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5/16/16

Net Zero Prefab House Has Another Rainy Sunny Week With Home Butchering

For the third week, it rained with bouts of sun at the off grid net zero prefab house - when will it end? But when the sun came out... we got busy!

Now that we see the light at the end of the tunnel- the modern prefab house pretty much complete, the fencing finished... instead of kicking back and relaxing... we start new projects.



With rain, the animals worked especially hard, keeping the modern prefab house cozy.



Wow, y'all, time flies: four years ago, we changed our lifestyle from the city... to living at the rural off grid prefab house / and city / and bay!
The prefab shell was up, weather tight;
however we still had a lot of finishing to do!
Note the SIP before being clad!
An early picture of the modern prefab
before we added solar systems.

Our version of traffic.

Even with this gypsy life we have put down deep roots. We love it here (all of them, lol).

Handsome Husband works in and telecommutes to DC via train, to a job and work culture he loves (vs. having an "ok" job elsewhere). Then he comes home, strips off his suit, puts on his beat up boots and climbs on his tractor.

We go back and forth (and forth, and back) between the off grid prefab house & homestead, the city and the bay.

Living in motion IS stressful- it takes planning, organization, and, this time of year, you're always cutting grass somewhere. But here's another way to look at it: in the country, most people have to travel over an hour a day to get to work. In the city, unless you have awesome high speed train and bus options, you're *always* driving. We just drive from Point A to Point B every few weeks, then sit. As long as we pack our car with Gypsy Caravan provisions, no matter where we are, we're good.

And, for thought: although we live a Gypsy Life, we don't do nearly the driving our city and country friends do.

We prepare now for the season of Back And Forth- from the prefab to the bay- so we are now frantically finishing random projects...
Fencing is DONE!

I endure the local traffic as best I can.
Well hello there!

With these weeks of cloud cover, it made sense to not just equalize the battery bank early, but to boost the batteries by doing so three days in a row. HOWEVER, when I went to check on the battery water levels / begin the monthly solar maintenance...
Oh my.
Sorry Mama Mouse!

The sun came out.
I found the Pips in the pasture- didn't feel like tacking up, so they just grabbed a lead rope...
It was too nice of a day to let your feet touch the ground when you could ride. I think they only got off to have Star Wars light saber battles.
 He even napped on his horse!
The Pips also took advantage of the dry spell to camp out because... y'know, they need to get back to the basics and nature and all...

She turns at the door: "I'm homesick already..."


Homestead Notes
I regularly help neighbors butcher on their farm, usually about 50+ birds at a time, for their CSA. However, when one rooster went rogue here and began to attack the Pips, I found I was intimidated to do ONE (bad! mean!) bird myself, because I was used to "having a process." A dear Amish friend walked me through her own method. So if you don't want to know / are vegetarian, skip this part! If you're interested to see how my own homestead poultry butchering was made much safer / efficient, then read on!

Tip 1:
Instead of a tall "butcher block" and a hatchet, therefore taking off your arm as well in the process, my friend has a low block of wood with two nails, close together. She took Stewy (he was a bad seed from the start so I named him appropriately) gently, threaded his head between the two nails so it rested on the wood- his body was on the ground, then lifted the axe high and... it was done. No fingers or hands near to amputate, very safe, effective, he passed immediately without discomfort.

Tip 2:
Butchering many birds let me to believe I needed all sorts of pails and cones and knives... She just let Stewie rest on the grass and considered him "bled out." Then she took not a vat, not a humongous vessel as I would have filled, but a regular sized pot of scalding water, and dipped him in, swirling him so it went over him in all places. You would not believe how easy it was to pluck him!!!!! I knew I'd scald, but as I had always used a professional plucker, I was amazed how easy this backyard method was!

Tip 3:
She lit a little newspaper then held him over, rotating, to sear off any feathers. Neat trick!
I then took him home and finished butchering at my kitchen sink, no big deal.

It looks like another week of rain is moving back in over the off grid prefab house... we shall see...

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