Notes from Windward: #66

Jacki's Update - June 18, 2006

      Things have been pretty busy here lately, and we’ve all been working hard at various projects. In addition to finishing up stringing the wire on the future sheep pen, we’ve started digging holes to set up posts for an extension of the pen. The new fence line will run down along the road, then over to the corner of the hay barn. Where the future corner brace support will be, we’ve run into a problem with bedrock. Only able to dig down a few inches before hitting the solid bedrock, we are going to have use an alternative method to anchor the supports. Concrete will almost definitely be involved.

Jacki and Sarah working on leg four of the Loafing Pen

      Earlier this week, Sarah and I spent an afternoon cooking. We experimented with the solar oven by baking cookies from a tube of store-bought cookie dough. When experimenting, it’s better to not waste a lot of effort on a recipe that may not work out. So after the cookies turned out, Sarah felt confident enough to go ahead and bake her cracker recipe the next day.

      That same afternoon, with Sarah’s help, I made some hummus from scratch. In the oven, we roasted several batches of sesame seeds to make the tahini. Tahini is a key ingredient for hummus. Since we couldn’t find any in the stores around here, we decided to make our own. Once we had enough sesame seeds to grind a fair amount of tahini, it was easy to complete the rest of the hummus recipe. The only thing we needed to do was put everything together in a blender. I think the recipe turned out great, and you could really taste the home-made tahini. The next time i make hummus, i’m going to try substituting peanut butter for the tahini.

      I also experimented with rhubarb that afternoon. Since rhubarb is a highly sustainable crop for this area, it’s important to know how to cook with it. I made a rhubarb-almond cobbler. This was not only my first time cooking with rhubarb, but also my first time eating rhubarb. I know that the plant is naturally bitter, but by adding the right ingredients, it becomes sweet and tangy.

      After a long day of work on Saturday, we decided that it was a perfect night for a campfire. Jannel worked hard to build us a fire “from scratch.” Eventually, with a little help from a lighter and some tar paper, we were all sitting around a toasty fire. We had a great time making s’mores using a marshmallow roaster that Todd’s dad had invented.

Emily, Virgil, Jillian, Jacki and Sarah at the washout

      This morning, a bunch of us went for a bike ride along the Klickitat. It was a beautiful day, and even though i’d ridden down that road once before, I still found the scenery breathtaking. The last time that Sarah, Walt and I took a bike ride there, we turned around where the road had been washed away by the river. Today, after turning around at the washout, some 8 miles into the ride, we left our bikes by the road and hiked up a path into the woods. We were led to an area that is set up to be used as a collection point for the range cattle that roam the area. It was a beautiful area, with lots of big oak trees that were perfect for climbing.

Sarah, Emily and Jacki climbing an ancient oak

      Earlier this week, we welcomed Emily to Windward. As one of the graduate interns, she is going to be at Windward for an undetermined amount of time. Just like all the rest of the interns, she's an exciting addition who has a lot to contribute to the community.

       A couple days ago, we also welcomed a new intern -- unfortunately, today we said goodbye. The new intern was here for one full day before making the decision to leave. We're all a little disappointed that we weren't given the benefit of the doubt by the new intern sticking it out for at least a week. At the same time, everyone here agrees that in the long run, it's for the best.

      Windward is very much a hands-on experience, and living here takes adaptation, initiative, and open-mindedness. Of course, not everyone is cut out for life at Windward. Living in a close-knit community can be a challenge. Working toward building a completely sustainable community is, by nature, a challenge. For one reason or another, some people just aren’t up to living a life like this. Sad, but so it goes.

      I'm extremely grateful that we have the group of people gathered here that we do. Not only do we all have the strength to step up to the challenges that Windward presents, but we also all have the ability to have fun while doing so.

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