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Off Grid Prefab House Stays Pleasant And Secure Through Sick Frigid Days

We've been slooow moving at the off grid modern prefab house...
Apparently this plague of a cold lasts two weeks. I was skeptical, even dismissive: "Ohhhh we will be sooooooo much better, tomorrow!" We weren't. Every few days it would migrate from aches, to our nose, to our throat, to our head, to our chest... Hope y'all don't get this, wherever you are.

Twice in the past week or two it has dropped to 15 and below.
Off grid, with the energy efficient prefab house heated with just a tiny firebox within the cook stove, usually when it gets into the teens and certainly when it's zero or below outside (remember those polar vortex adventures?) I make sure that when I get up for a glass of water or to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the fire is not just going but more logs are added.

But we were sick. Congested, I had slept fitfully.
So when the temperatures dropped? 
I slept through it all.
We awoke to 16 degrees outside, but inside the off grid prefab house with no heat all night? By morning, it was an absolutely fine 66. I got the cook stove going, and by breakfast we were toasty.

This is one more piece of information I mentally add to living off grid-
  • don't start a fire unless it's below 35 out because the prefab house gets too hot
  • when it drops below 15 and you forget to add wood overnight it is no big deal you will wake up still comfortable and fine
  • when it's in the 20s you just need to add one log at a time once you get it going at breakfast, the house is toasty!

The reality is that being off grid isn't quite pushbutton- so when the entire family is sick, you still have to lug in wood vs. a conventional house. But guess what? That's farm life. When we're sick, we still have to let out the chickens, lug in bags of feed, fill the troughs, put out hay... so I just grab a few logs when I let out, feed, or close up the chickens because I'd have to be doing that, anyway. Even sick, it's all good.
Even under the weather, I never tire of this view... closing up the chickens, even sick, is beautiful.

Inside the off grid prefab house it is SO warm, easy... day and night.
Cheddar thyme biscuit with black bean soup
topped with cilantro sour cream.
With all the sickness I didn't mess around with kneading bread. But it was ok! I was The Drop Biscuit Queen. I took the basic drop biscuit recipe and served that with butter and jam for breakfast, then variations served with soup for lunch, and with dinner. Here are some dinner faves:
  • sour cream and fresh rosemary, salt, pepper 
  • grated cheddar and thyme
The holidays approach.
For myself, it's an opportunity to ask, "What projects and skills and fun things do we want to do in the coming year?" I always base family gifts on *experiences*- whether looking at plans for tree houses they could build, buying mushroom spores and wrapping up a log so one kid can start "a mushroom farm!"... for older nephews, it's crock pots and cookbooks and hiking things- they might not know how handy these things are until they get them... for younger nieces and nephews, soap making kits or bird houses to paint.

I have my eye on projects I would like to see done around the homestead.
Last year we built a wood shed, run ins, and erected fencing for our horses! They were huge, labor intensive and expensive projects, but so worth the investment.

So what am I thinking on for 2017?
If you recall, when we moved here the prefab house was only a shell, with bare interior walls... because we planned on doing things "pay as you go" a little here and there over years as we did not plan to live here until much later. Well later arrived fast, didn't it? And hence we moved into a bare minimum prefab house...

As the years passed we worked on the interior of the prefab house, and farm structures- run ins and fencing and a livestock well.

Now, there's little left that's "a crisis / must do."
Over winters we tackle a few interior projects in the modern prefab house that are left- shelving, built ins, finishing areas where we have not finished covering the SIP (only a few still visible!).

On my wishlist, but knowing it's probably not going to happen in 2017: a below-ground storm shelter that doubles as a root cellar. SIP houses are great - they perform fantastic through bad weather, actually - but considering two huge tornados, one of which has been as close as 4 miles away in four years, plus we have no storm room with zero windows, etc., well, it would be nice to have something windowless and below ground that could also be useful daily to store food. We recognize that as awesome as SIP houses are, and the data with it, considering we seem to have purchased property in a proven weather pattern trend for bad storms... a FEMA storm shelter is not a bad investment.

Here's pictures from last year's tornado with fingers touching down in sight, that then demolished miles and miles of homes and woods four miles away as the crow flies:
Why yes that is I, looking from the prefab house,
into our north field where you see that finger
touching down.

What's on your wishlist? I'd love to hear.
In the meantime, have a great week.

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At 12/24/16, 9:49 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Copeland.
My name is Lee and I have been looking at passive solar homes for sometime now I stumbled across your site about a year ago. I live in Denver and am looking to buy some property in Central Colorado. I was wondering if there is anyone out here that you could recommend that I get in touch with. I want to integrate a modest size greenhouse into the design of our home. Approximately 24x40 There is no electricity available where we are looking at property so it will have to be totally off grid. We will have to drill a well for water. I love the design of the Casa Ti and have a couple of sketches as to what we want. Any ideas of information you could share would be greatly appreciated.

At 12/29/16, 11:35 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Hi Lee! We have three distributors in Colorado, if you submit your contact information on our site I can send you more information. Thank you for your interest!


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