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3/27/17

Off Grid Passive Solar Prefab Watches Shipping Containers

Spring temperatures are here at the modern off grid prefab house!
Oh lawd, y'all, this weekend I watched a movie all about living in shipping containers.
This shipping container living was featured in a Finnish movie, filmed in Yugoslavia, shown on a German channel, subtitled in French, ha.
It was really good!
Anyhoo. If you want to look up close and personal into what it's like to live in shipping containers that haven't been adulterated by some fancy-schmancy architect, WATCH THIS MOVIE. (Plus it's a brutal, odd, lovely story!) It's called Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä, aka The Man Without A Past.
It is the original true shipping container living- where poor people live in discarded shipping containers adjacent to ports where they are tossed aside- the "cheap" "recyclable" shipping containers lauded by environmentalists and architects, except you really get to see what it is like to eek out existence in one, "as is." I used to be such a fan of the *concept* of shipping container homes, until I realized how much (and expensive) you would have to change them to make them 1. livable with 2. airy dimensions.

This movie is built around shipping container living, with a shipping container community.
Dwell and Tiny Home intentional living it is not.
Here the kids pour hot water from the roof
onto their dad in the "shower."
Guess they didn't do that in winter!
I can't imagine living in FINLAND through the winter in a basic shipping container with no ventilation?

I love Finland. When I spent time in Finland it was all about the beautiful archipelagos, midsummer bonfires, sauna, architecture, and art.

This movie is a stark (but also compassionate and beautiful) slice o' Suomi.
Of people I'd never meet, living on society's fringe, but not any less.
Pohjanmaan kautta, y'all!
(From Annie's Studio, another Finland admirer!)

At our passive solar off grid modern prefab, life is considerably less harsh.
This time of year, because the off grid prefab house is so energy efficient, there is little to do in terms of comfort or preparation, off grid. 

Weed trees along horse trails have been felled, to be split at leisure, providing next winter's wood.
The energy efficiency of the prefab house means there is no heat, no cook stove going.
The HRV is off, as windows are cracked, then flung open.
We even got the lawn mowers out.
Until next week. Life is good.

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3/20/17

Enjoying Energy Efficient Off Grid Modern Prefab SIP Home Passive Solar Design And Muddy Concrete Floors

How can one not love the energy efficiency of these modern SIP prefabs? Earlier this week, temperatures went down to "feels like 12," but in the off grid modern prefab house we awoke to 68, without the cook stove going at night- the dogs were strewn sleepily about the room, the sun rising on another beautiful day.

There were even some not-so-beautiful days:
Sleet. Snow. Mud.
YAY FOR CONCRETE FLOORS! 💛💛💛

Yay for passive solar design that lets in beautiful light, cheerfully filling the prefab house on frosty days!



Because it's not consistently frigid, with temperatures rising during the day to "normal," in the 30s-50s, we just use the cookstove for dinner pretty much... sure it's in the 60s when we wake, but once the sun comes up and we're moving around you don't even think about putting on a sweater in the passive solar prefab house, as indoors, without heat, it's in the 70s, just by the sun!

Last week I discussed intergenerational living and how our Amish friends saved family property and homes by moving about the houses according to their extended family's need.

Forget mobile Tiny Houses, they also picked up and moved The Amish Store! We've been going to the store for years, and then our Amish friends decided to move to their grandparent's farm, so they picked up and moved the store!

So here we are on another farm, but in the familiar old store we love so well.
I feel very Dorothy in Wizard of Oz-ish, ha!

Toothless The Street Dog Has Settled In With The Herd.
It's as if this little guy has been a part of our family forever. Everyone in our pack adores him, he makes my life easier, not harder, and is always cheerful and enthusiastic about whatever crazy thing the children and dogs want to do. We all love him. Even cranky Mister Chuckles.



Egg Season Returns.
We can't bring ourselves to buy store bought eggs so when the chickens start laying again after their winter pause we celebrate with quiches, omelettes, frittatas...
Hence, with eggs' return, we know it's spring.

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3/13/17

A Prefab Passive Solar House Thinks On Inter-Generational Living.

The off grid modern prefab house has lotsa glass. 
In winter, it is delightful how the passive solar design of the off grid passive solar prefab house streams in the sunlight, making everything so cozy and cheery!
...and napable.


However. Here's one reason all that glass is never, ever, ever never clean...
This week I spent a lot of time with Amish friends.
Our Amish friends are moving houses, literally!


...they moved the little house,
and on Tuesday they move her store!
They literally pick it up and move!

Here's how our Amish friends approach multi-generational stages and living:
Our friends the E's have raised their children in the main house. One of their children (A) built a small house a few years ago, it was built on blocks about 75' away from the main house, where he has lived with his wife and started a family.

