Saturday, February 13, 2010

loving things

Whereas it seems very foolish to fall in love with things rather than people, places, ideas, and adventures, it seems equally foolish to have things that you're not in love with.

My most recent material love is my new pickup truck, even though I have only driven it once due to the current non-existence of auto insurance and license plates. I fell head-over-heels for my leather boots one fortnight ago, after I was attacked with the realization that they've given me three honorable years of reliable service, and I had not even once taken the time to wash or oil them (which I have since done, and enjoyed very much). I already knew that I was in love with my cordless screw gun, but when I thought it broke the other day the depth of that love was really brought to my attention. My trusty laptop failed last week, and it tore at my heartstrings. I fail to see any shame in loving inanimate objects.

Countless other objects would make the list, such as my bicycle, my little brown backpack, my jack-o-lantern shirt, and my rope. There are things that I own which I do not love (I don't think), and I'm wondering whether it would be best to let them go. In summary, love could be a good filter for purging one's life of excess goods.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Site at Eno Commons

In anticipation of "Before and After" photos in June, here are some quick shots I snapped of the intended cottage site while visiting the co-housing community that I will be building at this spring.

(from the NW - the stakes roughly represent the footprint that the building will have)

(from the NE - you can see that rubble and 5-gallon buckets are already being collected!)


Should cob be branded under another name? Would the building community take the material more seriously if I built houses out of 182-grade Noncrete? (the grade being designated by the weight, in pounds, of the cobber who stomped together the mix). With the conception of the brand, it now seems appropriate to consider ways in which mud houses can be built more expediently, and with less work. Instead of dancing on mud with our shoes off, why not just call up the Noncrete Delivery Company, and order a truck to come and dump a load of the stuff? And perhaps there should be fleets of robots for rent that will come apply the cob at a perfect speed, creating perfectly plumb and even walls (without a level!), and with the ability to program the design into their computer brains, so that you can just sit back and sip juice on a stool. The robots can be called Noncretins, or something of the sort. Then everyone could live in cob houses, and the world would be sustainable just like mother nature intended (forget about all the sand that would be removed from our rivers, and the clay that would be mined from our lands, and the nasty chemicals that would go into making the robots' eyes). THIS IS THE FUTURE.

But for now, we're still cobbing the old-fashioned way. Natural builders are a backwards folk, who seem to care about neither efficiency, nor progress. All they care about is having a good, healthy time, which sounds to me like the desire of a selfish, lazy person. Enjoy the photos below, as they might represent the last recorded mud building project before the imminent industrialization/robotification of natural building.

Sheila the dog, Margaret's co-inhabitant

Look at those shelves all filled up!

(notice the cracked plaster hanging on for dear life on the underside of the shelf)

Margaret knitting a hat for me in "Margaret's nook" (nook design courtesy of Mike McDonough)

This is the one succulent from the green roofing workshop that held its ground and its life through the hot summer of '08 and is ready to thrive this spring, and bear bananas maybe.

Margaret points to the arugula in the garden that she lords over.

East side in the morning.

After this photo set, you might be thinking: SOMEONE GET THIS KID A NEW PROJECT! He keeps posting photos of the same cottage over, and over, and over! For all who share this sentiment, I'm happy to announce that I'll be starting a new cottage in March, at a co-housing community in Durham, NC.