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8/22/16

Net Zero Prefab And An Old Farm House Look At AC And What Is Enough?

Our days of going to, and fro, from the off grid prefab house and the150+ Year Old Ramshackle wanes with summer's end. 
Net zero prefab house...
150+ year old Ramshackle
Although we deeply miss our equines and many friends there, at the prefab, it is here, on the bay, where our Pips have bunches and bunches of kids with whom to play, and generations of friendships.
We continue to slowly work on saving / restoring the 150+ year old In Town Ramshackle, and, with the tomatoes now in, I frantically can quarts of pasta sauce and small jars of jam...

Off grid, canning isn't just about being all maker-y: 
Living off grid in the modern prefab house, we chose to convert a chest freezer into an off grid fridge, which works great because it's affordable.  Canning is very important in our family when living with such small fridge space- the more things we can put up, the less space we need for refrigerators or freezers...

Each summer, I delve into the topic of air conditioning. Honeychiles, we live in the south, and it is not just hot, it's HUMID. This week on Lloyd Alter's facebook page, he again brought up the subject and there were some thoughts and links I found compelling and thought I'd share:

Rethinking insulation and design in a North York home
RETHINK THE VAPOR BARRIER.
"...the best way to become superior is to jettison that stupid vapour barrier, Sustainable.TO principal Paul Dowsett says, since it only works when our homes are in heating mode. 'Our building code still does not understand that we cool these boxes down in the summertime,' he offers.

'It’s always considering that the vapour-drive is from the inside out. Well, that’s fine in the winter, because that’s what it’s doing,' he continues. 'But in the summer, the vapour-drive is the other way, so that sheet of poly is in exactly the wrong place in the wall.'"

CURIOUS? Learn more about "The Toronto Method," here.

I approach AC in this southern climate with the philosophy of, "Just Enough."
In the tight-envelope, insulated, energy efficient off grid prefab house of course, we, if we had an AC, would use it extremely lightly as, once comfortable, the house stays comfortable. But right now I'm in the leaky, INefficient 150+ year old farmhouse. As all our visitors know, we're no AC gluttons! Here is what I do:

If it is less than 90ish outdoors and low humidity, there is no AC. When high humidity brings the heat index up to uncomfortable levels, I more often than not shut the first half of the house and run one unit in the bedrooms so people can sleep at night / have some respite in the afternoons when the world is melting. As the sun lowers, we head to water to cool off and rejuvenate. When it is SCORCHING hot outside, I will acquiesce to a second AC unit, closing up the house entirely, set to 76, bringing the indoor temperature into the 80s.

Fans, shade porches, and iced tea are an immense help, too.

We can all embrace the culture of "taking just enough" and even make it fun, like one English village who became a climate leader by quietly cleaning up its own "patch."
"...The effort, reaching its 10th anniversary this year, has led to a 24 percent cut in emissions...
...
But what makes Ashton Hayes unusual is its approach — the residents have done it themselves, without prodding from government."

The off grid modern prefab house and the In Town Ramshackle, though built 150 years apart, share this helpful architecture attribute that helps heat and cool through the seasons: THEY ARE BOTH PASSIVE SOLAR.
Less windows here...

A few more here, plus purposely planted trees...
Our passive solar prefab house.

Notes From The Bay
Last week our solar fence went down that helped protect our hens. We lost a broody hen, and all her eggs, except one. The next day, a raccoon breached the fence and killed another favorite hen, Egg. The one lone egg that was not eaten earlier was Egg's egg. Oh we wanted that egg to hatch... but as expected, it didn't.
We gave Egg's egg an extra two days, just in case.

Pragmatic we are when one lives closer to food chains... but that does not mean we're not sad over this.

As the summer days wane, friends gather, this time at one of my favorite mid-century modern homes, The Red House.


Recipes:
Cheating At Fancy Scallop Pasta
So. I am canning up a storm. My sauce is garlic, onion, tomato, and bits of fresh basil. So I have a lot of that on hand. I made noodles with that for guests last night. I have tons of leftovers, albeit delicious, because I cooked for 400 not 10, as usual. How to make it taste new? Different? And: Deltaville? I headed over and grabbed some scallops. Sauteed 'em in *lots* of minced garlic and a little butter in a pan... as the scallops cooked, midway I added that spaghetti with sauce... stirred it around but making sure to leave the scallops touching the pan... let the noodles sit to kind of sear, too... then drizzled the noodles and stirred the noodles up with sriracha. Oh. MY GOODNESS. It was seafoody, spicy yet could taste all the delicate scallop, filling yet fresh... I might make this over and over and over. Don't kill the scallop taste and ruin it with parmesan. Just don't. Don't add cream. Leave this simple seafood be, and let it shine.

Hope you're enjoying these last summer days.
We are.






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