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10/12/15

Modern Off Grid Passive Solar Prefab House Discusses Hot Water And Hot Opera.

 
At our off grid prefab modern house it has been a beautiful autumn week... we still prepare for winter, but enjoy every moment when the sun is out, soaking it in...

Lots of work, lots of play.


Big Kahuna
For three winters we have had "ok" showers during frigid outdoor temperatures. The solar hot water tubes only heat so much during cloudy cold months... the tankless water heater we installed helps- it boosts the temperature 20ish degrees.

But 1. it's quite a load, and 2. when the solar hot water tubes are only at 50 or 60 degrees... that means you only get to 70-80 degrees, and honeychiles I AM A HOT HOUSE FLOWER SOUTHERN GAL. Gimme some heat!

We don't want to do propane.
Why be an off grid prefab house that is reliant on GAS? That's not so self-sufficient...

Since we would only use it seasonally, adding some kind of self-invented piping and contraption from the cook stove to the shower to port hot water would just be... permanently UGLY for a seasonal solution.

Other ways of fixing this issue are too rudimentary, like a camping shower precariously hung and slinging hot water from the cook stove trying to pour it into that little jiggly bag... that definitely fails my "is this a good solution for when I'm 80 years old" test.

Then I discovered Big Kahuna 12 volt portable showers, and had a lovely conversation with the inventor, Jeffrey Stinchcomb.
I love that the Big Kahuna is a solid, non-propane but temporary (can be stored out of sight / put away for the off season) solution! I can just fill it up with warm water from the cook stove, plug it in, and shower immediately without waiting for the tankless water heater to kick in, thereby not wasting water! (Prior, we always caught the water in a watering can to reuse on the garden, but this is great that we don't even have to do that!)

We settled on the 13 gallon version.
It comes with a coiled hose for camping convenience but if you're using it for an off grid seasonal shower get the STRAIGHT hose so you don't have to fight it for residential off grid purposes.
Get a temperature reader for safety and convenience if you, like we, are heating water on a wood stove
If you don't have a DC outlet like we, get this adapter which he recommends.
If you would like to heat water via electric, this heater pad is what he uses and recommends.
I plan on setting the base of the Big Kahuna on a large base with rollers, the kind you easily find for indoor plants, and pouring water from my extra pressure canner into the Big Kahuna, then rolling it into the bathroom. EASY, and meets the "I am 80 years old and this still works" test.

Features include:
  • Variable Pressure Controlled Shower Head
  • Several Accessories to Customize for your Shower Needs
  • Hose, Container, & Lid Absorb UV to Warm Water
  • Easy to Operate - Vented, Integrated, Patented Water Tight Lid
  • 12-Volt Worry-Free, Submersible Pump
  • Includes 12 Volt Accessory Plug for Auto, RV, & Other 12 Volt Systems
Off Grid Livestock Pump
Weeks after bringing the equines over to the off grid prefab homestead, I am pleased to see that the off grid pump solution has not had an effect on our solar off grid prefab house- I fill up the water trough, and for this amount of livestock I only have to do it every few days at this time of year- and a minute later it's done. So it really has no effect on our battery bank or off grid energy consumption, which was my biggest worry. In the summer, when we will clearly pump more water, we will also have plenty more sun. So this solution, coupled with the solar electric fence, has worked great.

Off Grid KITTENS
The kittens are not a draw on our battery bank, ha, but they are affecting our serenity! Luckily, they are adorable (and litterbox trained). There are kittens EVERYWHERE in the prefab house, it seems. 
Kittens in my pantry.

Kittens in the bookcase.

Kittens in kindling.

Kittens in the trash can. And kittens... just... everywhere... little lambs sleeping with lions.



Stacking Seasoning Stabilizing Our Fuel 
Last year I wrote about seasoning firewood via Holz Hausens,
Now we will put it into practice with the latest wood we are cutting.

Wild cherry trees are non-indigenous, poisonous for equines, yet valued as a hardwood. So crop tree release which focuses on the abundant wild cherry on our property protects our beloved animals while providing our family with scented fuel!
The Pips played hard and worked hard.

Yes, There Was A LOT Of Work This Weekend At The Off Grid Modern Prefab House.
But that doesn't mean we didn't have fun.


Hug yer lawn mower.

Practicing her slingshot. With chicken and canine supporters.

The Pips attended their first opera, Orpheus In The Underworld. It was... HOT.
I loved that even at The Virginia Opera, our town o' Population 40 represented well. : )
Orpheus In The Underworld was racy but the kids LOVED IT- Pip got all the raunchiness which delighted him ("Hahaha AWESOME!"), and the same stuff went over Pip 2's head ("It was funny! Mercury was fun and I love how the gods are tired of Jupiter! And Public Opinion is so funny!")... They loved it! We see much more opera in the future with the Pips.

There was the Appomattox Railroad Festival.

We loved the food at UprootedVA...
Auburnlea Farms has done great things these past few years, so it's great to see such a partnership develop and evolve into mobile UprootedVA.
Burger with bacon jam... oh lordy.


We loved the James River Cutups...
Here they are, another time:


And: We had lots o' fun in our own back yard.



Homeschool:
DON'T FORGET THE WORLD EDUCATION GAMES ARE NEXT WEEK!!!!

Recipes:
Culturally Confused Banh Mi
Homemade Handsome Husband's bread (Germany), generous layer of Duke's mayo + lots of roasted red peppers I canned (southern), sriracha (Korean), Amish julienned cukes & sweet pickles, salami (Italy). Before the identity crisis set in, I ate it!
As Always, We're Busy This Fall Preparing For Winter's Comfort At The Off Grid Prefab House.
But oh, it's so much fun.





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