The Journey to Self-Reliance

Follow a young Geologist on the journey of taking an 80 year-old cabin on Washington State’s Lake Sawyer, totally off the grid.

Project List for Discussion:

Solar Power (Check out my Off Grid Solar Post!)

Animal Husbandry

  • Quail Farming (Meat, Eggs, Incubation, Fly Tying/Craft Material)
  • Rabbit Farming (Breeding, Angora Fiber, Meat, Fur Tanning, Homegrown Rabbit Feed)
  • Angora Rabbit Fiber (Shearing, Plucking, Carding, Hand-Spinning, Knitting, Felting)
  • Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats (Breeding, Milk, Cream, Butter, Cheese, Ice Cream, Caramel, Cooking)
  • African Pygmy Goats (Hybrid Breeding, Dairy, Meat, Fur Tanning)
  • Bee Keeping
  • Ducks and Chickens (Eggs, Meat, Fly Tying/Craft Supplies)
  • Candle Making, Soap, and Lip Balm
  • Worm Farm (Compost Pile, Silk Worm, Soldier Fly Farm, Meal Worm, Cardboard, Yard Waste)

Food Processing

  • Vacuum Sealer, Dehydrator, Vitamix, Drying Screen, Solar Oven, Smoker,
  • Pressure Canner (Mwson Jars, Vacuum Sealer, Canning Funnel, Milk Strainer, Berry Strainer, Flour Sifter, Cheese Clothes, Berry/Nut Clothes
  • Brewing, Wine Making, Vinegar Making
  • Mushroom and Berry Gathering
  • Fly Tying and Fly Fishing 
  • Biogas Digester
  • Rain Catchment and Berkey Water Filter



-Blake Rasmussen, Founder



4 thoughts on “The Journey to Self-Reliance

  1. A couple of things on solar panels in Washington state west of the Cascades. Reflectors make a big difference. I put a reflector made of a piece of galvanized sheet metal 1/3 bigger than panel at 30° angle up from horizontal and panel at 70°. By doing this I got a fix panel setup to have 100% production on overcast days. (6 hours in December & January) Advantages less change of breakage when hail strikes a panel at a 70° angle then a 40°. Grid tied systems means between 25 & 30 percent more production. Off grid systems winter production for non-reflector setups is usually ‘0’.

    In the summertime best angel is 42° and wintertime 52°. I also used a 4’x8′ plastic political sign covered with a sheet of reflective Mylar. This also makes a great solar trough reflector for solar hot water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phil! Thank you for the Washington State solar efficiency tips. I am still definitely learning! It happens that I have a large roll of 5 foot mylar reflective sheeting, I will play around and do some production testing with that for sure! Thank you so much! Also, I am curious to try tilting my panels as you suggested, but towards the lake! Based on tests from my light-meter, it seems I get around 30% greater Lux/Lumens on average. But yes, on yesterday’s very cloudy PNW day, I was struggling to get above 100-200 watts out of my 24V 600 watt setup, so I can see how reflectors may be the answer! Haha my solution was ordering two more 100 watt renogy solar panels on the spot, wups haha. Also, since you mentioned it, I am soon to be 100% off-grid, with my 12V 400ah battery bank of parallel AGM sealed lead acid batteries, currently running about 75 watts an hour. May get another 1 or two for increased insurance haha.

      Also, I love the solar hot water reflector idea! I will try that as well! Thinking about adding rain catchment to my greenhouse, possibly some mylar may come in handy to heat it up, as well!

      Thank you again, I look forward to hearing from you again!



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