October 19, 2019

The Fragile

This post is going to have to be a "Quickie". The reason for this can be found at the end of this entry.

Beverly had a great post yesterday which resulted in the creation of a SS. She eloquently drove home a point stating, that without an underlying philosophy of hope, all SS's were doomed to failure. In short, without hope, no idea, no matter how brilliant has a ghost of a chance at success. Allow a short story from an experience that some of us had in '07.

Almost all of the residents of Enclave went through the disaster of 2007. There were riots everywhere. Gangs formed from a natural need to belong to something and of course, survival. Violence, starvation and fear were common. There was needless killing in Ann Arbor; a particularly senseless death near Cleveland stays with me to this day. In the midst of all this mayhem some voices began to be heard. One such voice pleaded with us, that no matter where we were, that we were to identify the "Fragile" in our community. "The Fragile" became a buzzword. It became accepted practice for everyone at Enclave to identify those in the community that had, for one reason or another become marginalized. The list is long, the old, the very young, the sick, the pariahs of our society such as the GLBT community, all those who have been shoved to a corner and ignored by others competing for survival. We would go out of our way to seek out and let these people know that they were not alone. Some we helped by giving shelter, others we helped by getting them the help they needed, others we just didn't have the means, but we tried anyway.

The souls we encountered received aid, yes; but more importantly, they realized that they were not alone and there might be some hope after all. This is what Beverly’s Superstruct proposes. I think it’s a good idea.

I just received news that there are some homeless headed this way. The estimate was about 80 people. Needless to say that we are in no way, shape or form, ready to help that many people.


October 18, 2019

Superstructs and Chaucer

Things have been pretty quiet lately, until today. As many people have noted, the mornings are getting colder and we still have much work to do. Beverly was wondering about how the homeless in her area were getting on, finding shelter and food. I think that a lot of us are wondering the same thing, wherever we are. It is bad enough just having a refugee problem but coupled with the threat of ReDS... It is too much to contemplate for the time being.

While I was wrestling with a particularly stubborn set of heating coils on a Composting Toilet, Suzy wandered by and asked how my “Internet thing” was progressing. For all her charms and myriad skills, if something has buttons on it, she avoids it like the plaque. I told her that considering the world crisis, there are just too many people trying to accomplish similar things. As of today, I have joined about three new groups; some have “applications”—those I have not heard back from. I think that eventually a lot of these “Superstructs” as they are being called may have to merge. Some of them are:
EDUCYCLE by Mudmama, Outpost of One by PonyXpress, Homestead-In-A-Box by Josh, and Self-sustainable Interconnected Communities by Jinxremoved. All of these sites are trying to reach similar goals. Probably if just for the sake of all the new members of Superstruct, they should all think about coming under one category. If anyone reading this blog post knows of other IC’s that are out there please contact me.

After completing the repairs to the CT, Kim came up and began one of the strangest conversations that I have had of late. There are at least 3 women that I know who, when so motivated, can be masterfully cryptic. They can continue a conversation for minutes at a time and while appearing to be logical and well organized, not give one solid piece of information away. Three such masters that come to mind are Ren, Caroline, and Kim.

From what I could understand Kim was telling me that she had found an orphan, and that it might be, well, beneficial if we were to take said orphan in.

To further clarify the conversation, I offer the analogy of a child finding a little stray kitten or puppy. Partial sentences like "Can I keep him/her?"-- "I'll take good care..." are salted liberally throughout the "conversation". In retrospect, I now see that my agreeing to this adoption was one of the finest examples of brain deadness that I have demonstrated in a long time. Anyway, I asked Kim where her new find was and if it had a name. Apparently, she took my question as a blessing to the adoption, which resulted in her whole facial expression changing from concern to that award winning smile she is so famous for. Well yes, she said, his name was Chaucer. She then asked me to follow her because she had him over in a stand of trees.

When we arrived Kim asked me what I thought. I wasn't sure how to respond. I couldn’t see anything. I looked at the ground, I looked into the trees, my gaze refocused on her hands; Quite honestly, I could see nothing. Well, that wasn’t exactly the case. I was seeing it OK, it was my mind that was stubbornly refusing to let me realize the sight before me. Think of this as a scene in a cheesy monster movie. The actor runs out of a building and even though the gigantic creature stands before him/her, nothing is noticed until the creature makes an obvious move. In my case, it was a snort… Kind reader, all I can say is that in my worst, most distorted nightmare I have never seen anything like this. It is HUGE! When I recover a bit, I shall have more comment on our newest addition to Enclave, Chaucer.



