Passive Solar Modern Prefab Home Off Grid Wells, Cisterns, Ball Lightning, Log Homes, and Tree Frogs!
|Off grid prefab house, still with broken window.|
[Contractor tip: Place a marble along your gutter. If it rolls... that spot's not level.]
and then we all promptly came down with achy runny massive head colds. And fevers. With no running water.
I had secured one camping cube of water from a friend...
...and halleluiah, awoke to rain!
Would it be enough? Was the gutter truly fixed?
I was feverish, dazed, waking oddly only noting changes in weather: the comforting drizzling, the tempests, the fog.
When I rose out of bed, I expectantly turned the kitchen faucet: nothing.
Feverish, Pipsqueak 1 and I opened the cistern: there was water.
|Opening the cistern...|
What is wrong? Is the float indicator caught in the cistern? Who knows, at that point I was too sick to continue on. So I, daily, in the rain, thunder, and lightning, with fever, would muck the horses' run in, make sure the chickens were fed, slosh back to the car, and head out for a refill of the camping cube of water via the Wonderful B's, which I rationed out carefully, to be refilled again the next day.
The only thing I thought was, "I will deal with this when I'm not sick."
What IS The Etiquette of Asking For Water?
There is nothing more dependent when you come to friends for life's essence, water... Thankfully, the B's sent us cheerily home not only with water, but even bags and bags of fresh salad. We quietly asked for water, they sent us home with food and drink.
"Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."
For movie night, we watched this.
For many reasons, it is time to hurry up on the Equine Well / Backup Cistern Plan at the off grid passive solar prefab home, asap.
After a few days of sickness, recovered but still not great, I headed off to the Amish neighbors, who pointed me down the road to Amish Mr. Y.
|An Amish neighbor's well with a pump|
powered by air pressure.
He. Was. Wonderful.
I'm looking forward to knowing him better when I'm not hacking and coughing and clutching tissue. (Note: When we did meet I told him I was sick and so not to shake my hand! I hate passing on cooties to anyone...he was so nice that if I didn't have cooties I would have hugged him.)
Off Grid Well For An Off Grid, Passive Solar Home
I explained to Mr. Y that because out house is off grid, already using rainwater collection / a cistern, and that our solar power for our prefab home is sized minimally, we don't want to tie in *anything* to our existing system, but prefer to have livestock power on its own, seperate system- solar, air, gas... we are exploring the options.
Here is the off grid pump he has:
|The red is where the water pipe goes.|
Mr. Y: "For you, I would recommend gas powered, not diesel, it would be less expensive. Also you would only be using it for a few horses, so you don't need something very heavy duty..."
Delirious, I headed on to my friends The B's for more water on the way home. Mr. B, before retiring, was our Fabulous Contractor who put together our off grid prefab home! He looked at the picture of Mr. Y's well pump.
"Huh. You know... I wonder if that pump also has an air pressure tank? It looks like it might? I also wonder if you could even get away with using an air pressure compressor that's portable, hooked to your portable generator- I have used my portable air pressure compressor plenty of times on your generator, fine!"
|Mr. B's portable air pressure compressor|
I am going back to Mr. Y this week to get more information, ask more questions, and down to Charlotte Court House to file for a well permit. If I'm well enough, I might even give Mister Y a hug.
It was hard, each errand I did. I would come home and just collapse, sleep, waking late in the evening, to run and feed the horses, throw out dinner, then collapse, again.
|The Pipsqueaks helped *so much* - I would not have|
been able to make it without them.
Here they are taking the muck bucket to Mont Poop.
But wait! Remember when we were watching the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner?
Check out Part 3, around 3:30:
I think the Mariner, Like I, Saw Ball Lightning.
"Ball lightning reportedly tends to rotate or spin and can possess odd trajectories such as veering off at an angle or rocking from side to side like a leaf falling. Ball lightning can also move with or against the wind. Other motions include a tendency to float (or hover) in the air and take on a ball-like appearance. Its shape has been described as spherical, ovoid, teardrop, or rod-like with one dimension being much larger than the others. Many are red to yellow in colour, sometimes transparent, and some contain radial filaments or sparks."YES: Spooky Story At The Off Grid Modern Prefab!
Out of the corner of my eye, in front of me, beyond in the lower field on the hill, in the dark I saw... this flash. But it stayed, and rolled outwards, waving, glowing, beautifully, unfolding slowly but still holding its oval shape, like rolling white clouds, illuminated against inky dark...
I was sick. I just wanted to watch a movie. I turned back to my laptop.
ZING! A white spinning shape, edged with red, appeared! And another!
So what did I do during this ethereal event?
|Due south, hill descending, valley, then far ridge on the left;|
Higher field, highest ridge north, this way ->
Yeah... I facebooked.
"Can't decide to watch the decidedly UFO-y lights of weird things zooming past and booming distant or to watch a movie. I'm too sick and tired, sorry, aliens, whoa...! What the heck, that was crazy! Anyone else in Charlotte County seeing this?!?"
No one was.
The weather here... well, the off grid prefab house is on the top of a hill, with a higher field behind it to the north, then there's the ridge at the road way south of us, with a low valley, between- we are on the highest point in Charlotte County. We see weather (yes it is beautiful) moving in below us, across the valley, up our hill, then, eerily, it passes around the prefab before starting to rise back to its proper elevation, launching off the ridge along the north field and back into the sky.
|Looking south. Far ridge waaaaaaay far beyond.|
Everyone chided me for not taking video, but PEOPLE: I WAS TRYING TO WATCH A MOVIE, NOT MAKE ONE. Thankfully, there are videos others have made of ball lightning on YouTube:
And so, via others, this is like what I saw:
Now that I know I wasn't just delirious, I wish I had sat back and enjoyed the show, more. It's interesting to see when you search on images of ball lightning that it shows similar pictures- the glowing white, edged with red, and spinning...
I now feel, as I run about, that I should now introduce myself as,
"Hi, I'm Copeland Casati and I SAW BALL LIGHTNING, FER REAL!!!!!!!"
[And to think I wanted to watch a movie, instead...]
Here's more what other people captured on film like what I saw:
Even with so many storms, there were moments of sun... and opportunities for solar cooking.
Leaving pasta out in plenty of water but too much time resulted in the pasta for my "Macaroni And Cheese" to instead degrade into overcooked mush. When the Pipsqueaks weren't looking I stirred it all up and added lots of cheese, a pinch of salt, and pepper. "Hey: Just think of it as Cheesy Mashed Potatoes!"
The Pipsqueaks loved it.
But it made me counsel myself, "Always beware when cooks serve something 'that's just like' or 'think of it as' ...because it t'ain't."
|"Um... MMMMMMM, kiddos! All stirred up,|
think of it as Cheesy Mashed Potatoes!"
It was, I did.
|Learn more about George Schaefer here:|
Even better, attend one of his horse clinics.
And for log home enthusiasts, check out the *beautiful* custom log home at the farm where the riding clinic was held!
I will go much more into detail on this log home and farm in the future, we were there for a horse clinic, not an architecture tour, but what you do need to know is they built it ALL themselves, even hewing the logs themselves from wood on their farm!!!!
|And yes they built their barn themselves, too.|
The home is breathtaking, solid, amazing... (But I also appreciate how my prefab SIP house kit structure was erected in a week, and delivered, *whew!*) I honestly don't know how they did it...
WHAT BEAUTIFUL CRAFTSMANSHIP.
FINALLY, the end of the week neared, and Handsome Husband Headed home.
This time the DC commute took SIX HOURS to traverse. Once home, we thought about the soon-to-be-acquired Richmond Work House, and how via train, the DC commute might even be relaxing, then a short pleasant drive, vs. the six hours he had just endured.
"Bet you won't miss that commute home...!"
Intermittent rain continued. I was completely ok with that! I knew the rain WAS going into the cistern! I could hear the dripping and gurgling as it swished down the downpipe into the WISY Rainwater Collection Filtration!
So Then Why Was The Off Grid Modern Prefab Home STILL Without Water?
Handsome Husband got busy, and our wonderful electrician consulted via telephone on a Saturday to troubleshoot the system. In the end, it was a $20 float switch that had failed and brought us misery for the week!
But after a week without water, leaning on friends, a $20 float part was replaced, and water now flows. Theoretically, a child could perform mechanical work clumsy heavy adults could not in such a situation. Note: If you have a similar cistern set up, skip the $20 float switch and get the Grande Dame Expensive Will Not Fail Float Switch.
You so do not want to do this, ever.
I'd say more but I'm off to the shower.
Handsome Husband, after it was all over and done with and we were going to live and not die:
"You know, I was really worried about you, mid-week..." Brightly: "But now you just look half dead!" Um, thanks?
I'm sure you saw this, this week, but this week Reading Club is Video Club because this made me laugh. We smiled, then laughed out loud at the back up vocal / dance break part. *THANK YOU* awesome married couple, whomever you are, wherever you live. You should have seen Handsome Husband, watching it, enthralled, mouthing the lyrics as the wife sang, while laughing, and laughing...
And then not so good news.
The average carbon dioxide reading surpassed 400 parts per million at the research facility atop the Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii for the 24 hours that ended at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
"The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.At the off grid passive prefab house, the rain's lushness has waked the woods. In the past 24 hours I have met three turtles [A tiny painted water turtle we named Silver Dollar, before he disappeared back into the brush, a box turtle was wading in a puddle (we named him "Puddle"), before he waded on, and a snapping turtle (we named him, "Keep moving...!") who hopefully, kept moving.].
“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading."
We also had the *nicest* chat with a tree frog who came to visit our modern prefab house!
Oh, wait: THE FIREFLIES ARE HERE! This rain has awakened everyone! Have a lissen.
P.s. Best crazy weather / science thing I saw last year aside from hurricanes and insane storms were floating amazing orbs, huge, the size of birds, dancing about 15-20 feet off the ground and higher... They have some durned huge fireflies 'round here! It was just about this time of year, too, and happened nightly for about two weeks so if that happens again this spring it should be easy to film. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.
P.p.s. Remember we thought we got 20 green ash and 20 apple trees last week from the 4-H tents? We planted the ash and they are all doing great. The apples we put into a bucket of water because we didn't have time to plant. They have all sprouted leaves, and guess what? It's not 20 apple trees...
Not bad. Even better than not bad, since they were free... We will think of our apple orchard years from now as The 4-H Orchard.
Oh why not: 3 Whack Weather Phenomenon (The last is ball lightning!)
Have a great week.
|Laziest. Dog. EVER.|
|That is just ridiculous, dog.|
|She's installing switch plates.|