Monday, August 23, 2010

Day Ninety Six

To say we're living in interesting times is an understatement.  As all the rules shift people are reexamining what their futures will look like.  I, as a parent, am extremely glad that the spending orgy is over as it now seems unlikely that my children will be sucked in to the high level of consumerism that has been the norm for the past few decades.  As one who adores natural construction and the notion of building a house yourself on a pay as you go plan I have to wonder if the government will facilitate this.  Where I live now you cannot build yourself a load bearing straw bale house because the county won't issue a permit for one.  Same thing with cob construction - not a chance.  It isn't unusual to get a permit now for a post and beam straw bale as long as you're willing to over engineer it to the point that it is as costly as conventional construction.  When I went looking for land five years ago I looked in counties without restrictive building codes and was lucky enough to find some.  I think it will be essential over the next several decades for building codes to move towards empowering people rather than hindering them.  While I acknowledge that there are codes for very good reasons I also have experienced how ridiculous, restrictive, expensive and lengthy a process it can be through the projects of many of my friends.  This article in the NYTimes today is about how housing will take 20 years to recover:  Housing Fades as a Means to Build Wealth  So if people will no longer be building or buying monstrous starter castles built of waferboard and crippling debt, what will they live in?  I will build myself a 600 sf load bearing straw bale house when/if I feel the desire to have a home again.  I will have a gorgeous gypsy wagon for a guest house and maybe a caboose; yes, a caboose, as a rental unit on my property.  A friend sent me this yesterday and I had the info emailed to me.  Very reasonable in cost and very cool.  Caboose Kit  I like the idea of a cluster of small, or even very small, units on my property with a fabulous shared kitchen and garden.  I've considered using a quonset hut for one outbuilding and building a greenhouse from recycled plastic bottles, etc.  The whole point of the gypsy tour for me is to hone my ideas about how I want to live.  I'll share them with everyone along the way and hear different perspectives so that when I come back I'll be both rested and ready for the hard work that building a house is and also resolute in my plans.  I'm a girl who likes to have a plan.  :-)

Today I let go of more books:

1.  The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
2.  The Thank You Book by Robyn Freedman Spizman
3.  The Maker's Diet by Jordan S. Rubin
4.  Love Smart by Phil McGraw - I didn't buy this book.  I ate in a restaurant and came outside to find it on the hood of my car - a mystery that remains unsolved to this day
5.  Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD


  1. After going thru the miasma of trying to find decent, affordable elder care for both my parents, I dream of building a tiny community with small individual residences, but sharing a central pool/garden/health services, etc.--just for my friends & family--folks who I know will live compatibly in close quarters. What a perfect utopia for the final chapters of our lives together!

  2. There are more and more of us looking for that kind of dream set-up. Back to the old village style living, but with like-minded individuals. Don't forget to have a community workshop and studio!

  3. Over the years I've been involved in a few co-housing groups. None came to fruition and what I learned from the experience is that it is pretty hard to build consensus, even among like minded people. As I get older I can't help but wonder if part of the difficulty was the ages of those involved. I have noticed that the older I get the less proprietary I behave. I don't really care about owning anything anymore and I really don't care about being right. While I do know some extraordinary people in their late twenties and early thirties who I think have this mindset, they are vastly outnumbered by those in their age group still trying to put their unique mark on everything. Most of my friends now are more conciliatory, leading me to believe that this kind of community living is actually possible. Life is such a process, like a lovely story that just keeps getting better as the writer cleans up a phrase, adds more descriptive text, considers and reconsiders point of view. Delicious. Yes, Mary, a wonderful community swimming pool for sure. One of the natural ones where the plants clean the water and an enormous weeping willow lends its shade. :-) And what would be better than having all kinds of cool new tools to play with in the shared workshop? I am always at my creative best when in the company of other artists.



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