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Living At The Off Grid Prefab House Is Like Living On A Boat

Growing up on the bay sailing, I often compare living off grid in a small footprint prefab house as like living on a boat. You conserve resources, maximize space, and the house adjusts for weather and seasons...
An early picture of the off grid prefab
when it first was put together...
Towing chickens at the prefab in winter...
So yes, living at the net zero prefab house can be like living on a boat.
But this week, we *were* on boats on the bay!

Well there I was *innocently* strolling down Stove Point when my friend M. pulled up. "What are you doing this week?" "Oh, NOTHING! For the first time in years we didn't sign up for Junior Week! I'm going to be sitting on my front porch reading and relaxing with a glass o' wine instead of chasing sailors!" "We need you for Junior Week!" "Ok I'm in!"

And that's how the Pips and I became Coaches to a bunch of 6 year old pirates.
Thank you, M., for making us suddenly tack and adjust our course- we are grateful, it was great- it was so rewarding to see all those tiny little Pipsqueaks turn into sailors.

Whether it be butchering, picking up rocks or hay, or teaching pirates while standing waist-deep in the bay, it is fun to put in hard work with your friends.

The Pips were great Coaches-in-Training.
On Saturday, we headed down to the Farmers Market...

Ran into our neighbor who is a pirate and was, well, pirating a pirate ship!

The Gift Of Free
The Pips seem to somehow always make money (hello, annual lemonade stands!) and want to pay for things. We don't give allowances. As a family we do chores and the Pips expect no payment- that is what needs to be done. When there IS something they want, we, within reason, are happy to get it- because, "Hello, are you a straight-A student? You are? Well guess what. I say yes to kids with good grades!"

But even then we don't buy much. I guess we're just not consumers, much...

What does your family do?

Chores without expectations in that it just needs
to get done.

One thing that both Pips enjoy is The Gift Of Free- giving your time and work to something a friend is doing.

They pick up hay, teach kids to sail, and help with mowing the lawn when a friend needs backup... and I think it is good to raise kids not to expect payment for helping, and to just do it because there was a need and they could help.

They have both gained confidence and grown by giving!

Another Gift Of Free
We went to take the trash to the dump. There, Pip 1 discovered this gem and is determined to fix and clean it up to give to his little cousin. I think it will keep him busy tinkering and learning, trying to fix it, so it's a good learning project plus I thought it was sweet he was so thoughtful!
Well, I'll just sit back now and enjoy the view after all the chaos from these days... have a great week!




From The Land To The Sea Off Grid SIP Prefabs Are The Place To Be

It's summer. We go to and fro, and back and forth, from the off grid modern prefab house and my childhood places on the bay. 
Off Grid lawn mower.

Storms blow through harder than usual these days, no? Can you last remember so many tornadoes?
City residents without power for days, 160,000+ out in Richmond... here's some of the damage in the area:
From Jamie Betts Photo -
"Huge bow echo that moved through #RVA last night. The green light is from exploding transformers."

That's Why Living In Structurally Strong Homes Is Critical More Than Ever.
Country Mouse, City Mouse, Bay Mouse Musings
I remember when people thought whole-house automatic generators were odd and unsightly. Now realtors add them as a featured bonus when selling a city home (or any home!)... With water sources so insecure, will rainwater cisterns be next for properties on the bay?

And ideally, as we know: Off grid with rainwater collection is not just a wise investment, but affordable, if you are willing to live lightly, giving up things you find you don't even miss.
Checking our rainwater cistern level...

Happily lightly off grid and not missing much.

So. Speaking of living lightly and not depending on outdated systems... the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joins anti-solar crusade. Uh, yeah, PROGRESS! (What?) Ok let's break this article down.

I've always had mixed feelings on net-metering, in that if you are relying on net-metering then you bought systems too big, no? Live lightly, guys. I'm always looking at being affordable, off grid, yet modern.
"In its email, the group warns: “While your neighbor is receiving a credit (in the form of a reduced electricity bill) for putting excess energy back on the electricity grid, these outdated net metering policies overlook the costs to use, maintain, and update the grid. So, who is actually paying those costs? You — and everyone else!” 
There is actually some truth to this. But the problem with the chamber’s analysis is that it ignores the positive effects of rooftop solar — most importantly, that it reduces the need for dirty, fossil fuel-based energy that causes air pollution and worsens climate change. 
Here’s a more fair way to paint the situation: Electric utilities are using outdated technologies that poison our air and destabilize our climate. Who is actually paying for those costs? You — and everyone else!"
Read the comments on this article, too, fyi.

SPEAKING OF UTILITIES... U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Full
Yay, internet!

Landscape Architecture, Architects, and Meaning
Scott and Catherine Kyle (that's Scott Kyle of Full Scale Architecture, y'all, and his lovely amazing artist wife Catherine May!) are some of the sweetest, loving people I am honored to call friends and if you know them then you are not surprised AT ALL that they would do something so touching (and environmentally friendly!). Thought people reading here would be touched, reading this story:
"There is a new garden in Richmond’s Museum District that looks different from any other in the neighborhood. 
It’s modern and architectural in its design: with six raised beds, an in-ground cistern that waters the garden, and obelisks for climbing vines that rise from the center of each bed like triangular sculptures. 
It’s formal and striking. People walking by often stop to snap photographs of it with their phones. 
But what the casual passer-by doesn’t see is the story behind the garden."
But Back To The Bay!
Cousins try to out-pirate and out-plunder another. #PirateKids
The cocktail cruises in the vintage whaler t'ain't bad, either.
And the Pips continue, with their cousin, to be serial entrepreneurs.

On Our Way To The Bay We Did Art
A few years ago I fell in love with a painting in the Virginia Museum- I didn't even know the artist's name. And now an exhibit, an *entire exhibit of his work* is here- Kehinde Wiley. Even before the exhibit opened we bought the book. No book or Internet pictures do his work justice. I wasn't prepared for how huge the pictures are, the *detail,* the frames, the colors! It was so special to share this with the Pips' cousin visiting from L.A. today.

 ...and the other exhibits.

Pip 2 Continues To Work On Her Project Pony.

Reading Club:

"...Family farmers, he said, have an incentive to train the next generation, while corporations could choose profits over longevity.

'We simply do not believe in our communities that the ownership of land in the hands of a corporate structure is in the interest of long-term agricultural production,' Mr. Watne said."

In the meantime, you might find me hanging around somewhere in my mumu, whether it be in a town population 40 off grid, or on the bay with friends.
Embracing my inner Mrs. Roper whereEVAH I am.

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