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4/14/14

Modern Prefab Passive Solar House Uses The Off Grid Well For The First Time!!!

The redbuds are blooming at the off grid prefab house...



Our field is lined with them- they burst forth from dark branches and celebrate the joy of spring.

In the modern prefab house's great room, I have fifteen baby chicks scratching and peeping and entertaining us with endless antics.  It is warm enough now that I can put them in an outside run during the day. Watching them skitter about, pecking soil, bugs and grass, is a joy- most chickens sadly will never have that experience... to just be in their natural environment.

Speaking of naturally raised chickens, I often spend the sunrise outside the prefab house sipping coffee and having a chat with Penny.

Good mornin'...

Penny is an Amish hen who roosts in the cedars, so while the dogs are still lazily snoozing in the children's beds, she's the first one down to catch up on the upcoming day's agenda with me each morning. 

Last year we had two flocks- one secured in the run at night, one wild, roosting in the cedars. It was very successful until, at the end of rifle season, hunters loosed unwanted starving dogs on our road. So now I know not to leave at all the week after rifle season ends- those dogs don't have a fear of the homestead area like coyotes do, nor know to stay off our boundaries like neighboring farm dogs do. Now I know.

So I'm going to continue on with the philosophy of one wild flock, one contained-at-night flock. Of all chickens lost to predators over the years, I have never lost one at night. The cedar is *within* our electric fence that contains our "yard" area, giving it extra protection.

Here is Penny heading up for the evening, so you can see:
The cedar.
Jumping up from branch to branch...
Higher, higher... and outwards...
Look closely- Penny at the top left,
dog at the bottom right... out of reach.
It is a LOVELY spring.
Egg hunt!
 
 
But then...
WE RAN OUT OF WATER AT THE OFF GRID PREFAB!!!!
Which doesn't make sense- it had rained regularly...
We will need to check the usual culprits: The rainwater filtration filter was clean, so then we wonder if the gutter had bent again, hence preventing water to the cistern?

Our off grid well had been drilled last fall for our horses... and then left "as is" when our beloved Riata died, unused.  Now we turned to it for our own water needs.  It has an Amish air pump, and this is the first time we have used it to fill our cistern (and now a great backup to our off grid rainwater collection system!).

Here are the steps to connect the off grid well to the prefab home's cistern:
- Lift off well cover (check for black widows!)
- Drag air compressor out (and portable generator, if you would like to power that way, as we are today. Otherwise you could run the extension cord from the compressor to the house.).
NOTE: We will be getting a 150-300lb ex-propane tank to then hold pressurized air so that this would needed to be done only once a week-ish, when it's sunny (and we can then just plug it in to the prefab's solar electric system) when we use the well to water horses and chickens.
- Attach the *potable* water hose to the well, open the cover to the cistern, and run it down to the cistern.
Potable hose connection...
You can plug the compressor into the generator, like here
or run an extension cord to the prefab house and plug in, there.
Connect the air hose to the compressor...
And then to the well.
*SURPRISE* there's quite a bit of air still
in the tank! The 100lb Puppy is shocked
at the rush of air sounding unexpectedly!
The 100lb Puppy voices his displeasure!
Once it's all connected, make sure
the air compressor is ON.
(Pull the knob out, to turn it on.)
 
 
This set up will get us through the next year or two while we focus on more important projects. Eventually the well and the cistern will be connected, and automated.
But for now, this will do as an affordable, good off grid solution vs. much more expensive methods.

Ahhhhh spring... Aside from work - prefab house kit projects in the works - I have some special projects planned this spring / summer.  As always we will be going back and forth to the Bay as we have, for generations... But on my "at the prefab house" weeks I will be helping out a friend who is having surgery in May.

I am very excited.
You see, Carey is our local Horse Whisperer And "Fixer."

This is a wonderful apprenticeship opportunity for me to help a friend while being seriously mentored, thus growing my own equine confidence, while helping her!

My duties will include working with three horses, one of them a walking horse that is being trained to park out and lay down.  Here she is with Pale Face, teaching him down:

It's funny, in both of our businesses, well... we're kinda the same...
She: "Dag it is so hard watching you to let go."
I assure her with a heady, "YEAH 'SPECIALLY SINCE I AM TOTALLY GREEN AT TRAINING!"
She grimaces, tightly... : )
Here's another project I'll be maintaining...
the sweetest lil' quarter horse, GLIMMER!

And then we're off to ride Zena.
 
 
Learn more about New Horizons Equine Services, here.

This is the time of year when, during a school break after lots of math, it is great to just get outside, on to another adventure...
 
 
 
 
These daffodils, now deep in the woods
were planted over 100 years ago
at a prior home site, now lost.
She fancied up the shed.
 
 
 
 
 
 

And at dusk? 
"Casati Snake Relocation Services, may I help you?"
Chickens: "Squawk! We're heading in to roost, but there is an intruder in our coop!"
Pipsqueaks: "I'VE GOT HIM!" "NO, *I'VE* GOT HIM!" "NO, *I'VE* GOT HIM!!!"

They were trying to pretend to be "scared"-
Do know that with eggs in his belly they were
super careful of the snake, very gentle / aware of that to not harm him.
Egg thief! Two eggs in his belly!


Ahhhhh. Another successful relocation, off to the cattle pasture, he goes.
 

Reading Club:
  • Report: NSA Exploited Heartbleed to Siphon Passwords for Two Years  
  •  Moses Bridge : Walking Through Water landarchs.com/moses-bridge-w…
    #
    design
    #architecture
  • What's the largest source of energy consumption in the U.S.? Hint: it's not automobiles ow.ly/vHJCI
    Energy efficient off grid prefab house!
    Why are more buildings not like this?
    #Insulation #SIP #OffGrid

    Today's existing buildings use 72% of our nation's electricity, much of which is wasted. We cannot transform our energy system and prevent runaway climate change if America's commercial buildings continue to consume dirty fossil fuels at today's rates.

Homeschool:

I'm discovering a lot of PG-13 movies are totally not appropriate for our kids... sadly, tonight, an animated movie, but... Beowulf. Geez I was just going, "It's BEOWULF!" Yeah, but it was Beowulf, truly brought to life vs. the dry Middle English I studied that made the violence more removed...

Are they just really sensitive, I wonder- is it because they are in reality vs. video games- they are in the shooting club, they see us butcher, so do they take it all in as more real than many kids? i.e. Not de-sensitized. Thoughts?

(Other PG-13 movies we have tried to watch often really overtly display sex. I'm trying not to sound like a prude but sometimes I wonder if the devaluing of oneself begins with watching movies and media depicting, "Oh it's just funny to sleep around it's no big deal"...)

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