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4/29/13

Passive Solar Modern Prefab Home Featured In Off Grid Group, And We Continue To Sow

Thanks to our dear friends and neighbors The Aults, of The Ault's Family Farm who notified us, we discovered our passive solar modern prefab home blog was on A Gathering Of Kindred Souls Looking To Live Off Grid!

I like the author's take on Off Grid:
"I guess my definition’s to living off the grid after much research is at this point a bit different than when I first started seeking about off grid topics, to “live off the grid” simply meant to have a home that was not connected to the electricity grid. In other words, to have a battery backed-up solar, hydro or wind power system. Then I learned about people who were getting electricity by charging batteries using a generator once a week. I thought that was hardcore, but then I heard from folks who didn’t even have a generator, and were cooking with wood, lighting with oil and doing, literally, everything by hand. And I heard others definition to living off the grid: Being a ghost to the government. Living under the radar. Staying on the move. Being as free as free can get in today’s society. Dropping out of society. No taxes. No Job. Minding your own business and expecting the rest of the world to do the same. I came to the conclusion that for each off us it could and it will be different , here is a site to share your dreams, ideas, a place to Dream of such a life someday . I hope this page will help others looking for intentional communities, living off the grid communities to meet others, share ideas and hopefully hook up with kindred spirits who they can start such communities, or discuss ideas, learn from those fortunate to be off the grid, I hope this site is endless in what could come of it ."

OUR off grid life is filled with love and laughter. It is friendly, hard working, inclusive, knowlege-sharing, as are our friends, and community.


It always surprises me that people actually read this rambling, always off topic, off grid prefab home blog vs. our much more logical (and more well known) sites of Green Modern Kits, Green Cabin Kits, and Green Cottage Kits, so if you are here, *thank you,* I am grateful you are interested in my own, private, not exactly representative of the line of prefab homes but of my own family's off grid prefab modern home while we're working and homeschooling and appreciating life's journey.

Ours is ONE family's off grid journey, in our own way:
Longtime readers: Check it out! We're getting grass
after excavating in winter! So thrilled & relieved!

To catch new people up, it's very hard to quickly describe our years journey from saving up for land, buying land, then, about a year ago, we suddenly decided that our "5 to 10 Year Fiscally Frugal Pay As You Go Plan" to move to our Still Under Construction off grid super insulated
modern prefab house kit made of structural insulated panels (SIP) from Green Modern Kits was, very suddenly, with a change of jobs for Handsome Husband, happily The Now Plan.

It's still not The Perfect Plan. 

Handsome Husband took a dream job in DC, and I, with the childrenz and dogs and chickens and eventually, horses, worked and schooled and awaited his return, weekly, to the farm. 


This is The Reality Post
In rural communities across the United States, jobs are mostly gone. You have to sacrifice much to be there. Many rural families are separated a few days or commute hours daily to earn a living. We are fortunate we both love our work, that I can work anywhere and Handsome Husband has flexibility with telecommuting often, while loving his dream job.  

Here's the thing: He is not just schlepping through a "job." He *loves* his profession, colleagues, and clients. So, Handsome Husband, go for it, because yes, your career and colleagues rock. And we all, as a family, work together, loving life together, in our own way. Together, we make family decisions.

We are very busy, all of us, during the workweek. I run businesses, I school children, chores are every day, all day, and Handsome Husband works hard in DC until night. We put our heads down and learn and work and school and laugh, and suddenly, it is near the end of the week, and we are together, again.

Also with technology, days are not so distant. We skype via video several times, and then suddenly, it is the end of the week and we are talking in the same room, as if Monday - Thursday hadn't passed.

This week at the modern prefab, we continued to plant. We knew rain was coming. After planting? Great! But while planting? Not great. So, we worked hard, quickly, while we could, to continue to plant before the rain.


This is Berry Hill- blackberries and blueberries...
and fruit trees here as well!

After starting with no-till on clay last year,
we realized to initially till with amendments will allow
us to eventually go no till successfully.
You *have* to start with good soil.

Gas powered tools are not so great. But it's what works, in compacted clay soil, when your grass is suddenly so high, so much, so little time to get the real planting done before days of rain arrive. All hands on deck! It is the season of sowing.

And rain.
Now our off grid life is going to be interesting this week, as it's supposed to rain and be partly cloudy the next TEN days.  But I have learned that partly cloudy *also* means partly sunny, and am confident the solar battery bank will recover daily enough to not over deplete by the end of the week.  We. Shall. See...

We are nearing the end of The Very Interesting Year of the DC / Higher Ground Farm. Last week I went into detail about our decision to buy a house in Richmond so Handsome Husband could be closer to his dream job *and* our farm, paying a mortgage instead of DC rent, as he loves his job, hence this situation may last years..

Just because we are making a good financial investment, buying a Richmond house instead of paying 30k+ in DC rent a year during the workweek so Handsome Husband can have his DC Dream Job, my Pamplin-City-Population-199 Friends think we're moving back to Richmond.

Oh, friends. How could we ever go back to living in (much less on) a grid, where dogs & childrenz don't run free, where chickens are suspect, where horses... [well, actually, horses ARE allowed in Richmond (isn't zoning interesting?)] but I just can't see putting two horses, 32 chickens, a feral cat, two dogs, and two childrenz in this back yard no matter how nice the neighbors:
Yeeeeah, the dogs and children and chickens
all might get on each other's nerves in this space...

