Friday, March 23, 2012

What just happened?

So that was weird.

Now we are in an Earthship out in the middle of the sage, soaking up the sun...those healing rays. Let's just say the last few months were a test of the mountain, and let's agree that if we look at it from a spiritual perspective, it was one major lesson in creation and psychic vampirism (more on that later).

So, now, the chickens and the llamas and the dogs and the kids all have a place to run and romp and be who they are. We are indeed lucky to have found this place...or to have this place find us. The owner of this magnificent house lives in Australia and has agreed to rent it to us at a price we can afford. Remarkable. Thanks A.

And, when we were moving in, some guys from Earthship Biotecture were out working on the windows...replacing some rotted trim boards and replacing the flashing. Very nice and helpful guys who understand my love of the Earthship. Now...this is more like it, I have to say, and these are more like-minded people, and everything is going to be just fine now.
Earthship kitchen

The sage is grounding. The house is grounding with mud floors and earth plastered walls. I sit in my big old arm chair facing the windows and watch the sky. A lot. I watch the clouds come and go. I wait for the sun in the morning and wait for the darkness in the evening. This is the most wonderful and beautiful place.
Living room mud floor with rock left in...very grounding.

The house is heated by the sun. There is one wood stove in the living room and we have used it several times, especially when the snow storms move in. The day time temperatures get up to about 85 F in the house and down to around 60F at night. It is a perpetual summer place. It took about a week to acclimatize, but now, we are all adapted. It is like those hot summer days and cool summer nights and I swear I feel like I'm camping again, or living in my tent (archaeology field school, summer 2000). I take showers in the the south facing bathroom with windows looking out at the sage and the mountains in the background. We had to buy a stock water dish for the kids to take a bath...there is no bathtub in this water conscious house.

Little boy in the bath.

The house sits on 20 acres in a sustainable community (although I think the residents might have some differing opinions about the definition of sustainable). The house relies completely on solar energy for power, and although the system was recently updated and probably adequate for commuters, we have lost power twice, during two periods of cloudy days. Richard's work computer is an energy hog, but we are lucky he gets to work from home. So we sacrifice. I don't use any electricity at night when he's working. We light the house by candles and battery run camp lanterns. We hardly ever watched TV anyway, so that was easy to abandon. All of the electrical appliances are a no-no, unless we really need that Kitchen Aid, which we can run in the middle of  the day with full sun shining. Mostly, we enjoy the natural beauty and try to get by. The stove and hot water are on propane...there's a tank behind the house. And we are lucky to have a septic system in our off-grid house.
Solar panels behind E-ship

We are learning. And, we are searching for our own piece of affordable land to build our own off-grid house. I'm still having trouble trying to find a place big enough to have the animals and keep nosy neighbors minding their own business. What is with people? Bored? There was a rumor our chickens were too loud...the nearest house is what 20, 30 acres away? Whatever. Release and move on.
Coop with E-ship in background

Richard built a passive solar coop for the chickens. We are trying to downsize our flock as there doesn't seem to be the interest in eggs here that there was in our small community in Colorado.

There is a little snake that lives above the front door. It turns out there are at least two...I saw them yesterday...two little heads poking out, they just hang out and watch and smell with their little red tongues. I think they are bull snakes or maybe garter snakes. I can't ever really see enough to tell for sure. They are pretty small. The snake represents healing and transformation. We are okay with them living up there. They are the guardians of this before we came.

There are also two ravens that hang out in the south meadow. Magic and creation. It is all good here.

Now, we conserve energy like crazy. We came in with our freezer (unplugged after first power outage) and our big fridge (unplugged after second power outage) and now we use the little two compressor energy Vestfrost fridge that was here. It isn't big enough, but we are learning. We keep a lot of food in the pantry...potatoes, apples, tomatoes, jars of pickles, and our jars of flours around the corner from the kitchen (it gets too hot), and our bread in a drawer under the cabinets. Richard goes out and manually moves the solar panels with the sun every few hours to get the maximum input. And we are researching and talking with our landlord about more solar panels and possible a wind turbine. If he's not up to it, but lets us install them, we can always take them with us when we move to our own piece of land and build our own off-grid house.

We also conserve water like mad. The house is on two cisterns from water catchment off the roof. We have reduced our showers and baths down to about twice a week.

Perpetual camping. We are tuning to the rhythms of the house and the rhythms of nature, as Michael Reynolds, the designer of Earthships (and yes, he designed, but did not build, this house we are in) intended. These are houses for "direct living" as he explains in his A Comimg of Wizards book (very good, spiritual book, by-the-way) and an opportunity for people to live simpler, get closer to nature and evolve into the spiritual beings we are. Wonderful.

I am in love with this house and the landscape surrounding it. And now, we are living more responsibly, being the change, and reducing our carbon footprint by remarkable amounts. So glad to be here and thankful every single day!