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2/23/15

Off Grid Modern Prefab House (with SIP) In A Blizzard!

We knew snow was coming...
At the off grid prefab modern house, we were RACING the snow. 
Like everyone, we anticipated it. We, as always, off grid, were stocked...

But for other, off grid battery bank / solar system reasons- when it started lightly snowing at 8a.m., Handsome Husband and I groaned, "Noooooooooooooo! It wasn't supposed to start until mid-afternoon!"

He had to scurry into Lynchburg, in the direction of the storm! Why?
To get a longer cable to connect the new off grid solar battery bank to the inverter.

Even though it arrived two weeks ago, we still hadn't connected it yet, and were hoping to do so before the predicted 12" of snow arrived.

Now, it was a RACE.
The snow started coming down, hours early.

Plus there was that Arctic Siberian Polar Vortex weather thingy bearing down!
Polar vortex to unleash record-breaking cold in eastern U.S. on Thursday, Friday
Gah! We're in the -20ish area!
What if we don't get the new off grid battery hooked up
 and have to go through this
 with the old barely-no-longer-working batteries?!?
Aaaaaaaaaa WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIIIIIIIIIIIIE!
"All of this is courtesy of a plume of not just Arctic, but Siberian air that has been trudging across the North Pole and into North America over the past week."
The old off grid solar battery bank was replaced.
Just.
In.
Time.


What a relief! Bring on the Arctic Blast!
But we weren't done yet!
By the end of the day, after years of not being connected... our radiant heat in the slab was hooked up!




Chivalrous Handsome Husband carried
all eleven of the chickens up to their
coop once the snow got deep.


Now I want to talk about our own radiant heat, because it's not what you think. We are off grid, remember?
So there's no gas or electric firing up the radiant heat's liquid to 250, ok?
But, days into living with the radiant heat through an Arctic blast... it DOES make a difference.
I noted that the temperature gauge read up to 78 degrees during the day (and it was COLD outside...) then fell to the low 60s at night (when it was NEGATIVE TEMPERATURES COLD outside...).

So the slab feels lukewarm, comfy, not hot because we do not have it hooked to some propane or gas fire-it-up source, but does its job and does it great, because the draw from our battery bank was surprisingly low!  The draw is about -4, yet I am thrilled to see the average day on frigid days range from 62ish at night up to 78ish during the day!


With all our off grid systems humming, it was time to enjoy the frigid temperatures, which we can do because no matter how frozen we return, the off grid modern prefab house is cozy, welcoming, warm!

Years into it, all I can say is in extreme conditions like we are experiencing this week... I really, really, REALLY LOVE A SIP HOUSE. Structural insulated panels WORK- no drafts, you feel so protected... LOVE SIP / STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANELS...





So off you can go into the frigid snow, because when you return you have the toasty off grid modern prefab to warm you up!
Why yes, that dog IS toting a snow board...!
















However. I did run into one issue:
Um, kiddos? No matter how energy efficient this off grid prefab is, if yew keep OPENING THE DOORS and standing there, talkin,' in -8 degrees... ERGH!

In the end, here's what I think: There are snow haters and snow lovers.
I think the snow lovers love snow because they are WARM, COZY, and COMFORTABLE in an energy efficient home at the end of the day. In our off grid modern prefab house, with structural insulated panels (SIP), we sail through polar vortexes and blizzards not just safely but toasty.











All this dire weather, in a toasty off grid prefab was... FUN.
BRING ON SIBERIA!!!!



Because we are warm, even the chores this week in an Arctic freeze were a joy.
Here's how they hauled wood:






Reading Club:
  • Oh... wow. I'm so glad I live off grid: Don't Let Dominion Power Pocket Refunds
    "The first thing you should know about Dominion Virginia Power’s No. 1 legislative priority this 2015 General Assembly session is that, contrary to what Dominion and the bill’s chief patron, state Sen. Frank Wagner, say it will do, SB1349 will not set a freeze on your monthly electricity bill for the next six years. It’s more like a floor. Your electric bills can go up, but they can’t go down."
    As a friend Joe G. said, "Thanks to the SCOTUS Citizens United decision we have entered into a phase of corporate governance. The robber barons have returned and they've been given the authorization to line our legislator's pockets."
  • How Finland will solve the world's most wicked problems.
    Because FINLAND.
    And with nature and organic food.
  • Hamptons chickens get modern coop >It even has radiant heat!


Recipes For SNOW:
Warm You Up Dumplings And Cube Steak
Slice garlic, onion, portobello mushrooms and sautee in a pot...
Add broth (or water with some meat pieces) once it's done, at least an inch or two.

On a plate break 2 eggs and stir together.
In a shallow dish mix a bunch of white flour, salt, pepper.
Take each cube steak, dredge each side through the egg, then flour, then fry a few minutes on each side until brown.
With leftover flour: Stir some into the stew, to thicken.
Put the steaks on top of the stew.
Simmer simmer simmer at least an hour.
45 minutes before it's done: With the rest of the flour add an egg or two, some baking soda, more flour salt pepper if needed, and ground corn meal until you make a long roll of dough, slice and top the stew with the slices.

You should be able to cut up the meat with the serving spoon it will be so tender.
Do that so it's in smaller bite sized bits, and ladle it all over the dumplings.
This is delicious for breakfast the next day IF you have leftovers..

Melt The Blizzard With Fire In Yer Belly Cauliflower Soup
Mince garlic, onion, carrot, cauliflower and sautee, then add broth (or water with meat/fat pieces if you don't have any) covering it all.
Add salt pepper, smoked paprika, dashes of hot sauce of choice.
In a pan cook bacon, drain grease into your grease pot, set bacon aside. When cooled, thinly slice.
Simmer soup until well cooked.
In a pan make a bunch o' beurre blanc. Add grated cheddar to the soup. Then stir the beurre blanc in (make sure soup is not boiling!), ladle into bowls, top with bacon.
Serve with fresh bread.
Mmmmmmm.

If I Had Ever Been To The Southwest This Is What It Would Taste Like Black Bean Soup
Sautee minced garlic (lots) leek and bacon, add washed & drained beans, and plenty of water to allow the beans to soak up but also enough for broth. Simmer for at least 2 hours- you can test a bean to see when it's done... Add plenty of salt, pepper, coriander and lemon juice. This should be a fragrant soup, not bacony but coriander/lemon yet still tasting beans.
Top with grated cheddar and slices of avocado.

Regardless of these Siberian Gusts and Arctic Blasts and Polar Vortex whatnot, we made plenty of time for play.

In fact, Zena and I had a great time keeping warm line dancing! ; )



Well, the snow is fun. But wouldn't it be nice to be in the thick o'  hot o' New Orleans's Mardi Gras?

Nah, we're having too much fun.


Yes, he just stole the carrot from the snowman.














Sadly, all good blizzards must, at some point, come to an end.
(And happily for many of my good friends in kidding foaling calving season. Hope you are all safe.)









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