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Bay Breezes Bring Fun Feasts And Friends

There is no modern prefab house update for the R1 Residential in California this week, as the plans were submitted and the client hears nothing until September. 

We are on the Chesapeake Bay, continuing to work on the 150yr old In-Town Ramshackle. 

This week's focus was rust. As in: Tin... Roof... RUSTED.

It might still be July, but I sense summer slipping away, and am determined to relish every moment.

A childhood sailing friend and his family are here for the week on vacation.
His wife is an *amazing* chef, with her own Greensboro, NC catering company, From My Pantry. So instead of it being a quiet week at The In-Town Ramshackle, our children played and played, AND PLAYED, while we happily ate our way through The H's Family Vacation.
His parent's renovated Mid-Century Modern
This family did a very nice updating of the mid-century modern home built by their grandfather...
And boy did we EAT.
Rockfish was caught, so Rockfish Tacos were made.
She served up Softshell Crab Sandwiches.

Corn pudding.
Tomato pie.
Tuna tartar... on potato chips.
Yes, tuna tartar on potato chips. No really, potato chips, try it.
I didn't even TRY to top her! Girrrrrrrl, SHE SO WON THE COOKING CONTEST...
So when it was MY turn to host, I served 'em sandwiches and PBR!
The antique beer stein was OFFENDED.

So was Grandma's china.

It was a *blast.*
Serve 'Em Up Sandwiches

Cucumber Spread: Mash cream cheese, Duke's mayo, salt, pepper, minced onion and garlic, fresh parsley and lots and lots of dill. Spread on sliced bread, top with slices of your garden cukes, top with a sprinkle of Old Bay.
Classic To-MAH-to Sandwich: Make sure you have the most delicious, ripe, warmed-by-the-sun tomatoes. It matters. Spread Duke's mayo on sliced bread, then salt and pepper, then top with tomato. Make 'em "new" by tossing arugula under the toMAHtoes.
BBQ and Coleslaw
Make coleslaw with shredded cabbage, onion, garlic, a fave vinegar, sesame oil, salt & pepper.
With a crock pot, keep your summer kitchen cool! Slow cook pork loin, onion, garlic, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and sriracha about 6 hours, pull apart, serve on sliced bread.

Even my pocket is now a social butterfly: Apparently I took over 40 pictures (AND VIDEO) of the inside of my pocket on my walk. MY POCKET IS SO HIPSTER IT EVEN INSTAGRAMMED ITSELF.

The pool. A bunch o' sailor kids
taking a break from sailing.

At the pool, friends showed me pictures they had taken of the menhaden running off of their dock, and that reminded me of a blog I head read, about two sailors sailing around all over, and they stopped into a nearby town where Omega Protein has a plant, and learned about menhaden. What they learned, incensed them. Now, I love waterside towns. So the title to this article is picking a fight I don't want to pick. HOWEVER, I am appalled that

"...Menhaden are tiny bait fish that were once abundant up and down the Atlantic seaboard. They are filter feeders and have the ability to filter a volume of water equal to the entire Chesapeake Bay in less than one day with the potential annually to consume 25% of the nitrogen in the Bay.
Off the dock: menhaden
If you don’t know, nitrogen is not a friend to the bay. The survival of everything from bluefish to humpback whales depends on the small, oily fish. Eagles, Osprey and Pelican also need the fish to survive. In recent years, the menhaden population has declined by… are you sitting down… 90 PERCENT! 90 F’ing PERCENT, people! You feel me? When you over fish the main fish that sustains the bay, you kill everything. When the Rockfish, Striped Bass, Bluefish and other species don’t have food, THEY DIE! Thusly THE BAY DIES!

One local fisherman/scientist did a study over a couple of years and dissected approximately 10,000 striped bass pulled from the lower Chesapeake Bay. The majority of those fish had ZERO body fat and empty stomachs. Their diet is predominantly menhaden. The striped bass are starving to death right before our very eyes because Omega Protein Corporation takes a half a billion pounds of menhaden out of the Chesapeake Bay every single year. And they have for decades."

Not Menhaden.

But good newsThere are now menhaden catch limits. Read up here, and:
"In December 2012, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to establish the first ever coast-wide catch limit for the Atlantic Menhaden fishery, after urging from fishermen, conservationists, and many of you to protect Menhaden1. Menhaden are one of the sea’s most important fish because they provide food for many larger ocean species. For decades prior to this, fishermen were allowed to catch unlimited amounts of Menhaden, and because of this the Menhaden population declined by around 90%.
Now, a year later, the catch numbers for Menhaden are in and it’s good news. The 2013 catches remained just under the coast-wide catch limit in its first year of implementation2! This means that around 300 million more Menhaden were left in the sea to feed fish like striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish, as well as seabirds and marine mammals. This helps ensure the maintenance of ocean food-webs. And in turn it helps support commercial and recreational fishing and also eco-tourism, like whale-watching."

In the meantime, we are recovering ourselves FROM ALL THIS RELAXING. As social as The Bay is, we miss the steadiness of our off grid modern house, our dear friends, our roosters, turkey, and the beautiful ClydesAloosa, Miss ZeZe... 
But we must relish summer, every second.
A peaceful water / coffee set.
Note Pip 2's decoration in the pot...

