• Cecilia Macaulay

Powered by ELVES, no magic involved.

Updated: Feb 24, 2019


Permaculture Karakuri by Cecilia Macaulay. Rain is deliverd to plants when they want it, and not when they don't.

The company that makes the most reliable, affordable cars in the world supplements its workforce with ELVES, nicknamed 'Karakuri'.

Though unpaid, the do their work tirelessly, silently, without electricity or computers. They do the heavy lifting, the tedious to-and-fro deciding and carrying that humans shouldn't be burdening themselves with. They are often brought into being by the factory floor workers themselves, and improved over many generations. The young ones make heaps of mistakes, the older ones do work that is flawless.

Electricty-free

Low-tech conVeyancing and Energy-saving

Systems (or maybe Set-ups)



ELVES. Thats a nice name.


The word Karakuri first described the Japanese robot dolls that were conjured up over 200 years ago. These mechanical dolls would amuse special guests by bringing them a cup of tea on a tray. When the empty cup was put back, the Karakuri doll would turn around and carry it away. It wasn't magic, it was just gravity, with a few springs, pullies and levers getting things to flow wherever the designer wanted them to go.



Karakuri lets the boxes 'walk themselves home' for a refill when empty


Using these electricity-free Karakuri contraptions are a bit like putting a load of wood on a raft in a river, and meeting it downstream, rather than haul it overland, or force some poor beast of burden to do the carrying. Except that you also get to decide where the stream goes.


For me, Karakuri ELVES reperesent being free and unburdened, not expoiting others, yet getting things done. In a factory just as much as in a Permaculture system, their huge profitiablity is in how they hitch a ride with freely available forces: gravity, osmosis, evaporation. Their cleverness is not in a high-powered mind thinking up something perfect, but in the willingness of the bosses to let every worker tinker with low-cost items, and tinker every day for decades, till things flow like its magic.




In upcoming posts I have the full story of how I created the title picture secret system that lets my balcony garden plants get their own drink of water. Another post is on super-low Karakuri technology, as seen in Toyta factories, that will allo you to walk through walls unopposed. Doors, actually. But it will be hands free.

So off I go to implement karakuri cleverness on the doors here Gardenfarm, and show you how it all turns out.


Don't waste your life force doing work you don't need to do. I won't either.


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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved