Alternative Living – Eco-Village…

Ecovillages are another type of intentional community. The goal of its inhabitants is to be more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. The usual number of residents is between 50 and 150 individuals, although some are smaller. Networks of ecovillages can increase the number substantially – up to 2,000 individuals in some cases. This networking can include individuals, families, or other small groups that settle on the periphery of the ecovillage and then effectively participate in the ecovillage community.

SiebenSieben Linden Ecovillage

The base belief for all ecovillage residents is to find alternatives to ecologically destructive systems commonly used by the majority of the population, such as electric, water, transport and waste treatment. Their mandate is to break away from wasteful consumerism, natural habitat destruction, urban sprawl, factory farming and reliance on fossil fuels. In addition there is a return to traditional community living, leading to a richer and more fulfilling way of life. With the model being small scale communities the ecological impact is minimal.

The term ecovillage was first mention by Professor George Ramsay when he described the small-scale, car-free, close-in development, which included suburban infill as a “self-sufficient pedestrian solar village” in 1978.

FindhornAn eco-house at Findhorn Ecovillage with a turf roof and solar panels.


These villages have developed from the communities characterized by communes in the 1960’s and 1970’s through to the co-housing in the 1980’s onto a more ecological and community themed existence.

The ecovillage movement has expanded globally since the conference in Scotland in 1995 with the formation of the Global Ecovillage Network, which now links hundreds of small groups that previously had no knowledge of each other. Today there are ecovillages in 70 countries on six continents. The mandate is to attract mainstream culture in building sustainable developments, such as Living Villages and The Wintles where eco-houses allow maximum social connection with the added benefit of shared food growing areas and woodland and animal husbandry. Encouragement is given to reduce energy use, create sustainable local businesses, localize farming and create environmentally minded communities.

Tallebudgera Mountain and vegetable garden at the Currumbin Ecovillage in Queensland.

Ecovillage residents respect their environment and grow the bulk of their food organically, use local materials for building, protect biodiversity, maintain growing seasons and protect local water, soil and air quality. Income is typically generated from the retail sales of products and services.


Five ecovillage principles from Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability:

  1. They are not government-sponsored projects, but grassroots initiatives.
  2. Their residents value and practice community living.
  3. Their residents are not overly dependent on government, corporate or other centralized sources for water, food, shelter, power and other basic necessities. Rather, they attempt to provide these resources themselves.
  4. Their residents have a strong sense of shared values, often characterized in spiritual terms.
  5. They often serve as research and demonstration sites, offering educational experiences for others.


Would this kind of community appeal to you?

Lost Words of Weather…

I hope you are enjoying these ‘lost’ words. They give us a glimpse at the language of times past. I thank Stephen for allowing me to share them –

hoar frost

Canitude                            1656 -1742
greyness; hoariness; whiteness
The first snowfall of the year gave the field a pleasant canitude.

Gelicide                              1656 -1681
a frost
Unfortunately, the flowers were killed too soon by an early gelicide.

Hypenemious                     1855 -1886
full of wind; windy; of an egg, malformed
Let us protect ourselves against the hyenemious assault of the hurricane.

The canitude of the hypenemious delivered its cold gelicide to the tree branches decorating them in sparkling icicles.

Writing Prompt – Underground…

There will be a quarterly prize for the top voted response to these weekly prompts – so make sure you comment below to enter the contest. 1000 word maximum.

Underground corridor

Using the location in the photograph, write a short story or poem. It can be about the location, or people that use it or something that happened there. Up to you to decide.

Have fun and leave your response at the bottom.




Alternative Living – CoHousing…


Photo: The Sunward Co-housing community – Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2003.

Another intentional community option in alternative living is co-housing. This consists of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The residents plan, own and manage the community through the purchasing of land, building of structures and also detail the shared activities for residents, such as cooking, dining, gardening, child care etc. They also create a non-hierarchical body, which has a consensus decision-making role for the community as a whole. Individuals take on leadership roles, such as being responsible for coordinating a gardening project or facilitating a meeting. These residents put the plans into practice for the shared facilitates, that may include guest rooms, recreational features, offices and even internet access. This system encourages interaction among the neighbors for not only practical and social benefits but also environmental and economic ones.

This manner of living began in Denmark in the 1960’s when groups of families being dissatisfied with the existing housing model, organized 50 families to organize a community project in 1967. The result was the oldest known modern co-housing community, Saettedammen.

Most co-housing groups seek to create a multi-generational community although some are for seniors only. The design can vary from one co-housing unit to another depending on what the residents feel is most important. A Sihevuan, which is a quadrangle design of housing in China is similar to co-housing in that the residences share a courtyard.

Co-housing has become more and more popular and there are hundreds of them in Denmark and other countries in northern Europe, such as the Netherlands which has 73 mixed-generational and 231 senior communities.. The United States has 120 operating communities and another 100 in the planning stages. In Canada we have 11 completed communities and 19 being planned. Co-housing only started in the U.K in the 1990’s but now has 14 purpose built and 40 plus more in the development stages.


To give you an idea of how these communities look – the U.K’s projects range from 8  to around 30 households. Although most are mixed with single people, couples and families some have been created for specific demographics, such as people over 50 and even one for only women over 50 years.

The structures can be newly built homes or conversions of farms, mansions or even former hospital buildings. They can be urban, semi-rural or even rural. It can be a mixture of low-rise apartments, townhouses or a cluster of detached houses. The common denominator is a shared green space where vehicles are kept to the periphery to ensure interaction with neighbors, gardening/food produce and the safety of children is predominant. With the structures clustered together this type of community addresses the problem of suburban sprawl.

