STAYING WARM IN THE BITTER COLD

January 6 was the coldest day in the past 10 years here in rural Ridgeway.

A newly-named weather phenom, known as a polar vortex, had descended on the Driftless Area.  In downtown Dodgeville, -22F was flashing out front of the Wells Fargo Bank – and a brutal wind produced a plummeting wind chill as the day dawned.

It warmed very little during the day and got almost as cold the following night as the wind began to die down.

Underhill House is just over a year old.  We were curious and a little nervous to see how our home would perform in this kind of cold.  IMG_3089

Saturday and Sunday we hastily sawed and split extra firewood, and jamming it under the loft ladder next to our wood-burning stove.   Though we’ve never had a fire for more than an hour or two in the evening, we feared that we might have to burn wood constantly – as opposed to our usual hour or two in the evening.

We watched the temperature drop and went to sleep listening to the cold wind howl.  Monday morning dawned clear, but before the sun rose over the hill, we both had to venture out.  We wanted to experience the coldest air we’d known in a long time, and we had chores out there.

Doug made an early morning foray out to the barn and two hikes down to the highway to put out the garbage and recycling.  We weren’t actually sure it would get picked up in such bitterly cold weather, but our intrepid trashmen came through.

Meanwhile I ventures out on a mission of mercy for the birds.  Doug and I decided last summer that we would not put out bird feeders this year and work instead on turning the land around our house into the best bird habitat we can.  We are planting various dogwoods, viburnums and other bird-friendly shrubs to provide natural food and shelter.

However, the day before the cold set in, I began to fear for my feathered friends and determined they could use a little immediate help finding fuel in this intense cold, so we made a last-minute trip after dark  for sunflower seeds and suet.  So there I was in the first light, shoveling an area to spread seed and trying to wire up a suet feeder without taking my gloves off – that proved impossible, and my fingers immediately began to burn. I got out my phone to take a photo of the sun rising, and it immediately froze.

Less than half an hour out there gave me a great appreciation for those creatures who find their winter shelter and food where they can. ( All day, we saw no creature of any kind venture out into the teeth of the windstorm.  In fact, it was a couple of days before the animals began to appear.)

We came in and warmed up with hot tea and steaming porridge, but we held off lighting the fire.  The sun was just hitting the solar panels and starting to spread out on the surfaces inside our house.

5et34u15-copy

We designed this place with:

  • Straw bale insulation
  • Passive solar design
  • Over-insulated foundation walls
  • Thermal mass
  • Solar hot water infloor heate1d79hsm

We wanted to see what Underhill House could do.

The backup propane boiler turned itself off at 9 a.m. — almost as soon as the brilliant morning sun started to shine through the windows.  By 10, the solar hot water panels were replenishing the heat in the 160-gallon storage tank in the mechanical room.

By lunch time, we were down to t-shirts as sat in our loft watching the snow glisten and the trees toss.  On many a sunny winter day, Underhill House has warmed us to t-shirt temperatures with its one-two punch of passive solar heat pouring into the house through the windows and the heat collected in the solar panels coursing through our concrete floors, but we weren’t sure it could kick such extreme cold.

It could!

No propane use, no wood stove fire – indoor temperatures near 70, and water coming off the panels and into our basement storage at 130 degrees.

alefl2k0We didn’t start a fire in the wood stove for almost two hours after sunset, which allowed us to coast comfortably through the evening on the main floor.   Meanwhile the stored heat in the tank kept the downstairs (which receives little passive solar input) in the low 60s.  We let the fire die down and went to bed about 11.  The residual heat from the day’s sun and the wood fire kept the upstairs thermostat above 60 all night long – except for our bedroom and the front hall, which we keep cooler.

The only propane we used, heated our downstairs offices starting about midnight.

Bottom line?  We had a 5-hour-long wood fire and perhaps 7 hours of propane used to heat less than a quarter of our living space in the coldest 24-hour span in the last decade.

No compromises.  We were cozy through the bitterest cold our climate is likely to throw at us.

Cozy and a bit bemused by the whole experience.

January 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

FOILING DEER BROWSE

Deer are the largest and most dramatic wildlife most of us see on a regular basis.

DSC_0025

This fellow was exceptionally unconcerned when I came upon it in the woods.

This summer we enjoyed watching a mother and her two fawns regularly explore their botanical buffet within feet of our bedroom window.  They were incredibly endearing at such close range, but a cloud hung over the tableau.

