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12/30/13

Prefab Modern Home Heads Out For Holidays And Returns Hunted

I hope the holidays are good to you.
We left the off grid prefab house at 76% in the solar battery bank, and returned to 100%.
  


Out came the winter sun,
UP went our solar battery bank!

Leaving the off grid prefab house for the city, our holidays were filled with lots of friends, and family...  It was the perfect mix of baking cookies for friends (pretty much all of which were eaten by The 100 Pound Puppy if you wonder why you received none), making the rounds, visiting those we love, happily reunion-ing up with old friends returning from L.A. / NYC / DC... but with adequate watching-movies-in-your-pajamas time for the week to remain restful.

We had planned to remain at the modern prefab home until the 25th, but decided to head in early, with Nephew 3 on holiday leave in tow, leaving our vintage tinsel tree, with family ornaments, behind, since there was rain and, well... there was family stuff to do.
I am hoping to get rid of the scaffolding
in the background in the next week or two,
to then return the prefab house's great room
to...a room, and not a construction zone.
Again.

Thanks to Nephew 3, we dragged a little bit of home with us, to the city: A straggly stray cedar sapling that, once hauled into RVA, Pipsqueak 2 bedecked with hand-drawn-on-construction-paper ornaments with a lone strand of vintage lights.
Charlie Brown's got NUTHIN' on us.
LOVE IT.

Santa came.
The dogs wondered what the verdict would be:
"Were we naughty or were we nice?!?!"
 

Thankfully, no one received coal, and Santa also brought us socks. Lots of socks, thanks to the Hundred Pound Puppy... who... has... eaten all of our socks.

I received a book on BEE KEEPING! Most of our farming friends keep bees, but we had been hesitant to do so due to Handsome Husband's allergy.  A friend then told us that keeping bees helps keep away the yellow jackets and wasps. We prefer the more docile honeybees, knowing where their hive would be, to the latter! 

The most touching present was from Morgan, who hand made bracelets from Riata's mane for us.
And so the story of Riata comes to a close, forever in our hearts, close to us always.

Santa also brought my Kenyan little brother, Kippy, to us!
[He is SUPER smart, handsome, funny, and SINGLE, ladies...]
He said he *almost* missed the train from Philly,
but thanks to his world-record track genes
where he RAN down the street, SPRINTING,
(I bet THAT was a sight to see a Keino sprinting down Philly, lol!)
*AFTER* scooping up the fresh laundry from his dryer,
and stuffing it into his back pack
in true bachelor fashion,
("Hey, this looked good last week, just grab it all!)
he was able to jump,
barely,
onto the train,
lookin' good.
After all the fuss and festivity, Kippy and I always sit up late, quietly talking, talking, talking farming in our pj's.

This time we were talking about his family farm's methane digester, and how, as a child, it was his job to feed it! We were going to make a video with Kippy explaining everything but then ended up going to Sister's for football and beer. (Go, Seahawks!)

SO.
Here's an overview on how another dairy farm like Kippy's did it:

Christmas was spent jollily racing from my parents' house, the old family farm, a friend's for dinner... all in one day.

Bienvenue.
Bienvenue, with football.
Point of Fork, where the old family farm used to be.
Er, not here, over there. Yes, there, on the left.
But here is point o' fork, so you get the idea.
As great as the holidays are, it was also great to know it was time to come home, to don pj's, with no schedule or plans!

But returning home to the off grid prefab house, we were devastated to see feathers in the field... And, just as we parked, a thin hunting dog, with a tracking wire, twenty feet away from our remaining...
*FOUR*
chickens.
A chicken-less yard! : (

The free range flock within and around the electric fence have worked so well all this time...
Until rifle season, hence when thin wired dogs are loosed across our land.

These dog-running ignorants are not hunters.
They just sit there, lazy against their trucks on the roads they have no permission to be on with their trackers, telling you, "I'm jest pickin' up mah dogs!"

I grew up with real hunters. We would not give those people the time. of. day.

Until now, our ecosystem at the prefab house had been humming.
Now, we are ROOSTER-less, with four remaining hens.
This is terrible.  I was expecting that flock to begin self-propagating this spring, they were all doing *great.* Now we're back to square one, after all that work.

Improvements will include extending the electric fence...
Just last week...! : (

We had thought we would have the livestock fencing and run-in up by now, providing more protection from predators in winter...

But the only predators that really were successful were these human-brought HUNTING DOGS!

So fencing, yes, but that still doesn't stop the fact that illegal hunters line our roads, running dogs through our livestock.

Until now I've been on a first-name basis with the game warden, working with great friends who are neighbors to curb these illegal hunters. This year's rifle season nears its end, not soon enough, with our running off and challenging those "who have hunted here, at the G's, forever." (Who no longer own this land, as they know.) Up until now I have taken pictures, called the game warden...

