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2/11/13

Passive Solar Prefab Modern House : Don't Put Baby In A Corner! Live FREE And OFF GRID, Honeychiles!

At the off grid passive solar prefab home, our electrician, Pat Root, was out working on the prefab house final wiring this week, busy with the details.

There was a chance of rain Friday, but Thursday when I looked up I saw it from over the valley and felt its approach, heavy. We put blankets back on the horses, I took time to gather extra wood for the cookstove, making sure the rest of the pile would stay dry...and Thursday night the rain came. It poured.

WELCOME BACK to mud and ick and icy water and dog paws clogged with clay... why do I even bother cleaning. I can't wait until late March when I can sow seed again, heavily...
I had just finished sweeping...
...when Shop Puppy bounded in...

...mud... Tracks and tracks of MUD...
...Dumping big ole PAWfuls o' clay within seconds...
SO glad we have a concrete floor...
[Good news: On the upside? The rainwater cistern is full!]

Now that we've eliminated the "What Ifs" and the "How Tos" of living off grid on minimal systems throughout its most miserable, icy, flu-ridden, tested conditions... finally, I can relax in the passive solar prefab home and actually enjoy the rain beating down, steady on the roof... I don't care if we turn into a rice paddy.  I am listening to the downpour and... happy. Warm. Dry. We have nowhere to go, honeychiles, until the mud dries, with a full pantry and work indoors to do, leisurely, diligently.

Enjoy.
And if you're especially adventurous, you can rock out with me to Ze Rockets! C'mon, let's dance!

Art-i-Facts
I don't care that I'm currently saving up for walls and paint and fencing and a stable, one day.
I made sure the Pipsqueaks saw the Chihuly exhibit at VMFA before it left...
So, into Richmond we went.

Bread, without a recipe,
by my perfect nephew.
Taught by Handsome Husband.
We iz proud.
Reminiscing On RVA
One of the things I love about Cousin Visits like we had last week or our running into RVA is how much everyone appreciates those times... during, and after...

After visits to Higher Ground, here at the prefab home, we send a 12 year old city kid cousin back to Richmond and suddenly he's baking his own bread for his doubting family and talking horses. : )

And we appreciate visiting The Nephews and our friends in RVA!

It Has Almost Been A Year Visiting / Living The DC Apartment With Handsome Husband's Job That He Loves, And We Reflect On DC, And Decisions.
This Year In DC we kept saying, "Well, as much as we miss the off grid prefab at Higher Ground, when we're in DC it's wonderful... we love the great eating, the super cool apartment, we love the museums!!!! But socially, and the vibe & feel of DC? Well... it's kinda just like a Big Richmond."
Our super cool DC apartment...
But:
If it's just "kinda like a big Richmond"... then maybe... we consider... we *might* dip our toe back into Richmond on our own terms, as it's convenient, not trying to "live" Richmond but to fit Richmond to our fun between the land and professionally in DC. We *do* have a lifetime of dear friends who still live there... While Handsome Husband does DC professionally, indefinitely, and I telecommute from the land most of the week... maybe Richmond can be Middle Ground.
Hmmmmmmmmm:
I love my prefab home.
Higher Ground has our hearts.
Anywhere else is just a pit stop.
  • For the same amount of money, renting in DC, we could be paying mortgage with a daily train pass to DC (which Handsome Husband did for a year and found it *really easy* to do before the DC move... He just jumped into the shower, his suit, then fifteen minutes later was on the train sleeping... then worked via his laptop on the train ride home...)
  • Rent in DC vs. a mortgage where we could find a tiny house a block or two down from The Nephews where Handsome Husband could sleep...
  • As usual we would live on the farm, but do barn chores early one day, come in to Richmond, stay a night and have dinner ready for Handsome Husband when he got off the train, the next day have breakfast together, have dinner ready again, then hit the road back to Higher Ground, together, which would give Handsome Husband FOUR days with his family every week vs. two...
  • And on days when he did telecommute (the DC company is fine with that, every two weeks) we could all be on the farm, happy...
He is in love...and she is beautiful...
So, we consider: Richmond.
A place to lay our heads.
Halfway on the way to elsewhere.

IF they allow chickens. Only if.

  • It's something to consider... buy a tiny cottage, sell it when Handsome Husband can telecommute from Higher Ground...
  • Richmond is halfway between Higher Ground & the Deltaville farm house... whereas DC is just, well, north... as much as we have fun there, we still miss our Pamplin and Richmond friends.
I don't know... DC is great... And I still resent Richmond for being so UNsustainably-minded towards basic Sustainability and Livability 101 things like laying hens... but if Handsome Husband can telecommute from his Dream Job while commuting more safely to Higher Ground (1 1/2 hr. drive from Richmond)... we'll consider it.

But, Richmond: If we come near? Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
Thaz right, don't NO ONE put Baby in a corner...


Don't make me get all mumbly-peg
on you, and yer zoning, Richmond...

My loyalty towards Richmond is dated. Richmond, don't wag yer finger at ME, you did it. Despite our wonderful vibrant cutting-edge and preservation-minded friends, people who live there who, after accolades elsewhere, Richmond *then* claims as her own, Richmond's bureaucracy is as outgrown and passe as Dirty Dancing, except for the people who make Richmond awesome despite itself. We were willing to be entrepreneurs and a family there; Richmond's atrophy motivated us to leave it behind.

Unless Richmond's zoning changes, it will always be On The Way To Other More Livable Places for our family. Besides, our hearts are already home: So, for those of you wondering if we'd ever leave our beloved off grid prefab home and emerging-farm at Higher Ground? Why do you think we named it Higher Ground?
 

We're not going anywhere. Heck, we're still trying to get Handsome Husband to Higher Ground full time, while appreciating and loving the DC connection.

As a family? WE are having the time of our lives.

Anyhoo, in the meantime: Here's a neat overview of the Pamplin Pipe Factory, where we happily live! I remember reading somewhere that at one point it was the largest factory in the WORLD. Yep, all here and the world is our oyster in population 199...

[P.s. CONGRATS TO FRIENDS AT THE GRAMMYS!!!!!!!!!!
Y'all are representing Southern well, honeychiles!]


Reading Club
Homeschool
As many people have asked recently, I decided to keep a running document on what we are using in homeschool in case it helps others. Here you go.
4th Grade
Fractions: I enjoy seeing the children struggle with new concepts, then that moment of clarity and excitement when they "get it!" The concept of fractions was difficult, then suddenly simple for Pipsqueak 1. Here's some videos that made the concept more clear:
I'd like to finish the year up at the end of April, leaving time for yearly testing in May. So I need to review, push ahead, go further in the next two months. Time for scrum, as we call it in programming,  while enjoying it, academically.

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