October 14, 2019



When the enclave began to form in 2005, most of us met through a series of synchronicities. That is, a set of meaningful coincidences that seemed to be purpose driven. As we began to know each other better it was realized that each individual resident of the enclave possessed a high degree of sensitivity. Whether it was the ability to accurately sense animals, get feelings about this or that situation or read others emotional reactions we all seemed to possess a heightened clairsentience. The misfits had found a home!

When the group began to coalesce into a community, we began to think about decision making. We found a community out in California that looked pretty successful. It is located in an area called “Baggins End”. It took me sometime of nosing around their site before I “got” the inside humor. (I will lead it to the individual reader to figure it out) The group governs itself by employing consensus. There are several great websites that cover the general processes of consensus; they can be found here and here. There have been some people who have wanted to join in our group that couldn’t get comfortable with this type of governance. Consensus is not for everybody.

There seems to be an overall agreement with our residents that there is “Something” that ties humanity together. Somehow we are all connected. Each one of us has a slightly different interpretation of exactly how this connection works, but we all agree that there is something. Very early on, all of us intuitively developed the For Me, (4Me, hence the title… I decided to try my hand at l33t.), philosophy when it came to religious beliefs. Our group is made up of people that come from a variety of religious backgrounds and while all are free to discuss, no one forces their beliefs on anyone else. Again, there have some who wanted to join our group but began to proselytize…They didn’t stick around long.

As I have said before, our little group consists of 25 and me. We all share in the work however each of us has a specialty. Our talents consist of:

Carpentry, which includes boat building. (Yes I built the one in my avatar)
Vet tech/Medic—(Hey, if it’s good enough for my cat it’s good enough for me)
Large animal specialist
Machine operators
Hunters/Fishermen (Sorry, fisherpeople just doesn’t sound right)

Most of us have overlapping skills. All of us teach in one form or another. We try to impart skills and knowledge to anyone in need. After the collapse of the local public education systems in our area, we began to write and implement a system like the WALC initiative in the Bay Area Schools. Our philosophy is that the greatest impediment to education is the disconnect experienced by the student in the class room, and the real world outside. We use the environment as the classroom, whenever possible.

One talent we don’t have in-house is a Smith. There are two locally, so we work with them.

That pretty much sums up my thumbnail sketch of our little group. Must go now, work calls…



October 13, 2019


Today, we began to set up the foundations for our houses and hexayurts. In the early part of this century, a fellow by the name of Vinay Gupta was brilliantly inspired to create the hexayurt. The design was simplicity itself. Twelve 4 X 8 panels, a way to cut six of the panels and some tape. In the years following, the hexayurt became not only the standard refugee shelter, but was adopted by millions and used for as many reasons. During the early years of its development, the hexayurt had some shortcomings. Its first incarnation only worked in an arid environment. There was also a UV deterioration problem. Some people were not too picky about their choice of materials and encountered either a fire hazard or off gassing. Happily, at the time of this writing, all of the bugs have been worked out and the concept is doings yeomen’s duty all over the planet. During the earlier stages of development, I had redesigned the structure to be made out of insulated panels with a plywood outer skin. The inner skin could be either drywall or plywood. There was insulation in the panels. In order to keep the costs down, wood doorlites were modified to make sliding windows. If the structure needed to be KD (Knock Down) each panel was fitted with bed frame hardware. Once the thing was assembled, a bead of RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) gasket material was applied to a rebate (Pronounced rabbit) built into each panel and roof section. The only problem I had was the floor. I was forced to come up with a very fussy system of joists and floor sections. They were hard to store and PItA (you can figure that one on your own, can’t you?) to assemble. The use of the floor system was restricted to the housing units and the textile shops. All the rest of the outbuildings used dirt floors. Here are a couple of drawings:

This time around, primarily due to some extraordinary good fortune, we are going try pouring a clay floor. Two recent finds made this experiment possible. First, while exploring our new location some of our residents came across the remains of what must have been a finishing/refinishing shop. At the back of the shop were a couple of dozen drums of linseed oil. Someone then remembered a clay deposit not to far distant. It should be interesting.

