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12/9/13

Off Grid Prefab House Adjusts Solar Panels And Energy Use

It's been an odd week at the off grid prefab home.

We headed to Richmond for doctors' appointments over two days, and, with our return, discovered to our horror that "someone" left on devices- instead of charging up, our off grid solar home was at 75%!!!!

Our battery bank was 75%, with a week of cloud cover moving in. Gah!
70% and DROPPING, slowly...
We're, uh, charging, here! lol
Even in cloud cover
the prefab house
often charges a little each day
so we don't always just lose battery bank percentages
but often "hover"- gaining a little,
losing a little overnight.

(We usually lose 3 % per night.)
 

We also had visitors to the SIP prefab house!

This nice couple is thinking about building one of our prefab houses, the Dogtrot Mod from GreenCabinKits.com. I explained that we had just had a Nephew Visit, with children wrecking the house, and that they were not walking into one of our Prefab House Kit Open Houses, but a real, lived-in, real life What It's Like To Live Off Grid With A Messy Family.

They laughed, and said it was fine. So to the prefab house they came!  They wanted to see the SIP (structural insulated panels) and to get a sense of the house kit. Here's some pictures, with our interior in disarray, still unfinished, unpainted, and with scaffolding in the living room.

You can see how, even on a cloudy day, the passive solar and window placement still makes the prefab house bright.
 
 
 
I explained that right now this middle bedroom
is used to squeeze as many children in
as possible. When Pipsqueak 2 is
older it will become more elegant.

I also explained how in small footprint homes
lots of nooks and crannies
for storage are so useful!
 
 
They left after touring the off grid prefab house, but not before I pointed them to nearby Appomattox, to visit Appomattox Court House to stretch their legs outdoors while seeing history firsthand, The Museum of The Confederacy, then to end their visit with a leisurely lunch, surrounded with great books and music at Baines, and to stroll the nearby antiques shops.

Horseless.
We're still stunned.
It reads, "Riata - the horse that changed my life."

How does one go from two horses to none in a week?
We didn't have time to think. Jax was gone to an advanced rider, and our beloved Riata passed too quickly, a good death, surrounded by people who loved her.

Last weekend, as I stood there at dusk after Riata died, after everyone had left, alone in the pasture with the B's horses, taking the picture of Riata's Sunset, something unexpected happened as I grieved.

Pepper, the notoriously cranky, tail swishing, ears back, glaring appaloosa, walked up and, as as much as a horse can, hugged me.
 
 
 

Sweet, sweet Pepper... thank you.

Everyone in the horse community here has been great. Morgan has given Pipsqueak 2 a "job"- to be her shadow in the pasture, spending time with her, a young lady and a little girl, and in return, Pipsqueak 2 gets Pony Time.

Mrs. B took Pipsqueak 1 out on her pony to ride with the Hilltoppers.
Off they go!
He returned, glowingly recounting galloping, jumping across creeks, the hounds' songs, the bugle calls and then a long description of all the different things they ATE, after, in great detail.

I *suspect* Mrs. B might have spoiled him, a little. : )

And then there's Pepper.
Mrs. B generously offered that we could work with Pepper and her pony until we find our horse.
Or, as they say...
"Often the best ways are YOU don't find the horse, the horse finds YOU."

It's so hard to even think of another horse.
It's comforting to know we can love on The B's horses, as we get through this.

With Winter, It Was Time To Raise The Solar Panels On The Prefab
It always happens when I'm not looking, then: 
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH MY CHILDRENZ ARE ON THE ROOF OF THE PREFAB!!!!! Handsome Husband YOU BRING THEM DOWN RIGHT NOW!!!!"
 
 

They merrily wave back.
 
"HI, MOMMA...! DO YOU SEE US?!?"

I guess being on the roof of the prefab house is as dangerous as galloping or jumping a horse... but I still don't like it.

With the raising of the solar panels, we also adjust for the holidays.
Vintage modern tinsel tree...

Even the rooster is decorated.

Who needs a Partridge In A Pear Tree
when you have a banty rooster?
 
 
 
Making gingerbread.
 

Homeschool:
Conserving our energy use, we had a great week delving deeper with books on the history subjects they are studying, textbooks on math and science, and workbooks on language arts. 
  • P.s. An easy way to teach fractions to kids:

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