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5/10/10

Stretching Time In The Zero Energy Off Grid Prefab House Kit: Making Each Second Count: Respite And Community

Arriving in the off grid zero energy prefab house kit on a Friday at dusk stretches our time on the land, oh, so much.
As the days lengthen, we are able to arrive sooner, leave later... It makes all the difference.

This allows Friday evening for arrival: to tumble out, settle in, relax, read quietly after the children go protesting to bed, then, despite our own resistance, to accept the dark and stars and exhaustion and succumb to sleep early, cozy in dreams...

Suddenly, bright and much earlier then expected, you awaken. Brewing coffee, Saturday is open for adventures, before settling in again, tired, to relax, wind down, and not feel like you've spent the weekend driving.

Saturday morning we bounced down back roads passing farm, farm, farm, farm, farm, farm, farm... to reach our destination, our CSA which benefits the local elementary school, off Thomas Jefferson Highway. We wound our way west, through twisty one and a half-ish car-width roads through wild woods and steep inclines that remind me of Tennessee and West Virginia, that then suddenly open up into rolling hills... The wind blew hard over the fields, making the fields of alfalfa and rye look like rivers.  We picked up our produce, dallied a bit, then headed back to the prefab house to again, relax, ride bikes, read.

As I often do, I relied on the solar cooker for our meals- hot lunches and dinners, so easily prepared (why heat the house?); and enjoyed the hot solar shower under an old oak in the cool breeze, which kept me clean and refreshed.

Back on the land, I was reflecting, intrigued by our New York Visitor's comment about our choice of home site:
"Why didn't you put the prefab house kit at the beginning of the field?"

It made me consider: "I know I seem like the most open person in the world, and in many ways I am; I am always ready to meet an old friend I didn't yet know. But... there is also something about being hidden. About not standing high and twirling like a majorette from the road, "Hey everybody, look at me! I'm an off grid coolio prefab house kit!" Sure I have to do that for work, but when at home... it's nice to be quiet... here, it's now becoming our home, our place for respite.

There is something soothing, secure about being hidden, where your north view ends along the field and treeline, not seeing A SOUL, and your south, east, and west only peer through trees and mysterious paths - it's no longer about The Prefab House but about being a part of an environment, about being just another stop along the special gems hidden within this plat - the gurgling stream, a breached pond deep in the woods, the tree stands, the trenches where battles might have been fought, the ferns pushing through shade.

It also makes sense architecturally: the north is protected by the treeline along the road and by the higher field, the east and west, by woods. The line of oaks provides respite in the summer with their shade, is a breaker during high wind, and nestles the home site into the existing landscape to blend into, and function, together.

But enough architectural hoo hah. : )

If I had to sum up this weekend, it would be... not just reflecting on the home site placement of the prefab house kit but the placement of the land- and the research we did to choose this location. Now that we have shelter, we are starting to benefit from it all - the access to history, to community, to the national and state parks... our great friends here, local culture, for our children to grow up with, not ever imagining... it was intended.

We bought this land envisioning our children growing up with founding father, civil war, and civil rights history: It is all here, accessible within fifteen minutes. And after lunch we headed into Appomattox with an itch for thrifting, history, and also seeking local presents for my upcoming New York trip for ICFF.

I was disappointed- there were none of the home-knitted, gorgeous baby sweaters I was seeking for my New York cousin's newborn - these are the softest, cozy sweaters and I aimed to get one for G. Drat. Luckily, I have a backup plan. But nothing otherwise appropriate in the gift shop for my friends and family in New York. (Thankfully they are all foodies and honeychiles, I have a food connection down the road!!! The sweater will just have to come later.)


However, on the thrifting - to - reuse - in - the- prefab house kit side, we scored quite well! All for about $1 - $2 apiece, we struck reused, recycled pony after unicorn after singing-bird sculptures gold with the perfect balance of kitsch yet with the-next-level-something, er, je ne sais quoi, that makes them timeless for a five year old's or twenty-five year old's bedroom. (I can totally tell my ex-London Storm Model cousin is going to DIG my five year old's unicorn-pony-kitty room. And a certain co-worker... And honeychiles, all recycled.)

And yes, I supported a local craftsperson when I *had* to buy these two deer pillows. Because on top of my grandmother's bed filled with other woodland patterns, they will add a smile amongst more staid yet happy surroundings.

After wandering about the town of Appomattox, we headed to the outskirts to stop by the Confederate Cemetery for some history.


I'm also thinking about the next history steps we will explore- a friend is a part of the legacy that brought Brown vs. Board of Education to our nation's Supreme Court; her family's museum is here, The Carver-Price Museum, but, like many of these gems, it's hard to coordinate their narrow open hours with our weekend's erratic schedule. Also Patrick Henry's Redhill is to the south... lots to explore, and revisit, for a lifetime.

Sunday we awoke and dallied in our pajamas, taking walks, catching and releasing toads...

And finally, mid-afternoon, pulled ourselves together to clean up, dress, and head over to our friends' farm for a birthday party, then, on our way out, by the fabulous Ault Family Farm to pick up some goodies for next week's trip to New Yawk Citaaaaay for ICFF.


Each tiny bit of progress we make on the zero energy prefab house kit means one more step to being a bigger part of the local community, to have a home for solace, good friends, and great adventures.

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