The Low Road to Freedom – How Buildings Learn

This BBC-produced video showcases low cost construction and its relationship to freedom.  As a lifelong follower of Thoreau’s philosophies, this resonates with me. Freedom to build “what you need” is a principle upon which the Village on Sewanee Creek rests. 

So, we have a roughly 5,500 square foot mansion currently under construction here. It is anything but low cost. But it is what the owners decided they need. From my point of view, that’s wonderful. If you have the resources so that the building does not become a lead weight on your life, it can become such a blessing, not only to the owners, but to those they chose to share it with. In the Village, where we are collectively all about voluntary sharing, what a blessing that can be!   It’s what’s inside that counts.  I’m confident that the owners who will become the heart of this magnificent home when it is completed, will bless all of us with their generous spirit and wise hearts.

On the other extreme, we have three “Tiny Homes” that are “finished” and occupied with capacity for future expansion and creative expression as need dictates. Large or small, expensive or low cost, or somewhere in between, the range of homes in the Village expresses our core values.  One of the most important among our values is the individual freedom to build according to needs as each of us defines them. 

Out of that freedom, comes a natural diversity of expression. That diversity, or lack of sameness can be viewed in different ways.  Differences can be viewed either as low-end eyesores that depress property values or as egotistical displays of wealth on the other extreme.  As we elevate our consciousness and supress lower ego-driven impulses, these differences can be perceived as beautiful, artistic expressions of freedom.  Again, where the building is only an expression of the builder, it’s what’s inside that counts.

When our personal artistic senses are challenged by diversity, it is an opportunity to reevaluate the depth of our spirituality and the quality of our values – to dig a little deeper and discover more enlightened ways of perceiving and interacting with the world around us. 

Monday, we celebrate the 4th of July. For me, it’s a celebration of the liberated human spirit, not just freedom from political tyranny. My fondest hope is that the Village will continue to evolve and improve as a society that values freedom in its deepest, spiritual sense, thereby securing not only freedom for ourselves but fostering it for others.

Keep reading to my previous post.  You are invited to celebrate the 4th with us tomorrow, or for the rest of forever.

Dream, Choose, Live: The Good Life

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live life deliberately.”

Henry David Thoreau

I think the first, most essential thing one must do to accomplish that is to build one’s own house as Thoreau did. He built from leftover scraps of an old shanty. We have many other choices.

 
The mere fact that when people come to the Village, they can’t buy a finished home means that every one of us shares that journey. The journey enriches each of us individually and collectively, as a community.  One’s home is the ultimate expression of self, one’s capacity to dream and do. Even if you hire a contractor and never lift a hammer, you will learn, mostly about yourself. So many choices, it can be overwhelming. In the process, you are forced to come to terms with your personal values. There is no faking it.

What is really important to me?

  • How big should my house be?
  • How much of my life, in the form of money that I have exchanged my time and effort for, should go into this house?
  • What portion should I allocate for other things that are important to me and my goals?
  • In my house, do I want to emphasize efficiency and low maintenance or esthetic beauty? What do those things mean to me? Can I have both?
  • Do I want my home to make a statement about me or is it enough that it satisfies just me?
  • If I am taking this journey with a spouse and children, how will we use this experience to bring us closer as we discover and satisfy what is uniquely us?
  • What can or should I do without to have the things I really want?
  • My home will be a refuge, but from what? From the noise of the city, or from the discomforts of nature?

The folks in this video made some highly unusual choices in an environment most people would consider extreme. Yet, their home is a creative expression of who they are and how they choose to live.  And it is beautiful.

As you watch this video, notice the many trade-offs they made. I like to think “sacrifice” is what you give up to get something better.  A deliberate life is one of conscious choice. If one knows oneself and chooses well, a personal paradise is the reward. That personal paradise is within reach of us all, but we must choose.

For those who love nature and the joy of sharing with others, the Village on Sewanee Creek has all the necessary elements to build your dream with a little help from some friends.

Building a New Village home, a piece of cake

My mother celebrated her 90th birthday a week ago, Saturday. Building her a new home in the Village has been almost as easy as her birthday cake. The Saturday before her birthday, we visited the modular home factory at Blue Ridge Log Cabins where we ordered her a new home. To say I was impressed is an understatement. The factory is state-of-the-art and the quality of their product is outstanding.

