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7/12/10

Solar Systems, Cook Stoves And Berries Galore At The Passive Solar House Kit!

It was another gorgeous weekend on the land, in the zero energy off grid prefab house kit

Where to even begin.
All I know is, after years with no shelter, not able to camp on the land in the dead chill of winter or suffocating summer heat, after this seasonal weekend in the prefab, even without systems installed, we were comfortable and able to enjoy this beautiful area of rural Virginia.... thanks to the prefab's passive solar design and energy efficient SIPs.  If this is what summer feels like in the prefab, then BRING IT ON.

We arrived in the evening, heading out after work.
(Reason #23346243 why I love this time of year...)

The sun sets, a comforting breeze arises... and then, rain.  You understand we're in drought. We expected angry, empty thunder; but this brief, sweet rain was unexpected and welcomed by the fields.

Rain drizzled through the night, into the morning, and we slept, comfy and cuddled up with children.
For the first time in forever, we awoke and... did nothing; the steady pat pat pat patting of the rain hemming us willingly in.

I remembered when rain for us, here,  meant we carried crying babies into the car at dawn or midnight to try to get the car through the field before it stuck, with no friends to call because we didn't know anyone yet... Now... we have friends.
And shelter in our prefab house kit. : )

After mid-morning, the rain dissapated and we decided to head out.
First, we visited the Esh's Amish Store and loaded up with the usual breads, jams, cookies (I was in a *very* good mood..., yes, cookies even...).
And then I spied... a beautiful barn, perfect for a little girl...
"Wow. I wish we knew a little girl to give THIS to as a gift!"
Our own little girl already has a beloved barn given to her by the L's, as a hand-me-down that their wonderful 10 year old gifted our daughter. Wait a second, we know not one, but TWO little nieces that might enjoy this!

I snatched it up.
Later, we decided to take the back roads to Appomattox. Halfway there, we swerved towards the CSA that benefits the local elementary school, Sausser Farms, in a completely sideways, not-really-on-the-way-to-Appomattox fashion.

I looked at Handsome Husband.
"You always complain I'm too practical.
I always complain that for you to get from point A to point B you have to do the alphabet.
Today, your wife is taking you to points B, C, D, E, F..."

And we wound our way on.

This time, Sausser Farms did not have cookies for sale.
[Backseat chorus loudly complains: "Awwwwwwwwwww!"]
But that was ok, because they. had. kittehz.
[Insert reverie and adoration of squealing children here: "Awwwwwwwww!!!!"]

Synopsis:
  • We spent the day flying about unchartered territory, exploring areas we never knew existed...this area of Virginia is so beautiful...
  • We went to a third generation farm to pick up veggies and got an unexpected farm tour
  • And got to know the family behind Sausser Farms, whom we support by participating in the CSA, which also benefits the local elementary school.
We headed into Appomattox and whiled away time with the nice people at the Tru Value hardware store who actually cared about what the diameter of our plug for our 1950s washer basin was (that came with our Maytag wringer washer). In fact, after finding the proper hose and plugs for the wash basin, when I asked whether they carried stove polish for the cook stove, it turns out the gentleman who helped me find plugs and hose for the galvanized double washing bin has a cook stove of his own!

He was tickled that we, who toil in technology, are reusing and restoring the wringer washer and cook stove for use in our off grid prefab home.

Returning to the prefab house kit, we stopped on a bridge to ask the families fishing there about where / how to access water for fishing...

And then, we had a last minute dinner with friends who have their own CSA and farm, Frog Bottom Farm.

Sunday Handsome Husband began attacking the cook stove's light rust it acquired on its surface after about 70 years plus some time sitting in a barn... it  shined up beautifully, even before we applied stove polish.

Handsome Husband stopped by our contractor's nearby farm, and discovered we had...
PACKAGES!!!!
It's like Christmas in July at the prefab!!!!!!
The new firebox arrived, so, after shining up the stove, we then took the cookstove apart so we can install the firebox.

We *also* received the solar systems for our zero energy off grid prefab house kit!!!!
After inspecting the solar system and parts, we reused the pallet it came on as a bridge for the creek!  This way, when it snows, we can sled alllllllllll the way down the hill, and OVER (thank you, pallet) and not into the creek!

There were just so many moments, even though the weekend was filled with errands and chores, that I will savor through the week...
And the homemade blackberry jam we made will make that savoring all the sweeter!


Because I'm in such a great mood after such a wonderful weekend, I'm going to share our Very Secret Closely Guarded Family Recipe for blackberry jam:

Higher Ground Casati Family Jam
**SECRET RECIPE!!!!**
Washed berries, leaves and stems removed.
Add to a pot and mash with a fork.
Boil 10-15 minutes so it reduces, while mashing with a fork, stirring... Add a bunch o' sugar!
Boil until that dissolves.
Pour into sanitized, heated-so-it-doesn't-break-when-you-add-the-jam canning jars.

Guard this with yer LIFE!
And don't forget to eat the evidence!!!!!

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