Personally, I found the labs to be very informative. I learn best from hands-on-work, not just lectures, so I got a lot out of them. The POM we constructed in class is very similar to the ones Earthship takes to Haiti etc. It's small, portable, and used to keep some basic gadgets charged and a few lights running. They're perfect for disaster relief help. It's definitely not something meant to support an average American house (the topic of power consumption is a whole other convo). I liked that we started on a "mini" POM because they are a great beginner's guide. We were taught some basic wiring of an LED lightbulb to a housing box, and then to a battery. Eventually, we hooked up a small solar panel and connected it to the batteries through an inverter. I never really understood how electricity works, and I still don't know squat, but the lab spurred a real interest in me. It's amazing how interesting things become once you understand a few basics. 2 months ago I would have rather watched the LOTR trilogy on repeat (and I hate LOTR), rather than talk about electrical systems. Now, I'm thinkin' bout buying some needle nose pliers! HaHa. While on the topic, the WOM lab was bad ass too. We were given a box of jumbled up plumbing pieces, filters, and pumps, and were told to build the entire WOM without any notes or photos; we had to build it from memory based off the class we had earlier in the week. We went to work, and surprisingly, after a couple of hints from instructor Lou, we got it. There are a lot of intelligent, industrious students at the Academy (myself not included) and I'm continually amazed at what we can accomplish as a group.
On the construction front, the site really transformed a lot this week. The stem wall carpentry work was finished mid-week which allowed us to put the vegas in place. Vegas are wood logs layed Noth/South that start the beginning of the roof. We were all relieved to see the vegas go up, as they offer some shade to cover us as we work under the hot sun. And the sun was kickin' this week. I got a nice lil' tramp stamp sun burn while I was shoveling. It's a good look for a pasty white guy. Nevertheless, by adding some roof onto the house, it gives the sense of accomplishment and provides a good visual in letting us know we're kicking some serious ass. It felt great to drink a beer during Q&A with the crew after work Friday underneath some shade. Granted, it was a Bud Light Platinum... but hey? Free beer is free beer. Fun Earthship factoid: The crew loves to describe anything that is structurally sound, or built like a brick shit-house as "bomber". Therefore, the vegas we put up this week are "bomber". I wanna start using the word to describe my morning egg scrambles.
Tonight, a new brewery in town is having it's grand opening. I think a lot of the Earthship family is lookin' to cut loose after such a busy week. Along with the usual weekly happenings, several different film crew came to HQ. Al Jazeera English filmed a lot of the Academy. We're excited to see what they produce for their Earthrise program.
Take-aways from this week:
Learning the water and power systems of Earthships are crucial to understanding the whole concept. If one can learn that, it's downhill from there.
Working in $30 Wal-Mart boots is not sustainable. My feet are gettin' tore up from the (sub) floor up. Good shoes are crucial. Get them.
For all the ladies who are looking to volumize your limp, straight hair, get out here and start building. I'm covered head to toe in dirt after work everyday and it is totally giving me rock-star surfer hair. So that's a plus. I know now how Mike gets his wild hair looking so "bomber".