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2/27/12

Strong SIP Prefab House Stoutly Stands Against The Gale, And Parties On.

The wind is whistlin'! The gusts are gustin'!  It is high wind and brisk temperatures but I am in the cozy, energy efficient, passive solar prefab house! Ahhhhhh.


Right now you can hear the wind tearing through the trees, angrily beating on the roof. But that roof, and this prefab house, made with strong structural insulated panels (SIP), stoutly stands against the gale, and yawns.

Angered, the wind howls with indignation... The prefab absentmindedly shrugs, elegantly bored.
Secure within, I sit relaxing, the still air inside heated with a cozy cook stove, emanating warmth, while the trees wave wildly and the field flattens with each gust outside.

What weather. This week it snowed...

...climbed to 80...

...then plunged into violent wet, cold wind. Everything is shuddering and shaking, except the steady prefab. I had brought some early seeds to sow- collards, lettuce, mache, and rhubarb- but it is not a good day to broadcast seed.

Earlier this week, I loved watching, at the mid-century house, the night snowfall illuminated, listening to classical music and then... the cheep cheep cheep of happy chick escapades at my feet.
And when it warmed up?
They discovered the joys of the chicken tractor!

The weekend *finally* brought, now that I'm *finally* feeling better, a trip home to the passive solar prefab house, and, with it:
The Madisonville Farm Auction!!!!

This annual auction, held in a field just a mile away, brings the community together to huddle and consign farm equipment, housewares, odds & ends... even, occasionally, livestock...

You get to say hi to your friends, catch up, and shop for Possibly Practical Stuff at the same time!
All the neighbor's different cultures and possessions, are, for one day, annually intermingled- you've got camouflage & John Deer caps mixed with Amish grey & black, mixed with the hot pink overalls worn by Mrs. W, ha!

Nowhere else will you see a little Amish child racing around blam blam blam!ing with a bright orange Nerf gun! Somewhere, out there, an Amish mother is scolding.

The weirdest item of the day? A GHOST CATCHER. Fer REAL!


Handsome Husband perused the farm implements, but nothing beckoned.
I spied some bee hive equipment, but it was already sold.
It was Pipsqueak #1 that went in on the high bidding.

"Hey, Mr. B, whatcha got there?" "This is a great tool set I just bid on and won." "Cool, Mr. B! Hey- speaking of tools- I'm gonna build a tree house this summer!" "Well then you'll probably need tools like this. Why don't you bid on them against me."

So Pipsqueak #1 began to bid heatedly on Ron B.'s just-won tool set- apparently as he bid up, Ron bid down, and Pipsqueak #1 is now the proud owner of RON's tool set. Which he has just carefully finished cleaning and has all laid out on the dining table so he can study every piece. : )

We are so grateful for our friends here. Practical, intelligent, funny, loving neighbors who are family, now.

No matter how much you research to buy the perfect piece of land, you can never buy great community. Boy did we luck out on that...

And then, my native town, which I do love, but know needs to catch up with... everyone else... naively puts forth this:

Sadly it can't be Richmond, y'all! - Because all the other "hipster" cities, unlike Richmond, allow urban hens in small lots. Seriously, google it- urban hens are a yes in Brooklyn, Portland, Austin, Silver Lake, Asheville, Burlington, recently now in Ferndale / Detroit, Pittsburg/Carlsbad, and Baltimore.
Kinda crazy, huh?


If you compare "hipster" cities' zoning with Richmond's... you'd learn a lot about sidewalk cafes, noise ordinances, so many things... including urban hens.
 
Friends that are on BOARD OF SUPERVISORS *elsewhere* are having a grand time teasing me... from Steamboat, Colorado to other locales elsewhere, they are giggling at their peers in Richmond, shaking their heads.
Richmond take note: Your Board Of Supervisors peers are laughing at you.

Here's one video one B.O.S. friend sent in:
For... Guard Chickuuuuuunz.


