Logged in as: Anonymous Search | Active Topics |

4 Pages <1234>
Good Ideas? Options
Sarah/Librum
#41 Posted : Monday, December 14, 2009 9:37:09 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

JD, check your private messages.  Sarah

davisonh
#42 Posted : Tuesday, December 15, 2009 1:55:00 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

So,4 hours of my time cutting wood on my lot= 2 or a little more weeks of heat./74 gals. propane @3.39/gal =  $252.00 = 2weeks of heat.(300 gals used to do me for a month in extremely cold weather)$252/4 = $63/hour is for me what my labor is worth cutting wood for 2 weeks of heat(71 degrees)in the dead of winter.So all,for a mechanics wage I stay warm.Sounds pretty worthwhile to me.$63 an hour to convert my renewable energy source( I pay state taxes on the land that it stands on though it is current use) into useable fuel.It's all solar heat;my heat source is concentrated energy from sunlight over a period of years the trees were alive. Why we add so many steps to the process of making fuel when it exists all around us is beyond me.

jd
#43 Posted : Tuesday, December 15, 2009 6:29:13 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Sarah, could you please send it again?  Nothing has come through yet.  I am sure the proble is on my side - I have a satellite server (Hughes.net) and they or their Canadian counterpart (Galaxy) drop e-mails all the time.  I lose one in ten or twenty.  I am at jdavidcox@hughes.net.  I'd appreciate it if you'd send it again.

JEM - we live on a remote island.  About 25 km (15mi) long by 5 km (3 mi) wide.  It has no formal or organized means of connection to the nearest island that does connect to the road grid.  That nearby island is a boat ride away and where we park our cars.  We park at the end of a long logging road and then  boat to our respective homes on our island.  We are separated from the road-grid by a body of water.  That logging road is rough and, the end of it - the part that lets us get to our boats - was made impassable by poor drivers spinning their wheels, poor construction and an extremely steep grade that channeled a lot of water.  The grade is so steep, it is not legal.  Thus, the road crew would not maintain it.  So, we did.  Now that we have rebuilt that section of the road, we are connected again to the road-grid on the other island (unless it snows as it is now and the hill turns into a sledding slope).  It is helpful to be connected to the other island because that one has a ferry service to take us to a THIRD island, but one that is pretty large - Vancouver Island.  700 miles long I think.  Shuld we want to get to our biggest city, Vancouver, we drive down the third island and take yet another ferry to Vancouver.  One small boat, two ferries and six to eight hours in a car and we are in the big city again.  Distance as the crow flies: about 100 miles.  Perceived distance: hell and gone.  It is easier to get to New York from Vancouver than it is to travel that 100 miles.  Faster, too.  

There is a lot of talk on this thread of devaluation and inflation and such.  As real as that is, I don't see the connection to the question: what can we do to make our communities more community-esque?  What can we do to make them more viable, supportive and self sufficient (other than the obvious).  I am looking for a little brilliance here, guys.

 

practicalman45
#44 Posted : Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:18:36 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

jd,    I'll share more about my community here, but I'll have to admit that I'm kind of a  "do it all by yourself" sort of person. Fortunately, others here in my town are very community-minded, and are moving forward much faster than me with "community spirit" plans and organizations. This is good because it has started rubbing off on me and I'm starting to come around. I still feel that it is ultimately ME who has to be worried about things such as how much dog food I've got stashed for my dog pack here (a good 6 months supply, currently, if it becomes completely unavailable tomorrow), or how much toilet tissue or cans of tuna or etc. are hoarded away for the coming rainy days.  Hopefully, my neighbors are also making similar preparations and plans for themselves. We don't discuss that sort of thing, and maybe thats wise. We are pretty much all preparing.

I'm cleaning my house here today. Books thick with dust and long unread by me are being sorted. Some are being earmarked for donation to the local "community center" (for want of a better word). They are setting up a book library, a tool library (for which I'm a bit skeptical, but have donated several very nice garden tool type implements). Collecting and refurbishing tools being one of my hobbies, I have lots of things such as gardening tools that I've put new handles on. I'd rather that folks with no garden tools go borrow them from the tool library rather than from my collection. So I'm supporting that tool library as well as the community book library with donations of "how-to" books that I'll probably never read. Hopefully, if I ever need them they will still be available at that library. As far as the tools library? I'll probably be involved in repairing and patching up of the tools available for borrowing. I have put on an educational workshop at one of the skill-share events on "how to fix and replace tool handles".

