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6/24/13

PlanetSolar Discovers Deltaville While We Continue Our Solar Journey

One end o' a rainbow on the bay, with boats.
Each summer, for generations, our family congregates in a special place: Deltaville. With school out, it is officially Cousin Time. And Cousin Time = sailing, the sandbar, dear friends who are family, lots of crabs, and quiet moments, embracing summer, playing old organs, chasing chickens... it is a quiet, but social time.  We recharge.

By the flags flying on visiting boats in harbor, we know Europeans love and seek shelter here...

This week, PlanetSolar's MS Tûranor, the largest solar-powered boat in the world, a boat that is studying the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, while raising public awareness of the complexity of climate change and its impacts, stopped in our beloved Deltaville, and found safe harbor (and lots o' local characters) in Fishing Bay, thanks to our friend and sailing club manager, Dixon!
"This stop actually benefits us. Stefanie, Denis and myself take a nice walk to town and experience a very warm welcome from the local people. Upon arriving in the bay, we are all impressed by the calm atmosphere and numerous beautiful waterfront houses. Thanks to the kindness of the Dixon Cole – the manager of the local Yacht Club, we finally landed ashore.
...
We somehow feel regret for not spending enough time with this charming village and its wonderful people…"
Read their account: http://www.planetsolar.org/blog/unexpected-inland-discovery


The heart of Deltaville is in its people- generations of ALL kinds- year-'round locals, come-here's, come-here weekenders, generations-back stay-all-summer denizens.

You might recall last week's strong storm at our off grid house...

Severe  storm approaching and all I'm thinking is, "We need to move those coolers and everything away
from the off grid prefab house, that looks junky."


While we were at the off grid prefab house watching fingerlings of tornadoes form yet not touch ground, the MS Tûranor too saw the storm approach, as a tornado touched down...

"And lo and behold, in two minutes, the sky is covered; a sinister wall arrives overhead and absorbs us. The wind rose to 20 knots, 30 knots, a big wave rises up, 40 knots, the sea is white, it’s savage, brutal but beautiful, 50 knots, it’s heating up, the sea is flattened by the wind. We turn into the wind; the idea is no longer to move forward but rather to not be carried away by the drift. Things are looking good, I start to relax and suddenly I hear rumbling, hissing, rattling, a deafening racket, the witches ball…

And then the tornado passes by as it had come."

More on PlanetSolar's MS Tûranor:
Step Inside the World's Largest Solar Boat
"The three-year-old ship, dubbed 'Turanor' after a term for solar power in The Lord of the Rings, is on a tour of the Atlantic from its home base in southern France, documenting how the warming sea is shifting the Gulf Stream, a powerful cross-ocean current that drives the weather of Europe and West Africa."

So, Godspeed to PlanetSolar, and let's return to Deltaville life... 
Each year, there is Sailing Camp. Now... generations old.
It is a parent-run, mainly volunteer-staffed program.
 
 
So that means that if I have been a tad incommunicado this week, it's because I can not email or telephone when I am chest deep in the Chesapeake Bay pushing boats and counseling little sailors on how to use the wind and sea.

On Day 2 of Sailing Camp we saw the most amazing biggest, fattest rainbow, even at times double, pictures-can't-capture-it fantastic minutes of trying (couldn't even fit it in the frame)... it began in the bay, arched way too high over the clouds to capture in one frame, and landed... at the cottage. Here are my poor attempts, via cell phone. Ironically the fattest, most vibrantly colored part of the rainbow, over the bay, does not show up at all in these, boo! So when you look at the bay pictures, ignore the flash of white, imagine the biggest, fattest, vibrantly colored rainbow, ever, beginning in the bay, and landing at my parent's.
At the off grid passive solar prefab house, our next project is NOT finishing those darned walls and finally painting, but... having a livestock well dug. Then fencing, then shelter, so we can bring our horses home. Painting and styling-up will have to wait a little longer.


In the meantime, I'll be out back enjoying the super moon, dreaming of the day we finish our off grid prefab home.

Reading Club:

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6/17/13

Modern Prefab Home Counts Bookcases And Blessings

One night this week, the 10yr old paused: "I really appreciate our life."
I do too.

It has been 1+ year living off grid, in the unfinished modern prefab home, on an undersized solar system. It sounds like a recipe for disaster. We think it's ingredients for great life. The tree frogs and whippoorwill began to call, and night insects shook loudly, rattling. We drifted off to sleep.

The replacement window for the shot-out-by-a-bb-gun energy efficient window for the off grid prefab house still, yes, sits in the corner...
AND YOU THOUGHT WE WERE DESIGNER-Y PEOPLE.
We are life people, and life has been busy at the off grid SIP house!!!!
Bantam rooster.
With an ENERGY EFFICIENT PREFAB...

My thoughts on green building and energy efficiency this week revolve around a rooster.
I'm going to tell this quick story and then bore you with lots of moments of the farm, and family. So skip ahead with me, to the end of the week, when, for a wedding and a funeral (don't they make movies out of weekends like that?), we brought EVERYONE to Richmond. When we say everyone, that means Pipsqueaks, Shop Dawgs, Feral Cats... numerous hens, a baby chick...
AND A BANTAM ROOSTER.

