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3/17/14

Modern Prefab House Off Grid Runs Its Fingers Through The Ups And Downs Of Spring.

Wild, windy weather continued at the off grid modern prefab house - we ranged from lofty 70s plunging down to the 20s, and back.
Ah, March...

When the temperatures rise, I throw open the windows of the prefab house, welcoming the breeze in. When they fall, I shut the prefab house tightly up and gently start the cook stove, just one log at a time.
Windows flung open...
Cook stove going, with dinner simmering...

When it was nice, we got to see Zena...
 
 
 
A big hug...
I also had great work with Pepper.  I appreciate my friends letting me manhandle her with love. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of those great moments because I was alone with her when those moments happened, but: She blossoms.

In preparing for the next season at the off grid prefab house, we have our seedlings started...
The garden beds' soil is amended, now covered with fabric to prevent weeds.
 
 

We have been slowly, for years, bush hogging to eliminate briars in the fields, and now seed with clover, ryes, wheat...
Which brings me to Perennial Grains, and Tim Peter.
"The defining priority of permaculture is the hitching of our wagons to the evolutionary drift of the landscapes of which we are a part. In other words, we rely more on working with natural processes than in transforming the landscape and our lives through high energy inputs - such as repetitive labor for example.

It's an approach that puts greater emphasis on 'perennial' as distinct from 'annual' food crops. Admittedly, this shift in fundamentals is in its cultural infancy, not least because recent historical trends have combined to ensure that the foundations of our diet and the overwhelming majority of research and development associated with it is geared toward high input, conventional, monocrop, annual agriculture. Quite simply, we do not yet possess the range of food crops or experience to supplant this construct.

One of our fields, in summer...

And yet, behind the scenes, almost completely unnoticed, the visionary food-plant breeders in our midst have been quietly but assiduously devoting their lives to transforming this model. One of the most promising areas of exploration relates to grains - the staple food for the majority of humankind - and the emerging story of the decades-long efforts to perennialize them.

For complicated reasons, the creative tensions which hold all life in balance, appear particularly potentized in efforts to shift grains from annual to a perennial habit. It has not been uncommon to see decades-long breeding programs flounder as the dynamic interplay of genetics runs into a brick wall.
...

Tim has been breeding plants for about 30 years. Passionately devoted to the Great Work, he possesses legendary status among that small tribe who have any idea what he has been up to all this time. Tim has devoted almost two decades work to perennializing grains. In a visit and series of phone conversations over 2004-2005 Tim gave context to my own fledgling efforts to root the perennial grain archetype in my own backyard.
...
Tim suggests considering 4 varieties of perennial and annual grains. They are:
* Mountaineer: Perennial Rye
* PSR 3628: Perennial Wheat
* Stephens: Annual Wheat
* White Popping Annual Sorghum" 

Learn (lots) more, here.
Also note the aforementioned grains are near-impossible to find, and not as "modern day productive." But... now you know, so you can think about it. Also note that if you research, Sepp Holzer has had a hand in this discussion, too.
**READ SOME MORE SEPP HOLZER COMMENTS ON ALL SORTS O' STUFF, HERE. C'mon, click. DO IT!!! : ) **

It Was Another Relaxing Weekend At The Off Grid Prefab House.
As always, we played with chickens...
A girl... and her chicken. BMXing.
Nephew 3 came out for a visit, and promptly they, the Pipsqueaks and he, began their new project: A TREE HOUSE.
As usual, there was no supervision on my end. However, Mister B, our dear friend and retired contractor, did come out and have a look, giving them recommendations. I was expecting him to be The Bad Guy and halt the project, instead he told them to build a second level! Daaaaaag, Mister B. : )
So they did.
They worked all weekend on it, with scraps.
Well, at least they have HE overseeing them...
AND they built a bridge, and "a zip line" out of some
old rope (one of my lead lines for horses) and a hook.
They learned... by things that didn't quite work...
Which I think was Mister B's intent.

Nephew 3 and I also did some driving practice...
Bump bump bumping along the fields...
 
 
(You might notice that Nephew 3 and I are each other's side kick...)

And we ate really well.
It's not modern,
but SO mid-century timeless heartfelt:
I do love this Royal China Wayne County pattern...
 
 
Meanwhile, she's drawing... oh whatever could it be?

Here's an update on that Florida Off Grid House:
Our own off grid composting toilet...
Except that bucket in the lower right is
JUST SAWDUST, folks.

"The Florida woman facing eviction from her own home for living an off-the-grid life now has two powerful allies – a major civil liberties firm and the state of Florida.

Robin Speronis is battling the city of Cape Coral, Fla., for the right to live self-sustainably without city electricity and water, and she won a partial court victory in February when a state judge said she did not have to be hooked up to city power. She was celebrating her small victory when, hours later, the city dug a hole in her yard and capped her sewer line.
As it turns out, the city’s action violated state law."
Read the whole story, here.

I still have mixed feelings on this off grid foreclosure story.  As I outlined last week, I do think health standards should be upheld for community safety.  It sounds like she is now suddenly composting her waste... it just sounds... I'm not getting a lot of data on the systems she uses, and what I see isn't potable water, and nothing on her actual composting system.  I support people who compost via The Humanure Handbook  but there is so much to so easily go wrong and if it does, is it fair to do it close to neighbors, in an urban environment? They all have buckets of waste, outside of their homes, then composted in a small urban back yard, if so...

We opted for a (very expensive) composting toilet that meets code requirements for our own prefab house. 
No buckets. But our expensive composting toilet is compost at it's best, and worst, so you *really* have to pay attention to it, always, to be clean, non-odorous, safe.
Also: I am curious as I mentioned about potable water to that house.
Here's our own rainwater filtration and treatment system, an award-winning system from Germany:

The weekend progressed with love.

There was the setting of the annual Leprechaun trap:
With a Jefferson cup full o' wine, of course...
Wine, gold, a tripwire. I bet she gets him this year.

Now the sunny gorgeous weekend ends with clouds, it beginning to rain, turning to heavy sleet, and snow. Again
We Are Cozy, In The Prefab, Through All Seasons, All Weather.
As I type this, Richmond friends are posting that power is out, all over, in this ridiculous sleet.


A child's take on architecture, and homesteading.
Reading Club:
Homeschool:
Maybe with the extreme vacillations in weather I become a tad moody.
In writing this post, looking for "field pictures of the prefab homestead in summer that shows the fields," I came across some painful posts. The ones about my / my husband's crazy family, you ask? Meh, we grew up with those people. Blah.
No: Maybe I MISS RIATA SO MUCH because of all the love and joy she gave us...
 
I thank all my lifelong friends who have always loved me, as me, and we, as we.

Maybe this reflection also came about because I was explaining to The Pipsqueaks about the best and worst of life, how a glass can be half empty or full, and how you need to give light, not take it. 

This video embodies it:
Listen to the story- she's singing a painful tune:

"Baby you ain't my friend..." 
Yet here is real NYC, on a subway, coming together, with love...

'Chiles, these people are on the Express Train, they're weary, yet suddenly alive, all in it, together.
I tell my child: "THAT's the New York I love... That's how we live life.
She's unshowered. She's tired. They're all tired.
They're all on the express train.
They're... beautiful. This happens. "

Embrace the "this" every day. THAT is what true NYCers, Parisians, people in extreme urban or very rural lives know.
I smile now, filled always,  the rest of our lives, with love.  You never know where your pain, and love, will lead you. We are grateful.
At 12:20 a.m. I went to bed with this song in my heart, cozy, listening to the sleet ping ping ping hard of sleet against this sheltering, lovely off grid prefab house.

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