Heck. I'm over it. But that doesn't mean I won't be taking names and holding accountable those that take away hens from jobless families. Because I. know. by. now. that since it's such an overwhelmingly legalized issue nationally, now, that very soon, Richmond will have to catch up. And if you participate in taking hens from families, it should be noted on your resume. So when you apply for that great job in Raleigh? Asheville? Charlottesville? New York? Yeah, this job applicant from Richmond clearly does not get Sustainability 101... let's pass.

But for our family?
It's time to wade into the water, settle back, point our feet downstream, lift our heels and GO.
Carried to where the current takes us...home.

SO... tomorrow we have another possible buyer touring the midcentury modern... 
We *should* have left at dawn to paint, clean, sweep, mop, and scrub that mid-century house for sale...
But when presented with the option to spend more time at the passive solar prefab with a last minute lunch with friends? To eat well? And laugh? And love?

Well, that mid-century modern walk-through sure will be messy tomorrow...
We are still glowing and smiling over another weekend at the modern prefab home.

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2/19/12

We're Cheep. Preparing For The Prefab House Next Steps While Enduring Midcentury Modern Missteps. And So... *Cheep!*

Our passive solar prefab shoulders through winter, warmly,
through passive solar design, energy efficient SIP,
and facing true south to embrace the low winter sun.

This week, Inhabitat discussed siting homes to function.
Our line of prefab houses, Green Modern Kits, Green Cottage Kits, and Green Cabin Kits, have always been designed passive solar, and energy efficient!

But back to my own prefab house kit construction-turned-family-chaos-documentation-blog:

We may be frantically packing, but that doesn't mean my mind is not on our beloved passive solar prefab home.  With this wet, dreary winter, I've been thinking about what it will be like next winter, once the solar hot water / radiant heat is connected, once the SIPs are covered on the inside instead of that green, prettily painted...

I can't wait to experience the day-to-day living in the prefab house, truly functioning instead of just depending upon just the passive solar elements, the extremely efficient structural insulated panels (SIP), and the cozy happy 1930s wood cookstove renovated for a tight envelope home...

I imagine the radiant heat warmth rising from the floor... constant, without tending...


We really need to get the building inspector out for an up close & personal tour of the prefab construction progress so far, but it seems lately that every weekend it's raining and I'm sick! And now we're packing. Spring can not come soon enough, and with it, progress on the off grid prefab house.
We are SO close to finishing! Arrrrugh!

With this journey, these tales of pay-as-you-go off grid prefab house construction and adventures that happen on the way, I wonder how we'll think of this time, in years to come...

How will we all be remembered? It might not be how you think.

"I Vant to be a Living Work of Aaaaart."
-Marchesa Louisa Casati

"Give me my damned hens back, Richmond.
You frickin' Rubes."

-Copeland Casati


"This is the *HAPPIEST* DAY OF MY LIFE!!!"
-Pipsqueaks, in unison, discovering they are now again Poultryfied, despite #RVA.
I can't take it anymore. Screw outdated cities that refuse to keep up with national standards of zoning.
Peeppeeppeeppeeppeep

Welcome Cocoa, Cinnamon, Waffle, Sugar, Night, and Nugget.

We even set up a Baby Chick Cam. Because... who needs jewelry on Valentine's Day.
More people than you imagine might want, instead, happy fuzzy chicks.

Another spring nears, and we are happily again overrun with hot chicks for the next small backyard flock. [Wow, and they'll never even make up the poundage or noise or trouble of the Average Family Lab.  AND they eat pests! AND improve the soil! Sophisticated cities, nationwide, are getting it. Richmond... eh.]

One of the baby chicks, only a day old when acquired, didn't make it. Discussing her death opened a window to the world.
"It's very common that a percentage of babies, of all kinds, die- often the runts, they aren't fully developed or have something wrong with them.  In some countries, people don't even name their children until they're two, so many of them die!"
"How do they die?!?"
"Well, they don't have doctors, or shots, and in a lot of places people don't even have enough food."
Pipsqueak 1, appalled: "Well how is that a country then?!?"
A pause.
"WHY doesn't the United States go in and shut it down?!?"
Adults have many differing views on that, child...

