Notes from Windward: #70


Reflecting on my Journey Windward

Opalyn describes a typical day

     This morning, I'm thinking about something that Walt wrote to someone who asked about what our life here was like. He wrote,

"Since our goal is sustainability--and marathons aren't sustainable--we strive for the feeling of this being a stroll through the park with friends. We usually gather for a morning walk at 9 AM, get together for our main meal and community gathering at noon, gather again at 3 PM for a snack before working a couple of hours on some community project."

     As you can see from Walt's description, we have some structure to our day with lots of time in between for personal or group projects. I've been a part of Windward for nearly two years now and in that time I've worked on numerous projects and gained new skills--interpersonal as well as technical. I am also gaining a sense of serenity as I learn that my past is more prologue than the current script of my life.

     This morning, I woke shortly after sunrise and enjoyed coffee and the Women's Guide to Snowboarding. I learned about what to look for in new or used gear so as not to waste my money on damaged gear--good info since I'll be looking for a new board as mine is delaminating. After preparing for the day I headed out to the mailbox to drop off some outgoing mail, and got some laundry started.

     At nine I met up with the crew for the morning walk--a chance to discuss plans and projects while getting some exercise and enjoying the beautiful region in which we live. We talked about selling some of our chickens, re-fencing a section of our southern boundary, and our recent freezing night time temps.

     After spending some quiet time practicing yoga, I headed down the hill to get some rope to string a spring clothes line--a real propane saver when the sun is shining. On the way back I wandered through one of our storage areas looking for some roofing material for another project that I'll talk about later. I caught up with Lindsay and we chatted about transplanting forest-grown baby conifer trees while I strung the new line then hung my laundry.

     One project I've been working on is repairing WallE, my Oliver Cletrac, bucket loader. WallE has a leak between the cooling system and the lubrication system so I have been slowly taking off parts to gain access to the engine.

WallE the bucket loader

     The next step was to remove the hood but it is not like a car where you just pull the hood lever then release the catch and lift the hood. I need to remove the radiator cap, air cleaner port, and the muffler then remove several bolts. The muffler had been modified and I was planning to cut it off then sleeve it back together. I was thrilled to find the saws-all in storage--almost deep storage--and headed down to the landing to cut off the modified muffler. This allowed me to remove the hood once I had taken four bolts out and disconnected the air cleaner from the intake valve since the air cleaner was bolted to the hood.

     One thing I learned while in Berkeley is the trick of cutting one or two of the hinges on a shipping container door that sticks or is hard to open and close. The Bridge containers are difficult to close so while I had the saws-all out, I cut two of the four pins out of one of the hinge sets. I will probably cut a few more in the days ahead but wanted to see how well it worked before I took out too many hinges.

three of the container doors have sticking hinges

     I still had a few minutes before lunch so I brought in some firewood and checked my email then headed up to lunch. MaryLou made frittata, black bean soup, and fresh biscuits--heartily enjoyed by all.

     That roofing material I mentioned earlier is for a covered structure for the new GEK. I want the GEK to remain outside but do not want it exposed to our precipitation. The pole structure is only 8'x12'x7'tall and it is designed to be covered with a tarp or corrugated roofing. Since I didn't find metal roofing, I searched through a collection of damaged tarps hoping to find one that would fit--I found several that were way too big or ones that would cover about half of the structure so I'll put a small tarp on the shopping list and finish that project in a few days. I'll also bring several concrete corner weights down to keep the structure anchored.

     After a brief conversation with Karen, I headed out to help Walt collect tools for cutting a doorway into a shipping container that Sarah would like to convert into an art studio. In about 1.5 hours we had the hole cut and I headed back to the landing to clean some rust off one of the bridge containers and contact my parts supplier for WallE.

     All that and it is only 4pm. I still have several hours to read, research, write, and enjoy dinner.

     In the evening, we sometimes gather to enjoy a movie together, and sometimes we just retreat to our private quarters to read or correspond. This is an active life, but one that also allow me time to reflect and grow.

     Sometimes, I do miss some aspect of city life, and when that happens, I take a couple of away days to visit with my sister, but it's not very long before the hustle and stress of the city exhaust me--and I find myself back in my Rav heading back to the tranquility of my forest home.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70