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Modern Prefab House Project And Considering Car-less

Passive solar modern prefab house
The R1 Residential from Green Modern Kits

Things are happening fast, yet slow, with the Moss Beach Modified R1 Residential modern prefab house! The client will begin a blog very soon, and will give you much more detail there, but here is what I can tell you about this California modern prefab house project: 

I say fast, yet slow, because Moss Beach, near San Francisco, is a beautiful, historic, foggy microclimate full of special things... from Wikipedia:
"Due to the marine air currents off of the Pacific Ocean, Moss Beach experiences above average fog levels, but also superior ambient air quality. Note the everpresent fog in the photo to the right (the circular blotches are not a special effect, but a result of the droplets formed on the camera lens cover). Situated along the coast of Moss Beach is the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a California designated area of Special Biological Significance. The reserve boasts a scenic blufftop trail through ancient cypress groves overlooking the Pacific Ocean, historically interesting tide pools and a variety of significant marine animals and pelagic birds. The unique outcroppings along the beach are part of the Franciscan formation, a favorite of local geologists."
The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Understandably, there is lots of planning and zoning to navigate, to carefully preserve and protect this area. The client submits the design documents for the Moss Beach Modified R1 Residential tonight (hence why I call this fast), yet we will not hear a word on whether it is approved until September, at least (hence why I call this slow!).

While all this prefab house planning is in progress at work, I am in Deltaville, happily stuck.

See, when a storm rolled in quickly a few days ago, we raced into my parent's house just as it hit. 
"Eh, we can just spend the night..." Later I ran back to close up the hens, and let the dogs out, then, the next morning, I hurried the children: "Git yer shoes on! Git dressed! We have to let the chickens and dogs out!!!!"

We (finally) climbed into the car, I turned the key, and: click.
The car... was dead.
I thought hard.
I opened the garage.
I raced off with one of my parent's boat bikes!
"Hold on kids, I'll take care of the critters and be right back!" 

Once home (2.5+ miles later... thus this would be 5 miles, *each trip* by bike...), I realized that... it is one thing to let out 10+ chickens and then herd them into the lawn with THREE people.... than one person. 
Chicken tree.

I chased the flock, they ran, and we did circles
and circles
and circles
and circles...
at some point I looked up, saw a kind neighbor, realized the futility of a one-(wo)man-chicken-chasing-show, realized that the upcoming day of rain would only mean I would be riding that boat bike back and forth to let out dogs, back and forth in the dark to close up the chickens, back and forth through lightning and monsoons...
That kind neighbor took me to retrieve the childrenz, and thus children and chickens and dogs were now under, albeit carless, ONE ROOF.
Are you bored? Not my problem.
Go talk to yer dog through a window
or something.

Who cares? We can walk anywhere... I have groceries! I HAVE WINE! We'll be *fine* until Handsome Husband arrives in two days! BRING ON THE NO-CAR LIFE!

We had fun! We went to the library and loaded up on books.  We got out. We walked those 2.5+ miles to the pool, talking all the way, looking at stuff, contemplating stuff, making up stuff, and it was so funny because once we got there, two moms were talking about their childhood vs. children now and how overscheduled and electronic-fied children's lives have become. I mentioned how data shows how important it is to have the gift of boredom, how it is necessary to boost creativity... One woman said, "Heck, when I was bored, my grandpa told me to just clear walk across town if I was bored, or read a book!" I paused, thinking about the 20ish books we read over the storm, and how, when the sun then came out, we walked clear across town to the pool.

In a walkable community, even in more rural areas like here, it IS possible to be comfortably carless.
Especially when you are in a great community.
For example, that good friend who picked up the childrenz? I came by later and thanked him, giving him some eggs. "Hold on!" he said, and ran to the back of his shop, where he then presented me with... mead!
I'm serious. Whenever I gift Henry,
he always gifts me with something

So, The In-Town Ramshackle Rocks On
And GOOD MORNING from the big ole town o' Deltaville!
We are still slowly cleaning and settling in to the 150 year old In-Town Ramshackle, it takes forever. Pretty much by the time I get it all spiffed up and ready for the summer it will be time to go home to the off grid prefab house!
This week's projects included more grading around the house site to ensure water does not get under the house, and the well filter was changed (this area of Virginia has a lot of rust in water).
I walked the property, noting the landscaping- lots of "rooms" created by shrubs, yet large open spaces...
I smiled, thinking that when we bought the In-Town Ramshackle, they probably thought they were selling us the *lot* and considered this house a tear-down!
The In-Town Ramshackle is such a special property and worth the struggle to save. Picture a 150 year old farm house not 50 feet from Main Street where, with your coffee in hand, you can stroll out, out to the far edge of the field to watch the deer and turkey! That's actually what  I just did- Pip 1 and I had a great time watching a tom and two hens blithely strut about, leisurely picking the field, then suddenly fly high into the pine! In a town! A town on the bay! I love it!
Look closely-  them thar's some turkey!

So we are here, enjoying turkey in town. 
Come and see us.

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