From now on at the off grid prefab home, I will take a much tougher stance. 
Yes, I see you, YEG-1674.
 

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12/24/13

Home! Home At The Modern Prefab SIP House!

And then we were home! Home at the off grid house!
We had a great time in the city, but it was great to be back home, in our modern prefab house.


 
 

Did I mention it was great to be home...?
After a week in the city,
she headed straight for the mud.
 
 
For those who ponder on different finishes within these prefab homes that are not drywall, when we were in DC last week we did note a plywood application that was different:
These plywood squares were about 2' x 2'
Note they also altered the grain.
Observations:
  1. Note the plywood is cut in smaller squares, hence easier to cut to the edges / pitches / around electrical boxes. If you make a mistake, you only impact a small square vs. an entire panel.
  2. I'm liking the dark matte wash, it appears black, then when you approach, is gradients of brown to black, so still has warmth to it.
  3. The squares would give the walls an overall different texture than just panels. I would love to see how squares + panel applications heightened or reduced the sense of space depending on what the client desired.
At the passive solar prefab house, the weekend brought hot temperatures! Really? A December day of 73 degrees?!? Say it t'ain't so.

Heading Into Holidays
We can never have a better Christmas than we did last year.
Santa brought us beloved horses, now gone.

But... This Christmas season is not terrible. Since Riata's death we have been surrounded with love, and her love lives in us.

I have been watching friends discuss gifts and the upcoming holidays and it is clear: Those where material gifts are not the priority, are much, much happier.  

Even feeling empty in our loss, it's a wonderful world, and we are full, full, full of love.
Gifts Of Love
When friends say "I'm comin' to pick you up!" 'round here, often they mean on horseback. Pipsqueak 2 did *lots* of extra school yesterday to be able to take the day off with Morgan! We loved seeing them disappear into the woods...

Thanks to all our friends who share their equines with us... we are grateful for their gifts of love and time, and it IS the world to us.

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12/16/13

Passive Solar Modern Prefab Is City-fied

This week, we were not at the passive solar modern prefab house.
Now picture if you just left your house in frigid temps like these, away and unheated.
Pipes would burst, concrete would crack...

Not in the SIP house. 
Passive solar design allows the winter light in...

The passive solar, thermal mass, and energy efficient SIP of the prefab house keeps our investment safe and secure from the weather.  We also insulated *under* and *around* the foundation. You wouldn't head out into these icy temperatures in a coat, hat, gloves yet barefoot, with no trousers, would you? Why do that with your house? So yes, make sure you also insulate underneath the SIP / foundation as well!

We headed into Richmond for the week, for more doctors' appointments, numb...
I understand if people are thinking, "Oh, please, it was just a horse."
I never imagined a horse could give us so much love.
We miss Riata so much, every day.
We were always talking,
*while* she was talking to them, the kids.
As usual here she's doing both.

So, it's very hard to suddenly go from being in the barn daily, and with dogs and children running free, to then be... in the city for days- We were in the city a week.
♫♫ Oh give me a prefab home,
where the animals roam...♫♫
♫♫ Where the deer and the chiiiick-unz play...♫♫
♫♫ Where seldom is heard
a discouraging word, ♫♫
♫♫ And the sky is not cloudy all day. ♫♫
Chorus: (Y'all sing, now!) PREFAB HOME! ♫♫
♫♫ Prefab home on the range... ♫♫

As much as we enjoy using DC and Richmond as tourists, seeing friends, taking advantage of museums and more options for groceries... I'm always homesick even before we leave, as I drag suitcases from the prefab house into the car...

To RVA and DC We Went, And Had A Nice Time, Considering.
It was strange eating creasy greens, picked up from an Amish neighbor the day before, in the city...

I also woke up in the middle of the night... I heard a low growl, of dogs downstairs. The growl would rise, and fall, always a low warning... As I gained consciousness I wondered, "WHY are the dogs growling at each other?!? Can they not share the couch?!? Sheesh!"

As I became more lucid, I realized it wasn't dogs growling but the incessant hum, approach, and passing of: TRAFFIC.
Hello, people, I am in the city. 

But we did have fun.
City visits are for seeing old friends, museums, and meandering dates with my Handsome Husband.
We headed to the Virginia Museum (VMFA), Virginia Historical Society, and up to Alexandria.  [Pamplin friend: "If you culture up those childrenz any more, they'll turn into yogurt!]
 (In Alexandria, people thought my coat was fancy
until I explained it keeps me from getting shot at home...)
 
 Torpedo Factory Art Center
 
 
 
 
 
 VMFA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My 9yr old, missing home and rollerskating loops in the city house, is humming and singing this:
Now you can, too. 
 
The city has been nice, but we're itchy.
Time to cut out of here and go home,
to our off grid modern prefab HOME.

Reading Club:

Homeschool:

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