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7/17/17

Extreme Heat Takes Environmental Prisoners

All is quiet at the modern off grid prefab house, where friends-of-friends are staying for a long wedding week.
During weeks when the heat index brings up our temperatures to 105+, I think about climate change a lot, especially when I'm on the bay.
No energy efficient passive solar modern prefab house can save us in extreme heat...

I obsessively nose around the NOAA's sea level rise viewer (regard how the map changes at one foot! Two feet! Seven!), look at those areas, and wonder how people on the water's edge with historically bad water (which is why the locals never built there) push their counties to spend millions in infrastructure on properties less than 10' above sea level.

Like elsewhere in the world affected by climate change, it will be the poor who bear the brunt, in health and financial burden: those water-front out-of-town owners be long gone, leaving the $35,000-average-household-income locals holding the financial bag for such a loan.

No one suffers like the poor.
From The Economist:
"...The rich are disproportionate contributors to the carbon emissions that power climate change. It is cruel and perverse, therefore, that the costs of warming should be disproportionately borne by the poor. And it is both insult and injury that the wealthy are more mobile in the face of climate-induced hardship, and more effective at limiting the mobility of others. The strains this injustice places on the social fabric might well lead to woes more damaging than rising temperatures themselves."

It is imperative to each day personally attempt to do more with less and conserve resources. (But I know I'm preaching to the choir, here.)
On the bay, in the In-Town Ramshackle, when extreme heat hits, our alpha-gal high histamine child becomes an environmental prisoner. High histamine is not just in the foods you eat, but your emotions also release histamine, and your body also reacts to extreme environmental temperatures.
So until the heat wave broke, for our child, it was really, really hard.
Sometimes, when your old dog has awakened you at 4 AM
to insist on going outside to be "one with the pasture,"
nosing around and wandering endlessly underneath the moon…
and *sometimes* when your alpha gal high histamine child is reacting to the heat, gets cloudy,
and breaks your favorite mid-century modern dish AND later that day, a bowl…
and *sometimes* when you're being eaten by mosquitoes
chasing chickens in trees, shaking limbs
 and making the sky rain chickens at dusk
because no one is here to help you...
you could either lose it,
or appreciate a frosty, perfectly made margarita.
THIS IS A DARNED GOOD MARGARITA.

Thankfully there was early hour pasture time, evening swims, and in the middle hours, we rest.

We did have fun, even indoors.
I pored through vintage cookbooks, inspired by gelatin.
Why gelatin? Because, in the off grid prefab house, when I am cooking on the cookstove in winter, I love to make roasts. The blend of the meat, vegetables, slow cooked and savory, is delicious the next day.  The leftovers are held firm in delicious consomme solidified with the natural result of all those bones and meat, forming a savory jelly.
In days past, our southern great grandmothers worked with that and created aspic.

Mid-century, hostesses took it a step further.
Why yes that IS a towering salmon olive salad, thank you for asking.
Recipes:
From Southern Living's 1976 The Salad Cookbook, I made Autumn's Gold Salad.
But, as usual, I changed it. I added a bunch of diced chicken to the apple / cheese mix.
HERE'S WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY for today's palate: embrace the salad as a chicken salad that is pretty with some cheese and apples in it. Cheese and fruit goes great! Cheese and meat goes great! It all goes great! What does NOT work is all the sugar. You do not need LEMON JELLO or WHIPPED CREAM, that is something from the 1970s I do not want back, thank yew...

If I had saved some of winter's roast gelatin, all savory from roasted meat and vegetables, reheated it and used that instead of lemon jello... now THAT would be delicious.
So any future congealed salads I attempt I will ignore sweet ingredients and instead embrace the savory.
New reality series coming up! THE HOUSEWIVES OF DELTAVILLE.
Ok maybe not.
Have a great week.

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7/10/17

Off Grid Passive Solar Prefab House In Summer And A Lovely 4th On The Bay

This week at the modern off grid prefab house, fields needed to be mowed, the off grid battery bank needed to be equalized, and friends who are getting married (when we can't be there unfortunately) want to use our modern prefab house for guests so we really rushed with off grid / farm chores to GET READY!
What a blur of a week.
A handful of the last blackberries...

