April 7, 2012


Justin digging a new water line to the chickens

My name Justin Croft, intern, and I came to Windward after my first quarter at The Evergreen State College. I have a deep interest in the workings of intentional communities and I hope to further the overall mission of Windward while providing my own creativity and passion for the growth and evolution of this research cooperative.

This is my background note. It will set up the basis for the rest of my notes, while neatly explaining what I'm doing here and why. I want to start off with a bang, but I need to get out the prologue first and this is it.

My motives for coming to Windward were mixed to begin with and now that I'm here they have become more fluid and less defined. But my over-riding goal in interning here is to be a part of a community that has weathered the storms of 30+ years and still runs strong. I want to discover what about this place and the people who strive for the mission of Windward is so resilient and powerful that could keep it going through thick and thin. I will be researching all the little eco-wise homesteading practices that are being revived and evolved here.

When I came to Windward I was introduced to all the facets of a working homestead that I was totally unfamiliar with. It's not that I've never been exposed to any of these things before. But the practical aspect of the smallest chore is often not realized until you are performing it and you see exactly how necessary so many things are to the equilibrium of the whole.

I have been assimilated to the level of being trusted to perform certain daily chores on my own. This is not extraordinary by itself. It makes sense that I would be expected to pull my weight in all areas of the workload. But it is amazing what such simple routines can do for your overall learning experience. When I am milking the goat or feeding the birds or rabbits on a regular basis, I am unconsciously cataloguing all the necessary knowledge and skill subsets. Repetitive action is a very powerful teacher and experiential education, especially in this natural environment, is an exceptional way to internalize the lessons learned through practicum.

Justin bottle feeding Billy
A goal that I am working towards during my time here is to understand how this community has evolved from its inception; both in physical layout and execution, and also in the social network that maintains cooperation in good humor and makes the daily processes run smoothly. I will be delving into certain handcrafts. I want to witness and streamline the entire process of harvesting wool from the sheep, all the way to wearable garments. I am also interested in making necessary tools by hand to understand the application of cultural crafts as fundamental as woodworking. I will also be laying out working plans and groundwork for the Windward complex and trying to understand how everything works independently and together. I will be conducting research to find out the most cost-effective ways to gain a marketable college degree while based at Windward for the benefit of future aspiring stewards.

Finally I will be taking part in a long-term project to document Windward as it stands now and through any events that I witness here as thoroughly as possible for the archives in hopes that future comparison can show definite positive change. I look forward to cataloguing my progress in these endeavors and finding and exploring new ones while here at Windward.