A model of Ecovillage community on display at a Sunday-afternoon open house at the Belfast site on an old farm. Disclaimer: the chocolate brownies are not part of the proposed community. One of the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage housing units under construction in December. Milt Gross photo.
Down the Road A Piece Stories from Maine by Milt Gross
Recently Dolores and I visited what could be the perfect home for the future, and it may be for your future too.
Or maybe not, depending on your views of sustainable housing that largely does not use utility-provided electricity or petroleum-based heat.
And if you can come up with $187,000 to build it on your lot.*
Always interesting in a better way of living, we responded to a newspaper ad and headed on a Sunday afternoon to an open house at Ecovillage, a private community-housing project on an old farm along Edgecomb Road in Belfast.
We enjoyed a group session where we learned facts about the proposed community but didn't get to tour the one house already built, as the people who live there were home that day. We'll get to another open house, which is held at 2 p.m. the second Sunday of each month, so we can get inside this unique house.
A model of Ecovillage community on display at a Sunday-afternoon open house at the Belfast site on an old farm. Disclaimer: the chocolate brownies are not part of the proposed community. Milt Gross photo.
What's unique about Ecovillage houses? They are constructed with a view toward sustainability and protecting the environment. That means renewable building materials, energy provided without fossil fuels, clustered housing to make common infrastructure less expensive and provide surrounding open space, a place for homeowner gardening and farming on more of the old farm property, and more.
What interested us was the idea of heating and electric provided by alternate sources, solar heat primarily. Banks won't provide mortgages for homes without central heat, said Matthew O'Malia who one of several who presented information at the open house, so the units will have up to about eight feet of electric baseboard heat that can draw electricity from the area utility, Central Maine Power.**
But O'Malia said that for much of the time, even winter, the houses and apartment-like structures will heat sufficiently from solar energy. Did he mean in Maine? Heat from the sun through solar panels? He did, indeed. Heat will be stored and released as necessary in radiant heating in the insulated slab foundations, he said, and the units will be very well insulated.
The housing units will be so well insulated, you can heat them by using your washer and dryer, O'Malia said. O'Malia, an architect, calls the design of these units Passive House near zero. I'm pretty sure that refers to the amount of heat needed.
Fine so far.
Then came the part that doesn't interest Dolores and me. Community. Now, it's not that we don't like people. But we do like our privacy on our own lot where the deer, raccoons, turkeys, and other critters feel free to share our sunflower seeds. At Ecovillage, homeowners will own the insides of their units, condominium style, with the outsides and ground cared for by a homeowners' association. O'Malia noted that decisions by the association, which began in 2007 with seven members and is expected to grow by the end of next summer after nine families have built homes and moved into them, is by consensus rather than vote.
He lost me on that one. If a group makes a decision, say adds a rule about how loud your dog can bark, does it matter if they did so by consensus or by vote? One potential buyer asked if his dog could be chained outdoors and added that his dog doesn't bark. I don't recall the answer, but I also can't recall any dogs that don't bark.
Our cats don't bark.
The property now consists of 42 acres of the old farm with 19 houses already in the process of being purchased, according to a slide shown at the open house.
One of the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage housing units under construction in December. Milt Gross photo.
One of the draws we heard was a statement that you won't need a lawnmower or garden tools, as you can borrow them from neighbors. If we own the inside, we don't need a lawnmower anyway, right? Kind of half right. The homeowner will have a "front yard," the from-awayer name for what Maineiacs call a dooryard, and a back yard, both of which will have grass needing mowing. Of course, the homeowner won't actually own that grass or the two yards. They're just for the homeowner's use.
O'Malia said if you sit in the front yard, you're by doing so inviting passersby to stop and chat. If you want privacy, sit in the back yard.
Homeowners vehicles will be parked in a common area to allow homeowners to walk on paths and be free of tired commuters narrowly missing them as they drive toward their front doors. Wait a minute. This is great, except for the question of how far would we have to carry our groceries from the parking area to our door. I know we're old fashioned and somewhat lazy in wanting to unload our groceries at the door, but have you ever lugged a 35-pound container of kitty litter from your car to your door? Our kitties refuse to carry their own litter containers.
A plus for the ecovillage, O'Malia said, will be the common building with room for sitting and reading, guest rooms for the homeowner's Aunt Mary, laundry facilities if you don't put a washer and dryer in your own home, play rooms, and more.
