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2/27/09

Last Vintage Hat Friday!

Yes (tolling bells slowly across the land)...
It is the last
Vintage Hat Friday.

Vintage Hat Friday helped us to bear those dark winter days in the workplace, an excuse to celebrate second-use clothes and show that you can be stylish and reused savvy in the workplace!

But now our work breaks turn towards spring- where you will find us crouched over cold frames eagerly tending the first crop of the season.

So, in the spirit of Vintage Hat Friday, we thought we'd end with a twist:
For all you loyalists, we decided to SWITCH OUTFITS of previously shown vintage duds!
So thaz right, peeps- Amy is wearing one of MY outfits, and I am wearing one of HERS!

So who ya gonna vote for NOW?
(Vote For Meeeee! ; ) )

Amy: Ode To Scrap Bar, NYC!

So this is it folks, the last 08-09 Vintage Hat Friday, and I’m trying very hard to look disenchanted with the establishment. I have to admit, I thought that cutting up shirts was something people in the 80’s did because they wanted to look tough, or perhaps just show cotton who’s boss, but frankly, it’s darned comfy. About 5 minutes after getting into this getup I started cataloging the shirts I have that could stand a little scissor action.

So, why should you vote for me? Well, I’ve managed to not only squeeze my size 8.5 feet into Copeland’s ladylike size 7 platform Converse sneakers, but I have done so with an injured toe! (Hey, she’s gonna play the “woe is my I skinned my knee!” card, so I’ve got to employ countermeasures where I can!) And then managed to climb on top of the vintage Lane chest without falling off! Since I’m more accident prone than a dizzy knife juggling clown that is quite the accomplishment.

I have never attempted to ‘stick it to the man’ before, but I seem to be managing pretty well J Look, I even put on extra eyeliner for you today! I’m going to miss our time together on Fridays, but hopefully we’ll see you again next fall for… Vintage Hat Friday! (Vote for Me!)

Copeland: “Social Net-Working?”
This hat gives new meaning to networking. I love the details, and the way it shows so nicely against the pink hair.

Now on Amy, this outfit looked rather prim and '50s.
But I am TOTALLY feeling the New Wave 80s vibe when I put these digs on!

I feel elegant in a "I'm off to The Ritz to see the Flock of Seagulls" kinda way.

So, Don't.
Don't You Want Me...


The skinned knee? (Flutters eyelashes) I wasn't going to mention it, but SINCE Amy did, yes, I had an office mishap earlier this week.
It was a rather spectacular wipe out...
I wish we had filmed it!

So vote for me, Miz Wounded Knee Social Networking New Wave Princess Gal!

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2/24/09

Forgive me.

This has to be the (ok fine *one of the...*) weirdest post ever.
But, two things happened:
The venerable Jetson Green featured us on the home page of their site...
and
on twitter, the subject of crock pots came up, discussing the fact that they are SO energy efficient they only take about the energy of a light bulb to cook.

I'm gonna combine these subjects, and throw in a few more twists.
: )

Even before I was an ardent solar cooker, I loved to cook.
Now I was a late-blooming chef...
In my 20's a bunch o' boyz from Italy (as in, really from Italy) finally cried "sacrilege" and forced me to learn a basic marinara sauce when they, in my East Village New Yawk apartment, could no longer stand to see this Southern Gal, hungry and in mid-sentence, absentmindedly open a can of condensed cream-o-mushroom soup and eat it, lukewarm, with a spoon.
Their mommas sent in recipes, with a little about their family history in each one. I learned to cook.

I've embraced food since then.
And I have the Italian Moms' handwritten recipes carefully bound, so the old ways will, even if they have to be passed through some skanky Virginia Southern Girl way, survive.

Now this whole crock pot topic on twitter reminded me of some fantastic resources. My favorite is collecting vintage cookbooks, picking them up at yard sales and thrift stores. I have shelves full of great, down-home recipes from the days before microwaves where budget-minded farmers passed on thrifty, delicious culinary secrets. I cherish the old "foreign food" cookbooks- their recipes are true to the cultures, and you quickly recognize the use of how local, seasonal ingredients are critical to defining their culture.

