Archive for October, 2011

October 10, 2011

Just to drive the point home…

October 1, 2011

I like it here

I’ve been sitting in Wildberries Market for almost three hours now, blogging.  Here’s my last post for the night: a photo tribute to our blessedly-sunny visit to the Redwood-lined, blissfully perfumed town of Arcata.  Enjoy.

(The last two photos I got off the internet… but we were there!  We also rode at Critical Mass, but didn’t take any pics.  It was fun, though — way bigger crowd than we’d expected!  -Rachel)









































October 1, 2011

Dumpster Scores in Surprisingly-Difficult-to-Dumpster Arcata

Goat Cheese Factory on Q and 13th: more cheese than two cheese-lovers could eat in WEEKS

Murphy’s: several muffins, 2 small milk cartons

Northcoast Co-op: several packages of pre-cooked mussels and clams

Desserts On Us Inc.: 1 box delicious Trader Joe’s chocolate toffy cookies

October 1, 2011

Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), Arcata

Though CCAT, which is located on the Humboldt State University campus, isn’t exactly an intentional community in the way we usually define the term, it is an absolutely amazing house and program, and all kinds of other communities could greatly benefit from learning about some of its projects and goals.  CCAT is a “live-in demonstration home and educational center for appropriate technology and resource conservation” (we took a formal tour, but all quotes are from their website).  Upon learning of CCAT, Max and I wondered about their definition of “appropriate technology;” we’d always heard that term used in reference to pre-industrial tools (the image that always pops into my mind when I think of “appropriate technology” is someone starting a fire with rubbing sticks… was this really what they were doing at HSU?)  As it turns out, CCAT defines appropriate technology as “ways of providing for human needs with the least impact on the Earth’s finite resources.”

“When determining if a technology is appropriate for a specific use, we at CCAT examine a number of issues: is the technology built locally or use local materials? Can it be built, or at least maintained, with a minimum of specialized training? Is its use sustainable over many generations? Does it cause suffering in its manufacturing or use, human or otherwise, disproportionate to its benefits? Can we financially afford it? With answers to these questions, or at least predictions, we try to balance the benefits and harms of a technology to determine if it is appropriate.”

Thus, the house and property are filled with a variety of ingenious inventions, mostly designed and built by students, such as cob ovens, a rocket (bio char) stove, a humanure composting toilet, a toilet which directs tank water to a faucet for hand washing when flushed, a stationary bike-powered TV, low-energy lights, a top-loading but side-spinning (ie. low-energy) washing machine, a closet outfitted with fans for drying clothes, a greywater marsh, a huge food compost system, various gardens and a Food Forest landscaped to maximize water and light efficiency, etc, etc — the list is truly endless!  The house itself is made of low-cost and low-energy materials such as blood-based paint (procured from a local slaughterhouse) and large windows facing south for maximum sun.

Three lucky students are selected via intense application process to live in the CCAT house and make sure it runs smoothly.  They hire 15-20 other students to work there.  HSU departments such as Engineering, Industrial Technology, Environmental Science, and Art hold classes there.  The website has loads more information — definitely check it out!  🙂


October 1, 2011

Yee Haw!, Trinidad

We found out about the low-key community of Yee Haw! from a couple of friends we met this summer.  We never found out how many acres it’s on, but it’s located in a beautifully forested area near the tiny town of Trinidad, CA (pop. 370), 15 miles north of Arcata.  About 30 people currently live at Yee Haw!, plus or minus a constant flow of travelers.  During our stay, we were instructed to be sure to tell people that we were friends of community members, because they get random drop-ins more often than some would like.  Thankfully everyone was very friendly, asking about the bus and our travels, and particularly about veggie oil.

Yee Haw!’s property is still owned by the guy who bought the land over 25 years ago — there are a handful of community members who have been residents that entire time.  There are two large, beautiful gardens, an impressive three-story common building (the “Commie House”) that was built by hand by community members, an awesome outdoor shower installed inside a huge tree stump, and more housebuses than we could count (we were told, only a bit ominously, that buses are always arriving at Yee Haw! but never seem to leave!)

The community is also home to a couple large flocks of chickens, goats, dogs (some of whom were very dedicated to their job as guard dogs), and cats (much more friendly than the dogs).  We spent our visit helping our friends in the garden and reveling in the outdoor shower.  People generally kept to themselves during our stay — we heard that there hadn’t been community meetings in a while, and that consensus on decisions was usually reached via casual conversations among members during day-to-day chats on the land.  Though we weren’t able to meet many people, our stay was certainly relaxing and enjoyable — thanks for hosting us, Yee Haw!