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5/26/14

From The Prefab To The Shore.


At the off grid prefab house we packed up 15 chickens, two mastiff-mixes, an angry feral cat, luggage and childrenz, and teetered off to the Chesapeake Bay.

We head from Virginia's foothills, the land of Venison And Brunswick Stew, to, with summer's heat, Crab Country.


Jax and I
We are so happy to be here, but I do have a lot on my mind. This week the horse I couldn't ride, gorgeous Jax, found his home.

I am so thrilled for him, but it is also a loss. Jax was my Rockstar Boyfriend of a horse, to whom I played Smitten Groupie instead of confident rider. Jax finally found a good match with a seasoned rider who specializes in Arabians.

I'd like to thank New Horizons Equine Services for training Jax to be the horse he deserves to be, and placing him with a match where their riding styles and personalities ensure enjoyment for both over their lifetime.  His new mom told the trainer she was looking for a horse with "controlled chaos." Well that is Jax's middle name...!

So Jax has found his match, and after the death of our beautiful beloved Riata, a chapter closes...
And a new one begins.

I use this season to think about what I want to improve upon, living off grid
We installed minimal solar systems because we thought we wouldn't move here until much later; yet, entering my third year living off grid on extremely simple and minimal systems, there are some simple adjustments that will make living off grid even easier:
  1. Connect the livestock well we dug for the horses to the 1,700 gallon rainwater cistern so that if, in summer, rain does not arrive, we can fill the cistern with well water which then runs through the rainwater treatment system.
  2. We had installed a tankless water system to boost the solar hot water in winter, and it worked well. Now we need to run a switch pipe so that when hot water is plentiful in summer it does not have to go through the tankless, which consumes much power when run.
  3. Radiant heat in the slab still needs to be working. We need to add to our evacuated tube collectors in order to heat up the 120 gallon storage tank and then finish the pump wiring. 
The radiant heat, once working, will greatly impact our off grid living, even if, on minimal solar systems and heat tubes, it never gets "hot." I'm never concerned about the foundation under the modern prefab home UNLESS it gets down to below zero, which it did twice this year with the historic polar vortices.  Radiant heat will ensure the cook stove will not have to work so hard during those moments, and we will not need to rely on so much wood.

I know it's spring. But I obsess on these off grid improvements at the modern prefab house because before you know it, fall will arrive and I will be wishing they were done.

Homeschool:
We continue review, and testing. It's painful. This time of year is frustrating because we all just want it DONE... As I tell Pip 1 to get a life, I admit I was impressed with his programming on this drawing game he made for his sister:


In the meantime, we enjoy spring.
We celebrate Barefoot Season, because who are we kidding? WE HAVE NO SOCKS.
"I've never seen that sock before in my LIFE!"

On the bay, we enjoyed the first annual Deltaville Seafood Festival!
Middlesex's own Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon were out, helping the community, shucking away... These sister oyster shuckers are amazing. I've met them several times and not only do they do what they do so well (they are champions), but they always take time to teach and share their knowledge...
Here's a great article on them in Southern Foodways Alliance.
"Anybody can go wherever they want to go. But I found oysters took me where I needed to be."
~Deborah Pratt
At the seafood festival they also had antique cars...
 And plenty o' food.

We yard-saled... and I came upon possibly the most crazy cool Yard Sale EVER:
First, for the ladies... check out not one, not two, but a room full of antique crocks:
And for the boyz? Not one, not two, but three DeLoreans. For sale, if you have $25,000 in yer pocket...
I liked this antique typewriter.
Yard sales are such a great way to recycle... even DeLoreans.

Oh. Because SO many people are asking for my Deeeeelish Pimento Cheese recipe (they're not), I thought I'd provide it here.
Copeland's Hideous Pimento Cheese
It's hideous for a reason. Bear with me.
Shredded sharp cheddar + Duke's mayo + 1/2 minced onion + drained pimentos + garlic + cayenne + sriracha + lots, and LOTS of worcestershire. That's what makes it brown and ugly. WHO CARES this pimento cheese has a delicious BITE!

We are enjoying friends and family on the bay.

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