In the 90s, trollin' around the internet, I discovered some fantastic online resources.
So, twitter people, here are some great sources for recipes from my old school internet days.

Please remember that I never follow directions. I'm a bandit, y'know...
A smidgen here, a dash o' something there...
But these are some great crock pot sources/recipes I've tried, and you can then search the base domain to find others if you're vegan, etc.:
  • http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/crockpot/ The SOAR database has been compiling great recipes from many cultures and communites for ages. Check 'em out.
    • Fave crock pot recipes include: (You'll have to look 'em up on title as they've switched links since I, long ago, printed 'em out:)
      • Chicken & Wine / Dumplings, Martha Sheppard, Oct 1996
      • Brunch Casserole, Nancy Miller
      • Braised Beef In Crock Pot, AWilson
      • Cauliflower and Potato Curry (Vegan)
      • (Basically you're getting good stuff at SOAR- I tried many recipes & loved 'em! Full of cultures and communities!!!)

  • Red Wine Mushroom Ragout: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Wine-Mushroom-Ragout-1628 My handwritten notes say, "I added potatoes, did in crock pot the night before (minus tomatoes) then cooked with tomatoes the next day in crock pot."
  • This one's for Leah, my sistah who is a naturopath in Portland and dared me to bring up aspic: Oh yes, aspic: Ham Mousse In Sherry Aspic: (popular in the '60s I hear...and still doin' QUITE WELL in the south thank-you-very-much...)
Now, there was this super site, World Wide Recipe Chef, to whom I subscribed.
It was twitter/blogs for food before there was twitter.
Or blogs. Blogs didn't exist.

World Wide Recipe Chef was sent out via email. This guy (and all the people that contributed to it from all around the world) stands in my heart. What he did was combine recipes with people's oral history: people wrote down their stories and memories to submit with their food.

Each month The Recipe Chef would have a theme, and would also open it up to readers for their contributions and stories. If you enjoy reading, cookin' and learnin'... I highly recommend The Recipe Chef. It's been a long time, but I suspect he's still going strong. : ) Try him out!!!! If you enjoy learning about other people and their cultures and traditions, all in stories with a recipe to match, this guy's for you. : )

I can't begin to tell you all the contributions and stories the readers sent in with fantastic recipes from all over the world *with their stories* So what are ya waitin' fer? If you enjoy people, cooking, and local history passed on to others, then this is a good site for you!

One theme led to the following contribution, which I have carried with me... awhile.
Please listen.

A Recipe For Om Fried Rice:
Please direct any questions about this recipe to the author.
From: Ted Parker

Biographical Note: Ted Parker, male, 52. Bichon Friese, Collie, one old cat. Doing my second twenty years as a weapon system analyst (specializing in command and control communications systems), presently working the Patriot missile system contract. First twenty years was as an Army officer (military intelligence and staff type assignments). Oregon State University, 1969, History and Naval Science. Pretty much grew up at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. This recipe comes from an earlier period in my life:

Om Fried Rice (Korean)

In an earlier incarnation, I once spent a very long year in Korea. Up near the Demilitarized Zone, just outside a little village named Tongduchon. I was in the Army, then, a brand-new First Lieutenant assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division;

Second to none,
First to run,
We won't fight,
And you can't make us.

Korea was not a good place to be, then. Vietnam was just winding down. We had an Army almost as divided as the country was at that time. A lot of racial tension. A lot of rancor between the officers and the enlisted men - although neither of us wanted to be there. I think we all felt that we had somehow stepped off the face of the earth. That we were forgotten.

I lived in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters. Cinderblock building, tin roof. Needing paint and repair. Eight by ten foot room. A small cot, a small desk, a couple of steel lockers. Very BIG speakers and a nice stereo receiver. Turntable. Huge Teac reel-to-reel tape deck. Showers (and, during the day, laundry room) down the hall. I paid a houseboy eight dollars a month to clean my room, wash my clothes and shine my boots every day.

