Lost Valley Week 9 – Water Day and Feelings Friday

HSS Week 9

Our guest instructor for Monday’s classes was Laird Schaub, who has spent over 40 years living in various communities – primarily at Sandhill Farm with his former partner, and then Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Laird is a shrewd man, and has been a community networker and group process (facilitation) consultant for over 25 years, so he had a wealth of contextual knowledge.

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Lost Valley Week 8 – Appropriate Technology and Leadership

HSS Week 8 – Rest of the Week

It took time and reflection, but I got into a better head space for the rest of the week since miserable Monday.

Zones and SectorsWednesday started with presentations of our initial design concepts for our PDC projects. Bri and I went to Bethany’s the day before to make the initial design and overlay concept layers, which was a hand-drawn scaled sketch on white butcher paper and colored pencils, and Bethany taped transparency sheets to make large overlay mats which we drew the design layers on. These layers includes wind direction, summer and winter sun patterns, water flow, levels of elevation, human and animal foot traffic, as well as other considerations. And for our design, those considerations were client aesthetic preferences, existing infrastructure, resident mobility and the original goals of food production and outdoor interaction space.

Our permaculture instructor after the presentations was Simon Hanson, a former resident who helped with the past apprenticeship program. The topics for the day were appropriate technology and human nutrient cycling. Simon boiled down the use of appropriate technology to ‘levels’ and ‘context,’ for instance, if one entire neighborhood block bought a single lawnmower and shared it on a schedule, then it reduces consumption so everyone wouldn’t need to buy, refill and fix their own individual mowers.

Simon also helped with the evolution of the composting toilets and the humanure treatment system, which was the “number two” topic he discussed with us. We toured the toilets and he explained the initial design flaws they ran into like bug access to the catchment barrels and mobility issues. He also gave a thorough explanation of the on-site human nutrient compost cycle, which averages about two year per barrel with the added non-human organic materials and the average local temperature.

Image result for power and leadershipThe final classes of the week were with Oblio on ‘power’ and ‘leadership.’ In these classes, we talked about various forms of power, like ‘power over others’ and ‘power from within,’ as well as cultural power stereotypes related to gender, sex, ethnicity and privilege. Oblio had us do some ‘spectrum’ exercises to show us similarities and differences between everyone, which were ‘go to one side  of the room if you agree…’ and ‘stand further away from  the line is you’ve been…’ And these exercises really showed us various situations and beliefs that effected how power is seen and used. Our final activity was on leadership and we were tasked in groups to build the tallest marshmallow and spaghetti noodle tower.

Our group consisted of Matt Mcnall, Sarah Curran, Bri Hoffman, and myself. I had previously done this exercise, so I had some design experience and helped Matt build a stable structure that was above average height. However, Matt wanted to go higher which Sarah and I verbally objected to several times. He ignored our objections and went ahead and attempted to add more, and nearly brought the tower down twice! In the end, our team won but wound up frustrated at each other and Matt realizing he didn’t listen to half his team.

Oblio spoke to our team’s situation in relation to ‘leadership,’ and highlighted the fact we won, but there was a cost to it without some leadership

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Lost Valley Week 8 – Miserable Monday

HSS Week 8 – Miserable Monday, October 16th

I started the day feeling mentally a step behind my physical body, which affected how my day went – and it sure didn’t get any better from there!

I was feeling frustrated, irritated, angry, judgmental, pissed off and generally shut off from everyone. That was caused by/combined with classmates asking repetitive questions, delaying class, not being ‘mentally present,’ and bringing up tangential topics and ‘beating around the bush’ conversations. (That is THE recipe to royally piss me off when I’m trying to learn, and paying for the classes with my own hard-earned money.)

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Lost Valley Week 7 – One Planet Life and Forgiveness

HSS Week 7

Coming off the mid-program break, this week was also jammed pack, but on the back-end of the week.

Classes started off with Brian teaching us about animals, aquaculture and pest management in permaculture. We specifically went over to the duck and chicken pen and discussed their inputs vs outputs, pros vs cons, and why they are the only livestock onsite. (Lost Valley previously had sheep, but they constantly escaped. Also honey bees, until a bear came through and demolished the hives.)

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