Most residents of our enclave have houses. Again, somewhere around 2002 I noted what could best be described as a neo-minimalist movement starting up. This movement was a reaction to all of the 5000 sq. ft. McMansions springing up. One of the most prolific Architects that responded to the cry for tiny houses was Jay Shafer. He has been drawing up these little gems for a while now.

The Buildings are pretty straight forward stick construction. One of the delightful features of many of his designs is that they fit onto a standard double axle trailer. The overall height is just a smidge under 13 feet so they can be hauled anywhere. We use composting toilets in order to save time and energy building infrastructure. There is a grey water recovery system that allows us to use shower and dishwashing water over again. Each place has a very nicely appointed sleeping loft area and a ton of great other features. All in all, we are quite pleased with them.

On a final note, I would like to mention another housing system that we have used in the past. There is a great organization of people in the Atlanta area called “The Mad Housers” They quietly seek out and work with homeless people in Atlanta. They have developed a couple of designs that, in a pinch make dandy shelters. If so inclined, stop by their website for a visit.

It is not the intent of this blog post to go into all of the ramifications of housing designs. However, in our experience this is stuff that has worked for us. Please bear in mind, ReDS, is spreading and the food system is failing. Refugees/Patients will need to be housed. Any ideas on how you will accomplish this?



October 11, 2019

Getting set up (Part Two)-- The other shoe...

"What didn't we know?" I asked, almost dreading a response.

"There was a CAFO just upstream, on the other bank that let loose in '17." He said.

My heart sank. "How bad was it?" I inquired.

"Bad" was the response.

CAFO, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Or Concentrated Automatic Feeding Operation. Imagine this if you will dear reader; One barn, containing 5000 chickens. Now imagine barn after barn until you reach a total population of 500,000. Hold that thought.

These birds are shoulder to shoulder and fed constantly. Until about 2010 their food was saturated with antibiotics. The AB's make the birds grow faster. Because the birds were constantly eating, they were also producing huge amounts of defecate. All of this byproduct had to go somewhere. Usually it was mounded up or it was contained in huge lagoons until it could be dealt with. More often than not, the lagoons were poorly constructed using earthen berms as walls. Under the right stresses, such as heavy rains they would often leak. In a worst case scenario, the berms would fail, causing an environmental disaster.

Such was the case in the summer of 2017. A poorly maintained CAFO (hogs) had been suffering the stresses of an unusually wet summer. In rapid succession, two of its lagoons suffered cataclysmic failures dumping an estimated 500,000 gallons of feces onto the surrounding countryside. Naturally, a lot of it found its way into the Huron River and was carried far downstream. Almost immediately the ground water was saturated with e-coli, fecal coliform bacteria and who-knows-what-else. 100% of all the local wells were contaminated and of course, all of the soil would have to be remediated before any food crops could be grown.

As this new revelation, and its associated nightmares, began to sink in. I heard a familiar sound behind me Without turning around, I knew that Felix was approaching, Kim astride, and Carter not far behind.

“Why all the grim faces?” Kim asked.

Suzy gave her the short version. Kim furrowed her brow at the news, composed herself, raised a solitary eyebrow and said, “Better find a new pasture for the horses”. With almost imperceptible input from Kim, Felix wheeled about and was off at a gallop; Carter close by.

Somehow, in this community, we all instinctively know our priorities.

As it stands right now, we have enough food to get through the winter. However, any serious food production next year will have to wait until we can get some soil remediation done.

Oh, well. The best laid plans… While our permaculture experts begin to strategize on soil remediation, the rest of us will begin to prepare the permanent foundations for the houses and some experimental flooring for the Hexayurts tomorrow.

Stay Tuned…


October 9, 2019

Getting set up (Part one)

Today Chaos was our resident God. 25 people racing around in the rain trying to resurrect heavy equipment (hidden for several years). Discuss the best possible overall community layout, look for sources of water, (I know, we are right by a river, right? Wrong, I will discuss the great CAFO disaster of 2017 later), seek out any harmful fauna that the horses might get into (yeah, we use horses), figure out how to secure access/egress points to our new enclave, set up the stables, (oversized Hexayurt), and see what we could do to help the farmer that so graciously allowed us to set up shop here. Get the picture? With this many plates in the air, one of those plates was bound to crash to the floor. As it turned out, two plates.

