Notes from Windward:
Snow, ice and cold outside;
snug and warm inside.
CINDY: A lot has happened over the last month or
so. For one, we're finally having winter. As I sit here
there's about two feet of snow on the ground, and
we're supposed to get more. Some of the snow has
actually been melting on days when the sun comes out
and warms things up. The only bad thing is that when
it freezes again at night the path gets very slippery.
We all have to be very cautious walking up and down
This is actually our third snow this winter.
Our first snow (only an inch or so) came
in the middle of December, well before the big ice storm. The
snow wasn't a problem, but the rain and freezing rain
that followed it was.
The freezing rain turned the layer of snow on
top of the barn into a heavy solid sheet of ice which
became so heavy it collapsed the arched roof. We had
thought the ice would have ripped the plastic, but in
most places the plastic was strong, and it didn't break
through. We had just stretched a tarp over the middle
section where there were a few holes, so even that
section held. We were planning on replacing the
plastic this year anyway; now that's no longer optional.
|Year 8||Number 3||February 1996|
Bob2 spent days jacking up and putting supports
under the arches. During that time, it continued
to rain and we spent days catching rain and melting
ice in barrels under the rips that had developed in the
plastic. Bob kept at it, knowing that the next storm
which could come any day. We finally got all the
snow, ice, and water completely off the plastic, and
Bob got the arches mostly raised and supported. The
result was a bit bent and shaken, but we were all
impressed by the job Bob did in repairing the damage.
The barn roof collapses under the
weight of snow, rain and ice.
JOYCE: Our facilities are so much better this winter
than a few years ago, that it's good to remember all
we've accomplished. Three years ago, installation of
the water lines hadn't been completed and we managed
pretty well without running water. Walt and
Bob2 hauled water every week, from several miles
away, for the animals; we hauled water from the
small, original well for the kitchen and personal use.
Since then, not only do we have a full compliment of
underground water lines, but our second well in on
line and we have two storage tanks; one 5,000 gallons
and the other 800. We've also purchased a 1,300
gallon tank that will become an underground tank for
We were still using a large army tent as a
barn, and have since built a 18x40 greenhouse which
is being used as a barn. We were also using one of
the smaller trailers as a kitchen. In fact, in the four
years I've been here, we've moved the kitchen three
times, each time to a bigger and better facility. At this
writing, we even have two side-by- side stainless-steel
ovens on line (for lots of baking!). By this summer,
we plan to have the deck on Charlie finished which
will allow us to seat twelve at a time comfortably.
Last year, we decided to delay work on the large
dining hall in favor of other projects, but we're still
acquiring needed equipment such as the commercial
dish washing machine. Making the step to a fully
commercial kitchen is a big one, but it will also mark
a real point of progress.
The last two years we've been working on the
garage, with its three 10x20 bays and two full stories.
The roof is on and two of the bays now have cement
floors. 1996 should see it walled in and online.
We've refurbished three trailers, purchased
four storage units, two of which have extensive shelving,
and added lots of tools, equipment, and several
vehicles. The garden has been extended, and there's
talk of adding a second garden area this spring. We
were lucky to have a large trailer donated to us last
year that will become Cindy and Tamara's new home,
in addition to having a "pop-out" room large enough
(20x18) to be used for classes or as a craft center.
There are always projects that don't get finished
when we'd like, and although we have a long
way to go, we've accomplished a lot. The winter is a
good time to reflect and plan for the work ahead.
WALT: Some things are different at Windward, and
some things are no different here than anywhere else.
You could look at Windward as an experiment in
cultural anthropology, which is fair enough since life
out there looks that way to us. The important difference
is that in this experiment, the "mice" are busily
remodeling the maze to suit them better. The tricky
part with doing that is that the way we think things
work may or may not have a functional correlation
with how things really work. Remodeling a house is a
risky business if you don't know the difference between
load-bearing and non-loadbearing walls; knock
out the wrong wall, and the roof can come down on
your head with the first heavy snowfall.
We all live in a social structure of one sort or
another, and it's hard to say which "walls" bear the
load and which don't. Some of the cultural "walls"
surrounding us aren't needed any more, while others
are as critical as ever, and it's very hard to know
which is which. That's one reason why we put a good
deal of effort into examining the history and theory of
personal and social interaction. It isn't a matter of
whether or not we want to participate in this process
of social reformation; we live in a time of change, in
an age when the nature of change itself has changed.
Our choice is only whether or not we want to be a
conscious part of the transformational process. All of
us everywhere are being swept along at an ever quickening
pace, like a group of people rafting a wild river.
We can choose to cower in the bottom of the boat, or
we can grab an oar and help guide our craft around
the rocks, but either way we're all caught in white
water for sure.
One reason people come to Windward involves
a vague sense that something is missing in
their lives, and a part of that has to do with the lack of
relevant rites-of-passage. These rituals once served to
convey an individual through the psychological and
cultural barrier which separates the adolescent from
adulthood. One of the profound changes that our
society has undergone involves the almost total loss
of these rites. While it's easy enough to say that these
rites serve no real purpose, that they don't really
change anything, that isn't how it works on either the
emotional or the social level.
"Oh, you need that rite of passage
The Windward Foundation is a non-profit corporation of the State of Washington. Windward is an equal opportunity organization which does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or national origin. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors.
The Windward SIG is a special interest group of American Mensa Ltd. comprised of members and friends of The Windward Foundation. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and not of Mensa, which holds no opinions.
Reader's questions and comments are invited.
Permission to publish is assumed unless expressly withheld.
Copyright 1996 by The Windward Foundation Press. Other publications may reprint any portion provided credit is given, and a copy of the reprint is sent to the Editor.
55 Windward Lane|
Klickitat, WA 98628-9710
before you can continue on,
that brace of understanding
you can lean your dreams upon.
You may want for children,
you may crave for man and wife,
but you need that rite of passage
to the summer of your life."
- Doogie McLure
One of the currently popular "rites of passage" for
adolescents is the Ropes Course, a program
which utilizes "a series of ropes, cables, trees and
poles structured into elements which require a
combination of balance, agility, coordination and
cooperation" [Dr. James Banning]. Ropes Courses rely on
seven elements known as the Blocher Model: involvement,
challenge, support, structure, feedback, application
and integration. Ropes Courses work because
they create a context within which substantial personal
growth can occur.