But the others live, and thrive.
Every now & then one of them will escape and run around my feet as I'm working... With all these little bits of fluff, peeping and hopping about We Large Giants...
My office now has shades of Horton Hears A Who.

Can you hear it?!? Can you hear alllllllllllllll the community crying out for basic sustainability other cities' zoning has already addressed? This is how I feel about the whole sustainable urban hen thing in Richmond.
Except in Richmond, we end up in the boiling oil.

But who cares- We've been crackin' on the packin'! Frantically!
And then...
And then... 
And then our Mid-century Modern Buyers dropped out.

So, last weekend, after tearing the entire house apart, removing art from the walls and driving it out to the land, that Monday getting baby chicks because we were SO happy to leave... on Tuesday we found out the buyers backed out, and that they had made that decision Friday. If only they had told us Friday...
And that's...
all I will say about that.
So the running frantically to the land hauling Delicate Things, the Ripping The House Apart To Pack, the columns and columns of teetering boxes... what to do, now? I guess...

Start cleaning again, decorating again, polishing again, hanging art back up, dragging Pretty Things back... to... sell the house, again.
And to top it all off?
My dining room is peeping.
Peep peep peep peep peep peep peep...

We've gone from this...
Oh so pretty, pristine, and modern super coolio...
Oh doooo ad-MIII-re the Herend china
and fine, out of production crystal.
Ooooo la la!
To this. 

And you know what?!?  
THIS AIN'T BAD.

We are narrowly avoiding the neighbors.
I give you: My nephew. Narrowly avoiding the neighbors.

We might be of dark ilk; which is why People Like Us need fuzzy baby chicks.
Do you deny us? (Our eyes swivel, to fixate coldly on your answer.)
[And nephew? You might want to steer clear of that fake raccoon in the end, too, honeychile... That thing looks like it has a baaaad case o' Suburban Rabies.]

Declaration of Independence.


You know what? Who cares.
I am seceding from Richmond.

Speaking of secession, Revolution is in the air:
I am prepping to attend a Revolutionary War birthday party for an 8 year old. What does one get a child who loves Revolutionary War history yet whose mom works at Barnes & Nobles?
I got the child a Jefferson Cup. 'Cause chile, he clearly has ENOUGH history books!

Aaaaaand I just had to ban my own child from bringing guns to the birthday party. #RevolutionaryWarHistoryThemedBirthdayForAn8YearOld


Boy did they have fun...

So. Back to the Mid-century modern dishevelment...
And it snows, a wet, cold, melty-miserable-and-you-can't-even-play-in-it snow.

So we pack, and clean, again, dreaming of when things will be warmer, happier, and finally finished at the passive solar prefab house.



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2/12/12

Passive Prefab Home Run, Mid-Century Modern Packing, And Snow-Outta-Nowhere.

No snow at the passive solar prefab home... but back in RVA...

...We are scrambling.
Scrambling at the passive solar prefab.
Scrambling at the mid-century modern.
Scrambling towards an apartment in DC, finishing the off grid prefab home as soon as we can figure out the Farmhouse-with-a-certificate-of-occupancy, and... just scrambling.

Within weeks, if there's *any* snag... we could be homeless!

So...
We
are
scrambling.
And we've got such a long way to go...


With All The Things That Must Be Done, Handsome Husband and I decided to tag-team the weekend:
He and Pipsqueak 2 headed to the passive solar prefab home to fetch the trailer, while Pipsqueak 1 and I hung back in the mid-century modern, packing.

Suddenly:
IT SNOWED!!!!!!!!!
...IT...
...IT THUNDER SNOWED
!!!!!!!!!!



Indoors, being adult, I grumbled and packed. While I packed, Pipsqueak #1 snow-danced about, gleefully shouting at the flurry, hooting and hollering while he pulled out his snow boots and snowboard from the back of the closet, flinging clothes everywhere... #StillNotStickingYoungFellah
An optimist...

I gently tried to break it to the Pipsqueak that actually, school will probably NOT be cancelled Monday...

By the time I finished my sentence, the snow was already disappearing, melting away... It's melting faster than the Wicked Witch when Dorthy doused her.

