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8/3/15

Adventures At The Passive Solar Off Grid Prefab House Continue

I love being on the bay... as we have done for generations... I love the back-and-forth between the bay and the prefab house in summer... But the second my car crested the hill onto the ridge, where you can see the foot hills beyond... the second the gravel crunched as we slowly turned into the drive, winding our way through the field... the second our happy passive solar prefab house came into view, so happy and steady and cozy... IT IS SO GOOD TO BE HOME!

Yes it's hot, yes it's summer, and no the passive solar prefab house has no air conditioning.

As I explain every summer, yes it's hot but not overly- use of old southern camp tricks (and beginning with energy efficiency and passive solar design!) keep us comfortable even when sweltering. Yes. It's hot. But sheesh people, it's summer. Wear a frickin' sundress, sip iced tea on a shady porch, and cool yer heels in water! Welcome to the south.
But 165+ degrees like in Iran this week? That's no joke, that's death. So we reconsider AC- our society is built around air conditioning now, but we can still try to use less of it.

Even on the bay, at the un-energy-efficient In-Town Ramshackle, we use two window units extremely sparingly- only when it's 98 and above, and even then, set to 78.

And we head for water.
Grandma took Pip 1 & Nephew 3 to the water this week...
Nephew 3 is doing his best "Teen Non-Smile" dontcha think?
Here's photos of the Pips this week sailing and canoeing and camping, with water:

Mr. H taking the girls canoeing down the river to camp...

We are back at the passive solar prefab house awhile. Thankfully my horse has forgiven me for straying to the bay.
I spent time with great friends. Trail riding with Mrs. B...

We attended the reception for the Rhinestone Cowgirl and Mister Blue Eyes... in a barn, of course... and heck yes people here know how to COOK.

I spent some time sitting a long while, rocking on the front porch bench swing with my Amish friend Mrs. S.

Tellin' Mrs. S about sailing camp...
As we rocked, I told her all about my "relaxing" time on the bay where I wake and feed the chickens / children / run them to sailing / make sauce to can / can the sauce / make lunch / do school / run the children to teach their code class / back to sailing practice all while wave after wave of friends and family visit not to mention the slumber parties and camping and races.

"I can't wait to come home instead of the back-and-forth after the season to SLEEP!" She laughed, and understood, and also understands why it's so important we go "home" to the bay to "play" : generations of friends.

While talking, we spoke about our similar but different off grid water well set up, with air pressure. She graciously showed me around and allowed me to take pictures because some people here would enjoy seeing it, too.

So here it is: An Amish off grid air pressure well set up:
Sooooooo, there's a compressor.
Oh, wait. First let me tell you I have no idea what I'm talking about here. I'm just trying to remember. If I get anything wrong let me know, more mechanics-inclined people...
Motor thingy on the right, compressor thingys on the left. I'm a mechanic today!

Ok. Motor on the right.
There are pulleys.
Those pulleys then fire up 1. a compressor with what Mrs. S says is not just a fan but kind of an air conditioner, which then puts really cold (freon?) something into the line on the right (the line on the left pipes compressed air to storage), which then, along with another smaller line, runs to their ice box, and 2. another compressor for air.
Cold thing-y.
Cold thingy with compressor with another compressor for air.
Side view of cold thingy. Sure you don't want me to be yer mechanic?
Lines- look closely, there are three-
left is pressurized air,
2nd is cold something,
and we had no idea what the 3rd is.
Maybe Mrs. S and I will be electricians too!

An Amish ice box is kind of in between a refrigerator and a freezer- it keeps things icy cold but not frozen, stored in water.
Her ice box on the side screened-in porch.

Ok let's back up to the mechanics- so there's a motor, pulleys, a cooling thing-a-mah-jig... and the pressurized air is run out back to this big ole tank! This tank, an ex-propane storage tank, is what we were originally trying to acquire from Mr. Y, but smaller, since we're just using our setup to water livestock.
Her tank (brown & white) is 6 times bigger than what we wanted!

After checking out her storage tank, we tripped our way (literally) through the corn back to her well, where she pulled off her well cap. We stared down... down, down. Just for fun. 'Cause that's what we do. Wow, her well is much wider than mine! We could see allllllllllllll the way down. Hence the need for concrete capped wells I guess, for people like me, who like to stare at stuff like that! Mine is just a pipe run through the ground-ish! But at the top, like mine, you can see the faucets, except mine are above ground, hers are below. Hmmmm.

Our original air-pressurized off grid water system would have been similar, yet with an electric air compressor + smaller tank, except we are now piggy-backing off our existing water cistern and treatment system + pumping from the house vs. straight from the well because we can, since we already have those systems for the off grid house.

It's been a big week. Camping sailing riding celebrating traveling working all at once.

For fall, we prepared by bush hogging the field, and, after the barn party, coming home to cut wild cherry and tree of heaven from the woods, toxic-to-horses / non indigenous weed trees; dragged 'em out by hand, cut them further, then stacked the wood. Because: fun.

"Based on research, Ailanthus should make acceptable firewood. When dry, it is comparable to other preferred hardwoods, such as ash, oak, maple, beech and hickory, for heat value. Because of the high moisture content of green Ailanthus, it is important that it is dried well before using."

(See? Everyone always thinks we're just "fun" in summer - maybe I should post some more of our chores buuuuuuuuut that would be boring.)
Reading Club:

Blue moon at the prefab house!
Homeschool:
Teacher friends / homeschoolers: I wanted to make sure everyone knew about the (free) World Education Games coming up in October. You can preregister now so you don't miss it. My kids *love* participating in them, it gets them so excited about knowledge and seeing what other kids are doing, and we write down the countries their competitors are from and study them later, it makes geography interesting when you see all these kids competing from all over the world!
http://www.3plearning.com/
worldeducationgames/


But back to Code Class! This is our Pips' service project for school, taught free.
Oh my gaaaaaaash I was sitting in the Pips' code class at the library and just noticed Pip 1 is teaching the class BAREFOOT hahaha! How did I, nor the librarians, not notice he walked in with no shoes?

Country boyz don't code in shoes, y'all.

Meanwhile I'm putting up sauce, riding mah hoss, loving every last second of summer.

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