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5/2/20

From Our Off-Grid Modern Prefab House To You, Tips On Pantry, Prefab Project Construction Updates and Edible Weeds

I hope you are well.

We are busy at the off-grid prefab house enjoying spring's approach, with the never-ending work on  home projects... even after building the off-grid prefab house over ten years ago, we have lots of items on our Honey Do list!

So yeah, once you build your modern, energy-efficient prefab house, that doesn't mean household projects will stop!



There will ALWAYS be stuff to work on around the prefab house! 
There's the garden! Powerwashing the galvalume! Tractor repairs and fencelines to fix and cutting wood for crop tree release while gathering next winter's wood! Teens wanting to change their bedrooms! Vintage camper restoration! Green horses to work on! Pickles to make! Trails to clear!
They are crammed into the same camping chairs
they have used since they were one and two...!
By February, as the pandemic neared, I finished the usual pantry preparations and then buffered more than usual at our off-grid prefab home. See, I have a lot of friends in design, and watch them circuitously flit between NY -> LA -> China's factories and back, so it was not a great mental leap to trace flight paths. Being two hours south of DC, with a small southern city closest to us at the off-grid prefab that has several businesses dealing with military / security-related goods to China... it was not a leap for even my small mind...

Not a medical professional!!!


Note: Before reading this understand I have NO knowledge of medicine, am not a medical professional, and am just sharing, in the spirit of The Four Thieves recipes passing on of information, what I have found and think. 

If you don’t know The Four Thieves story, and the modern lawsuit, it is a very interesting tale on trademark law, business, and communal property!
Before the Chinese New Year I was sick. Sick sick sick sick sick.

There was no vaccine or prescription anywhere, not for a long while... so...

Raised in modern medical culture (I actually joke that I was raised running wild in the hallways and cafeteria of a local hospital, which is kind of true, while on weekends my dad did charts and my mother, the accounting), a doctor's daughter with an interest in research, I started with the SARS research published in reputable medical journals over ten years ago, then looked at China today, then found what protocols respected naturopaths were recommending.

In February, knowing a vaccine would be 18+ months out, I researched, ordered the herbs, and made tinctures.

If I had told you even two months ago that you should have a two year plan, would you believe me? So yeah, that is done, let's move on!

Let's lighten up a bit.
The upside of this is that now you can follow our escapades eating weeds and Pantry Food.


If you would like to follow what we do for pantry creativity, if you are interested in seeing how we forage healthy delicious food, and our own off-grid thoughts and tips, follow us on Instagram at @OffGridPrefab.

Prefab house projects continue, and I have an update from the Pacific Northwest. 
But I'll write about that next week.
BAD! He is texting and driving!!!!


I also had a bright spot this week from a couple in DC, as I can share more I will, but basically they, like other clients, remind me of why I keep doing this.

We quickly diverged from the reason for the call, to purchase a prefab house, and instead spent a lovely while catching up on how they journeyed from Ethiopia to a Sustainable Agriculture Program in North Carolina to DC... and now, newlyweds, are searching for their own place to farm.

I never began this business as "Just A Business."
Each time I connect with someone, THEY are why I do this.

As I have mentioned frequently these past two years, I have lost my joy of writing.
Yet clients like Little Lab or Wolftrot, clients who have to postpone their prefab dream, or a lovely discussion with these newlyweds make me want to write again, because I *do* have thoughts on many things not even remotely related to a prefab house, from how to look for land, what systems work well, lifestyle considerations...

When I have zero desire to write, it is people telling me they read something I wrote long ago that make me collect myself and write more.

Ironically, after grudgingly, trying to rise to the occasion and post bright spots around the prefab on Instagram for the past two years,
when we went on lockdown
I suddenly
started writing.

Not to write, which I now don't enjoy, but because I thought people might need to know certain things.

Since I began this blog, they have grown...

See, we are rural AND urban in our culture, and I have noted that BOTH need a little help in some things each might not know.

I was actually surprised how not just my urban friends but also rural friends didn't know how much food is outside in their yard even before their garden is up. So I started posting on that.

I'm no chef, but I am an Affable Prepper, so I thought sharing creative journeys with Pantry Food might help, too.

