Best of the ‘Gest
Vance and Al’s Cotswold Cottage
Originally appeared in the Silverback Digest on February 16,2021
We’re living in times where small is beautiful, a phrase coined by E.F. Schumacher to make the argument that the bigger-is-better philosophy of unchecked capitalism is fraught with dangerous downsides. Were he alive today, he would point to climate change, the current pandemic, and the increasing disparity in the distribution of wealth as proof. Acceptance of Schumacher’s idea has ebbed and flowed over the years, but there is little doubt that the current attitudes towards the wisdom of downsizing are in a bull market. Millennials, in particular, think that the path of happiness can be reduced to the right tiny domicile and the right cell phone. We received this missive recently from SBs Vance and Al (Ridge Road SBs). They may not be Millennials, but they’ve always been ahead of their times. SB SM
“It’s been a great year for Vance and Al all things considered. We have had much practice in “hermithood” so not much different for us. We are both doing great, enjoying life and projects, most of all keeping our minds and bodies alive and active. We have been working most of the summer on the tiny cottage other than the estate on Ridge Road.
“The interior is coming along. This is my end, the tiny workshop/model building half. The stove is one we did in 2011, three sided viewing. First gas/propane stove we ever installed for us, but with 6” of insulation, it’s hot in there. Only heat it when we are there. The black box over my workbench is the control center for our OFF grid solar system. Way overdone, but I have been having fun with low voltage wiring, the solar system is working great, does almost every thing we need. The pictures and picture lights are hung from a track so we can move them around and add without holes in the sheet rock.
“This is Vance’s end, the west end. She is turning this into her reading room, so I am currently designing and making suspended book shelves. Out the window you can see Morgan Orchards (An independent living center for senior citizens, Ed.) , about 100 yard walk to our future unit. The bird in the hole (upper center) is where the rowing shell will fit when we move in. To the northwest, we can see 50 miles, almost to Sugarbush Ski Area.
“One of the things we enjoy is spending time working outside at Morgan Orchards . We probably spend about 15-20 hours a week working on landscaping and building walking trails on the 33 acres. We got our first relief checks this summer and donated them to build a small bridge for one of the walking trails.