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Passive Solar Off Grid House Ends The Year Cozy

Modern prefab house with gray skies...

It's yucky. It's cold, it's wet, it's raining, but in the off grid prefab house we are happy, toasty and warm! 

It might be dreary today, but earlier this week we enjoyed the sun.
Even when it was FRIGID outside, inside the passive solar prefab house there was plenty of passive solar daylighting, the energy efficiency of the SIP, keeping in the heat from the wood stove, kept us plenty warm and comfortable.
Here's some pictures of the passive solar design at work, earlier this week:

It's amazing how many hours the Pips can spend outdoors when it's FREEZING. I turned into a human popsicle spotting them on their horse as they rode, rode, rode, even in high wind.
Can you FEEL how cold it is just looking at this ice blue picture of the prefab? The wind was gusting 20+, it was freezing, yet these two didn't even have coats on. It was hours before I could pull them off and back inside!
Even with the icy wind we enjoyed hiking High Bridge Trail with friends...
A blustery day to hike the High Bridge Trail- 

the bridge is more than 2,400 feet long
and 125 feet above the Appomattox River. 

It was good to get back inside the warm energy efficient prefab house!!!

Finally we did have one mild day, but the Pip's equine antics were anything but tame...
He will tell you he's a city boy but really he's Mowgli.

At the off grid modern prefab house we are using winter weekends to start thinking of finishing indoor projects. These days, instead of using holidays and weekends to frantically work on "must do" projects, we can use family time for fun and small "finishing" projects, but not kill ourselves like we used to. We are thinking on how to finish the interior of the prefab house's seams in the great room. We clad the interior of the SIP with a combination of 1. recycled reclaimed basketball court maple and 2. plywood. The plywood fills the entire spaces in our bedrooms but along the great room there are still unfinished seams-
Look closely at still-exposed
SIP to the left of that right window...

Corner seam still not finished...

Around the door frame is still exposed...

...wouldn't it be interesting to finish the edges with something different, maybe sleek, modern, maybe even white? I'm just thinking on trim ideas... the key would be sleek and not something that collects dust and dirt... I like the idea of fun things like this but instantly picture what it looks like when not dusted all the time...
From Retro Renovation, which I love-
Pretty, but picture the DUST.
...or maybe we should just finish with discreet wood.

It Was New Year's Eve.
We wanted to end the year with a BANG. We gathered grand plans and glittery gowns. But when the end of the year neared, it was best and fitting to stick close to home. We spent a wonderful, cozy evening with neighbors right down the road, and were happily back and in our pjs long before the ball dropped.
Party barn!


All Is Quiet, On New Years Day...
Happy New Year. For us, and many of my friends, New Year's Day is very hard. Each year I try to appreciate and embrace each new moment, but honestly, even these years later, the events that happened touch me to the core, again. I mete out the hours, while trying to see each moment of beauty that will unfold in front of me today.
Welcome, 2017.
RIP Harvey family, always. We remember you well.

A Southern must on New Year's Day:
Black-eyed peas with neighbor ham,
stewed tomatoes, and greens. 
I just saw a friend post this and it is a good reminder that you are the company you keep:

"If you ever feel lost or become scared about where you are or what's going on, take a look at the people close to you, they are a reflection of your world. On this first day of the new year, I see so many kind, genuine and truly decent people in my life. I am blessed and appreciate each and every one. I am thankful for so many things. Most of all, I am thankful for my parents for giving me the ability to see the beauty and wonder in life, and for a loving heart. Happy New Year."
-- T.B.

It is also a reminder to BE that positive, purposeful friend and parent to others.

Reading Club:

  • Suburbs increasingly view their auto-centric sprawl as a health hazard
    "'We’ve always talked about health and recreation in terms of bicycle access and trails and parks,' said Kierre McCune, a Prince George’s planner. 'But now we’re looking at how does our physical development affect our public health?'
    It’s not just physical health. Preserving trees and other green space is cited as key to a community’s mental health, as recent Stanford University studies have found that spending time in nature can boost mood and working memory while reducing brain activity related to depression. In suburbs where garage doors took the place of front porches, experts say, some residents crave social connection."
  • Would you use a bidet? In Paris, we had one, but I admit I never tried it! BLloyd Alter keeps pressing its case. So many people are willing to try composting toilets, but don't really talk about bidets, off grid. We documented why current composting toilet designs are not appropriate for energy efficient, tight envelope homes. But bidets... argue that they are saving paper... HOWEVER on our off grid rainwater collection system with a 1,700 gallon cistern I can not argue increasing potable water usage for non-drinking purposes at this point.
Rifle season nears its end, there is one week left. Soon we can be back in the woods cutting down weed trees while making horse trails... In the meantime we stick close to home, swathed in blaze orange, enjoying the comfort and serenity of the off grid prefab house even when the weather is wet and icy.
Stay warm, stay safe, have a great week.

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