Stayin' cool with passive solar design of the prefab house...
We love our time on the bay but still cherish each second we are home, off grid, windows flung open in the modern prefab house at night, high clerestory windows letting the hot air escape and cool air in.

The passive solar design helps us stay comfortable in heat, and when it gets hot, ceiling fans and simple off grid tricks make summer fine.
In our summers of back-and-forth, we juggle sailing, our off grid modern prefab life, friends, fun (in both places!) while also renovating the old 150+ year old Ramshackle AND maintaining the farm. 

We had a great 4th of July, celebrating with friends racing a 5k, throwing a brunch for the racers, then gathering on the point to watch late night fireworks over the bay.
Photo by A.C.
We returned to the off grid prefab house happy and sun-kissed...
...but not before going rogue on the bay.
Pirates, we formed a rogue sailing team: The Hobie Development Team. You can read all our super intimidating rules and regulations, here
We announce the formation of the *Very Official,* deadly competitive,
charter meeting and launch of the Hobie Development Team.
If you would like to join our VERY SELECTIVE RACER team,
linger around the pool and you will be conscripted.
If not, when you see us, RUN.

Here are some pictures of conscripts rigging and cleaning the boats, and our first practices.
Photo by Mrs. S
Photo by Mrs. S
And yes, we even hold practices in a downpour. Because, pirates. ARRRRRRRRR.
Coach T & Coach S
Not every day on the bay is sunny. Rainy days are spent on the porch poring over puzzles, making up tall tales, and adorning oneself with clip on earrings out of magnetic game pieces.
Well kid, those are some ROCKS you have in yer ear!
*Bling!*

With sailing and pirating and running to and fro so fast, some days it's good to slow things down.
A day so deliciously slow,
we deemed reading the newspaper an "activity."

Speaking of slow, not much has changed in the In-Town 150+ Year Old Ramshackle.
She's old, she's creaky, we love her.
Here, the mastiffs give you a tour!
"Why HELLO THERE, come on in!"
"This is where the humans don't share food!"
"Look! We dragged home another hungry teen!"
Phew. That tour was too much work. Let's nap!
Homeschool:
Her work on her horse
is going great! He is cantering
indefinitely now and a pretty mover!

Just got grades back. Considering what Pip 2 has been through this year medically with alpha gal and high histamine / mast cell issues, I'm amazed and thrilled she made all A's!

On her Stanford Tests for the end of the year, she made A's and one B+ (in math, and she wasn't feeling well that day)!
Reading 95
Spelling 96
Comprehension 93
Total Math 89
Science 98
Social Studies 99

Go Pip 2. I think school for her this year, through all her daily ups and downs, ER trips and doctor visits, was comforting, that there was something "normal" in her day even when she didn't feel well.

Recipes:
So Good Shrimp
Go to a thrift store and get a pewter shrimp serving bowl for $3 and a dogwood shaped serving bowl for $3 and go, "Holy moly! Don't they know this stuff is really expensive in real life? I love it because it doesn't break! How can I justify the $3??? Oh, I know, I'LL MAKE SHRIMP TONIGHT."
Get home and have Handsome Husband glance at you as you walk in and say,
"You have GOT to be KIDDING ME. We don't NEED that stuff!!!" "BUT IT'S FOR SHRIMP!"

Run to the seafood store for fresh local shrimp.
NOW IT'S OK BECAUSE YOU NEEEEEEED THOSE BOWLS FOR SERVING SHRIMP.

In a large, hot pan, add a glug or two of Asian sesame oil, loads of garlic, diced onion, and green pepper. When almost done to your liking, add in about a pound of shrimp. Sautee while sprinkling liberally with sriracha, lime juice, sea salt. Once done, turn off heat and stir in lots of fresh shredded basil.

Grab the shrimp serving bowl and realize there's too much so THANKFULLY you got that dogwood shaped bowl that you didn't quite know what you'd use it for but NOW YOU KNOW it's perfect to serve So Good Shrimp in!

Grab lots of cloth napkins and head to the porch with a glass of wine and a cool bay breeze... enjoy.
Hope y'all have a great week.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from ours.
The lovely Mrs. L.
Pirates!


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