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Passive Off Grid Prefab Home : Spring, Sun, Sowing, Soupe, Smokehouses, Snow.

Latest 24 hrs at the off grid prefab modern home:
Sunny Easter Egg Hunt and sowing,
then sleet and snow.

Grading and more grading.
Finally planting grass after septic
(installed too late for seeding) and grading.
At the passive solar prefab, Old Man Weather is clearly off his meds.
It was gray and wet. Then sunny. It snowed. Then sunny. It rained buckets. Then gloriously sunny. With rain. Sleet. Snow.

Ah, spring

A rainy, muddy, sunny, dry, snowy week at the off grid modern prefab home commenced.
Dreaming of a more gentle spring...
at least all the hens are laying!

I love living in a modern passive solar prefab home this time of year, because when the temperatures are still cold, rising into the upper 50s-mid/lower-60s, then fall to freezing 20s-30s at night, you can really feel the effects of the passive solar design.

Let's just stay cozy in the prefab, 'K?

Even with the cook stove out I awake to 68ish degrees. It is just so easy to heat, when you have the sun on your side, working to keep the prefab home warm...

Often, it's so warm inside, we're surprised when we walk outdoors and note the icy air!

Our electrician Pat Root sent word to not expect him until the mud subsided.
Last time we had weather like this, his huge, solid, manly, bomb-proof truck almost succumbed to my field.

Honeychiles, I don't blame him

The sun came out, but the land was still too saturated to ride, to plant, to do anything...
I have spring fever! C'mon mud, dry up! Slowly, it did.

The sun came out! The sun came out! The sun came out!!!!!

Here's how M. embraces her Spring Fever: Bareback, cantering and playing airplane, without a bridle. 
M. is *always*... ALWAYS pure joy to watch ride.

Regardless of sun or snow, we're planting...and continue to plant... Here's a neat sowing chart that explains by temperature, which makes so much sense vs. month:

We are terracing our plantings.
And constantly amending the Virginia clay soil.
It is actually more challenging to grow here
than our prior urban gardens!

And here is local Goochland with a GREAT idea:
"A couple of weeks ago, a Seed Lending Library was born at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College's Goochland Campus. It is a community seed bank where people can come and check out ("borrow") seeds then return them at the end of the season (by saving the seeds). The seed library is free, but all users must attend an hour long seed saving tutorial/orientation to the library. The seed library (which is located in the campus library) will then be open until 7:30pm for those wanting to check out seeds that night. Hooray for seeds, seed saving knowledge, and community! Come and be a part!"


via Mark: 11 Horrifying Facts About Your Groceries(And people think our composting toilet is disgusting:  ; )  )
"1. The U.S. imports 86% of its seafood. Only 0.1% is inspected for drug contamination.
2. Shrimp and tilapia are often fed untreated animal feces in China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
3. A quarter of U.S. raw meats test positive for flesh-eating MRSA bacteria.
So grateful so much of our pantry is not from the store...

4. Seventy percent of market ground beef contains ammonia-doused pink slime.
5. Apples, celery, and bell peppers are the most pesticide-contaminated produce.
6. Farmed salmon is prone to parasites and contains eight times the level of cancer-causing PCB.
7. Chickens are fed arsenic to make their flesh pink.
8. Most of the honey you buy isn't real.
9. Tuna mercury poisoning is real.
10. Many U.S. farms use reclaimed human waste and sewage sludge as fertilizer.
11. You basically can't avoid eating phthalates.
Bon appetit! " 
Inside the off grid prefab I awoke Thursday, warm and cozy, even with the cookstove out...I went to let the cat out: The door opened with an icy blast and...SNOW?!? It is. And it was sticking. Ergh!

The sun came out, and we were knee deep in mud, again.
Good thing the off grid prefab home is always stocked, with a good pantry!
I made Soupe de Boeuf Bourguignon, kale chips, savory crepes, with the help of a Little Cook.
Soupe de Boeuf Bourguignon
I don't know how to make Boeuf Bourguignon. I just had a nice meaty beef stewing bone and was feeling French and like pouring wine in something aside from my mouth on a cold snowy day.

In pot sautee a meaty beef or lamb soup bone & onions (and any other root veggies, if I had had carrots on hand I would have added them, and a parsnip or two) until brown, then add thinly cut up potatoes and water. I call this burgundy because I then added some nice red wine to it, ha! Also add dashes of lemon, salt, cracked pepper, lots of parsley (fresh would be great!)... When it has simmered and everything is yummy & soft, mash the potatoes into everything roughly, serve.

