Just getting around to recapping and thanking all those who helped out in Friday’s community project. We successfully framed the carport on our CONEX guest house. Two hours of good fellowship and work followed by delightful conversation over lunch. Everything went smoothly. The timber frame is up, plumb and square. Experience is a great teacher. Still a lot to do before the carport is finished, but we’re well on our way now. The 800 square foot steel roof will provide a platform for solar panel installation and shelter for four vehicles. The combined roof space of carport and guest house is about 1,460 square feet. That more than doubles my effective rainwater catchment area, increasing the margin of water self-sufficiency with our 7,500 gallon Storage tanks.
For newbies here, the Village has a rotating voluntary shared project tradition. Every week a different household chooses and organizes a project. The community pitches in to help. One incentive to give time and effort is the expectation of the same when your turn comes around. But, there are others. The opportunity to learn from others with different skills and the comeraderie that goes with good people working productively together toward a common goal are others.
Together, we have built a storage shed, raised bed gardens for Several families, temporary shelter for goats, planting, caring for and harvesting produce in the greenhouse, installing drip irrigation systems and many other gardening projects, electric fences and chicken coops worked on our guest house, framed the carport, cooked a pig in the ground Hawaiian style and much more.
I want to thank all who have participated so far and invite everyone else to join us. Tradition is Thursday 10 AM start time followed by lunch, but we’re flexible on days and times. Some need to leave to get back to their work after lunch, but there are often several who keep working long after that. All voluntary.
Kind of like the famous Amish barn raising tradition without having to be Amish.
My father was the kind of artist who regularly built amazing things out of discarded trash. If he didn’t have the right tool he didn’t go to harbor freight to buy it, he just built it. He grew up on a farm, dreaming of becoming an aviator, building working scale model airplanes, whittling balanced propellers from sticks. During World War II, he became a mechanical flight engineer on bombers in South Africa and Italy. After the war, he built helicopters for the military as a civilian in San Diego.
He built both houses that my brother, sister and I grew up in. One of my fondest memories was when he took Spring Break off of work to help me build a dune buggy from an old ’49 Chrysler sedan. It wasn’t the best choice to start from, but one we had sitting in the back yard. Another treasured memory was building a canoe from scratch that we took down the Colorado River together during another spring break. He was also a skilled oil painter, wood worker, mechanic, welder, electrician, stone mason, worm farmer, dabbler in solar energy, and the list goes on. You name it, he could do it. If he didn’t know how, he tinkered with it till he figured it out.
My parents never owed anyone a dime for either of the houses they built or the land they were built on. When my father passed away, my brother and I went to his workshop to divvy up the tools. We were shocked to find how little was there. His creative ingenuity was amazing. He was an artist in every sense of the word and my ideal model of a Mechanical Artist.
In my career I took a very different path from my father. I was white collar all the way, never developing the skills he spent a lifetime refining. Yet I continuously longed to express myself artistically as he did. I have a dream that some day the Village will be filled with people who have the same desires. These will be men and women with varied experience and talents. None of them will be afraid to get their hands dirty. All will be driven with a desire to create and share wonderful things that make our lives easier, more beautiful, more fun and more practically sustainable.
Please share your ideas on things we can build – together.