We live in an era of transient population, offering a richness of choice and new ideas offered by other cultures, although the price we pay can include misunderstanding, mistrust and feelings of isolation, resulting in a whole range of social problems.
An Tearman is, in a sense, society in microcosm and one of the questions that we address is how do we connect with our neighbours and the wide range of people drawn here, looking beyond cultural traditions to find our common ground? Can we do this in a way that respects our differences whilst working together to address an urgent need for sustainable change? Whilst we have much respect for people living in off-grid communities or building wonderful eco-houses, we see our challenge here as being more like that of ordinary citizens in ordinary communities, in Scotland and around the world. How do we turn a draughty old house into a cosy home with minimal heating costs? How do we turn 5 acres of nettles and bracken into an abundantly productive garden able to sustain not only the residents, human and otherwise, but also the community beyond?
Within the overall project that is An Tearman, a number of smaller projects are contained, dealing with different aspects of work that needs to be done. This might include work in the garden, preparing for planting or clearing an invasive plant species or constructing a polytunnel; or it may involve refurbishment to the buildings, whether something immediate like clearing a drain, or help with decorating or with a longer-term project such as planning a renewable energy system; or presenting a workshop - teaching crafts, running a session on communication skills etc. or perhaps help with domestic chores relating to an event.
Some of the tasks are imminent and urgent, others may be inspired by someone who could make a difference and is interested in offering their skills to An Tearman, yet others may relate to the support needed to enable a particular event to take place. All the projects relate to the challenges we may encounter in our daily lives. Our aim here is to re-frame these challenges in terms of a sustainable lifestyle, one which honours each individual within the community.
We welcome volunteers to help with these projects, the aim being not simply to achieve the completion of a piece of work, but to also observe our interactions and working relationships. The purpose of this process is to deepen our understanding of cultural intelligence, improve communication skills and develop a social structure that best serves the needs of the overall community in its quest for a life-sustaining way of living. We therefore aim to build in opportunities for action learning, including the practice of relevant skills and observations on the process. Through circle counsel sessions we aim to feedback and integrate the learning.
Below you will find information about a selection of projects that are currently a priority and what help is required. If you would like to be involved in something, in the first instance please send us an email to with information about which particular projects interest you, any suggestions and comments you would like to add and what skills you could offer.
Hen house has had a good clean, but some minor repairs need to be completed before we can welcome more chooks.
We are hoping to acquire some bees in the spring and have the use of equipment we are taking care of on behalf of Bute Beekeepers. Some finishing touches are still needed to the beehive, the site needs to be prepared and plenty of wildflowers planted.
Strawberries need to be repotted and placed out of reach of the deer!
The old apple trees in the walled garden urgently need pruning. We're hoping to learn some pruning skills from Graham Bell. There is another apple tree to be planted and a number of fruit trees and bushes need protecting from the deer.
Hamish always enjoys a walk - and if anyone would like to join the coat-trimming team, they would be most welcome.