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8/31/15

Off Grid Modern Prefab House! We're Home! Off Grid Rhythm Returns.

We are HOME at the OFF GRID MODERN PREFAB HOUSE!!!!!
Phew.

Home home home home HOME. Back on the land, back at the modern off grid prefab we love and know so well...
We are so happy but exhausted.

Earlier this week, on the bay, thigh-deep in the pool, I felt the water's telling chill. Suddenly, a V of honking geese flew over: it was time to head home.

Every time the geese flew this week, Pip 2 would stare me down:
"MOMMA... the GEESE are FLYING..."
Yep. We all knew it was time.

So home we came, home to our off grid prefab house!

At the off grid prefab house, we just got a new (to us) tractor to help the homestead!
When considering tractors for a homestead, consider: it's better to invest in equipment where, if you upgrade later, it is still useful. Also, we are firm believers in investing in less, but trustworthy equipment, vs. investing huge amounts of money into huge tractors we use once or twice a year, where we will never recoup our investment.
Adorable. Doesn't it look like Wall-e?
Hi.

The season of summer on the bay is crazy chaos, fun, complete madness.
We are glad to be back home, with rest, structure, quiet contentment... back to our rhythm. 

But the last week on the bay was a blast.
The Pips joined up with the 420s, ha!
Sailor Crab Boil with friends...

Beautiful huge moon...
The Ramshackle at night.

Tomato Pie, BBQ Style
Instead of my basic tomato pie recipe, use some leftover savory bbq and cooked (in it) savory bbq/ onions for the regular normal uncooked minced onions. I did, and served it up at our last Sailor Social... those sailors ate. it. up.

Traveling is hard. I extremely dislike it.
Especially with a car full of childrenz, dawgs, chickens, and guinea fowl!

But I made it, thanks to Kat, Carey, and Zena!
Kat because as the thought of driving the distance began to daunt me, I heard her voice bubbling about how much FUN road trips are and how much she loves them.

THIS is the bridge.
When a humongous bridge came into view and I began to panic, Carey's trainer voice, as always, assured me just like when she's giving a riding lesson, "You've GOT this. DON'T anticipate what can go wrong- you can DO this."

And as the car wove it's way on a thin asphalt strip high into the sky, when all I wanted to do was roll out of the car to curl up on the side of the ramp, hugging the ground, suddenly I WAS RIDING ZENA. And I was tall, because you're *always* tall on Zena, but I could look at and focus on the *road* and not look at how high we were in the air. And Zena and I *rode* over that bridge, Zena and I picked our way back down, and as I exhaled, now driving, on ground level, Zena's spirit urged me home.
via VA Dept of Transportation
via Fluor
So we're settling in to the off grid prefab house- exhausted but happy. 

I will be writing more about our off grid prefab house and homestead projects in more detail, next week.

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8/24/15

Summer Sails Away, Time To Head Home To The Off Grid Prefab House.

Off grid modern prefab house
from Green Modern Kits
.
We are wrapping up summer renovation projects for the year at the In-Town Ramshackle to now focus back on the off grid modern prefab homestead setup.

We have some adjustments to make on the off grid battery bank, which I will go into more detail when we're settled in back home.

Fencing will be finished next month, once rain softens the ground a bit. And if you are a homesteader considering an addition to your livestock, I do, now months into them, recommend guinea fowl. Yes they chatter. But just their tick eating alone makes them a benefit.

But back at the Ramshackle...

I'm reading a book on the Great Depression, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), and a young man's journey into adulthood. If you have kids 10 and up, I highly recommend it- it's called Hitch.
Imagine my surprise in Chapter 15 when they start talking about prefabs! But then again, I wasn't surprised- it's just another reminder of how long prefab houses have been around- since 1908, and how useful and efficient prefab houses can be.

Well.
The L's had so much fun with their visit last week that THEY CAME BACK.
Fun in the sun continued.
I've enjoyed watching the little pirates master Optis, and start climbing onto lasers and 420s.

We might be homesick and wanting to settle back down to life at the off grid modern prefab house but I will miss the crabs...

...and the homemade sailor breakfasts of shrimp and grits, crab omelets, and hot biscuits with Chesapeake Bay bloodies...

Yeah, that was pretty good...
Homeschool:
I hope you forgive me a brag. No, really, it is a brag. But Pip 2 has worked SO hard over the years to work on something in her character that does not like not being perfect.

Now on one hand that's a great thing- everyone should want to do things well. On the other, it's a flaw- because if it's something that does not come easy to her, that she doesn't just "do perfectly, at once" she, younger, would just shut down and discard further attempts to master it.

