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1/29/18

Modern Prefab House With Off Grid Comfort

On this rainy day I am sitting SO happy and cozy in the modern off grid prefab house... even if it's wet and miserable outdoors, we are relaxed, reading, going through emails, enjoying the day while our cistern fills. 

This rain came at the perfect time- the rainwater collection cistern was down to 25%, so to hear the steady beat of rain on the roof is comforting not just for the pleasing drowsy sound but because, living off grid, that means potable water to our family.
LET IT RAIN!

Not EVERYONE appreciates the rain, though. It is a well-known FACT that mastiffs positively MELT at the slightest drizzle:
"Mommy let me in there's rain...!"

Ok green building enthusiasts, I have a joke for you...
I guess for a SIP house we'd be marshmallows.
From Day 2 of our own modern prefab SIP house construction.
This is a good picture of what to expect when assembling the prefab house kit,
you can see the structural insulated panels are organized and numbered,
and what the SIP look like.

AAAAAA HAHAHAHAHA! Ah, ahem. ANYHOO...

This time of the year is so interesting because everything is just so brown. But in a beautiful way. Shades of brown and gray... without the shiny sun, the modern prefab blends in too like the deer and wildlife in the woods.

Lately, I've been missing the space station flyovers. I don't know if my alarms aren't going off or if I'm just sleeping through them, so I was happy when I finally caught one this week. Yes, I am a huge space station groupie... 🚀 ⭐️

Please fasten yer seatbelts and bear with me as I present: THE SPACE SHUTTLE.
(See that little bright dot???? YESSSSS! IT'S THE SPACE SHUTTLE everybody jump up and WAVE MADLY!!!!! HIIIIIIII SPAAAAAAACE STATION!!!!!!!!)
Moon with space station flying through below!

The bright dot is the space station!

It's a bird! It's a plane!
That eensy dot is THE SPACE STATION!!!
SPAAAAAACE STATION!!!!

When it was nice, we went on some beautiful walks under a fierce sky.
"Back at the prefab house! Let me in, Momma, it might RAIN!"

Our project horse Corny is growing up and really looking good.

This week was big because I'm embarrassed to say he hasn't been ridden in over two months (thanks to the New York trip, holidays, freezing weather, flu, and crazy schedules!), so it was great to see that he not only remembers everything but enjoys it! He has gone from a green, ornery horse to just a great horse with so much personality.
A. is doing a great job with him!
He even plays dress up.

He wants you to know that after working hard, he enjoys the spa.
Mid-century Modern And Seventies Style
I try not to eBay or buy online, but enjoy discovering cool vintage china locally. But after collecting Stonehenge Midwinter Earth for years, I thought I'd share my latest because not only is it cool but the designer is a female designer you should enjoy: EVE MIDWINTER who actually just passed last year.

From House And Garden UK:
"Eve was born in 1927 Palampur, India, to an Irish mother and Russian father. She studied fine art and sculpture at Burslem School of Art before leaving when she married Roy Midwinter.

She began working with the W. R. Midwinter company in the 1950s. Though she was never formal employee her patterns were iconic and have become popular with collectors."
Here is my latest acquisition:

And a few of her other patterns:
I always enjoy learning about design. Very cool, very '70s. Go, Eve!

Handsome Husband used the rainy weekend to bake bread.
Recipe:
Papi's Fluffy White Bread
makes 8 rolls

add 1 cup of hot but not tepid (or steaming) water to a quart-sized Tupperware
add 1 envelope of dry yeast and stir
add a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of sugar, stir
add enough flour to make a sticky mess
cover and let rise for an hour
put the Tupperware in the fridge overnight

The next morning open the container and add enough flour to the top that you can lift the dough out of the container- add quite a bit because what you start with is quite sticky; work it in and around the ball of dough so you can lift it up and out of the container, not knead it in.
Cover a surface with flour and place the dough on it.
Gently knead and fold over, knead and fold over and add only enough flour to cover the sticky surfaces of the dough. Stop when you have a spongy dough!

Divide into 8 portions, flatten each portion to a paddy cake (add flour if sticky).
Fold up the edges into the center and pinch them.
Turn over the ball you made and place it into a loaf pan dusted with flour, cover the pan and let rise for an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Sprinkle ice cold water liberally on the top of the rolls and bake them for 20 minutes.

