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3/11/13

Modern Prefab Home Off Grid Updates: Wild Weather And A BUCK-it List


At the off grid modern prefab home, it was a wild week o' weather. AND I knocked a few items off my BUCK-it list...

At the prefab house, electric work continues, more lights were installed, and the electrician will come back next week.  So there is progress.

The weather? Well... I just love our passive solar, energy efficient modern prefab home during Terrible Deluges.   
Off grid, we always watch weather closely to see how it affects work, school, travel, everything... We knew *something* was coming, and a slow monsoon built, then hit.
BAP BAP BAP BAP BAP BAP went the rain, hard on the roof.
The wind wailed.

I'm ready.

Horses fed and blanketed, chickens collected watered and with extra feed, pantry full, fresh vegetables gathered for days, wood dry and stacked higher than normal inside, errands run, the car's oil checked/ gas filled and parked high in the field, facing south so the windshield melts, accessible from the house but able to get out for emergencies.

There was nothing left to do but relax, read books, cook well, study more, answer emails... 

So... comfortable, yet aware of and part of the weather about us.  Our rhythm is deeply in tune with the weather each day, through the seasons.
It's a nice day to make stew, no?

Overnight, the gale waned, and we awoke to snow!
It fell in large flakes, then tiny flakes through the day, then melted. We settled into deep mud.
The wind picked back up, and screamed.
We. Went nowhere. For days.

Everyone we know was complaining, concerned, and rightfully so.
I empathized. And was grateful for the comfort in the passive solar off grid prefab home. 
Off grid. I'm glad we're here.

Harry extrapolates the data for us:

Favorite moments:
  • My mean feral->turned homespun-in-winter cat, lazily, cozily, slowly batting the tails of the mastiff-mixes as they sleepily lumber past him to their beds... 
  • Quiet reading...
  • Discovering, via a Facebook friend, at the last second, UNICEFF's World Literacy Day, World Math Day, and World Science Day taking place this week! We had no time to practice! We were competing against classrooms! They had been practicing for a month!!!! And we had just stumbled across this competitions underway... NOW! We had already missed World Literacy Day by... a day! More on THAT experience, after the jump.
This being Virginia, by Saturday, we were having outdoor picnics and riding again.
M, workin' hard: a rare female farrier.
#GirlPower
That's not beer, those German beer bottles
are reused for water, salad dressings...
they're timeless bottles we reuse for *everything*...
It was a *perfect* day to ride... until my green horse spooked on a mounting block gone wrong and I ended up biting the rails- My fault, I didn't turn him as I should have when he panicked on the loose rein, he likes a tight rein, we were both distracted.  
Yep, I knocked some things off my BUCK-it list... Ow... : )
These pictures do not do justice.
Black and blue and bumped all over, honeychiles.
That's not my knee, that's mah shin!

*Thank you to all my friends who let me milk that knot for all it was worth, I felt loved!*
Foot up, I watched a documentary on Dr. Bronner's Soap. 
 

Bruised bucked legs or not, that weekend sun affected our activity, our enthusiasm:  
Suddenly, a snowy March week ended being, I just knew it, time to sow. Hellooooooooo lettuce / peas / spring veggies! We did not bother with cold frames this year, opting to wait to directly sow spring hardy seeds.
"Are you SURE it's time to sow?!?"
Don't worry. Just hardy spring peas / lettuce / etc. this week.
Heck a bunch of our Amish neighbors have seedlings 4" tall now
via milk jugs / hoop frames.

We also had some interesting conversations this weekend with our children, about how we live (have always lived), and Their Mainstream Years when they were in school with children who don't live like we do. Out of the blue, Pipsqueak 1 said that although he would prefer to eat sugar every day, he realizes that Momma's Making Our Own Food and Limiting Sugar helps them. I was surprised. He elaborated: he realized that he and his sister were some of the few children in their prior school "...without teeth full of metal!" i.e. our children have no cavities. Huh. A lot of my mom friends buy at the "right" grocery stores, etc... Could it be not just the sodas or bad cereals but the sugar that is in everything that is bought?
Seriously, if I make pie, it's not sweet but Meat Pie...
This week was Lamb Pie, delicious.
Now of course I'm going to doom their cavity record now by mentioning it but:
Could it be that because we have always made our own food, and sent them to school with their homemade lunches, that we eliminated all the sugar that is in processed *everything* much less school lunches, hence no cavities? I very rarely cook with sugar... so...
Wait.

