Notes from Windward: Issue # 55


Welcome to the start of a new chapter
in the ongoing story of Windward.

Notes from Windward has been published for some eight years now, providing a running commentary on the establishment and evolution of our "ship." For most, that word calls to mind some sort of sailing vessel, and while that metaphor is important to us, we're just as committed to building the "ship" that's integral to concepts such as friendship, companionship and craftsmanship. As we make the transition from a printed newsletter to an electronic one, we hope to create a better, more holistic picture of the ongoing adventure known as Windward.

The first eight years of the Notes were arranged in annual volumes, and numbered as issues within each volume. We've uploaded Volume 8 Number 3 so that you can get an idea of what the old Notes was like (printed back issues of most issues of the Notes are available.)

One characteristic of publishing on the web is that there isn't much of a line between writing an article and presenting it. Also, when errors are found, it's a simple matter to fix them and uplink the corrected code. In effect, new pieces will be "published" on an ongoing basis, so the old format of publishing an issue every other month isn't very relevant. We've decided to switch over to creating quarterly issues, and numbering them sequentially. Since we've already published fifty-four issues, the next will be Notes from Windward, Issue #55.

This is a visual age, and one reason for moving to an electronic version has to do with our desire to include more and better pictures. In the past, we tried many approaches, finally settling on having them commercially "printed" on a hightech copy machine that did a good job of converting the color prints into black and white at the same time the text was copied. While it wasn't magazine quality, it did the job.

With the advent of the world wide web, fast modems and widely available browsers, we decided the time had arrived to make the change. We realize with regret that not everyone will have access to the eNotes right away, but it seems clear that 1) the web is here to stay and 2) more and more people will be connecting in the near future. The hard copy version was expensive to print and mail, making the subscription cost a barrier for some. Since the price barely covered costs, and since the eNotes eliminates the costs of printing, photo developing and mailing, we believe this will work out better for everyone.

Another reason for the change is our belief that linked text, combined with ready access to past issues and ancillary documents, will create a better understanding of the complex, holistic process that is Windward. In the past, each issue carried daily details with some organizational overviews mixed in. While the reader could gather a fairly comprehensive understanding of Windward by reading a series of issues, that goal couldn't be effectively achieved by reading a single issue of the Notes. Each issue is seen by people totally new to what we're doing, and a single issue rarely conveyed the "big picture." We're hoping that the hypertextual form of the eNotes will do a better job of communicating what we're about.

As ever, your feedback is invited.

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Notes from Windward:

Year 9Issue Number 55Summer 1996

The Windward Foundation is incorporated in the State of Washington as a nonprofit corporation. Windward is an equal opportunity organization which does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or national origin.

The Windward SIG is a special interest group of American Mensa Ltd. comprised of members and friends of Windward.

Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and not of Mensa, which holds no opinions.

Reader's questions and comments are invited. Permission to publish is assumed unless expressly withheld.

Copyright 1996 by The Windward Foundation Press. Other publications may reprint any portion provided credit is given, and a copy of the reprint is sent to the Editor.

55 Windward Lane,
Klickitat, WA 98628-9710
(509) 369-2000

In this issue:

Christmas in July
The goats gave twice this year!

Playing with the big toys
Using heavy equipment to repair damage to our roads

The Two Hundred Pound Duck
Emma Rose is up to new tricks

There's never enough

Market Day
Taking lambs and kids to the sale.

Flushing the Ewes:
Getting ready for next year's lambing.

The River
Before and after the flood.

The County Fair
Bringing home the purple ribbon.

The Mechanic's Moon
A report on the annual rush to get ready for winter.

Joyce talks about spinning wool into yarn.

Where's Windward?
Directions to Windward

Living History:

Pictures of the Coronation of Skepti and Onore

An introduction to the barak trade coin

Pictures of Acorn War


How the Closing of Champion Lumber Mill
Has Affected the Klickitat Community:

Cindy is participating in Washington State University's Extended Degree Program, and as part of her work for a course in Rural Sociology, she conducted a series of field interviews. This is one of the reports that came out of her work.

Christmas in July

It's been a really strange year.

"How strange?" you ask. Well, between the flood and the crazy weather, all sorts of plans and programs have had to be rearranged, adjusted and sometimes scrapped altogether.

One nifty thing about goats is that unlike almost all the other domesticated animals, they breed when they're ready to breed, and not at the convenience of the herder. Normally it takes the shortening days of fall to set the mood, and then when the first cold snap hits, it's TIME! The result is that, given five months of gestation, our kids and lambs are usually born sometime around February. Last year we had unusually cool fall weather, so the birthing started around Christmas and was mostly over by the end of January.

Then in February, the great blizzard of '96 hit and Klickitat County became a nationally recognized disaster area. It was a stressful time for everyone, two-leggers and four-leggers alike. Evidently it upset the does a lot, because they came back into heat and wound up giving birth again in July. We hadn't heard of stress causing goats and sheep to go into heat, but it must have. With humans, the phenomenon of high birth rates nine months after some physical disaster is well known; perhaps the same sort of stress-induced heat functioned in the herd. Since the majority of the kids and lambs would have died in the blizzard had it not been for human intervention, perhaps this response was to insure that the herd would have at least some kids this season.

Anyway, there I was, wandering around looking for suitable photo-ops in order to test out the new digital camera, and lo and behold, I find Angelique solidly in the throws of labor. At first, I was concerned that she was sick or something, but as soon as I realized she was in labor, I settled back to record the event.

click here for The Summer Birth

Workin' on the roads

Windward is many things. Looked at from the perspective of its physical plant, Windward is a mile of roads, half a mile of water lines, and a quarter mile of phone and power lines. That sort of stuff isn't very "sexy," but it's a core part of making Windward work. Everyone likes to look at the facade, but few take the time to look at the foundation; that's human enough, but it's that "often taken for granted" foundation that makes everything else possible.

The Winter of '96 left its mark on many things at Windward; one of the more obvious components of that "legacy" was a series of deep ruts on some of our roads. They weren't so bad that we couldn't get around them, but they needed to be fully repaired before this winter's runoff has a chance to turn inconvenient ruts into impassable canyons.

Click here for Playing with the big toys.

The Two Hundred Pound Duck

No matter how caught up we get in the day-to-day aspects of building and operating our community, we strive to keep sight of the need to learn more about the biological systems we work with. This year, we're studying two varieties of ducks (Peking and Indian Runner), and learning about the roles they perform in the great majestic dance of sustainability.

While much of the project has gone as expected, one surprise did turned up - I keep finding this two hundred pound duck in the pen.

Click here for The Two Hundred Pound Duck

The Never Ending Quest for more Storage

Windward has always been a learning experience. That's another way of saying we try really hard to learn from our mistakes. If I had to make a list of the 10 biggest mistakes we've made so far, high on that list would be a lack of adequate storage.

Over the years, we've tried a variety of options, all with less than successful results, but now we believe that we've finally arrived at the optimal solution. Shipping containers aren't cheap, but they are weatherproof, portable, quick and they can be locked. This fall, we're adding two more.

Click here for The Quest for More Storage

Market Day - taking lambs and kids to the sale

Fall is a time of closure, for making decisions and saying good-byes. The bottom line is that most of the animals we raise will have to go before the snow falls. The cost of carrying animals through the winter is substantial, and each fall the herdsman has to decide which animals will form the foundation of next year's herd. Since each doe or ewe on average produces two little ones, the herd stands to triple each year unless something is done. Each year some animals die from "natural causes", and this year we lost half a dozen little ones to predators, but still at least half the herd has to go.

Fall forces the herdsman to make some hard choices before winter comes.

Click here for Market Day

The River: before and after the flood

Winter in the northern woods is always a challenge, but the winter of '96 was especially so. A heavy snowfall followed by warm rain sent the Klickitat into flood and by the time the waters went down, more than three miles of the road along the river had been undercut and washed away.

Now, a summer later, life along the river has reasserted itself. As fall brings it's annual pageant of beauty to the valley, the river's tranquil beauty is overshadowed by the lingering memory of it's destructive rampage, of a river swollen and angry. While life goes on, and the river still flows to the Columbia, the minds remembers that this gay and dancing river has a dark side that can come again whenever the chinook blows in the early spring.
Click here for The River: before and after the flood.

The County Fair: bringing home the blue ribbon

Windward is still in it's "foundational" stage. A lot of our time, energy and funding is still going into paying off the land, laying water and power lines, and generally setting the stage for what's to come. Even so, while all that's going on, we've always worked to see that some of the longterm programs were started so that down the road, we would be ready to expand from a solid experiential base into whatever area seemed appropriate. Nowhere is the learning curve more demanding than when you're dealing with nature, and early on we decided to get started with goats, sheep and gardening. Even though we knew those programs wouldn't offer significant productivity in the short run, we believed it was important to begin the learning process. The first rule of realtime research is "Take little bites, and chew real hard."

While it's one thing to construct an ideal theoretical herd on paper, the actual practice always turns out differently. It's one thing to talk about the general characteristics of a given breed, but generalities aren't good enough. Making it work in the real world means that you have to find specific individuals who can work together in a sustainable way to accomplish the goal, something which is as true for our two-legged team, as it is for our four-legged crew.) Genetics are never static, and over the eight years, I've scourred the sales and auctions to find the individuals who could enable us to meet our self-reliant goals.

Over the years, various Windwardites have started to work with spinning and processing of wool, and I'm very pleased that Joyce decided to take some of our wool to the fair. We thought it would be just a learning experience and worthwhile just from the standpoint of learning more about the wool we're producing. We were very pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Here's Joyce's description of what happened.

Click here for The County Fair: bringing home the blue ribbon.

Flushing the Ewes:
Getting ready for next year's lambs.

It's obvious that fall is a time when we prepare for the coming winter, but part of the routine also involves preparing for the coming spring. The shortening days and cool nights tell the ewes and does that it's that time, and the ancient dance of life starts once again.

While the animals pretty much work out the details among themselves, there are important things that the shepherd can do to make a difference. One of these is known as flushing the ewes which involves putting them on a rising plane of nutrition. There's a built-in mechanism that causes the ewes to ovulate more eggs when they have access to lots of food, so while we don't usually feed grain during the summer and early fall, we make an exception for the couple of weeks that lead up to the topping.

Joyce is watching over the flock these days; here's her description of the flushing program.

Click here for Flushing the Ewes

The Mechanic's Moon:
The annual rush to get ready for winter.

Native American cultures often referred to a month according to the activities that went on at that time of year, a custom that seems natural and appropriate once you start the process of living more closely with the land. It's almost as there's a "grain" to these things, and that as long as you go "with the grain" things proceed relatively easy. If, however, you try to go "against the grain," things quickly become much more difficult.

After some eight winters on the land, when the leaves start to turn, the urge to attend to certain tasks is almost compulsive. Some tasks have to do with food storage, others with winterization, and still others with preparing our equipment for the weather to come. "Routine maintenance" is anything but routine if you have to lie down in the freezing muck to do it.

Last winter was especially hard on our vehicles. The flood washed out almost four miles of Highway 142, and for weeks we had to rely on our 3/4 ton four-wheel-drive Chevy to truck supplies and people in and out over winter-bound logging roads. The job was done, but not without substantial wear and tear. With another winter bearing down on us, last month became the Mechanic' s Moon.
Click here for The Mechanic's Moon

The Hard Freeze Moon:
Summer's last call and Winter's first kiss.

One of the key events in the natural year is the coming of the hard frost. In September, the nights will dance near the freezing mark, putting a chill in the night air that's very pleasant after the long, hot nights of August. But sometime in October, there'll come a night when the morning light finds everything covered with a white frost. The fingers of ice crystals in the puddles point to what's ahead, and you know that winter is about to come in earnest.

Since the ground is still warm, the morning sun melts the frost quickly, but other signs linger. While the days are warm, the cold nights accelerate the changes of fall; after the long, lazy days of summer, it seems like all nature goes into a panic. Winter is a hard time, and cruel to those who fail to pay proper respect to its power. As ever, there's a lot that needs to be done before the Hard Freeze Moon gives way to the snows of winter.

Click here for Hard Freeze Moon

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