How could we ever go back to that, when THIS is our life?
Ah, so that's where my borage blooms went...
School, barefoot, with flower garlands.
I can think of nowhere else I'd rather be than at the modern prefab home, watching the pink moon, while whipporwills call in the woods, the fields awash in silver moonlight...

I might have even roused the children from bed, to see that moon, to listen to the night sounds...


(By the way that great vid was courtesy of *RVA* friend Amy R.)

City People: It's too late: Like pigs turned loose, we're now permanently feral.

So. If you're looking for me... I'll be at the off grid modern prefab home, brewin' up some sweet tea. Stop by, for a visit.


But this Richmond thing?
It's Richmond on our own terms: It's Richmond as in, "It's not DC Rent, and plus we have tons o' friends here, so it's convenient, plus we can randomly come in and see Handsome Husband 24 hours during the work week." Love, laugh, leave. 

If we were going to leave Pamplin it would have been during the week of icy sleet and snow when I was all by myself with no generator, with the flu and flu-ridden children, with no cell service (thanks old cell phone plan...) over this winter!!!  REMEMBER THAT WEEK?
[And yes, I can look back at that week now and laugh...]

The Richmond house is in Northside, where, if we are somewhere in a city, is perfect for us to be: The homes are diverse, ramshackle, colorful, and everyone there is a gardener. Rainbarrels abound. There are yards with vegetables in the front, and peonys in the back.


Northsiders sit on their front porches, with neighbors, and drink wine. With lots of quick platters of hors d'oevres at the ready to throw out for guests, always. People, walking by, stop. Talk. Laugh. Northsiders are great people. Northsiders cook well, and laugh long.  And that's why we chose to invest in Northside, versus any other Richmond environ.
 
Could this be Handsome Husband's DC train?

PLUS, if Handsome Husband is really, really lucky, THIS might happen to him, en transit!

Quiet Car on stalled Amtrak train transforms into rowdy impromptu wine tasting:
As Grist says, "Score one for mass transit."
Myself, I just picture Handsome Husband going, "Yessssss, that's my DC train!!!!"


"Score one for mass transit: When your car breaks down, you’re stuck on the side of the road, all by your lonesome. When your train breaks down, if you’re lucky, you’re stuck in a train car with a French winemaker who happens to have all the makings of a wine tasting at hand."

Northside is a good place to be. So, when there, I'll be sitting on the front porch offering wine and homemade cheese to passerby- but inside? Will be just three beds, a table, chairs... i.e. the DC apartment, in a happily empty, easy house while manure and chicken shit pile up at Higher Ground, and we, while enjoying it thoroughly for 24 hours, need to get back home to our horses and chickens and happily feral now-country cat and friends.

I guess what I am trying to tell you is that: We are all trying to get to there, to everyone's own Higher Ground, in our own way. Our native rural friends travel for hours daily between ferrying family members to jobs 20 minutes-1 1/2 hours away, every day. My Handsome Husband currently commutes, with lots of flexibility, once a week, and soon I'll come in with the children to see him before Fridays. We all do what we do because, for us, it's worth it.

Thank you for listening on our journey.

Reading Club:
  • How the decline of the traditional workplace is changing our cities
    This reflects OUR lifestyle: Think about it: If access to internet via living rurally in the prefab home AND hurtling comfortably on a train to DC *WHILE* working was not possible, neither would be our lifestyle.
    "People who once drove to work may now find that they want more productive commutes; now it makes more sense to ride a commuter rail car that enables the work day to start an hour earlier. Whole private networks of transportation have arisen around this idea in San Francisco. Coach buses there now collect workers to take them to Silicon Valley offices, but they're outfitted like mobile offices in the expectation that employees will start working en route.
    Some cities like New York have even begun to change how they think about intersections and roadways in a world where pedestrians are more likely to be looking down at smartphones than up at the environment around them."
  • Campaigners call on UK government expand minimum housing standards for space and natural light: http://bit.ly/12bQQ3Z 
  • In A Blow to Freedom, Virginia Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case of Homeowner Barred from Keeping Chickens bit.ly/13zRPel >What I consider a Basic Food Right
Homeschool: Some things the children loved this week:
"Momma? What does ratified mean?"
"Um, to sign or give consent."
"What does consent mean?"
"To give permission- as in, 'I give consent for my child to attend boarding school far, far away..."
"MOM-MA!"

A lot of times when I talk about my children you might think I'm trying to show you how cute and smart they are. No, I am trying to show you how exhausting they are, although I love them so much. But... each time you think I'm showing the 10 year old's "smarts," picture how worn out you would be.
"Momma? I was just thinking..." Nooooooooo!

My 10 yr old thinks Victor Carranza is "...cool but crazy. I like how he defended what he came across by luck. I think he needed a few tweaks, but helloooooo he has a nice ranch with horses and... he ran into good fortune and was determined to defend it. Well, he did have an illegal private army, but other than that? Is that bad? You're not about to let your new-found riches go, are you?"

I'm like, WHO is Victor Carranza and why are you always reading my Economist.

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