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10/28/13

Off Grid Modern Prefab Home Has The Season's First Frost As Fall Continues With Net Zero Comfort.

Frost Arrived At The Off Grid Prefab Modern Home. Finally, with night, we found temperatures descending into the low 30's! I was excited, because otherwise it's too cozy in the prefab to start the cook stove.  As long as the weather is in the 40s and up, the off grid prefab house is comfortable with just passive solar / thermal gain. 

Thanks to the energy efficiency of the SIP, when the temperatures drop at night, our prefab house interior comfort doesn't plummet with it.  We rise with mornings in the upper 60s, then, thanks to the passive solar design of the prefab, it quickly warms to the low 70s, so it's not even worth my starting heat in the morning.

Friday brought the first cook stove fire! Outside were high winds, with a low of 27.  Inside the prefab, I threw a last log onto the cook stove before snuggling into bed... and awoke to 68 degrees, even with the wood stove out.  As usual, the interior of the prefab only fell about 3 degrees overnight.

 


And... Off Grid Housekeeping: Composting Toilet Notes: 
In winter, it seems you need to empty more often, aerate more (Handsome Husband and I have an agreement that ANY time we use it we pull the aerator bar 15 times!), add more sawdust.  But if you aerate, the soil removed is not bad at all. Heck, less than mucking stalls, people! So we have gotten over it. Now we know.
"COMPOSTING TOILET? BLEEECH!"

Fall Means We're Lookin' For Socks, Always.
Handsome Husband, appalled, regarding me: "Gracious. Get new socks!"
I, looking down at toes and skin poking through my WERE-perfect socks, perfectly-not-too-thick for riding boots:
"Those WERE new socks."
#100lbPuppy 
Sock thief.
Sock thief trying to look stoically innocent.
Sock thief cozying up with Grumpy to see if we might focus instead on he.
Sorry, kid, Grumpy is always well behaved.
YOU are the sock thief.
[Interior of the prefab is still a jumble.]
Ugh!

But this isn't just about the off grid modern prefab house... 
Honeychiles, it's fall in the country, and that means with harvest over, the country is BUSTLING.
We went to a spaghetti dinner at the fire station.
We knew about the spaghetti fundraiser...

But we didn't know that they were also doing Trunk Or TreatOops. I looked at the Pipsqueaks. "Ok, uh, you with the leopard-print coat? Yer a leopard.  You, in flannel, jeans, and riding boots? Uh, yer a cowboy. Done."
Look! It's Flo from that insurance commercial!


City folks will scratch their heads: "Did she type that wrong? Didn't she mean TRICK or treat?" No. Here, in farming country, fire stations, community groups, and churches have Trunk Or Treat.

Think about it: City kids run door to door, covering thirty stops per block, no? 
WHAT DO FARM KIDS DO? Really? You're going to run up to a dark farm unannounced after dark? Heck no.  Instead, volunteers decorate the trunks of their cars and trucks, collect at a meeting place, and let the kids...
TRUNK OR TREAT. : )
 Nice!
 
A real fire man with family as:
a witch, pink poodle, cowboy,
and I think grandma is cuddling their baby calf.
: )


On Sunday we headed over with friends to Auburnlea Farms, a family owned, non-GMO, pasture-raised farm who, this time of year, opens its farm for hay rides, a corn maze, a gigantic slide... it was FUN. A *beautiful* fall afternoon with friends.
 
 
 
Handsome Husband slides The Super Slide.
...as does Pipsqueak 1. And everyone else.

 
 
 
 
Hanging back from the hay ride, (I had already helped The B's bale hay this spring and had no need to climb back on a hay wagon, thank you...) I asked Mrs. T what she was knitting, as she relaxed and enjoyed the view...
"Whatcha makin'?"
"Oh, a sweater for Knit for Kids..."
"Oh, wow, it's beautiful. How many sweaters have you knitted?!?"
"This is my 805th..."

Never heard of Knit For Kids? Here's what you need to know:
"Uniting Knitters Across America
Knit for Kids is a nationwide program that unites thousands of volunteer knitters to fight poverty with their knitting needles. With every stitch, together we give hope and warmth to vulnerable children living in poverty or other difficult situations around the globe.

For millions of children, a hand-made item isn’t just a sweater, cap or blanket. It’s a chance at better health. It’s protection and warmth from freezing temperatures. And it’s a symbol of support for a better future.
...
Why we do what we do
According to UNICEF, nearly 19,000 children under age 5 die every day mainly due to unmet basic survival needs.* For any child to achieve his or her full potential, the foundation of good health and hygiene must be established. Yet, millions of children live in tattered clothes because they can’t afford decent clothing to protect them from the elements.
*Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, Progress Report 2012

The weekend closed with no cook stove fired, as the bright day (albeit brisk), turned milder with the afternoon, allowing the off grid prefab home's passive solar design to heat up to the 70s by the time we arrived back home after a breezy day in the 50s/low 60s... 

It was just a gorgeous peaceful day... the autumn light glowing and highlighting profiles of children running amok, laughter, camaraderie... We're so glad to be here.

Reading Club:
  • GREAT EDUCATION ARTICLE: Emphasis on social/teamwork + allowing them to run willy nilly through educational topics in front of them... + online educators in subjects they're interested in at higher levels, not just everything by grade...  
  • RT @fairsnape: Cant see trees for the #timber? RT @davidcoethica Great infographic > What is natural capital? http://t.co/nN8VFKKmMk #sustainability


Homeschool: We are in a "review" period of what we have studied since August. Going over dry text isn't fun or helpful for review, so I'm always looking for good videos to reinforce the learning we did, in a more colorful way.

I was dejectedly going through the pacing guides and trying to find good content. Even what the teachers link to within the guides isn't really that cool or fun. I use SOLpass.org for review, but lately they seem to be more about putting up quizzes than really good review guides (which were also great for teaching, last year) and examples.

But then I found some things I LOVE- the kids could enjoy it, I could ask, "Is this subject familiar to you? Can you tell me more about it?" and gague how well they had internalized what they studied, earlier.
*Whew.*
[L.C. also trained 'em this week...]
Recipes:
Lamb Stew
Soak pinto / red beans overnight. Mince a BUNCH o' garlic, dice onion. Start sauteeing in fat/grease. Add lamb stew meat, sauteeing around until sealed but not seared. Add in tomatoes, crushing by hand, soaked beans, diced collards. Simmer simmer simmer, adding water if necessary. Add in glugs of apple cider vinegar- enough to turn the soup savory but not over-sour it, then s&p, serve.

And p.s.: Lou Reed. Sweet Jane. In Paris. RIP

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