Next meeting:
SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 2005 - Brattleboro Food Co-op, 4 p.m.

Well, the first meeting was a very satisfying success! Eighteen of us pretty much maxed out the co-op's little community room. Depending on how things go, we may need to look for bigger digs—suggestions for possible other places included the Savings & Loan (big, windowless, basement affair), the Putney Library (big, new, timberframe place), and The Common Ground. In the meantime, we decided to show up at the co-op again on Sunday, April 3, at 4:00 p.m.—and you're invited! (That's daylight savings time day; don't forget to deal with the clocks the night before.)

It was a good group. Comfortable conversations started as soon as people started coming in. Some knew each other; others had the pleasure of meeting new and interesting characters. Some have already built—mostly various configurations of strawbale, cordwood, and post-and-beam, both on- and off-grid—while others are planning. A couple of the ones planning to build are also among those who have already built... coming back for seconds.

Those in attendance seemed primarily interested in getting and sharing information. (As things progress and the weather gets better, it's likely that hands-on activities will also develop.) Among a number of suggestions, "infill systems" was the topic that generated the most interest. A fairly broad topic that can include straw bales, cordwood, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, wattle-and-daub, adobe, cob, papercrete and its variants, cellulose insulation, expanding foams (including soy-based materials)... what am I forgetting?

SIPs—structural insulated panels—are sort-of-but-not-at-all-really related, and I'm hoping that a couple people who I know have some things to say about them will be there to say those things.

We'll be discussing it all at the next meeting—some people talking from experience, some talking from research, some asking questions, some listening real hard. It's all good.

While a few had to leave after an hour, others kept going for a while (and a small few for quite a while). We've reserved the room for more than two hours to keep things a bit open-ended for the next meeting, but feel free to leave when your schedule requires. There seemed to be a general consensus that an hour's just not enough. As we continue to meet, things like this may become better defined.

Sunday, April 3, Brattleboro Food Co-op, community room, 4:00 p.m.— see you there!

photos by Mark Piepkorn
and Sarah Machtey