Friday, February 17, 2017

Destiny Receives $20,000 Development Donation

Great News!!! A generous Destiny faerie has donated $20,000 to the No Place Like Home development fund. This directed donation is requested by the donor for building the workshop. The workshop has been discussed for a few years on Land Use and the Design Comet. This article is a distillation of those previous discussions.

The location of the current white, plastic Shit Shed was the original placement for the workshop. With clearing trees in Noisy Bottoms, the focus has shifted in the development site. It makes sense to place the workshop directly on the road. Future plans include timberframing the dining hall and cabins. This space would importantly need to be on the road for ease of timber unloading. The current considered location is on the corner near the propane tank. The Shit Shed site will be the sauna. 

The workshop functions include a 20x30 insulated, wood-heated space for machinery and tool storage. It would have enough open space for at least two faeries to carve timbers. There will be a workbench. Given it is heated one could sleep in there.

The Circle opted to start work on the dining hall as a next project a few years ago. Funding for that project has yet to be secured. Fund-raising for the solar electric system, a cost of $34,000, took five years to achieve. Two years ago the business circle agreed to pursue a loan to commence the dining hall construction as soon as possible. Destiny’s monthly income through monthly electronic funds transfers (EFT) has decreased from $1,100 a month down to $500. At this time, that isn’t enough to secure monthly loan repayment. Work to secure financing for the dining hall will continue this summer. Ultimately, increasing the EFT payments back up to $1,000 monthly would allow for loan acquisition.

The Design Comet is reinvigorating now that the funding for the workshop is secured. Next, the Comet will begin meeting to discuss the design of the workshop, the type of design—timberframe vs. stickframe—and facilitation of the design process.

Previously consented, the Design Comet is “closed” after the step-on time. The Design Comet’s mission is to design the development site and its structures.  Comet proposals include methods of financing. Teams from the Comet operationalize the proposal to complete the project. It is requested you participate for two years. 

Step on for the Design Comet will occur at the Annual Meeting April 14-16. Daisy Shaver is facilitating the Comet at this time. If you are interested to step-on, facilitate the Comet, design the workshop, please e-mail daisyshaver@gmail.com.  At the meeting the group listserve will be created.  


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Wintertime Access

This is the area of the drive just below Tom's entrance to Triple M Ranch.

Destiny shares our drive with our neighbor, Triple M Ranch. Tom has been a neighbor since Destiny began both on this drive and on a different property on the other side of our mountain. He has been looking in on our place since the very beginning. He has always been supportive and wants to have fae living at the Sanctuary during the winter too. 
 
Destiny is spectacularly beautiful in the winter.  The views around the kitchen are expansive since the leaves are all off the trees

Our neighbor, Tom, lives at his place all winter. He keeps the drive open to his place and sands when it gets icy. He believes he can keep the road open up to the kitchen. He believes we could drive in and out all winter.

This Google Earth screen shot shows the Destiny entrance off 103 at the pink arrow at the top of the page. The road in the upper left between the pink arrows is Sylvan Road/Eastman Road which sits at the bottom of Destiny's property at Hall Brook. The pink circle is the kitchen development site. One can see the sketching of a road within the trees down to the entrance at 103. Triple M Ranch, on our drive, is the small clearing near the upper pink arrow near 103.


Destiny is 166 acres of predominantly steep, North-facing property in Southern Vermont. Most of the property was once cleared and home to sheep and cattle that belonged to the Peck Farm which sits across 103. The main entrance is an improved logging road that enters off VT Route 103 South. The drive is nearly a mile long and progresses up steeply for the first half, flattens some, and then moves on the rise again but not so steeply to the kitchen. The drive traverses nearly the three-fourths of the property.

Destiny had no cleared areas in 1997. The original logging road passed through the Yurt/Giza area and onto L'Nai 95 and into the camping and septic area. The current road from the Yurt to the kitchen did not exist. The parking lot did not exist. At the first gatherings, faeries parked on the upward slope of the drive and hiked in. The original kitchen site, K1, was set up just prior to the Yurt yard on the downhill side where it's flat. It is also a swale and filled up with water during the first rain of the first gathering. 

