Notes from Windward: #62

Just another Windward day

Cecilia talks about the neighbor's grass fire and life at Windward

Ok, many people have asked me with a great deal of puzzlement, "Why on earth would you give up your nice house in the city to go live on a farm?"

I'm trying to think of how to answer this. One of the great things about Windward is that it's much calmer and the air is so clear and smells great. We're at about 2000 ft so the night sky is Amazing. Another great thing is that until we drove back into Portland last week, the only traffic jam I'd seen in over a month was the day all the sheep tried to get back into the pen at the same time. After 12 years of daily 2 hour commutes this is nice.

So much of what we do up here seems harder, but that's mostly because resources are allocated differently than folks are used to. For example there are basically 3 showers for 17 people, one is a small camper type shower, one is regular size, and the last one is actually a very efficient two stall outdoor shower with on-demand hot water. But, being squeaky clean is not a big priority here.

When I get dressed for work I'm most likely learning to fix lunch for a crowd, digging holes, working with my clay pottery or hauling my stuff from my storage unit to my living quarters, so any shower feels wonderful when the work is through. There are three washers, two dryers, and a clothesline. Folks work out the timing pretty well.

Another thing is that we all share the mid day meal, which means that:
1) I only have to help cook and do dishes a couple of times a week,
2) I'm eating a lot healthier than when I was living on "fast food"
3) I get to socialize, check in with everyone's schedule and then go back to my projects and private time.

Lakota checks out the new pup
Then there are days like today. The menu plan listed a huge meal: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, salad, pies, cake, watermelon, cantaloupe, brownies and lots more. The turkey had to go in the oven at 6 AM, and the rest of the morning went along smoothly until around 10 AM when someone noticed that Oliver, the new puppy, was missing.

Joyce and Terri had gone to a rescue shelter the day before to pick up a 13 month old male Great Pyrenee to join Savannah, Tucker and Lakota. He was still getting used to the place and apparently decided to go exploring in midmorning. Windward is 111 acres, mostly on a hillside, and so people went up hill and down, around and around, until he was finally discovered over the hill visiting the goats.

Soon as Oliver was retrieved and returned to the sheep pen where he and Lakota are hanging out while he becomes accustomed to being in a new place, it was back to lunch preparations.

Everything gets finished. It looks wonderful. We gather round the table, plates loaded with amazingly good smelling food, and we get a phone call in the kitchen that there's a fire somewhere on the nearby road. Sure enough we do smell the smoke. Now, fire up here is a serious thing. You can't just call 911 and wait. If it takes off the entire region could go up in flames. This is definitely not a good thing.

Lakota and Oliver settle down in the shade
The fire was on adjoining land and Walt had also received a call and taken off with the tractor and our water tanker. The rest of us were a bit slower to get there. Walt had hosed down the periphery and was holding things, so we ended up shoveling dirt on smoking spots, until the big water trucks from Centerville showed up. I was seriously considering standing in the way of one of those spray nozzles because by now all of us were sweaty, smoky and hot!

We eventually made it back to the kitchen, finished off the food, including the homemade pumpkin pies w/ whipped cream, and then headed for our respective places to rest.

All the showers got a good workout before the Windward crew settled in for a well deserved nap :-)