But not before he built a snowman.
With a snow board.
And, as a finishing touch, a screaming chicken squawking its indignation at Richmond's outdated zoning.
I will throw a screaming chicken at you,
Ye Ole Suburbia...


Meanwhile, On The Land, Handsome Husband and Pipsqueak 2 Enjoyed A Rambling Trip And Beautiful Sunset At The Passive Solar Prefab Home.


Architecture: Of Coops & Dog Houses
Via FreshMoco:
Not so curmudgeonly, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Long Lost Doghouse
:

From Architizer: A Modern House
For Canine Clients
  
Once ago there was a coop
kicked from the city by a nincompoop.
It's now back because cities see
hens are critical to sustainability!

And Handsome Husband dragged back, from the prefab house: One chicken coop.
Two heating lamps.
A waterer, and a feeder. 

Musings On Education
One of the things I will be forever grateful for and miss, as we continue on our journey, is my children's school.

In most of the USA it is very unusual to walk into a school with so much of the world within- over 27 nations represented in the student body- it affects everything from new friendships in the classroom, where sitting next to children of every accent and color is quotidian; to the enriched experiences through the parents' involvement, sharing their backgrounds and culture and professions when that subject is studied.

It has set the tone for what I want my children to experience and live, for the rest of their lives; to be world citizens with open eyes to new people and experiences.
Thanks to this school, they already are.

On World Security
From Lisa T: 
The seed emergency: The threat to food and democracy
Patenting seeds has led to a farming and food crisis - and huge profits for US biotechnology corporations
.

"*Across the world, new seed laws are being introduced which enforce compulsory registration of seeds, thus making it impossible for small farmers to grow their own diversity, and forcing them into dependency on giant seed corporations. Corporations are also patenting climate resilient seeds evolved by farmers - thus robbing farmers of using their own seeds and knowledge for climate adaptation.*"

Sustainability, Security...
Our next Green Drinks tackles Richmond's Sustainability Plan.
What Richmond really needs to realize is that green building is not just about LEED.
Green building, sustainability plans are self-reliance, reaffirmed.
Zoning should catch up... and include urban hens...

Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council affirms this:
Self-Reliance Becomes a Movement
"A few generations ago, before we discovered such things as credit cards and floating debt, our parents, grandparents and those who came before us were remarkably resourceful people who worked with their hands, who helped their neighbors, and who didn't believe in wasting anything of value.

They were people who taught themselves and their children to do a little bit of everything because that's what it took to get by, and because that's what allowed them to use their hard-earned money on the more important things in life. Like a future.

Green building is not just about conserving resources, or recycling, or achieving Platinum certification. Rather, it's the universal ideals of independence and interdependence, of self-reliance and self-less collaboration that are at the core of our movement, and that have attracted such incredible support. From all professions and walks of life, from men and women all across the political spectrum, from the young and the old, from places up and down the economic food chain: People want to be part of our movement."

Let's Make Growth A Good Thing: Smart Growth
In today's op / ed, Laura Lee Garrett of The Urban Land Institute discusses smart growth, mixed income development, the return from the suburbs to the city.
          "...we can learn from the mistakes of sprawl and unplanned growth in other cities."

I feel Richmond is still not looking and learning from neighboring, competing cities who embrace livability.  Instead of sinking in more money on its boo-ya marketing campaigns, Richmond needs to take a hard look at itself.
"It is the right & responsibility of the citizens of the Richmond region to expect more of ourselves, our parents and our children."

A city's sustainability and attractiveness over other nearby competing cities is determined not just by its architecture, its infrastructure... but its preservation of natural resources and the allowance, even encouragement for its citizens to have the creativity to LIVE well, and that includes: urban hens.


Book Club
  • "Sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health, according to a team of UCSF researchers, who maintain in a new report that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer." From UCSF Researchers Tell Toxic Truth About Sugar
  • Vinegar Tip: I finally tamed Pipsqueak #2's Rats Nest a few weeks ago when it dawned on me as I was cleaning that it might be fun to spray her hair... Now whenever her hair is tangled I just get out the bottle of vinegar and spritz her- works like a charm!
Dreams
Dreams, schmeams.
It's not the first time I've been up close & personal
with a durned 'hopper...

