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Prefab House's Not Exactly Perfect Week, Nor At The Bay

It's blueberry season at the off grid prefab home!
I have been waiting all spring for these to ripen...

Returned from the bay to the off grid prefab house, all ready to ride, with a big list of chores, I discovered... our cistern had run dry. Our bent gutter had prevented the off grid cistern from filling during rainfall. Then fixed, it just had not rained enough to outpace our water usage to refill.


I was glad the childrenz were on a trip with Grandma and Granddad. And that most of the chickens were off with Handsome Husband. Hauling cubes of water to quench all that thirst would have been hard.

No, it was just I, with the Shop Dawgs and bantams in an off grid prefab house with no water...
No... water.
I grabbed a camping cube, thankfully filled it at The W's, and took note of how much water I went through in a day.

When you are busy weeding, washing vegetables, watering livestock... it is more than you think.  Off grid, we are always water-wise. But think: washing veggies like beets and greens...? That takes quite a bit of water.

Livestock = water. Which is why we're digging that livestock well in a few weeks. And your thirst- working outdoors, you need more water!

[Off grid, water-wise tip for beets, root veggies: To avoid wasting water, brush off dirt as you can, solar cook your root veggies, then slip the skins off, THEN wash what's left. Water. Wise. Similarly, gently shake out yer greens, brush off your cukes/zucchinis/squash before washing as you can, even then do so using a shallow tub of water, reused for each vegetable to cull dirt off.]

Working outdoors, it was hot. I went to refill an ice tray. Which is how I discovered the first four inches of my off grid huge freezer was completely thawed. I AM SO GLAD I WENT FOR ICE!!!!!!! It could otherwise have been weeks before I opened the freezer to pull out meat!!!! Imagine the lives wasted.  Imagine the smell!!!! So now, I was without water with an off grid freezer, with all our spring vegetables and carefully raised meat, not working.

I had just lectured a friend about how I wish she'd lean on her friends more, and not always do things on her own but to ask friends to help, and how I should be helping her more... Here I was in a pickle. Instead of my helping her, she and her electrician husband came and saved me. 
It was the DC breaker, not the freezer, that needed fixin'. The meat was saved.

I am very, very, very extremely grateful for our friends here in Pamplin. 
Pamplin Cit-tay? Best People In The WORLD.

Rain clouds gatherin'...

Wednesday I watched dark clouds approach then listened to a nice big, booming thunderstorm roll in. Bring on the rain- the horses are up & safe, and my cistern is dry!
On the roof, I heard rain.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That'z right sweetheart, you go ahead and fill mah cistern. Blessed, blessed rain.

It rained for ten minutes. Dag. Come back, little rainstorm, come baaaaaaaack!

Oh yay, it did! C'mon, rainstorm, you just rest and stay awhile over our off grid prefab roof, honeychile, ok? Oh, the blissful, restful sounds of rain on the roof, trickling through the downspout, into our WISY filtration, and on into the cistern.

A cool breeze blew, refreshing the prefab house. It was a beautiful rain. I sat at the table, windows under the overhang flung open, tap tap tapping at work with a cool, cool breeze blowing over me.

So. It was a tough week at the off grid prefab house, but filled with cherished moments- great friends, first blueberries, happy horses...
Modern prefab house, Modern design bathtub?
No, I have a reused antique claw foot tub, yes. But IF I were to consider something new?
Maybe... A tub hammock?
Ahhhhhhhhh. It would be nice if one end were detachable, you could drape it over a modern sleek towel rack- to store to the side if you wanted to take a shower, perhaps. Handsome Husband: "That... that is just ridiculous." Not the most practical, perhaps, BUT if there were a solar tank-less water heater and if it minimized water usage, 'chile...

I returned to Deltaville, discovering Pipsqueak 1 and Cousin busy swabbing the deck of Miss Kate, about to embark on their first overnight sail.
Get to work, minions...

Keep workin'...

Thaz right, keep scrubbin'!
[P.s.: Grandma sails in curlers. "If you post that picture I will consider your inheritance!" I never took a picture. Not for the aforementioned threat (um, I earn my own keep, thank yew) but because Grandma never stepped to the helm in curlers. Dag. That would have been a great shot.]

Finally, they launched. I happily waved them away, and off. Then got busy with a shower.
"Goooooooooood bye, Momma! Will you missssss meeeeeee?"
"No! Just come back, at some point, wherever the heck you go!"
Off Grid On A Sailboat!
Pipsqueak 1 faced 30+ knot winds, an intense, severe thunderstorm, but came back smiling with tales of a double rainbow.  If you look closely, you can see it, too:

Storms continued to move up the coast... I hoped that while in Deltaville, rain would make way for the off grid modern prefab home, and into our cistern! Bring on the rain!!!!  
These were good days to sit on the front porch of the In-Town Ramshackle reading, watching movies, cooking, and putting together 1,000 piece puzzles... just let that cistern fill.

Handsome Husband and I ended the week wiping off mold in closets and furniture of the 150+ year old In-Town Ramshackle. 
Like many of you inquiring about our prefab house kits, I too am deathly allergic to mold and dust mites.  

After a winter being shut up, this old farm house needed not only to be cleaned from top to bottom, but adjusted to better weather next winter with occupants.... and lots of summer guests as we go to, and fro, and to, and fro, tacking and jibing from the farm to the bay, ever across Virginia!
Cleaning is progressing... ok.

Summer = summer movies
In celebration, we held a dinner at The In-Town Ramshackle with the H's.
Here is one dish I made:
Melanie's, Now Ruined By Copeland, Summer Pasta
Cook a rotini pasta al dente. (Any pasta that "grabs things") Toss in: feta, sharper cheeses like goat or cheddar + olive oil + salt/pepper + cranberries + crushed almonds (I used almonds with wasabi, it was delicious!) + lots and lots of fresh basil and spinach leaves folded in + lemon juice. Make sure that pasta has a tang of lemon! And olive oil! Salt & pepper! feta! Think more tangy with bits of sweet cranberry to soften it. A great hearty, yet refreshing, summer pasta.

Surprise In The Compost Pile
After gorging on the box of artichokes I scored at the produce auction two weeks ago, I discarded the last few as unfit, tossing them into the compost pile as we left for the land. Imagine my wonder when I returned and found them blooming, beautifully. We shall see if they reseed. Enjoy the bright unexpected architecture of seeds, before the 100lb Puppy ran off with them:

In Praise Of Urban Hens
Many of you know of our long-ago tale of our angst having urban backyard hens in an unsustainable neighborhood, the founding of the urban group CHICKUNZ, the legalization within the city we abandoned over it, recently putting a toe-hold back into, on our own terms.  I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this video, warning of the grave dangers of back yard hens:

The Slippery Slope Of Back Yard Hens
Ping Pong, subversive chick. Danger, Will Robinson, DANGER!

Except for the ones with chickens."
"...And the next thing you know, you've quit your job and sold your house for a plot of land in the Midwest where you can set up a certified eco-farm and live off the grid."

Serious note: Ironically those of us who live rurally know that living on a plot o' land means you have many, many jobs that make up the total of your take. If you do want to live country, multiple sources of revenue are key.  Here M. demonstrates, as a rare female farrier who also holds down a job at the local feed store while continuing on with her equine certification. It is hard work.

Reading Club:
Next week? My poor, poor ex-NYC roommate Miz P., she of fashion industry fame, inhabitant of NYC concrete jungle, returns again for punishment, being around me, poor dear. Y'all remember her adventures... And still, she puts up with me. We are thrilled to have her visit. I'll be sure to make her cell battery runs out quickly so she can't call for help... again.

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