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Passive Solar Modern Prefab Has Snow Off Grid And Homestead Project Progress

The off grid prefab house had its first snow of 2016. These are quiet days for family, no running around all over but curled up around the cook stove reading, with hot soup simmering... and lots of playing outdoors.

We *love* snow days at the off grid prefab...

The first snow arrived and left, quickly. By afternoon we were back to pastures of mud.

Each Season Is Special Here
In winter, at night, after the snow stops, I awake to such bright stars, and peace.

Well, aside from when coyotes come...
But every day, years later, I wake up happy to be here.
Passive Solar Sunshine
In winter, even on dark days, the modern prefab house has daylight streaming in. Here's some pictures from this week:

"Momma. Do you know what's crazy?
I've been walking around inside with this chicken
for over **15 minutes**
and you haven't even noticed."

Helping Hands
My good friend C. is occasionally helping us with homestead projects. We all help each other. I am always so impressed by her spirit, drive, her perseverance through hard times and joyous appreciation through good. There is no job beneath her; her high regard for what her work should look like shows in her pride of tiniest things.  Sometimes when her outdoor job is not viable (due to inclement weather, like these recent past three weeks of rain), she is available to help us with projects around the prefab modern house.

Although we are big "do-it-yourself"ers, we also value experience and recognize that when we can pay someone to do a better job than we, we should. It works out for everyone. Unlike we, C. has years of carpentry, trim and heavy equipment operator experience. We do not. As I told her, "You are saving our marriage for every weekend we do not squabble over these things that *need* to be done but we're too tired and without experience to do. THANK YOU."

So this week C. worked on a shed for the battery bank and generator. It has an exhaust area, and doors where we can access the battery bank (to equalize it), add gas to the generator, and turn it on and off. It was very well thought out, and once it's done I'll show more pictures.

Our friends help us SO much. But it works both ways. When C. dislocated a shoulder, we fed her horses and livestock. When the A.s need help, we're there, too, elbow-deep in butchering. We help put up hay, pick up rocks. It's fun to spend time with our friends, working hard, while helping.
S. in earlier days giving a tour of her urban homestead
to the Richmond Green Drinks /
RVA Coop Tour.

Unexpected Gifts
A city friend, who has built the most amazing urban homestead, is selling her home. She decided to rehome her flock with us (for which we are so grateful) as she puts her house on the market. As she said, "I just can't show the house with chicken poop on the walks... not everyone gets that. And I don't know where we're going. So it's time to rehome." We are so honored to have her flock, who will live out their lives with us.

We knew we were getting hens, but her priceless gift was to hear her talk in depth about how she has used her biology degree in varying ways, in full and part time jobs (as her work / life needs change) to Pip 2, who pursues a similar philosophy and interest.

Some of the new hens! : )

S. articulated and reasoned amazingly her professional experience and motivations and mesmerized, connected further that interest with Pip 2. Mentoring is *so* important, and I am grateful to her and others who are helping Pip 2 right now as she slowly recovers from the double whammy of Lyme and cat scratch fever. 

We had several friends, including S., coming over for different reasons that day, so we just decided to turn it into a party.
Soup, cornbread, and friends.
Love it here, love our friends.
Look at this adorable guest...

Chores... He's been driving since he was 9, now he helps with the tractor.

That was a good party.
Out of the huge vat of soup we served there was... nothing left!
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