A friend posted on Facebook,
"Last night I had a dream that you and I were running from a swarm of grasshoppers. Just as I was thinking it might be a bad omen for your big changes, I remembered that GRASSHOPPERS ARE AWESOME. Just to be sure, I googled "grasshopper dreams" and found: 'To see a grasshopper in your dream symbolizes freedom, independence or spiritual enlightenment. Alternatively, it indicates your inability to settle down or commit to a decision.' LOL. I guess you're good :) "
Last night I dreamed of a bald eagle.
It flew through an open window into Pipsqueak #2's bedroom, settled, then followed me indoors... it just flew in and followed me... Might I be sensing impending change? Adventure? Courage? Of course it entered and settled into Pipsqueak 2's room.
What does it mean? What does it mean?!? LOL indeed!

In the dream, the eagle accompanied me outdoors to the back yard- We had baby chicks; I and the eagle watched them as they hopped about the garden, free range.

Aaaaand: Enough of the Crazy Dream Thing. 
Back To Education
Looking back on Suburbia With Chickens, I randomly stumbled across these old videos.
What great teaching tools hens can be!  
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, re-visiting them.



The Mid-Century Modern Undergoes Change
The photoshoot and magazine-ready decor is now strewn, halfway packed into boxes.
From this...

...we now go...
...to this:
Despite the disarray... Our next steps are being carefully hatched.
We don't look back, but onward.
Too busy moving ahead  to study old reflections.
Forward facing we go!.

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2/6/12

A Change Is Gonna Come : The Big Surprise That Does Not Make Any Sense But Does

Gratuitous shots of the passive solar OFF GRID prefab home
because this is exactly how I'm kinda feeling
right now. Loose the tethers...
Channel Aretha Franklin, June Carter, Meat Puppets,
My Bloody Valentine, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry,
Marion Anderson, Beastie Boys,
Lynyrd Sknyrd...
Lynyrd Sknyrd?

Freebird, y'all. You'll get it. Hold on... Tight.

We sold the mid-century modern, and now we're mortgage free.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
[Please stop and play this next video before continuing. It is the theme of this post. In fact, it is a dedication.
And P.s. We didn't go to the off grid prefab because it rained and I'm still sick & coughing so that's all you'll see of the passive solar prefab home for the rest of this post.]
 
Our closing date is March 15.
Gypsies, now, we are. 
With our hearts steady and friends holding us tight, always a constant, we throw ourselves to the wind:
Pamplin City / DC / RVA
Aaaaaand... 
Eh, more on that in a minute.

In celebration, I told the children they could get chickens, now.

'Cause WE have our chicken tractor back!


Last year's flock...

A business reporter had borrowed our chicken tractor last year to start her own flock, using it until her husband could complete their own Chicken Palace. Just this week, her husband kindly dropped it off. 

She: "And how are YOUR hens?" Honeychile Reporter Lady, do you want a story on my hens? #Don'tGetMeStarted!JustDon't!

With the chicken tractor back, and March nearing, this IS a good time for baby chicks. 
My children: "But what about Glen and Catherine Vanderspiegel?" 

Pretty Condescension

I: "Eh. The Vanderspiegels are not neighborly, nor part of our community.  Longtime residents here don't even know who they are. We all know urban hens are legal pretty much anywhere practical, hence sophisticated... I don't think much about what people like the Vanderspiegels, who have lawn service with five undocumented guys jumping out of trucks with weed whackers and leaf blowers twice a week, people like the Vanderspiegels who soak their yard (and those workers) with pesticides, really, do I care what people like that think? Urban hens are legal in any city that is cutting edge and competitive. How can a city dare call itself livable or sustainable if it doesn't even allow hens?!? We can't sit around all day waiting for Richmond to catch up. We can't wait around for people like the Vanderspiegels to have a deep understanding of... anything. There are fewer cities now where it's illegal than legal. I vote we follow the laws of the larger, more educated cities.