My mother’s new home will be ready to ship in just 6 weeks from date of order, complete with everything, including appliances. It will be installed on my property about 50 feet from my brother, George’s house.

Friday before our trip to the factory, I called Jim, a friend and contractor who lives down the road, to let him know of our plans.
Monday morning, he was on site with a crew of about 8, a dozer, backhoe, trencher, bobcat and misc. other equipment. By end of day, the footings for the foundation, the pit for the septic tank and septic field lines were dug, power and water lines were stubbed out. Tuesday, the rebar-reinforced foundation was poured and the septic system finished. A week later, after the concrete had cured and rain storms had passed, the block mason laid the concrete block and baseplate for the crawl space.

I was amazed and delighted at how quickly and easily the prep work for the new house was completed. A month ahead of scheduled delivery, we are ready for installation. The prep work came in about $1,500 under the quote, no down payment, paid in cash upon completion. Years of building relationships and experience in the Village have paid off for us and those that follow in the Village.  Inquire about the Village here.

This will be the second blue-ridge log cabin for the Village, and the third modular home. In the last decade or so, modular construction has come into its own. On time, on budget with superior quality and no hassles. You can have a customized home without the dread and nightmares that normally accompany new home on-site construction.

We will actually need to ask Blue Ridge to delay delivery a bit so I can be free after the semester ends and I finish grading finals for my class at the University of the South. Then, I can be there for the install while George and Mom are in California packing for the move.

Here is the cabin, shortly after installation on the foundation.

Here is the cabin, shortly after installation on the foundation.

 

Open Homes bring Nature and People inside

Having spent a good deal of my life in Japan, I appreciate ancient Japanese architecture that seeks to remove barriers between interior and exterior space. Sliding-wall doors open to manicured, moss-covered rock gardens where not only the sights but the sounds, smells and general ambiance of nature blend seamlessly with the living space. The Japanese, more than any other culture I know, have a deep love of nature.

In the Village, we are blessed with an abundance of nature at its best and most beautiful. Large flocks of wild turkey, does with their spotted fawn scamper by. Dense fog with a sense of mystery shrouds the deep mountain canyon views. Thundering waterfalls.  Majestic cliffs with sheer lookouts.  Lightning storms frequently rumble across the vista alternating with meteor showers on clear, deep black nights. Stunning displays of profound power inspire our deepest spiritual longings.

In western popular architecture, the closest we come to opening our homes is the covered porch. That’s one reason I require all homes in the Village to feature a large one.  To date, all five homes here have done a nice job of interpreting that feature and I look forward to the new ones coming on. Access to the porch on one lovely Village log home is through french doors on a 2-story wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.  It features a commanding view of Sewanee Gulf, a newly built pond, and a livestock pasture surrounded by a portable electric fence like the ones recommended by Joel Salatin.  Another Village home is of the newly popular tiny-home tradition.  A generous covered porch, featuring the same commanding view, at least doubles its sense of size and space. Jessica (name changed for privacy) absolutely LOVES her tiny house. The porch on another home, running along the long side of the house with huge road frontage, is particularly welcoming to passers-by.   My house has two large covered porches, one on the front that welcomes visitors and one on the back that sits comfortably over the creek with an outdoor dining area and space off the kitchen where my wife mills wheat and oats for her fresh, home-made bread.  None of these homes are ostentatious.  Each is practical, frugal and well-used.  Each is lovely, befitting the Village motto, “in harmony with nature and people”.

But I must admit that my favorite of all the porches here is my brother’s. Shear dimensions define it. Square, rather than linear, it is incorporated into the house on one side via sliding glass doors opening to the kitchen, a wall of windows to the living room on the other side and the front door on a 45 degree angle in between. Potted, fragrant herbs line the porch rails, conveniently facilitating a penchant for fresh, creative cooking. The porch thoughtfully sits above and hides three 2,500 gallon cisterns.  On the opposite side of the house, I recently helped build a chicken coop under the smaller porch.  The chickens are so pleased with it that I’m thinking I need to build another one on the back side of my house, further from the garden so the chickens won’t scratch it up and can run free as his do.

My brother’s main porch is large enough to accommodate a major gaggle of Villagers and other friends for dinner or a group project like making sauerkraut or building bee hives (both recent community projects).  This evening, he will host the monthly Village potluck on his porch. All friends are invited. RSVP requested. Thank you, brother, for designing, building and sharing your lovely porch.