The first Destiny projects were improving the logging road up to the parking lot area and to the yurt and cutting out the parking lot. This started in 1998.





This is a Google Earth screen shot of the kitchen. To the left one can see Eastman Road. When you compare the distance to Eastman Road from the kitchen, you see just how close we sit to that road.
In the early years of Destiny's development, many faeries did not want to cut ANY trees. After the current kitchen site was selected, it took nearly two years to agree to cut the trees for the current road from the Yurt to the kitchen. When faeries wanted to build the Yurt, it took many hours of Heart Circle to come to agreement to cut some trees down. The same for the Giza. Moss did nearly all the cutting at the Yurt yard and on the road up to the kitchen. He worked to design the road in order to cut the fewest trees possible. 

When the faeries purchased Destiny, the neighbors on the back parcel dug a well right in the middle of the exit route. They contested our deed which was missing a few pages that made clear the exit was for residential, commercial or agricultural. Since these pages were located last year, we can begin a process of negotiating the back exit. Currently, the exit goes right through the neighbor's property. We'll negotiate to maintain this exit or build a new one which would require a bridge over Hall Brook. 

Since cash has not been at the ready, Land Use has not approached the current owners of that property to discuss our development plans. A surveyor came two years ago and felt that the deed and current markers made it very plain that we have a right-of-way. 

This screenshot shows the kitchen site and the rear exit out the property. This is a deeded exit but was contested when the previous owners lived there. Portions of the deed were missing with the township but were found in 2015.  So Destiny has the documents to use this deeded right-of-way which is shorter, and not so steep. 

Destiny houses many deer. The back drive runs through thick hemlock groves. Much of our land is set aside in "current use." Current Use is a tax incentive program to not develop forest land. It allows for forestry management but not logging, commerce or development. Development and use of the road will impact these deer and deer yards. Destiny has been taking actions to mitigate the harm on the deer with our development so far. Further deer  mitigation may be required when we keep either the front road open or develop the back road. I suspect Destiny will be able to easily meet its development goals since we are developing so of the 166-acres. 

At this time, Destiny does not have ready cash to hire surveyors or consultants to move forward with design and implementation of the road plan. We will need some infrastructure and development money and consultants to continue to move forward.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Dining Hall Plans











This is a basic rendering of what the dining hall would look like.

Here's a link to a presentation about the Dining Hall.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nd_zGFJomS_YJkOazztGkro2-5foqNb9mfqRnbcAYm4/edit?usp=sharing

Friday, March 28, 2014

Proposed Land & Garden Evolution

Aerial:


Existing conditions:









Notes:

1) New Veg Garden is located in sunniest/warmest microclimate on the land.  Also below water catchment for easiest gravity feed irrigation.  & in Zone 1 of proposed winterized Cabins.

2) Existing Garden becomes more perennially focused -- medicinal herbs, berries, perennial vegs -- requiring less irrigation.

3) Workshop & Solar Array do not reflect our only placement options.  (See Master Plan map & Solar posts below).

4) Forest Garden/Terraces ought best be established with earth moving equipment -- minimizing up front labor & saving us years of labor down the line.

5) Pond is proposed -- & in a separate watershed than the septic. (See Water Catchment post below)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Master Plan Discussions

The purpose of this post is to familiarize the Destiny Community with the concept of Master Planning.  It is hoped that a Master Plan for Faerie Camp Destiny will ultimately assist the community in reaching consensus with some long term goals and priorities for future improvements and buildings projects.

It has long been assumed that future improvements would occur within the circumference of the cleared area where the new kitchen is located.  The selective clearing of the post-agricultural forest has opened up wonderful vistas and now allows abundant sunlight and air circulation to refresh and rejuvenate the land and the life it supports. 

Aerial photo taken October 2012. Due north is at top of the page. Shadows indicate the time of day to be close to noon.

Two weekend workshops took place this winter in an effort to evaluate and clarify the direction of future improvements on the land at Destiny.  The basis of these discussions were recommendations made by Land Use Planet, the newly formed Design Comet, and input from broader Destiny Community which was voiced at the More Than Annual Meeting in December 2013.

