Mat Redsell, April 3, 2009

I was born in northern Ontario in a small mining town called Kirkland lake in 1948. My father was a very hard working mining engineer who had a very good sense of social justice and despite his own very difficult upbringing turned out to be a tremendous benefit to us children and the community. My mother was equally hard working and caring but I unfortunately was frequently in disagreement with her and her British sense of living . I hated school and almost did not make it out of public school. My first year in high school inspired me and I did very well but after that I did progressively worse and ended up repeating my grade 13 in a Basilican run Roman Catholic high school. Some of those experiences at this high school remained with and helped form my future thanks to father black.

 

In many ways I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer but ended up choosing music for my university education. Starting about 1972 I spent about 7 years at the university of Toronto, my friends all left to lucrative jobs and marriage but I never did graduate nor wanted to get married and instead found an interesting way to combine my lesser talents into something that I enjoyed. Harpsichord making gave me skills and confidence and I spent about 10 years at it working with many famous artists. The phony world of famous people and my clients soon had me looking for something else.

I left the harpsichord world to go hang gliding in Hammondsport New York and while there ran my early music magazine Continuo as well as developing CD, record and book sale on the internet. I found that computer programing was fun and indeed I developed a very fascinating software that ran our whole company and I was very proud of that but computers and software change so fast that programing soon became a waste of my time just keeping up.

While I had been hang gliding I wanted to explore fixed wing flying so I joined up with Harris Hill soaring and learned to fly gliders. This inspired me to build a motorized glider in the third floor of the building that I had my magazine and internet sales office thanks to the generous landlord.

I took about four years to complete the plane. Dave Wells test flew it and after some flights of my own I took it out to Marion Ohio where I had set up a glider shop that worked with flying wings. This was really fascinating and captured my interest completely for about 6 years. I did a lot of test work, developing ideas that Jim Marske had started. He was a brilliant man but was greatly hampered by his wife and lack of testing and developing. I must say that his early days of developing his own flying wing showed great talent and determination.

I became a commercial pilot and instructor but most of all I loved doing test flying for the various innovations that I pioneered. My great friend in all of this and inspiration was Mike Couts.

Jim and I parted company and I decided that I needed to get a home base in Canada and do some serious thinking about the my future and just where this world was headed.
As any person who does any kind of research will find that we are running out of cheap sources for inexpensive energy and that most people are living way too much in debt! So it was not to hard to figure that I should sell my buildings in Toronto and head out to the country where I could see if a sustainable life was possible. I had it figured that 2008 was the year to have sold everything and so it was!

I purchased a barn like building in Port Burwell and lived in my motorhome for a year with a many visits to help my mother who had alzheimers. She had proved very difficult to handle for my father and sister and somehow I seemed to be the only one able to care for her. Once she was accepted in a care facility I began my sustainable living journey.

This is a photo of myself in Mexico where I biked 1400 kms in the winter of 2008-9

In late 2007, I purchased a large property just around the corner from my barn from Malcolm Chapman and his wife Victoria. And this was to be my new start in life. It had gardens, a fabulous large metal building , a woodworking shop, a four bedroom large house and so much more. This was ideal!! I began by making a small solar air heater which I attached on the side of my house... it worked very well and I developed it to quite a fine state which I was proud. Next came the solar water heater over my cistern.. Another success! How about a windmill.. .why yes! I even went off grid. That all became a reality as did the oil expeller. chickens, solar cells and the biodiesel making.

And yet to come is my greenhouse, own water supply, a methane digester, solar cooker and on the list goes. In fact I am spending so much time maintaining and building my labour saving devices, I have no time for anything else! Is this life? And it does not keep me out of trouble either as the Bayham council and electrical safety authority knows too well....

BUT with all of this I somehow feel that these grand experiments are fossil fuel subsidized and not really sustainable living. So where do I go from here.. Keep tuned!

 

This picture was taken by my father when hew visited me at a small mine, Kidd Copper, where I was working for the summer. I was 17 at the time and wanted a sail boat to use on the small lake at the mine. Well I scrounged a number of items and built one! This picture rather describes my life well... thanks Dad!

I remember the day I left the mine. I rigged the boat so that it would sail straight out into the lake and let her go.

 

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