The community center, that those folks with more vision and energy than me are working to set up, does all kinds of cool stuff. We have a gleaner's project, classes and workshops that are put on by members who volunteer or who charge a small fee are held throughout the year. We recently had an acorn festival that was basicly an educational program demonstrating how to use acorns for food. There was a banquet at the end made from many acorn based dishes. We have folks in the community who are medical professionals that are setting up and organizing for emergencies: Someone arranged donation of an electric de-fibrilator machine, others collected donation for the supplies to go along with that machine. It will be kept at the local school/community building.

There has been talk here of community markets. People will have surpluses from their gardens and will need a way to exchange that item for something they don't have or grow, or to sell it. Barter is cool, but it can only go so far.  Both parties have to want what the other has for that to work.  Your fresh-plucked chicken isn't going to be appealing to someone with organic lettuce if they are a vegetarian. Bullets will be useless to someone without a gun of the correct caliber. For now, we all use the currency of the realm. Most of us assume that thats always going to be there and solid, but I'm  skeptical on that. I like the idea of alternative currencies or means of exchange. There is a real need, in my opinion, to consider that sort of thing and be prepared for whatever may lie ahead in terms of what it is we use as our means of exchange. History bears out the wisdom of making such plans. It isn't so much a community issue as it is a personal economic planning decision.

Pat Miketinac
#45 Posted : Thursday, December 17, 2009 4:13:10 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

jd,  just curious if you have a way to communicate from that island without the internet. Any ham radio operators? I am KC4JWW and operate HF on 10, 40 and 80 meters, but need to replace a power supply and antenna due to a lightning hit, so only have 2 meter rigs right now. Some hams are keeping their old vacuum tube rigs running because they think that a magnetic pulse from weapons will destroy computer chips. I know that law enforcement can disable computerized cars with a pulse device.

jd
#46 Posted : Thursday, December 17, 2009 6:09:55 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Yeah, M, we have a ham up here.  I don't know his callsign but, if you want it, I'll get it.

P-45.........brilliant!  A tool library!  We should have thought of that.  And now we will.  I am going to propose it and contribute to it.  A great idea.  We even have the building for it - the village workshop.  We are all fixing it up this spring. 

Like you, most of us feel independent and act that way.  But there is a place for cooperation and joint effort and it is that I am seeking examples of.  Like our road building, like your tool library............what else you got? 

By the way - doing this from a doomsday scenario point of view makes it less fun.  I am not a Pollyanna and usually have more cyncisim than 'happy' about me but I do know that thinking and acting from a Mad Max survival perspective is depressing.  Acting out of creativity and positive contribution to others works better.  Feels better.  It's also easier to 'get up' for.  So, I am not asking JUST for survival ideas.  I am looking also for 'life enhancement' ideas.  A pathetic first step - we have a free movie-lending library and there is a talk of a free store (the next island over has one).  Amazing stuff in the free store (no junk is allowed). 

So, ideas to make the place more fun (gag) are also quite accetable so long as we don't all have to sing and dress up and pretend to be happy.  Man, that bums me out. 

Sarah/Librum
#47 Posted : Thursday, December 17, 2009 8:51:59 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

JD, email inbound. Sarah

MC
#48 Posted : Thursday, December 24, 2009 2:40:49 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Those are actually good ideas.  Others are community dinners, cookouts (if you can spare the fuel; being on an island might make that tough), skill competitions, group sings (you don't have to be good to have fun, and you definitely don't have to pretend to be happy).  Not limited to that but it might get your imagination going.  Use your school as a community center (I have tried and they basically laugh at me, but it sounds like your community is much more proactively oriented than mine).  Community projects for the welfare of all-- that's something I'd LOVE to get into.   

jd
#49 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 12:09:15 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Well, MC, you are right.  Our community does do a lot of that stuff and it does all centre around the school.  Last year over 120 people attended the Xmas school play.  Think about that - on an island with only 60 people and all for 11 students in a one-room school!  "Who were they all?"  Well, grandparents and estranged spouses come from numerous other places, all the outer islanders come in (4 other islands) and, of course, all 60 of the primary island residents were there. 

I find it somewhat odd that we can get such a turnout (there is a huge potluck that gets all the bachelors, curmudgens and me).  Makes no sense.  But I go (Sal would kill me if I didn't).  And we do that sort of thing three or so times a year - all of which is way, way too merry for me.  I try to avoid that sort of thing whenever I can. 

But I am more curious about 'work-oriented' things than I am social gatherings, parties and so-called festivals.  That part has been handled.  We all have more fun (I think) when we do work parties anyway.  We need to make a tool library.  We need to get a co-op store happening.  We need a few other 'practical' things and I was looking for more ideas along that sort of vein.  

