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2/1/11

Plumbing Continues In The Zero Energy Off Grid Prefab Home!



Plumbing continues at the off grid zero energy prefab house kit



To my delight, I received the foot pedals this week that  I ordered for the kitchen island and they are *gorgeous.* Um, I never thought I would say that about foot pedals. But they are a modern delight.

Not only will these functional foot pedals prevent us from wasting water in the off grid kitchen, (Look ma, no hands! And hence, very little water waste!) but I was impressed when I opened the box and found that they not only have function but modern, sleek, coolio style. Perfect for mah modern prefab home.

I present: My foot pedals:

After a very busy workweek, we escaped with our visitors, Mrs. L and her son, to the land.
There were walks upon walks, (something we haven't done since deer season) and Mrs. L and I both agreed we rather like the landscape just as much in winter. With the dropped leaves, there is opened vision for discovery, and discover we did: We climbed, we followed creeks, and explored an old chimney.

Every now and then, with children cozy in the prefab playing games, the indoor cacophony might rise to an unbearable pitch and Mrs. L and I would gracefully exit to stroll the perimeter of the field with the dogs.  We inhaled crisp air, we talked, we appreciated the dun hues of mid-winter... we watched the dogs run off with deer bones and roll in bobcat scat. Ah.... dogs.

There were lots of blue birds! We will need to pay attention to this and encourage their habitat. I remember when blue birds were very scarce on my ex-family farm, so it is great they are making a comeback. We will have to put up some nests to help them.

And I think we found another spring!
Our adventures included tracing frigid creeks through briers and woods, climbing trees and steep cliffs, and getting really, REALLY icily wet and muddy.

Thank goodness for that warm toasty wood cook stove and drying rack... which was in constant use. The house heated easily into the 70s, and stayed there, overnight, thanks to re-insulating the prefab house penetrations we made, and as we have now learned how to best keep the wood stove going.



Imagine how wet and miserable we would have been at the end of January without that hot happy heat...


It may be the dead o' winter, but we are thinking about the small scale raising of grain.
We have zero desire to grow to sell. I just want to grow as much as I can for our family each year... I have grown up with, and always had, a food garden. But each year I try to become more and more self-sustaining... and as we continue to amend the field soil and reclaim it from the weeds, well, it would be nice to, despite knowingly providing the deer with an expensive salad bar, well, I would still like to raise grain and vegetables on that field... Regardless, planting rye, buckwheat etc. even if it's not a great harvest initially will continue to improve the soil and shade out weeds and briers.

I am now officially on the lookout for a 1960s / 70s harvester, that can be pulled by a tractor.

Specifically, I am on the lookout for an All Crop Harvester.

Farm equipment grew in size and function in the 1970s, and tractor-pulled implements were discarded. Now, for many, these same tools are the perfect size for smaller fields and small scale farming.

(FYI: You can also convert a leaf shredder into a grain thresher! http://sustainableseedsystems.wsu.edu/nicheMarket/
smallScaleThreshing.html#conversion
 )

[They are now building the solar hot water tube frames
on the roof of the zero energy prefab house.]

We are still improving the soil.  We have planted clover, then grasses, to shade out weeds and improve the quality of the soil. This will be our main focus for the next year or two. I intend to remain no-till, yet there WILL be one disking of the field at some point to reduce the furrows left behind by previous farmers.

In the meantime, here's some recent reading to get you through the week:

Here's a good overview of crop rotation and why it's so important.


Granny Miller just wrote a GREAT overview on amending soil with manure, and why it's such a valuable commodity: Manure: Not Just Another Load Of Crap!

I am also thinking of Mel Starr's blog posts on Carbon Targets. Architects, lissen up: 
How far have we come since 1990 on carbon targets? Part 2

Also: Are cities the best place to live? Are suburbs OK? A fight grows in urban planning, with Harvard at the center http://bit.ly/gxzmhv

And finally, for today's green building reading: How zoning could save Houston's water supply: Center for Houston's Future examines a murky dilemma http://bit.ly/hJ1kPf

Ok, class, my little brain begins to hurt when it is stretched - now it's time to drink a beer with our guests in the cozy, happy off grid zero energy prefab house! Hope y'all all have a great week.


[What happens when your children are raised 'round Amish.
Horse & buggy, a la Legos. By the 6 year old.]
Dog, nosing childrenz along tall heights of a fallen tree, making sure they're ok.

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4 Comments:

At 2/1/11, 10:18 AM , Blogger penney said...

omg those foot pedal taps are waaaay sexy... love on tap

 
At 2/1/11, 2:35 PM , Blogger aka Jack said...

I have seen Alis Chalmers combines and all-crops on craigslist-richmond and greensboro, nc recently if you're still looking.

Jack

 
At 2/1/11, 3:18 PM , Blogger Copeland said...

Jack, thanks for the tip! I found one a few weeks ago in Northern Virginia but never got in contact with the seller, am also looking at the auctions locally as we go to them.

 
At 2/1/11, 3:36 PM , Blogger Copeland said...

Penney- in case you want to get the foot pedals (they are even more gorgeous in real life) - they're Ez-Flo 32292 Commercial Faucet Floor Pedal Chrome.

 

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