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11/4/13

Passive Solar Prefab House Considers Cladding, Black Soldier Flies, And Fall Fun

I know I said it was cold. But during the day, the windows are now open at the modern prefab house...! My enthusiasm for cook stove season last week must have brought on these 80 degree days!

Which made for a nice mild Halloween, when we headed in to RVA...

But quickly we were back at the prefab, happily in the country.

However, even when warm: Fall color has *finally* arrived at the off grid prefab house!
 And with it, muzzleloader season.
A packin' Amish

And, with that (as muzzleloaders these days are not yer Grandma's muzzleloaders), hence when in the woods / field, we don blaze orange.  (Orange is very unbecoming to me but I can't help but think how practical it would be IF I could  dye my hair blaze orange...)

For some reason I have been thinking about the prefab house's cladding this week, I guess because this is the time of year to work on maintenance before winter hits.  We chose Galvalume Plus to finish the exterior of the modern prefab, because it not only looked modern but also is a durable surface.  At this point we have had the cladding for a few years, and I wondered if there was anything we need to do in terms of maintenance to keep it strong and shiny.

If you are considering cladding your modern prefab home similarily, here are some things you should know: There is a difference between galvanized steel, Galvalume, and Galvalume Plus. Before making a decision, be informed and know the advantages of each. Here's another good document that goes into more detail on the differences between galvanized steel and Galvalume.

"...bare Galvalume and coated Galvalume panels have an outstanding corrosion resistance in a wide variety of general environments, including industrial, marine and even severe marine environments.  And Galvalume offers exceptional heat reflectivity, resulting in lower energy load on buildings and improved interior comfort."

Galvalume is also a good choice for energy efficiency:
"Heat Reflectivity and Solar Reflectance (Energy Efficiency)
Bare, unpainted Galvalume has undergone extensive testing by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), to determine its solar reflective performance. Test results have qualified Galvalume as an approved roof product by the U.S. EPA – ENERGY STAR Program, for both low-slope and high-slope applications.

On newly manufactured Galvalume, heat reflectivity was rated above the minimum U.S. EPA requirement of 0.65. For weathered roofs over three years of age, the overall solar reflectance also exceeded the minimum U.S. EPA requirement of 0.50 for maintenance reflectivity."

So, our choice of Galvalume, especially as we are always knee deep in any project, was good from maintenance alone- and we can expect it to remain strong for 40+ years!

Composting Notes: Black Soldier Flies
I have been interested in how black soldier flies have been so successful in composting.

Now people are using black soldier flies for livestock feed! So the flies can work on the compost, then feed the animals!  This has already been naturally occurring here, when we leave some old chicken feed in a bin- they grow, then we turn 'em over and feed the chickens!

Here's a video where someone else did the same thing, so I don't have to film it myself:

It has also been happening in, uh, a compost area you don't want to know...
Apparently we are not the only ones to see their efficiency on waste:

Did you know black soldier flies secrete a substance that repels other flies? AND they do not carry disease, as they have no hair on their legs, unlike gross bottle flies.  Niiiice!

Life At The Prefab Home This Week Has Been Full Of Surprises, And Guests!
Well. If that does not just beat all. I went to close up the laying hens, heard a rustle, saw a form and thought, "Ack! Raccoon! Or opossum!" and right when I thought that, saw something large, brown *and feathered* launch itself with an "oomph" from the ground, high into a neighboring cedar to roost. Amazed, I looked to the leftmost cedar- yep, all the wild chickens are roosting properly, as always...

You have got to be kidding me- a wild turkey roosting within our "home site" perimeter?!? Well Mister Turkey that would just be unsporting of me to take advantage of that, so as long as you roost there I'll leave you alone, it's worth its weight in chuckle.


Nephew 3 came out for the weekend... And by 8 a.m. was driving his dirt bike in the field, driving my car, and giving ponys mohawks.
 
 

The H's joined us on Sunday, and we all splayed on the circular chairs at night, staring up into the sparkling black sky, idly noting galaxies and shooting stars. When we got cold, we'd just up and run into the cozy prefab house, thanks to the day's passive solar / shining sun,  toasty even without the cook stove.

A great weekend at the modern prefab house.
 

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