High Altitude Living in Washington and Colorado: Natural Resources

| 10/10/2012 4:17:50 PM

Bruce and Carol McElmurray live in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado at an elevation of 9,750'. 

Ed and Laurie Essex live off grid in the Okanogan Highlands of Washington State at an elevation of 4200’. 

Bruce and Ed, bloggers for The Happy Homesteader at Mother Earth News, have decided to collaborate on a blog about their high-altitude living. 

What natural resources do you have on your property and how do you utilize them? 

cold framesEd Essex: We use the sun for solar power. Our whole electrical system is powered by the sun including a 220V deep well pump. We do use a backup generator for about 100 hours per year which is the equivalent of four days. The sun powers us the remaining 361 days per year. Our house is wired the same as everyone else and we have all of the same amenities and appliances. 

We also use the sun for passive heat in our home in the winter and to keep our insulated cold frames warm enough to grow fresh veggies in the winter without any other source of heat. 

We use the existing groundwater for our drinking water. We have a 300’ deep well with a water source at 114’ and another source at 200’. Our water is wonderful. We really lucked out. 

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