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At The Passive Solar Off Grid Prefab Home, Spring Sprung.

We are back at the off grid passive solar prefab house and it is SPRING!

And guess what? We sold the mid-century modern... But this time, it's done. We are now full on intent on finishing this passive solar prefab, finally.

Friends asked, upon our announcement, "Are you sure?!? Is it signed?!?" It is.

And they're a *very* nice family. Really good, smart, fun people, and yes I told them to keep the hedges up. They, like we, love the mid-century modern, yet appreciate how isolated you can choose to be, there. Country in the city; Your own oasis.

Anyhoo, albeit mid-March, the fruit trees are in bloom, the azaleas are starting to open: This weather is crazy amazing!
#Upside: Windows & doors flung open in the mid-century modern, catching spring breezes.
#Downside: "Oh my golly, I think I just ate a fly."-6yr old

At the prefab modern home at Higher Ground IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.
Spring has sprung in Virginia, and everyone hurries to get their final potatoes, peas, lettuce and spring vegetables in. My cabbage seedlings are already bolting! In *March!*

You can see already the passive solar of the prefab going from embracing the sun's rays to gently stepping back, shading... [Note: Due to the hot Virginia summers we actually built out our overhang by a foot so the standard prefab package would still have the passive solar prefab design embracing the rays more at this time of year. However, it is the end of March so yes with spring brings more shading!]

Yet within the prefab, the light is bright! I will use pictures of worn out snoozing dogs as an example:
As they snooze, you can see their surroundings are filled with daylight.

Goodness gracious. Look at all those lounging dogs and light.

A neighbor stopped by, and, while shooting the bb gun with Pipsqueak #1, we discussed the land, commiserating where to put the vegetables (he agreed, along the field), where to put the potatoes (in the more sandy soil, in the field below), and, as he shot, how he could drop someone at X point away, waaaay down in the field. We jokingly chided him, "Aw, no you can't!" But he knew we don't doubt him.
"When the Klan would come through, they never stopped at our house. Never. They knew we S's are marksmen."
You just quietly absorb some things, and, later, turn it over in your mind and reflect on maybe some things your friends have been through you hadn't considered.

I'm having quiet moments of thought, thinking about our life in the next year:
On one hand, I picture all the windows open in the prefab, peacefully telecommuting on the land; on the other- I see the door to an English basement on Dupont Circle open and I, Handsome Husband, three Hounds From Hell and two children BURSTING out to the street...

Ah, But... Recipes.
Anyhoo, the Asian market had huge beautiful bags of basil & dill so what's a girl gonna do. Of course I got them! Dilled potatoes gets old fast... I was going to Indian It Up...  and instead brought that curry back to a salad: I made Dilled Mung Something-Or-Another. And fresh almond garlicky pesto rigatoni pasta. I also spread out lots of great stinky cheeses & homemade Very Lemony Hummus served with delicious olives. Salad with balsamic, oil, s&p, & drips of a squeezed orange over lettuce with sliced avocados. Perfect for a Tangy, Savory Spring Weekend.

Copeland's Dilled Mung Something-Or-Another
  • Sprouted Mung Beans, soaked 10ish minutes
  • A big packet of fresh dill, stems removed & fronds sliced up
  • Spicy Mustard (I used G's horseradish mustard)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Hot sauce of choice

After the mung beans are soaked, heat a pan, add olive oil, add the beans, sautee awhile so they're kinda crisp, add enough water to let it then soften a bit, turn off the pan, then add a tad more olive oil, this time with mustard, vinegar, a few glugs of lemon, salt, hot sauce. Keep stirring so the taste blends well. While warm, add the fresh dill & stir so that it wilts in the pan. Yum. If I were really hot I'd even slice up some lettuce & toss it all together, adding more oil & vinegar & not wilted dill to turn it into a crispy salad. Maybe even with a dollop of sour cream on top if I'm feeling super luxurious. Or just let it shine as it is, healthily.