Under discussion in no particular order are:

  • Solar power through photovoltaic array
  • Enclosed dining hall adjoining the kitchen to replace the current dining canopy
  • Workshop/storage building to facilitate future construction projects and provide shelter during the shoulder seasons
  • Housing for a number of year-round residents/stewards
  • Cabins for elder shelter during the gathering season
  • Bath house with sauna
  • Firewood storage shed
Following are several examples which hopefully demonstrate how the visual tools of a Master Plan "exercise" can be used to foster ideas, dialogue and understanding amongst members of the Destiny Community, to glean support from outside the community, and to ultimately seek funding and permitting necessary to the success of any such endeavor.  As of this writing it is a work in progress, an idea, an exercise that requires further study, community insights and support.

Scheme A above depicts possible locations for proposed improvements with focus on locating the Workshop.  It favors a close proximity to the proposed Dining Hall for the ease of moving building materials from the Workshop to the site of the Dining Hall while it is under construction.  This assumes that the method of construction for the Dining Hall would benefit from having an on-site, enclosed workspace.
Scheme B above orients the Workshop away from the Dining Hall, opening up the yard area behind the Kitchen and orienting the long side of the Workshop toward a more southerly exposure, without sacrificing much in the way of proximity to the Dining Hall construction site.

Scheme C above opens up even more space north of the Kitchen, moving the Workshop out the direct sight line of people walking or driving along the approach road, and still offering a more southerly exposure along the length of the building.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Water Catchment at Destiny


'But Destiny is so wet!! Why would we want to catch more water at Destiny?'

Water is our lifeblood & the lifeblood of the land. It's the lubricant that allows the life forces of the place to flourish & move. It's presence is cooling, refreshing, productive, & restorative. Usually, when water is felt to be 'too much' on a landscape it is during excessive rain, or when said water moves quickly & erosively through a landscape. Conceptually, we want water to flow through & across our land as slowly as possible -- & allow it to serve the greatest number of purposes possible, before it (inevitably) leaves our sloping landscape.

This is a video put together by Whole Systems Design farm in Northern Vermont's Mad River Valley. It describes briefly basic water catchment technology, & how the design of their land effectively absorbed the waters of Hurricane Irene -- which otherwise raged through the Mad River Valley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr3-IolRKuc

Water does work upon the land. Besides watering plants & people, it…
- cleans tools & vegetables;
- can reduce or eliminate our need to water the gardens with pumps or by hand;
- creates habitat for a greater number of organisms, increasing the diversity & resilience of an ecosystem;
- allows for the production of distinctly aquatic food crops, both animal & vegetable;
- it increases dynamic & productive edge conditions while increasing raises the reflected heat of the land (creating micro-climates that can grow plants normally accustomed to warmer climates). Famously, Sepp Holzer has used this effect to successfully grow lemons & other citrus -- in the Austrian Alps.


(productive ponds at Sepp Holzer's Kramerterhof)

There exists a diversity of water-storing solutions that include:
- the soil itself
- swales
- trees & plants themselves
- ponds
- cisterns

The most efficient place/way to hold water is in the ground -- & the better the soil (the more organic material, the more spongy) the more water it can hold. In order though for the water to penetrate into the soil, we have to slow it down, to offer that exchange the time necessary for the water to sink. Swales (ditches dug on contour) are one such way to sink water deeply into the earth. This enables the plants & trees growing below to drink deeply & hold water in their flesh. Ponds are ways to hold standing water & aquatic ecosystems -- & often are capable of supplying gravity-feed irrigation systems in case of drought. Cisterns serve a similar function; they easefully capture rainwater off the roofs of buildings, & generally supply gravity-fed irrigation systems below.

Moving water opposite gravity requires a lot of power. The more water-drawing options (& increased water use efficiency) available to any community, the less reliant we are upon electricity or fuel or any one piece of equipment like a pump. This is one working definition for growing a more resilient community.

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'So how much water are we talking about?'

Destiny, & Vermont as a whole, is a rainy place. About 3 to 5 inches of water fall each month, for a total of about 44 inches of precipitation a year. The formula to determine is :: rain fall harvest = catchment area x amount of rain x efficiency.

