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9/27/10

Zero Energy Passive Design Prefab House Construction Continues

Dawn outside the zero energy passive design prefab house.
Zero Energy Passive Design Prefab House Construction Continues

I realize: "Hey! They're starting solar!" There's the frame!

We got a late start on our journey to the zero energy off grid prefab house kit, so when we arrived, it was dark. It wasn't until I woke up early and ran outside to take pictures of the beautiful pink and aqua dawn that was appearing over the valley, that I turned and saw the frame for the solar panels now on the roof, the wiring for electricity inside the prefab house kit, the busy indications of systems boxes open and arranged in Pipsqueak 1's bedroom...
Under construction!

We are clearly back under construction!
We are so excited, yet as I type this, I eye my laptop setup and think,
"You know, I'm going to kinda miss the days when I telecommuted off a tractor battery..."

It is all happening just in time - fall is here, and the morning chill reminds me that soon enough it will be the dark ice of winter, and this stage can't happen soon enough.  I do NOT want to spend another winter like last year.

Honeychile, I may have been gloating that it was ten degrees outdoors yet inside the passive design of the prefab home enabled the interior to never sink below 45 degrees, but... I do not want to spend another day indoors in 45 degree weather ever again! Heck no. I want to breeze in, from a frosty day outdoors, cheeks frozen, mittens soaked from snowballs, and have the warmth of the zero energy prefab house kit warm me quickly as I toss my wet frozen clothes to the floor, which instantly begin drying from the floor's radiant heat while I make my way to the soup pot simmering on the cook stove...
THAT is how to spend the winter.

Our candle supply (thank you, church yard sale who sold us a box of about $100 worth of candles for $2!) is dwindling, so yes, it *will* be nice to flip a switch and read by the lamp's glow...
I know I'll be nostalgic about These Old Days... but really: who are we kidding.



Observations


A week ago we set up the composting toilet, and rushed to indoctrinate it over the weekend.  When we arrived last night, a week later, I kept traversing the space within the house kit, cautiously sniffing, sniffing... I mean, a composting toilet in a tight envelope SIPs house kit could be... could be...
Week 1: It is fine. And I'm impressed how the children immediately ingrained how to open, close, use it correctly, even in the middle of the night.

However, there IS one item I'm musing on in the bathroom, and that is the tub. I love the way it looks. But I wonder... about how it will elegantly, cleanly meld with the shower when installed, with a modern line.... I love that it's a livestock trough repurposed, but I'm pondering the shower set up.  Its lines will start narrow at the top and bottom, and bell out to give the user elbow room? This will be something fun to consider...

Things We Seek


Always look about you and make a mental list of what might be useful in the future (1-10 years) that you might discover in thrift stores and yard sales... Here's my current list:
  • Cannisters for food items like flour, etc.
  • Metal trivets (because when used on a cook stove, it gives just enough height from the stove top to turn your pot into a slow cooker! Who'da thunk it? Not I, which is another reason I appreciate the wisdom within Woodstove Cookery by Jane Cooper)
  • A cool mod step stool. Yes, for the composting toilet. This functional item could use a redesign by RISD students, honeys. When you sit on the (literal) throne, yer feet dangle. How will a 2 year old or 80 year old address this?
  • A huge big ole griddle thing-a-mah-jig. I predict a future of slinging masses of pancakes and bacon to hungry guests off the cookstove in my future.
Afterwards


We ran into Appomattox to get a new tire for our tractor. Which keeps popping, thanks to the briers we are attempting to eradicate by aggressively mowing.  And, as custom, stopped into our favorite shops - the Salvation Army, B & L, Baines Books & Coffee, and again, without children, whom I happily, callously left behind with Handsome Husband eating berry scones at Baines, I trolled the fabulous but very breakable 13,000sf of Appomattox Gallery. Again.



Found cannisters at B & L.
Late '60s / early '70s MUSHROOM THEME.
Just enough pop and friendliness to bring a bit of warmth into the modern sleek design of the south room.


AND, a coup: a giNORMOUS seasoned cast iron pan for the cook stove!!!!
*Perfect* condition, $25!!!!!
I will be slinging hash for twenty, easily, daily, with this, for a lifetime. Think of all the fried chicken I could make. The breakfasts. Dag. Come on over.
I'm ready.

Unexpected Solar




Jason and Kristen Dorris stopped by.
The next thing you knew, all the boys were up on the roof, including Pipsqueak 1, installing solar.
Guess that's what happens when your contractor is your friend and well... you know boys and toys....
Solar installation was a family affair.


Kristen and I lounged. I passed her Dwell's "An Introduction To Architects" which I had read last night, giggling yet appreciating how informative and correct it was, knowing it would amuse her. Kristen, an architect and Tulane grad, exclaimed, "Wait! That's Dan!!!" and started laughing too, as she read Dan Maginn's essay.

So here we are in population 199 and Kristen knows the Dwell architect who wrote an essay that made me laugh out loud for the first time in ages.
#LoveOurTown

I think I'll send Kristen's contractor husband Jason Dorris Mr. Maginn's essay on contractors. : )
The children played, we made food out of whatever we could find, and had a lovely unplanned evening sitting around the candlelit table with pipsqueaks hopping about while dogs lounged tired and heavy on the floors.


Over dinner, ; ) Jason and I briefly discussed the composting toilet success and laughed at admitting we both keep walking around... sniffing.

It Doesn't Just End With The Building Of A Prefab House Kit
Broadcast seeding the field

Sunday I broadcast seeded the field, trying to overcome weeds and improve the soil.
With the electric and solar completed soon, I remind ourselves that this project does not end with the completion of an off grid zero energy house kit; we have years ahead of improving the soil, crop tree release, and finishing the interior.


Broadcast Seeding The 8 Acre Field

I enjoy walking the field. But I do not enjoy tearing up my heels in boots - I will never go a season without regular boot wearing again! So when you see me at the pool next year in boots... that's because sowing season nears.

It was satisfying to see the last of the seed spread just *minutes* before the gentle rain began.
Another productive weekend with friends in the zero energy passive design prefab house kit!





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