Even in the rain, the Pips were outdoors. 
While his sister was off at a nearby farm chasing horses and damming creeks in the rain with a friend, I laughed and laughed watching Pip 1 play hide-and-seek with the equines. First he snuck up on them, then banged on the run-in to pique their interest. The donkey was the first to explore what strange thing was stalking them, and the first to be held hostage. This game lasted about two hours, and all were highly entertained.
Meanwhile, the canines and I did not do much.

For three weeks I have felt like I am achily fighting something, so I am going to sip another round of AntiFlu Soup, go back to my book, and restfully enjoy the rest of this rainy day at the modern off grid prefab house. 
Hope y'all do, too.

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1/22/18

Modern Off Grid Prefab House Embraces Snow When Passive Solar And Energy Efficiency Keeps Us Cozy

There I was, living off grid in the modern prefab house, with an approaching snowstorm. My wrist was in a splint, and Handsome Husband was out of town.

Frigid winters with weather and injuries are supposed to be HARD when you live in a modern off grid prefab house, right? SNOW BEGAN TO FALL.

Even in the dark it was too exciting to stay indoors, we bundled up and headed out into the blizzard!

I woke at dawn, and rejoiced in its blue light that everywhere I looked was white.
We were living in a snow globe!
Everyone was so excited!

Outside might have been blustery and cold, but inside was happy, calm, relaxed, and very, very warm!
In the prefab, with the cook stove out all night, we still awake to comfortable temperatures even though it's frigid outside. I got the cook stove going, and waited comfortably for the coffee to brew.
💛☕️💛☕️💛☕️
Indoors with no heat on overnight,
we still awoke to comfortable temperatures
even if it was frigid outdoors.

Because my wrist is injured and an epidemic of the flu going around, I made sure to bring in plenty of wood beforehand so I would not *have* to go outside if I didn't want to... but who are we kidding, we wanted to be outdoors playing in the snow!!!
Off Grid Tips Made To Work In Weather
I am always thinking about how to make living off grid in the prefab house easy for all life stages, especially as we age.  Here's a tip that's almost so silly to even mention but without these tools my life would be much harder if I were eighty and trying to do all this myself: I know I've mentioned using a simple garden wagon for lugging firewood and hay. I rarely use a wagon for anything but when I do it is so easy and handy. In snow, a simple SLED you can pull, the kind you find on clearance and don't think about getting because your kids are grown, does the same thing and makes hauling anything EASY. Make sure you get the kind you can 1. pull and is 2. on the ground and with 3. a slight ridge along the edge to help things from falling off.
This one has held up to years of abuse while remaining a practical tool! It is soooo easy to haul hay and lug wood through deep snow with a simple sled like this.
Another Off Grid Tip:
Off-grid in the prefab during snow I have noticed that siting the woodshed north-to-south and on the hill works great for storing wood. Weather tends to come in from the east, so when that side is wet you just pick from the west side. Regardless, it all dries quickly as the wind whistles through, and seasons well.

Even with one arm I had fun... I do love snow.
So do they.
Pssssst: Zoom in to the next picture: yep, that's a mastiffcicle. Ew.
This is how we got our mail.
💛❄️💛❄️💛
"Thanks for bringing in the mail guys,
you're a great Pony Express!"

 
Finally, days later we heard the telltale scrape of the snowplow on the road, so I guess we'll have to rejoin civilization eventually

Reading Club:
  • Walking or cycling changes the makeup of our gut bacteria in ways that may promote health, a study found. While intense exercise is not good for our alpha gal high histamine child, we are using walking as mental and physical therapy. I love that this article also ties in gut bacteria, because gut health is critical to healing from alpha gal and high histamine intolerance. Often they tell you to take probiotics. But walking does more.

    As one alpha gal sufferer said: "Did you know 90% of serotonin is in your gut?( Not the brain.) Knowing this, helps to better understand why good gut health is even more important! Happy bacteria, happy gut, happy healthy amounts of serotonin - HAPPY YOU!"
  • Ok this isn't reading but enjoy every second of a small town's recording the meeting of a snowy owl and fox:

Right as I began to think that maybe it might be nice to see other humans again, the sun came out, it warmed up, and the snow melted away. Back into the social herd we go. 

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