I'm a good neighbor. I had a plan.
I forgot I have been living in a SIP house... with energy efficient, hence severely-sound-muffling, windows... much less thickly insulated walls and roof...

"I'll just throw him in the basement, no one will hear him!"
At 5a.m. Saturday, from the basement, our house resonated with an exuberant CROW. Then, another. Wake up world, Huffy The Rooster is home!

"HOLY LAMOLEY! These original windows are so thin, it's like there's just a pane o' glass between that rooster and our neighbors!" ["CROOOOOOOOOW!"] "HOLY LAMOLEY! This cute original foursquare home's walls are so, uh, original walls, you can hear that rooster RIGHT THROUGH THE HOUSE!"
I panicked.
I grabbed the rooster, threw him in his travelling box, and SHUT THAT ROOSTER INTO THE LINEN CLOSET. Hey. It was one more set o' walls, honeychiles, one more set o' walls. In the dark, Huffy The Rooster grew quiet. We slept until 7.

"Momma? Where's my brush?" "In the linen closet." "What's a linen closet?" "It's the closet with the rooster."

But back to our week at Higher Ground, at the off grid prefab house!
Our baby bantam chick Ping Pong took a first dust bath.

We had a play date, and 'round here, sheep shearing can be had at a play date...
"Ok, I'm cooler now!"
I made the first tomato sammich of the season, from the first ripe 'maters from our yard.

The spring and summer vegetables are coming in, and many days, you will find us literally eating out of our meager, needs soil amending, garden.

We Had A Riding Incident.
Thursday morning, I did groundwork with Jax, and M. said, "Get on!" I had a funny feeling. A big storm was coming, but the sky was still blue. M. is an eventer. She is The Most Amazing Horsewoman.
 
Jax had yielded his hindquarters, but... I was uneasy. "Do you want me to ride him?" M asked, brightly. "Ok!" She got on. They proceeded to correctly snake around the roundpen, as we spoke about Things One Does With Green Horses Differently Than A Made Horse, we were chatting at this point, when... Jax bucked. M. giggled. Then he bucked and bucked... Her face became intent. He bucked and bucked and bucked and bucked going 'round the ring! Bucking bronco style!

PICTURE A PERCHERON-ARABIAN... BUCKING BRONCO STYLE!!!!!

M. flew through the air. To see someone so good... come off MY horse like that... I'll let M. tell you, in her own words:
"Gunna be sore tomorrow.... I was able to stay on for a whole lap around the round pen on Jax while he was bucking, then realised I was not going to get him to stop with a one rein stop, had enough time to plan my departure... and bailed!!! My plan was to land on my shoulder and do the tuck and roll, but he slid to a stop and cut me short. I landed on my left hip, popping it out of the joint, then sat up and popped it back in!!!! And good god did it hurt like a female dog.. . Lol!!! Poor Copeland... I think I scared her half to death!!! Along with kiddo #2, who ran to the house, shaking, for extra help.... "
I'm still shaking.
What I learned today is that I would rather see MY life flash in front of me than someone ELSE's life flash in front of me. And thank God M. is ok.
I am searching my heart. Thankfully we have a great horse community here, with lots of expert resources. It's a hard time, for us.


Weather hit over our off grid house.
As it quickly approached, I did not like the look of the way the sky roiled.
I did not like "that" sound the storm made.
I watch clouds form "fingers" dipping down... frightening.
When it roared, I put the children in the bathroom and rued not having a root cellar.

The next day, debris was strewn on roads, but thankfully no tornadoes, and everyone ok.

So... we headed out.
I was planning on just going to the Amish store to pick up some jam, so, knowing my Amish friend cares less about what I ever look like, went, with muck-splattered jeans, unshowered, hair unbrushed, thinking, "Eh, I won't see anyone except Lydia"- but it wasn't open yet. 

So we headed down the street to the Produce Auction and saw basically Every. Single. Friend. I. Have. Here...!
[Eep! Ha...]
Produce auction bonus? You get to see your friends and trade a few things with each other so the produce is more varied! I bought a box of artichokes but now have the box of artichokes, 2 cabbage, 3 zucchini and 5 squash! It is so good to eat so well, locally.

We are seeing family this week so I will serve the artichokes then; with the cabbage I'll make slaw, the zucchini a raw salad (paper thin slices of zucchini + parmesean + toasted pine nuts tossed with olive oil, s&p, and nasturtium flowers if you have 'em), I will sautee the squash with onions and serve that, and suddenly you have fed a big family crowd easily with fresh veggies for a week! Taaaaa daaaa!

Speaking of family, we attended a very special family wedding.
Good people is all what life is about.
And then I went to a funeral, a Celebration Of Life. I am processing it all, but what I know is this: LOVE. Be kind. Humor helps, but even more, just... be a good friend. All these people were surrounded with love, passing it on in the celebration of a new marriage, a passing of life, memorialized in the community they created.

Reading Club:
Owning Two of a Certain Object Indicates Your Kids Will Do Well in School.
Can You Guess What It Is?: bit.ly/13GLmO5
I decided to count the bookcases in the modern prefab home.
We build nooks and crannies for books and what not wherever there is a space:
According to this article, I guess we're gonna be ok.


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