For example, if we collected water off the roof of our proposed new workshop structure (w/ approximately a 40' x 20' roof -- & with only 80% efficiency), the land's monthly average of 4 inches of rain would yield 1,600 gallons of water per month into cisterns. The kitchen meanwhile could collect more than that. The two side by side would mean over 3,000 gallons of water monthly available to the lower meadow -- the area to which these systems could gravity-feed. This, incidentally, points to moving our more water-intensive (vegetable) gardens to below the kitchen, in the lower meadow (where there is also more available sunlight).

These meanwhile are just two structures. This says nothing about the 160 acres Destiny holds in common -- that the same 44 inches of rain falls upon yearly. This means, according to the same equation, that a dizzying 191,166,936 gallons of fresh, clean water falls annually on our land. In the face of such quantity, we start where we can, catching water where it makes sense to do so, & grow our collective practice of doing so into the future.

Siting is key. What water needs do we have? & what opportunities lay above said needs to catch water?

Some existing & possible catchment points for us at Destiny in the nearer term:
- swales in the existing garden
- kitchen roof (cistern)
- dining hall roof (cistern)
- workshop roof (cistern)
- resident cabins (cisterns)
- pond at the bottom of the lower meadow
- terraces or swales for the proposed orchard in the lower meadow
- growing out lush gardens to hold water in the plants themselves
- continued soil building to grow the sponginess & water holding capacity of the earth

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From the seat, & mouth, of the great Pashananda, we hear words of wisdom, 'Gently holding water'. <3 .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Destiny Solar System Possibilities


The intention of this post is to outline, as objectively as possible, the options the Destiny Community has before us, for the visioned solar array.  The post though accepts as true that a solar array of some kind is coming -- alongside a workshop & a dining hall.

Field Array:

Description - The field array, recommended by our previous two estimators (that yielded the $25,000 estimate figure), consists of two posts, with 6-panels each, installed in the lower meadow, just beneath the driveway behind the kitchen.  

Pros - The maintenance on the field array is supposedly the easiest of all the systems, because of their accessibility (nearness to the ground) & detachedness from any structure.

Cons - The field array takes up significant space in the lower meadow.  It also shades the ground beneath it, assuring the space underneath minimal utility.  With the field array there are no stacked functions.

 the field array


Roof Array (Integrated):

Description - The integrated roof array works many small panels into the roof as shingles.  It's less efficient than a full-panel system, but is easy to make up for in more area.  Requires optimal roof pitching.  Most likely installed on the dining hall & possibly the workshop roof.

Pros - The integrated paneled roof is cost competitive with the other systems.  No space in the field is taken up.  Meanwhile, cost for roofing pays for solar shingles & functions as roofing.  Multiple stacked functions.  

Cons - Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 integrated solar shingles


Roof Array (Mounted):

Description - Traditional full-paneled system mounted on the roof of the dining hall &/or perhaps the workshop.  Similar in form to the field array, except mounted on the roof.  System requires optimal roof pitching.

Pros - No space in the field is taken up.  Offers protection to the roof below.  

Cons - Maintenance more difficult than a field array because of roof access.  Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 mounted roof panels


Hybrid (Roof & Field Array):

Description - Simply a combination of.. likely, one 6-panel post in the field & a smaller (either) integrated or mounted array on the roof.

Pros - Diversified electricity sourcing -- if one fails, we still have the other.  It offers the option of phasing -- the field array likely first, to get us going, with the roof system waits for the completion of dining hall or workshop.  Takes up less space in the meadow.

Cons -  Phasing costs more because the work needs be done twice, potentially by two different installers.  Still takes up space in the meadow.

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& when may it happen??


The nature & materials of the workshop (likely our next building project on the land) is an important consideration as we discuss when the solar system will be installed.   If the workshop is made from timber & straw, then we don't need nearly as much electricity on the land as if we were building out of sticks & using power tools.  We could then easily potentially wait until the workshop is complete before investing in the solar system.  The other primary consideration, besides Destiny Community Consensus Process, is money, or rather funding.  We are still only halfway to our solar fundraising goal of $25,000 for the solar array, with two other big building projects along the way.  Until funds are found or borrowed, the solar system will likely wait.