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We Leave The Off Grid Prefab House For Charlottesville: The Casati Family Vacation!

Yes... Yes, I know: The livestock well was supposed to be dug this week at the off grid prefab house... and it didn't happen.
It rained the day they were due. That's kinda how any project happens around here... We'll try again next week.

Boy did it rain Wednesday. [But y'all probably don't want another video on that.]

We cozied in, in the off grid modern prefab... The rain on the roof soothed us.

Our tractor didn't work, either.  Something about the kabob on the thingamajig.

In intensely discussing its repair, and how diesel batteries need more amps/cca, we broached the subject of SOLAR battery chargers. Which, like many other solar farm applications, have really come into their own, and reliable.

When it comes to solar, and farming, you don't tolerate anything half ***. If it doesn't pass muster, yer out.  I am heartened to see so many farmers, Amish included, *relying* on solar these days for farm tasks like recharging tractors, penning livestock, protecting their beloved horses. (So far Amish are just using the battery chargers for tractors. But that is a conversation I look forward to having with them.)

Off grid farming has never been easier. In the past ten years all kinds of farming solar solutions have sprouted up, and taken hold. Solar fences, solar tractor battery chargers, solar well pumps... the list goes on.

Labor Day neared.
For a family wedding, we headed to Charlottesville, and spent days all gussied up.

But first, we stopped: The drive from the off grid prefab home, up 15, 20, to Charlottesville was *beautiful.* We stopped at Miller's Country Store in Farmville, a Mennonite store with all sorts of goodies...

The owner handmade most of the
furniture & store details!

Horse shoe table...

...and chair!

We stopped in and thoroughly enjoyed Scottsville.  It is a *great* place to kayak, canoe, then walk to the coffee shop or brewery to relax! We will be back, Scottsville, we will be back.

Historic flood markers...

Architects take notice: Charlottesville began on a high note, with a reunion with two super green building architects and their families we adore, David Day (who designed the modern prefab house casa ti!) and Scott Kyle!

The Day and Kyle families warmly welcomed us. We feasted, played, hiked.

We walked the river...

We loved seeing how Charlottesville has become much more multilayed than when we knew it, growing up. It was great to see how neighborhoods you wouldn't enter now house colorful families with food gardens, all so bike-able, so walkable, such an easy place in which to live.

That evening, a storm rushed through, leaving parts of the city dark...
so the rehearsal dinner, until the plates were being served, was by candlelight.

The wedding planner must have been having a cow, but Farmington by candlelight was pure magic.


The next day we meandered the mall, picked apples, and toured Mitchie Tavern.
We made a friend.

His name is Peanut.

Michie Tavern

Carter's Orchard


And then F. & H. were married.

On our way home, we toured Monticello.
Upstairs / Downstairs Life...

Wine bottles going up and downstairs...

Ice house


"Try your hand at copying a famous line
from the Declaration of Independence!"

The Declaration of Independence was not on HER mind...

Even without his historical importance, Jefferson was brilliant:
I loved seeing how Jefferson touched everything, tinkered with it all, reconsidering functionality and improving efficiency.

In fact, Jefferson created or improved many things anyone could find useful in a small footprint off grid prefab house, today!

For example:

Jefferson had rainwater cisterns.

He took the typical kitchen fireplace hearth and made stoves outside of it.

He made shutters foldable built ins... and windows on the north side double paned for energy efficiency.

He made a "clothes turner" to store the maximum amount of clothes in a small space.
photo from

Other cool features:
The compass and wind indicator on the front porch...
"Innovation - improving on other's ideas was a trait of the third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. He connected the arrow for a compass rose in the porch ceiling to a weather vane so that his household could tell which way the wind was blowing - without having to get out into the elements."

Jefferson had a seven day clock, and knocked a hole in his floor when he needed a lower Saturday!
photo from
photo from
On the right are weights, and the days marked-
Saturday is in the basement!

His book rest could hold five books. 
photo from

Handsome Husband: "Can't you imagine if he were alive today, he'd have thirty tabs open in his browser." 

Not only that, but if Jefferson were here today, maybe Monticello would be made of SIP! ; ) AND A MODERN PREFAB!

I could write on and on  and on, actually write a research paper on Jefferson, and Charlottesville's urban planning, changes, and conservation, but heck, it's Labor Day weekend so I'm off to chillax.


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