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11/25/12

Passive Solar Prefab Home Is Thankful Through Thanksgiving

Workin' hard at the passive solar prefab home...
What a thankful week!

At the off grid passive solar prefab home, now that it is winter, I had been disappointed with our solar hot water temperatures in the shower...

So Handsome Husband looked for anything on the exterior of the prefab building envelope we could insulate more, and did. He looked for pipes within the prefab home to insulate, and did. It worked wonders. We saw the solar hot water temperature rise, fast, and stay hot! The tank only lost 3 degrees overnight!

Helloooooooo hot showers in winter, thanks to the sun and a tad more insulation! We haven't had water this hot *ever.* 

Recent final construction stages completed in the off grid passive solar prefab includes:
Septic done, and graded over. Outdoor lights installed. The electrician is out this week to wire in the fire alarm.

We spent the long holiday weekend with many good people.

The B, J, W families... I looked forward to the holidays for the first time in a long while, surrounded with love, laughter, great cooking, and lots of relaxed fun. After last Christmas, we get the Forever Get Out Of Family Jail Card!

Quoting a friend Preston Duncan:
"The bar is packed with people trying to preemptively drink off their families. Drink deep and long, my friends. The holidays are upon us and the only cure comes in two varieties: fermented, and distilled."
I began Thanksgiving not packed into a bar, but, with a friend, appreciatively watching a frosty field take shape while light slowly rose from dark, to dawn, to daylight.

M & I saw turkeys calling to each other (but just too far away), two does, and a buck (too young to take)...

We had been out about two hours when suddenly we heard: one shot.
Moments later, in came the text that her brother S was now done for the day.  It was an older buck and will feed their family, versus coyotes. The rule around here is don't shoot unless you see three points on the side rack. An older buck is quickly culled. Younger bucks are taken according to undesirable genetic traits.
Are your meat suppliers so careful?
We are grateful to live where we need not depend upon factory farm meat.
The day progressed with friends feasting and children playing...

I brought I Say Good Thai To Love Butternut Squash Soup.
I've always made a butternut squash soup recipe from the Silver Palate, but now I can't find the book. It's somewhere between here, Deltaville, and DC.  So here's what I did instead:
I Say Good Thai To Love Butternut Squash Soup
  • Roast a butternut squash, cut in half, face down. Sprinkle the seeds all around the squash, sprinkled with salt, and open the oven door and munch on them occasionally, wondering why your squash isn't cooking quickly.
  • In a food processor, puree onions and three apples (place in separate bowls)
  • In a heated pot, add some good butter, then the onions until browned. Then add the apples and squash (pureed first if you don't have a hand mixer), and a bunch of chicken broth.
  • Simmer, then stir in salt, pepper and curry. 
  • This soup is really good if it sits a day before serving. It's also really good with a dollop of creme fraische on top or even some sour cream, but we're spending Thanksgiving with someone lactose intolerant. 
  • Oh, wait: Glad I typed out this recipe before I finished making it!
    ->Removes butter from pan and instead adds coconut oil...
    You know what? The coconut oil idea would ROCK this recipe! I even went so far to add a can of coconut milk!
  • Thinking it might be tasty, I also added a glug of lime juice. IT WAS. ALL. SOOOOO. TASTY.
I'm also noting the recipe J.B. made for Carrot Souffle. I know. You don't even want to imagine it. Make it. I had thirds.

Plenty of room at this table for local food and friends!
Black Friday came and went. I avoid Black Friday like the Black Plague.
Here's why Black Friday is meaningless hype, here in one chart.
But if you must, think local.

I was just thinking how my dollars really do stay within a 15 mile radius where I live... I buy meat from my friends up the road, milk down the road, greens and bread from my Amish neighbor... the rest of the groceries are bought in the nearest town, historic Appomattox...

Leftover grocery money is then spent on riding lessons for my children, across the street.  My money really does go into this community...

PIT STOP! Fill 'er up...

On Saturday, at dawn: my moratorium broke:
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON BEGAN.
The vintage silver tree came out of the shed, ornaments and lights were hung.
At 7 a.m. stuffed teddybears relentlessly banged out Christmas carols on the xylophone.

As I settled into my first cup of coffee through the chaos, I realized:
OH NO: We are about to enter Christmas WITH A HUNDRED POUND PUPPY on the loose.
Wish us luck.

Regardless, it's nice to start new traditions... It's a nice day to start again.
Reading Club:
  • "Maybe it is because we are becoming...a nation of historical illiterates."
    Virginia's Lost History: http://nyti.ms/Tk1Fer 
    >Seriously, I have not met one person in DC that knows where Appomattox is, much less Northern Neck...
    ...On second thought, maybe that's not a bad thing for Everyone to know these tiny town treasures... #Development  

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