This is relevant to us because Windward also has to
address the degree to which we establish those conditions.
People come to Windward for a variety of reasons, but
mostly because they were unsatisfied with where they were.
If we are going to be able to offer them an effective and
authentic passage from where they are to where they want to go,
then we have to establish those seven conditions.
While the successful creation of a viable context for
change isn't enough in and of itself, it's as far as
we're willing to go.
My goal is to see that Windward
is effective at enabling people to achieve their fullest
potential, and that this process comes about in a way
that is uplifting and empowering. That's a large order
to deliver on, and we spend a good deal of organizational
effort figuring out how to best go about doing
this. People come here because they want change, and
it's our challenge as an organization to find ways that
we can assist them in their personal quest for some-
thing better; a challenge which requires us to continue
to evolve as well.
IAN: Tat and I have been busy in the kitchen lately,
cooking and baking lots of stuff. Tat will tell you
about the baking part of it. As for the cooking part,
here's our menu for the first week of January, '96.
Jan 1: London Broil, Green Beans Almandine, Baked
Potatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms & Mushroom Gravy,
Deviled Eggs, Lettuce & Tomatoes, Garlic Bread,
and my Home-brewed Sodas. Desserts were leftover
goodies from New-Year's Eve - Brownies, Fudge, and
assorted kinds of Cookies.
Jan 2: Steak Sandwiches (from the leftover London
Broil), Jo-Jo's (aka Steak Fries), and Baked Beans.
Jan 3: Reuben Sandwiches with chips & pickles.
Jan 4: Turkey Tetrazini (chunks of turkey in a mix
with spaghetti, mushroom soup, cheese and broccoli),
Garlic Bread and Peanut Butter Cookies.
Jan 5: Hamburger Casserole, Fruit Cocktail.
Jan 6: Quiche, Waldorf Salad, Buttermilk Biscuits.
Jan 7: Leftovers!
WALT: Winter is Windward's quiet time. With the
rain, mud, sleet and snow, we don't get many visitors,
and after the relatively hectic pace of spring, summer
and fall, by Thanksgiving everyone is looking forward
to the tranquility of the winter season. Many tell
us that our rolling hills are beautiful when the leaves
are green and wildflowers carpet the ground, and
while that's true enough, there's also a special beauty
only seen during those months when Windward is lost
in the clouds.
That beauty really struck me this morning as
I started to head down the grade toward the river.
Windward is 1,200 feet above the Klickitat River and
there's a point where the view is breathtaking. The
prevailing westerlies bring warm rain in from the
Pacific, but during the winter it alternates with the
cold, arctic eastern wind. This cyclical pattern creates
many unusual weather effects, one of which is a thick
fog that can settle in here for much of December.
Then, once that weather system breaks up, the
Chinook winds return with their combination of warm
rains and dazzlingly blue skies. While the hills warm
up quick enough, the deep river canyon remains cold
and frozen, and lost in a thick cloud of fog.
This morning, as I started down the grade,
lying some six hundred feet below was a thick cloud
completely obscuring the course of the river. Those
driving along the river would have thought of it as
fog, but from my vantage point high above it, it
looked more like a long, serpentine cloud. The contrast
between the deep blue of the sky and that dark,
foreboding cloud was striking, and so I pulled over to
take a few minutes to savor the beauty of it.
Down there, skimming right above the
clouds, a lone eagle made its way along the canyon
edge; I was very touched by the quiet beauty of the
scene. After a few minutes, I got back in the truck to
resume my journey. As I wound my way down the
grade and into that cloud, I could still see, in my
mind's eye, that majestic bird slowly circling above
me. I really like living in a place where eagles go
about their business while I go about mine.
IAN: I'm currently reading a book on baking
home-made bread, and I plan on making some in the
near future - more on that in the next issue. Since it's
been cold lately, I haven't been doing any brewing,
but as soon as the weather warms up, I'll resume
production of mead and sodas. I sent several bottles
of mead, wine and soda to my Dad and Sister for
Christmas. While the mead and wine traveled to the
East Coast intact, 5 of the sodas exploded in transit!
(EYUCHHH, such a mess!) SO... I've got to come up
with a way to STOP sodas from fermenting in the
bottle indefinitely. I'm going to try pasteurizing a
batch and see what that does.
Pasteurizing involves letting the sodas ferment
in the bottle for a week or two, then placing the
bottles in a pot of water, heating it gradually to 140
degrees, holding it for at least 15 minutes, and allowing
them to cool slowly. Hopefully, this will kill the
yeast, without affecting the flavor or fizz of the sodas.
Tamard and Joyce come out to enjoy the first heavy snowfall of the season.
A large boom truck swings another septic tank into place. This one's for "Finney" trailer which will serve as our classroom and teaching kitchen.
CINDY: A few days after Christmas, the snow
started falling again. It came down all
afternoon and on into the night. We
worked on and off during the day
pushing the snow off the plastic to keep it
from building up and collapsing the
barn roof again. David, one of our holiday
guests, helped Bob work through
the night to continue pushing the snow
off the plastic. When I came down to
feed the goats Friday morning, there
was a note from Bob letting me know
he had worked until about 4:30 a.m. to
get the structure reinforced and push
the snow away. I was thankful to have
Heather J's help feeding and getting
water to the goats as well as her help
bottle feeding the kids.
So here we are with our third
snow of the winter that started off with
about six inches a week ago Thursday. By Friday
morning we had at least a foot, but this time, the
snow triggered a completely different set of problems.
Thursday evening we had our first winter
power outage. Normally, this would be no big deal.
With a propane heater and lots of blankets on the bed,
staying warm is no problem and we had flashlights so
we could see to get around. The real "problem" was
that we were watching the movie Outbreak on video,
and the power went out just about five minutes before
the movie ended. Just at the most suspenseful part,
off goes the power. Drat!
When we woke up at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning,
we still had no electricity and no phone, i.e. no
way to find out if school had been canceled. I opened
the door, saw a foot of snow on the ground, and told
Tamara not to worry about getting up because she
wasn't going to school that day. The power came back
on between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m., and shortly afterwards,
the phones were working too.
