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3/3/14

Passive SIP Prefab House Chases Spring... Who Is Not Yet Caught

It was a restful winter week at the passive solar off grid home.
I would wake to 18ish ("feels like 10"), but I didn't care...

When I woke, it was in the upper 60s in the SIP prefab house, and that after the cook stove burned out- hence with no heat all evening...
Look closely under the 18-
"Feels like 10!"

Plus it was sunny.
Passive solar thermal mass
and solar gain win!

Mostly in winter, these beautiful crystalline but cold days, no matter the temperature, mean our solar at the off grid house is charging, charging, charging, which means we can work and school and watch a movie, easily.
[Note: Not every winter week is so sunny. There are about three / four weeks a year where we watch the battery bank and aggressively adjust our energy consumption.]

It was cold, but everyone has spring fever.
Black Percherons are plowing the fields, all the Amish backyard greenhouses have seedlings, and the pastures are dotted with kids, calves, and foals.

It was cold, who cares. We got busy on the garden.
Here are chickunz and childrenz helping us prepare the garden beds.

We are big fans of Sepp Holzer and his terraces work well in our yard. We have a lot of clay which we must amend- with manure, chicken grit, compost... Chickunz are *big* garden helpers! Here they are aerating the beds and checkin' for grubs.

Here's also an introduction to Sepp Holzer and his terraces:
(Just read the subtitles)


Someone asked if we were doing hugels.
We are not... yet. The wood we have felled via crop tree release is cherry, some cedar... not appropriate for hugel use; and we use any hickory / oak we come across for firewood.
But it's a great opportunity to show you the concept:
From richsoil.com:
"Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc. As the years pass, the deep soil of your raised garden bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets - so your hugelkultur becomes sort of self tilling. The first few years, the composting process will slightly warm your soil giving you a slightly longer growing season. The woody matter helps to keep nutrient excess from passing into the ground water - and then refeeding that to your garden plants later. Plus, by holding SO much water, hugelkultur could be part of a system for growing garden crops in the desert with no irrigation."
Here's an explanation:
 
We have to till because we are amending our horrid clay soil, fyi. 
I look forward to the day we are no-till!

Everyone Ran Around Outdoors And Were Complete Goofballs.
"I got a stick! I got a stick!"
"C'mon, GIT MAH STICK!!!!"
You know what they say about speak softly...
That's not a stick, that's a TREE.

We Cooked.
Copeland's Asian Israeli Mexican Southern BBQ
Oh. I did go there.
You can, too.
Get a big ole beef chuck.
  • Lightly oil a roast pan in the oil of your choice- olive, or sesame...
  • Line the bottom with thinly sliced onions
  • Heavily scatter minced garlic and ginger over that
  • Take a bunch of dried apricots and cut them larger than minced, smaller than diced, and scatter liberally
  • Slice up a jalapeno in thin pretty slices, and scatter that, depending on the heat you want. I omitted the beloved seeds and heavy hand because I have heard my children whine all week so I won't go there. Today.
  • Now open two cans of tomatoes. Push the lid down so the juice drizzles over everything. Then hand crush the 'maters and spread that over.
  • Rethink the sweetness. Cut up more apricots and toss 'em in, scattered over the tomatoes.
  • Now drizzle some rice wine vinegar over it all
  • And add the chuck roast.
  • Roast. Slow. A long time. Gently. Until it is falling apart.
  • Take forks and take your week of whiny kids out on that roast. RIP. IT. APART.
    OR slice it. And ladle all that yummyness over.
  • Now, more calm, notice how amazing and delicious all the smells and textures look.
  • Lovingly fold it all together, until it is one. big. mess.
  • Shred some fresh parsley.
  • You could make a fresh ginger slaw, serve the meat topped with slaw in tacos, with cilantro instead of parsley scattered over...
  • You could take potato rolls, add the meat mix, top with parsley, and also offer slaw.
    With crispy sweet potato salted fries on the side.
  • You could serve it over rice, or pasta, with parsley.  Add a tangy dill salad, or tabbouleh, or start with an Asian soup.
  • Serve it with warm pita and tzatziki. Or fattoush. Or Balela. A big side of any luscious salad-y OMGosh.
  • We are one mixed up, but one, world. Enjoy.
    Amish dinner rolls work REALLY WELL
    with this... wish I had flat leaf parsley but oh well...
    TASTY!
On Sunday we awoke to GLORIOUS WEATHER!
It rose to the 70s!!!!
Work continued in the garden...
 

Big, fat tadpoles were chased... the pond is full of them!
Caught, then released.

As were chickens...

And dogs.

We even attempted al fresco dining except the dogs and chickens thought they were invited, too.
"You are not invited, varmits!"

Mid-afternoon, we felt the weather suddenly change, the skies darken, and we returned to the comfort of the off grid prefab house.
The wind whipped, the air was heavy... and the coyotes started yip yip yipping, close, and loudly.
Temperatures will now drop as a monsoon of a storm moves in...
Will The Off Grid Prefab House Become An Ark?

Reading Club:
Homeschool:
We are studying art history, in a course geared for artists and gamers... Their first assignment was to discuss their idea of art vs. what the world thinks art is.

Later, I saw this... and thought, "This too, is art." As each word slammed into me, I, already a convert, already in the choir, still: each word hit me like slaps and awakening.
I share it with you. #Sugar #Soda  #GMO #Poetry

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2 Comments:

At 3/3/14, 11:22 AM , Blogger Greg Magnus said...

Great to see others using SIPs here in RVA. My wife and I recently completed a large addition using SIPs for the walls. Based on my assessment of the "real" costs and ROI, you would think more folks would use them in our area.

 
At 3/3/14, 10:35 PM , Blogger Copeland Casati said...

Thanks for reading! As you know, SIP carry us through the depths of winter (tonight, if you can believe it, we go within 24 hours of the balmy 70s in this post to -2!!!!) and heat of Virginia summers... We love, love, love the energy efficiency of SIP.

 

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