Conservation breeds generosity
— Vic Baranco
Central to the More philosophy is the idea that life is perfect, and that perfection includes the potential for change. If you approve of things, appreciate them, they get better - they appreciate. Our goal is to leave things, including our world and the people in it, better than we find them.
American society touts the value of "young," and "old" tends to be equated with "useless." Consequently "old" things are tend to be discarded or ignored and this is especially true of people. Leroy is a classic example of old being found valuable by Vic and our community and consequently thriving and contributing. He was 72 and wasting away in an old folks home . He came for an afternoon to have a young boxer spar with Vic. Vic lavished attention on him and Leroy became the only person who ever took one look around and never left - just sent for his stuff from the nursing home. He spent the remaining 15 years or so of his life respected and valued as our first boxing coach, then as "Papa" who ran the nursery, and eventually realizing his dream of being a blues singer, entertaining at The Waipuna Lounge and making a CD, Leroy, Live a Eli's, with Willie and the Random Band.
Vic always saw value where others might not. Consequently we have a long tradition of unconventional recycling efforts and reusing materials.
Below are some examples.
-- Houses --
Oakland Morehouse: 17 pages of condemnation notices when first bought. It is a good example of how a thing can be loved to beauty. from timelne: 80 Hamilton Place was a condemned Victorian that with attention, love, and countless groovies, we renovated into a beautiful home.
The Pupukea House on on Oahu, HI was an old cane shack, inhabited by a calf and some rats when we got there - with a big hole in the kitchen floor.
The Poolhouse: This suburban house, in a fairly nice meighborhood was curiously inhabited by goats when we acquired it. Obviously, it needed much renovation
The Winter Deck: A freestanding room, formerly a deck, serves as the Main House living room and is made out of salvaged railroad trestle. That trestle also made into the Waipuna, some benches, a bridge - every scrap of it was used somewhere.
-- Other structures and art projects --
Boxing ring: By having two convex sections of a quonset hut abut, a pagoda roof was created.
The Cabana The curved tin roof of this structure is made from a section of a quonset hut. The walls are covered with palm fronds from some trees on the property.
The Tea House This charming structure was made primarily with salvaged lumber.
The Mores and the paper houses
-- Vehicles --
The preferred mode of transportation at Morehouse is electric golfcarts and when we go out, old purple limousines. At our Hawaii home, the limos aren't purple and have a decidedly Hawaiian flair as you can see below. Old golfcarts and retired limos are vehicles that most people have no use for and tend to end up on a scrap heap. They are fun to ride around in and with a limo, there's designated driver who's whole purpose is to watch the road.
When golf carts, limos or tractors run no more, we use them for parts, and when they are finally picked clean, Colin might turn them into a bench.
Aka & Da Kine car: An old limo & station wagon refurbished and decorated with tapa cloth.
Lucy: This 1969 Cadillac limousine had been in a fire & nearly destroyed when it was given to Vic. He had it restored & later gave it to Cindy. It is currently her mode of transportation when Cindy is in California. It's named "Lucy" after its original owner Lucille Ball. The license plate is "PERFEKT".
Restored 1934 Ford Phaeton
Restored antique tractor.
"Deere John," made out of old tractor parts and a bench made out of old Cadillac parts.
The "Bugatti" golf cart: The front end was made from a discarded bed frame and was covered with a bamboo shade painted purple.
-- Roads and "building art" --
The "Appian Way."We acquired all the land around one small strip, which was eventually surrounded by our property and nicknamed "the donut hole." Running between the Main House and the Pool House, it connected the two ends of the Here Road to make a complete circle.
In the rainy season the red clay could suck the boots right off your feet. So in one all-night groovy we made the path a passable road with layers of broken up slabs of concrete from a nearby construction site and old carpeting. In honor of the Romans who built wonderful roads, this path is named "The Appian Way."
Here Road: Layers of damaged and warped dry wall were laid down on the entire length of the road to keep down the weeds, and old carpets helped to keep down the dust in the summer and help with the mud in the winter.
The bottle wall in Hawaii: This path to the pool in Hawaii is lined with low walls made of lava rocks interspersed with illuminated bottles of different colors.
The Phoenix bathroom: This communal bathroom was decorated with salvaged mirrors and tile which were broken and made into mosaics.
Metal workshop: The metal structure that holds up the roof of the workshop is made entirely from reused metal and incorporates miscellaneous leftover car and golf cart parts.
-- Ideas whose times never came for us --
Garbage Island: The women in a Players Group wanted to have a country of their own. One of our students owned a company that had the contract for towing garbage away from LA. He told us of an island off the coast of San Diego that was visible only at low tide. He said if we sunk piers there, he would build up that island by dumping the garbage there and making above sea level even in high tide. Congressmen were talked with and everything looked good to go, but the women decided they wanted a place that already had shopping malls.
Tire houses: Old tires are a blight on the land and housing for low-income people scarce, so why not a house made of tires? We collected tires for a while but never actually built a building with them. About 10 years later, tires popularly began being viewed as a viable house construction medium.
-- More conventional recycling efforts --
Compost: One of the interesting side effects of pooling intention with so many others seems to be a surfeit of all kinds of trash. We recycle and reuse as much as possible and for green garbage - we compost.