Right across the small street was the Officer's Club. Home away from home... Bar/Lounge. Mailroom. Barbershop. Theater. Officers Open Mess (where you ate when you had to). And the little snack bar, tucked into a corner (where you ate when you could afford it). Nearly everything in our small lives, under one small roof.

Mr. Ho ran the snack bar. Little old Korean guy, spoke maybe ten words of English. Made incredible Om Fried Rice:

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 small onion, diced
1/3 cup diced ham
1/4 cup peanut oil
hot pepper oil to taste
very coarsely ground black pepper to taste
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice in as little water as possible. Drain and let stand for a couple of hours.

To a large frying pan or griddle, add a generous splash of oil. Saute carrots briefly, dousing liberally with hot pepper oil - this dish should make you sweat a bit. Add onions and saute until translucent (still just slightly crunchy). Add ham and heat through. Add rice and toss thoroughly to mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer fried rice to a plate; keeping warm. Lightly beat egg and season with salt and coarse ground pepper to taste. Add oil to pan if needed. Pour in the beaten egg and swirl in the pan, making a large and very thin disk. When the top glazes, carefully fold (like a pie crust) and remove from pan. Carefully unfold the fried egg over the rice on the plate, like a tent. Serve immediately. Serves 1 (appropriately).

When you have eaten your Om Fried Rice, go out into the garage.
Listen to some bad music on a radio station that just barely comes in.
Watch a rerun of an old movie (must be black and white) on a small-screen television. Turn the power off about halfway through your movie. Drink at least half a bottle of cheap booze, then crawl out to the storage shed in the back yard. Go to sleep, knowing that the Om Fried Rice was probably the best thing to happen to you all week.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Mr. Parker, I will drink lukewarm Pabst Blue Ribbon in your honor this weekend.
Thank you for sharing a moment in your life that, for me, captured an era in history.
In the end, it's about the people.
Isn't that what the internet is about, any-hoo?
And thank you, Jetson Green, for following our story.

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2/21/09

Passive Solar Modern House - Energy Efficient House Kit Update

It was in the low- to mid- forties when we arrived on the land and incredibly windy... but inside the modern passive house kit it was a cozy mid-sixty-ish.

Now don't forget that while we may have the exterior weather-tight, we have not yet hooked up systems. So that nice warmth was generated purely by the passive solar design.

This was the first day I have been able to take pictures of the finished structural insulated panels house kit exterior, so I went a little overboard- any of you whom have wondered what the completed outside looks like, well, you have more pictures than you could ever want to satisfy your curiosity. : )

I hope you enjoy 'em as much as I do!

I also apologize for some of the blurred photos- I will take better pictures and buy another 'cheap land camera I can get muddy and not cry about when the 6 year old drops it *again*'- it is clear it has been dropped one too many times.

As I mentioned, it was a very windy, brisk, February day; but inside the modern house it was calm, peaceful. Natural sunlight filtered in and filled the space in a wonderful way.

Really, there's no need for lighting except in the evening in my opinion.

Even without interior walls, the family naturally groups itself in areas of that main common space- we have thrown a fold up table and chairs on the west side where our dining area will eventually be, and some chairs and blankets for sleepy children on the east side where they naturally snuggle down and cuddle with the light falling on them, keeping them warm and secure feeling, as they rest.

I loved how I could (finally!) sit down at the card table and skim a homesteading magazine *while* having a nice view of the children and dogs playing in the dirt, see them, hear them, yet while they ran wild, everything was so calm and cozy where I sat...

Next we paint the west door black, and finish insulating around the foundation by putting foam all around the foundation that is currently exposed in these pictures.

Once that is done, the massive hill of dirt that my children have much enjoyed (yes I rue the day I tell them this) will be pushed back to infill around the house kit.

We also move on to framing the interior, then installing off grid solar and rainwater systems.

But more on that later, in the meantime, enjoy the beautiful day!

Below you will see a slideshow (click to get the bigger version that also has more detailed captions) plus some fun videos I made...

