Saturday, July 18, 2015

mid July: A house with walls and solar panels

I'm tentatively excited at the thought of living in this house. I am letting myself be taken a little by the excitement, fearful though I am that things will fall apart and the million little things that make a house a house will take another year. (Fair enough, if that constitutes things falling apart in my life I'm a bit stuck in my head, I know.)

The kids climbing up and down the mound, or our own tiny hill. We've put an empty top bar hive on it, waiting for a hive to make it's home there. We will put two more hives-- one regular langstrom with a swarm already in it, and one Perone hive. Hoping to experiment and learn which works better for the bees and us (under the guidance of my dad, the beekeeper)
The house is pretty close to complete in some ways-- we have our solar panels, locked away in our container (don't get me started on the subject of security). We have our water tanks. We almost have our downspout to discard dirty water before it enters our water storage tanks. We have pipes that will currently dump our greywater out mere centimeters from our home (we're working on that). So we don't yet have a greywater system. We have fancy LED lights that are supposed to last approximately forever. We have walls, mostly. With walls, our house looks stupidly tiny. It's good that I am more idealistic than practical. We also have windows, though not in the sunroom. Anyway, what's striking to me is that there are about a million tiny details that make a house work, and when you go off-grid, those tiny things are no longer automatic. They're stuff that we actually have to make decisions on, spend energy and time on.

yeah. we got a car. It's a late-model-used polo. we're trying to experiment with getting 3 car seats in the back. Otherwise we have to feed up Noah until it seems reasonable to put him in a booster seat.
Figuring out the fascias-- a couple of weeks ago.

Building sometimes involves taking the kids on errands when they're not super keen, or keeping them on the farm while we're meeting with people. But on this day, we came to the nearby Imhoff farm afterwards, where there's a rope and this view.

Our kitchen sink. Feels like it deserves it's own "before" picture. Eug has been building us a kitchen counter, and a space to take this sink.
In the meantime, trains take up a big part of the kids' lives... 
On a different note, I was thinking a bit about where we were three and a half years ago when we left the U.S. and traveled to South Africa. Amongst the things that have been hard: the fact that we have not returned to the U.S. since we left, and felt that sense of belonging in Boston, the city where everyone seems to come from somewhere else, (not to mention the joy of Amazon and Pho and Thai and bagels and cheap cream cheese). But more seriously, living in the midst of socioeconomic inequalities in South Africa. We are super privileged in an very unequal society, which comes with very little clarity about what it means to live morally in this context. Perhaps that is the point.

Pretty much what we're hoping for our kids. The view from our window, in the loft.

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