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6/29/15

Away From Off Grid Prefab House, We Are Off Grid Sporting: SAILING Through Cousin Time...


The week wore on, with good news and bad news: I am sad to report that the week it was supposed to submit its permit,
the Dogtrot Mod in the Northeast is no longer a go. The urban Philly apartment-dwelling client with children abroad realized that her prefab house in the middle of nowhere dream wasn't the best fit: the acreage too much, the lot, although beautiful, too remote, the field too daunting to mow, the bugs... much less that she was then farther from her children, than closer.

I am glad she made the right decision for her, as excited as I was about seeing another Dogtrot Mod erected.

The good news is that the local contractor liked our prefab house kit product so much, he is already talking to another client to do it instead!

It was one of those weeks where you wake up at five and just... think.  Thinking about our own overwhelming logistics...
We are fencing, building a run-in, cutting down an old rotten tree at the In-Town Ramshackle, worried about our off grid solar battery bank...
Running around like a crazy fox.
Too little time, too much to do...
(This fox is now used to all the sailors, which is why he's out & about.)

None of these things are too big in life's big scheme, and I can't complain.
But that didn't stop me from worrying about all our renovation / homestead projects.
I awoke, and then there was this:

It's all good.


It's clear that sometimes this family might be stretched thin.
And I might be losing my mind with all this Family Time and Cousin-ness.
But seeing the delight of the children, as they are surrounded with over 140 fellow Pipsqueak sailors, all heading out onto the bay... makes this crazy back-and-forth from the bay to the prefab house in the summer worth it.

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
 ~ Mark Twain

Pip 1, who is always surrounded with girls (as nice as they are!), finally found His Pack. It helped he was the dark horse cantering in from nowhere to then win three races in a row... that did break the ice...

Suddenly I see him smiling and laughing loudly with a bunch of rowdy boys... happy.
So many sailors one can only photograph half
of the group at a time!
So. We are sauntering through Cousin Time and Sailing Season- this weekend, the Junior Olympics. 
Winds over 20 knots, gusting to 25, it was challenging- but the Pips did great.
Again, Pip 1 won 3 of 5 races.
He is grinning. 
Looks like a good summer ahead.
Cousins.

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6/22/15

Prefab Off Grid Modern House : Watt's Up?

Solar panels tilted to catch the *low* winter sun, not the *high* summer sun.
Curiously, it was cloudy but sunny. That's not what was really curious. What was curious was that the battery bank percentage would just not rise as expected. Odd...

We realized: Oh. Time to alter the angle of the solar panels to better catch the now higher position of the sun. But still, something is off. Hmmmm...

We will monitor how the battery bank is performing more closely over the next week or two.

In the meantime, this is the season of Cousin Time, and Pirates.
"We are playing I Am A Pirate Boarding A Merchant Ship!"
Pirate herd.

We go back, and forth, and back... from the off grid prefab house to the bay, from the bay to the off grid prefab house.

Summer office meeting. Sure beats a conference call!
One thing I've found interesting is that, after a lifetime on the water, and now riding so much these past few years, is how my riding brings so much to the water!

I have never had an easier time climbing into a boat from the water (thank you, no longer using mounting blocks but mane to climb onto my horse).

When I go out on a kayak or paddle board, like riding I now "find my seat" vs. shakily unbalanced / off the board.

Turning? Heck ya, I twist vs. lean into the turn, thereby not capsizing the paddle board.

And when the wind hits, I "lean to lope" straight through it, paddling through the water in wind now easy. THANK YOU Carey and Zena!!!
"So are you saying I help you kayak?!?" Yep.

In the meantime, the Pirates are also playing We Are Lemonade Capitalists whose customers include unsuspecting German tourists... ; )
(It is helping him cool off in this Virginia heat.)

...and BATMAN.
...Y'all stay cool in this heat!
I'll be reporting back on battery banks, prefab house kit projects, and more next week.

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6/15/15

From The Land To The Sea Off Grid House Is Where To Be

At the off grid modern prefab home, electric and water lines were strung- from the livestock well, to the rainwater cistern, from the off grid house, to two pumps, one in each future horse field.  The ditches were refilled with dirt, and now... well, I go back to trying to grow grass around the prefab house site. Again.

But it was exciting to see the water actually work when it was all said and done!

To recap the off grid scenario, we have, for the off grid house, a rainwater collection cistern, that feeds through a filtration and treatment system for our own potable use.

We dug a livestock well last year, and instead of running horse / livestock power out there on its own system, we are taking the (air pressure run) off grid well, feeding it now to the cistern, and then running lines from the (treated, pressurized water) off grid house out to the pumps.
 

Now that summer nears, we lowered the solar panels' angle to better catch the higher summer sun's rays. 


There are always visitors at the off grid house; this week brought another visiting black snake.
We much prefer black snakes to copperheads...
I'm on a conference call about the prefab
in the Northeast... "Well hellooooooooooo there."
 Cue "How much is that black snake in the window... the one with the waggily tail..."
Waggily tail.
In mah window...






The summer of back (and forth) and back (and forth) has begun, between being feral kids on the land and pirate kids on the sea. 

Summertime is farm and family-on-the-bay fun. 

Family selfie with Zena and Pip 1.

We leave the beloved land of brunswick stew and venison for crabbing and cousins jumping off the dock on the bay. And so, we go back. (And forth.)

I travel with childrenz, mastiff-mixes, laying hens, roosters... and, this year, one hen started hatching out chicks en route.

Back to the bay we went. It's Cousin Season!
Many old friends and family we see over summer we only see once a year, so as much as we love, love, love living in the country, Bay Season is where we maintain and continue family friendships that have already spanned generations.

Before leaving, we readied the off grid prefab house for guests (yes, we have friends visit even when we're not home), and closed up the barn extension that will now contain hay.

I love how the Pips now are such a big part of everything we build and do to better Higher Ground.
It's such a family project.

In the meantime, let those dog days of summer, whether here or there, begin.
Dog days?

Yep, dog days...

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