Jacki's Update - June 8, 2006
This past week has been pretty exciting and intense here at Windward.
We have three new interns have arrived and started to settle in.
Virgil arrived last Wednesday and has become a big help when it comes
to fun things like leveling dirt and brewing beer. Jillian arrived
last Friday and has been readily lending a hand at any/all projects
we have available. Recently, she and Sarah have started learning
about how to incubate duck eggs. Jannel got here on Tuesday and has
been working on cleaning up and moving into her new home, in addition
to falling in love with all of the animals here and recovering from
Since there are more interns around now, our routine has changed, and
we can only expect it to change more. Lunch is our main meal of the
day, and our main opportunity to develop our cooking skills.
Therefore, it only made sense to develop a kitchen schedule that gave
everyone an equal opportunity to do work in the kitchen. So now,
instead of Sarah and i helping Gina (or vice-versa) with lunch, every
person has a certain job on a certain day. The jobs are cook,
assistant cook, afternoon dishwasher, and evening dishwasher.
Everyone has a chance to plan their own meal, as well as a chance to
have the responsibility of doing the dishes. It's going to be fun to
figure out how to rearrange things again when more interns arrive.
home-baked bread, deviled duck eggs, veggie stew, steamed brocohli -- yum!
Every day in the kitchen is a new adventure. Almost everyone here is
new at cooking, so by helping each other out and being willing to
experiment, we've come up with some pretty good dishes. For lunch on
my day to cook, we made a vegetarian stew going off of (but not
following verbatim) an online recipe. After lunch, for the first time
ever, i made a cake from scratch. For someone who has never been big
on cooking, i'm amazed at what i've learned and the skills i've
developed in just a few short weeks.
Right now, the projects that we're collectively working on include
Vermadise, the Yurt (new name pending) , the compost project and the
compost tumbler, the 10'x12' progagation greenhouse, a new summer pen for the sheep, and work on earthsheltering the
back of the dining hall. In addition, there are many smaller projects
being developed and worked on, like the duck egg incubation.
Our work on Vermadise has been coming along quite nicely. We've
gotten the remainder of the retaining walls finished. Virgil did a
lot of work on assembling the forms for the walls before we poured
the last of the concrete. To finish the upper L-shaped wall, we
poured about 11 loads of concrete. Since we did about 8 of those
loads one right after the other, Jillian and i took turns taking the wheel barrow
back and forth between Vermadise and the concrete mixer. Sarah helped
out with the last three loads. The concrete has had a chance to set
for a few days, so just today, Jillian, Virgil and Walt were able to
start assembling the walls.
Jacki wanting the a load of concrete to finish mixing
Near one of the old goat pens, we've leveled ground for the
greenhouse, and started digging holes for the foundation of the
compost tumbler. Digging foundation holes seems like an easy enough
project, but because we live in mountainous terrain, you never know
what you'll run into. After digging down about a foot into the second hole, Todd hit a rock that turned out to be about 18 inches wide. It
took a lot of teamwork to unearth the behemoth, but thanks mainly to
Virgil, we got it out. Today, we joyously poured concrete around the base of the first of the
railroad tie supports for the compost tumbler machine.
Also today, Jannel and i started some work on the new summer sheep pen located just to the west of the main garden on a few acres of hilly but shaded space.
There are already rows of posts set up, so we spent our afternoon
drilling holes to put the fence wire through. Because the future pen
isn't near any electrical outlets and we needed electricity to use
the drills, we had to bring a generator up into the woods with us.
Jannel and i have grown quite skilled at drilling holes that are both
level to the ground and parallel to the posts. We were able to finish
the first row of posts today, and we're hoping to finish another one
tomorrow, if not more.
Jannel and Jacki hauling the generator into the woods to work on fencing
In addition to doing all this work on a daily basis, we still have a
lot of fun as well as time to relax. We went on a four mile hike this morning
through some of the woods around Windward. As we went, Jillian marked
the trees with flagging tape so that people could come that way again at a later date and not get
lost. On our way back to Windward, we took a pit stop at a gravel pit
alongside the road and got to explore an old crane.
exploring a power shovel
Come evening , everyone regularly gathers together to just hang out
or watch a movie -- it's a great
time to learn more about each other. We're always open to sharing our
different perspectives and opinions with each other, as well as our
different tastes in music, wine, and beer :) It's great to be able to
sit down and relax with good friends at the end of a productive day.
It'll be even better when we have more good friends to share our evenings with :)
Safe travels, everyone!