Notes from Windward: #66

Jacki's Update - June 8, 2006

      Hey y'all!

      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 finals week.

      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!

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