating everyone on what they’ve been up to—myself included, since I haven’t been there. P.S. “The Miscreant Zone” is what Vince calls the shady area behind the greenhouse. I didn’t know what to call this episode and that made me laugh, so now it’s the title. That’s TGIFS Unplugged for ya, baby.
32 minutes | May 11, 2021
Rain and Pudgy Pies
I’m not going to lie to you, friends. I really did not want to edit this episode of The Grid Is For Squares. I’ve been working 60 hours a week at my new job, which is creating and editing a podcast, so the last thing I wanted to do was edit another podcast in my “free time.” But I’m glad I did, for a few reasons. One, I haven’t seen Vince much this spring and it’s always nice to hear his voice. Two, our power was out in Glendale when we recorded, and it came back on while we were recording, which was a fun real-time adventure to go on during our recording session. And three, it’s been a few months now since I’ve been up on our property and this makes me feel like I’m at least kind of still part of it. What a spring it’s been. Well, I’m not going to linger on this post (see again: working 60 hours a week), but a few things you’ll hear in this episode are: Meeting some neighbors Capturing at least 50 gallons of water from a single day of rain Burning poison oak (carefully) during the rainstorm Helping our skoolie friends with some bus projects A turkey taking an ash bath where we’d burned poison oak the day before Using a vintage pudgy pie grill to create all kinds of culinary abominations Our yurt should be ready sometime this week, so very soon we’ll be picking it up! Well, that’s all for now. Stay safe out there and learn something about a mushroom today.
43 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Hi friends! So April has been weird. I mean, of course the whole past year has been weird, being a sentient creature is weird, anything existing in the universe is weird, but for our particular microcosm, April has been particularly weird. I just started a new job so I’ve been living alone in our apartment in LA while Vince, his mom, and his brother Morey have been living off the grid on our homestead all month. So Vince and his mom and brother recorded this episode up on the property, hanging out in our greenhouse. It was great to hear Vince’s voice, because I miss him, but it was also interesting to hear about what they’ve been up to and what it’s been like living off the grid for a month.
38 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Hi friends! We're currently in an exciting and busy moment... I just got a new job, Vince's brother Morey is coming out to live on the property for a month, so instead of developing some new content, we thought we'd pop back to our very first episode (recorded in 2019) so see how far we've come. We'll be back in a few weeks (maybe our usual 2, maybe 3 or 4) but we WILL be back... we'll have a yurt by then and lots of stories about our spring blooming. ❤️
39 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Take Me To Skool: An Interview
Today marks the 30th episode of The Grid Is For Squares! It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this since January of 2020. And, perhaps accordingly, the format of today’s episode is a little different than usual… we have an interview! Earlier this month, our friends Mike and Amber joined us up on our property to work on their skoolie. So I thought I’d take that opportunity to interview Mike about his experience converting a school bus into a home. If you like The Grid Is For Squares, please leave us a rating and a review! We would really really really appreciate it. Thanks and stay safe out there!
41 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
A Necessary Evil
Hi friends, welcome to another episode of The Grid Is For Squares! Today, we’re discussing something that we hate but something that’s an unfortunate reality in building an off-the-grid homestead: money. It’s so hard not to stress about money, and not just during the pandemic but generally in this late-capitalist hellscape where GoFundMe is apparently a health plan. We’re hoping to be self-sufficient and communal eventually but, ironically, that won’t be possible until we’ve built a lot more and thus spent a lot more money. Talking about money can be difficult… at turns, I feel ashamed of how much and how little money we have. There are tons of people out there who couldn’t have built what we have already; they work hard but are surviving day to day. But I also feel embarrassed sometimes compared to other homesteaders who have way more funds than we do and have been able to build a much more impressive homestead in much less time. So we wanted to take this moment to be fully transparent about how much we’ve spent on our homestead so far.
39 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
We Built A Yurt Platform!
Hey friends! Today we have exciting news to report... we built the platform for our 16-foot yurt! It was a serious construction project that began months ago when I first had the dream to build a yurt, then through the past few months as we dug out dozens of cubic feet of dirt by hand as we prepared our building site, but last week we finally built the platform for our yurt. Tune in to hear how we did it, how much it cost, how long it took, and our myriad adventures in off-grid construction.
35 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Adventures in Time and Space
Welcome to another episode of The Grid Is For Squares! I don’t want this podcast to turn into a summary of our to-do list, cause that would be boring, so it’s important to me that when we don’t have a major breakthrough to report, we focus on a theme. So today’s theme is… time and space! Which, granted, covers everything in existence. But it’s also a way of framing our property, our projects, and the different ways we approach the world. In today’s episode, Vince uses a bunyip and SketchUp, we think about how weird time has been during the pandemic and how it sucks that we have to spend so much time apart, and more. We’re almost ready to build our yurt platform!
35 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
Vince Goes Feral
Here in LA basically everyone has coronavirus, so we’re hunkering down, staying indoors, and taking long trips up to our 10-acre property. In our previous episode, we talked about the in-floor heating system we built in our greenhouse. But we accomplished a lot more than just in-floor heating while we were up there over New Year’s. I only went up for 4 days, but Vince stayed up there for 10 full days. He went feral! We talk about digging (always more digging) and finishing the post holes for our future yurt, how Vince changed up our humanure system, and more.