For more ideas on a trend towards home architecture that welcomes nature and people inside and blurs the barriers, here is an interesting article.  I’ll try to post some local photos later on.

Build a great house for under $10,000

I was needing to build a guest house. Inexpensive, but strong, well insulated, attractive and off-grid ready.  There is a series of YouTube videos featuring Bob Vila building houses with Steel Shipping Containers, sometimes called CONEX boxes.  When finished, they make attractive houses, indistinguishable from others in the tract.  But the cost per square foot is about on par with standard construction at $150 to $200 per square foot.  Other than the appeal to save-the-earth recyclers, I have a hard time seeing the point.  There has to be a better way.

Done, for less than one tenth the cost.

A little over a  year ago, I bought two CONEX boxes to build a guest house.  They cost $2k each, delivered in rural Tennessee from Atlanta.
I put them on six steel reinforced concrete piers next to the main house.   I purchased good quality used double pane windows and doors from a local salvage place for about three bars of a song.  It was handy to already have plenty of dry storage with the containers already in place.  The old saying “time is money” turns out applies not only to the cost of labor and capital, but to one’s ability to buy materials at a discount.  A dry, secure place to store materials while you take the time necessary to buy frugally and build is an important feature of CONEX boxes that saves lots of money.  Over months, that dry storage was put to good use to accumulate inexpensive surplus or used components like sinks, toilets, cabinets, counters, carpet, tile and a wood burning stove from CraigsList, eBay and other local salvage sources.

Immediately on delivery, the boxes are dry and secure.  But they aren’t insulated and that’s a big deal on a house.  Without it, these steel boxes become ice boxes in winter and ovens in summer.  We are fortunate to live in an area where Tyson has forced the closure of all the older chicken houses.  That’s good in several ways.  First, the toxic stench is gone.  Second, the neighboring chicken farmers are no longer subject to Tyson’s vassal labor conditions.  Third, the chicken houses are slowly being disassembled and sold for scrap metal and the 1 to 2 inch thick foam insulation panels are often discarded.  I acquired two kinds of insulation for less than a song (about the chorus of Yankee Doodle Dixie), almost nothing.  The spun glass type went over the container tops and under the low-pitch steel roof.   Because each container is built to handle the weight of ten or fifteen more containers stacked on it, each loaded with tons of cargo in hurricane force winds on a tossing ocean, there’s no worry about having a higher pitched roof to carry a snow load, especially in mild southern winters.

With a plasma cutter, a friend cut holes in the sides of the CONEX for doors and windows and a gaping hole between them to open up a large space for a living area.   It was a fairly simple task to frame the holes with standard 2X4’s and install doors and windows.  Using standard framing and drywall, it was easy to add interior walls for a storage room, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living/dining area and laundry room.  Needing more space in the main house, the laundry was immediately moved into the end of one of the CONEX boxes, installing plumbing and electrical in the process.  A huge chest freezer was added.   In short order, parts of the new house were functional even before it was insulated. The thick marine plywood floors could be easily drilled for plumbing.  Used cabinets and the electrical panel (also bought used) were easily mounted to the steel walls in the new laundry room and hooked up by a licensed electrician.

Then I installed more vertical studs on the exterior walls, screwing them flat, directly to the steel walls from the inside.  The two-inch depth of the studs is perfect to frame the 2 inch thick insulation panels.  Next, I ripped some treated deck boards and screwed them horizontally into the vertically oriented studs. I nestled another 1 inch layer of insulation panels between the deck boards and on top of the 2 inch ones.  That makes three inches of solid foam insulation on the walls, almost what you would have in a commercial walk-in freezer.   With the insulation in place the difference was immediately gratifying.  The space, while not yet aesthetically pleasing, was comfortable and livable.  People interested in sustainable housing often speak of the relative advantages of insulation vs. thermal mass.  With the container house, you get both!  By putting the insulation on the outside, tons of steel are on the interior where the mass absorbs, retains and radiates heat or cold from AC, wood burning stove or other heating system.  This thermal mass helps keep interior temperatures relatively even.  Meanwhile, the insulation on the exterior keeps the extreme temperatures outside.  Another benefit of putting the insulation on the outside is that it doesn’t eat up precious interior space.  Finally, top off the insulation with exterior siding, and Wa-La, it’s beginning to look pretty nice.  Eventually, as time permits, I am thinking of cladding the exterior with cord-wood harvested from the property to give it a rustic feel.