I was still curious whether or not school had
actually been canceled so I called the school. There
was a message on the answering machine that the
homecoming game was canceled because chains were
required between Klickitat and Yakima. If there was a
question about anything else, the answer was to call
back on Monday. At least they had the priorities
JOYCE: I learned to sew when I was a child and
have fond memories of both my grandmother and
mother teaching me to knit, crochet, embroider and
sew clothing. My first stab at design was in seventh
grade when I made two skirt-and-blouse outfits,
choosing both the patterns and fabric. I continued
making clothing and household items for years, but
eventually I turned my attention to other endeavors.
Windward has provided new avenues for my
interest in needlework and fiber arts, mainly because
of our involvement in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
We needed costumes, so I started sewing. I
didn't have patterns, so I designed my own. At first,
that was a simple matter because twelfth century
peasant folk wore variations of the T-tunic. Embellishment
caught my interest and I started embroidering hems
and cuffs. Then I researched period designs
and generated my own design based on what was
actually produced during the 12th and 13th centuries.
I generally embroider strips of fabric, much like the
trim you would buy in a store, so it's a simple matter
to carry my work around with me. In the days when
women hand spun wool, they carried a drop spindle
and bits of scoured fleece with them all the time--so
I'm simply adopting a very old concept.
I'm designing more than just clothing these
day and quite enjoying the process. We'll be having
our annual Wool Fest event April 6-7, when we invite
people up to watch the sheep being shorn and take the
fleece through scouring, picking, carding, dying, and
making felt or spinning, both by drop spindle or
Washington State University's Extension
Office in Goldendale is offering Master Knitting and
Crocheting classes, much like their series on Food
Preservation and Life Skills. I'm looking forward to
learning advanced knitting techniques such as
designing my own patterns. If time allows, I may try my
hand at the advanced crocheting classes, too. Al-
though it's easy to point out the shortcomings to
living in a rural area, there's also lots of good things
about the country, too. Time is one of them--the
options on how to spend it are endless.
CINDY: December 21, 1995: This the 11th day in a
row of kidding. About two-thirds of the herd have
already had their babies in less than two weeks. At
this point we've had 39 kids born, some of which
were stillborn or died shortly after birth. It isn't really
unusual to have a percentage of kids die, especially
since this isn't really the season for birthing.
Today we also had 3 lambs born. The sheep
are usually earlier than the goats but not this year.
Although the sheep are still ahead of schedule. We
usually don't get births until January. This year both
sheep and goats held an early breeding season.
WALT: Windward is about community, and while
that's especially true of life within Windward, it's
also important to remember that Windward is part of
a larger community. Klickitat is a small county, and
as such, it affords us a number of remarkable
opportunities for civic participation. Any intentional
community is at risk of what we call "closing the
circle" or becoming so internally focused that you
lose track of your role in the larger world. One way
we strive to avoid that is by seeking out ways that we
can be of service. One sign that Windward is
achieving its goal of becoming part of the larger
community is that we've reached the point where
more opportunities seek us out than we have
resources to support.
Last fall, I was pleased when I was asked to
become part of the new, revitalized Klickitat County
Search and Rescue. Although every county is required
to have a SAR under the authority of the county
Sheriff, in most counties the relationship between the
Sheriff's department and the SAR is less than optimal
(I'm being diplomatic here.) Our new Sheriff has
revitalized our SAR and is well on the way toward
making some very positive changes.
Recently, I was asked if I'd accept an
appointment to Washington State SAR Incident
Command School, and I've decided to accept. This
will start in the spring with a week of intensive
training on managing the operations center of a
search-and-rescue incident. Given the range of
possible incident conditions in Klickitat County,
between the rain forest to the west, the alpine terrain
to the north, the drylands to the east and the
Columbia River to the south, I expect that a week's
training will only scratch the surface.
There are lots of good altruistic and
communitarian reasons for volunteering to be of
service to your community. There is also one very
important, direct benefit that shouldn't be overlooked.
The people who volunteer within a community are the
people who really understand the concept of neighbor.
They are the real community, and they're the ones
who can be counted on to make a difference. How do
you get to meet and know the people who really count
in your community? By volunteering and becoming a
part of the process of making things work, you'll gain
the opportunity to work with and know these people.
The Klickitat River washes out the road into town.
CINDY: Dec. 22: Today is the first day in awhile
that I've been able to get a good nap. The goats are
giving us a break today. Maybe the rest of them will
wait 'till next month so we can catch up with
WALT: This winter has been rough on our physical
plant. First a small tree came down and put a six inch
hole through the roof of one of our trailers. Then a
tremendous ice storm put an inch of ice on the top of
our greenhouse/barn and did substantial damage.
Then last week, another heavy snowfall broke the
ridge support in our woodworking tent, so as winter
progresses, the toll it's taking continues to climb. The
old-timers talk about really heavy snowfalls, and in
comparison to what they reminisce about, we haven't
seen anything to speak of. Still, until we can get more
of our permanent buildings constructed, winter will
continue to be a stressful time.
This is a view looking back in the opposite direction. All in all, more than four miles of road were flooded, undermined and washed out by the flood. To get a bit of perspective, if you look closely you can see a stalled and flooded pickup truck.
On the one hand, destructive engineering is a
time-honored way to develop a new system. That's
were you build something and run it hard until
something breaks. Then you toughen up that part and
go at it again and again. In time you'll evolve a
rugged design that will stand up under stress. While
this is an effective enough tool, you want to make
sure that the learning curve isn't so steep that you fall
off. That's one reason we have two basic growth
styles at Windward. The first involves putting up
whatever will cover the immediate need, and the
second involves building something strong enough
that no conceivable stress will damage it. In our early
days on the land, we ran the race with winter in order
to get enough space just to be able to function, a race
which we always lost. Now, as Windward matures,
we're able to spend time doing things in a more
deliberate manner and on building things that will last
longer than we will.
Part of the change has to do with the
difference between growth and development. In our
early days, we were struggling to barely cover the
bases. Looking back, I shudder to think just how thin
we were stretched at times. We're still not "out of the
woods" and I don't think we'll ever truly want to be,
but at least we're to that point in our journey where
going forward is a shorter journey than going back.
