Driving My Daughter Insane

As we stepped from the library doors out into the sunshine, I said to Daughter, “Guess what DVD I checked out.”

She eyed me dubiously.  “What?”

I lifted up the cover and showed her: Dirt!

There was a roll of the eyes and a groan.  We got into the car and I added, “Guess what book I got as well?”  She refused to guess. “A gardening book!”

Her eyes squeezed shut and she pinched the bridge of her nose.

Nevertheless, she enthusiastically attacked the berry vines covering the backyard and helped remove bricks buried beneath a year of soil and grasses.


When I was a young girl, I went through pads of graph paper designing and redesigning my dream house.  I went from broad sweeping castles to houses with slides from the 2nd story balcony down into a pool, to a more sophisticated modern house complete with indoor pool and multi-level gardens.  Secret rooms were a special treat, as well!

As I grew older, I stopped drawing such things.  No more treasure maps or ball gowns either.  But then I learned about yurts and earthships and started reading books like Design Like You Give a Damn and Yurts: Living in the Round. Architecture and engineering took on whole new dimensions for me (pardon the pun, I slipped!), and a part of me wished I’d chosen such a path.

The more I read about eco-houses, underground homes, and alternative housing materials, the more I begin to believe that I could have a hand in designing–and one day living in–such a home.  Certainly, the boxy, cookie-cutter shape bores me.  No, it devastates me to think of living in one.  The house I’m sharing with my partner was built in the 70’s, but it has character.  Even houses a hundred years old with porches that went most of the way around the house and nostalgic use of round towers give rise to personality.

Yet these eco-homes also take into account the environment, and not just by using green materials, but by considering the ways a house might fight within the landscape, as a part of it, rather than trying to conform the land to suit the house.

My own physical limitations notwithstanding, I think with the right planning and a decent plot of land, we might be able to one day create such a home.  This is where Squirelflight comes in.  Tonight, after I’d finished building a light box, she was playing with the cardboard scraps and said, “I think besides being an artist and a game designer, I might want to also be someone who designs homes as well.”

Cue mama’s inner squeal of glee.  I just posted about underground homes in a my environmental blog!

I said, “You mean an architect?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I think I’d like to design homes.”

“Good, I have some web sites for you.”

Indeed, I have many, many web sites for her.   Here are my favorites:

Woodland Home (under $5000 to build)
Gatehouse Living (around $7000 to build)
Antti Lovag (designer)
9 Alternative Housing Ideas

O2 Treehomes
Blue Forest UK
Finca Bellavista
Free Spirit Spheres

The Venus Project
MVRDV (Netherlands)
Sietch Nevada
Green Building Elements

Tiny House Blog
Tiny House Design
Relax Shacks Microhome Videos

Secret Eco-Village (Wales)
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
Intentional Communities
Sustainable Community Living

If these don’t inspire her, I’m not sure what else will!  I think we’ll have to try our hand at building small things first, since neither of us has any real experience.  She’ll enjoy the design phase, I just hope she’ll find value in the getting-your-hands-dirty phases.  ^_^

Quick Links: Art, Cooking, Music, Environment, and Literacy

Just posting some quick links related to schooling.  Some are resources, others are resources or commentary.  Follow and enjoy.  🙂

Kids Draw & Cook is a blog that displays recipes by kids along with their artwork to represent or present the meal. Its the youthful version of They Draw & Cook, which features recipes as presented by artists.  Children’s submissions always welcome.

Many researchers and educators have touted the link between music and mathematics and sciences, as well as they ways musical training influences developing minds.  Here is yet another well-written argument in support of music education and its funding.

The Story of Stuff is a project that shows videos that are engaging, easy to understand, and yet not condescending to viewers of all ages.  Presented by a non-threatening middle class “soccer mom” archetype along with simplistic black and white animation, they touch on topics related to capitalist/materialist culture, the broken systems that create environmental toxins and waste, and what we can do to change the ways in which we interact with our world and its resources.  Highly recommended; I suggest starting with the eWaste/Electronics piece.  It’ll make you wonder about the computer you’re using to watch the video.

An encounter with the college aged functionally illiterate, and the problems such youth represent for the state of our nation and its future.