A cheer went up, followed by intense discussion of how many chicks, and of what breed. 
We're not the only Richmonders who feel like urban hens are a basic, sustainable right- over Eight HUNDRED people (and counting) here agree: https://www.facebook.com/chickunz

Hey, Richmond!
Georgia Lawmakers Want People to Grow Their Own Food And Yes, They Include Hens In That.
"Ehrhart says people should be free to raise chickens and grow backyard crops on their property. He says the Right to Grow bill represents a basic freedom, recalling those days when Georgians all grew their own food."

Our non-GMO backyard bounty...


Breaking: While our neighbors complain about our clover as they water their lawns in the rain...  
The Vatican Condemns Monsanto GMO as "New Form Of Slavery"
Lisa D: "Hey, a little help from above can't hurt at this point!"
But the USA still poisons its own... 
Guess what, "neighbors": More and more people are starting to "get it" about all the weird Freak Family things our family embodies. Slowly, our Freak Family philosophy becomes... recognized, and one day, mainstream.

(And fyi I was just reminded about one of my Freak Family Non-Smart Growth posts today by a reader, what a perfect time to read this, no?)

So. 
We sold the mid-century modern, and now we're mortgage free.
We now have to finish the passive solar prefab home, to get a certificate of occupancy before we can move in. That last stage- finishing the interior walls, septic, solar hot water... well, we can't move in until all that is done, and that's going to take awhile, sooooooooooooooooo...

Instead of rolling that equity flush into our pockets, we decided to keep on frugally goin' like we've always been goin' and... instead, we rolled that money into...
We bought a farm house in-town. 
In a town... on the other end of Virginia.

Wait?!? What?!? Who?!?

Hold on, be patient, and let me tell this story.

And remember: We are now mortgage free.

When I Was About My Children's Age, My Parents Bought An Old Fishing Cottage On The Chesapeake Bay.
And that's how a lifetime of happy summers sailing and roaming with a pack of children all over the peninsula began.  Eventually they proposed to tear down that run-down fisherman's cottage. I told them I would lie in front of the bulldozers if they did... I wasn't kidding...Even back then, before I was officially in the green building profession or espousing a frugal lifestyle, it just didn't make sense to tear down a perfectly good, solid structure that not only was architecturally fine, but filled with years of memories and love!

So they "re-did" and "added on a tad" to the cottage... and that is how we ended up with this:
This is the original cottage part but all re-done.

But it's not home.
After Christmas we realized we might have kinda have broken the cycle before but really, to keep our children centered and secure, we needed to protect them (and ourselves, we deserve that too...) further.

That whole passive aggressive Psycho Family thing? It's not worth it. We work hard and have struggled raising our children while running multiple businesses. We're exhausted. In our life, we want to spend it with those who love us, who make us laugh, who make us better people... who make things easier for us, not more difficult.

When we think of those qualities, we never think of our family.
When we think of family...

But we do have a lifetime of loving faces around us.

We gathered, sat the children down, and made a family decision.

Then we called our friends for counsel, and they weighed in.

This is not the most frugal, practical decision: It began as purely heartfelt, purely as a reaction to Our Families and wanting to provide the same life and friendships on the water I grew up with for our children...

I'd like to thank each friend who weighed in with their deep experience, thoughts, and opinions. Especially Lisa & James D., who took a long phone call to discuss it... Melanie H. who reminded us of tax and legal issues, Chris and Steve A. who didn't even know they were in on the conversation but in my mind I was always thinking of pictures of their beloved farmhouse when they bought it, R. & J. B., who refuse to visit but I *will* get them down, the W's who patiently listen to me ramble, K.J., the L's- L.L. especially cheered us on... Our friends *told us what they thought,* yay or nay, because they care about our decisions and that's what family does.

And so it was done: We bought an 1800s farmhouse, in another town. It's in dire condition.
The pictures make it look a *LOT* brighter and cleaner and better than it is.

But I already see practicality--
It has the huge farmhouse kitchen I need to spend the summer canning.
Hellooooooooo canning bonanza.

