Doors were opened at 6:00 pm for a pre-meeting dinner/social hour.
Convenor Dale Brady opened the meeting at 7:05, with 27 people in attendance.
Tom Lewis addressed concerns with the volatility of the oil and gas industry, and the losses they are sustaining as wells shut down and prices plummet. This prompted a spirited discussion of the good and bad side of this ie: lower gas prices and decreased hydrofracking vs. crash of junk bonds market.
Tom Kennedy reported $362.11 in the bank account. Tonight’s voluntary collection added $93.00 to that total.
Tonight’s planned presentation on Small Scale Food Production was moved to April, since the projector needed for the slideshow was not available. The proposed schedule:
April - Small Scale Food Production - Jim Guy
May - Sanitation - Andy Herbaugh
June - Food Preservation -
July - Community Networking and Emergency Preparedness - Tom Lewis, Dorothy Kengla
August - Affordable Solar Systems, both active and passive - Vince Lombardi
Since there was no main presentation, the meeting was opened to announcements and discussion of various topics, some of which were:
- Dale talked about reskilling, needing to learn the skills our grandparents used.
- Andy mentioned the Foxfire book series from the 1970’s which contained instructions for a lot of those necessary skills.
- Intentional Communities were discussed, can we transfer their theories to our local communities?
- Can we strive for more diversity in our group? Hard to do with the lack of diversity in Hampshire County’s population
- Randall noted that the WV Legislature approved raw milk, can buy a share of a cow (or goat or sheep) from a farmer to get it. .
- Robin talked about the latest on the Recycling issue, the County Commission is holding a meeting Monday, March 23 open to the public.
- Elspeth mentioned the Spring Garden event in Keyser on April 11 organized by the Master Gardeners, 7:30 to 12:30.
- David Manning passed around castor beans and talked of their use as a natural healer. He also mentioned how important it is to know what natural foods are available in our environment. Check Leenie Hobbie’s “Wild Wonderful Homemaker” on Facebook for ideas.
- Liz Howgate talked about her maple sugaring operation and had samples of maple sap for tasting. She hopes to have a workshop next March. The weather didn’t cooperate this year.
- Vince talked about a variety of solar power options, including a Tesla battery back-up. Dale pointed out that not everyone in the group could afford a solar power installation, which prompted to scheduling of an affordable solar options presentation in August by Vince.
- Tom Kennedy pointed out probably the most important aspect of alternative power should the grid go down is a way to run your well pump.
The next meeting is Thursday, April 9, 2015