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12/28/15

Monsoon vs The Off Grid Prefab House! Stay dry, y'all!

Last week I mentioned a list of upcoming projects for the off grid prefab house / homestead.
Now that we have entered our fourth winter at the off grid prefab house, we know better how the landscape around the modern prefab is being used / how we would like to use it.  I mentioned we would like to regrade around the modern house, and that is an opportunity to think further about that space.

This deluge of a monsoon-y week underscored it:
Keeping water away from the foundation is key, of course, and this monsoon gave fresh opportunity to see how the existing grading is doing so. Adequately, but it could be improved.

Also foot traffic to the chicken coop and battery bank are on an area with little topsoil, so mud is also something else to address. If you look at our original landscape plan, you can see big changes on how we actually use the space, now:
Love the front entrance "as is!"

We LOVE what they designed. But each individual family has their own individual uses and needs on each individual home site.

You can already see items that don't fit with our real life as we use the site- no front entrance baffle with root cellar, tree, OR cistern:
  • we buried the cistern, heck it's 1700 gallons so no I didn't want a huge tank next to our house
  • I didn't want a baffle / pergola there in the end- I love how my bedroom just embraces the filtered sun, but it is never hot or too sunny there, so why have further shade?
The root cellar / storm shelter will be built instead in the embankment to the east- the way storms hit here, the bad ones come from the north so I'm hoping a shelter there will have safety added, in that the higher northern field will cause a tornado to "skip" at it hit the lower level of the home site, thus skipping over the buried shelter.

Because the area immediately around the prefab house is high traffic, pavers really make sense, and pavers sitting in a gravel bed right about the prefab perimeter would not only reduce mud but provide excellent drainage.

The area to the southwest has the most grass; so no pavers there. But to the southeast is red clay, so instead focus on that area!

Ah,  But It Was Christmas at the Off Grid Prefab House...
Nothing like putting on your bathing suit to run outside in a warm monsoon, right?
Wait. WHERE ARE WE.
Monsoons and summer thunderstorms in DECEMBER in VIRGINIA?!?
THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN SNOW.

Instead of a cozy cook stove Christmas, with roasts and endless batches of cookies and breads, it is 70+ degrees, I have pulled the camping cook stove back out for light stir fries and sandwiches.
Really?

Welcome to The Christmas Monsoon Of 2015.
Always optimistic, Pip 2 suggested we could start growing rice...
Pip 2 has been ill, but is recovering.
To our heartbreak she was diagnosed with lyme disease AND cat scratch fever.
It will be a long road.

So I was really grateful to see her knee deep in a nice dress in the roiling creek- she's up to her usual muddy mischief again! She could be wearing a ball gown in that creek for all I care!
This monsoon is a prime example of why I want to further grade away from the off grid prefab house.
Thankfully, water did not come *close* to the SIP, but it came close enough to confirm my desire to grade.
When I discovered her thus, I laughed, took pictures, then promptly put her in the bath.
I will go into this in more detail, later.
In the meantime, the outdoors presented us with all sorts of gifts!
"We couldn't find you anything good for Christmas BUT I JUST FOUND THIS!!!"
Awwwww. Thanks guys!
Merry Christmas, y'all.

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