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3/28/16

Net Zero Off Grid Modern Prefab House Heads Out For Easter

There's plenty of sun, enough rain to refill the rainwater collection cistern, and solar cooking. If it is cold, the cook stove which also helps keep the passive solar modern prefab house warm.

The annual spring prefab house kit inquiries continue to roll in.
One of my favorite parts of my job is interacting with people all over, from all cultures and backgrounds, and learning a little about their lives. This week I had the opportunity to speak with the head of a nonprofit in Georgia, who is interested in building an R1 Residential modern prefab house there. So often you pick up the phone to answer general prefab house kit questions with a stranger, yet by the end you are both just laughing and they are touching your life and making your day better... I love that.

I have a good feeling about that potential client, and when his contractor reached out to me, days later, and was pleased with our product, the feeling that this lead might jell into another interesting project... well, we shall see.




At our own off grid passive solar prefab house, the Pips were busy. There were sticks and logs and enthusiastic canines aiding and abetting the construction of...
hurdles.

The Pips have caught the track bug.
Back up a bit.
This seems innocuous to you, but to we, it's HUGE.
You see, my family is TRACK.
My grandfather coached U of R, UVA, and is known for Kenyans to the U.S. to run. There is even a track meet named after him. My second track family is Kenyan- I grew up with Kip Keino as an "uncle;" the Keinos are family.


Growing up, I spent summers on the "family farm" where my grandad would have a race to keep his track team in shape over summer. Over time, athletes asked to join, and that's how the Rotherwood Races came about. Imagine being eight and ten years old passing out Kool-aide and water and salt tablets to these athletes from all over the world who wanted to run on your dinky farm so that they could say they raced with these Kenyans.
It was magic.

And I? I was All State. I was the anchor in the mile, honeychiles. I ran the 400 in 56 seconds.
So when my Pip2 started, out of nowhere, sprinting out ahead, I thought I'd "show her how it's done." Except... I couldn't catch her. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaag.

Our offspring are suddenly running distances between farms, sprinting and making homemade hurdles... it is awesome!

Easter was great. 
We traveled to family, then returned to our off grid, modern prefab life.






The old pond where I loved to fish...

You know you're home when you pass three Amish buggies, waving madly as you pass, as they're your neighbors- it was great day, but I am always SO HAPPY to be home.
Every moment on the homestead, we are grateful to be here.
Sheesh.
Even Handsome Husband brings a rooster
in the house!

Pasture time.




Homeschool:
That moment when, preparing for next year's classes and assigning upcoming subjects, you realize that by mistake you taught *both* 7th and 8th grade science last year to one kid. Oh well he was going to skip to AP Earth Science anyhoo, now I know he won't miss any of the 8th grade stuff!

Reading Club:

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3/21/16

Net Zero Off Grid Modern Prefab Springs Into Spring

With spring, inquiries about building a prefab house come rolling in across the country.  I send them our "general information" email, then we shall see what new projects emerge. As for "in process" projects, they are currently silent as clients secure contractors, contractors secure timeframes and deadlines, and distributors finish up their own projects.


On My Radar: Eminent Domain
This article incorporates so many important themes: property rights / eminent domain / urban planning  / history of neighborhoods and their destruction and more. Give it a read:
"Rahner’s photographs, which became the basis of his thesis entitled Eminent Domain, show a neighborhood very different than the one that the city set out to clear. 'There was a perception of the neighborhood as very poverty-stricken—it really wasn’t,' he says. 'People were in the process of renovating their homes; they were actively trying to restore their neighborhood. 

...
Eminent domain 'is a scary process,' Rahner says. 'People felt blindsided by it.'
Many also felt skeptical. Elderly residents of the neighborhood recalled the construction of the South Midtown Freeway as part of Route 71 in the 1970s. That project, too, tore down homes belonging mostly to African Americans, and it never delivered on its promise of bringing about economic prosperity. '"

At our own off grid modern prefab house, we slowly work on finishing the basketball flooring in the main room, and the spring garden begins to take shape. We stagger the planting of seeds so they don't come up all at once... peas lettuce kale cabbage turnips swiss chard are a few things we sowed... I love spring (or fall) gardens, even more so than summer.
Love the spring light!

Each spring the redbuds burst into bloom along our field...
One second it's in the 70s and we're solar cooking, the next it's back to the 30s and the cook stove is on. Ahhhhhh spring in Virginia...

We wandered into the city, and back, for cotillion and history and festivals and friends.
 
 

St. John's Church where
Patrick Henry said,
"Give me liberty,
or give me death!"

I made a new friend at the Irish Festival. Meet Mister Storm-Trooper-In-A-Kilt!
And then we, and the farm dogs, came home.
This farm dog is ready to leave the city.
And so we are home.

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3/14/16

Modern Off Grid Prefab House Breaks The Internet

What happened to winter? I still have roasts and stews to make!
But nooooooo it's 70 degrees in Virginia, and in the 50s at night.


So: No cook stove. Solar cooking when it's sunny. Quick camping stove use to grill sandwiches or whip up a stir fry.

I use the camping stove as LITTLE as possible, because: propane. I don't want to use it. I don't want to use -any- fossil fuels whenever possible.

So I pulled out the electric coffee maker to brew a quick pot of coffee and DID YOU KNOW that that darned innocuous coffee maker uses MORE electricity than ANYTHING in the off grid house, even more than our water pumps?!? What the heck-a-dy-heck? IT DOES.

I just use it to brew, then unplug it. But still, every spring when I brew my first pot, I'm shocked. (Note: Instead of a glass pot, consider getting an insulated carafe so it keeps the coffee hot without further energy usage.)

When there is sun, I now solar cook. And with eggs rolling in, often it is quiche.

Not surprisingly with this spring-like weather, we are outdoors and not sheltered in the off grid modern prefab.
The shrubs we planted when we first moved here are finally growing nicely. I pruned blackberry canes on Berry Hill, and then it was time to plant one new shrub...
See that internet tower on the left?
Our connection to the world? 
It has ONE CORD running to the off grid prefab. Of alllllllllllllllllll the places to dig a hole...
Handsome Husband did what no Kardashian could do: 
HE BROKE THE INTERNET.
Oh wait what's that in his hand?
A severed cord?

Ha... Thankfully he knows how to solder and we were saved! Just because we're off grid, doesn't mean we don't love modern technology!

The Pips' Childhood Friend Was Visiting.
Off, and out of sight, they went. I love at this age how, with their Nanny Dogs and country knowledge, they have the freedom to escape the heat and roam the cooler woods.

It was a sticky day, but the water was like ice.
The topography of this property is such that when it is time to call the Pips in, without having to chase them down, our calls echo across the valley... their responding whoops ring back and we know they'll now head in.

Reading Club:

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