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1/15/12

Prefab Home's Passive Solar Adventures Include Farm Feasts, Off Grid Systems Musings, Puppies And Horses And... Off.

Gimme mah modern prefab home over any of yer suburban boxes, chiles.
Step aside.

Mooooooooo
Our arrival to our prefab home was delayed a bit as we stopped to shoo a cow off the highway, but back at the off grid prefab home we happily are!

Light streams in, the cook stove is going, my coffee is percolatin', the Pipsqeaks are hopping about like fleas, the dogs are gravely doing their hard duty keeping the beds warm, and Handsome Husband and I are slowly waking from a very fun evening spent with friends.



Tour guide for the passive solar prefab.

Yesterday a Scottish couple toured the passive solar prefab, to see for themselves the structural insulated panels, the passive solar design, the difference between the outdoor and the indoor temperature even as we began to get the cook stove going. They are interested in an off grid prefab home; who knows, maybe there might be a casa ti prefab outside of Charlottesville, soon!

We then headed over to The A's, who were having a huge feast and big send off for friends who are sadly leaving the area to farm in Floyd. (But exciting for them! Floyd is amazing! And now we'll all just come camp on their farm for Floyd Fest, ha! Oh, yes, Adam & Darby, we will... ; ) )

A feast it was.  You can buy property anywhere. But you can't buy community. We are so grateful to have lucked into the metropolis of Pamplin City-population-199, a place filled with so many people full of love.

Picture: A happy farmhouse filled to the top with swaddled newborns, toddlers toddling, children chasing, laughing adults.... spilling out into the yard, older children were entertained herding errant chickens back into their pens, groups hovered warming their hands around the Roasting Pit, played horse shoes, and my own Pipsqueaks began their love / hate affair with a Ram. Who, as nature's instinct overcame, backed up, rushed angrily intent, wanting to nail them into the ground with all his force; then, nurtured: begged them for a pet and kiss. Oh, poor ram divided, frustratingly (for he) by the metal gate from his prey and adulation...
"I want to kill you but PLEASE pet me..."


I suspect, fixating like that with your instinct mixed with raised-as-a-pet companionship craving, that you won't last long on this farm... [Note to all: Do not raise a ram as a pet.]

Stiff Medicine
I am recovered, mostly, but still weak. Knocked down a peg or two, this cold that would not leave weeks ago morphed slowly into bronchitis / pneumonia. You might not have noticed, but I do tend to enjoy the burn of cutting it as close as humanly possible the amount of work I can embrace. Finally, last week I gave in to bed, medicine, and doctor's orders. I am very grateful for the friends and colleagues that made the week easier for me, with Handsome Husband working in DC. I'm especially grateful for A.H., who took the children home from school.

What was interesting was the reaction of the Shop Dawgs. They shivered with each coughing fit and I realized that in their eyes, their future was uncertain. There goes the pack leader! She's ebbing out! Sheesh, boyz. Before you start elbowing each other in hierarchy I WILL RISE (thank yew, antibiotics I usually shun...). I'm better now.

But it made me think, and realize what so many in rural communities face: no easy access to doctors, no one to drive them when things get bad (so you'd better not let it get bad, Copeland)... I am humbled and wiser, mentally noting lots of things to prevent this from ever happening again.


Composting Toilet Note
I explained the composting toilet's strengths and faults to the Scottish couple, who are interested in one. I have written in more detail about this previously; but one thing I haven't mentioned is that in the winter we put a weighted piece of plywood, with rubber on the either side to create a seal, over the composting toilet opening. This prevents backdrafts from the cold air outside being sucked into the toasty prefab. The composting toilet industry really does need to rethink their designs as homes become more tight and efficient.

Magnificient Maytag
I'm impressed by how impressed Handsome husband is by the old Maytag Wringer Washer... "Its design is ingenious..." he mumbles as he heads to the shed for lubricant.

"It might be an energy hog (we don't know yet) but the trade off is it uses little water and... it has great design. My first impression when looking at the guts of the washer is that everything is over engineered yet simple. The motor drives the washer over a belt. The drive gear powers the washer as well as the wringer. You pull the red knob in the front to engage the washer gear and you turn the lever on top left to engage the wringer. The pump is engaged by a lever on the right that simply pushes the pump drive (rubber wheel) against the inside of one of the 2 pulleys. I don't see how this could ever fail. The overall condition of the washer is surprisingly good - likely it just became outdated and was put away."

In the summer I'll easily use the Lehman's Pressure Washer. But for indoors in winter, I'm looking forward to trying out the reused Maytag.

The Buck Stops Here
After the massacre on the last day of Deer Season (Really, guys? You *needed* to take SIXTEEN deer in a morning? You need SIXTEEN deer to get your family through the year, really?), I took a stroll to the bridge and tobacco barn and back. Two doe tracks, one young, one larger, one fawn... and finally, a buck. But no Big Bucks. Still keeping my fingers crossed, we know they took over four of The Big Bucks... purely to brag.

We Move On
After years and years of volunteering for the Children's Home Society's Community Resource Board, I am rotating off as I will not be based in Richmond, although I will still be in town several hours a week for work matters. This means that I will be looking towards DC and Pamplin City to find something new for which I can donate time, but I am very aware of my restrictions: As we will have no consistent, fixed address, I can not commit to board meetings or monthly events.

That's why Gleaning is on the top of my list.  No monthly teas and hoo-ha meetings, I will have no babysitter, but chiles, my chillunz and I can get busy picking up produce! I'm also looking at seeing how I might attend DC's EcoWomen and DC Green Drinks, when I'm in town...

I haven't even thought about leaving Richmond Green Drinks yet, which I help Scott Kyle with as a co-host. We've done some incredible green building programming in Richmond... I don't want to think about not being involved... That would truly be too sad. So... I won't think about that, and all the friendships I've made there... my children have enjoyed growing up with Green Drinks...


But! Puppies And Horses And Kitties And...
Often, on early afternoons, we head across the street to The W's to visit, shovel stalls, and ride. Today we met their 8 week old Great Pyrennees puppy! This dog, while a part of the family, will also have the job of guarding livestock.




Get Off
We embrace our journey to Off.
Off grid, Off the beaten path, Off on adventure.
And for Certain People? Off Limits.



To those whom I know, "Baby, you ain't my friend..."
Peace, love, and NYC.

[For those that loved this subway video, (I did!!!) here's the story on how it happened. Enjoy.]

I see I will need new business cards. 
"Copeland Casati.
Of No Fixed Address: Pamplin City / DC / Richmond.
Please inquire for this week's address."

Our lives are so full, we're so grateful.
I think about the smiles we encountered in just these past two days... We are ALL looking ahead.


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