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10/19/15

Modern Prefab House Enters Colder Months Off Grid... Again. But With Holz Hausen.

At the off grid modern prefab house, cookstove season nears.
It is now in the 20s at night, rising to the 50s/60s. I only light a fire for dinner, and that keeps the SIP house cozy through the night.




We close up the prefab house's windows now, and fresh air exchange is now provided via our HRV.
I built my first Holz Hausen, and in doing so, learned some things. 
Of course I had read about it, written about it. But when you actually build a Holz Hausen, there are key tips (included in this article) to follow that is different than "regular stacking wood." I am a Queen Of Stacking Wood so I glanced at the articles then began to stack in a circle, toss in wood to the middle... and a wall section collapsed. DAG!

Isn't the circle shape supposed to make it more steady?!?
So I more carefully reviewed the article to see what I was doing wrong. I had read two articles. The first, linked above, the second, here.

Two key things I missed the first time:
  • The poles or bark or wood you use as the base are not just to keep the wood dry- it is key to tip the walls towards the CENTER, not just build level walls like you usually would
  • I used poles to reinforce the walls at about 3' height as the second article mentioned, and tossed in the wood as they did. The prior article does a better job- that middle wood you "toss" in? Make sure it's VERTICAL and that will help ensure your Holz Hauzen doesn't push from the inside onto the outside walls, enabling a collapse.
Also someone here asked a great question about what to do once you start using it- do you keep building that shingled roof? No. The consensus, in my research, is "Put a bird on it!"

Oops. Sorry. That's for Portland.
OUR answer is, "Put a tarp on it!"

Our Off Grid Kitten Era Is Winding Down
It will be a sad, sad day in the modern prefab house when they are all gone. But this is No Country For Lil' Kittens.

I will miss... oh I don't know even where to start without getting upset. Walking in to the great room at dawn to start my coffee and suddenly kittens are popping out of every nook and cranny- out of my book case! My salad bowl! Behind the fridge! The pantry! All greeting me to start the day...



Tiny, our Mastiff-Mix Nanny, is trying to break up their "fights"- he gets so upset when they happily, exuberantly, wrestle...

But when they're asleep... angels.

And the purr purr purr after a big day of kitten-ness where everyone jumps and claws and wrestles around and then suddenly they're all fast asleep against your neck, tucked into your body, little kitten paws and whiskers and breath...

It was a long, un-asked-for, unexpected two months after arriving home from Deltaville to suddenly have the prefab house pop with kittens.
It will be a time we will never forget.

It will be very, very quiet at the off grid prefab house after the last kitten leaves, around Halloween.
We love each one of them so much...

Enough to adopt them out. Cats are only snacks, here. Our chickens are bigger than cats ever get and even then they are regularly carried away by just hawks and owls, and don't get me started on coyotes, foxes, and yes, lions.

So we are happily heartbroken to announce that our little panther, Bagheera, is off to her new life with this little boy, and his great family.
He told us her name is actually Olivia, and that they must run, as they have LOTS of playing to do.
Goodbye, beautiful Bagheera. We love you.

There was a Costumed Cotillion this weekend...
Pip 2 snatched our feather duster, colored it with a marker in orange until the tip, dug around for some orange clothes, made a mask, and became a fox.

What Does The Fox Say?

Fox And Hound.


Back home, everyone enjoyed romping and playing silly in the sunshine...

There were lots of pasture antics, even Aesop's Fables goin' on at the off grid prefab house...

My friend C. and I made a special trip to check out a horse.
Welcome, Cornbread.
(Mountain man not included.)
When I first spied Cornbread, I thought I was going to give him a new name, a name full of deep Indian meaning, a mystical, noble name... and then they told me his name was Cornbread.
Honeychiles, I know better than to fool with that.
HE'S CORNBREAD.

Cornbread comes home Tuesday. 
We are all waiting, at the off grid prefab house.

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