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4/6/15

Is Off Grid A Good Idea? This Off Grid Modern Prefab House Responds.

I will hopefully have some good news to share next week regarding the modern prefab house in the northwest...


In the meantime: Is Off Grid A Good Idea?
Here's an article that asserts, "Why Going Off Grid May Not Be Such A Great Idea."
I wholeheartedly disagree.
We looooove living off grid- it made practical sense and is affordable, in fact cheaper than our on grid options here. So I say fooey on them, and people: stop obsessing on net metering- like a good healthy diet, focus on getting systems that produce only what you need, which makes the cost more affordable- and: live within within your energy means just like you are supposed to live within your means for anything.

This time of year, off grid, I am using the solar cooker again and forgo the cook stove. With the energy efficient SIP and passive solar design of the modern prefab house, it's just not worth it to start the cook stove when the sun is out, temperatures warm, and in the evening, stay in the 30s.

Today I'm baking bread and cooking bacon in the solar cooker... it was 55 degrees outside, but 270+ degrees in the solar cooker.

At The Off Grid Modern Prefab Spring Is Springing.
Don't get me wrong, I love our HRV, but throwing the prefab's windows open to catch a heady warm breeze scented with spring and a hint of rain is delicious.

One morning as I blearily sipped my first cup o' coffee, an idea occurred: Who needs blower door tests? You can check out the tightness of a tight envelope prefab home just doin' THE COFFEE TEST!

What? You contractors and energy efficiency experts have never heard of the coffee test?!?
Siiiiiiiigh ok here you go:
Coffee, with the window cracked open:

Note the breeze? Picture the draft! Oh, my!

Ok, now I've closed the windows, and yes my movement and breathing + just its development rising from the cup makes it sway a little but...

That's some pretty still steam, even with me moving, no? (I took these videos within seconds of each other, I guess because the steam is so still in the 2nd video it is also harder to see?)
THE COFFEE TEST. Look for it in future LEED and Passive House manuals, y'all.
Hmmmmmm...

With The Light Of The Blood Moon, Handsome Husband Hung The Stars
With LEDs all these lights consume practically nothing. Use incandescent and they would easily use over half of what our normal solar electric uses! Isn't that crazy? 
 

How Did He Make These Beautiful Starry Lights, Inexpensively?
We found the LEDs on ebay after searching high and low. They needed to be dimmable, fit into a candelabra base and be small enough to fit through the opening of the spheres, which are 4 inch Christmas ornaments. The socket is covered by a chrome cover and several windings of electric tape make the socket thick enough to sit tightly in the ornament opening.
With The Gusty Wild Week, The Pips Flew Kites And Chickens
She clearly inherited the multi-tasking gene.

This is not a shot put. She is holding her rooster AND flying her kite at the same time. Which is probably how the kite ended up entangled in mah solar hot water tubes on the prefab. NO FLYING KITES NEAR MAH PREFAB, Y'ALL.

In less than a week, our nation commemorates the ending of the Civil War.
At the off grid prefab house, being a stone's throw from Appomattox, we invited friends and family to come camp on our field to attend the sesquicentennial events.

Ahhhhh, a camping week of historic events! How fun!
So of course it's supposed to rain...
We might be filling our small footprint off grid modern house with people, y'all... 
And I will be noting comments and reactions from guests, many of whom are older, always in the city, and never looking to be off grid. What will they think, experiencing our off grid lifestyle?
We
shall
see.

In The Meantime, The Pips Camp. 
It goes down to 30ish, but they have warm sleeping bags and dogs.
It's so nice to have the modern prefab house to ourselves!
Pip 2 awakes around 5 and scampers out, watching the foxes run, trading hoots with the owls, and calling in turkey. It's adorable to hear from the warmth of my bed...

So: Peepers, tree frogs, and...... the first whippoorwill of the year!!!!! Yesssss. It is SPRING.

The Week Ended With Family, Gathered For Easter at Patriot's Bluff, where I grew up with the old family farm known as Rotherwood.
 
Fly fishing the pond...
Shucking...




The Ballad of Holland Island House:
An Animated Short Created by Painting with Clay on Glass

The Ballad of Holland Island House from Lynn Tomlinson on Vimeo.

Recipes:
With spring I crave curries and lemons and...
So here's some recipes.
Make your own curry sauce and chili powder.
Make your own preserved lemons.
They're all too easy not to, and delicious with early spring greens... lamb, chicken, pies... all sorts o' stuff (check out those recipes, oh how delicious...).

On Easter, I taste tested (ok I was hungry for pimento cheese for breakfast) my usual pimento cheese. But... there was something... missing.

I finally realized: Oh. I forgot the pimentos!
Thankfully I realized it in time and rectified the situation, stat.
Friends offered up variations of their own, so I thought I'd note:
Pimento Cheese With Twists: Why not try...
  • Pimentos, green olives and pecans with a touch of red pepper! Yummy! (Thanks, W.!)
  • JalapeƱos!! (Thanks K.!)
  • I use roasted peppers and boy is it good with a little jalapeno! (Thanks C.!)
  • I put a bit of bleu cheese in mine. It is delicious! (Thanks W.!)
  • Harry made some today with butter pickles all chopped up in there. Good, but I prefer the classic. Soooo good!!! (Ooooo that does sound good, P.!)
I'm off to ready for guests, and to catch my durned horse in this beautiful spring weather. 

'Cause she's totally ornery. 
And neglected. 

She's hard to catch, the ornery thang... you have to sneak up on her!
I've never seen a horse so difficult. ; )

Hope your week was great.

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