WAYNE: Well, the holidays are over. The food was
good and weather was nice, so it wasn't too bad in
spite of being out here in no-man's land. Took the TV
outside for two of the three days of Christmas
weekend. Watched the box till eleven at night, and
Mike even saw a few hours of it, a rare occasion for
Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, we
got a little winter, but it didn't bother the wildlife as
much as the people. One big owl is still around and
the woodpeckers, crows, finches and two raven are
seen often. If you walk far enough away from the
buildings, the deer tracks are really easy to find in the
snow. Then nice weather for a week. Near the middle
of January, we got snow. At first only a few inches,
then a foot, then a little every day. It settled some, but
in undisturbed areas it's now near two feet, and me
with no snowshoes. No wind at all so no drifts, but
those we could walk on; this is deep powder and
tough to walk in. Everything is buried that was
outside, so the place doesn't appear near so cluttered.
On the way back from Goldendale on the
25th, saw a large eagle fly right over the hood of the
pickup. Nearly a six foot wingspread, but probably
young as the feathers on its head were still black, not
the color of an adult bird. Have to envy a bird like
that as it can just pick up its feet and fly away, while
I'm stuck here on the ground.
This morning at 4:30 it was seven degrees on
my thermometer, too cold for me. After living in
Minnesota, I never wanted to be in a place this cold
again and here I am! If I had any brains at all, I'd have
been in Hawaii or Tahiti for the last twenty years
instead of this idiot country. San Cristobal las Casas
in southern Mexico would be pretty nice also. Dream
on. Now it is six below and my feet are freezing.
TAT: Being a Cook at Windward!
I have been here at Windward for about a
month now, and have been working in the kitchen. I
take a hand at cooking the main meal, but the best
thing I like about cooking is baking. Around
Christmas time, we started with cookies--peanut
butter with dates, peanut butter with raisins and just
plain peanut butter. (Yes, we have a lot of peanut
butter!). We also made some terrific chocolate chip
cookies and rich, gooey fudge. Next, we went on to
pies and cobblers, both cherry and apple.
But there is a bad part to all this baking--I've
gained about ten pounds since Christmas and don't
see an end in sight!
WALT: We get a steady stream of inquiries that
usually ask the same sort of questions. One that
frustrates me is "How can I make money at
Windward?" That's frustrating because to give a
comprehensive and enlightening answer to that
question requires a long discussion. While a complete
answer to that question is a long one, I'll try to keep it
There really are only three ways that an
individual can acquire things: steal them, beg for
them or trade for them. The first part is referenced in
an old Jewish saying that observed that the man who
does not teach his son a trade, teaches his son to steal.
We all have to live, and if things become desperate
enough, most people will do something rash.
Some will choose to beg in one form or
another, and while that is a well established role in
modern society, Windward isn't about teaching
people how to become better beggars. Once people
get caught up in the entitlement mentality, there really
isn't much that Windward has to offer them. For a
variety of reasons, a remarkable network of programs
has evolved out there that the "enterprising"
individual can take advantage of. Our society is so
productive and so wasteful that for those willing to
live that sort of life, the beggar's bowl is remarkably
It's the third path, trading for what you want,
that is Windward's focus, but in order to play a role
in that game you first have to have something of
value to trade. If you can't ante up, you don't get to
play, so the question then becomes, "what sort of
value can you offer?" While it is possible to utilize
one's inheritance as trading stock (for example, one
can trade on one's youth, at least for a while), but
that's a trap too since time will quickly diminish
transient assets such as youthful beauty and strength.
So, the question derives down to one of how
you can go about creating value. The specific answer
to this question is different for each person, since the
particular talents and interests that can be developed
differ with each person, but the basic routine is
similar. When you find out what you can do that will
serve the needs and interests of others, the first and
hardest part of the battle is won. The next step is
"merely" one of perfecting that craft, skill or ability
to a level of excellence. I say "merely"since it's a
matter of persistence, patience and practice, qualities
which all of us need to work on. A lot of status and
regard is given to intelligence, but Edward R. Morrow
had it dead right when he observed that "industry is a
better horse to ride than genius."
Lots of people who ask that question seem to
be looking for an easy way out, and that's not what
Windward is. Part of the irony is that while this is a
valid route to a more simplified life, there's nothing
simple about a back-to-the-basics lifestyle. For the
dependent person, nothing is simple because
everything is contingent on external forces and
resources. One way to simplify your life is to sever all
entanglements, but while that's effective, it's a
solution that will impoverish your existence in the
same way that the guillotine was the French "cure"
for migraines. Independence is a condition which
occurs when you achieve substantial control over a
life worth living; it's not a matter of whether or not
you live alone.
Along the Columbia River, the run-off was so severe that this stretch of train track was completely undermined leaving what looked like a suspension bridge.
JOYCE: We continually review our structure and
focus, talk about what's working and what isn't,
discuss possible changes, and try and anticipate the
possible downside to any changes. As you might
guess, it's easy to postulate the positive effects, but
it's a lot tougher, and more important, to ferret out the
possible negatives. Long term readers of the Notes
know we've gone in new directions the last few years,
and shelved some ideas along the way.
It's tough to know where you're going when
both the players and the playing field is in flux, and
that's one reason new people aren't involved in
long-term planning. A fresh voice and eye can be
invaluable in relaying how we're perceived by others,
but is of lesser value in deciding whether or not to
take action or change direction. New people have
great ideas, too, but those with more time at
Windward are better able to decide whether
something will work or not. Problem solving is
difficult for any group, but when you're dealing with
volunteers, each coming from different perspectives
and with varying degrees of ability, it's especially
tough. Then there's the fact that we each seem to have
a slightly different vision and version of where we are
and where we want to go.
I think you can see just how difficult group
dynamics can be, and it's something we're constantly
working on. I've come to share Walt's vision that
Windward will always be a "work in progress." I
derive satisfaction from seeing things finished, others
prefer to see a lot of activity. Different personalities,
different visions. That's one reason it isn't a simple
matter to describe just what Windward is all about,
because it isn't always going in the same direction.
Joyce stops to welcome a new lamb to the flock
IAN: It's Winter - cold, snowy, very pretty to look at,
but a pain to get around in! So far, we've had more
than 3 feet of snow - not all at once, but one batch
doesn't get to go away totally before the next batch
falls. The current accumulation is around 2 feet.
Getting around in this is a little difficult for me, for
several reasons. As most of you know, I'm shy one
leg, and have a prosthesis. While it works well
enough on "dry" land, it gets bogged down in snow.