Oh, and yes, my Handsome Husband *did* run out and get us another camera after all these blurred pictures... : )

Ironically because the light was streaming in so brightly from the windows, the camera overcompensated these interior videos so they show darker than what it was in real life. In fact, I think all the pictures are darker as well. I'll take better videos / pictures next weekend...


My dogs were trying to tell me to let them inside as I made this video of the inside...
Look at that last frame, Khan rounding the corner while Pacha is telling me to Let. Them. In!


Here I talk about our vintage camper that, for four years now, has been our sole shelter here. We camp pretty much from early March until late November/mid December in that unheated camper... but cramming four people in there was getting pretty crazy and it is going to make a world of difference to now be able to be here year round in a house. (This video was made *last* weekend hence my reference to the unseasonably warm day- this weekend, it was your typical February temperatures!)

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2/20/09

Vintage Hat Friday! And lotsa house kit pics this weekend!

Vintage Hat Friday is almost over!
And modern house kit enthusiasts I have good news- the Amish have installed the cladding, the last large doors on the south side, so tomorrow I will be taking LOTS of house kit pictures now that the exterior is finished!!!!

Copeland : Swing On Sally
My friend Leah (who is now a naturopath in Portland) and I were in our teens, shopping at the local thrift store (Fan Thrift) when we spied a PAIR of dresses with matching jackets for two dollars! Back then we thought that was expensive but could not resist getting matching vintage outfits- which, years later, we wore swing dancing, then to cocktail parties...

The hat is another local find, and the gloves were purchased at an estate sale.
The cocktail shaker is a family item from the 1920s, I mean, hey, it's Friday and five o'clock
somewhere, right?

So c'mon out and Vote Fer Me, Swing On Sally!

Amy: Navy Nightingale

This hat was purchased on the very last day of an estate sale, haggled for and acquired in a moment of “well, it’s a hat. I’m sure I can use it…for Vintage Hat Friday!” It came with a lovely rhinestone brooch attached, and while I thought in the dim interior lighting it was black, it turned out to be Navy Blue.

Well now. I have plenty of uses for a black hat, but only one for navy. This dress. It’s a lovely wrap dress I purchased from my hometown CHKD thrift store in high school. It is elegant, slimming, and a disaster on a windy day *ahem* Ah, those wrap dresses. I don’t know how women wore these out of the house and maintained their dignity, but I know I chickened out and brought a suit to wear out the door today so I would not suffer misfortune at the hands of a capricious cross-breeze.




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2/18/09

Terms Of Service


In the technology world this week, there has been quite a brouhaha over FaceBooks new Terms of Service.

Usually my web development and green building do not overlap, but I could not help but reflect on it when answering some requests from you, the wonderful people who ask me for more information on Green Modern Kits, Green Cottage Kits, and Green Cabin Kits.

You may wonder why I make you email first instead of a 'call now' phone number.
This is because I will need to keep track of you so I don't let any of your special questions get lost as I follow up with the factory or architects for answers. By keeping an electronic record, I will know you are getting the attention you need.

So, once you email that you would like information, I am able to respond to your requests with a lot of information you might otherwise forget if I just phoned you. This way you have it on record to ponder and hem and haw over as well!

Now here's a little story several of my farming friends have told me:
(Grateful thanks to The A's, The B's and the fabulous and always verbose George G. for this story that resonates in my heart... : ) )
A new neighbor moved into a rural community. He headed to the hardware store, where people gather. The new person sidled up to the counter and said, "So, what are people like 'round here?"

The old man behind the counter scratched his head and slowly replied,
"Well, what were people like where you came from?"
The new neighbor did not hesitate: "Oh they were terrible! The dogs and children ran loose, and they were always asking you do something!"
The hardware store man showed empathy. "Yeah, I know what you mean. They're like that here, too, and the best thing you can do is keep to yourself and ignore them!"
The new neighbor was grateful. "Thanks for letting me know. I don't know if we'll be staying here long, anyway."

