HI, I’m Jeremy, another member of Factor E. I’ve been here for about a month now and I’d like to introduce myself and talk about how things are going.
My background is in multimedia information technology, which I have an associates degree in. I’ve educated myself in and gotten jobs doing several different things like computer programming, apartment management, and now I’ll be working on trying to design and build our sawmill and learn about and help out with the other projects here at Factor E. I’m also quite interested in the local self sufficient food production aspect, of which even this aspect alone could mitigate or even solve many of the problems in the world.
I first came for two weeks in November to check the place out. I was a bit skeptical on the way out here, but after a few minutes of talking with Marcin in person on the way here he seemed like he had a good plan and the understanding and ability to carry it out. I also got to meet everyone here, they’re really cool people. I came here because I believe that Factor e is a very important experiment and I wanted to help out. My reasons for coming here are complex, but if you’re interested then reading the Open Source Ecology plan at openfarmtech.org could help you start to see why.
When I first arrived we were finishing up the trusses and making bricks with the Compressed Earth Block Press for the workshop/kitchen addition to the greenhouse. It was a lot of shoveling dirt into buckets for those thousands of bricks. After two weeks and talking through the plan with Marcin I had made my decision, I would come to stay at Factor E. I left to get my stuff and drove back. When I returned we used the bricks to construct the addition. Nick arrived a few days after I did. With more help things went faster, and it would be great to have more people to help quickly develop OSE projects.
Right now I’m living in the cordwood hut, it’s made out of cut sections of wood held together with a mud/straw mixture mortar, with a dirt floor, and the dirt roof is held up with interlocking logs covered by smaller pieces of wood and waterproof material. Certainly not your typical modern building, but it does the job. It has electrical wiring with several outlets and a typical light switch connected to a light bulb, all powered by the battery connected to the solar panels. It’s somewhat insulated and the stove keeps the place warm when I can get the fire really going. We got a new huge chainsaw for Christmas so an ample supply of firewood will no longer be a concern. I sleep in a nice cold weather sleeping bag in an easy chair, it’s actually pretty comfortable. We had water from the elevated shower barrel in the greenhouse but it freezes in the cold so we have to keep a barrel inside the huts for now. We also have water from the pump but it’s mixed with a lot of silt. I’d like to try building a water filter so we’ll have a constant supply of fresh water. As my cousin who just got back from Army basic training said, most people don’t realize how good they have it in the so called first world countries, and how they don’t realize it until after they’ve lost it. You really rediscover and find a new appreciation for all of the modern conveniences after experiencing their loss for a long while.
My typical day at Factor E so far has been to get up, get dressed, and try to get the fire going. Then I eat something, mostly bread from a local organic bakery, peanut butter, and honey. Then I get dressed and we run outside to work on stuff. When I first came to help with the bricks the weather wasn’t so bad, we had rain a few times and it wasn’t so cold, but now in December everything is freezing and snowy. For the cold weather and once the workshop is complete we’re doing a 50/50 plan, half the day of sitting inside doing stuff, and half outside doing stuff. Just recently we’ve actually had some very nice warm days though.
Despite all of the little hardships of everyday survival it’s not too bad and things are going to be getting better pretty soon. The workshop/kitchen addition to the greenhouse is going to have a lot things that are going to make things much nicer: a large stove with an automatic babington burner to keep the place warm all the time, a water heater around the stove flue pipe to have hot water on demand, a sink and shower connected to the hot water, a washing machine, and probably a big permastew on the stove as well. So if you want to help out in the experiment to save the world and you can handle some sketchy conditions for a while then come down and join us!