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Friday, January 23, 2009

The future of

Rob at Transition Culture pulls out a list of occupations necessary to run a post-oil society (by looking at those found in a pre-oil society) :
Coppicer, hurdle maker, rake maker, fork maker, besom maker, handle maker, hoop maker, ladder maker, crib maker, broach and peg maker, clog sole cutter, bodger, charcoal burner, oak basket maker, trug maker, stick and staff maker, field gate maker, willow basket maker, net maker, stone mason, joiner, roofer, floor layer, waller, thatcher, slater, lime burner, paint maker, glass blower, glazier, stained glass artist, mud brick maker, tile maker, chimney sweep, plumber, decorator, bridge builder, French polisher, sign writer hedge layer, dry stone waller, stile maker, well digger, peat cutter, gardener, horticulturist, vintner, arborist, tree surgeon, forester, farmer, shepherd, shearer, bee keeper, miller, fisherman, orchardist, veterinarian,chair maker, iron founder, blacksmith, wheelwright, cooper, coppersmith, tinsmith, wood turner, coach builder, boat builder, sail maker, rope maker, wainwright, block maker, leather tanner, harness maker, saddler, horse collar maker, boot and shoe maker, cobbler, clog maker, knife maker, cutter, millstone dresser, potter, printer, typographer, calligrapher, bookbinder, paper maker, furniture maker, jeweller, mechanic, boiler maker, boilerman, soap maker, gunsmith, sword smith, brush maker, candle maker, artist, sculptor, firework maker, cycle builder, bone carver, musical instrument maker, clay pipe maker, tool maker. Spinner, weaver, dyer, silk grower, tailor, seamstress, milliner, hatter, lace maker, button maker, mat and rug maker, crochet worker, tatting and macramé worker, knitter, quilter, smock worker, embroiderer, leather worker, felt maker. Fish smoker, bacon curer, butter maker, cheese maker, brewer, cider maker, wine maker, distiller, herbalist, ice cream maker, butcher, fishmonger, pie maker, pickle maker, baker, barrister and coffee roaster, homeopath, reflexologist, osteopath, naturopath, storyteller, teacher naturalist, historian, jester, actor, administrator, philosopher, labourer, poet, writer, midwife, publican, bookseller, librarian.
 [reposted from the red mullet]

[risa] ... not that I think we'll get to such a future from here without a hideous triage, which I don't personally expect to survive. There, it's out in the open, I'm a doomer. But one who has always had, and paradoxically perhaps still has, a certain optimism as the ground of my being. And I think my lifestyle changes are good for me even if I am proved wrong by events.

So, on to my idea of fun:

Though I see myself in many of the occupations listed above, I've taken increased interest in coppicing, which I see as part of small farming (I'm also a letterpress printer, a chandler, a carpenter, and so on. Beloved is a flock-keeper and small farmer as well, and also a locally appreciated storyteller-folksinger-puppet theater artist, with an emphasis on participatory work with children and teaching multiculturalism. And we are both low-tech homemakers).

Coppicing is an ancient trade, which was much in demand for wattle-and-daub constuction, woven fences, and basketry until relatively recently. Tree species that re-sprout from the stump quickly, grow quickly, and are native are a sound basis for a good coppice. The fuelwood you can get from these burns with a little less heat and is a little less convenient to stack and handle than large chunks of Douglas fir, but it's markedly easier to cut! I have a small electric chainsaw, which larger trees tend to intimidate, and I like figuring out how to do things around here without gasoline.

You can get wood out of your coppice with a bow-saw if necessary, and very little splitting is required. A bundle of sticks or even twigs can do much toward keeping a small, well insulated home warm and a meal cooked, as anyone in Bolivia or Senegal could tell you; and coppice wood can provide 6" diameter firelogs on a very short rotation with the right species.

I've been experimenting, for several years, with hazelnut wood, Oregon ash, and pussy willows. I'm told hawthorn is good, but haven't seen any around here, or maybe I just don't recognize it. Ideas? Or occupations to add to Rob's list?


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