The common building will also have a common kitchen with several meals being served there each week. O'Malia, who is buying a home at Ecovillage, said he lives alone and will be happy to return from work and eat in the common kitchen. I'm happy to sit just with Dolores in our kitchen and eat the meals she cooks. Hey, please don't wander through our kitchen while we're eating. What if you should accidentally overhear us talking about -- you, for example?
The approximate cost of these homes, according to another slide, will be from $155,000 for a one-bedroom, one-full-bath 500-square-quad*** to $333,000 for a 1,500-square-duplex with three bedrooms and two full baths. You can also buy garages with these homes.
We certainly like the Passive near zero concept for a nice new house. We just aren't thrilled with living in a group. Remember college? Remember the Air Force or U.S. Army or the apartment? Remember the commune farms of the late 1800s and early 1900? Of course, you don't.
If you're at all interested in the idea of not paying the oil guy to back into your driveway or in having lots of close friends and neighbors, the contact information for Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage on the brochure we brought home provides a website at www.mainecohousing.org and a phone number, 338-9200.
If we can ever afford to build such a house, we'll probably contact O'Malia.
There's no place like home with no oil bills -- and where our dooryard is ours.
* The architect of Ecovillage, Matthew O'Malia of Gologic Homes in Belfast, provided us with this approximate price for a 1,100-square-foot house. Extra would be the cost of our own lot, well, and septic. We picked that size, as it is about the size of our present ranch house. Allen Gibson is the builder, according to O'Malia.
** The electric-heating baseboards will not be necessary most of the time, said O'Malia. But in Maine? This is not From Away Land, where the sun actually provides heat in winter. This is the Pine Tree State, where starting in late fall the sun's basic function seems to be to blind me while I'm driving. I'm fairly sure it does more, but that's what stands out for me. But I'd love to not have to spend more than $300 or $400 per year to heat the old homestead, so this part sounds good.
*** My fourth-grade teacher never educated me as to what a "quad" is. Is it one of four apartment-like units under one roof?
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at
"Think of the story of Jesus walking on the water, found in Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6:45-52," Strobel writes, quoting a scholar he was interviewing. "Most English translations hide the Greek by quoting Jesus as saying, 'Fear not, it is I.' Actually, the Greek literally says, 'Fear not, I am.' Those last two words are identical to what Jesus said in John 8:58, when he took upon himself the divine name 'I AM,' which is the way God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. So Jesus is revealing himself as the one who has the same divine power over nature as Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament."
The approximately 150 miles of trails are as varied and scenic as ever, and the Island Explorer buses allow circle hikes. Up one trail and down another. Not yet succumbing to GPS except to find corridor-boundary markers and recording their GPS settings along the Appalachian Trail (150 miles north of Acadia) as a Maine Appalachian Trail Club volunteer, I recommend a map that shows Acadia National Park's trails. The long southern part of Cadillac mountain, which the 3.5-mile South Ridge Trail follows from Route 3 to the summit.
So I poked though our little library and came up with the perfect book about green, Adventures in Contentment, by David Grayson. A fellow employee gave me this book back in the year 2,000. I remember the year only because we were working on the U.S. census together, that is, until I realized how ridiculous it was to be starting the census in rural, woodsy, lakeside Maine in mud season.
I believe in wind power, just not where it's not appropriate, such as scenic areas where folks have been vacationing and living in for a century, the great forests, mountains, and lakes of Maine. For about ten years, we purchased hydropower -- the kind that Belfast is thinking of developing from a couple of hydroelectric dams built by the late Larry Gleason in the 1970s. The city is thinking of buying those dams. Now we don't buy pure hydropower, because the company that was selling it to us, 'First Wind', suddenly and without any notice to us, the customers, stopped selling it.
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
(He has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003 and currently (2013) is teaching in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province.)
General formula for Biblical Data conversion:
The formula for constructing the artificial calendar was:
'X' times 364 equals 'Y' days'Y' days divided by 336 equals 'Z' artificial years.Values are:'X' = any given number of 'real/solar' years364 = perceived days in the sectarian calendar'Y' = number of days calculated336 = number of days in an artificial year'Z' = artificial years = 1.083'X' and represents the original number of the converted years plus 8%.To reverse the process by hand:'Z' years times 336 equals 'Y' divided by 364 equals the Number of 'X' years converted.
To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5:Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE:
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.
Rules of Evidence Series at Kingscalendar.
Part 1. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 2. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 3. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 4. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology