We haven’t been able to afford any spare time lately. And despite working all the time towards those days when we don’t work, we find we have neither the liberty to enjoy time as a family should we happen upon it, nor monies enough to make it reasonably enjoyable if we did.
After completing events in Wynwood last December we moved North to a large canal front property in unincorporated Miami Dade. BUT after meeting the neighbors, setting up composting, doing some landscaping, putting in a grey water filtering pond, and walking around at night smiling, hand-in-hand with visions of a neighborhood kids’ book swap tree house, code enforcement slapped a fine our host’s landlord and we, for want of a better option, fired up the bus and made a move into the agricultural lands to the South West of Miami. The happy, average life we had come so close to in our dreams had in a moment been replaced by familiar trends of uncertainty and accompanying familial disquiet.
First we stayed with the Sutton family, the mother of which Sam had met through her involvement with farmer’s markets – Sam managed two markets in Miami, initially filling in for a woman she was providing doula services to in February, then until recently as a private contractor for a youth empowerment non profit. They lived in an area known as the Redlands and are in the process of turning a piece of farm land into a fruit tree orchard. There was a canal nearby and the family had two children Mateo and Harper’s age. Much more quiet than Miami the initial shock of feeling truly excommunicated and logistically persecuted subsided with the easy rural charm of the place, the detached way of life it encouraged and the warm, black nights serenaded to the point of deafening abstraction by chorus upon chorus of inexhaustible insects. We felt cozy, began home making again, bought a Mercedes for Sam’s 30th with help from my parents, and even got a dog (Magic).
Though, seduced as we had once again become by the boonies, time at the Sutton’s was always temporary and so it seemed that no sooner had we forged a hiding spot in a field of 12 foot high grasses than we were staring at a well yellowed imprint, with that ‘starting all over again’ feeling in our chests, giggling our backs into action.
We are now parked the furthest South we have ever been. Somewhere between the tip of civilization and the Florida Keyes with the belly of the Atlantic somewhere East of us, and seemingly endless swampland stretching out to the West and South. The very end of the line.
The land is owned by an indefinable gentleman who acted as a consultant on our community project in Wynwood. During the course of our meetings he divulged his ongoing renovation of vintage trailers and dream of opening a sustainable resort/meditation retreat in the Everglades. Questions begot questions, the answers to which saw us drafted in as advisers that very naturally morphed for the foreseeable future into caretakers. The site will be something like a lush sub-tropical version of www.elcosmico.com with self-contained vintage trailers and facilities ranging from coral lagoons solar powered air conditioning and an organic kitchen garden to meditation huts, outdoor well-water showers and open-air sleeping terraces.
I still commute to Miami a few days a week to work a part time art handling job, but we definitely feel by moving out here that we’ve moved on. And up, although down. Blazing a trail to nowhere to make it a somewhere. And despite not being our own property, we feel a suitable sense of ownership of the overall project and shared hand in its development.
We are 2.5 acres tentatively, if not ironically titled Everglades Surf Camp (ESC) located about 5 miles from the entrance to the Everglades National Park and now open for camping. Make a reservation through info at transitantenna dot com!
Sorry sorry sorry for not posting anything in a while. We’re back in Miami at the moment collaborating with another bus family – Nando and Blair, founders of www.artofculturalevolution.org – on a live demonstration of sustainable and communal living called Midtown34thStreet, located in the Wynwood arts district of Miami. For Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens tomorrow, we have produced a series of show gardens, various models and applications of solar power and program of events that include art film screenings, a raw food tasting and water catchment and essential oils workshops. From its humble beginnings as a vacant trash lot, a stones through from now gentrified ‘Midtown’, and after two months of back breaking toil in the hot sun we are pleased to open to the public. Though in a perpetual state of development, we now have the basics in alternative infrastructure from solar powered lights and irrigation to compost strategies and organic food production.
Over the next few months we will be continuing to lay these important foundations, but for now we’re just happy to activate the site. If you live in or are visiting Miami for the fairs please come, learn with us and take advantage of our blossoming program. For the next week we are very happy and fortunate to be able to offer a variety of workshops and art events, and share the resources we have been pulling together with the help of some great local talent and the kindness of strangers. On that note, many many thanks to everyone who has supported the project with both donations and their time.
Best wishes for the week ahead, Tom.
Midtown34thStreet is a collaboration between Art of Cultural Evolution, a MIami based non profit planting seeds of sustainability that benefit communities, on the web at www.artofculturalevolution.org, and Transit Antenna – you know who we are. All events are free/by donation. We also have free Wi Fi. Please visit the dedicated project website at www.midtown34thstreet.blogspot.com
Here is a diagram of a hypothetical WVO acquisition and filtration system based loosely on one of our own. We drew this for the purpose of a zine produced by Art Of Cultural Evolution, a non profit org dedicated to promoting sustainability through the arts and thought we’d share it with you.
Being that we install everything within our buses, which are by their nature mobile, many of the system diagrams found on this website (this one included) have integral acquisition tanks and pumps where as home based, immobile systems are typically dedicated to processing and supplied by separate mobile acquisition systems usually comprised of a pump, maybe some filters and a tank mounted in a pick up truck, for example.
Despite trying many times to devise a reliable and replicable formula for producing fuel grade WVO, other constants such as our ever improving understanding of these systems and the need to pull them apart in order to re-appropriate components has meant that we are always re-thinking and refining our set-up.
The system detailed above uses both cleanable and reverse osmosis spun nylon sediment filters to metastasize the oil and a WVO Designs centrifugal filter to polish it to less that 1 micron.
In the system we currently employ there is actually no gravity tank, but instead a coolant heated holding tank after the 5 micron filter. From this tank the oil is pumped to a four way splitter. Two lines from the splitter go to the centrifuge (one directly to the centrifuge, the other to the bolt on heater) via a ball valve that restricts the flow, another to a pressure relief valve that dumps back into the heated holding tank, and the fourth to a 1 micron filter used to by pass the centrifuge in a pinch. Each line is opened separately with the exception of the pressure relief line which is always open. Both the centrifuge and 1 micron filter feed into our clean tank.
The continuing goal with our system – beyond reducing errors, improving efficiency and striving towards a permanent design – has been a state of autonomy. However, while we definitely have to babysit less than we initially had to, and feel increasingly comfortable doing so, we appreciate that for us a fully or even semi automatic system is impractical. Moreover, far from being an unnecessary burden, being on hand when processing individual batches of oil actually proves incredibly valuable in terms of quality control and undoubtedly saves us time in the long run. As beggars can’t be choosers the range of oil coming in varies so drastically that the notion of treating it all the same just seems like a recipe for disaster.