Savory Crepes
Make crepes, with savory + creamy stuff. Today? Liverwurst & provolone cheese. Tomorrow? Another something else savory.

Kale Chips
I know y'all know this but: Tear up kale, massage in olive oil/lemon splash/s&p, bake.

Churched Up To-mah-to Soup
Heat a liberal amount o' butter in a huge pot, add minced garlic, chopped onions, lots of whole skinned tomatoes in juice, salt, rosemary. Simmer simmer simmer simmer. I did, overnight. Cool. Puree. Re-heat. At the last minute add whole milk or cream, making sure not to boil or even simmer, so it doesn't curdle.

Later, sowing seed, my Bad Puppy ShopDawg went wayward, and I, to retrieve him, apologetically, from a neighbor. In doing so, I was given a tour of The S's SMOKEHOUSE!
[While we were touring, the BAD wayward pup, hearing my voice, ran quickly home and did his best to look innocent, readying for my arrival. That dawg knew he was in trouble, with a "T"...]
The smokehouse.

"And now the tour begins! Whoo-hoo!"
At the bottom, wood ready to fire;
the metal sheet covers the fire,
when in use, to smolder it,
with slits in the sheet, hence allowing
up the smoke.  He does this when it rains.
Metal sheet with slits, wood.

Here Mr. S explains how, after the meat is salted and smoked and cured, he then soaks and readies it for (delicious) eatin':

Mr. S and I discussed how although so many things have been forgotten; his family still lives it, knowledgeably, without a break in knowledge.  The S's have been good to us. And like all of our friends here, we appreciate the opportunity to learn from them, and each other.

[Billy Joel and student reinforce each other:]

Here's a great quote. I don't care if you lean left or right. I lean both, in different subjects. Put aside the political references and consider:
Free market, recycling,
environmentalist prefab home.

"You show me a polluter and I'll show you a subsidy. I'll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the market and load his production costs onto the backs of the public. Tax-payers give away $65 billion every year in subsidies to big oil, and more than $35 billion a year in subsidies to western welfare cowboys. Those subsidies helped create the billionaires who financed the right-wing revolution on Capitol Hill and put Bush in the White House. While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business. True free-markets, in which businesses pay all the costs of bringing their products to market, is the most efficient and democratic way of distributing the goods of the land – and the surest way to eliminate pollution. Free markets, when allowed to function, value raw materials and encourage producers to eliminate waste by reduc-ing, reusing, and recycling. I don't think of myself as an environmentalist anymore; I consider myself a free-marketeer."
--RFK Jr.
The weekend began with an egg hunt and riding.

At the passive solar prefab home, in 24 hours we went from sun and sowing to sleet and snow! Ergh!

Chickens hanging out around the prefab home's overhang.
Chickens hate snow...

Outside? Frigid.
Inside the prefab house? So cozy Miz Fairy
is wearing a leotard with leggings, and barefoot.

Old Man Weather, you need to go see someone.
At the off grid prefab home, we're lazily hunkered down, with lots of books, a pot o' beans on the cookstove, waiting out the snow and mud.

Reading Club:  This week it's quite extensive; there was a lot to read, from architecture's Pritzker Prize to Monsanto's protectionism in Congress: GMO, the environment, and architecture, oh my.
  • Are you an architecture fan? Feast your eyes on some of Toyo Ito's best works #Pritzker 
  • Surreal historic photos of D.C. landmarks under development, including the Lincoln Memorial statue sans head.
  • Monsanto succeeds in passing Section 735, aka the Monsanto Protection Act. For now. SO disappointed in Congress. #GMO 
  • The honeybee collapse could set off a global food crisis -- and the US gov't isn't doing anything to stop it
  • 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architecture History:
  • Thoughtful interview with Whole Foods’s Walter Robb on the company's big move on GMO labeling
  • Don't we know it. RT @grist: Farmers markets are growing, farmers' incomes are not Happy National Agriculture Day! 
  • GREAT article on why diamonds are b*llsh*t. And they don't even go into the deplorable labor part...! 
  • Virginia featured as one of 8 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions in the U.S. by @thedailymeal:
  • And finally, thanks to the childrenz:
    "What does Heavens To Betsy mean?!?"  
 ...sounds like homeschool. Except we get more recess.

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At 9/21/16, 7:54 AM , Blogger WilliamKing said...



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