LOCAL: Yesterday’s Sharing/Gifting Experiments, part 1

Yesterday afternoon was a mighty full one. I participated in three local sharing events, and will feature the first one here.


Around 1 p.m. I headed down to meet other timebank folks who were going to move tools still stored at Dandelion to their new home at the Center for Sustainable Living. (The former Dandelion property owner had passed away. His widow had gifted them to the Tool Share.)

I arrived just as a caravan of two very full pick-up trucks were pulling out of Dandelion, heading for the CSL. Puppy Shadow and I followed them. I spent the next 45 minutes or so helping to move stuff from the pick-ups into four rooms reserved for the Tool Share.


Check out the growing, still mostly unsorted and shelved, collection:

IMG_2599 IMG_2604 IMG_2603

At one point, I asked Ryan, who is heading up this move, “What are all these tools? Does anybody know?”

“I don’t know! We only have about three or four people who do know how to identify the tools!” he responded. Let’s face it: most of us are so busy with our internet devices that we’ve left mechanical tools behind. Plus, we forgot how to make and repair things a long time ago.

Aha, one picture of shelved stuff:

After viewing a weird contraption that reminded me of an iron lung for polio —


— he told me that it was a homemade sander. That Glenn Carter, whose widow gifted us the tools, was really inventive. “You put gloves on and insert your hands with a tool that needs sharpening into the space inside, and wildly whirring sand instantly sharpens the tool!” Whew!

Ryan says this with his usual grin.


Oh look! What’s that on the wall behind him?

Aha! A framed portrait of the beautifully designed Bloomington Hours, an alternative currency experiment that failed, back over a dozen years ago. Why? Too many massage therapists, and not enough regular businesses. I heard that Bloomington Hours started to pool into Bloomingfoods, which took the currency in exchange for goods, but then didn’t have enough regular money to pay its decidedly non-local distributors!

A noble try. The time wasn’t ripe. Maybe it is now. Certainly it does seem to be at least for a timebank, where we don’t exchange any kind of currency except our equally valuable human time.


Ooooo . . . what’s this?


“Capacitors,” I think he said.

Of course, the afternoon included one “tool” that just would not fit in the door (a desk with attached shelving on two sides). 3/4 inch too wide . . .



Chris, the tall guy with the grey pony-tail, and Tom, the young guy, are both members of BloomingLabs, a growing hackerspace, something that I’d heard vaguely about, and will have to make time to visit. They will probably be able to help identifying tools.

So. What to do with this contraption? A discussion follows, with Ryan’s partner Andrea, one of the principal organizers of both the Tool Share and the Timebank.



Another unnamed tool . . .



On one wall, a very weird drawing, that Ryan told me he found with Glenn Carter’s tools, and decided to make into the Tool Share logo. Perfect!


All in all, I was amazed by the the number, variety and mysteriousness of tools, the terrific folks who were moving them (very few of whom I had already met), and the fact that, as Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook, said during a meeting at my home a decade ago: “We’ve already created so many things that we could go another 30 years just recycling and reusing the ones we’ve already got.” BINGO.

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