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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hard-Hatted Women

I was looking through the used books on Amazon the other day and found a book that I thought I'd share: Hard-Hatted Women, edited by Molly Martin. Now, usually I am searching for "how to" repair books or green design books to add to the library, but I just happened to stumble on this one and thought I would read through it since it somewhat pertains to me...

If you hadn't guessed, it's a book of true stories about women in the trades. It was published in 1988, so a little outdated, but I was surprised how many things in the trades are still the same! Of course it talked about sexual and verbal harassment from co-workers/superiors/customers, but it also talked about the idea of women entering into a man's domain, how difficult it is mentally to traverse that path, and the excitement of possessing a useful skill.

Anyway, all this to say that I am reminded time again of the need for training women for entering in building trades. With the high drop out rates here in Buffalo, combined with the high rates of teen pregnancy, it just makes sense to give a young woman a skill which she can use to support her new family. (Of course it is equally important to engage young men and teach them skills as well, but that is not the topic of this post, nor of the book...)

If you're interested in reading this book, there is a copy of it in the library at Eaton St. that you can pick up any day of the week. Just stop by and ask!

Yours in hard-headed and hard-hattedness...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Newton's Law of Cooling and several heat equations later...

Thankfully I turned in my thesis on the concrete radiators this week! Can't say the experiment was totally successful. I discovered many flaw in the design and included may variations in my recommendations section for future trials. If you are interested in reading a 50 page science paper on heat equations, green retrofit, and what factors the successful heat output of a radiator are dependent on, email buffalobasics@gmail.com for a copy. With my thesis done, it is now just a week of finals before I graduate from college (long time coming).

Probably due to the constant questioning (what will you do after you graduate? Do you have a job lined up?) I have been thinking about how this project got started, where it progressed and where it will go in the future...

For that last one, I can say with perfect honesty that I don't know. What I do know are the following:
1. This project started out with an idea, a conversation over coffee. ...but it evolved into so much more! It became a connecting point for neighbors and friends. A place for people to meet other like-minded people, to share frustrations, and to learn from each other. I can say without a doubt that I learn more from people who stop by to visit than I could ever possibly hope to teach. This is inspiring to me since it demonstrates to me the power and potential of collective knowledge and reminds me everyday of the strengths that we all bring to the table. This project, though small, has made me think of continuing this collective energy somehow into a "bigger picture" project! With the same goals of connecting people, networking, self-empowerment through skills-building, etc. What exactly that project is, I cannot say, only that I need to think on it more...

2.The volunteer room will be decorated the minute I get home. So if you have ever donated money, donated knowledge, been to a workshop, donated your time, or--like my parents--volunteered your sanity, your homework is to sign your name on a broken piece of tile, a funny-shaped spindle, an old window, or anything reused! Even feel free to make some furniture out of recycled materials or write a long note (on recycled paper, of course)! Those items will be hung or placed in the volunteer room as a tribute to the many wonderful minds and caring hearts who have helped on the project. There's no real deadline on submitting something, though I would love it if you gave it to me before mid July.

3. The house, regardless if it is not constantly a center for workshops or does not host monthly parties in the future, will always have a door open for anyone willing or wanting to learn skills. So keep my email handy in case you have a question on repairs. Whatever you need to learn, we can figure out together.

As it stands, I will be returning to a summer full of workshops and get togethers. Maura and Matt will be out back baking, I'll be inside tinkering around, and you are always welcome to stop by and browse through our library, sip a cup of coffee/tea, and pick up a few home repair/gardening/baking tips along the way. All the events held at the house will be listed on the calendar at the top of this page, but also on the Buffalo ReUse website (under community calendar).

Signing off as a soon-to-be-graduate,