I knew only too well that those same sweet creatures will ravage the helpless plant world this winter.  A 2006 survey of Wisconsin Conservation Reserve Program hardwood plantings confirmed that deer browse is devastating the survival of hardwood seedlings.  I know it’s true.  I’ve seen it again and again on our land.  Promising young white oaks eaten back to the kindling each winter.

ffvcuriy

A mighty oak branch that will never be.

 For obvious reasons, winter is the most nutritionally stressful time of the year for deer. Browse (defined as the leaves, twigs, and buds of woody plants) is the staple of a white-tailed deer during those long, cold months when greenery is only a memory, and white oak is a favorite.

I tried an oak bud one winter out of curiosity, and found it amazingly appetizing.  I didn’t care for the flavor much, but it was tender and juicy and crisp.  But buds are so small, I can only imagine how many it takes regulate a deer’s temperature in the cold.

So long, excess deer!

So long, excess deer – I wish!

If only the number of deer and buds were in balance.

Hardwoods can be bud capped during the dormant season.  Last year we gave it a try, covering the buds of some young white oaks with aluminum foil.  uutighs0

It seemed to work.  The deer passed over the foiled buds, and the trees lived to have a good growing season.

So here we go again.

We are trying to encourage white oaks up hill from Underhill House.

We are trying to encourage several dozen  little white oaks up hill from Underhill House.

The tricky part is when to take the aluminum foil off.  Buds often get browsed during the early growing season when the treelings need that foil OFF their new vegetative shoots.

It’s a game we are playing again this winter and hoping we will again be able to leave the foil on till there are enough other options for deer the oaks we are encouraging will not get nipped.

Hang in there, Prairie Spy!

Hang in there, Prairie Spy!

We also are foiling the buds of two heirloom apple trees I grafted a few years ago – a Black Gillyflower and a Prairie Spy.  In the past, we tried to protect them with chicken wire cages, but recently the deer flipped the cages yards away and feasted on apple buds.

By next year we plan to have our little “orchard” and the adjoining garden fenced, but for now 0.2 mm of aluminum will be their only protection.

 How do you keep the deer away from your botanical pals?

January 6, 2014 at 12:06 am 3 comments

THE WAY OF THE BLACK WALNUT – GORGEOUS, DELICIOUS AND TOXIC

Black walnuts are intense trees.

Their nuts are super nutritious and a mouthful of earthy flavor.  Walnut wood has vivid grain.  When peeled, they reveal a muscular, sculptural beauty.  Everything about them is gorgeous. 0gz7rudi

But black walnuts bite!

In Madison, we had a black walnut growing in front of our house – right where we parked our cars.  The pounding those cars got when the nuts fell left a dappled texture of the sort people expect from  a hail storm.  That was the price we had to pay to park next our house.

What I’m not so wild about is that walnuts do not play well with others.  They produce juglone in their leaves, roots, husks, fruit and bark.  This is an alleopathic compound – a substance that the walnut uses to inhibit the metabolic function of other plants – many other plants.  Check out this Iowa State University site for a list of what plants juglone attacks and doesn’t.

Most of the timers in this photo are black walnut.

Most of the timbers in this photo are black walnut.

Be that as it may, these killer trees are native to the Midwest, and they have been growing very happily on our land since long before we moved here.  We used a number of black walnuts for branching timbers and shelving in our house, and I am learning to make my peace with them.

This year I decided to bond by harvesting some of their very prolific nuts.  I didn’t start very early, and wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.  Black walnut kernels have a reputation of being challenging to access.  The tasty nuts are packed into convoluted and very hard shells.  The shells are encased in a thick, tough husk that starts out looking green and gradually turns to dark brown mush.  Green or brown, the husks can stain your clothes, hands and tools a deep and lasting brown.9dg8poxl

I collected about 50 gallons of them by walking our trails with 2 5-gallon plastic buckets balanced by rope from our yoke.

I have since read that walnuts taste better if the husk is removed while green, but I collected many of mine after the husks turned brown, so we shall see about that.

2mi415te

My work surface was a black walnut stump. Pretty soon, it was about buried in hammered husks.