The next day, another new neighbor found the hardware store.
"So, what are people like around here?"
The old man asked, "Well, what were your old neighbors like?"
The new neighbor reminisced: "Oh they were great, we still keep in touch! We had lots of potlucks, there were always lots of children playing, we started a community parade and through our spaghetti suppers raised money for a fire station!"
The old man grinned. "Well, I think you'll find the people here just fine."
Here, we have worked very hard to create an amazing team of top notch green building architectural firms and industrial designers, a national, environmentally-friendly SIP manufacturer who is giving big volume discounts for our house kits so we can offer you an affordable price, and many, many people, whom you may never meet, who work hard every day to create something so you can consider us an option in your life choices.

Since our founding, each day I read and respond to every request for information.
I have met the most AMAZING people through this experience.
I have heard about your quests for land, your urban infill lots, your family's place you want to preserve from development...
You are all a joy, and thank you for sharing your stories with me.

Our first emails to each other are the beginning of a relationship.
Unlike the shirt you purchase from XYZ store online, we are not just a press of the button and the sliding of a credit card.
This is a process.
It is the beginning of our story, and journey together.

Today, after all this time, I received my first rude request for information. Rude Person, I appreciate your interest, but I will not expose you to our nice, talented people I have worked so hard to find. Rude Person, if you speak to us that way, how will you treat your contractor? Their subs?

It is in all of our best interests to, with our customers, create a team that communicates well so that your house kit is a pleasant, successful project.

So I am adding a clause to our FAQ / Terms of Service.

(Smiles gently)
'Cause Rude Person, you wouldn't want us any-hoo.

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2/15/09

Passive Solar Modern House - It was warm with zero energy in today's mod house visit!

It was a crisp but gorgeous winter day and we headed out to the land.
I can't tell you how we all collectively relax but also become so alert / get SO excited as the car crunches slowly down the drive... it's calm in your heart paired with exuberance.
Car stopped by the camper, we tumbled out, and I ran to the modern passive house kit.

It was a cold day. We have no systems hooked up. Ya can't get more, er, zero energy house than that! ; )
Yet when I opened the door to the passive solar house kit, the air inside was noticeably warmer. Not hot-n-toasty, mind you, but the passive solar design alone was enough to keep us from being too chilled. I hustled the cold children inside, and the next time I turned around the four year old was warm enough to have kicked off her shoes. In February.

After getting everyone settled, I headed over to Ron and Judy's to pick up some reused chicken lamps, feeders/waterers for my, ahem, imaginary chickens.

As we visited, Ron updated me on the latest costs so I have updated the construction cost post accordingly here. This currently covers foundation, house kit, erection of off grid SIP house kit, installation of cladding / roofing membrane (we decided to have the north roof be membrane), radiant tubing in foundation... erhm, am I missing anything, readers?

That final danged piece o' cladding has arrived from the vendor, and the Amish will finish installing it (and all remaining cladding, they were waiting for that final piece) this week. So expect great finished pictures next weekend.

NOW, for the interior.
You may have recalled we are in the process of refinancing.
We'd be crazy not to- we have the opportunity to drop over 2 points! But... it seems everyone else in the world has the same idea... so we're just waiting...
And waiting...
And... waiting...


In the meantime, we are still sorting out the VMI basketball court wood with which we will line the interior of that main room in the off grid casa ti. It's a basketball court. Of wood.
So, it's takin' some time.

Like you, we have spent time and thought into what our home will look like so have searched and frugally planned over the past few years so that we won't have to decorate from a big box store.

We have acquired quite a few thrift store recycled / reused furniture finds that look, frankly... amazing. I am excited to put it all together!

But first we need to finish the interior...
And modest systems... (because who needs big systems when you're energy efficient?)

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2/13/09

Cladding update -AND- Vintage Hat Friday - We're playing fer yer heart!

Great news, modern energy-efficient house kit people!
The final modern house cladding arrives this afternoon AND I had a great conversation with someone from (drumroll) THE CLADDING MANUFACTURER who seemed immediately to "get" your market potential as residential consumers who want to clad their modern house kit in sleek, gorgeous metal siding.

So I may have some super updates for you in the coming weeks regarding this subject, stay posted!