Other options for creating a co-housing community is to purposely buy adjacent properties and remove the fences. This is also called intentional neighborhoods. A common house for building for shared activities can be built later.


Co-housing residents do not have shared economy or a common set of beliefs or religions but invest in the creation of a interconnected community which is socially rich. Typically there is a low turn over of residents in co-housing sites as they are designed with the residents needs in mind rather than a developers views on what can sell.








I have to say this kind of living alternative appeals to me. Each family unit has their own space but also have the option to converse and share activities with their close neighbors. I would think it stops the loneliness for single seniors and gives young couples the opportunity to have carers they know for their children. As we all know not everyone lives near family.

Would you consider an alternative living option?



Lost Words for Food & Drink…



bromography              1860 -1860
a treatise on food. It’s not enough to write a bromography – today’s celebrity chefs need to be on TV!

homerkin                      1662 -1663
old liquid measure for beer. “I’m so thirsty I could drink a homerkin of beer,” Simpson lamented.

jussulent                        1656 -1658

full of broth or soup. The bubbling of the jussulent cauldron and the crackling of the campfire soothed her.

buccellation                  1657 -1731

The act of dividing into small morsels. The buccellation and apportionment of their rations was the subject of heated argument.

lardlet                             1659 -1659

A small piece of bacon to put into meat to enrich with fat. The secret to her pot roasts is the use of lardlets to enhance the flavour of the meat.


ponask                          1922 -1963

To cook game by splitting it and roasting it on a spit. We ponasked the freshly-caught pheasant at our campsite.

spiscious                          1655 -1655

Of a thick consistency. Her soups are both spiscious and delicious, though perhaps over-laden with salt.

Make sure to visit this incredible site –

My sentence – A bromography of recipes detailing jussulent and lardlet uses. Lessons on ponask, spiscious and buccellation.

Can you make a sentence?



Prompt Contest – Treed House

I came across this image and could not resist using it for this week’s writing prompt.

house with trees

Hemsedal, Norway.  ~odinsraven

Reply with your inspired poem or short story (1000 words maximum) and I will pick the most voted one from the first quarter’s list for the quarterly prize.

Have fun. Looking forward to your responses.


Alternative Living: Housing Cooperatives…

To continue my investigations into alternative living options, I found out about this particular option several years ago. There are co-operative’s in the city I live near. I feel it would be beneficial not only financially for all ages but also would allow inhabitants to get to know each other well as they all have a say in the ‘running’ of the community.


A housing co-operative, unlike a commune, is a legal entity, and is a membership-based corporation, which owns residential real estate. With a share purchase in the co-operative, each shareholder has the right to occupy one housing unit. This means member’s resources are pooled giving them buying power leverage. The members also have, through elected representatives, the ability to select who will live within the co-operative. There are two options for the tenure a) non-ownership and b) ownership – with the former a lease is written out for the resident and is subject to the corporation’s bylaws and rules.

Many co-op housing is run by non-profit organizations and some are funded by governmental grants. However, they are not all for low income families or the elderly and benefit from not having a landlord but a Board of Members.


Co-operative housing works well for many people and gives them an option for home ownership they possibly would not have had otherwise.

Have you heard of cooperative housing?

Do you know anyone that lives in one?

Lost Words – Scribes By Another Name…

Again my thanks to Stephen for allowing me to share his wonderful glossary of lost words. If you are curious why not go and check it out!


Today we have many words that mean writer. They are categorized by the genre or type of writing we do.

author. biographer. columnist. correspondent. critic. dramatist. editor. essayist. journalist. novelist.  poet. reporter. screenwriter. contributor. freelancer. ghostwriter. scribbler. scribe. stenographer. stringer. wordsmith. newspaper person. person of letters. scripter.

These lost words should stay within the writing realm, don’t you think?

archigrapher                                                   1656 -1656

principal or head secretary or clerk

The archigrapher efficiently designated transcription duties to her underlings.


artigrapher                                           1753-1753

writer or composer of a grammar; a grammarian artigrapher

Today’s prescriptivists are no better than the artigraphers of the Renaissance.

kalotypography                                                         1834 -1834

beautiful printing


Medieval manuscripts are attractive, but modern kalotypography surely surpasses them




Writing Prompt – UFO House…

Use the image as your inspiration for a poem or short story (1000 word limit).

UFO house

Has an alien landed? An architect experimented? Ecological housing of the future?

What springs to mind when you look at this photo? Have fun writing about the structure, who lives in it and why or start an invasion. You choose.

Remember submissions will be entered for a quarterly prize. The top voted entry wins!

Have fun.

Chinese Communes…

chinese 2


Our idea of communes favors more hippy movement than governmental control, however, that is exactly what happened under the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong’s administration from 1958 to 1983. The People’s commune model was part of the Great Leap Forward, which demanded the mobilization of peasants in huge water projects during the winter slack seasons and thus improving agricultural production. These communes had political, governmental and economic functions and were divided into production teams and brigades.

Made up of a combination of smaller farm collectives, these communes consisted of 4,000 – 5,000 households and in some cases were as large as 20,000 households. Within the communes everything was shared – private cooking was banned and all kitchen furniture, pots, pans, and utensils were contributed to the main communal kitchen for communal dining. The peasants had no private property.

Assignments of household items, private animals, stored grains and other food items were made available for the commune as a whole. Every morning all farming activities were assigned centrally by cadres and commune leaders assigned each member of the commune with a job or task. In some places, money was outlawed. Even when bad weather hit the communal lands in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and famine became widespread the food resources were still being exported to urban areas.

Decades of governmental turmoil had these communes reconstructed, severely oppressed and eventually disbanded.

chinese 1