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3/25/12

Reigned In By Rain: No Passive Solar Prefab House Visit, And Mid-century Modern Yard Sale Is A Wash Out

Passive solar prefab off grid home in drier days...

Our plans to finish spring planting at the passive solar prefab house this weekend were waylaid by rain.

As was our yard sale back at the mid-century modern.
I mean, I *know* the weather predicted showers, but they do that all the time and nothing happens...
So we got busy- the plan was to have the yard sale in the morning, then high tail it to the land to finish getting the potatoes in... I got up way too early, freaked out (because you always have to stress before a big project, no?), laid out our wares, and...
Vintage, vintage, vintage


And then... It didn't just rain, it was an endless DOWNPOUR.
The yard sale was a washout!
We hurriedly threw tarps over everything, but what were we thinking? The ground was sopping, and the tarps? The tarps just turned our yard sale into an assorted, yard-wide collection of 4" deep wading pools.
Wheeee! [*sob*]

But not before we accrued $170 to be used towards solar fencing to keep our chickens safe at Higher Ground! For some reason, even as it poured, PEOPLE STILL CAME! [What is wrong with you folks?!?]

I was handing out hot pink ball gowns to little girls, some of my funkiest stuff went to a great lady in her 60s, a '40s smoking jacket to the dad of Semiprecious Weapons (who tours with Lady Gaga!), and we just enjoyed the, uh, DOWNPOUR while meeting some very nice people!

Hot, homemade cookies
for Determined Yard Sale-ers.
[Note the parsnips coming up through the
"We Are Selling The House" mulch... LOVE IT]

In a way, this rain forced us to have a quiet, quiet weekend despite the packing and moving chaos. The whole Selling The Mid-Century Modern saga has left us emotionally and physically spent. It was a good weekend to hunker down and watch movies, recharging our batteries before the Frantically Packing And Moving resumes this week.

But I rued that we missed a weekend finishing spring planting back at the passive solar off grid prefab house.
With spring sprung early at the passive solar off grid prefab house... I'd like to mention some gardening notes.

For those of you who follow permaculture, where you work with nature to choose the best sites, tools, and plants to have multipurpose functions, there was one thing I did I thought I would mention about also making yearly decisions, always keeping your mind open to gardening decisions on a case-by-case basis, not just saying, "And here in the garden is where I [XYZ]."

As I mentioned, this month spring arrived in full force, way too early. In March, my cabbage seedlings were already bolting! So what to do about the traditional spring crops of lettuce, peas, spinach, etc. you ordinarily plant this time of year which would, this year, most likely overheat and flinch in the early strong sun and hot temperatures?

Not the usual place to plant, suddenly I started pondering the north side of the prefab house: There, it would be cooler... get less strong sun so that those spring crops could slowly grow, strong...
Usually the swale between the field and prefab house could easily be too wet, but... I don't know, it just seemed like the right place to plant! I didn't plant in the deepest depression- but along it, along the shade and exposed sun, mentally asking, "What needs more sun? What would I like to grow more slowly, cooler, via a tad more shade?"


The soil there is sandy, and I thought, "You know... this might just be perfect this year for potatoes and carrots!"

And being so close to the house? It might deter the rabbits and deer. Might.
We... shall... see!

[Psst: If you're just getting into gardening, here's a great article on how to create a soil-rich, weed hampering bed. ]

Speaking of spring, it's That Time Of Year in the South- to consider how to protect your home from termites. Did you know ants are termites' enemies? And moisture is their friend? To consider, how you can change the environment around your home to be less hospitable to these insects.

Get Connected
In rural areas, internet connection is critical... and apparently so is tv.  A Deltaville friend tells me this is all the rage at the marina:

I'm wondering if I might fashion something similar to help boost my internet connection on the land...
Because although we have connection, often it is not fantastic at Higher Ground, and I am always looking for ways to guarantee I am able to connect easily...

The next weeks will be busy.
Packing, moving, schlepping, organizing...and, at the same time, construction in not one but TWO houses- finishing our home, in the passive solar off grid house, while waiting out construction from afar in the 1800s In Town Farm House. Which has a certificate of occupancy... yet promises dust, mold, mice, ruined walls, oh so many discoveries as we take on too much, again.


To say we will be all over the place is an understatement.
PICTURE IT: Instead of The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, I'll be The Sister With Traveling Childrenz, Dawgs And Chickens.

Speaking of chickens... Another RVA family has been cited by outdated zoning officials for hens. They moved here from hen-legal Chicago via great corporate jobs...
Guess they won't be staying long...
Because, seriously, *what kind of place* takes FOOD from people's FAMILIES?!?

There are many people who will no longer penalize their families for living here... many people do have a choice and don't have to take cities who refuse to see what zoning is doing, nationally.
Time to fly the coop to more sustainable environs.
...I'm sorry for those that don't have that choice, and have to stay, and whose families are deeply hurt by UNsustainable Richmond zoning officials.
May it come back to haunt them.

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2 Comments:

At 7/17/12, 9:48 PM , Blogger Tom said...

What a great site - I have followed for quite some time. What is the plan to finish the interior walls? Can you provide some specifics related to heating and cooling costs?
We live in VT - considering building a passive house at some point in the next few years.

 
At 7/18/12, 10:13 AM , Blogger Copeland Casati said...

Hi Tom!
As we are completely off grid and made the decision to, for now, have minimal systems (ERV, solar radiant heat and a retrofitted wood cook stove) our monthly costs are nil.

Our friends are working on FINALLY finishing the wall interiors as we speak! We chose plywood, a thin but nice grade, then will paint most of it.

Thanks for reading! I always assume I am boring people!

 

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