41 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
In-Floor Heating, Off The Grid
Today’s exciting news is that we finally finished our in-floor heating project… and it worked! We knew from the get-go that electric heating wouldn’t be an option; the average space heater runs on 1500 watts, which means that our giant Yeti 3000 battery could only run one for 2 hours. Another solution was needed. The simple version of our in-floor heating system is: a 12-volt circulating pump (which plugs into our Yeti battery) is immersed in a one-gallon steel reservoir, which pumps hot water from the reservoir through 2 tubing runs that wind through the floor. After pumping the hot water through the floor, the cold water returns to a steel coil which immersed in hot coals, which fills the reservoir with hot water again and the hot water begins its journey once more. Tune in to today’s episode to learn more about how we built our DIY off-the-grid in-floor heating system, pros and cons, suggestions and recommendations, and more!
44 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
One Year of Homesteading
Welcome to the last episode of 2020! We’ve had our ten-acre property for a little more than a year now (we spent our first night there on Thanksgiving 2019), but as we come to the end of December, we thought we should take a moment to reflect back on what we’ve built, what we’ve learned, and what we recommend. And here's a toast to an awesome Year Two on our homestead!
38 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
We Built A Sink!
Today, we’re jumping back to our week on the property in early November. We only covered half of it in the last episode because there was a lot to discuss! This week, we talk about Thanksgiving, digging, building a rock staircase, and building a sink! We also discuss how hard it can be to collaborate with someone you love, and how bickering is often inevitable but we have to keep being patient with ourselves and each other. There's still so much to do, but incremental progress is still progress. Hang in there.
41 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Well, it’s been a hot minute, but we finally have a new episode of The Grid Is For Squares to share with you all! We missed you. We went up to the property on the Saturday after the election and a big rain storm followed us north the entire drive. In other places, that might be seen as a bad omen, but for Californians there is nothing more blessed than the first rain of the year. The fires are out! We can breathe the air again! And, if you remember from our previous episode, the last time we went up to the property we dug a rain catchment basin. Which means we have now officially catching rain! The system works! It was very cold, however, and after the second night of shivering and discomfort I woke up with a bit of… existential panic. So I talk a bit about what it's like to not really be an Outdoors Person while still trying to do this Extremely Difficult Outdoors Thing. This episode is Part 1 of us chatting about our latest trip up to the property. Stay tuned next time for Part 2!
38 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
We Can Dig It
On today’s episode we chat about our latest trip up to the property, which was all about DIGGING! We dug a rain catchment basin and started grading the yurt site... we probably moved a total of 3 cubic yards (81 cubic feet) over 2 days. Whew. Finally, in the spirit of spooooooky season, we spotted a couple of California Tarantulas on our property! They’re a little creepy (to me anyway) but they’re truly docile and harmless. Vince even let one walk on his arm. Tarantulas usually live in burrows underground, but in October the males emerge to find a mate. It marks the end of summer and the start of the rainy season (in nearby Coarsegold, they even celebrate with a Tarantula Festival every year!). Hopefully this means that rain is on its way!
32 minutes | Oct 13, 2020
Or maybe it should be AQIred, since we also spend a lot of time talking about AQI in this episode. In any case, the exciting news of the day is that the skoolie is now officially on our property! Meanwhile, here in California, everything is still on fire. A fun new thing for 2020 is compulsively checking the AQI, or Air Quality Index. Breathe safe out there, friends. P.S. This will make sense once you listen to the episode, but a group of turkey vultures is apparently called a “committee” or a “wake.” So actually we weren’t that far off with our silly guesses!
38 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Yurts So Good
Hey friends. We’ve been struggling a little lately… between the pandemic, wildfire smoke making the air toxic, and the election, things have been feeling pretty bleak. It’s not easy trying to live our lives and create our homestead with all of that happening in the background, but like everyone else, we muddle through. It’s all any of us can do. So today we’re talking about something that makes us happy: yurts! We’ve wanted to put a yurt on our property for a while now, and although we’re still in the Research And Planning phase, I wanted to take this opportunity to give everyone a little more info. Yurts are increasingly popular these days, but Karen on AirBnB did not invent yurts. So… who did? And how do they work?
38 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Where There’s Smoke
Today’s episode is about the current disaster that everyone’s talking about… the West Coast is on fire. It’s affecting us here in Los Angeles, with dangerous air quality from the Bobcat Fire, and the huge Creek Fire is filling our property with wildfire smoke up in Mariposa too. But let’s talk about our latest property visit for a moment. Over Labor Day weekend, we went up to Mariposa with our skoolie friend and got a lot done. On the second day of our visit, though, everything changed when Vince spotted smoke on the horizon... learn about what happened, how we got to this point, what the governor has announced, and more on this episode of TGIFS.
37 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
Sand in a Sauna
It feels like about a million years since our last episode, but (checks notes) nope, still just 2 weeks. Today’s big story is that we recently went up to the property to finish (well, “finish”) the greenhouse! It was very hot. And very dirty. And since we were moving all that sand and creating a lot of dust, we wore our cloth Covid masks for most of the day. But the greenhouse now has a real floor! No more nighttime crawly critters! It would almost be a proper indoor space… you know, if only it wasn’t 130 degrees.
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