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2/25/13

Prefab Home Considers Green With Off Grid Energy Efficiency

At the passive solar prefab home, the snow melted, and turned to muck.
We saw bits of sun, and rain.
I considered the winter so far, and thought it fair to discuss some off grid systems, namely wood heat and the composting toilet.

Wood Stoves In A SIP House
Off Grid Vs. / *and* Embracing Green
I have detailed why only the most efficient, sealed, modernized wood stoves are safe for any energy efficient home (and hence why fireplaces are absolutely *not* safe or efficient) before. If you can overlook my rants (at the time) over having just had our urban hens ripped away from us in our old city (which, incidentally is now about to legalize them and embrace families like us and sustainable practices over bitter weed-whacking neighbors!), you can find a lot of information on tight envelope homes and wood stoves, there.

But it's not just initial safety, it's how much even modern wood stoves pollute.

So while I do adore my cook stove for its timeless durability, all along it was intended as an OFF GRID safety measure, a surefire booster in emergencies for heat, IF the solar hot water -> radiant heat in the slab were not efficient during rainy gray weeks... like today.  I intended it for giving heat a "boost" while cooking, not relying on it.

It is not the most green option, unlike my beloved solar cooker I use otherwise during the year.As our radiant heat is not yet turned on, this winter relied on wood.
I am really looking forward to testing off grid GREENER conditions in the passive solar home next winter, with radiant heat, much less reliant on our farm's felled wood.
Often during overcast weeks I show how the prefab home is filled with interior daylighting.
But I am also always amazed how often I look over at the meter and see... that, daaaang: We are, overcast, still CHARGING!



Composting Toilet
Like wood heat, I have discussed it at length. I think we may have found a fair balance for winter: more sawdust, more emptying, more efficient ways to do so. We *will* replace this, soon. But for now, it works, and like the wood heat, it might not be the [good better] *best* style / modern living solution [vs. best green, which it is], but it conserves water drastically and works for us, for now.

I didn't add a picture of Handsome Husband emptying it...
'Cause I'm certain you can do without another picture of that, this weekend, no?
"Where do ya think you live, IN A BARN?!?"


Notes On The Weekend From The Passive Solar Prefab House
It was time for the Annual Farm Auction.
Each year, the community gathers up farm equipment, odds and ends, family oddities, and converges on the farm down the road to sell at auction while tents spring up to feed the visitors with BBQ and Amish soup and sandwiches.
Last year there was even a GHOST CATCHER.
Fer real.

I am not in a purchasing mood. I have an off grid modern prefab house to finish!
But I always have a list. Just to be prepared.



Unfortunately for the auction, it was rainy.
But rain is good for work on the inside of the modern prefab home!
To Pipsqueak 2's delight, Handsome Husband, with rolls of vintage wallpaper in his arms, began work in her room. She kept skipping about and hopping from bunk bed to bunk bed as he worked...
...planning horse stickers, everywhere...


She's running off with scraps to
make something outta nuthin' with them...
#ChipOffTheOldBlock

Here's also some more pictures of Pipsqueak 1's "Woods Wall" from last weekend:




Recipes
We were all tired this week... It was cold.
This called for comfort food!
So I made Elderberry Lamb With Lentils.

In a cast iron pan, cook lamb chops in a balsamic glaze (drizzle on some balsamic, sparingly, as you turn the lamb, y'all) topped with elderberry jam + pan gravy (make sure you add the elderberry last so it doesn't get into your gravy- flour/salt/pepper/water stirred into the pan after you remove the lamb with a touch o' balsamic), served with carmelized onions over lentils (stir in cumin and some lemon juice into the lentils), drizzled to taste with sriracha.

I made LambWiches.
In a bowl, mix milk, cubed bread, egg, ground lamb, tomato ,minced onions & garlic, ground raisins, dashies of tahini, molasses, salt & pepper, sugar if necessary. Mix and mash it all up until the bread is no longer diced but part of the consistency.

Butter up a casserole dish, add the mixture, bake until done, serve over Amish rolls and a big fresh balsamic vinegar, oil & cheese salad.  It should be tomato-y sweet and onion-y savory yet not overtake the lamb. I of course add more heat on my own serving and would encourage you to do so, it's just that I have young childrenz who still shy from sriracha. They can't be perfect, sadly...

Workin' hard...


And Spinach, Bean, and Potato Soup
Rinse & soak lima beans for hours.
Mince and sautee up a mess o' onion, some garlic. Add some really good broth. Add lots of spinach, make sure it's cut into small bits. Add potatoes, diced small. Add beans, and let it all simmer an afternoon. Add salt, pepper, and some Parmesan at the very end.

Perfect comfort foods to end the day.
Can't. Move.
Must.
Muck lots of stalls and work it off...
Tomorrow.

Funny Moments Of The Week
  • Got chided by an Amish friend as I hemmed and hawed about possible chores to run in the next day's rain... Buggy behind her, she laughingly scoffed, "But Copeland. YOU can DRIVE *FINE* in the RAIN." Ok fine I guess I will be about, THEN. : )
  • Caught ShopDawg *passed out* in ShopPuppy's crate, head wearing a metal dog bowl. You know those tough motorcycle guys in leathers wearing old school German tiny helmuts as they roar past? I think that's what he imagines he looks like...?
















Reading Club:
  • 'The Longest Daycare,' Oscar-Nominated 'Simpsons' Short, Takes Swipes At Education System
  • In Norway, TV Program on Firewood Elicits Passions - nyti.ms/XMA06J
  • No, really, to move cities forward you *really* need to consider a bike tax. bit.ly/VPn4mk #FacePalm
  • Putting Public Space in its Place bit.ly/15vHuSQ
  • My old roommate (and 1st Gwar girl) Colette on California's public radio for wings she painted into art! bit.ly/11Wbqso
 Extra pics from the week:












Lunchtime frittatta





Homeschool art class
Discussing: shadows.



The new girl at the barn...
#SpanishMustang

Braids, with braids.

It's all love until, as she shares her bowl,
he takes off with it, running...


Cook stove log thief.

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