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3/10/14

Passive Solar Prefab House Uses Energy Efficiency To Combat A Blizzard And Then... Comes Spring.

The passive solar prefab house began the week with snow. Again.

Meanwhile, on the Sunday prior...

We ended last week at the modern prefab house *finally* after this icy, muddy, icky winter,
running around outdoors,
under sunny skies,
chasin' tadpoles,
preparing garden beds.
That was Sunday.

MONDAY at the passive solar modern prefab house we endured high, angry winds and...
Snow!

In the night, the storm arrived, first pelting rain (at least the cistern is full!) that turned into angry sleet and snow. That mess went sideways, in gusts, battering the roof and sides of the energy efficient prefab house.
Inside, we were in our pj's, cozy.

How gusting and angry that cold wind that blew, surprised me.  It kept trying to find crevices in, *I* kept running my fingers along window seams, the door frames, reassuring myself, YES. WE ARE SECURE: No draft. THAT is where the extra you spend on energy efficient, tight windows kicks in: Years of  Security, through bad winters like this.

Ugh... A blizzard.
A blizzard with HUGE angry gusts.
WHEN WILL IT BE SPRING?!?

In the next videos I tried to show y'all but everytime I turned the camera on it calmed down...
Here's a glimpse:

There were temperatures in the teens, even eight degrees-
"Feels like -3!"
"Feels like NEGATIVE 3!"

Inside the modern prefab...? It was safe, secure, warm. Have a look:
 
 
Once the blizzard stopped, merriment ensued.
"NO SLEDDING WITH THE CHICKENS!"
(Did I really just have to say that?)

But even the children are tired of it by now...
Their drawings celebrate snow-less pursuits.
This is our family, as equines.

We cooked, read, schooled, and enjoyed plenty of popcorn and movies in our pj's.
I might have had a Blender Accident makin' mole...
A few days later, once that mess melted? We awoke Friday to sleet. Then: snow. Wet snow. Icky chilling snow, not the fun fluffy kind.
Will we ever ride again? Will we ever garden again?!?

I've got the car parked high on the hill
and I T'AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE
'till it's melted. Sheesh.

Even with the ups and downs, the solar system and passive solar / energy efficiency of the prefab house made the week cozy, comfortable, even if it was too gross to go anywhere.

We love being off grid, in our cozy prefab house.

But this t'ain't no off grid shack.

THIS IS AN ENERGY EFFICIENT TIGHT ENVELOPE MODERN PREFAB HOUSE THAT RUNS FAST AND TIGHT LIKE YOU WOULD RUN A GREAT BOAT.  IT SAILS THROUGH STORMS.

I think that's what I would like to mention in light of the fact that everyone continues to mention that Off Grid Condemned House in Florida.
"...Living off the grid is illegal in Cape Coral, Florida, according to a court ruling Thursday.

Special Magistrate Harold S. Eskin ruled that the city’s codes allow Robin Speronis to live without utility power but she is still required to hook her home to the city’s water system. Her alternative source of power must be approved by the city, Eskin said.

As previously reported in Off The Grid News, Speronis has been fighting the city of Cape Coral since November when a code enforcement officer tried to evict her from her home for living without utilities. The city contends that Speronis violated the International Property Maintenance Code by relying on rain water instead of the city water system and solar panels instead of the electric grid.

'It was a mental fistfight,' Speronis’ attorney Todd Allen said of Eskin’s review of his clients’ case. 'There’s an inherent conflict in the code.'
Part of the conflict: She must hook up to the water system, although officials acknowledge she does not have to use it."
Now I don't know firsthand, but here are my observations from reading the article:
  • It seems like they were still using the municipal sewer pipes, but didn't want to contribute for their use of them, even if they were "just flushing," hence the issue with their county. I believe if you are using community resources, you should pay your due.
  • It mentions they get their water via rainwater collection, but I see no information on their systems- it looks like they are literally just gathering rainwater. I would like to remind people that our off grid rainwater systems
    1. filter out any leaves or debris then
    2. store the water in a safe container before
    3. treating that water with a charcoal filter then finally
    4. a burst of UV light to ensure there is nothing unsafe!
  • Even we, off grid, with a composting toilet, have a traditional drainfield to meet our local code.
  • Don't underestimate "gray water" that is really black water. If you're off grid, you cook a lot, grow a lot... don't underestimate contaminants that go down your kitchen sink that need to be addressed via some sort of treatment- most inexpensively, the on-grid municipal system, or, off grid, a traditional drainfield.
Apparently this is her rainwater collection "system." I hope she's not drinking this:

I am passionate about sanitation standards.

On Saturday, the Pipsqueaks went to compete in a shooting tournament near Smith Mountain Lake.  Fortunately the sleet/snow had mostly melted, but as we wound through the foothills, past log cabins and old dairy farms, the blanket of snow thickened, until we arrived at the shooting competition.  Snow still covered the fields, and The Pipsqueaks immediately began making Snowmen and surfing through the snow, downhill.

I warned them! "You will be shooting in a damp cold place in just an hour! Do NOT get wet! Stay away from the snow!"
They rolled and sat in wet snow...
Well, there ya go.
 
She has a SUPER coach, by the way...

 
 

Mid-afternoon when we emerged from the indoor  ranges... there was no snow to be found!

We had gone indoors, inside to shoot, surrounded by winter.
We returned to the outdoors, blinking and shedding our coats, feeling spring.

It was beautiful, and the drive home, joyous, with a car full of giggles.
We admired the lakes ringed with mountains, the drive through towering trees...
We stopped in Gretna, founded by a scrappy man who took the place of a prosperous landowner in the Civil War, hence earning the land from the latter.  Later, this same now-fortunate man convinced Lynchburg and Danville to run their connecting railroad along his land, hence founding the town. He went from Nuthin' to Somethin'! With, I'm certain, with lots of stories in between.

We enjoyed our stop in Gretna. Today, Gretna reflects:

No delusions of grandeur here.
Y'all should visit.

We passed through Brookneal, crossed the Staunton River, and waved at our friends at Sans Soucy Vineyard. Here's some pictures of log cabins and whatnot:
 
 
Route 40, aka Stage Coach Road!!!
Can you *imagine* the history?!?
 
 
 

Driving through Pittsylvania County reminded me of how close Virginia came to uranium mining... Signs still proclaim, "NO URANIUM MINING HERE!" and if I were the residents, I'd leave them up indefinitely just to remind public figures where constituent votes would be cast if it darkens the ballot again...
Home, the weekend ended with equines, pasta making, and warmth, indoors and out.
 
Clean laundry dryer turned pasta hanger.
 
 
 Oh, and Pipsqueak 2 is finally tall enough to drive.
*Sob* my lil' Bear Cub is all grown up and driving! 
"Now that you're grown, what will you do when you're TEN?!?!" 
"Enter horse shows and play an instrument!"
That... I believe.
 
  
The chickens are laying again... could spring be finally here?!?
We... shall... see.

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