The hydraulics in the knee are unable to overcome all
of the drag induced by the snow, so I have to walk
slowly and carefully to make sure that the leg is
straight out when I put my weight on it, otherwise, I
"fall down and go 'BOOM!'" My trailer is nowlocated behind Charlie (the kitchen) so I don't have to
worry about navigating the hill anymore. In good
weather, I can get from my place to the kitchen in
about a minute, now it takes five minutes to make the
same trip. I went down to the Landing recently (in
the snow) and it took me twenty!
So far, though, I've been careful, and I've
only fallen down a few. The cold and damp also
affects my stump, sometimes so much that I can't
wear my prosthesis. (Anyone with arthritis knows
what kind of effect cold, damp weather has on joints
and injuries). If getting around with the prosthesis is
difficult, getting around on crutches is even more so!
But, caution and perseverance pay off, so I'm able to
get around as much as I need to, regardless of the
means of locomotion.
During the really cold weather, the ewes stayed close to the barn. With their thick wool coats and exothermic rumens, they weren't really bothered by the cold.
CINDY: A little over two months ago I found out
about the Extended Degree Program for Bachelor of
Arts in Social Sciences offered by Washington State
University. Joyce picked up a brochure for me, and I
called for more information. WSU sent me a packet
of information along with an application for
admission and an application for financial aid.
I was already a little late getting started since
classes for the spring semester were to start on Jan.
14, '96 and the application for admission should be in
"no less than 60 days prior to the first day of the
semester you intend to begin." I rushed to get my
application sent in then sent to Dalton Jr. College for
my transcript. I had completed the courses at Dalton
Jr. College to earn my AA degree so I have the
required credits to transfer to WSU. Next I filled out
the application for student financial aid and sent that
off. The next month was a series of filling out
paperwork and waiting.
As the time got closer to the 1st of January, I
finally received the award letter from WSU letting me
know that I was eligible for a Pell Grant. I sent all
that paperwork back in then called to register for
classes. At the time I called, my admission
application was still being reviewed, and it was going
to take a few more days before they could tell me
whether I had been admitted. Less than a week before
classes were to begin, I got the call that I was
admitted. I called my academic adviser to help me set
up my classes and got registered for two classes. I
called the book store to order my books and study
guides, then waited.
I discovered that the videos for the classes
were available from the library in Goldendale. I got
two tapes from the library, and watched the first two
lectures from the Anthropology, Gender & Culture
class. could tell that this was going to be an exciting
class. By the time I finished watching the second
Social Psychology lecture, I knew that this class was
going to be an interesting one too.
I didn't get my books until last week, so I'm
already a week behind in reading. I think with a little
extra effort, I should be back on track by next week.
Wish me luck.
From Cindy's sociology journal. "I breast-fed my
daughter Tamara for 18 month. I had a lot of
supportive people around me, so I wasn't made to
feel that breast-feeding was a strange thing, especially
for 18 months. However, not everyone thinks that
breast-feeding is a "natural" thing to do. It is still
difficult for women in this country to breast-feed in
public situations. If you are feeding on demand, and I
was, sometime you find yourself facing a public
situation. I always tried to be
very discreet but not let the
situation prevent me from
giving my baby nourishment.
I remember one time we were
in a restaurant in a corner
booth (I was with 4 or 5 other
people), and I thought we
were pretty much out of view,
so I discreetly started nursing
Tamara. Soon there was a
complaint from one of the
other tables that I should not
be nursing in public. This
took me a bit by surprise,
first because I didn't think
anyone could see us that
distinctly, and secondly
because they had to be
watching. I respect other
people's privacy and think
it's rude to watch other
people's tables in restaurants.
I try to have more of the Japanese concept of privacy,
not watching or overhearing others' conversations
even though being in close proximity.
Bottle feeding replaced the breast-feeding
our grandmothers thought of as not only a natural
way but the only way. In just a few generations,
we've moved away from the natural way and only
some of us have gone back to it. Natural childbirth is
also a thing of the past that only some of us have
gone back to. I had a midwife to guide me through my
pregnancy and help me give birth to Tamara. I had
her at home with my "family" of friends to give me
[Walt: Tamara's birth remains one of the
true highlights of this ongoing adventure we call"Windward." The whole "family" gathered close
when Cindy went into labor and it was a coming
together that I'll never forget. Happily, we video
taped the birth and it's a remarkable snap-shot of
Windward in it's early days.]
JOYCE: It's the end
of January and a frigid arctic weather front hit the
Pacific Northwest yesterday. This morning, it was
seven degrees below zero, the coldest I can remember
in the last four years. But beauty came along with the
cold sunrise. Gold and rose colored streaks decorated
the pale blue sky, and three-foot drifts of virgin snow
covered everything. The trees are edged with white,
the sheep's wool crusted with snow, and icicles cling
to the sides of trailers and buildings.
Although there were ice
crystals on the inside windows of
my trailer this morning, my
propane heater soon warmed
things up. The last few weeks have
been a good time to write, work on
costume designs, and sew for the
SCA Estrella War in Arizona next
month. Walt will be heading down
to see Bob1 in Laughlin and I'll be
in Phoenix visiting friends and
family--then on to the War!
Winter is what we refer to
as our "slow" season. Some
Windward residents head south,
and our stream of visitors dwindles
to zero. Not wanting to deal with
the elements is understandable
from the standpoint of creature
comfort, but those of us who've
made a commitment to each other,
and to our vision of community,
have learned that the tough times
are what bond us together. It's an easy task to make it
through a spring sweetened with wild flowers, a
bright, sunny summer and the crisp days of autumn.
It's quite another to stay through the winter, and I'm
somewhat proud to be one of those stalwart diehards.
This is the second time I've experienced what
I call the "winter wall." It's when I feel desperate to go
somewhere . . . anywhere . . . even with the road a
sheet of ice. I get the blues and feel out of sorts about
nothing in particular, or everything. Fortunately,
talking it through works pretty well, and Walt is
patient enough to listen to me talk about wanting to
"get out of Dodge," then remind me that the sheet of
ice on the road means it's not a good time to head to
town. In the past, we've had people give in to that
emotional pull and end up stranded with their
headlights pushed up against a tree.