While we were struggling to deliver the old, multi-use bobcat to the site, someone sounded an alarm. Something was coming our way. Sure enough, our “something” turned out to be an all too familiar blue and white CSoD (City/State of Detroit) Hummer. These things are incredible. They use an old technology of a turbine engine driving a generator that rapidly charges HUGE capacitors. The capacitors in turn run the electric motors used for propulsion. These things are quick and they are MEAN, however they do have a weak spot. If you can compromise the capacitors, it will discharge throughout the entire vehicle, degaussing all of the electronics. I am digressing here; let me get back to the story…

So this CSoD vehicle shows up in a spray of mud and bravado and four private security contractors exit the vehicle. Young, buff, and looking for a fight was the best way to describe them. After flashing their ID, their leader announced that they were looking for conscript violators. After telling these kids that all of us were over 50 years old and that if we really had any children, they would be over the age to serve, they insisted on searching everywhere. Search they did; all the while, doing a very poor job of hiding their enthusiasm. They tore thru compartments that you couldn’t hide a joint in, let alone a teenager. There was only one close moment with these young bucks. We did have one member of our community that was of conscript age; Kim’s daughter. Kim is our lead horse consultant. (Perhaps you will see a post from her time to time on this blog) When the Hummer showed up Kim’s daughter was moved to a small room in the stables behind Felix.

Felix is a horse that is, well, kind of unmanageable. The only ones that are able to approach him are Kim and her daughter. When the contractor came into the stables to search, all went well until he got to the stall containing Felix. As he attempted to enter the stall, he was met with what horse trainers call “Snake Face”. I don’t know what that young man was thinking, but I approximate it to “Something is not right here, and I should back off here” (I am sure that the actual wording was a lot more salty.). When the agent did in fact attempt to extricate himself from this uncomfortable situation, he was introduced to his second challenge of the day, Carter.

Carter is Kim’s GS. Carter is big, vocal, and very protective. Imagine the scene if you will, kind reader, where this young man is caught between the Scylla and Charybdis. He decides to take out the dog only to realize that several members of the community have shown up and have drawn their weapons… Must have been an interesting conversation in the Hummer on the way back to Detroit! Shortly after this event took place, the second plate crashed to the floor.

While we were busy laying out our new place, the farmer came to us and asked what we were doing with all the layout lines. We explained that we were setting out the general layout of the settlement and we were trying to figure out the best place for our crops. The farmer asked “You didn’t know? And so our epiphany began to unfold…..

Next, The CAFO disaster of 2017

October 8, 2019

Good News and Rumors

Suzy, one of our most competent scroungers has found a place to put down roots! Apparently she was out harvesting some vegetables from one of our clandestine food sites and was confronted by the land owner. Turns out, he is one of the last remaining independent food producers in the area. He is very unhappy about how the City-State of Detroit has taken over everything. When Suzy explained who we were, he wanted a meeting immediately.

After meeting with the landowner, it was agreed that we would set up our community on a little hollow that he had on his land, (worthless for anything else) in exchange for helping him out around his farm, (planting, harvesting, etc). I cannot tell you how wonderful it will be to have a regular place to come home to. No more living on the road, always fearful of the next private security contractor that wants to hassle us. Not knowing where the next harvest will be. In short this is a good thing. Oh, and one last thing…. His property is within a hundred yards of the Huron. We can use the boats again. Wooot!

I will attempt to keep you informed on the mechanics of “setting up shop” as it were, through this blog.

For several weeks now, there has been a rumor of a group that has formed for the sole purpose of capitalizing on the current chaos and trying a world wide takeover. Because the greifers have been making search engines almost unusual of late, getting solid information on this group has been pretty difficult; but not impossible.

There is a delightful blogger out there that goes by the name of ‘Beverly” her last post left a cryptic clue as to where this group of people could be found. I will divulge this information in kind. Oh, and one last thing gentle readers, you might have to throw a little hex at the information to fully understand.

Bright blessings