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5/13/12

Prefab Home, Home At Last! And so we moved to the off grid passive solar prefab home... with still a few things to finish.

Hey outdated zoning people!
OUR prefab homes embrace urban chickunz.
We get sustainability, as well as energy efficiency,
is critical in beautiful modern architecture.

And so we moved to the off grid passive solar prefab home... with still a few things to finish.

No, I did not take a picture of our car (not a minivan, a vintage Mercedes station wagon) loaded with six chickens in the passenger seat, three huge dogs throughout, two children somehow strapped in on the sides and one yowling (and yowling) crated feral cat in the middle as we drove slowly, teetering away from the mid-century modern... but I'm certain that those suburbanites who saw it, won't forget it.


And then we headed home.


Of course, we moved way too early, but had no choice. The mid-century modern buyers paid our asking price for the mid-century modern, never even on the market, so in these times, what do you say but "Oh, on that date? Suuuuure." 
So it's time to finish this prefab home project ASAP!
We are thrilled to be here. 
But there is still much work to be done.

As we still have not finished the walls (that is the last piece to finish), I realize that... all these boxes? Everywhere? I can't unpack: Closets and shelves have not yet been built

Aaaaand I had no internet.
*I*. Had no internet.
But thanks to Dennis Hunt of GNS Broadband, rural residents 'round here now have access that the Big Telecom Boys don't care to provideRead the story, here; it's a great tale of entrepreneurship, technology, science, and pure grit.
From The Daily Mail: "Dennis Hunt points to the solar panels he installed two weeks ago that help provide power to a tower site. The shed contains car batteries that store power for use on cloudy days and a lawn chair, where he can relax when he's not tinkering with his wireless broadband Internet network." Picture by George Hohmann

You know what? Over the years camping on the weekends in the prefab home, we've tried several Big Boy Telecom solutions, trying to jerry rig an acceptable internet connection... and this Crazy One Man Solution via Mr. Hunt has been, in the short while we've used it, the one that has worked the best. Heck, we even streamed Netflix. Hmmmmmmm.

Here's my internet, country style:
A beacon in the wheat field.
Energy efficient prefab home + fast internet? Bliss.

Mean, lean, a modern passive solar machine.

It is days like this I appreciate the prefab home so much-- during the day, the outdoor temperatures vacillate from the high 60s - mid-70s, dropping to the crisp 40s at night.  By lunchtime the windows are open, catching the beautiful spring breeze; at dusk, I close up, and we sleep so warm and cozy that it's always a shock when we step outside and feel such crisp cold air that we hurriedly run back inside to grab warm sweaters...

We're retiring to bed in the 70s, and awake in the 70s, not losing the 1 degree per hour that the prefab does in dire weather conditions; instead, it now only loses about 4 degrees at night.
Not. Bad.

So that we can move at will between the off grid prefab home and DC, after the children finish the  school year I will home school for the next 12-24 months. But don't worry, prefab house enthusiasts! I was already expending those 3-4 hours inefficiently around my work schedule; now I'll just apply the same hours efficiently, while maintaining and enjoying my work.
If THIS is the Pet Rock report my son turns in to a school
with over 700 students and 27 nations,
then don't worry about homeschooling and socialization, ha:
I've got nowhere to go but up!


Some moments from our first week at the prefab house:
Day 1: Handsome Husband took a car ride with a 5' rat snake... don't ask.
Neither Handsome Husband -nor- the snake
were pleased to be acquainted with the other.
We discovered that the moldy hay we hurriedly bought from our Amish neighbor Mrs. E. when we excavated around the prefab home last fall had grown into a beautiful stand of... wheat.  Gorgeous wheat.
We'll address that beautiful wheat later. 
But it does remind us to discuss that no matter how energy efficient and modern coolio your prefab home is, it's not really sustainable if you're not improving the soil and surroundings... 

The soil immediately around the prefab home has a lot of red clay.  The home site itself was built on much bedrock, great for the prefab house's foundation, but not so great for immediate gardening, much less a food plot.
Now eeking out existence, each year
this soil will improve.

But food plot we have.
Along the "rim" where the field curves around the home, I created little graded mini-terraces and seeded vegetables there. This way the run off stalls, soaks, and also allows any better nutrients to move down into the shallow trenches to reach the plants in lesser soil, slowly improving the soil.  I reuse dish water onto the garden, so most water goes through two uses before returned to the soil. Important when you have a finite amount to go around for everyone- one 1800 gallon rainwater cistern.  And you don't know when the next time it will rain.

I planted chicken-friendly bushes- roses, quince, etc. to protect the hens (eventually) as they scratch and improve the soil further.
It will be easier to show the "trenches" later
as it all grows up...

The hens are already getting fat on crickets and grass hoppers... no pesticides needed.
AND we used the vintage Maytag washer for the first time!
Handsome Husband: "Not the most energy efficient (.20), but you're only going to do laundry on sunny mornings anyway, so it is what it is.  It did not drop the percentage of solar power stored."  He's still pleased with its effectiveness and function.
Each moment we look around us, despite the disarray, despite the Still So Much To Do...
Despite the Things To Overcome...
We're happy.
Swinging high at the off grid prefab home!

We no longer ask each other, "Where is my mind?" living amongst people who Just Don't Get It.
We're home.


And, I just heard, more sustainable people we know are leaving the Costco-ized areas, and joining us here. Glad they're joinin' us...
In the meanwhile, y'all keep on pickin'... and a-grinnin'.

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