A trip to Dalton, Georgia, just across the Tennessee border was well worth it.  Dalton is the carpet and flooring capital of America.  I found a great deal on commercial quality carpet squares that stay in place without glue or tacking.  You can easily replace just the soiled or worn ones.  Granite tiles go under the wood stove and vinyl for the kitchen and bath.  I love the look of the corrugated steel walls.  Granted, they aren’t the smooth drywall look most people are accustomed to, but something a little different is nice.  So, keep the variation in the walls.  Simply paint them with some lively colors and accent the larger reinforcing members and doors with a contrasting color.  It wouldn’t be hard to overlay the steel walls with drywall or paneling, but if you enjoy a different look and like saving the time and money, paint works just fine.  I especially like the back-splash wall behind the kitchen sink.  Blending several vibrant colors, you can create a rainbow effect that gives life to the kitchen.  The deep corrugation in the steel is perfect for up or down lights that wash the wall and intensify the colors.  “Inexpensive”, “innovative” and “attractive”.

CONEX guest house kitchen

As you work with these big steel boxes, there are endless outlets for creative innovation to be discovered.  Once set on the level, you have already conquered the carpenter’s primary challenge – plumb, level and square.  After that, it’s just a matter of hanging stuff on them.  Rather than try to make the finished product look and act just like the surrounding cracker-box tract houses, it’s fun to  tease out the unique benefits of building with them.  From thermal mass/insulation qualities to the unique undulating aesthetics of corrugated walls, to very serious economic benefits, there is  a lot to be learned and achieved with steel shipping container construction.

This project is only the beginning.  The goal is to make this little house sustainable and off-grid with the same kinds of economic savings.   Use Solar PV (photo-voltaic), but spend $10k or less to do it.  Use hydro-electric from the 50′ waterfall nearby and wind.  Integrate and balance these complementary renewable power sources for both the house and transportation.  Use the battery pack on a golf cart to flexibly store and supply energy to the house, the cart and portable applications like running an electric chain saw or MIG welder somewhere out on the 750 acres that make up the Village.  Folks in the Village on Sewanee Creek are looking for the freedom that intelligent, frugal, debt-free design can afford.  We’re experimenting with these and other abundant lifestyle solutions.  Thankfully, we share and help one another in our common goals, so I don’t have to do it all myself.

If this appeals to you, contact me for more info or a tour here

More shots of the completed guest house are in my talk on sustainability at the University of the South

10/16/17 read about, see new photos of this updated house, now available to experience for yourself at Stay in our Amazing CONEX Tiny Home

 

Hands-On Preparedness Fair – Workshops

Our call for highly qualified workshop leaders has been answered in spades.   The quality and diversity of topics to be covered at the Fair on July 23-24 is outstanding.  See some of my older posts for a flyer and overview.  Here is a sampling  Preparedness Fair Schedule 7-24-2010

A sequence of three presentations, starts with
Permaculture Design and philosophy, (Saturday @ 10 am)

Permaculture is a design science that takes a whole-ecosystem approach to sustainable development. The term, Permaculture, means permanent agriculture and permanent culture. Permaculture developed in Australia in the late 1970s, by Ecologist David Holmgren and Natural History Professor Bill Mollison, and has since spread throughout the world. Leaders of the sustainability movement are applying Permaculture principles and design methodologies to everything from gardens, home sites, village designs, businesses, and entire regional economies.

Participants will be introduced to a unique tool that incorporates natural design systems into problem solving on multiple levels. Design Resource will offer future classes with in depth studies on topics like energy, food, healing aspects of the landscape, community networking and financial permaculture                                              

 BACKGROUND:   Kevin Guenther is a registered landscape architect, Leed AP professional and certified permaculture designer who has focused his consulting business (Design Resource) on sustainable design

Followed by:
Foraging and Gathering Food and Meds  (Saturday @ 11 am)

Hike through our 500 acre natural preserve in Sewanee Creek Gulf:  Foraging for food and Medicine is the 2nd hour of the permaculture presentation                                                                                                   

Workshop leader, John Rose says, “I work very much hands on, and each location I visit is different. There are a few guidelines common to the practice of safely interacting with anything in nature, whether it is wild plants, wild animals, weather, the elements in general, and ones approach to them.  Includes a general document that will help clarify these things.  I will also include a list of items that are useful learning tools such as a good small notebook with pen, or pencil for drawing and describing plants in their element.  This same notebook can be used as a nature journal for keeping track of such things as time of year, environmental conditions, weather, terrain, and many other aspects, all important to correctly identifying a plant at any given time of year, and under varying conditions.  I will look at not only edible and medicinal plants, but also poisonous plants, and plants that have other utilitarian uses for such things as fire starting, cordage, shelter, and other things.”