 Some people remove those pesky husks off by placing them the drive and rolling the car back and forth over them.  I followed the advice of a You-tube presenter who hammered off his husks.  That worked well with the green ones, and by that I mean, it was pleasant to sit outside, listening to a recorded book on my smart phone and enjoying the pleasant view for 30-40 minutes per 5-gallon bucket.  A bucket of gathered walnuts produced half a bucket of hulled nuts.

IMG_2948 Next I took each half bucket of hulled nuts over to the water faucet and filled the bucket with water.  Any floaters were removed.  Then I dropped our pitch fork into the bucket and rotated it vigorously for a few minutes.  That turned the water almost black.  Then I carried the buckets down the drive to an area where I don’t care if it is stained or toxic and poured out the black water.  I rinsed them one or two more times – depending on my mood.

IMG_2949 The cleaned nuts were spread out in a little hammock of chicken wire to dry.  Then stored in re-used paper bags to finish drying in the barn.15okfm3l

How to crack these Fort Knox of nuts?  I tried pounding them with my hammer, but that was hard and tended to mash the kernels badly.  Then I remembered an article in the recent Mother Earth News about a hard shell nutcracker from Lehman’s.IMG_2936

It cost $70, but we decided that it could be worth it over the years.  Doug and I are vegetarian, and we eat a lot of nuts.  I am also entranced by the idea of adding such a nutritious food source to our local list.x2dkejd5

The nutcracker works very well.  It is designed to deliver a measured amount of pressure to the nut in a vertical direction and to make cracking easier with the use of a long lever.  The nuts crack into pieces, the shells fly everywhere, so I do this step outside.  When I fill a bowl, I take them inside and remove the kernels with a standard nut pick.IMG_2944

Some of them come out in fine, large pieces.  Others have to be clawed out of convoluted recesses and get ground to pulp in the process.  That walnut mush made us think about nut butter, so we tossed our first few cups into the food processor and pureed them. 952mosve

Black walnuts have a much stronger, earthier flavor than the English walnuts we get in the store.  Because of that, I pureed up a couple cups of English walnuts and blended the two together.  It’s still quite a mouthful of flavor and tastes amazing with our raspberry preserves, pear butter or some good, local honey (see my post Where Is Your Honey From? ).

I’m here to say, that the ending up with black walnuts in our diet seems well worth the trouble.

Have you tried harvesting black walnuts?

What is your advice?

December 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm 8 comments

WHERE IS YOUR HONEY FROM?

I’ve been given honey twice in the past few weeks.

What a wonderful gift!

It’s a gift that has been given twice.

People gave it to me, but bees gave it to them.

Thanks, Ms. Bee! photo credit:  USGS Bee Monitoring Lab http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/with/9736472207/

Thanks, Ms. Bee!
photo credit: USGS Bee Monitoring Lab http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/with/9736472207/

Some new friends, Amber Nicole and Paul, gave us a jar of Mad Urban Bees honey.  http://www.madurbanbees.com/

IMG_2878Nathan Clarke operates Mad Urban Bees, one of the first urban apiaries in the country.  He has two hives in his back yard and another 50 hives around the Madison area hosted by people who understand the benefit that bees bring to the urban ecosystem.  Amber Nicole and Paul are bee hosts.  Amber Nicole said she was a little concerned at first that bringing a hive of honey bees into her yard would compromise the population of native bees already there, but her observation was that they co-existed peacefully.

According to Clarke, city bees can actually be happier than country bees.  They live in a world of flowering trees and ornamental varieties, giving them a bounty of nectar and pollen from which to choose, and the growing season in Madison is longer than that in the surrounding farmland. jcqmnpvs

They feast on basswood, apple and crabapple trees, dandelions, creeping Charlie, bergamot, sedum, asters, mint, oregano, roses and the list goes on and on.  Clark says all that variety really improves the health of the bees and the taste of the honey.

Several weeks ago, Doug and I got together with Marci and Jim Hess.  They are restoring prairie on their land near Blanchardville, and we shared our projects in a great day of hiking and talking on each others’ land.  We saw their restoration efforts in their woods and their marvelous newly-created prairies.

IMG_2877They shared with us a jar of honey from the bees that they keep beside their prairie.  I was really excited to have a jar of prairie sweetness now that the grasses and flowers have gone into their winter phase.  I love the beauty of winter stalks edged with snow, but prairie honey is a wonderful reminder of when these plants were moist and green and soaking in the sun.

