This summer has been filled with a slew of crazy storms; the storms have been extremely windy, heavy rain and overall, very intense. Much of my city has been without power for days because of fallen trees. The upside of living off the grid is I have full control over my entire power system, I can inspect and fix anything that breaks.
One decision I made when going off grid was to park my house in the woods where I have tree cover for shade during the summer and in the winter (when the leaves fall), solar exposure. But the last few months have called into question the wisdom of that decision.
This summer alone I’ve had two huge trees (75+ foot) fall perilously close to my house. Last week I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner when I didn’t just see lightning, I felt my entire floor flex beneath my feet as the bolt struck a tree only 15 feet from my house. To put it mildly, it scared me. I felt the floor flex and then all a sudden my windows were covered by tree branches and leaves.
The tree that fell had a huge “Y” fork in it and my house miraculously fell right between that fork as the tree hurtled towards my house. The large trunk landed on both sides of my tiny house. I’m not one that stresses out easily, gets on edge or prone to freak outs, but I was seriously on edge after this.
I’ve talk a lot about setting up your land, this might be another consideration to take into account.
Some practical tips on building a strong house
- Make sure you use rafter hurricane ties for your roof
- Collar ties in your roof help prevent roofs folding in on itself
- Opt for a thicker roof deck if you can afford the extra weight
- Consider removing trees that pose a danger
I came upon an article talking about Switzerland’s new tree museum, at first I had this wide range of negative reactions. What have we come to? Are we already at a place where we have to house these trees because we have damaged the earth so much? etc etc. The song Pave Paradise by Joni Mitchell (popularized by Counting Crows)
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot
But as I was thinking about this whole concept while taking a shower, which is where I do my best thinking, I realized a few things. First off, Switzerland is generally a pretty low impact place, not great, but not bad. The second thing, the more important thing was thing: A museum is a structure that holds a culture’s/nation’s/etc best achievements. The objects found in museams are held in a very high esteem, they are symbolic of humanity in a way, we find great value in them. They inspire, they drive introspection, they ask questions that many are afraid to ask.
So as I come along this thought line I realize what this Tree Museam stands for. A deep reverence for nature. We are holding these plant, this earth in the highest esteem, we are saying that of everything that man has created, those things in the natural world we hold high on a pedestal. I always wonder if aliens form another world where to come to our planet and look at us after we are gone, what would they think? I think examples like this speak highly for us. That regardless of our innovations, plants are seen as culturally important.
Maybe I am reading into it too much. What do you think?]