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We Cool... Cooling In The Zero Off Grid Prefab And... A Tea Party At Richmond's Sustainability Forum!

In the end, it's all good. We cool. Stay cool.

CHICKUNZ and Richmond Green Drinks were out in force at Richmond's Sustainability Forum tonight! 

Thanks to the Tea Party-er who handed me back one of our CHICKUNZ fliers, I was actually able to put that last lone flier directly into the hands of Mayor Jones!

I arrived at The Carillon to picketing, shouting, and placards.
Others hurried past, quickly inside, to avoid The Rowdy Tea Party-ers. To be fair, the Tea Party was more of a swarm of Anti- U.N. Arguments and... One Loud Rowdy Dude.
(He was actually very nice. Just impassioned. I get that.)

Suddenly: An Angel Appeared! 
Shimmering in blue, this lovely, calm woman descended the steps on her own initiative (which no one else inside did) to engage the shouting and began a dialogue, for which I stood behind her to join. (i.e. Watched. Her. Back. in the sign-carrying, chanting crowd.) Already seeing many of my Green Drinks and Chickunz colleagues inside, I thought my efforts were better placed to stand here.
Honeychiles, I'd like to sound gallant, but she did *not* need any help.  
When voices became raised, we *all* brought it back to civil.

It was only after awhile this girl in blue and I turned and saw each other's faces- "Copeland Casati." "Oh, my, gooooosh... it's been a long time. Christina!" Christina Borland is back, Richmond.
We are better for it.

People calmed down, and Christina and the Tea Party started a nice discussion where people could listen, agree, disagree, and acknowledge that a lot of the things one group was talking about were not in the knowledge or expertise of the other but that they were certainly things for all of us to explore.

With lowered voices and a sense of humor, we  discovered we had more in common than we thought. Or, at least, could civilly discuss why we were there.

Now I haven't read any of this, but I'm putting out there the web sites in the Tea Party pamphlets to go and explore later, because they did have some good points about their concern over larger entities on the individual. We explained that this "Sustainability Forum" was a casual *forum*, not a Government Initiative For You To Be Packed Into High Density Apartments Even If You Didn't Want To or about The Government Wants Your Property; instead, it was an opportunity for all Richmonders to give feedback on areas to explore in our community where we can increase livability.

I present... The Tea Party Links! (Note: I haven't read these yet.)

I get their arguments Regarding Big Government: sometimes I suspect I am being taxed multiple times on my same hard-earned dollar.  I am all about paying my way into the community pot, but when I get taxed on my earning that dollar, then taxed on spending that dollar, then taxed on giving that same dollar (which is worth how many cents now?)... I do start to feel suspicious, ha.

And here's something I've been turning over in my head: Why Is It OK that our government does not ask me how many prefab house kits I sell (I just report my income to them, not the number of products that earned it, like pretty much every other business model: they don't ask you how many widgets or chocolates you make a year, they ask you how much money you earned off of those widgets and chocolates, no?) yet my farming friends have to send in a tally of their livestock and produce and their stock's location to the government?!? I don't think that the number o' steers or the heads o' lettuce on their farm should be anyone's durned business. Why is their business different and why does anyone have a "right" to that information?

I believe in property rights - I want chickens in my back yard and think everyone should have that food right. My neighbors want to nuke their lawn with chemicals regularly next to my food plot and waste our municipal drinking water on hot afternoons to "water" their "plants." How do we decide which is a "right" for our community without civil discussion?

Aw, don't worry. Before you think I'm going to go grab mah pitchfork and go rogue, here's an argument *I* presented: 
"My (ex) family farm is in a town of population 40. Now what happens when the road falls apart? You know most of that population 40 can't contribute, they're just eking by, and even those that can contribute could never raise the thousands of dollars to repave their road to bring access and services to their community.  Larger cooperation and services, paid by through taxes, *are* needed. What about emergency response? A town of population 40 can not staff, even as volunteers, emergency services much less afford to buy firetrucks, ambulances... "

"Oh, we're not against that..."