Cindy and Bob are managing with the
animals, and that's a tough job right now. The sheep
and lambs seem to prefer being outside to the
shelters, and most of the kids spend a lot of time in
the barn. The kitchen is humming along with hot
meals and conversation, and we're all tucked in for the
storm. It'll pass soon enough, and we'll be looking
forward to spring.
Two lambs find a dry hide-away under the pickup truck.
CINDY: January 6, 1996: By the end of the 1st week
in January, suddenly we had lambs all over the place.
While I was walking down the hill to the mailbox one
morning, I noticed two lambs, one black and one
white, calling desperately to their mama down the hill.
They were trying to follow her, but she had gotten
way ahead of them. Then I heard her calling back to
them from across the road. They went running after
her as fast as their little legs could carry them. They
looked like they could hardly be a day old.
We did have two more kids born in
December, then one the 2nd day of January. So far
there haven't been any more. I think it's pretty safe to
say that we'll have another cycle in about three weeks.
Sometimes the snow's just too deep for a little kid to come out and play.
HEATHER J from Portland: Hello, I'm Heather J
(using my middle initial instead of a number!). I visit
Windward whenever I can escape the big city and just
had my first opportunity to experience winter there.
When I left Portland, it was 45 degrees, blue skies
and mild wind gusts. I arrived the day after Christmas
to small specks of snow as I settled in. Everyone tells
me that Windward usually has its first snow around
Thanksgiving, but this year was different. Some
thoughtful person specially ordered a shipment of
snow after I had safely reached Klickitat.
With snow covering everything in sight by
the next day, I switched to boots and enjoyed the
flowing white carpet over the earth, and snow
hanging on to the green lichen in the oak trees. Another treat for this city kid was an early arrival of
baby lambs and a whole swarm of goats! (I doubt if
swarm is the correct term, but after getting mobbed
by the kids at feeding time, it seemed to fit!). Since
the kids don't normally arrive until February or later,
again I figured someone decided it would make a fun
Christmas present for me!
The snow continued to fall, and after
checking out the white mound that used to be my
Toyota, I decided to extend my stay. I spent my time
bottle feeding kids, helping in the barn and kitchen,
learning to play "Set" (an unusual card game with
Tamara being the Windward champion), creating
snow creatures and throwing snowballs (sorry Ian--you
just made too good of a target!).
By the week-end, things were melting and
with Joyce and Walt's help, I made it safely down the
hill. How nice for someone to arrange a thaw as I was
getting ready to return to the city. It's always with
regret that I head back to Portland, but at least the
drive was a lovely mixture of snow, fog and
waterfalls. And that's how I spent my Christmas
CINDY: January 27, 1996: About three days ago as
I was walking down to the barn for the a.m. routine, I
spotted two tiny white lambs. I could tell as soon as I
saw them that they were newborns because they were
so white. The older lambs are now a little more off-white.
Some of them are also a little over a month old
now, and they are really getting big. We'll sure have
early lambs for market this year!
JOYCE: The last few years have seen people come
and go for various reasons, but our number continues
to average around a dozen. Windward is always
changing, but the major shift I see is in our culture.
We've been steadily moving away from the original
concept of an intentional community to one of a
transitional center. Life transitions come in all shapes
and sizes, some good and some bad, but Windward
seems to be a good place to come to terms with the
process. That keeps some people here, but seems to
move most people on to other places.
Although that wasn't the original concept,
we've decided it's a worthwhile purpose. We've been
kicking around the idea of a mission statement, and
will probably use the concept of a transitional center
as a focal point. In looking back over the last few
years, I think that's what we've probably been all
along. It just took a while before the picture came
together, and we became comfortable with how it all
looked. We've often talked about change, and we
seemed to be waiting to find out what the final
product would look like. I think Windward will
always be an evolving concept and that's just what
transitions are all about.
Heather J., Bob2 and Cindy out enjoying the snowfall with Penny
WALT: Part of the process of evolving from being
growth-focused to development-focused involves
reassessing certain perspectives that, while important,
have had to remain in the background. The old
Greeks had a saying that you should first acquire an
independent income, and then pursue virtue. That
may sound a bit cynical, but it holds a lot of truth.
As we develop, what standards should guide
us? What standards are going to be relevant
tomorrow? Certainly one of the great changes already
underway involves the shift between the wholesale
utilization of natural resources towards a society that
strives to preserve as much of our natural heritage as
we can. More and more, I become convinced that
mankind will have to shift from being earth's
conqueror to its steward.
What principles will guide that shift? Last
summer I came across one man's declaration of those
principles. "I pledge alliegance to the earth, this
unique blue water planet. Graced by life, our only
home. I promise to respect all living things, to protect
to the best of my abilities all parts of our planet's
environment, and to promote peace among the human
family, with liberty and justice for all." A.W. Bauer,
There's a lot in that which draws me. On the
other hand, it's not that simple since some parts are in
contradiction with other parts. The future, like the
past, is sure to be constructed from the resolutions of
those contradictions. Rand observed that there really
are no contradictions. When faced with an apparent
contradiction, she advised, check your premises, since
at least one is wrong. In order to make a future that
works, we're going to have to check a lot of premises.
Douglas Chadwick wrote that the
Endangered Species Act of 1973 "was nothing less
than a rudimentary bill of rights for non-humans, an
attempt to guarantee a future for as many as possible,
even if doing so required real sacrifice on our part."
What sacrifices are we, as individuals and as a
species, really willing to make? Here in the Pacific
Northwest, great changes are underway in the
relationship between man and the environment, but
perhaps the greatest shift involves the growing
awareness that this question itself is invalid, that the
conceptual dichotomy which semanticly implies that
man and the environment are separate entities is
wrong at its very root. We've spent the last millennia
mastering the earth; we'll probably need to spend at
least the next one mastering ourselves.
"In the relations of man with the animals,
with the flowers, with the objects of creation, there is
a great ethic, scarcely perceived as yet, which will at
length break forth into the light." - Hugo
CINDY: 10 February - This flood has us really
isolated, but fortunately we are on a hill 3 miles back
from and about 1,200 ft. higher than the Klickitat
River. For the past two days we've had no electricity
or phone service except for a short time Friday
afternoon. There has been no mail and no school
I rode down to Klickitat with Walt in our 4-wheel
drive pickup truck using the logging road
parallel to what was Highway 142 but higher.