I put them on the shelf next to our most recent farmers’ market honey purchase, from Dale Marsden who keeps bees near Madison.  He keeps about 60 hives, and says each hive can produce about 100 pounds of honey a year.  His bees frequent dandelion, locust, Russian olive, clover and occasionally blackberry and raspberry.  He also takes his bees to Spooner for knapweed, basswood and purple loosestrife.  Sometimes he stops at the cranberry bogs in Warrens along the way.

WHERE HAS YOUR HONEY BEEN?

It’s a good idea to know where your honey came from. If it doesn’t say on the jar, it may come from China. and may contain additives you would not like.   Processed honey you buy in stores may have been heated and forced through an ultra-filtering process that removes the pollen to improve shelf life.   It may even have corn syrup added to it.  The Food and Drug Administration says that ultra-filtered honey without pollen is not actually honey, but loopholes get it on the store shelf labeled honey anyway.

Rich in bee benefits.

Rich in bee benefits.

Since I found myself with three jars of honey in the pantry, I decided to have a honey taste test.  All three of my types are quite light.  I have heard that darker honeys have more flavor and more antioxidants, but I could detect subtle differences between them.  My personal favorite is the Prairie Honey, but I did not do a blind test, and I may have been influenced by my enthusiasm for prairie and love of its flowers.

Do you have a favorite type of honey? 

I’d love to hear about it.

November 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm 5 comments

SPENDING THE DAY WITH STRAW-CLAY INFILL

Last July, Doug and I joined the timber-raising of one the carpenters who helped build Underhill House.  (Check it out in my post Timberframing with Friends: Sweat, Love and a Little Drama. )DSC_0032

Prairie and his partner Lindsey are restoring an old farmhouse.   The back of the house proved too far gone, and they are replacing it with a new kitchen/living area topped by a sunny loft. DSC_0034

The addition is being insulated with straw clay infill.  This is a great substance.  We’ve visited several homes made this way and participated in a straw clay workshop a few years ago.  Straw traps air in the wall and creates a good thermal barrier.  The clay hardens fluffy straw into a solid block and provides some thermal mass.  The materials are inexpensive, and natural.  The skills required are easy to learn in a few minutes.  However, everyone I know who has built in straw clay (this includes me) agree  that straw clay infill is very hard work.  That’s why Doug and I went over this Tuesday to lend a hand.DSC_0054

Prairie has made a lot of progress since July.  He’s got the roof on and everything framed in.  He had begun the straw clay process, finishing the bottom of the south-facing wall.  That’s the easy one, it’s going to be almost half windows in the best passive solar design.DSC_0071

Preparing the Clay Slip

Prairie is using a watering tank to mix the clay slip, a concoction of clay and water mixed together into something that resembles a chocolate shake.  When left for a few days, the clay particles sink, so Doug’s first task was to mix it back up again using a mixing paddle on a power drill.DSC_0077

Tossing the Straw and Clay Together

Each straw needs to be very lightly coated with this mixture.  Prairie was working with a ratio of about 4-1/2 gallons for each straw bale.  There are many ways to combine the slip and the straw.  We were working with the basic, fluff-it-with-your-arms method, which gets the job done and is a full-body workout besides.  It’s like tossing a huge straw salad until every single piece is lightly coated in clay dressing.DSC_0083

TAMPING AND STAMPING

Straw clay infill is then transformed from a sloppy pile of clay-coated straw on the floor to a solid wall by being molded in a temporary frame.  Each bale/batch was gobbled up as soon as it could be mixed.  At first the frames were close to the ground, and it was easy to climb in and compact the mixture by foot.  We tamped into every little corner and crevice with  wooden sticks to make sure every square inch was filled uniformly.  That is a LOT of tamping as well as stamping.

DSC_0090We got a good rhythm going with Prairie building frames as fast as Doug, I, Issac and Todd could mix up  straw and clay and pack it in.  When we reached the top of the first frame, Prairie was ready with the next. DSC_0112

It was exciting to watch the walls slowing rising, though climbing up and finding space to stamp became more challenging.   DSC_0114

We called it a day as we all began to feel like our quality control might be starting to slip.  By that time – even though it had been raining all day, Prairie was already able to remove the bottom frames, and we got to assess our work.  There are always a few soft spots that missed compaction, and those can be filled from the outside with a mixture of straw clay that is a little more wet with clay.  It is far from dry, but will hold its shape now and dry faster without the frame.

