“Second Chances” or “Homeless as Precious Resource”

I received my degree in Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a focus on developmental and ccounselling from Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2012. It took me 6 consecutive semesters, taking six courses every term and as many as 5 in the summer-months. It filled me with joy to FINALLY have some sort of idea what people were thinking. It also helped me realize why life seemed so much harder, task by task, than some other people; I discovered that I likely had Aspergers Autism. It may be my neurochemistry, my personality or any combination thereof… then again it may not be any, but I think I found a very real solution to the homelessness epidemic and a lingering moral dilemma that has been bothering me. It was staring us all right in the face this whole time, and we had the power to fix much of the issues for a long, long time. That solution is simple… give them a chance. For many woodworkers trying to make a living and trying to make an honest go of a home-business, we can give a homeless person a second chance, and at the same time make use of a valuable human resource at the same time. Continue reading


“Back to Woodworking Projects!” or “Three Doors and a Raised Bed”

raised bed 1Sorry about those past few non-woodworking posts, I sometimes dry-up of imagination on a single topic, and discover a veritable fountain at another point in my mind, and the deluge begins. Either way, I’ve got a 4-point post today, covering some woodworking projects that I’ve got to cover. One of which (photo featured) is a raised garden bed that I’ll build for the house in the spring, and the remaining three are some doors meant to tighten up the house a little bit. There is no air-break between the basement and the upper-story, so my wood furnace spends most of it’s time desperately trying to heat the basement to 15C (~59F) while the upstairs is regularly 22C – 25C (~72F – 77F). For those people NOT from the island, that’s almost unbearable for Sarah and I. The kind of energy-sucking heat that is ideal for TV and cold beer, but not conducive to housework or busy-projects. That said, I intend to build some walls/doors to prevent the heat from travelling UP the stairs, and keep the heat in the water radiation system to keep us warmer, longer, and maybe save some wood. Continue reading

“Sociocracy” or “Consent vs. consensus”

Though it can be argued. there was a real sense of justice in some areas of the ancient world. It can also be argued that there was never a sense of justice since one guy could wield a bigger stick than his neighbor, but one can’t spend any real time in the purer study of classics without noticing that the old fellers really had some keen ideas. Many of those ideas worked great, in theory, but like any system the waste and efficiency dwindled with size. A family-unit can run pretty efficiently, as the image of the 1950’s household can represent. It may not have always been a happy time for all participants, but there were rigidly followed rules, roles and responsibilities, and jurisdictions were clear. What can we learn from these examples of systems that worked, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, when we design our own little micro-government for businesses and small communities like the intentional community like my Tir Tairngire Ecovillage? I present you, “Sociocracy”. Continue reading

“Ecovillage Greenhouse Redesign Beta” or “Feeding the 5000… eventually”

Homestead 1In my previous article, I had discussed the Tir Tairngire Ecovillage project as the grand scope of things. I had decided to rush parts of it, simply because it was already after midnight and I knew I’d have to re-address certain facets of the whole thing, which I’ve been doing for nearly a decade and a half. I had real problems with the 45d angle that has been forever evident in the location of my site, and it would really be hellishly inconvenient to rotate lots, adjust roads, or search for another site when I already OWN this one. It’s just not practical. That said, I’ve decided to reassess one of my biggest concerns: The 1/2 Acre (~0.2 ha) Homestead Greenhouse. I also was faced with the challenge of angling the buildings to make best use of the lower angle of the winter sun in the northern hemisphere.

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“Ecovillage Dreams” or “How I Invested 50% of My Life”

ogoI’ve mentioned my interest in agriculture, specifically sustainability, green housing, passive solar, traditional woodworking, et cetera, ad nausium. But all these interests stem from one particular obsession. This obsession carried me through my entire post-secondary career, through three failed engagements and a dozen changes of address. It got me through desperate poverty, cycles of abusive company and the discovery that I had Aspergers Autism (which explained more than I thought it would). That obsession forever haunts me in the back of my mind the way that liquor haunts a recovering alcoholic. That obsession is for a life reminiscent of The Shire from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, and kept me warm at night when everyone else left me for dead. That dream is Tir Tairngire Ecovillage, and the embers have not grown cold yet. Continue reading