In the Burlington Free Press newspaper Sunday edition Green section there is an article by yours truly. It is part of a series of “I Believe…” The editor had given me the writing assignment a couple of weeks ago so I had some time to mull it over. It was an interesting angle to think about things from.
Our son Ben snapped this photo of the construction in progress by the early morning light. It shows our butcher shop project with the marshes and mountains in the background. It is in just the right place for efficiency on our farm, at the end of the pasture rotation cycle. It means that our livestock won’t need to be loaded on the truck each week for the three hour drive to the butcher. That means less stress for them and gas plus time savings for us. Customers will get the assurance of higher quality, healthy meat with less carbon footprint.
I have read of complains in various newspaper articles about other slaughterhouses being built and the NIMBY factor. The problem is generally the facility is being built in someone’s back yard who doesn’t want it there. Well, we’re building it in our front yard instead. This way nobody else is inconvenienced. We, the owners and workers (we’re both) live right here next to the building. Wouldn’t it be grand if all business owners had to live right next to their production facilities? Imagine if BP’s president and other executives had to live next to his refineries. Imagine if the president of Exxon had to live on the beach where the Valdez spilled. I’m sure the world would be much better off.
Ironically our new meat processing facility is barely noticeable to people. It blends into the hill and is almost the same size as the hay shed that it replaced. When we’re done construction, it will just look like one more stone barn in the countryside. Just the other day someone who was supposed to have seen it drove by looking for it and couldn’t find it. That is successful blending into the landscape.
The wooden forms you see in the photo will eventually be removed. They are not part of the final structure. In fact, there is no wood in the final structure. The reusable forms which Ben and Will built last year and the year before are like a giant jelly mold. We used many of them on the greenhouse the year before. In their position here they are already filled half way up with concrete and rebar to form the monolithic masonry structure. In future years we’ll reuse these same forms on many other projects.
Because it will have such a large thermal mass inside the insulating envelope it will be highly energy efficient. Like our tiny cottage we’ll be able to transfer the energy of one season over to another. With the cottage we retain the summer heat for winter and store incoming passive solar heat. With the butcher shop we’ll be time shifting winter’s cold into the summer months and dumping the day’s heat to the night sky. This will save on our electric bill. Capitalism works great – The cost of energy is a wonderful incentive to save.
Soon we will make the next concrete pour of our super-insulated refrigerated section and the lairage subfloor. We’re saving our pennies from timber sales, weekly pork sales and the incoming CSA Pre-Buys. Each pour runs about $3,000. Step-by-step we’re closing in as we head for winter.
For more details on our big project progress check out this article.
Outdoors: 67°F/55°F 2″ Rainy — We needed that!
Tiny Cottage: 72°F/71°F
Daily Spark: Make Change.