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6/3/13

Passive Solar Prefab Home : Back Home At The Modern Off Grid House

It is so good to be back at the off grid prefab home!

But people still keep thinking we're moving to Richmond... we're not.
This is also confusing to explain to people without sounding... weird.

Why in the world would anyone with an off grid passive solar prefab home in a fantastic community, a beautiful area of Virginia minutes away from historic Appomattox, the cutest college town of Farmville, and where Patrick Henry's famous debate with John Randolph over state's rights took place: Charlotte Courthouse... Who would give... that... up?
Oh no, we're not goin' anywhere.
We've come too far to give up who we are. 
[Cue Daft Punk, with Soul Train:]


[But wait, people grooving to the Daft Punk video: It gets better. Daft Punk, with chickens.]

Ok. Enough dancing. Back to the recap, just to be *clear*: 
We are not leaving the passive solar off grid prefab house / farm. We turned DC rent into RVA mortgage. We will come in and hang with Handsome Husband once a week whenever something interesting is going on in Richmond so he doesn't get lonely: dinner, something fun, breakfast, back to the prefab before the horses and chickens even know we're gone.

In the Richmond Work House, Handsome Husband has family & friends one block away, so when we're not there he can go over and have a beer on the porch with a buddy! He loves his DC job, so will be with them for years, so picture, three years into it, if we had stayed with the DC apartment: "OH my GAWSH we just spent **100K+** in RENT?!? We coulda bought a HOUSE for that!" Yeah, a mortgage is much nicer... we can at least hope to recoup the investment at the end vs. blow it away.

RVA is... great as a tourist, that's how I'm approaching it. And halfway between the farm and Deltaville. I just might name the house "Midway." 

Someone asked if we would make the Richmond house off grid. 
Richmond does not yet valuate off grid / solar / energy efficient systems as they should be valued, so no off grid retrofits, for now. It doesn't make sense to sink such money into something we won't pass on...

Heading To The City
I caught the Pipsqueaks one morning, weirdly intent with big bowls of cereal in front of them.
"WHAT are you doing?!?" They chimed, "We're practicing- we are trying to blend in as City Kids!!!!"
"Wha....?" I groggily, not-yet-caffenated-i-ly exhaled, until, a winter's-worth of languid egg, pancake, toast, crepes and all sorts of breakfasts swam into recollection.
Beloved cook stove = lots and lots of pleasant, languid meal times...


Ah.
Cereal: the hurried breakfast.  At the off grid prefab home, breakfast is bleary chatter, until, lucid, it is time to start school, not rush out the door.

With a friend visiting from Germany, we headed to the city, closed on The Richmond Work House, and became tourists in Richmond.
When in Richmond, no longer will we chafe, for we are tourists, like when we "lived" in DC last year.

We met dear friends for an outdoor concert on Brown's Island- the kids ran about, giggling and chattering while we adults lounged on blankets with cold beer and great music.
Image from a gal who tried to find 365 things to do in RVA.

We went to a party at Westover Plantation, to benefit the James River Association.
Hauling herself up via a rope into the bamboo forest...



And we slowly moved a few things into the Northside house.
Northside rocks.
I walked a block down for coffee at the cute coffee shop.

I had lunch at a friend's restaurant, one block away.
Halfway through my meal, she texted: "Are you at the Bay this weekend?"
I clicked clicked clicked back: "No. THIS is where I am." And sent her a picture of their restaurant.
"Guess where *I* am? Hahahahahaha!"
She tiredly sighs: "You're so weird."
"Look! Here's a picture of your food!"
She: "So are you coming to the bay or not, you weirdo."

In Northside, it is common to see rainbarrels, and food gardens. In the front yard...
These were just from my street. What a cool street to be on!
Front yard veggies...
 

Front yard art, with rain barrel.

More front yard veggies.
Who ARE these people? Oh yeah, it's Northside,
which is why we invested here.

Pipsqueak 2, as usual, had a great time helping to put things together.
Watch out, world: Little Girl with a drill!
Future contractor? Future architect?
Regardless, she'll need to be The Boss O' Math.

I, to Pipsqueak 2:
"You really need to be The Boss O' Math, because you will need it- I think you might make a great contractor one day!" Her eyes widened in indignation: "But I want to be AN EVENTER!"
"Well, chile, you'll need a day job if you want to do that. Actually, several."
"She wants us to WHAT?"

And then we went home.
First raspberries at Higher Ground!
Up next: blackberries and blueberries!

Still haven't fixed the energy-efficient broken window in the off grid prefab home.
We'll get to it.
Uh, soon.

And once home at the prefab house, instead of hugging horses and riding and playdates as we planned, it rained.

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
- Dolly Parton

Hey. My cistern is filling, the fields are quenched, I never complain 'bout rain!


Reading Club:
Homeschool: 
  • Our first year of homeschooling went well. The 4th grader is halfway through 5th grade; I will be focusing on challenging him more over the summer, and to more deeply study the subjects. The 3rd grader is KILLING her SOL tests!!!! She got a 549 in science, 599 in reading, and 600 in history!!!! We're still finishing some final math skills before she'll take the math SOL, her weakest subject. But she is the child who struggled in school, even went to summer school for reading & math, so to see her do so well, a year later, is heartening. YAY, PIPSQUEAK 2!!!!!
  • Summer school teaching topics: More Latin, html, scratch programming. Lots of creative thinking / more of a creative fly-by-your-interests curriculum.
  • Calling out the testing bullies blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding… #Education >What do you think? I use SOL/nat'l testing as measurement, homeschooling. 
  • Very interesting read, no matter how you lean: Noam Chomsky on Democracy and Education in the 21st Century and Beyond
    It was interesting on many educational angles, especially in regards to control.
My children are now in love with Dolly Parton after hearing Steady As The Rain.
So since it's still raining, I'll leave y'all with a bunch o' Dolly Parton videos.

Maybe, like Daft Punk, somewhere, out there, chickens are singing Dolly, on a chicken ranch.

While y'all lissen to Dolly, I'm  off to listen to tree frogs trilling and the whippoorwill calling, to all the woods singing praise after a heavy, glorious rain. 
'Night.

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