And you know what?
Are y'all interested in having a Virtual Get Together?
If so, comment below, and how you would like that to happen - Duo, Zoom, Skype... and we can make it happen! You can ask me all about living off-grid in the prefab house over ten years later, being creative with Pantry Food and weeds... what else?

Y'all come on over!

In the meantime here are some beginning Pantry Food posts, if this interests you, to help you catch up.

Beginning in March, the Pantry Food And Foraging posts began.






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Yesterday, reality hit many in the USA. Schools suddenly closed for months, not weeks. Empty grocery stores. Sudden loss of jobs and businesses. A week ago, they never imagined that today would really be like today. I am no cook. But I am doing #PantryFood to maybe help someone reimagine what is in their pantry so it is not the same old, same old. Here is what I did here: I thought I was going to open a can of gross chunk chicken and make chicken salad but instead decided soup so not to waste the broth. I was despondent and didn't even want to cook, so didn't. I stirred in some ACV, honey mustard, mayo, tarragon, s&p... and remembered violets outside. I totally would have cooked this differently if I was happy. Is anyone happy? To my surprise it was savory, comforting, and getting outside to get the violets lifted... well, it didn't lift my spirits but it was good to get outside. If you can, get outside. Sending you all love.
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I know some outdoor enthusiasts have been waiting for me to mention my next weed. But the meal was so… SINFULLY RICH I almost didn’t. But then I thought how every aspect of the food might help someone think more creatively about pantry food, and foraging, and bread, so decided to share it. After I let the horses out, I stopped to pick a mess o’ creasy greens. I actively encourage creasy greens in my permaculture bed, but you can find them walking in yards, fields… just like other edible spring weeds. I have been sprouting lentils all week but they are so delicious I haven’t been able to use them in a meal, I eat them like popcorn! So I resolved to sprout a BUNCH, and kept chiding myself as I raided them, but finally still had some left for today’s meal. Let’s talk bread. By now you might not want to go to the store for milk, eggs, or have baking soda or powder to make a loaf of bread. Off grid, this time of year I just want to let the cookstove fire up once to make a bunch of stuff rather than keep it going, so this is when I embrace making crepes, flatbreads, etc., I make a stack for the day, and they don’t have to use eggs or milk in them, there are plenty of recipes without. For today’s “crepes” I decided to go Indian and dusted them with spices as they cooked. Let’s talk meat. When I cook a whole duck, chicken, or turkey, after Day 1 I slice the remainder for sandwiches. Anything not big like that I further shred- all the little pieces and skin, cook then add in some fave things (onions, garlic, carrots, celery, anything on hand, most of the time when I cook something whole I already have root vegetables baked with it so it is super easy), and from that pack into ramekins or mini loaf pans, pour the juice over, and, served cold, slathered over hot fresh bread, call it rillette, served lukewarm, with friends over, call it pate, and otherwise, add it to sandwiches with sauce as “barbeque” or toss into soups / pasta sauces. (Note: after you have done this don’t forget to use the bones and anything left for broth! You can freeze that, too.) Sautee the creasy greens, your favorite way. (cont. in comments) #PantryFood #Forage #Foraging
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Breakfast With Crepes, Egg, Salad, and Radish I love breakfast with lots of greens. On the way back from letting the chickens out, I picked creasy greens and chickweed for a breakfast salad, then softboiled a backyard egg while making crepes. The can of coconut milk I started into yogurt weeks ago with just one probiotic is now nearing the end of its second can, I am using it like creme fraiche by adding a little lemon. But I am also mixing in the whey / some of it to my crepe batter and it is delicious. A few weeks ago, knowing the pandemic neared, I timed its proximity with pickle making so I would have lots of fresh but lightly pickled vegetables on hand. More on that in a minute. I decided to break out a can of pickled radishes and carrots with star anise and ginger I made just before quarantine hit. I sliced them, added them to the plate with the salad and crepe, and made a big ole rolled-up sandwich with that and