Preparedness Fair at the Village on Sewanee Creek

It’s official.  Our first annual preparedness fair will be held at the Village on Sewanee Creek Commons, villager homes and gardens and our nature preserve on July 23-24, 2010.  Call in advance to reserve a campsite or exhibitor space.

See the attached printable

flyer for details.  Preparedness Fair Flyer

See you here!

Calling organic volunteers – wwoofers

The Village on Sewanee Creek is a self-sustaining community on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau.  As we build the community, we could use some help getting our organic community garden off the ground.

We are blessed with some wonderful amenities that make it a pleasure to grow food here.  Like…. a 2,000 square foot high profile, heated green house,  a catfish pond, the beginnings of a forest mushroom garden, fruit tree orchard, a wonderful amphitheater complete with a 22 foot wide outdoor movie theater and live performance stage.  We raise chickens and rabbits.  Miles of trails through our 500+ acre nature preserve complete with caves, waterfalls and rushing creek.   We have an active online farmer’s market nearby in Sewanee at the University of the South.

We are experimenting with steel shipping container construction, off grid power generation (wood gasification and bio-diesel generators).  There are lots of opportunities to learn sustainable living skills and possibly earn some land in the Village.

We will provide primitive shelter.  You are welcome to all the produce you can grow to consume or sell under the Sewanee Creek brand.  Go to my main website at www.sewaneecreek.com for photos and contact information or just email me at info@sewaneecreek.com.

Personal Freedom, Creativity and Work

“Everything that is really great and INSPIRING is CREATED by the INDIVIDUAL who can LABOR in FREEDOM.”

 Albert Einstein

In this quote, Einstein pulls together several of my most cherished themes (emphasis is mine). I feel most inspired when I can create something with my own mind and hands. It may not be ground breaking to someone else. But to me, it is beautiful. It makes my life happy. I feel inspired.

Yesterday was one such example. I worked all day beside my neighbor, Joe. We put up the frame for a dock on my brother’s pond. That simple installation was part of several other solutions.  We now have an inexpensive valve system for a 4″ pipe that won’t freeze and break in the winter, a place to fish from in the summer and overflow control for the dam. I can look forward to extending that big pipe from the bottom of the dam to a micro-hydro generator. I think we finished it in time to let the pond re-fill before summer sets in and to stock it with lots of catfish.  All together, it’s a very simple, yet elegant solution that took time and several iterations to figure out and implement, culminating in a sense of satisfaction.

We also restarted the wood furnace and routed hot water through an old car radiator with a fan behind it to heat a greenhouse cold frame tunnel within the bigger greenhouse. I was surprised by the amount of heat it puts out and how efficient the solution is. I went to bed last night feeling good. What a blessing it is to be able to work and create on my own land with my own hands. One of the reasons it is important for Villagers to own their land is that essential element of personal accountability. Without that, it becomes too easy in an intentional community to expect others to carry the load. One must give in order to receive. As the scripture says, “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread … of the laborer.”   Upon achieving a measure of self-sufficiency based on one’s own labors, it becomes even more fulfilling to help others. 

Finally, Einstein speaks of freedom.  How wonderful to be able to make my own choices and either enjoy or suffer the consequences of my own thoughts and actions.  Out in the country, I feel so much more free than in a suburb where everyone is looking over my shoulder, judging every action or inaction, and the epitome of creative labor is how well and often my lawn is mowed.

Prepper’s Top Ten Necessities for Life in Troubled Times

  1. Relationships: Positive, mutually supportive with capable, skilled people
  2. Spiritual & Mental Health: The foundation for all positive action.
  3. Physical Health: Sustainable, natural health care to supplement a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Water: Reliable, secure source of pure water
  5. Food: Natural food from a source you trust and control (yourself)
  6. Shelter: An energy efficient dwelling
  7. Energy: Redundant, reliable, private sources of storable energy.
  8. Reserve: Store and rotate a backup supply of everything you use (water, food, medicine, tools, fuel, clothing & other consumables)
  9. Trade: Prepare to trade for everything else (Cash, Non-Depreciating Assets, Barter-Valuable Supplies, Practical, marketable Skills)
  10. Knowledge & Skills: True self-sufficiency comes from experience – knowing how to do it yourself.