Looking down at the River along 142 was quite a
sight. Water still covered 142 in places and mud and
debris in other places showed how high the water had
been. I was fascinated as I looked down on the houses
surrounded by the rushing water that covered what
used to be the highway. It looks like the damage is
going to be severe since the river seems to have cut a
new channel clean through the old road.
Another remarkable sight was where the road
used to enter the town. Looking down from the
logging road I could see that a section of 142 next to
the mill had been completely washed away. A big
chunk of the road was gone!
At this point, there's still water covering the
bridge we use to get to Goldendale and we're hoping
it doesn't get washed away, or so damaged it has to
be replaced. If that happens, we'll be isolated from
the county seat for quite a while. There are also
several places where Hwy 142 south from Klickitat is
washed out too. That's going to make getting to The
Dalles (where we do most of our shopping) and
Portland much harder. The only way to get anywhere
is to take the back roads, and some of those roads are
passable only with 4-wheel drive vehicles.
[Walt: we're having to take a detour across the high
prairie. Where it normally takes 45 minutes to get to
The Dalles, it's now taking an additional hour, BUT
at least we can get in and out.] With both of the
roads through the Gorge closed due to mudslides, not
even the mail is getting through.
JOYCE: When dealing with new people, we ask
them to focus on their own needs and wants, and to
get in tune with their hopes and dreams. And, of
course, we ask them to pitch in and help, either in the
kitchen or with the animals. After a few months,
things seem to coalesce--at least for us. We get a feel
for their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and how
they fit in with the team. And sometimes, how theydon't.
After a few months, people settle into a routine
and their initial, best behavior slides into what we can
reasonably expect to be normal behavior. That's when
we start to take someone seriously. "Beginnings" are
easy, but it's the long haul we're interested in.
I found that attitude hard to accept when I
first came to Windward. After all, I'm a serious,
Type-A personality and I like to get things done. Why
couldn't I just do something that I saw needed to be
done? Because although we don't talk about it much,
Windward does have a hierarchy and those who've
been here longer, and who have a commitment to
stay, have a bigger say in what should be done. Now,
that hierarchy shouldn't, and doesn't, stop somebody
from deciding to take on a one-person project such as
general purpose clean-up in community areas (that's
just one example). Except for during the really cold
weather, I take daily walks, carrying a bag with me to
pick up "stuff" that seems to accumulate without any
effort at all. Sometimes it's on Windward property,
sometimes the county or logging roads.
Tat's only been here about a month, but he's
running a recycling program and has taken
over the 3/4 mile stretch of road I usually keep
picked-up. Not only are cans an eyesore,
they're worth five cents apiece. Then there's
scrap aluminum, tin, copper, etc. Tat discussed
his recycling ideas with Walt, who gave the
initial okay for the project, provided barrels
and a commitment to take the "stuff" in to
town. There are still some details to be worked
out, but this is a modest example of how a
new person can take on a project that benefits
Other new people are very good at
pointing out all the things that need to be done
around the place, and wonder loudly why "we"
aren't doing them. New people quickly learn
that isn't a good way to get things done. The
really smart ones, we call "volunteers."
Walt working on the belt sander preparing baraks for hot forging.
Scott of Richmond, Va writes: Thanks for the
letter and the newsletter about the Windward
Foundation. Although I am not currently able to move
to a situation like Windward, it is something that I am
I have a number of questions about
Windward. The main one being - How is Windward
governed? What systems of belief are at work there?
I guess my main exposure to a community
like Windward is Twin Oaks, a community in rural
Virginia that was founded with B.F. Skinner's Walden
2 in mind. I visited it in high school and have met
several of its members. They produce hammocks and
tofu for "export" outside of their community. One
thing I did not like about Twin Oaks was censorship.
Although they are pretty easy going, no movies are
allowed that contain violence or anything that might
Personally, I am more interested in
alternative communities that have urban settings, at
least at the moment. I like living in the city and I feel
like if the human race is ever going to come to grips
with the overpopulation it will have to utilize urban
living of some sort.
[Walt: Windward is governed by a Board of
Directors chosen by the membership through a
process that balances a person's voice with the
amount of time and resources they've invested. For
a more detailed understanding of how the process
works, I'd recommend taking the time to study our
Our personal belief systems are fairly
eclectic, but the points we hold in common have to
do with a strong work ethic, a commitment to
diversity and self-reliance.]
Spider of Vancouver, BC wrote in part, "I agree with
you that the challenge is to make the deal seem
relevant and interesting to the young'uns - and I'm
damned if I know what the hell Gen-Xers want. I
don't really understand why we stopped having the
Sixties, if it come to that. Didn't everybody else enjoy
it as much as I did?
"One thing I know: Back-To-The-Land lost a lot
of its currency when the Evil Empire went tits-up.
Seems much less likely now that living off the
country will ever be a necessary skill again in our
lifetimes. Good old nuclear apocalypse: who ever
thought we'd be nostalgic for it one day?
[Walt: the loss of the Evil Empire may very
well be lulling people into complacency, but there's
more than one road leading to social collapse.
Perhaps its my Southern heritage, but I've always
feared civil war more than foreign aggression, and
I'd argue that the social fabric is stretched almost to
the ripping point. If push ever does come to shove,
we've settled ourselves into a location which is
highly likely to weather the storm.
Still, I don't spend much time thinking about
the downside when this lifestyle has so many
positive dimensions. I guess the difference between
my perspective and that of the archetypical
survivalist is that while I do want to be as prepared
as I can reasonably be for whatever the future has
in store, still I really do hope that society somehow
finds a way to keep squeaking by. While it's nice to
have a jack and a spare tire handy if needed, it's
nicer still to keep on making progress towards one's
Preparation and contingency planning
aren't sexy, and nobody really wants to hear about
the dark side of the future anyway, so we try to
concentrate on all the positive things we can do to
make Windward a better place; the fact that we're
also taking pains to prepare for the future, be it
good or ill, is just part of how we do things.