the egg… I also took a second crepe and lazily dipped it into the pot of made-from-a-can yogurt / creme fraiche, but don’t tell anyone! It was SO creamy sour tangy and perfect with the crepe… Pickling Philosophy: Pickled anything, anytime is great. But I knew we would eat down fresh veggies first, and only have so much space in our freezer for frozen. And purely canned veggies… well, they are just canned veggies, not much excitement there, no? So pickle. You don’t even need a pressure canner, you just need a tall soup pot with enough height to have 2” above the jars, and do a water bath. Here are my favorite things to pickle: Sliced radishes and carrots with star anise, ginger, sugar and red pepper flakes (or favorite heat) Whole carrots Cauliflower Cucumber slices with onion, a little sugar Red onions with a little sugar #PantryFood #Forage #Foraging #OffGrid #prefab #PrefabHouse #PrefabHome #OffGridHomestead #OffGridLiving #pickling #canning #NetZero
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Chicken Salad From The Bar Open your pantry, reach far back and pull out that dusty box of golden raisins, and sprinkle some in a bowl. Add a dash of ACV and a little mayo, salt, pepper, tarragon, garlic powder, stir it allllllllll up and let it sit a minute to plump the raisins, then open up a depressing can of chunk chicken. Save the broth, of course, for tonight’s soup, and mix the chicken in. Now open the bar and reach for NO NOT THAT! Grab that little tin of nuts. SHEESH, people! Chop up some nuts and mix them in. If you’re really depressed go outside and forage some violets and toss them on, it will make you feel better. Serve with whatever bread / crepe / crackers you have on hand, in this case, I made a crispy flatbread. HOW did I make the flatbread? Well, don't tell anyone, but I took some leftover batter from this morning, and at a lower heat ladled out some, and then spread it as thinly as possible across the pan. And let it sit awhile. Then I flipped it. And waited a while, again, at a lower heat, because, honeychile? We have TIME today. . . #PantryFood #Forage #Foraging #OffGrid #OffGridLiving #OffGridHomestead
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Dinner With Dock First, there are some things you need to know about docks, and not just the fishing kind. NEVER forage dock from pastures or places you don’t know because most farmers or suburban residents will DOUSE a cluster of dock with ROUNDUP if they see it. Don’t do it! We, however, abhor RoundUp. And have dock. Broad leaved dock is also known as bitter dock, for a reason. You can also tell the older plants by the red tinge along the stem. Curly dock is narrow, with curled edges. Here is a great overview on the two: http://returntonature.us/stalking-the-curly-dock-rumex-crispus/ Today I am bitter so thought I’d pick the oldest dock, not the youngest. Let’s see how that goes. In the meantime, I cut up some of my Tahitian melon squash (again, I love this one because it keeps all winter and is huge!), diced some onion, tossed in some garlic, sriracha… and made soup by adding a little water, just to cover. Once cooked, I didn’t even bother to get out a processor or anything I just took a fork and violently mashed it all up as I talked to myself. “You have GOT to be KIDDING me I sent my kids from homeschool to high school and NOW THEY CANCEL SCHOOL FOR THE YEAR???” In no time, it was pureed. Then I added in that leftover canned chunk chicken broth from lunch. Finally, I plucked one tiny leaf from my sage, drizzled some ongoing creme fraiche yogurt whatever made from a can o’ coconut milk weeks back, and over it all dusted nutmeg. I cooked the dock leaves in a little water, drained, then twirled up the dock leaves. Dock gives you vitamin C, iron,vitamin A, magnesium, manganese, and even a bit of copper. While not much in presentation, the leaves taste more like spinach than mustards. Together, they paired well- the comforting soup with the dock… a good meal of nutrients for this… this day. #OffGrid #PantryFood #Forage #Foraging #OffGridLiving #OffGridHomestead
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Now, I am again getting sick with the same thing I had in January.
How do I know?
That old, immediately-recognized weird mass feeling under my ribs.
That vague headache, like when you get dehydrated, yet it takes three days to realize,
"Wait. I never get headaches, and I have had one three days."
The sore throat, aches, mild fever... and day 3, it is in my lungs.
Now that I realize I'm sick, I begin tinctures.

Whatever it is, I remember too well its previous hold, and determine to not let it, again.

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