"Well where do you draw the line? I'd also like my laws to protect me from my urban neighbor that's spreading seriously toxic chemicals on the property next door that wafts over to my children's bare feet and our family food plot! Why is that legal? Yet we can't have a few hens?!?   In regards to their property I would prefer they not nuke it next to mine, as it does affect us!"
What they voted.
(Why do we need the city to "give" us resources, we're individuals trying to be
sustainable on our own with CHICKUNZ!)
There is nothing nefarious going on inside, folks: City officials created a simple dialog with tonight's forum, where, handing out clickers similar to tv remote controls, one could click on buttons to select your answer to their multiple-choice questions, then, a few seconds later, see what the room voted.  It was an opportunity for citizens to provide feedback for some general, very general questions... as a starting point to discuss options with the community they might want to pursue, like, 'Would we like more bike lanes?' and 'Would you use more public transportation.' "
In the end we all had a good time together. But that was the thing- sometimes when you just picket and shout, you don't have an opportunity for dialog and discovering that each other is not crazy. Or, you still think you're both crazy but can remain friends and part of your shared community, with dialog and dignity.
Despite differences and commonalities, these people care.
And took the time to show up and say something.

In the end, it's all good. We cool. Stay cool.

And speaking of COOLING, let's talk about cooling an off grid zero energy prefab house with no air conditioning in this heat!

Aside from our prefab house kit's extreme energy efficiency with SIP and passive solar design, we are also building a natural pool to provide a bit of respite on those extremely lengthy dog days o' summer.

Here's an example of How To Build A Natural Pool. We've created the basin, now to shovel the plant ledge and to address the lining. Because our soil is sandy, I'm going with an EPDM liner vs. a clay finish.
"If you choose a liner, select one made of ethylene propylene diene monomer rather than PVC. EPDM is a synthetic rubber twice as expensive as PVC, but it's worth the extra cost. It has protection from ultraviolet rays, and unlike PVC remains flexible in cold weather. If your soil has a lot of rocks or roots, select a 45- or 60-millimeter liner. You can use a 30-millimeter liner if your soil is very sandy and smooth, and if you and your guests aren't likely to tear holes in a liner while frolicking in the pool. Before laying your liner, compact the sod and cover it with a layer of sand or an absorbent material such as old carpeting or newspaper. Newspaper is a good option: When wet, it bonds to the liner, providing extra protection if the liner develops a small hole. 
After the bentonite clay or a liner is installed, cover the bottom of the pool with 4 to 5 inches of gravel. The gravel provides a habitat for beneficial bacteria, which help biodegrade leaves or other natural materials that sink to the bottom of your pool. Make sure you use clean gravel. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with a spigot with some of the gravel you intend to use. Open the spigot and run water through the gravel. If the water comes out dirty, you need to clean the gravel (a taxing, water-wasteful process) or find another source. Expanded shell aggregates and other manufactured gravels are likely to be clean enough to use in your natural pool. In addition to lining the pool with gravel, many people opt to build cobblestone steps for access into and out of the pool. A cantilevered dock built out over the water also provides an easy way to get in and out of the pool, and helps protect the pool's sides."
I then called to eagerly place an order for the liner and was educated on how much of a pain it is to get a gi-normous pond liner to the land. 
Fact: Did you know a 45' x 45' liner is over six HUNDRED pounds in weight and arrives on an EIGHTEEN WHEELER? And that they recommend four people to help unload it. I am going down a mental list of who's who of our friends and which ones own pick up trucks and want to visit us.
*Oh I see you, you're all ducking now!*

And guess what the average liner costs? Oh, one or two thousand dollars... which we don't have...
So before you attempt an "easy" project like this, get quotes on *everything,* honeychiles, everything, not just the excavating. 
A spray bottle o' water & a dime store wading pool are looking pretty good right now...

P.s. As we're on the subject of cooling, let's mention HEATING:
Recommended reading: Although you all know I am in love with my antique cook stove that we sealed up to make it more energy efficient and safe for use in a SIP house, I encourage you to read Lloyd Alter's article on whether wood heat is green or efficient.

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