The soil is black and rich and the .75 acre property, while we improve the soil at Higher Ground, can provide us with an easy food garden, to be canned, then brought back to the off grid prefab home for an easy-to-serve bounty for the rest of the year.

We can fit all our friends within.

You can see the town tennis courts from the kitchen window, and the little local coffee shop is right down the street.

This is where my home schooled children will be surrounded by throngs of kids. Like I, growing up there, they already see the same children here year after year after year... so are solidifying a big passel of friendships for a lifetime.

So, For The Next Year, We Not Only Eat But Live Seasonally
So basically, we might spend many weekends end-of-November-until-mid-January in DC.  
Why? Deer Season! The children can't play outside! But December in DC? Concerts, Christmas tree lightings, Holiday parades, the National Building Museum has a Gingerbread man workshop... I've spent the holidays in Manhattan, in Paris... now it's time to enjoy the holidays in DC.

In summer's highest heat? We take to the water.
The rest of the year? Busy, busy, busy improving soil, planting, and occupied with our home, Higher Ground. Higher Ground is our HOME, but we also carry home in our hearts to other places.
It's what the Indians did; Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry just followed their example.
Now we trace our geography through seasons, using it as opportunity for learning.

Carbon Footprint
But that changing of geography comes with a hefty carbon footprint, no?
Yes. This is not The Forever Plan, this is the One To Two Year Adventure.
And to have that adventure, we will relocate seasonally to new geography. 
Once at our destination, there is mostly walking / biking. But to get to each locale? Miles.
I might even call in some Carbon Credits, ha: Since 1999 I have commuted, daily, to work... ten feet. Usually barefoot. This 3 hour journey, about 200 miles, will be once a week, (so a total of 400 miles) going up, then staying days, before returning.

I'm not justifying anything. But let's just look at this as an opportunity to learn more about today's commute:
  • Americans now spend over 100 hours a year commuting.
  • More workers are willing to travel three hours a day. But what is the long-term cost?
    "...They spend at least a month of their lives each year traveling a minimum of an hour-and-a-half to work and back, vs. the U.S. average of 50 minutes. Their ranks have jumped an astounding 95% since 1990, according to the Census Bureau, accounting for 3.4 million workers.

    Experts say the numbers of these supercommuters will continue to swell. In 1990, 24% of all workers left their home counties to get to the office. Since then, 50% of new workers do, according to transportation expert and Commuting in America author Alan Pisarski." 

We Speak Of No Longer: Exhaustion
Mentally and physically. We killed ourselves on the land these past years, we killed ourselves renovating the mid-century modern house.  We agreed that IF this in-town-farmhouse came through, the rule is: We will not kill ourselves.

The stained wallpaper? Can stay awhile. We'll just hang more pictures.
The horrid, worn wall-to-wall carpet? All the better to ruin with sandy bare feet for a few years.
No, we're going to continually work on it, starting with the bathroom, the green bedroom, the kitchen, and of course, all roofs. But we will NOT kill ourselves.

Ironically, this just came through:
Henry Miller's work schedule, via a friend, L.T.:


Let's Look At "The Crazy Farm House Plan" Again
Yes, that's the biggest camellia *I've* ever seen either, too.

While not killing ourselves, once fixed up and updated, that farm house could provide good rental income as we near retirement age, the years the children are off in college and working in the big cities as they start their careers, and we remain happily at our home, Higher Ground.

Next Steps
The next few weeks will be wild. We have to pack up and move into a dilapidated farm house in another town [because THAT has a certificate of occupancy, lol!], enroll the children in a new school, in the middle of the term, unpack and continue working on the off grid passive solar prefab home's final steps- septic, solar hot water, finishing the interior of the SIP and having it approved by the building inspector, so we can finally move in.

P.s. Want to take a walk around the In-Dire-Condition-But-It's-Awesome Farmhouse? C'mon!
I didn't say anything during the video because I figured you've probably heard enough from me by now.

More updates and lots of packing over the next weeks, stay tuned!
[I can't wait for this part to be over so we can go back to finishing the passive solar prefab house...]

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