Sadly, (unless the house kit enthusiasts revolt) we are soon winding up Vintage Hat Friday.
'Cause then it will be gardening season and we can take work breaks playing in the garden so there will be no need to dress up and showcase recycled style on Fridays. : )

Now poor Amy is at a convention, but insisted on submitting a lone photo for your consideration:

Amy: Your vote should 'Be Mine!'

"Happy Valentines Day!

The dress was a Christmas Gift from a certain Miss Megan, and you've seen the hat and shoes before.

I had intended for this to be a bit more fab, but 4 hours of sleep and running late for a trip will make you pose poorly in bad lighting while simultaneously having a bad hair day. Ah well... Happy Voting!"

Now I was feeling sorry for her... until I *brightly* recalled HER FATHER had sent in a submission we hadn't yet used!

(Copeland: Cackling wildly:)
I present Mr. White...

Mr. White:
"Gypsy Rose He?

This entry is all vintage, the picture, the hat, the outfit, me.

It is also wrong on so many, levels; the cross dressing, the makeup, the stereotyping of gypsies, the excessive bling.

Let me explain; it seems well over a half-century ago my mother decided it would be great fun to dress up her 3 year old son for Halloween. This picture documents the results. Oh, the inhuMANity of it!

Apparently the sins of the grandmothers are passed down to the granddaughters for Amy early on became a “poser” and now is afflicted with a strange attraction to old clothes. Even now I can barely stand to show my face. A vintage vote for me to break the family curse! (Wonder what Copeland’s grandmother did, I mean, what’s up with the pink hair?)"

Copeland's Response:
Ok White Family Team, I'm gonna have to respond directly to Mr. White by asking AMY:
"Amy, did yer dad jest call you a poser?"
And...
"Is that your DAD in DRAG????????"

(A-hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!)

As for myself, I have been eagerly watching the calendar no, not for Valentine's Day (sorry Handsome Husband) but for...
GARDENING GODDESS SEASON!!!!

Yes, in about a week or two I break out my sexy cold frames and start seeds when they otherwise would not grow. So in honor of the Garden Gods I present...

A 1960s PURPLE LILY MUMU!!!!!!
I adore flitting about the lavender and mint in this number...

The hat, you've seen on another Vintage Hat Friday...

And the watch? Plucked from the waves to be recycled (and free!) last summer.

The shoes are Melissa, I love them!
Why do I love Melissa so?
From Inhabitat:
"Melissa Shoes are made from MELFLEX plastic, a patented, hypo-allergenic, recyclable, and extremely flexible PVC. The shoes are totally cruelty free and devoid of animal products. The Brazilian-based company is totally rad in its recycling of 99.9% of factory water and waste, and they also go the distance by recycling overstock styles into next season’s collection. Even better? Melissa Shoes employees are paid above average wages and benefits.

What’s not to like in these plastic fantastic accessories? What a fabulous way to traipse and tromp through spring rain puddles, or consider wearing Melissa Shoes on your next urban eco-adventure and watch heads turn with total green envy!"

So, this Friday, choose The Gardener Gal and... Vote for ME!!!!
: )

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2/8/09

Passive Solar Modern House Kit Update- A Warm Virgnia Weekend Full Of Fun!

We had a great day on the land.
Our friends Steve and Chris Ault of The Ault's Family Farm stopped by to tour the passive solar modern house... I was so glad to finally have them over now that there's more than a picnic bench to see!

Steve and Chris's sustainable natural farm is well known in the region. They participate in the Goochland farmers market as well as Edible Garden's local food cooperative and do a lot of volunteer work to make sure these markets succeed. As their web site states:

"Our family farm is located in the heart of Virginia. We practice sustainable agriculture, promoting the improvement of the whole environment. By managing our livestock and poultry to graze pastures efficiently, we improve the health of the soil. By using good conservation practices with the water resources on the farm, we avoid contaminating ponds and streams with manure.
...
It has been a great experience to sell directly to our customers and to have the opportunity to meet people who are as concerned about where their food comes from as we are and who appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to produce clean, healthy food."
After a day running around, tracing creeks through the woods, wrangling dogs and chilluns, as well as a visit from another friend, George Geier, I am frankly weary to type.
So please be patient- let the video load, and I'll explain more where we are.