I think the women are real close to doing a 'canning' thing.  Some years they all go press apples and everyone comes away with gallons of apple juice.  That sort of thing..............

Sarah/Librum
#50 Posted : Sunday, December 27, 2009 8:46:21 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
jd wrote:
"We need to make a tool library." 

Define please.  Like the Librum's ?  We have 'community tools', under the Librums roof, than one can check out.  Or are you asking for a D-I-Y resource, like the tables of true dimensions of lumber?

 

"We need to get a co-op store happening."

No, you do not.  Unless you have a product in demand, you will pay more going co-op, than by running to a box store or by mail-order.  Sorry, is a hard fact of life for my people.

"We need a few other 'practical' things and I was looking for more ideas along that sort of vein."

The problem with this is having somebody define what is practical, what is not, and were the resources are to come from.  And a system to protect that person from the inescapable angst of the people.

"I think the women are real close to doing a 'canning' thing.  Some years they all go press apples and everyone comes away with gallons of apple juice.  That sort of thing.............."

Canning? Or jarring?  I know, I sound like a stuck record.  But where you are, do they do the jar thing?  Cold temperature is not friendly to glass as you may know.  I grew up with the local english boys putting bottle beer behind the rock fence, and letting it freeze.  Beer cycle. (spelling?)  I had to clean up the glass.

Here is a tidbit, and not from Majere.  "Books, no.  Marriage, no.  Child rearing, no.  The spark that started civilization was the need to preserve enough food to survive the off seasons."

 

 

 

Sarah


Spark123y
#51 Posted : Monday, December 28, 2009 3:58:07 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
Sarah/Librum wrote:

   The spark that started civilization was the need to preserve enough food to survive the off seasons."

 

 

 

Sarah, That was very prophetic (sp?)! And I assume that with early civilization , everyone had to carry their own weight and contribute or they were out.

Brian S



jd
#52 Posted : Monday, December 28, 2009 8:45:12 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Hmmmmm.........all good points.  I suppose the tool library was really just a depository for the kinds of things that one only uses now and then (post hole digger, crimping tool for plumbing, welder, anvil, pipe cutter.......that sort of thing).  We tend to borrow from one another anyway...........I was just thinking that we could store some of our least used items up at the community workshop.  The tools there will be communal (saws, sanders, etc.).  The consumables (blades, drill bits, etc) will be user-bought.  I know that tools are abused or loved as the user determines and so it may or may not be practical...................but it sounded good.

As for the apple pressing...........I don't recall............all I know is all the women went up to Wendy's orchard and spent the day pressing apples, eating sandwiches, drinking wine and talking a lot.  They each came away with a gallon or two of juice (which we promptly drank).

Part of the challenge is simply this: we are disillusioned with the food corporation's ways of doing things.  We all believe our food is compromised by the industries that provide it.  So, we are going local.  Or growing our own. Or trying to, anyway.

Sadly, most of us were not raised to do this - it is a challenge.  Like the city gardener who grows too many Zuccinis, we don't quite know what to do.  Jud/Rob/Laurie/Phil..........all know about it for themselves (they are part of the original back-to-the-landers group) but they all were independent first.  The desire to cooperate is coming from THEM!  They are the ones looking to expand the resources of the community.  But, of course, they have to keep their own ops working while we find a way to 'fit in'.   

I am trying, too, of course, but I am still at the learning-to-crawl stage by comparison so I am not sure where to put our energies.  I initiated the road building.  And the workshop.  But those are one-off jobs and now done - what next?  Do we learn to repair outboards (the bane of everyone's existence) or simply take them to town like we have always done (when it is more complicated than the basics, anyway).  Do we start up a once week Co-op store to bring in a lot of stuff and distribute it thus saving 60 households trips to town? 

 

 

 

MC
#53 Posted : Friday, January 01, 2010 3:37:36 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

I can dig about work parties being more fun.  Yeah, I'm in that camp.

This isn't any more useful than anything else I've said, I don't guess.  But, DANG!  It sounds like you've got a really excellent handle on it all to yourselves.  You've got the community spirit (that's what social festivals are for, I think-- building the spirit) and the initiative.  You've got the women already working on working together (historically, community organizing seems to be a women thing).  You're rolling.  Looks to me like all you've got to do is not stop pushing the ball.

I'm ready to move in.  Just kidding, but at the same time, not. 