Until recently, common wisdom was that walls more than 12″ would not dry completely, but that has not been born out in practice, so Prairie is opting for more insulation and pushing to 14″.DSC_0118

The outside will be sided with wood, and the inside will be plastered with earthen clay.  It’s so satisfying to watch an old farm house in a beautiful setting get a new lease on life, with the kind of sustainable materials and a sense of community that no doubt  built it in the first place.

November 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm 4 comments

No Mow Fescue and Annual Rye Planted Just in Time

The making of Underhill House was also the destruction of all but the most rugged organisms living in the soil around it.  We moved here in January, and as soon as the snow melted, I was counting the days till I could start to heal the earth outside our walls.IMG_1598

IMG_2606But my plans were delayed.

Our excavator, Bruce Lease, pointed out that if we wanted to dig a root cellar into the hill, we should do it BEFORE any planting because heavy equipment needed for the project would tear our landscaping up again.

Yet more digging into our hill to create a root cellar.

Yet more digging into our hill to create a root cellar.  Obviously no point in planting yet.

We surely did want to dig in a root cellar —  we were just suffering from building fatigue and thought to put it off till fall or even next year.

But Bruce had a valid point.

We went ahead with the root cellar – more on that in a future post.IMG_1603

IMG_2570Like many building projects, the root cellar took longer than we hoped, and we found ourselves looking at the narrowest possible window to prep and plant our yard this fall.

We began to work up the rock-hard ground, and it was just about too much for our Troybuilt Pro-Line tiller r with a Honda GX160 engine. Not to mention a grueling task for Doug and me.IMG_2530

IMG_2533IMG_2583We started tilling in the middle of a parching dry spell, and learned the hard way to soak the ground to make real progress.Denise-raking-sept-6

After the ground was tilled several inches down, we raked it even and then sowed the grass seeds.IMG_2522

After seeding, we very precicely covered the ground with a very thin layer of straw designed to shade and protect tender seedlings without burying them.  All our painstaking straw placement was rudely redistributed by some big winds we got before it rained.  We tried to put them back the way they were, but that’s easier said than done.

Our terraced garden site, we cover cropped in annual rye, then tucked it in under a thin blanket of straw.

Our terraced garden site, we cover cropped in annual rye, then tucked it in under a thin blanket of straw.

The ground below the garden will be pollinator-friendly priaire plants.

The ground below the garden will be pollinator-friendly praire plants.

We planted a band about a truck lane’s width (also about a fire lane’s width-dry prairies have been known to catch fire and burn fast)  with the No Mow Fescue mix prepared by Prairie Nursery.   I have high hopes for this grass.  It is a blend of fescues that combine to form an interlocking, dense, durable sod that is low maintenance and drought tolerant.  It only requires mowing once or twice a year, if you want a groomed look.  Or you can let it just grow up to its short height and wave in the breeze.

On the east side, the annual rye (future prairie panting) has a head start on the fescue to the right.  We worked on small sections at a time, so the grasses are coming up in successive stages.

On the east side, the annual rye (future prairie panting) has a head start on the fescue to the right. We worked on small sections at a time, so the grasses are coming up in successive stages.

Beyond that fire lane band, we have planted annual rye as the first of several cover crops in preparation for seeding in the Xerces Pollinator Mix Prairie next fall.

Because we were getting a late start, and there was no rain forecast for over a week, we decided to water it in.  This was a major operation that involved moving our little sprinkler dozens of times to cover all the seeded area, but by the time the rain came, little shoots were peeking out, and they really took off since the rain.

On the north side (our last section) the tiller hit a rock, but when we tried to dig it out, we were never able to find the edge where the rock stopped.  At this point we knew we could not move it ourselves, so we just reburied it.

On the north side (our last section) the tiller hit a rock, but when we tried to dig it out, we were never able to find the edge where the rock stopped. By this point we realized that we could not move it ourselves, so we just reburied it.

Our buried boulder is just to the left behind the solar panels.  Rest in peace.

Our buried boulder is just to the left behind the solar panels. Rest in peace.

Now everywhere I look I see the warm golden green of the rye, or the slightly more mint green of the fescue.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

I didn’t even realize how oppressive all that bare dirt was until it was gone.

IMG_1877What is more revitalizing than watching new leaves grow?  It’s a tantalizing juxtaposition with all the plants that are starting to give up the ghost as the days grow shorter and the nights colder – kind of like the bracing sensual contrast that a sauna and snow can provide.IMG_2599

The list of projects waiting our attention is as long as ever, but for the moment the race to beat an uncompromising seasonal deadline has been won, and that feels very good!