And third in the sequence:
Preparing Foraged Foods and Meds  (Saturday @ 2 pm)

Dr. Christina Berry adds that simply identifying edible plants and meds won’t get you far if you don’t know what to do with them.   This workshop will teach about preparing foods and meds from the foraged vegetation found on your foraging journey. Preparations of tinctures, teas, salves and syrups will be made and explained. Discussions of the use of different herbs for different treatments will also be discussed. Resources will be provided for further research.

And there will be much more.  Other workshops include:

TVA’s energy expert, Les Hartman and Village founder Grant Miller present
Alternative Electricity Generation Options.  (Saturday @ 9 am)

Understand available options, pros & cons of each, cost/KWH range, personal work cost, etc.    Understand options for grid tie vs. local battery storage.  See various electricity production options including water, PV, a Lister Diesel Generator and Wood Gasification.

Delve deeper into PhotoVoltaic Solar electricity with George Horrocks, chief design engineer with Tennessee’s largest PV installer.
Power from the Sun  (Saturday @ 10 am)

 Learn the Basics of Producing Electricity from the Sun and Why There has Never Been a Better Time to Go Solar. Whether you want to lock in your energy costs for life, clean and green the world, have backup security when the grid goes down, or see solar as a revenue generator for your family or business, with the price reductions of nearly 50% for solar in the last two years, coupled with incentives in the form of grants, tax credits, and TVA’s Generation Partners payments, now is the “perfect storm” of opportunity to install a solar array.

First on the priority list for preparedness is water.
Rain Water Collection Systems Tour and Demonstration  (Friday @ 3 pm & Saturday @ 1 pm)

Join Paul Owen of Nature’s Tap for a tour of the Miller Home off-grid system.  Understand the benefits and costs of setting up a Rain Water Collection System that can reliably supply all of your water needs.

Then explore options for Water Purification with George Miller,  water quality lab manager for the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley Water District via internet link from California. (Saturday @ 1:30 pm)

Discuss water purification options including filtration, chemical, UV, distillation, etc.    Learn the best use of water from various sources, its treatment primarily for drinking, and its storage.

What about food?
Tour the garden, greenhouse and orchard with permaculturists and gardeners.  (Friday @ 5pm & Saturday @ 1pm) Explore your questions about self-sufficient gardening.  Then learn how to prepare food, observing dutch and solar oven prep’s.  (Saturday 11 am through lunch).  Enjoy tasty BBQ catered from local restaurant, Holy Smokes and learn how to preserve meat and fish by smoking, drying and making jerky.
Sample some local favorites while observing the process of milling wheat for bread, home-made yogurt from milk and tasty jam from local berries.

And you can Can.  Learn how with Carolyn Park and Becky Miller
“Food Preservation Made Simple, Quick and Easy, By Dry-Pack Canning Method”  (Saturday @ 11 am)

CLASS OBJECTIVE:
Have a hands-on experience while learning a proven food storage method.
PARTICIPANTS WILL…
-Learn how to properly can foods such as whole grains, legumes, sugar, and other dry foods.
-Participate in a step-by-step process for canning and sealing dry food in #10 cans and mason jars without the use of electricity.
-See how proper food storage can extend food shelf life for up to 30 years.
-Obtain handouts to help you gain the knowledge to build your own food bank and become food secure.
DISPLAYING:
-Other Food Preservation Methods
-Equipment
BACKGROUND:
Carolyn and Becky have had life long experience in gardening and food preservation. Experience was drawn from three generations of family farming and homemaking.  Recently they have focused on long-term food storage to promote family sustainability and wellness.

