Monday, August 22, 2016

Wendell Berry, 'the sum of his beliefs.'

I saw this article about Wendell Berry that I wanted to share. It is written by David Skinner and has a very poignant opening:
For many of us, daily life is not an exercise in conviction. Our actions part ways from our ideals. In moments of weakness, we yield, like tall grass in a strong wind, to forces beyond our control. What others say, we accept. What happens to be on sale, we buy. What we actually think and believe is less a factor in how we live.
At seventy-seven years old, Wendell Berry continues as a great contrary example to the compromises others take in stride. Instead of being at odds with his conscience, he is at odds with his times. Cheerful in dissent, he writes to document and defend what is being lost to the forces of modernization, and to explain how he lives and what he thinks.
He is the sum of his beliefs.
I am currently working on a lesson plan centered around a Wendell Berry essay for high school ELA class. I have to describe why I think the particular literary work deserves to be added to the curriculum. I don't think they will accept:  Because it is Wendell Berry...
I want what I actually think and believe to be MORE a factor in how I live. I think that is something all of us should strive for. 
How ya like them Berries?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Woody Guthrie, the original Anti-Trump Activist

Who knew that American Folk Singer Great Woody Guthrie would be weighing in on the 2016 election from beyond the grave?

I point you to this story by the Washington Post about how Trump's father was profiteering off government contracts to supply housing to WWII vets (one of which was Guthrie). He even wrote some unpublished song lyrics about the situation.

The unbelievable story of why Woody Guthrie hated Donald Trump's dad.

It was suggested in a youtube comment that the above song was in part directed at Fred Trump, but that seems misdirected, since it is pretty obviously directed at America's WWII foes. But I don't doubt the sentiment applied to Old Man Trump as well.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tiny House Project

So yeah, I'm obsessed with the Tiny House trend. What is a Tiny House? Not all the TH innovations are for me, but certain ones really appeal to me. The idea of a small, affordable home, that's easy(ish) to build, and doesn't excessively tax natural resources or the environment is right up my alley.

Obviously I'm not a Tiny guy. So any TH I would consider habitable requires #1: Sturdiness and #2: Relative Roominess. Obviously my tastes and needs change over time (as do those of my family's), but as of this exact moment in time, I have a list of requirements and features for any TH we would consider building.

Here is a quick run down (not in order of importance) and I will expand on each of these:

  • -Sturdy stairs or ladder to any loft area.
  • -Mobility of TH unit.
  • -Energy Efficient Insulation & Appliances*
  • -Primary Solar Power/Generator/LP/Off-Grid
  • -Alternative waste disposal (i.e. not a typical flush toilet)
  • -Enough storage for some books
  • -As low an overall weight as possible
  • -Shower unit
  • -Separate sleeping quarters for Parents & Child 

*I'll elaborate on some of these in separate posts, but for starters I'll mention some key points to our needs. 

I know some of these requirements are a lot to ask for, but I have figured out plans for most of the needs to be met with relative ease. The balance of sturdiness vs. mobility/overall-weight is probably going to end up being one of my main challenges. The actual biggest challenge is probably going to be convincing my wife to let us use a non-flush toilet in our home. (Humanure Handbook)

This is a crude example of a homemade system.

I am planning on a gray water tank of some sort, as well as a potable water tank of some sort, and the placement of these could be a little issue as well depending on size etc. My end-goal is to be hooked up to a water source, but not to waste our gray water if possible. If we Do move into this TH, and we Do move out west, and we Happen to live remotely at some point, then the potable water tank will be essential so I am going to figure a way to integrate it from the beginning just in case.

So most first questions asked about a TH would be concerning size probably. How big or small are you planning to go? As of right now, unless something changes drastically, we are building in the 8'x35' range (400-450 sq. ft. including loft space/ 280 sq. ft. without loft space included). Why this size? Well the universe (or God) works in mysterious ways. To learn how we came by this trailer check out the Sustainability page. But for now, here is a picture of it before we clean it up.

Yes. It was involved in a combustible experience.