Speaking of grass, the grassroots Solar Tour (see Solar Tour post) last Saturday was great.  Even though it was a cloudy day, spitting rain, 14 people showed up to see what they could learn from our sustainable building experience.  That feels good too.

Have you got your fall chores under control? 

What’s your biggest satisfaction this year?

October 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

SEE UNDERHILL HOUSE ON THE 2013 SOLAR TOUR

Saturday October 5, Underhill House will be part of the National Solar Tour — u1z0iy8fthe world’s largest grassroots solar event.

We are so thrilled to part of a coalition of over 5,500 home and business owners, volunteers, solar installers, public officials and grassroots organizations who conduct open house tours of their energy efficient and solar-powered buildings.

Over the past 5 years as we planned our own house Doug and I visited homes in the Wisconsin Solar Tour – looking closely, making notes, mulling over what we see and hear from helpful home owners.

Solar panels to the left (north) cob oven to the right.

Solar panels to the left (north), heating Underhill and cob oven to the right.

Now comes pay back where we can give others the benefit of what we are learning from our own solar projects.

PEX tubing, the material that has made infloor heat so practical, being installed in our lower level.

PEX tubing, the material that has made infloor heat so practical, being installed in our lower level.

We moved into our passive solar design and in-floor solar heated house in January and had a very cozy winter supplementing with only a whisper of propane.  Our passive solar design and strawbale-insulated walls kept us cool enough all summer with only a little electricity spinning a few strategically-placed fans at the right moments.

Our temperature-control systems are really working, and we are eager to pass our discoveries along.

The solar tour, which has taken place the first weekend in October for 18 years is the brain child of the American Solar Energy Society.  The nonprofit ASES has been encouraging the use of solar energy since 1954.

Our control center where solar heated water is stored and circulated.

Our control center where solar heated water is stored and circulated.

But the engine that drives this movement is the more than 400 grassroots organizations, installers and non-profits who locally coordinate sponsor, and promote these open houses. Also the home and business owners who share their personal solar experiences and educate others about the benefits of energy-efficient living is who makes this event a success.

In 2012, the Solar Tour drew more than 90,000 people in 38 states to over 9,000 sites.

This year 75 solar homes and businesses around Wisconsin are opening their doors. Come and learn about renewable energy, green building techniques, and sustainable living ideas. Tour sites are owned, lived in, and worked in by ordinary people who are part of a grass-roots push to renewable energy.

You can get all the details about Wisconsin by checking out this map.

It will clearly detail what there is to see in Wisconsin and allow you to tailor a tour to your own interests.

You can find tours all over the country here.

Ellie Jackson, Events Coordinator of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, who facilitate the Wisconsin Solar Tour says, “There are lots of ways to use the sun’s energy.  The Solar Tour is like a back stage pass.  It’s a really cool opportunity to meet people who are making solar energy work.  There isn’t some huge corporate sponsor making it happen – it’s people who have a passion and are sharing what they’ve learned.”

Jackson, acknowledged that in the past few years attendance is down a bit.  She attributes it to the fact that sponsorship, which provides the funds to get the word out is also down.  “Funding is harder to come by, and that ‘s not unique to solar projects,” she says.

There are so many sad reasons why solar energy is not supported in this country.  That’s not what this post is about.  Blogs are a way that information can travel without a corporate sponsor, so spread the word about the 2013 Solar Tour, and check it out, if you can.

photo credit: Hudsonobserver.com

photo credit: Hudsonobserver.com

Even if you are not thinking of a solar project right now, the leaves are starting to turn their spectacular fall colors.  (check out the Wisconsin fall color map here. ) It’s a great way to spend a day getting out and exploring some interesting spaces.  You’ll meet people who are pioneering solar power and see how they are making renewable energy work one house at a time.  The website will give you enough detail so that you can tailor a tour that fits your interest and time constraints.

Again, if you live in Wisconsin, design your tour using this map.

Cozy in winter and cool enough in summer.  Come see how.

Cozy in winter and cool enough in summer. Come see how.

If you live in South Central Wisconsin, I hope you’ll put Underhouse on your list and come on by.  I’m hoping to be able to slice you some bread baked in our outdoor cob oven.

September 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm 3 comments

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