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8/5/13

Mid-summer, Preparing The Off Grid Prefab House For Winter. With A Rooster And Ghosts.

Our off grid prefab house...
...and the In-Town Ramshackle: A 150 yr. old farm house in the "city."

I've been frenetically dashing to and fro, from the off grid modern prefab home to the 150 year old In-Town Ramshackle, and even when I'm to, or fro, it has been filled with too much activity. Today is finally the first day where time seems slowed, languid.
Wind's so low those honeychiles
rocked their boats to round a mark, lol...


Typing in Summer Office #1, I look up and watch butterflies chase across the grass, and listen to the ebbing and building crescendo of katydids. The dogs are sprawled. There's nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one we have to meet.


Awakening to the purr of a deadrise heading out into the bay...

FINALLY, it feels like summer.
Let summer begin.





From my summer office, I looked up: Over flies a flock of geese, honking in formation.
NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Stay back, fall. 

I. Am. Not. Ready.
And all cues, starting with the geese, and the fast ripening grapes, warn me: this winter... this winter, be ready.

Last week I mused on air conditioning in an off grid prefab house, with structural insulated panels... This week, I reluctantly contemplate the too-fast approaching winter.

What do we do to ready for winter in an off grid prefab home?
We pick.
Blackberries, elderberries, peaches, blueberries, vegetables, anything ripe in our path... grab it.


Our old vine...
As we pick, the childrenz chant,
"Jam, jam, jam!"
...and we intone,
"Four dollahs a jar! Four dollahs a jar!"
Because, as much as we love the Amish stand, jam there
is $4 and heck, we go through a LOT of jam!
Our fave Deltaville farm stand, Merryvale.
Cutshaws!!!!
We can.

In a small footprint prefab house, there is not a lot of room for what people in the United States think as desirable: huge, bulky, humongous refrigerators...
Sheesh.
No, we shop freshly, frequently, instead, and just have a compact Chest-Freezer-Turned-Into-An-Off-Grid-Fridge...  Canning jars can be stored in all sorts of nooks and crannies throughout the prefab house, without refrigeration.

Canning and other jars stored everywhere...
on the left, an example.

A well stocked pantry allows us to leisurely enjoy the unexpected storm, with cars mired for days in the field, with nowhere you have to go, no concerns because, honeychiles, you have enough food for weeks!
Makin' food happen. This time, orchard babies to replant in fall.

We Stock Up On Wood
In colder days... always prepare.
We have not kicked in the radiant heat in the floors in past winters. I am looking forward to seeing how the radiant heat system will affect our indoor temperatures in the off grid SIP house. HOWEVER, as we are on a purposely undersized solar system, *and* winter weeks tend to be gray, hence not recharging as easily the battery bank... I will be curious to see how our solar energy consumption fares when the radiant heat system kicks in.

Regardless, I know that while not an ideal choice, using felled wood to heat our off grid home via the wood cook stove works amazingly well- we are TOASTY in the prefab in winter!
 
 
 
So, While Preparing For Old Man Winter, You Can See Why We Embrace Summer.
Because if we don't, it will be a loooooooooooong, long winter.
My Aunt, ready fer yer pitch.
 

Winter is for learning, doing, surviving, pleasantly but intently. Summer is when we recharge.
 
 
 

This week, old friends came to visit from Bogotá.
Good friends walk into, out, then back into life without transition.
What was super special about their visit was that our children, who once toddled nekkid together on hot summer afternoons, were now all so older, with no recollection of their young camaraderie.

Within minutes the four ran off, their pack reformed, friendships renewed and deepened.
Stuck in a downpour, we're all still smiling...
They liked the organ too...
 

We Had A Rooster Issue : (
How do you tell your really good friends you can't make their going away party before they move to Europe because your rooster got beaned in the head (long but short story) and IS going to live, but now you can't travel. Because his comb might come off. Or his head. This is just ridiculous, but, awful, and, well, we love Huffy The Bantam Rooster.

"Oh hai, dear friends departing for Europe that we love so much, SO SORRY we can't come to your going away party, OUR ROOSTER's HEAD is HALF DECAPITATED but I think he will live if we all just sit real still a few days."
Looking bedraggled, beak agape,
not able to close (is it broken?!?),
comb split and gash on jaw...
My heart sank...


Huffy The Rooster crowed this morning but I couldn't tell if he could actually eat. He "pecked" at the softened food but I am not sure any of it went down, couldn't close his beak all the way. : ( It didn't help that he hid under a huge, dark, mosquito and spider infested rhododendron (I thought he went there to die), so my observation times under that massive shrub were not long!

It made me sick we were not able to hug dear friends departing. I am heartened that they have a week before they leave, have to eat at some point, so when I *can* blow through town I can kidnap them for Mexican and margaritas as they finish packing.

Two days later, I knew it would be The Day. 
Either he was on the mend, or not able to get sustenance, and on the way out.
I placed a bowl of softened feed in front of him, again, and, again, he "air pecked" at and above the food without touching it.

I observed, resigned, grim.
I left to gather the children, and returned purposely to say goodbye.
And that's when I found him...
EATING!!!!!!!

HEEEEEEEE'S EATING!!!!
HUFFY THE ROOSTER LIVES!

I never thought I would become so attached to a ROOSTER, lol, but there you go! Because there's nothing cuter than a tiny bantam rooster bossing all the homestead!
"Huffy is da boss!"

Now I don't condone roosters in the city. REMEMBER we live in an off grid prefab home in farming country, mostly. And even our "city house," the In-Town Ramshackle, resides in a "city" population 500, where corn grows in the center o' town.

Here's the second I knew Huffy was going to be ok...

While Huffy recovers, I'm stuck in the "city" house, aka The In-Town Ramshackle, and not complaining.
City neighbors, 50 feet from Main Street.
Breakfast. Seriously, do it.
She's adding linseed oil to the front porch wood walls...
standing on her great-great (great?) aunt's couch, lol.
 How can you not love a town where corn grows right up to Main Street...?!?
 

...Where random old friends pop in, out, by, over for dinner?
 
We're stuck awhile, while the rooster knits. But it's all ok.
 
 
Here, too, is home.
It's Great Grandma's House, even though she never lived here.
#Stewardship #Tradition
You really do feel the love in this house.
Talk about a farm house kitchen!
"Great Grandma" a.k.a. Miz Ray, would never let you go hungry!
Great Grandma's House
Maybe it's time to talk about the ghosts. 
Now I don't believe in ghosts. But. Like Mister George who walked the halls of my old family farm Rotherwood, there are just little things here that... where you can feel love. Just little things like, this week, when at The H's, Mrs. H. really randomly asked, "Do you know how to make hummingbird syrup? I've run out and have NO IDEA!" and how we both, immediately responded, "FOUR PARTS WATER ONE PART SUGAR!" Because, on the inside cabinet door, Miz Ray had made sure we saw this that day:

 Thanks Miz Ray!!!!

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