Notes from Windward: #70


Dancing with Nature's Clock

Opalyn takes advantage
of the warm winter weather

     The day I arrived at Windward, nearly two years ago, was crisp and sunny. My first morning, I was greeted with a dusting of snow. My first year was a year of many new experiences and given that I had little frame of reference was quite stressful.

     In the city when you flip a switch or turn on a faucet you expect certain things to happen. When you live off the land you have a lot to learn about power and water--the most important lesson being to never take them for granted.

      In addition to these lessons I am learning to dance with Nature and it has a lot to do with being prepared. For instance, you want to put up firewood in early summer so that you can be warm in the winter even when the power goes out. One good thing when that happens in deep winter is that we can count on the cold to keep things in the chest freezers frozen until the PUD gets the electricity back up--which I am pleased to report has happened very quickly even on holidays. If we went a few days without power, we'd need to crank up one of our generators, but Walt tells me that it's been more than ten years since we've had an outage of more than a few days.

     It seems like just a few days ago Windward was cloaked in snow with the low temps in the single digits or the teens.

the new year starts with fresh snow

     More recently our night time temperatures have been hovering around freezing and we have been without snow for three weeks--most unusual for February up here on the plateau.

the sheep decide they like their trampoline shelter

     Thinking back on things I've learned I recalled the difficulty of excavating in late summer and had planned on getting some excavation work done in the spring. Well, spring is here--possibly only temporarily--but here none the less. So I headed out to the Pearl to enjoy some easy digging.

     I started by rounding up the tools I would need since they'd been in use on other projects. Then I decided that I needed to move the crib--not a simple task! First, I raised the legs so all the weight was on the existing crib. Next, I built up the area under the legs and lowered them--raising the nose of the trailer off the crib. Dismantling the crib was relatively easy. A bit of excavation so the first row of cribbing would be level. Then it was just a matter of restacking the crib and lowering the trailer down.

raising the freezer trailer

     With the crib out the excavation area, I started digging. Now I can spend just 15 minutes digging and accomplish what took hours last summer when the dirt was bone dry.

digging out more of the Pearl's foundation

     One of the joys and challenges of living in this style of community for me is that I decide how I spend my time and who I spend it with. I get to choose everyday if I'll put my energies into updating our corporate records, learning something new, cutting materials to move a project forward, or just taking some time and curling up by the fire with a good book. I am truly fortunate in that I can do all these things in any given day instead of trading a significant part of my day to an employer. I really like how I can be my own boss and make a difference at the same time.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70