Last weekend we visited two different passive solar houses. At Sue and Celes Davar’s new house in the Gaspereau Valley, we were briefed on the passive solar concept, by staff at Passive Design Solutions. They mentioned the following objectives:
- Keeping the day-time living space to the south side and night-time living to the north side
- Centralize all plumbing layouts
- Provide for one level living, incorporating ageing-in-place guidelines wherever possible
Between Heather and myself, this triggered several conversations about bedrooms upstairs on the second floor, as well as the physical effort involved in heating our house, primarily through the wood stove.
There are many other ‘place’ considerations. For us, it includes growing your own vegetables, close proximity to the woods and wildlife, and active engagement in an organic orchard.
Our sense of place is at risk. Whether it is the rampant clear-cutting of the forests in Nova Scotia or the impact of climate change on the coastal communities. Or it is the changing economic model and its effect on rural Nova Scotia.
One approach to offset these risks or potential risks is to be increasingly informed about ‘place’. This might range from knowledge of landscape ecology to an appreciation of the literary history of a region.
In an earlier blog post (February 4th) I made reference to a novel by David Manners, Convenient Season set around Centrelea. This week, courtesy of inter-library loan, I received his second novel, Under Running Laughter. It is set in a mill town in Eastern Ontario, about one hundred years ago. The story remains relevant today. It is about the values of the family that owns the mill and the values of local farmers. and the conflict between those who place a value on the landscape, and those who see things solely in terms of monetary values.
If we intend to adopt ‘ageing-in-place’, we need not only to recognize and understand the ageing process but also need to clarify our values and expectations in relation to ‘place’.
The next step in my David Manners research has been to track down his writing, after he moved to California, after the second world war. Fortunately, courtesy of Amazon, I am able to order David Morgan Jones (ed) The Wonder within You: From the Metaphysical Journals of David Manners and Awakening from the Dream of Me. Manners died in Santa Barbara, aged ninety-eight in 1998. I hope to find them in my mailbox when we return from Iqaluit.
To Celes and Sue Davar for their open house hospitality. To Edward for his continued artistic and technical support.
Passive Design Solutions Passive Design Solutions
David Manners. 1943. Under Running Laughter. EP Dutton & co. New York
Some days, you have your head down and so do not notice, so much, the activities around you. I just want to mention the sterling efforts of Edward Wedler. He has recently published a list of plein air art paint-outs for the Annapolis Valley this Summer. Check out the list in this pdf.