Now that most of the E's children are grown and married, the E's are moving two farms away to Mr. E's parents' farm, i.e. the grandparents' farm. A and his wife and growing family are moving in to what WAS the E's house.

THEY PICKED UP AND MOVED A's HOUSE with HORSES, on SLEDS, down to the new farm, where the grandparents, E's parents, will now live in A's old house that was just moved, and the E's with their remaining almost-adult children will move into the grandparent's house.
The E's store, which will also be moved!

The property all stays within the family, it's just that according to each life-stage of needs, determines who lives where. Everyone takes care of each other.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
How to accomodate multiple generations
while keeping farms in the family, and intact?
The Amish have it together.

I was going all over this with my Amish friend B, who is the E's daughter-in-law, and comparing it to how we "English" live. 
"Wow. My parents live in a house so big they have to pay a salary to someone else to clean it!"
"Just the two of them? What do they do with it all?"
"Um, I guess they look at it, although they're rarely there. And THEN when they get old, they spend the rest of their money to go to a place where strangers are paid to put up with them and their children never visit, ha!"

B. is looking at me amused. "What do they do? Do they just sit around?" "I guess it's just a bunch of old strangers playing cards and golf to the end of their days."

B. sniffs, (could it be possible that the Amish can politely drip sarcasm?) and mutters,
"Sounds like 'progress.'"

My Amish friends never envy my culture, ha... I can tell B's always looking at me when I talk about how "people these days live" thinking, "Dang that sounds wasteful, backwards, and BORING..."

"What will YOU do when you age?" she asked. "Well, I rather like the way the Amish do it! I do think more people are realizing the retirement business isolates you, no matter how much golf and games."

Hence, the rise of Tiny Homes, Mother-in-law backyard cottages...
The Dogtrot Mod from our Green Cabin Kits-
note that guest unit / studio / home office space.


The retirement home industry really tricks those Baby Boomers. 
Our modern addition from Green Modern Kits.

Think about it- what words are most often used in their advertising? INDEPENDENT LIVING. Congratulations! You're "independent" as in, not part of your family or community fabric! You are Captain of your ship! No one needs you! You don't need them!
You don't need them because you are snookered into paying strangers $100,000 a year to be around you! Your kids are paying strangers to care for their children! You're all going broke and working your *** off to make money to pay other people who don't even know or like you!

Until your money is gone, of course...
The fallacy of "independent living" is that you just gave them your life's income to go live with a bunch of people you don't know. Would you have worked that hard and long knowing you were just making money for the retirement industry? Dang. I would have worked less and played more!

Anyhoo. 
I'll have to ask Mrs. E how that small house they moved worked, regarding plumbing. I'm curious.
When we socialize in the country, we work.
My afternoon with B. was spent in her greenhouse. As we amused ourselves comparing our cultures, we were mixing soil, gently lifting seedlings, repotting plants. It was so nice to spend a winter day in the cozy greenhouse growing things with a friend.

At The Off Grid Prefab House, We Do Have Teens.
Ahhhh THE TEEN YEARS.
Why yes, Pip 1 is a teen...
Someone's language needed some cleanin' this week.
But it's okay: It's alllllll sanitized and properly minty fresh now...

With being a teen, also comes more responsibility.
Pip 1 now brings me the horses. But not in the way I intend...
"Hey go bring me the horses."
I look out and he is riding all
over the pasture with no
bridle, no saddle...

Now with fresh, minty, proper-language breath, this self-proclaimed City Kid sure is doing an amazing job breaking in a green horse.
Zena nickered when they finished their ride, claiming them both and saying, "Good job, my boys..."

Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. *Teach* a man to fish...
and if he makes bread, that's great too!
I've handed the bread making on to the next generation. My immigrant husband always made our bread since Wonder Bread tastes like you're eating cotton. Thankfully USA bread choices have dramatically changed, but we still make our own bread.

He didn't start easy: "I want to make CRESCENT ROLLS just like Grandma!"
I didn't mention that grandma buys pop cans... um, yeah, from the grocery store...

Pip 1's crescent rolls were delicious!

Albeit a teen, he's not a bad brother.
We are relieved and thrilled Pip 2, suffering alpha gal and high histamine intolerance, is stabilizing, although she does have bad days. Here's a few pictures from when she was finally having fun this week.
Her horse had fun, too. 💛

Because she can't touch saddle soap or oils thanks to her alpha gal, she is making her brother clean her tack and he IS DOING IT!
We continue with seasonal chores- clearing trails and noting weed trees, which turn into next winter's firewood.
Pip 1 made a contraption to keep the mastiffs busy. It's a ball attached to a pole attached to his bike. Hilarious.

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