Over the years I have worked with her to work on not just shutting down but to learn how to learn- that not all things come easily, it takes practice, practice, practice, and study, study, study to gain the skills and knowledge in whatever it is that is a challenge.

Well.
She was working on a science subject while I was busy making 10 quarts of pasta sauce. Pasta sauce pretty much takes all day- I core, cut, mince, cook, and cook that sauce down for hours.  I can't be running back and forth to hover when I'm stuck to a pot, stirring!

She walked in to the kitchen, frustrated. "I did AWFUL on that test! FIFTY FIVE PERCENT!" "Oh, my!" I empathized, "Did you click on every glossary word, re-read the text twice like I told you before taking the test?" "YES!" she wailed... and stomped out of the room.

Awhile later she returned, upset. "I STUDIED IT AND TOOK IT AGAIN AND GOT 88.8 PERCENT!"

"But that's great! That's a high 'B'! You worked really hard for that! I'm so proud of you!"
Regardless, off she stomped, back out of sight.

I worked on that sauce a little more.
To my surprise, back she came, still bent out of shape: "I went back and studied and IT TOOK ME THREE TIMES BEFORE I GOT 100%..." she yelled.

I wrapped her in my arms and told her how proud of her I am, that I would have been happy with "just" the 88.8% and what drive and perseverance she has to not settle for a B but to go for that A.
A.... plus!

What I like about homeschool is it can really but the child in the driver's seat of their education- "I don't feel like I'm learning enough, I want more information on that subject..." instead of, "Well, I know the basics on that, but now it's time to move to another subject."
I feel like my children really care about their education.

Well, the summer has unwound.
The water cools, the geese begin to fly.
It's time to head home to the off grid modern prefab home.

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8/17/15

Summer Sandbars And Sailing Send Us Off Towards Fall

Meteor showers, boats, camaraderie, cooking... that was this week.
Yet there was that one conference call with a green builder in Texas to discuss a Dogtrot Mod in spring 2016...
What excites me is that he's a commercial contractor, experienced in SIP, knows the Texas distributor well already and their solid reputation, and is passionate about building green. There is no convincing him about the performance and long term savings of SIP, the house kit business model, the value of passive solar design... HE GETS IT, the whole shebang... in fact, he speaks on it, so I am looking forward to including some of his keynotes in the next blog or two, for your interest!

He is finalizing his land purchase in the coming weeks, and I am looking forward to sharing more about him, the property, and that modern prefab house project!

At our passive solar off grid prefab house, fencing has begun on the field so we can bring our horse home. 

You might recall how this spring lines were dug alllllllllll over our yard to bring water & electric to two fields-
Thankfully, with the unexpected rain we had over summer, it seems like the grass has done well and hidden all the digging!

In the meantime, we had a week of guests at The In-Town Ramshackle On The Bay- dear, dear friends The L's, visiting; friends so dear you don't need to entertain- the kind of perfect guests where in one house some can read, some can nap, some can choose to chase chickens, dogs, climb trees, and scream.
All is well.

Over The L's visit, we would joke how "...all this relaxin' is exhausting!" 

The word of the week, which Mrs. L endlessly poked fun of me for using, was "rally."

"Should we rally to watch the perseids meteor shower?"
She'd cock her head at me, raise an eyebrow... I would yawn, stretch, then "rally" to lounge around the sailing club's pool in adirondack chairs, neck craned, a group of us gasping and whooping with joy over each huge display.
From Flickr- for more great photos, go here!
"Should we rally to go to the sand bar?"


"Should we rally to sail with the H's?"

We rallied.

The sad taste of fall is in the air. 
As Mrs. L remarked with a sigh, 
"August is the Sunday of summer..."
It is the end of the Pip's sailing team's season, which ended with a lovely cookout, and so many good friends, good memories...


Yet I am homesick for life on the off grid prefab house, for things to settle back into structure, back to normal, the hours back into traceable patterns.
Recipes:
Mrs. L's Famous Softshell Crab Sandwich
The key is to soak the crabs in milk first, which makes them sweet and tender. Then ask the store which breading is their favorite, and use that to fry them in hot, hot, hot melted butter. Grab a slice of Handsome Husband's homemade bread (two slices would be too much!), lather with Duke's or homemade mayo, sea salt, pepper, slices of ripe, ripe, ripe tomatoes, and top with crab.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh my.

It may be edging towards fall, and bittersweet- with each week one more group of children returns home, returns to school, returns to Normal Life Not Nautical.

But our group of dear friends are already making plans for fall fun at the off grid prefab house- stay tuned.
Photo by Mr. H


Pirates, off.


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