a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

The Creative Life can Save Our Souls – and some chickens

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Why do creative people create? Of course, we are all creative and eventually discover the ways we can express our gifts. But some people just can’t stop and it’s a beautiful thing to behold! My co-housing neighbor, Giles Blunden, is one of these people.

His comfortably compact, 800sqft home is a work of wabi-sabi art always in progress. He lives off-grid on solar power with an outdoor shower and has an underground cistern holding thousands of gallons of rainwater captured from the roof. He has no grass lawn, but instead, an artistic array of stones, branch sculptures and wildflowers surrounding the house. He rides a bicycle to work each day, some rainy/windy days with a DIY “windshield” attached, and sometimes accompanied by his wife on what I call the “Green Machine” – a double seater that he has rigged as a extra comfy bicycle built for two.

Recently, our community lost some of our chickens to predators, so we’ve been reluctant to restart a brood, wanting them to have both safety and room to roam. Giles came to the rescue, immediately putting his creative mind to work – you can usually see it on his quietly smiling face. The result is this “Chicken Chapel” – made from fallen branches and soon to be enclosed with a comfy indoor coop inside. It just makes you smile, doesn’t it? (His house is in background, in photo below, on right.)

I consider myself darn lucky to be next to such an inspired, purposeful creator and his work. It’s helping me understand that quote that says, “The opposite of war is not peace, it’s creativity.”

Giles Blunden is a sustainable architect. You can visit his web site at

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