Sunday, March 29, 2009

grindbyggs again

A few days ago I saw the latest issue of Natural Home Magazine, which mentioned Jay Shafer, who owns a tiny home. A little more research convinced me that I want to build a bunch of small buildings. While a shipping container might be the right size and good in many other respects, it also has toxic components and is not decomposable; once set in place it is very difficult to alter or move. I want something that is organic, that can grow into position, blend into its surroundings, and peacefully decay just as quickly. Solve et coagula. I also want something that reflects my labor of love, that is a work of art first and a functional shelter second. I even would give it a title like all great artwork deserves. I would call it "shelter" or more abstractly "how to survive a drought". All my artwork is created at little or no expense, partly because I am naturally frugal, and partly because I do not want to spend a lot of money on something that I don't really need and may not care for anyway. What form of shelter can I make that is small, decomposable, artful and cheap? I reconsidered the relatively labor intensive grindbygg, which had lately fallen into disfavor due to the greater flexibility of frame construction methods.

One of the challenges I face regardless of what I build is that at any location on my lot the ground is sloping to a greater or lesser degree and in no where is it flat. This increases complexity of the foundation. One of the advantages of the grindbygg is that it relies on a series of vertical posts to support the compressive weight of the roof, each of which can be cut to any length to adjust to the changing elevation of the plot it sits on, a different kind of foundation from the typical frame building. These posts are completely enclosed within the structure, protecting them from the effects of the weather. Posts and beams are very heavy, however if I make the shortest of the posts only three feet tall, then the grindbygg so constructed will still retain many of its advantages while being easier to erect. Such a building could serve as a modest shed, the first so built being a test of my ideas. I will need to buy a chainsaw to build with or I would soon lose hope of completing the project. A grindbygg can be small, decomposable, artful and cheap. The challenge is to complete this potentially time consuming project within one summer. I may need to use Wally Wallington's methods to erect the frames.

I like a grindbygg for all the functions that its form allows. Here is very useful see through picture I found recently.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

mental exercise

Here's a question that might be a good way to "get to the point" when discussing religion. Supposing it's possible that one day you and God disagree on something, what do you do? Do you do what God thinks is right, or do you do what you think is right?

Christians sometimes seem more afraid of not being called Christian than they are of not doing the right thing. Jesus cared more about the spirit of the law than the letter of the law, even though he also said that not even a tilda would be erased from the law of God (interpret this however you want). Nonetheless, if it is the spirit of the law that matters most, then it does not matter whether we are Christians or atheists, it only matters if we live with love and careful regard towards all those whom our actions affect. So I'd ask you: how do you answer?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

long term goals

Here is a simple diagram of my long term goals. I haven't given anything beyond four years that much thought yet. I wonder if these are really just short term goals in that case. But then again, near sighted as I am, seeing any further goals may be contingent upon reaching these earlier ones first.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seeing this life out

No wonder people find it difficult to set and work towards long term goals, the ability to think on long time scales seems to be a rare skill these days. I have had an interest in time and how the mind perceives it for several years now - is it possible to think on scales of months, years, and decades as if they were as real as the next hour, day, or week? Taken to an extreme, this creates a sense of timelessness, the same feeling that a religious person might experience when contemplating immortality. How far into the future can one rationally plan before lofty aspirations become pure fantasy and the last threads anchoring them to reality are severed?

Long term goals are important for a reason that did not become obvious to me until the last few days. Whatever other thoughts they may have had (or lacked), the recent shootings in Germany and Alabama were carried out by people who had no personal long term goals here on Earth.

One long term goal example from Don't Delay: global sustainability