Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Permaculture" from a Lost Age

"When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nr for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us." 

--John Ruskin, 
Audel's Carpenters and Builders Guide 

I collect old manuals on construction, horticulture, agriculture, etc. Many of these guides, such as these from Audel in 1921 contain lost knowledge and secrets of doing things in ways that are necessarily "lower tech" and far more energy efficient than the way they're done today. As such, they're often more appropriate to the human scale. 

But they also embody another nearly lost secret... a traditional view towards quality that laid the foundations for long-lasting culture, going back to Homer's careful description of a well-made Greek spear, the sturdy home of a fisherman, or a boar perfectly roasted over a spit.


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