The milk industry wants to put SUGAR, much less ARTIFICIAL SUGAR in MILK and not have it LABELED?!? Really?!? Glad we don't buy grocery store milk... *shakes head*...
"HOW MUCH SUGAR ARE YOU CONSUMING?
Dr. Tim Mathew, Kidney Health Australia's Medical Director,
said research in the US had shown
that one soft drink or sweet juice each day AT ANY AGE
was associated with an 80% increase in the risk of acquiring diabetes in females.
It's really all about choices."

I don't know... I have no idea about the other families, I just think it's weird my son recalls his *elementary* classmates as having a lot of "teeth, full of metal."

We discussed Mainstream Experiences like their school and added, "You know, when you were younger, like four and five, there was a lot of pressure for us to 'join sports teams' and do lots of sports with you on the weekends. We chose instead to come to the land, as a family, spending weekends together instead of running you from football to karate to ballet... Instead you climbed trees...and camped."
Our first shelter at Higher Ground...

Now, I would love for them to do more team sports if they want. But I realize we do *many* sports, daily: Off the top of my head I think of regular favorites: Archery / bb guns / riflery / riding / sailing / minibikes (ugh) / bocce / tennis... I'd say they're well rounded... we're doing ok in sports... daily.
Ugh. NON green... why can't he just ride a bike?
So, in the supposedly neglected sports department area of life? We're covered, society.

We ended the weekend with the off grid prefab home's battery bank at 100%, the rainwater cistern completely full... We pulled all the junk we had piled against the home throughout the winter "for emergencies" (and laziness) away - the portable generator, the extra wood, the, well, the junk families discard in a moment of working with tools and sleds and playthings that then turn into a pile of discord... it is all clean now.
Ahhhhh. We're ready for spring.
Homeschool
Yes. We *could* have had a snow day...
But it was wet, wet snow, so what the heck: We celebrated World Math Day playing kids from all over the world at WorldEducationGames.com - competing against kids in real time from over 35 countries... (our count, not the number of all participating countries)
It was exciting!!!!

Here's Pipsqueak 1 winning his first race!!!
 Here he is celebrating! Woot! You go, representing Town Population 40, lol!
[His accuracy score was 98.6%, by the way
against his age group, worldwide, who had
practiced for a month vs. he...
I wish there was a school for him.
He played ten. hours. straight.
And didn't want it to end.

Go Pipsqueak 2!!!!
This is a child who needed extra help with math in second grade and she just won a race against some BOYS in a nameless Middle Eastern country that does not support schoolin' girlz! Take that, governments who don't think girls should do math and science!

The wet weather days passed so quickly... World Math and Science Day became homeschool notes on countries to study, continent by continent, because they are now SO interested in the children, hence segueing math into geography, history and culture... The thought process and exposure to thinking and learning was endless.
  • "Might you realize that that child competing against you is competing with English as his/her second language?" (The competition is in International English) "And they just beat (or lost to) you! Imagine how hard that was for them!"
  • Playing, we discussed time zones...
    They argued: "YOU SAID ALL KIDS GO TO BED BY 8!!!!! This English kid is still competing and it's 9 P.M. HIS TIME!!!!" 
  • As a parent I was happy, really happy and relieved, to see my children were competing well against their age group. I mean, I'm their teacher, so what if they bombed and couldn't keep up?!? I'm grateful for opportunities like this to see how my children fare, on their grade/age levels, competing with other children in their nation, much less other children across the world.
After the games are over, we will sit down and talk about why UNICEF puts on the World Education Games, the donation our family will make for their School-In-A-Box, and what a privilege it is to learn.

Reading Club
My reading club this week is dedicated to Richmond.
And architecture.
Culture...ish?
How can you NOT avoid the Harlem Shake, as much as I try? It reminds me of how on Saturdays we listen to this great rural swing band hour on an AM station... But every time I hear the Andrews Sisters trill about What It's Like In Harlem I just want to slap them.

Melissa Harris-Perry explains:

Y'all have a good week. Sow on.

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1 Comments:

At 3/12/13, 12:34 AM , Blogger George said...

Great clips of the Andrews Sisters and Dr. Bronners!!!

 

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