“But wait, there’s more”   🙂

  • For hunters or wannabe hunters, expert hunter Bob Blackburn will host a round table discussion on hunting in the Tennessee Woods.   (Friday @ 7:30 pm)
  • For self-defense, expert Brad Bleasdale will present a two-hour course entitled “Choosing and using a Pistol for Defense”   (Saturday @ 10 am)

This Class will cover gun safety, types of handguns, how to eliminate “caliber confusion”, holsters, lights, and lasers, and a host of other topics.
Designed for people considering a pistol, or as a refresher for those who already carry.  Perfect for women, youth, or novice shooters.
Class will include hands-on instruction, and range time with a certified shooting instructor.  Gun and ammo will be available for those without.
Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

Bio:  Brad Bleasdale is a lifetime shooter and shooting instructor.  Blessed with the heart of a teacher, Brad teaches novice and intermediate shooters the basics of firearms safety and competence.  Brad has instructed hundreds of people in the safe and effective use of firearms, with specialized classes for women, youth, and church groups.
$10/person or $25 / Family.  MUST HAVE:  Eye Protection (sunglasses are fine), ear protection, folding chair, notebook, water.   Bring your own Handgun and Ammo

Alternative HealthCare for mind and body.

  • Start with a 2-hour Native American flute lesson that will soothe and heal the soul, by renowned musician Tony Gerber.  This hands on instruction includes a Native American Flute, all for just $60. (Friday @ 4 pm)
  • Take care of the physical you with a discussion of holistic healthcare methods that have worked for you.  Remedies for every day live.  This round-table will be presented by Dr. Cliffton Brady.  (Saturday @ 1 pm)

Entertainment and Fun

  • Enjoy a movie under the stars at the 26′ wide Village Amphitheater.  Bring your own steak or hot dogs to grill for an outdoor feast.
  • Groove to the jam session sounds of “Space Craft”  (Friday Supper, Saturday Lunch)
  • For the young in body and spirit, learn to rappell off the cliffs near Miller’s Falls with certified instructor, Jesse Gainer or play Village Games with Haley Blackburn.

And that’s just a sampling.  So much to learn and do.  So little time.  Come, join us for the first annual Preparedness fair at the Village on Sewanee Creek.

Alternative Green Construction

The more I experiment with construction using steel shipping containers as the basic building block, the more excited I become.

We just took delivery on two more 40′ X 20′ high cube containers from Atlanta.  That makes five now.  The first one is now a community center outfitted with a kitchen, sound system, 22′ wide movie screen and back stage for our outdoor amphitheater.   The next two are being converted to a big workshop with about 20′ of space between them and a standard sloped roof above.  From day one it was functional as storage and it’s wired up for lighting and shop equipment now.  We plan to insulate and install log siding, so when finished, it will look like a rustic log cabin.

Cost?  Only $1,600 each ($2,000 delivered).  That’s $5.62 per square foot of ready to use, super strong, water tight space.  Think about it; You would pay more than that just for good quality flooring  materials – uninstalled.  Of course, it’s not a finished living space, but the day it’s delivered and set on four corner piers or even some railroad crossties, it’s functional.  There are lots of things I have to do to make it a finished living space.  But I’m finding that I can easily retrofit containers myself with some rudimentary welding skills and some inexpensive used windows and doors.  With a little ingenuity, I can even find angle iron for framing super cheap or free by using discarded bed frames.

Benefits?  Well, start with low cost space.  But there are plenty more:

  1. Low Cost:  as detailed above.  There are literally thousands of these things piling up at the ports because it’s cheaper to make new ones in China than to ship them back empty.
  2. The benefits to the environment of recycling  (less rusting junk in dumps, less energy expended to crush, melt and otherwise repurpose thousands of unused containers, Fewer resources used to harvest new materials (wood, steel, etc.)
  3. Structural Strength:  These things are built to withstand hurricane force winds on the high seas and marine-painted to handle saltwater air.
  4. Convenience:  Ready to use storage space that requires no footings or foundation for temporary use.  Easy to convert with rudimentary skills – at your leisure while they are being used for storage.

If you’re interested in seeing real examples of a great new way to build, call us for an appointment at the Village.  While you’re at it, check out the other sustainable projects;  things like

  • an off-grid rainwater collection system that supplies all our water needs.
  • Organic community gardens, orchards and greenhouse
  • Bio-Diesel driven Listeroid Generator
  • Wood Gasification system that powers generator engines with wood
  • Hydro-electric generator powered by the creek at our 50′ waterfall.

Then, take a hike through primeval forests to Sewanee Creek.  Spend a day and you will want to spend a lifetime in harmony with nature and people.