The hard part for myself is seeing the house there, gorgeous, happy, mod... while we wait for the refinancing. (Did I mention we're "Sixty-applications-behind-when-I-can-even-give-you-a-time-frame" status, according to our local bank?)
*However* we would be crazy NOT to refinance- the rates have dropped so!

I just want to move in.
I want to haul my recycled cool finds that I've thriftily gathered over the years out there and decorate.
I want to have a party.

(No, chile, your dog will NOT
carry you back up the hill...)

As much as I emphasize frugality, and not extending yourself fiscally, there IS a part of me that looks at this amazing modern house and goes, "Drat! I don't care! I'm moving in NOW even if there ARE no walls!" ; )

On another note, during the car ride today it became clear that our children do not remember a time *without* this land. So while I'm still getting over losing a beloved was-part-of-me-before-I-was-born family farm and then just purchasing "land," it is amazing how within a generation, within a quick span of years, the next stewards identify and feel like this strange-to-me land is a part of their being.

Even after this phase is over, there are years of work to do:
  • Trails along the perimeter for fun (bikes!) as well as to better post the property during hunting season
  • Fixing the breached pond
  • Improving the soil through cover crops
  • Reusing the wood from the old tobacco barn for a better purpose
  • And more (sigh)... lots more...
  • Including totally restoring my CUUUUUUTE CAMPER!!!!
  • And...have more parties with all our friends camping and feasting. : )


Here's some more pics! It was such a gorgeous day...
(Some of these were taken by our friend George Geier, they would be the ones where they camera is in focus... ; ) )

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2/5/09

Modern House Kit Update!


Doggone it, Vintage Hat Friday has gone to the DOGS! ; )
Our ENTIRE OFFICE has strep and we're all Quarantined!
LET US OUT!!! WE FEEL LIKE CAGED DOGS!!!
Good news?
It's supposed to be in the 60s this weekend, a beautiful opportunity to take more house kit pictures and video!
Bad news?
Oh... that little Quarantine thing...
We should be ok, the quarantine is in effect for 48 hours but who's gonna see us on the land?
However, *I* am the only one who hasn't gotten it, so... you know what THAT means- tomorrow I'll come down with it!
(Knocking fervently on any available piece of wood...)

I would like to tell you why I've been so silent about progress lately...
Remember the Cladding Rant? (Where I railed against manufacturers who didn't get that they could have a business opportunity to offer YOU a 'cladding package' outside of our energy efficient house kits, just like I tell you good rainwater collection / filtration, solar energy and non-electric appliance vendors.)

Afterwards, it was determined they were missing a piece around the north clerestory window area. Well, that final piece doesn't arrive until next Friday. So everything is buttoned up, but the final shiny finishes won't be worked on until the cladding arrives.

But what about the interior? ; )

We will probably be stalled a bit on the interior because...
Well, we're refinancing.

With these interest rates, we'd be *CRAZY* to *not* refinance.
We stand to *easily* lose at *least* 2 points!
But the paperwork will certainly take awhile as everyone else in the nation in our position is having the exact same thought.

In fact, I called to follow up on our application this week and the representative told me our paperwork was 60 applicants behind her current case and that she could not give me a time frame for when it could expect to be worked on.

Am I upset?
No.
I am so happy to be doing this in affordable, frugal stages versus throwing caution to the wind: Don't forget, my mission IS affordable, passive solar energy-efficient housing!

The passive solar house kit itself turned out seamlessly, easily.
That's the important part.

So, once the refinancing happens, we finish the interior walls, and hook up most systems.
Depending on where we are at that point will determine if we purchase rainwater collection / filtration this year, or wait.
The rest? It's all our own, and we will work on it for the rest of our lives, just like the farm and pond we will slowly create.

I am excited to tell you that through my thrifty eye we have easily most of the interior on (at least) its second use. I will have a lot of fun showing the world how stylish that can be. : )

In the meantime... Pacha (hairless dog) and Khan (junkyard dog) are...
BEGGING (ha) for a vote!

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