We were SO excited for David Day and his family to visit! As you may know, the green building architect David Day
is the designer of our zero energy, passive solar casa ti house kit
Now finding our land is not easy. I had emailed a map, but felt it best to take my new recycled dirt bike from Richmond Re-cycles
and pedal down the drive to the road for a trial spin to see how visible the yellow rope we hung as a marker was for a car. Imagine my surprise when, as I returned to the house kit, I heard a gentle beep behind me, turned around, and there was the Day family right there, already on the land!
They tumbled out, and the children promptly found the dirt hill, sand, and creeks. They have been very busy making "a campfire," "a kitchen," (on the sand pile) and "food." Yes, sand, twigs, and rock food which was served to us and was *absolutely delicious,* while David Day and his lovely wife Kerri sat down with Handsome Husband and myself for a beer at the picnic table to discuss the off grid house.
David was very, very happy with how the house kit had been completed, by the way, and I have asked him to give an architect's response some time later this week to share with you. I just loved seeing him smile as he walked around the modern house he designed, and when he got HIS camera out and started taking pictures... that was a moment I'll always cherish.
Now that we have a little more shelter than my beloved aluminum teardrop camper in which we have camped for four years through all seasons, we are starting to finally meet more neighbors. Earlier that day, we met Peter Scott, a neighbor whose family bought over 100 acres on our road over three generations ago. He met Handsome Husband on the road as he was trying to make the driveway more noticeable for the Day family to find, and we invited him in for a tour of our passive solar house
. I was wondering what an old school guy would think of the off grid house but... he loved it! He totally got it! He walked around and nodded his head as we explained the passive solar functionality, the practical concrete floors that also provided thermal mass, our plans for landscaping. We
loved his deep knowledge, ready smile, and stories of the generations of families and land along our road- we learned his family used to farm what is now our land, and that it was traditionally planted with grasses and corn. We really hit it off with Mr. Scott- especially when he started talking about barbecue, and how his family starts at 4 a.m. to begin their roasts, and the detailed traditions they have in creating each community barbecue... I know we have found a good friend and look forward to having his family over when we have friends over and cook for a crowd!
Now this was also the first time we had visited since Handsome Husband sealed the floor. It made ALL the difference- I will never need a vacuum cleaner, a push broom EASILY cleaned the dirt and dust after a busy weekend neatly into a pile, easily finished with a dustpan and brush. We will probably add one more layer of sealant after the inside construction is finished, but really, it could last for years as is. David Day also mentioned we could wax it as well, something we might consider.
The weekend was mild, but at night it went down to the 30's. Inside the house kit, still with no systems installed, it remained 58 degrees. According to Handsome Husband, the zero energy house lost only six degrees from sundown till sunup. By 8:30 the next morning it was already 60 degrees. I wonder if that was not so much due to the sun rising, as it was still early, as much as the fact that little children and dogs were racing around like atoms colliding in the zero energy house! You really do understand the passive house reports where body warmth is pretty much all that is needed. With warm blankets and comfy clothes, we could easily not have to use our solar energy to heat the house except for very few times of the year.
We had a lovely weekend, but again felt the deep desire to "just move in!" The good news is that the interior begins again after Easter - and no, we can not wait. : ) In the meantime we dragged out an old trunk I have used since college in New York to keep kitchen things in, and a portable closet given to us when friends moved away to store coats and pillows and sheets in, so that we don't have to keep carting everything back and forth.
In the pre-dawn, as I listened to the coyotes howl (coyote here are the size of shepherds), I admit that as much as I miss camping in my camper it is nice to have my family safe within the modern home's strong structural insulated panels
Oh, by the way, I have some good news regarding house kit tours / annual open house days! Keep September 26-27th on your calendar, because I am going to line up some fun farm tours, a house kit open house and more around Charlotte County's Heartland Bike Tour
. There is so many history sites and cultural things to do, and you can even ride your bike, camp out, and more! I also plan to have regular "open house" days seasonally where I choose a date where interesting, fun & historical events are going on in the community so you can not only tour the house kit but make it a destination weekend in Virginia. Within fifteen miles of the land there is founding father (Patrick Henry's Red Hill)
, civil war
, and civil rights history
so plenty to see and learn.
So stay tuned...
On our way home, I thought it would be fun to take some photographs to show y'all our little town...
And on the drive home, I took pictures of the landscape, reminding us all why we all need to preserve and value these landscapes and see it as a national resource. Just an hour away, development encroaches with mass grading, ticky-tacky inefficient developments, and no respect for what may be our most valuable asset, our land. Remember: without local farms there is no local food...
So here are our house kit, little town, and driving home pictures, below! I hope you enjoy!
(I added lots of comments to the pictures so if you see something that interests you please click on the picture to see a larger version with comments.)
Our little town:
And the pretty scenes we pass:
Labels: architecture, casa ti, green building, green house, green housing, green modern kits, off grid, passive house, passive solar, prefab, SIPs, zero energy