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9/8/14

Back To The Off Grid Prefab Modern House! From Water To Land.

Regarding modern (and cottage) prefab house updates, I need time this week to sort through the latest because it was a *very* busy week... 

But it is the weekend, and I will not be able to sort through it in time, as I have been busy traveling with childrenz, chickenz, mastiff-mixes, and a summer's worth o' luggage. Oh, and if you were stopped at a red light next to us while we travelled with windows down, dogs drooling, childrenz yakking, chickens clucking- yes, it was all of this, AND A ROOSTER.

We are back from the bay, back to our passive solar prefab home.

Earlier this week, back at the Ramshackle on the bay, we were in the pool, not a child left on the point, when I looked up and saw the geese flying over. Time to go.
Pack up, kids- We're heading home.

NO! (No!)
SLEEP! (Sleep!)
'TILL PAMPLIN!!!!!


So, yes: We're home! 
Home at the off grid prefab house!
I thought I'd be sad to leave the salt water so soon, especially as it is hot, but the second we pulled off 460 we started singing,
"Take me back to Pamplin CIT-tay
where the grass is green and
tha' gurls are PRET-tay
OH WOOOOOOON'T YEW PLEASE
TAKE ME HOOOOOOOOOME..."

So now that we're home, we are busy readying for winter.

You may recall that originally we were sloooooooowly finishing this modern prefab house because we didn't plan to move here until the kiddos were in college.

As we didn't intend to live here full time for years, instead of investing in would-be-outdated off grid systems, we bought The Bare Minimal Weekend Use solar arrays.

Suddenly Handsome Husband took a dream job and we *jumped* at the chance to move here, full time, even with an unfinished house and bare minimal solar systems!

And we have been happily Off Grid On Minimal Systems In A Passive Solar Prefab House, since.
But.
It's supposed to be an unusually cold winter.
"...The Old Farmer's Almanac, the familiar, 223-year-old chronicler of climate, folksy advice and fun facts, is predicting a colder winter and warmer summer for much of the nation.
Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a "super-cold" winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. "
In this still-not-quite finished prefab, I want the radiant heat, installed in our slab, finally hooked up and working.
Even if our solar hot water tubes don't produce "hot" water in frigid, overcast skies, it still will help maintain the slab's warmth.

An occasional campfire...

Even though we have plenty of fallen trees with which to heat, via the upgraded-to-be-efficient wood cook stove, heating with wood is not environmentally friendly and I would like to minimize our reliance upon it.

Thinking about the cook stove also made me think of how I have started to use the crock pot at The Ramshackle to not heat up the house in summer. At the off grid prefab house, in winter I use the cook stove, but in summer I use the solar cooker -and- a propane camp stove (for morning coffee or cloudy days).

We were at The B's and Mister B was working hard on an eggplant beef sauce when I asked, "Heyyyyyy. Wait a second: WHY are you using that portable electric stove burner?!?" "It's cheaper than propane...!"
Ash art from last night's camp fire...


Huh.

And then I thought about plentiful sun in summer, solar battery banks always charged, and the cost of those little camping cook stove propane canisters.
Hmmmmmmm.

Wouldn't it be better to use a portable, one burner Induction Cook Top, here too, when it's overcast, especially as we cook on cast iron pans?
"With its energy efficiency, kitchen geek appeal and growing reputation for power and precision, induction cooking may be the iPad of the kitchen. Like Apple’s latest invention, induction technology could forever change everyday tasks, or it might never deliver on its promise.
The induction range, which relies on an electromagnet to heat iron or steel cookware, remains a mystery to most cooks in the United States. In an independent survey last summer by the market research company Mintel of 2,000 Internet users who own appliances, only 5 percent of respondents said they had an induction range or cooktop.
...
Unlike their baby boomer and Generation X counterparts, the new class of cooks is less tied to the aesthetics of gas and more interested in environmentally sound choices. "
They're both quite the Little Chefs these days...
and great helpers.
Soooooo... Canning Is Done.
Over 50 quarts o' this stuff.
Not to mention the rest...

When I finished my last batch, I thought,
"Well, I have 24 hours left, here... SHOULD I GET ANOTHER BOX?"
Then the angel on my shoulder said, "HUSH, CHILE, go take a load off!"
It is addictive... yet now you can sit back and SAVOR the end o' summer!

Chores Are Done.
Wellllllllllllll at least for the day. 
(Can you even imagine how much we had to mow?)

We ran to kiss our horse, and she forgave us for being on the bay. 
Actually, what she said was, "Oh! HEY! It's mah HUMANS! Awwwww did you see HOW MUCH GRASS THERE IS THIS SUMMER?!? Oh, don't walk across the pasture, let me trot up to y'all for a good nuzzle. Now, I'm giving you a hug but while we're here, let me check to see if you have TREATS in that pocket..."
He missed her SO much... 

Now It's Time For Fun: UNCLE GLOVERS!
Deep in the foothills... down in the woods...
There is a gal...
And when she cooks people come and gather and lissen to old country music and talk food and... food policy.
"Uncle Glover’s was first opened in 1926 by the great-uncle of the Cardwell sisters. It served as a meeting place for the residents of the rural Concord community. Audrey and Anne Scott were raised on a working family farm nearby and participated in activities at their relative’s store throughout their childhood. Their passion for history, family, sustainable farming, and local food has animated their desire to restore Uncle Glover’s, which had been closed for the last 38 years. Uncle Glover’s is now a place where locals gather, listen to pick-up bluegrass, buy an heirloom tomato, learn how to graft heritage apple trees, or simply share a story."

Homeschool:
School officially started. They've been schoolin' in their bathing suits, so with the cool weather finally here I thought I'd snap Back To School pictures.
Then they went indoors, and back to school. Sure beats the 20+ minute commute we used to do to go to The German School!
Earlier this week, schoolin' in a bathing suit.

Recipes:
At the beginning of summer you are STINGY with each tomato to savor, each leaf of basil... Well, no more. Frost nears, you've already put up sauces and jams and frozen corn and fresh herbs, so any cooking you do gather up *handfuls* of parsley, dice those cucumbers and toss 'em with parsley, basil, *liberally* over any meat, grilled onions, and creamy something (in this case mayo mixed with mustard and fresh parsley) over fresh bread and call that mess a SANDWICH!

Make a salad with the first fall kale! Late sweet corn! Avocado! Garlic! Lime! Honey! Those delicious cherry tomatoes! Uh, what else... MIX IT ALL TOGETHER!
And perfectly ripe melon from the Amish auction as a side.

We'll miss The Ramshackle.
But that season is done, the children gone, and we, like the geese, go home.

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