Monday, November 15, 2010


With milder fall weather hanging on, we're trying to finish up some construction projects. In our case, that's an extension to one of our sheds. We called a friend to help, but he was busy with his own shed extension project.

It's not that unique to our place that we have people who are always building something. It's typical of any of a number of rural places that I've lived. But maybe there is something special about it.

Mike "Dirty Jobs" Rowe has filmed several segments in Michigan and has taken an interest in our economic woes. In a recent interview he did with a local paper, he talked about the importance of people having the skills to and being willing to do odd jobs to help make ends meet. Rural areas I've lived in meet both of those criteria. That kind of resourcefulness helps household economies and in turn the local economy.

Discussions of appreciation-of-place and place-making tend to revolve around providing public places in which people can interact with each other and their environment in positive ways. Perhaps those discussions need to include general resourcefulness of the population. So as part of place-building strategies, let's do place-based education, let's also continue our high school shop classes.

I saw on one of the network news shows this past weekend a story about a small town cafe that had a kitchen fire. The town came together and rebuilt the cafe only to have it burn to the ground due to arson. The town again came together and is rebuilding the cafe. Clearly, that 'third-place' is quite an important part of that town. I'm sure there was a lot of resourcefulness involved in that project.

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