Might try a takeoff on the fixing the road thing.  Put up a sign that says, "Community planning meeting.  Saturday at 7, JD's place.  Bring food and ideas to share."  See what turns up.   

jd
#54 Posted : Friday, January 01, 2010 6:14:13 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Yeah, I think we are doing pretty good, too.  For the most part, people are independent and not all-huggy and 'communal' unless it is needed.  Then they do it, do it well, enjoy themselves and then leave and get on with being separate.  Seems like a good balance. 

There is no doubt that the women are the general 'glue' for the community but all the work parties are started and done mostly by the men and boys.  Of course, the women are all 'in there' doing their part but the catalyst seems to come from some guy first.  Strange.  Never noticed that before.  Parties and celebrations are started by the women, work parties by the men.  Not an official policy - just the way it happens. 

I am here now.  Have been for five years.  This is the second longest place I have ever lived and I am 62.  AND it is the first 'land' place I have ever 'connected with'.  I was comfortable living on boats for a decade.  That, too, had a community of independents.  So, in a way, they are the same. 

Still, if you have another idea, please let me know.

Sarah/Librum
#55 Posted : Saturday, January 02, 2010 12:31:33 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Brian,

Glad you enjoyed that quip.  I have scads of such at my disposal.  I hope one day to get my two gig plus file in order for publishing. Perhaps I should stick one in on each post.  Sounds like fun!

JD,

Lets look at this tool library idea a little closer.  We have ours set up in all our communities under the community Librum.  As you recall, Librum does not mean 'library', although the 'public library' is part of it, along with the school.  For those who are not aware, a Librum is a 'community center' in an OOM enclave/community. 

 

Can you set up such a facility? 

Hmm... do you have a 'community college'?  If so, that may work as a host to such a community resource, it certainly does here, but I realize we are a special case.  And 'outboard' lessons might be an option that way too.  I know you have a community library, else you would not have been sent that disk set, but I would not suggest you set up such under the pervue (sp?) of the librarian.  Said oversight requires some special training/education.  >This

 

I read that the 'Ace' hardware chain does tool loan and rental.  Got anything similar?   I also know that the local multi-generation hardware store does some.  So does the non-chain 'Radio Shack'.

As for community canning, that is done at the Librum also.  Reason is costs.  Priced a good grain mill or can sealer lately? Do not leave out other things, like crafts (quilting), etc. 

It really looks like a Librum-like community center is your best answer to many of your issues, but how to avoid the politics? 

 

 

Hmmm...  To give you an idea of daily issues...

Today we had a run on grain scoop shovels, the plastic, not the metal.  Snow/slush sticks to the metal ones. 

 

We also have all seven dragons checked out.  A dragon is a propane torch system used to burn weeds and de-ice walkways. 

All the bays are in use, the modified 'santa' sleds are being repaired and serviced for storage. 

The wood workers are busy, we broke a lot of handles with the snow clearing. 

 

The welders are hard at work with the snow plow blades. 

There are a LOT of the pump up blow torches on the work benches, due to a lot of use with frozen pipes, the leathers freeze. 

The 'design' and maintenance of the resource will be a full time endevor for you.  It is for me and others, and we do not have anywhere the large terrain issues you would. 

 

 

 

On the food issue, you are preaching to the choir here.  We try to avoid the big stores.  But lets be honest, money talks, and we can not produce and compete. 

 

"The whole point of our faith's community structure is to be as self sufficient as possible, to stand alone, to be able to close the gates at the barbarian hordes, and survive.  This does mean that we must sometimes do without the goods of the English worlds.  So take that back to the Walmart!"

Sarah

 

 

 

jd
#56 Posted : Saturday, January 02, 2010 6:49:37 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

The basic tool rental store doesn't work for us.  Of course, we use them, but we try not to.  The reason: mostly the logistics - we have to go in, get it, come back, use it, return to the city and then return home - all-in-all 4 trips.  And a trip is often 45 minutes by small boat, 45 more minutes down a logging road, 45 minutes more on the ferry and then the usal town-hunt for myriad and sundry items.  Getting a tool is half a day, returning it another half.  The major goal is to reduce town trips.  So, my idea of a tool library would be to reduce town trips.  'Course that means the library has to have the kinds of tools we all don't have readily by borrowing (Merlins' plumbing crimp tool has been to more places for longer visits than I have!).  Yes, I agree: the tool library should be in the communal workshop.  

We do have the school and the next-door bunkouse (a small 900 square foot rustic log home) that acts as the community centre unless the school gymn is required when more than 50 people show up. 

