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4/22/13

This Week At The Off Grid Prefab House: Soil, Street Design, Clear Cutting To Urban Sprawl, And A Very Big Update.

Sweet tea and solar panels brewin' at the passive solar prefab home.

At the off grid prefab home, the annual lowering of the solar panel to best catch passive solar rays, utilizing the angle of the panel to embrace the higher spring / summer sun, commenced.


Along with the annual climbing onto the roof of the children. I couldn't bear to watch. With one hand over my eyes and cringing, I somehow snapped a few pictures.
"Look, Momma! We're on the roof! AWESOME!!!!"
#whimper
 
 

This week at the passive solar prefab home, one thing I want to talk about is soil.

If you read this blog, you know that the area around the off grid passive solar prefab home's home site had been excavated (initial leveling), graded, excavated again (septic, in November when I could not then grow grass), and graded at whim, repeatedly.

It is my cross.

I would like to note how DIFFICULT it is to grow grass, at all, which I have been diligently attempting to do at every opportunity. I see up close the poor soil around the home site, the garden struggling... the clay. And value so much, topsoil. And amendments.

So when a neighbor (no one we socialize with) clear cuts 500 *acres*?
On the top of a ridge?
I just shake my head at the ecosystems lost, how they don't realize they just lost their families'... everything. The soil gets more and more poor, as do they, as the act is repeated in generations. The cycle of destruction might produce a bit of initial flush money, but nothing - or at least, less and less, to pass on. They literally just pissed washed it all away.
Now 500 acres of... nothing. And just you wait until the rain.


I think about the prefab, with bare earth excavated around the house site, doused with seed, doin' nothing...

Then:
Driving by hundreds of acres of clear cut devastation, Pipsqueak 2 exclaimed:
"LOOK! In the middle of all the clear cut! A RED BUD BLOOMS. Y'know what I call that?"
"What, Pipsqueak 2?"
"HOPE."

I have hope.
And look!
Could that be... grass?!?
It is.

With spring in the air, I thought it might be a good time to get the 25 chicks out of the prefab house's living room. This is what herding 25 chickens from the prefab's living room to the hoop house looks like. Use brooms to herd. And get them out fast. And really, people? Don't try this at home.


(Thanks G. for the video...)
No! Don't go that way,
the hoop house is the other way!
"Let's play 'We Are Sheep Dogs!' "
"Ok!"
Someone asked me what a hoop house was, so I thought I'd share:
Here's a similar hoop house you can make for about $50- we use ours for baby chicks when it is warm enough to put them out (like today and hopefully they can STAY OUT in a day or two!) and it also is used as a green house.

Doing errands, I was invited in to an Amish home this week.

This is the prettiest comforter-
pictures do not do it justice- all tints of pinks and reds..
traditional yet SO MODERN...


The ice was quickly broken. 
"You have a Baker's Choice! Oh that is what *I* wanted until we found our Mealmaster!"
"It's not a Bakers Choice, close, but here's how it works..."
Hers has *dials*. And is so shiny.

I appreciate so much all the different people in my life, here, all over the world. Old traditions and cutting-edge new somehow make complete sense to us... and those beloved by us.

The Very Interesting Update:
Country kid contemplating.
"I think my horse could climb it..."

Now This Next Part Is Going To Be Confusing For New People, So Just Stay With Me:  Synopsis: Last Year we sold our Richmond house to 1. move to the land, here at the off grid prefab home 2. while Handsome Husband took a Dream Job in DC.

We are now nearing the end of a year in this arrangement.
Handsome Husband drives 4 1/2 hours to the off grid prefab home at the end of each week, and back on Monday morning, dodging semis and irate Interstate 95 drivers... while here we happily live, and have only come to visit, rarely.

When in DC, as much as we appreciate it and love all the museums and restaurants, regarding *living there* we just keep saying, "Wow, DC is like a big Richmond!"
[i.e. It's *Very Nice,* but it t'ain't no NY or Paris! It really is just like a big Richmond. Except walkable.]
 
The DC apartment.

SO...If we keep saying it's Just A Big RVA, then why not RVA. It's convenient. Telecommuting via train while hurtling home, sleeping on the ride up to DC...? Is not difficult. RVA is right between Pamplin & Deltaville, exactly an easy, 1 1/2 hours drive, vs. 4 1/2 hours on 95 ...

Why not pay a RVA mortgage, instead of DC rent, so that we don't throw away that money, annually? If the (dream) job changes, we could sell the house and all be on the land in a week!

One thing we *do* know, is: 
We will never own an urban place (to lay our heads during the work week) in an area that is NOT walkable, bikable, livable again.  

Planting and investing in the future at
the off grid prefab home.

And the off grid prefab home? While we flit with urban, our off grid prefab home is truly, exuberantly, securely, passionately our family HOME.

But let's get all urban fer a second:

Reading Club: 
Shoot. I'm all doom and gloom this week.
  • This is disgusting and wrong on so many levels. bit.ly/YPxmDg #EminentDomain for VACATION HOMES?
    #PropertyRights #Sustainable #Farm
  • Small scale farmers fight back for food & community self-governance. bit.ly/YFOVFW
    "Blue Hill is one of a handful of small Maine towns that have been taking bold steps to protect their local food system. In 2011, they passed an ordinance exempting their local farmers and food producers from federal and state licensure requirements when these farmers sell directly to customers."
  • Study reveals GMO corn to be highly toxic
    A leaked study examining genetically-modified corn reveals that the lab-made alternative to organic crops contains a startling level of toxic chemicals.

    And then we will all have to pay for People Who Don't Question GMO's decisions as GMO children hit the educational system, work force, etc. That is why one major health insurance company is asking its members to eat organic (and when will they refuse to insure GMO families I wonder?) http://www.willamettelive.com/2012/news/corporate-giant-comes-out-against-gmos/

    In the end, the government and people won't do the right thing, but businesses will, because GMO / GMO health effects will effect their bottom line. Not compassion, not education, but business will make the fastest backlash. (Related: as consumers educate themselves, their purchasing decisions affect companies offering non-GMO products than their just "doing the right thing"... vs. businesses who are emphatically natural / organic to begin with.)

    P.s. Don't you recall that just a few years ago BPA baby bottles were totally ok? And then the data started coming out and the lawsuits against the businesses? While only now it's starting to get prohibited by the government? Yeah. Like that.
  • Is organic better? Ask a fruit fly! http://nyti.ms/Z0ih1R
  • 15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes That Will Kill Your Children
    'Nuff said. Love the deadly architecture pics...
  • Nestlé CEO Says Water Is Food That Should Be Privatized – Not A Human Right
    It already kills me states that tax or ban rainwater collection on your own property...!
Oh wait, this is interesting and cool and happy!
A coolio chicken reproductive poster, i.e. how to explain how hens don't need roosters for eggs:

If you are a teacher you might want to order it

And this? Is brilliant:

Bugs Bunny Mid Century Modern Cartoons

And this! THIS makes me excited!
Why your 8 & 10 year olds should code.
"At the high school level, Carson and Treehouse are trying to fix the engineering shortage of the here-and-now, starting with 16- or 17-year-old at-risk young people.
"A lot of these children don’t know these jobs exist. Their parents and their schools don’t know about them, either,” said Carson in a recent interview with VentureBeat.
“So when we tell them, ‘You could get a job at a company like Facebook, you could be earning $100,000 plus, they pay for your insurance, they feed you, and you can work from home and wear casual clothes.’ They’re like, ‘What are you talking about?’ "

And then there's this.
Why buying local is worth every cent.

I end with this:
KEEP ON RUNNING.


Homeschool
From Truth Theory.


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