Leyland cypress (Cypress x leylandii). And a whole lot of blue sky. Sun, sun - so much sun.
When I first moved into this place, there was an old wooden fence in the back corner, that I was going to use as one 'wall' of a dog pen - you know, one of those places that I could banish the dogs to when they were being annoying. So, one of the first things I did was plant three tiny leyland cypresses in front of the fence - I remember paying $3 for each of them (on sale, at Lowe's) 12 years ago. They weren't even a foot tall. Now they're quite tall and full - forming a green wall in front of a wooden fence that has long since fallen apart and been discarded. Each spring the cardinals nest somewhere deep inside of them. And the dogs? Yep, they're still annoying from time-to-time - but they're also still roaming my one acre (that is fenced) in freedom.
I think that I need to start a new 'category' today. I don't think I've added one since I started this thing - and I do need to add one, maybe two actually. First, I think I need to add some kind of 'Airstream' related category - since it does appear that the Airstream might arrive on Wednesday from chilly Vermont (yes, even inanimate objects seem to be moving south these days). This is the Airstream that I might end up living in - while I build a new home on my acre of land. The reality of the Airstream actually showing up here in Lower Awendaw has me a bit wired - so, it's something that really might happen? Getting two of my live oak trees pruned was actually Step 1 in the process - since the Airstream will most likely be parked near the larger of the live oaks. Now, this week - Step 2, the Airstream actually arriving on the premises, will occur.
Pretty soon all I'll have to deal with is tearing down my existing house and figuring out the whole building process. I haven't talked to any builders yet, and as the consumate non-shopper, I dread the process. But I may have been saved - not from ending up in eternal damnation - but from the whole process because it ends up that the guy that is bringing the Airstream down from Vermont is also a builder. And as he was talking to my brother, he said 'boy, I'd just love to go down to South Carolina for a year and build a house' and it ends up he was serious. So Bart is arriving on Wednesday with the Airstream and his portfolio - and it's positive that after a warning from my brother (one of those typical brother warnings - oh, she'll be difficult, has all these weird ideas for her house, etc) that he's still interested. I know, I know - we've got to figure out all sorts of licensing rules and regulations for the County of Charleston - but the thought of having an individual - just a guy (who my brother says can pick up a couch with one hand) and not a corporation that is building a bunch of houses at once is really appealing to me. My fingers (and toes) are crossed that Bart will be all the shopping that I need to do for a builder. He's worked for my brother on various jobs for years, and my brother says he's exceptional - and hilarious. Perfect!
So - the second new category needs to be a 'thinking outloud' (aka online) about aspects of home building that I'm thinking about. And for the most part know absolutely NOTHING about. The first of which is the incorporation of active solar into my home design. I'm really determined to try to do it - although I'm concerned about the price and since there aren't alot of solar homes in the area - I'm also concerned about finding someone good to contract out this part of the house. My brother had a home in New Hampshire a number of years ago that was on a large hill (a mountain by South Carolina standards) and incorporated both active and passive solar - so my brother is helping me to research this area a bit. But what I've found so far, which I thought I'd share with you, is:
- South Carolina Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
- More specifically, here are the solar heating and cooling personal tax credits. This is a new credit (as of June 2006), and it states that 'A taxpayer may claim a credit of 25% of the costs of installing a solar energy heating or cooling system, or both, in a building owned by the taxpayer. The maximum credit is $3,500 or 50% of the taxpayer's tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less.'
- US DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Active Solar Heating
- SC Solar, Inc.
- A Consumer's Guide to Buying a Solar Electric System
- Financing Solar Energy Systems: A Federal Overview
- Search for solar professionals