Probably our biggest barrier to community-based industry is that our island is 17 miles long and a few miles wide and the major transportation route is by boat around the perephery.  And a small boat trip can be a challenge depending on the weather and the load.  Still, the talk around the table is to do more locally and to try to reduce individual town trips.  Right now, we all go to town on average - once every two weeks.  Each trip costs about $100.00 depending on the boats/trucks/ferry and their fuel consumption.  That means we are collectively spending $5,000 a month just to go to town (25 households times twice a month).  NOT including the purchases.  We'd like to make a dent in that. 

practicalman45
#57 Posted : Monday, January 04, 2010 6:55:59 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

jd,  regarding the tool library: as I said I am skeptical of how that will work out here. Hand tools and garden tools are one thing, even they wear out, break, get dull or can be left uncleaned (concrete not cleaned off of the shovel, hoe or wheelbarrow). When it comes to power tools? they are too short lived, delicate, expensive. Who pays for the new chain saw chain? or bar, or tune up/servicing? Who checks the tools in and out and inspects for wear and tear? Who buys the new skil saw when the old one burns up?? You can ruin a rototiller or generator in one use. How do the costs of maintenance get fairly apportioned out?  This may work out if it is someones job to do these things and they do it as a business. Borrowing a tool requires a $ deposit sufficient to replace it entirely? When returned/checked back in, and wear and tear or maintenance/repair/replacement  costs are deducted from the deposit.  An additional small fee pays the "librarian" for their time. Essentially, it'd be setting up a tool rental and repair business that could be a part time job for someone.

One time someone brought me a cement mixer in sad shape. They said it was like a "community tool" and if I fixed it I could have the use of it when I needed it. I put an electric motor on it and did some work on it and they took it agreeing my payment would be the use of it whenever I wanted. Later, I went to find it to use it and was told that it actually belonged to someone else who hadn't agreed to the "community tool deal" and didn't want to lend it out to anyone. So I fixed it for nothing, is what it amounted to.  ( I don't want to be the "community tool librarian" at my own expense of money and time!..)   I hate even loaning things out, as folks often ask me to, knowing that I have lots of tools...so often do they forget about returning things....

The transportation logistics for travel back and forth to civilization could be another opportunity for someone's small business service. I don't know what sort of vessel would be required? but maybe someone could  provide a service such as a weekly supply boat that could replace the several legs of the town journey (including maybe the small boat, the logging road drive, and the ferry trip) and go all the way to the town, say once a week? Perhaps even offering a "shopping for a fee, or delivery service" as well.  Passengers could pay a fare, and larger freight would be charged additional by wheight or bin size. Such a service might even include a truck or van parked at the town at the other end to drive folks to their various stops. It could save folks a lot, and be a valuable service that could be a "job"/small business to someone. Other nearby remote residents/islands might want to pay to be included in the weekly town run. Just call to reserve your stop/pickup on the vhf marine channel used by the vessel.  Maybe a fisherman's boat could pull double duty and make some income moonlighting between fishing seasons?. Passengers would sign a liability release so insurance costs would not be prohibitive, or else be required to join a co-operative as paying members.

 

Here's wishing everyone reading this a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous  2010!

jd
#58 Posted : Monday, January 04, 2010 8:05:55 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Our community spirit is exceptional but, even at at that, each individual has a different standard of taking care of things and we also have our share of dorks and do-littles.  So, it likely won't work.  The only thing is: many of us do make it work.  My neighbours chainsaw went down, he borrowed mine.  And so it goes.  But, to be accurate, it goes that way for some of us.  Not all.  The ones left out removed themselves by disrespecting the others so maybe this is just an idea that works on a privileged few basis.........we'll see. 

We've thought of the shopping trip 'share-the-load' idea but, even that is problematic.  We may be near the peak of our workable communal sharing possibility.  And maybe that's OK.  Still, I'd like to think there were a few more practical ideas out  there. 

Happy New Year to you, too, P-45.  And to everyone.  Sal and I are off to Hong Kong in a couple of days for another stint at volunteer teaching.  It is always fun.  Back in two months.

 

 

davisonh
#59 Posted : Monday, January 04, 2010 11:37:29 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Hey jd for some reason your posts are'nt showing up on the board again..

jd
#60 Posted : Tuesday, January 05, 2010 8:10:55 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Hmmmmmm................how can that be?  Can you read this?  I see my posts above.  I have only written to this board for the last few weeks.................or do you mean somthing else?

I admit that this forum (the only one I visit) is 'touchy' and seems to crash now and then but............I can see my posts.  They must be there if I can see them?  No? 

Is this existential angst or what? 

Users browsing this topic
Anonymous
4 Pages <1234>
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.





Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.