Thursday, May 8, 2008
Off the Tradmill More
This will finish up my postings about the Off the Treadmill workshop. The first photo is the courtyard which is on the other end of the garden wall from the Myrtle and overlooks the garden (second photo). The third photo is looking out the large window in the Myrtle onto the garden. Linda is working on a discussion chart, Sarah, Ianto's apprentice gardener, is next; Todd and Kei Chi are seated also. In the photo of the outdoor kitchen, Ken is chatting with Ryan, the cook for this workwhop. Sarah and Ryan are married and are staying at the Boggs Homestead as part of a work/study/apprentice program. They were on loan to the NASNB for the workshop. Ryan is a photographer and did a great job as a first time cook. The last photo is Linda's kitchen inside of Laughing House.
As I said in the first post, I've given this workshop quite a bit of thought. There must be zillions of folks out there who have been exploring the ideas of self-sufficiency, permaculture, off the grid, etc, but up till now I haven’t examined my life with respect to those concepts and I would say that Ken and I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb at the talk sessions. Ianto Evans, the man who was running them, is a Welsh man who has lived in the states for a long time. He states right up front that his reason for living here is to undermine the consumerism that is driven by (mostly) the US. His way of doing that relates to his field of study, architecture, but is very removed from formal concepts. He believes that people should not be living in houses that 1) make them sell their souls to banks; 2) are made of semi or outright poisonous materials; 3)require heating, ie, houses don’t feel the cold; 4) have gobs of unused right angle corner space; and 5) don’t embody the magic to make the inhabitants feel joy. He probably had a few more reasons to justify his belief in cob building but those are the first that I think of. We talked about family, food, housing, community, and money. I felt very attuned to lots of things he was saying, like making and doing so much for yourself. His gardening skills were amazing but that was covered rather sketchily. The houses were little oases of magic, even the ones that were in process, which was probably over 50% since the site is a school for cob building and people need to be able to experience all phases of the work.
On May 17, Todd, Kei Chi and I are headed back to learn the bare bones skills to build one of these cob cottages.