Every time I enjoy stinky cheese I feel my Not-My-Father close, and think back to living in Paris, to evenings full of laughter around the dining table, the room filled with the O. Family Craziness... and miss them all, terribly.

Over warm stinky cheese spread over fresh bread I learned how to love, to be loved, to know I was loved, and How I Wanted To Be One Day When I Was A Parent.  I decided I wanted to be That Family, The O's.  I hope (and think we are) we are giving that warmth to our children, and that their friends feel it.

So it makes perfect sense that while undergoing two (three? Do we count DC?) moves, a puppy, six quickly growing chickens, and children being pulled in and out of schools that we also bring a total stranger into our home. Stay tuned.

Wants And Needs
Things I Want
  • A tv tuner so I can watch the silly tv shows to which I can match socks and fold shirts
  • A food dehydrator. Summer's bounty will be here before you know it!
Things I Need
  • A certificate of occupancy. Please, Santa? But before Santa can deliver that, we need to finish the indoor of the off grid prefab house!
  • An electric fence. To keep chickens safe and, turned off, visiting toddlers alive and corralled.
  • Modern Outdoor Lights. Because as charming as it is to grab lanterns to escort our departing dinner guests as they stumble to their cars... well, let's get them some light. 
  • An off grid freezer, asap. Our meat share arrives in two months. DIDJA HEAR THAT, HANDSOME HUSBAND?!?
Ok, here's is that I'm liking:
Pinero Wall Sconce
Simple, friendly, a beacon.
Because who needs a bunch o'
modern metal touches when
you have a modern metal house, yo.

And seriously let's talk about solar lighting. I am *sick* of every year buying some solar lights and having them disappoint me! STOP BEING SUCH WIMPS! I need some manly solar lights. Solar lights that will withstand chickens sittin' on 'em and Handsome Husbands bush-hogging about them. It also doesn't help that a Certain Puppy has a penchant for sitting next to a solar light, leaning into it, opening his puppy mouth with sharp puppy teeth and gnawing on the solar panel... Baaaaaad dog!

Reading Club
Is mercury in your drywall? Better coal plant regs lead to more toxic gypsum.

Prefab Passive Solar House Update:
We met with Pat Root of Root Electric, and have A Plan For The Next Few Weeks.
Next we contact everyone else- septic, final plumbing, building inspection...
In the meantime, we get access to the Deltaville Ramshackle Farm House (which, however, DOES have a certificate of occupancy, or COO) April 1st, and will frantically move things in there so, when our Richmond mid-century house closes on May 9th, we will have somewhere to live, with a COO, while we work on getting our COO at the passive solar prefab home.

Sound complicated?
Somehow, as we add each layer of Craziness to our fold- squawking chickens, yelping puppies, an end-of-school-semester move... somehow we become more centered, more serene, more confident in what we do.

With each chaotic step, we're more open to doing things people might think impractical- like jumping in with a horse into a cold pond in March- and discovering how much fun, joyous, and memorable a March swim can be.
We're grateful.
We're grateful for every. little. thing. we encountered this weekend.
We explored Amelia...

Met (finally!) my Foursquare Nemesis(es? ; ))... who love history and music and neat discoveries like we do... : )

Before settling in to our chores and joy of the land.

The blurred big chaos is quickly sharpening into focus - it's about the little things, like shoveling stalls, spending time at the W's pond, and, when the bush hogg stalls and I think, "I should probably go check on him..." I look out the window and see the lone figure of Mr. S walking across the field, towards the stalled tractor... and then, together, with the tractor purring, they return to sit and visit together...

Anyone can buy land. But you can't buy community.
S.W.: "Did you see the claw marks on the trees on the back of your property?!?"
I: "Awwww, that's nothing. We're from Richmond. A few claws t'ain't nothing- Cougars surround us in Richmond's West End, too."

I am now off to plant potatoes.
Have a great week.


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