Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dreams, Demons, and Feeling Adrift

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may know I have ongoing (lifelong) problems with my younger (by 9 years) half-sister, who co-owns this house, and was recently fired from her job. She has almost zero possibilities for another one between her age, and the local economy which is even worse than the national average. My concern is the effect this will have on the rest of my life.

My half-sister has problems that span most of her adult life and several marriages, but I thought she had finally grown up. We interacted very infrequently over the last 40+ years and we certainly are not friends, so choosing 5-6 years ago to pool our scant resources and share a house may have been a big mistake.

Another thought is that I finally realize I do not like it here very much, even though I share half the responsibility for the choice. Oh, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love these mountains... but I find myself living on the outside of a tight-knit (closed) community (just my local county, the town 30 miles away is quite different) with whom I seem to have very little in common. The other thing I dislike is any adequate shopping is 100+ miles away... including shopping for organic foods (beyond what my farmer's market has available during the season, which is no different than what I grow in my own garden).

Does that mean a move elsewhere? Frankly, m'dears... I haven't a clue, and I certainly have no money to do so! The demons are the "imagined" responsibilities for my sister and this house, my long-range plans / progression for the garden including my efforts over the last 5 years, and how I feel about the unwelcoming area where I live.

I long to be in a community where there are at least a few others who can the see the possibilities of what we can do towards sustainability... and healing our lovely blue planet.

Several years ago during a meditation, I had a "vision" of a house for me. Not at all what I would have imagined, either. I have designed many houses for myself over the years, and actually built a few of them. THIS house was extraordinary... lots of curb appeal although funky, very organic, with a small ecological footprint, passive solar and other energy efficiencies, and based on the Fibonacci Spiral found in Nature.

Over years since then, I have relegated this house design to "only a dream" without knowing exactly why I did that. However, I DID buy some balsa modeling components 2 years ago, intending to build a scale model. Those pieces were still behind the seat in my truck last week. I really don't know why I haven't followed through (until now) with this project, but it was more than just an "I can't afford it" attitude. Must have been some lessons I still needed to learn. (Do the Lessons ever stop?)

At any rate, I have now cleared a space on my coffee table to finally start building a scale model... and wondering about what area would be a great location for building it. I'm thinking probably the NC mountains. My plan is an interdisciplinary plan that involves eye-candy, sustainable development, alternative energy (passive solar, green-building, solar cooling, solar chimneys, radiant floor heating), small, affordable houses, yada, yada... and on the outside, food forest farming (polyculture perennials) with the vegetation integral to how the house functions.

When this dream house first came to me, I contacted the Colorado engineer, Steve Kornher, who started Flying Concrete in Mexico, thinking that would be a perfect medium for this house. I was certain I could put together a summer project for engineering and architectural students, and get a grant to build it. Then Steve assured me that not only was he too busy, but his "flying concrete" would never pass US building codes. Sigh.

In my current frame of mind, I don't see myself living where I am now for more than another year or two, because I am excited about the possibilities of this dream house (even though I see no way to accomplish it). Of course, nothing is etched in stone, either.  I hate feeling adrift, like a ship without a rudder...

But finally, I am really excited that despite all the obstacles, there WILL be a way to build this house... I just have to believe!


  1. Maybe you could figure out a way to make it into a business endeavor and put your dream on "kick starter" for funding. Take a look at:



  2. Thanks... I am relying on my readers to help me "think outside the box" and really appreciate all suggestions!

    I've been following Suzanne McMinn's adventures (although not the fund-raising); she has a large following, so I'd think they will meet the goal.

    1. I was just introduced to the idea of Kick Starter late last year and have funded a couple projects. When I saw that they accepted Suzanne's project I was happily surprised since I've thought of doing something quite similar.

      PS: I forgot to sign before. I've quit using google so have been using the anonymous for now. This is "Leah's Mom" :)

  3. Darius, I got goosebumps reading your post. I, too, have been longing to move to the NC mountains and have been looking at properties in the Black Mountain area, in and around Hillsborough for several years now. What I really want, when I allow myself to dream the impossible dream, is to create community -- I see a cluster of small homes with a central "lodge." The lodge is where meals are shared and food is processed. It also houses a wonderful library of both books and tools, has a workshop, and classrooms for the little ones, and a variety of food storage areas. The compound is interwoven with food production areas -- kitchen gardens, a food forest, small livestock. The compound might include businesses -- a farmer's market, a pub, a healing arts center. I am hoping that my two children and their families, my sister's extended family, and any and all friends might become part of this community. So, I've been dreaming this dream and waiting for the stars to align :-) Maybe they are coming into alignment now!

    PS We are not wealthy people but we do have some finances we could tap -- the biggest obstacle would be bringing my husband onboard -- he is not a believer!

    1. Your "community" sounds like the Co-Housing one a good friend in Asheville and I designed several years ago! Wouldn't it be wonderful?

      Our residential areas covered from young, intrepid summer students in tents/rustic cabins, regular small homes with functional kitchens, all the way to those elderly who needed some assistance. Shared facilities like library, toolshed, and of course a huge kitchen with rotational kitchen duties, food provided at cost.

      There were some early (and good) European books on Co-Housing, but I haven't stayed abreast of it lately.

      Send me an email and we can talk? Address is under "About Me" above.


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