Take a good look at this list.  If this were a report card, what would your grade be on each of these important subjects? For the past 50 years, the developed world has lived in a pampered, complex, yet socially dysfunctional style that values:

  • Entertainment & Entitlement over productive Work
  • Self-Indulgence over Selfless Service
  • Pleasure over Moral Integrity
  • Intellectual Prowess over Practical Skills
  • Dependence on complex systems over Independent Self-Sufficiency
  • Conspicuous Consumption over Provident Preparation.

Is it any surprise that most people lack the skills, preparation, and resources to confidently face a troubled future? Is it any wonder that people feel helpless and out of control? Is there any way you can become confidently competent and provisioned for these ten essential items all by yourself? It’s a daunting task.  But, with help, you CAN do it.

That’s why relationships are at the top of the list. That’s why we are building a community of self-sufficient people at the beautiful Village on Sewanee Creek. If your values are the inverse of the above list, If you want to become more confident, more self-sufficient, and more at peace with your neighbors and in harmony with nature, If you desire close, trusting relationships in a like-minded community, but aren’t ready for a religious or hippie commune, give us a call.

How One Top Executive Left the Rat Race for a Self-Sufficient Community in the Mountains

How One Top Executive..

How One Top Executive Left the Rat Race for a Self-Sufficient Community in the Mountains

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Self-Reliant Living: Alternative Energy

We keep pushing the envelope, learning how to live independently.  I love the sense of freedom and peace of mind that gives me.  Water and food were our first focus.  That foundation is feeling pretty solid now.

Our next focus has been energy.  We have been seriously researching lots of alternatives for reliable, low cost electricity generation.  Most people think of solar PV, wind and, to a lesser extent, micro-hydro for green power. But there are problems with each.

Solar Photo Voltaics are expensive.  The costs are beginning to come down, but aren’t there yet.  Probably won’t be for some time.  I want to power my house without bankrupting the occupants.  And I don’t want to have to sacrifice so much on consumption that I give up all the conveniences.  Then there are the cloudy days, requiring big battery backup.  PV cost per KWh is just way too high.

Wind is nice.  Lots of new innovations, especially with vertical axis turbines.  They are primarily designed to make wind power acceptable in an urban environment by putting the turbine close to the ground.  But that’s where there isn’t much wind.  Oh, well.  We’re rural, so that’s no advantage.  Wind’s disadvantage for me?  You need really strong, consistent wind to produce a lot of electricity – like on the plains of Nebraska.  We are on a plateau at 2,000 feet with nice breezes, but not gale force winds.  We could still do it, but would need multiple windmills to make enough electricity for our needs.  Again, the costs become too high relative to the output.  Plus, you only get electricity when the wind blows.

Then there’s hydro power.  It’s the lowest cost per KWh alternative, but you need either a big river or a perennial creek with lots of head (drop in elevation). We have the latter, but flow varies a lot depending on recent rainfall.  Summer flow isn’t enough.

It all comes down to cost and continuous reliability.

We discovered a little-known, low-cost, low-tech and proven alternative.  It’s called wood gasification.  Surprisingly, over a million cars in Europe were powered with wood during World War II when gas was short.  Unlike the other green power sources, we have an abundance of fast growing, renewable, free wood here.  So, we are installing a system that converts wood into a gas that can run an internal combustion engine with plenty of horse power to drive a generator.  We can run it any time, in any season, independent of the weather.  And, best news of all, the cost is competitive with the big utilities on a cost per KWh basis.

The founder of the company that has brought this technology into the 21st century will be here a week from next Saturday installing our new system.    Give me a call if you would like to see it or any of our other self-sufficiency systems in action.

3rd Annual Independence Day Celebration @ the Village

An independent, self-sufficient lifestyle is one element that defines the Village.  So, Independence Day is OUR day, our 3rd annual.

We will start celebrating on Friday the 3rd with a double feature on the big screen under the stars in our amphitheater.  Call for an invitation to join us.  You might even consider bringing a tent or RV to camp out near by.

The 4th will start out with an early flag ceremony.  Bring a flag to plant in a field of flags.  Celebrate the freedom and independence promised by our constitution.  At the amphitheater stage, we plan to have bluegrass and country music with some free form jamming.  I’ll bring my sax.  You’re welcome to join in.  You can hike and explore our 500 acre nature preserve.  In the evening, villagers will share a potluck dinner and fireworks.

If you would like to join us, please RSVP us at (931) 442-1444.