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Prefab Green Home Construction : Cistern Arrives, Zero Energy Plumbing Continues In The Off Grid Home

We had a good weekend of progress at the prefab house kit, again under construction but honeychile, always zero energy and filled with off grid goodness.

After a hard, hectic, stress filled, storm and tornado-dodging week, I was *thrilled* to run, run, run to the land. The tornado warnings Wednesday night were incredibly stressful and scary, and as I worked on deadlines I kept one eye on the sky, waiting for it to green...

That's how I saw this one cloud form circles, to emerge as a skull, like the Death Eater mark in Harry Potter!
Live, the moving, eerie image that emerged was so clear, and I know pictures don't ever have the same intimidating realism, but I have to admit disappointment when I showed this ominous photo to Handsome Husband and he responded, "Awwww, I see a teddy bear!" #MisterGlassIsHalfFull

We would be hauling out this weekend a pressure tank (a WellMate Pressure Pump Tank - 40 gal, 16" x 57" - Part #  WM-12) along with two dogs and chillunz out to the land for the off grid prefab home. Oy. But I was still looking for mah cistern. And we got a bunch mo' stuff:

Rainwater Collection / Filtration Cistern Pump: 115 V / 60Hz. Max Amps 9.0 (single phase, thermally protected) Goulds Pumps Model 16SE0511 (

DC Powered Ceiling Fan: 
These ceiling fans have four blades, and come with either 40" diameter wood laminate blades and a bright brass housing, or white blades with white housing. The three speed reversible motor is operated by an infrared remote control and draws 1.2 amps on high speed; 0.75 amps on medium speed and 0.5 amps on low speed. These power draws are at 12 or 24v DC.

It is designed for surface mounting on a flat ceiling however a swivel pendant mount for pitched ceilings is available as an option. This mount includes a bright brass, 6" downrod extension. This 1/2" downrod can easily be replaced with conduit of your choice and length purchased locally.

Hey! I found the cistern! And the driver called me - he's on his way!!!!
After he delivered the rainwater cistern to our off grid prefab home, he kindly called to let me know everything went ok.  I noticed the phone number was from Alabama, and when we finished our conversation, he concluded with, "I hope you have a blessed Alabama day."
I ventured, "I hope your family is ok..."
"Aw they ariiit, theyz too mean to die."
I know both of our hearts ached a bit even as we laughed....

Earlier this week the storms / tornado / lightning witches knocked out my computer network. I was frustrated. All these computers and technology and not a one on which to work.

So I went to make cream cheese. Heck, if my six year old makes our mozzarella, and I am the Yogurt Queen, how hard could it be? Hint: Do not start with recipes that use non-USA measurements. After, already frustrated, giving up on the conversions in the first recipe, I took the homestead route. And got confused by the this-and-that addendums of more cultures. So recipe hunted again. This is the easiest recipe I could find but not the most accurate. Here's another recipe.Sheesh.

As you might guess, in the end I gave up, dumped in a bunch of whole milk, buttermilk, whipped heavy cream, heated it, threw in some stuff, left it overnight, drained it AND CALLED IT A DAY. And that's what we'll be eatin' until it's gone. YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT? #AhhhMyConciseRecipesAreFabulous
(In honesty I went back to the first recipe, didn't worry so much about the measurements but what she was saying - my mix was more like 1 pint heavy cream, 1 pint buttermilk, 1 pint whole milk... when in doubt just have another glass of wine and cooking is fun!)

Moving our household to homemade yogurt last year was a taste adjustment- it's more thin, runny, and has a more, well, yogurt taste! Moving our household to homemade cream cheese was EASY: After draining, time for the taste test and the universal consensus? Deeeeeelish.

But back to the land! 
Oh I was soooooooo happy to get out here...

Saturday was a sheep shearin' horse chasin' Amish communin' fields runnin' tree climbin' kinda day.
"You said a WHAT?!? kind of day?!?"

We hung 'round the sheep shearin' at the B's, picked up foodstuffs while visitin' the Amish E's, chased childrenz up and down the field as they imagined themselves ponies, corralled random loose toddlers into livestock feeders (Who needs a playpen? She loved it!), commiserated with some Amish children they're forming friendships with (Today? BOTH of our childrenz, mine and our Amish friend's, disappearing into buggies and a barn while we moms talked in English and the children communicated via speaking different centuries of German to each other)...

And they still aren't worn out!

Me, to Mrs. Amish XYZ today: "And do you say Tschüß? It's similar in English to saying 'Good bye' yet informally more like, 'See ya!'"
Mrs. Amish XYZ: "No, we don't say that, we say.................'Bye!' "
Ha. Not a stretch. As we left, a bunch of "Tschüß"es and "Bye's" were exchanged as the children parted, all thinking they were speaking the others' language.

And then we went to the Ault's! Yes The Aults, of Virginia's beloved Ault's Family Farm.

It's always gooooooooooood eatin' at the Ault's...

But Back To Prefab House Kit Construction!
In case you're wondering why I haven't been taking interior pictures, we are again busy with the after-the-prefab-house-kit-part-is-done construction.

The prefab house kit went up in a week.
The rest?
Pay as you go and on everyone's different schedules.

Max came out and continued plumbing,  making progress towards finishing hooking up solar hot water, radiant, and rainwater / water plumbing.

Remember our nice, clean, neat interior when we had the last open house?

Here's our living room now:

So if you're wondering why I'm not inviting anyone over right now...

But even in disarray, this house keeps reminding me of how AIRY and EASY and ENERGY EFFICIENT it is!!! Case in point, our arrival Friday, at dark, and (I know this shouldn't surprise me but each time you experience it you can't help but go, "cool!") we open the door, step in from the chill, and IT WAS WARM. Purely from the prefab's passive solar design, and the energy efficiency of the SIP.

Zero energy, energy efficient, SIP prefab house kit!

This weekend, in the evening, the temperatures dropped to the mid-40s, with highs in the 70s. Not once did we consider the wood stove or feel chilled, and awoke each morning to seventy degrees. It makes me wonder that if I lived in a climate that didn't go below 40ish, would I even ever want to install heat?!?

Handsome Husband continued to finish adding sealant and foam around the slab foundation (there is also foam underneath the foundation) so the excavator can finally begin re-filling the home site, grading, and burying the cistern all in one swoop.

It's exciting times at the prefab house kit!
Thanks for reading the adventure!

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At 5/5/11, 2:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful work - good luck! :)


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