Brewster of Portland, OR passed along this quote:
"What is intellectually interesting about visions are
their assumptions and their reasoning, but what is
socially crucial is the extent to which they are
resistant to evidence. All social theories being
imperfect, the harm done by their imperfections
depends not only on how far they differ from reality,
but also on how readily they adjust to evidence, to
come back into line with the facts. "
Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed, 1995
WALT: This capacity to react to reality is intended
to be a key element of Windward's culture. Even our
name, which references the way a sailboat tacks
back and forth as it beats into the wind, is intended
to remind us that we have to work with the wind,
that we can't bend it to our will. And while it's true
that all social theories are imperfect, still you have
to have guidelines and plans, or else you can't hope
to make any progress at all.
General Lee observed that no plan of battle
survived contact with the enemy, and that the
purpose of a battle plan was to provide a context
from which each of his generals could improvise in
a coordinated manner. This recognition of the
combined need to plan beyond the plan was one of
the reasons Lee accomplished as much as he did.
Windward spends a lot of time hammering
out its vision of what it's doing, and polishing the
operational theories that we rely on, but we always
try to remember that it's our theory that has to fit
the world, and not the other way around.
David of San Mateo, CA wrote: "The current issue
(8/2) also reflects nicely the maturing of Windward,
both in the sense of being physically solid and in the
sense of emotional (not the right word, but I'm in a
hurry) stability -- you're actually able to do some real
planning (and execution), rather than being at effect
of the environment. It's refreshing and reassuring to
see the change."
[Walt: one of the key reasons why we
create this newsletter is to facilitate the process of
planning our future. What you plan is one thing,
and what you wind up actually doing is often
something quite different. That's as true for an
organization as it is for individuals. Since humans
are more rationalizing than rational, it's important
to put things down in writing, not so much in an
attempt to bind the future to the vision of the
present, but rather to establish a linkage between
where we've been and where we're going.]
Fern, currently wintering on Lake Meade outside of
Las Vegas, Nv. writes: "As to what I've been doing...
I have been ladysitting for the past weeks. My friend,
Mary, who lives down the street from me at the lake,
has a sister who is housebound. Her caregiver had a
lot of family problems and a bad back, so she took a
hiatus for the holidays. I owe Mary a big favor and
she asked me to take over til the gal could come back
after the first of the year.
I can't believe it is only 4 yrs. til 2000. I can
hardly wait. What will we see!!! How will this old
world wag in the second millennium?? Things are
progressing so fast and I don't want to be left behind.
Why couldn't I have waited a couple of decades to be
born?? What are the wonders Tamara will see when I
am dust?? Maybe I'll make it to a hundred and see a
I have lost about ten pounds and will lose
more when I get back home... I gained back a few
over the Holidays, of course, did you?... I am trying to
talk Tiny into coming back with me in the Spring. We
are saving our money to take a trip to Costa Rica
sometime. Don't know the time table, but you will
know when I do.
Hope you are all well. Sounds as if things are
being done and things being accomplished. I'll look
forward to seeing it in the spring.
[Walt: Fern turned 80 this summer, and her
energy and enthusiasm are a challenge to us all.
Back when we first made the move onto the land,
Fern operated our kitchen out of her 30 RV, so she
was an important part of Windward back when
things were really challenging. Now that things are
much better and we have more people wintering,
Fern has taken to "snow-birding" and spending the
winters near Las Vegas. That's where Windward
came into being, and we still have lots of friends
there, so winter's a good time to catch up.]
Walt: We get a fairly steady stream of inquiries that
ask the usual sorts of questions. I keep meaning to
put together a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
flier, but it hasn't happened yet. Here's a typical set
of questions and answers.
"How long have you been living together?"
Windward is in it's 18th year, and has had
it's own land for 8 years. Some of us have been here
from the start, others only come and stay for a month
or so. We're officially recognized as a transitional
center, and we see the provision of support for people
working to make positive changes in their lives as a
worthwhile service. A life worth living has to have a
component of service in it, and that's as true for
organizations as it is for individuals.
"What type of jobs do you have?"
Our people work a range of jobs, or none at
all, as suits their situation and interests. One option is
for people to go away and work intensely for a few
months and then spend the rest of the year perusing
their personal interests. Since our lifestyle is a self-reliant
one, our financial needs are modest anyway.
One point I would make is that Windward exists to
serve it's members; it has no employees. We feel it's
important to keep from investing too much power and
authority into the organization and strive to insure
that it works for us instead of the other way around.
That gives rise to a number of subtle differences
between Windward and other groups, but all in all, it
works. There is a monetary dimension to what we do,
but it's always secondary. If someone wants to be
here, there are many ways to make the money side of
the equation work out.
How are decisions made?"
Group decisions are made by a council of
four full members (two years or longer) who've been
chosen by the full members and one apprentice
(someone chosen by those with less than two years of
membership). Individual decisions are made by the
individual. We try to maintain a clear and functional
difference between needs and wants, with the
understanding that the cooperative exists to help us
met our needs in a collaborative manner, thereby
freeing each of us as individuals to pursue our wants.
"What are relationships like with your local
We have good relations with our county, and
have worked long and hard to make that so. I serve as
the VP of the Board of our County's mental health
services provider and have recently been selected as
Incident Commander for Klickitat County Sheriff's
Search and Rescue. Joyce serves as the Chair of the
Family Services Network, a state-appointed board
which oversees prevention funding and activities in a
two county area, and both Joyce and Cindy are
Washington State University certified lifeskills
instructors who regularly give classes at the County's
request. Cindy is also a WSU certified Master Food
Preserver and Cheese maker.
Being a supportive part of our community is
important to us, and I'm impressed that you realize
just how important it is. Many city people seem to
think that if they move to the county, they'll no longer
have to concern themselves with social relationships.
In fact, the opposite is true; in the country, people
depend on each other and it's important that they
know Windward as an asset to Klickitat County. We
work hard to make that so.
"How's the weather usually?"
This year has been a rough one for weather,
but usually our weather is temperate. We generally
have a month in the winter when it's too cold for
ready comfort, and another in the summer when it's
hotter than we'd like, but the rest of the year is quite
pleasant. We get 16" of rain a year pretty much
confined to a rainy season which runs from October
"Would it be possible for me to visit, and are you
accepting more people to live with you?"
We generally restrict visiting to those who've
already become subscribing members. We figure that
if someone isn't willing to spend $15 for a
subscription to our newsletter, and do some
homework, there isn't much point in investing much
more time in them.There's no end to places where
people can go to mess up; we'd rather that they didn't
do it here.
Windward is a volunteer project, and each of
us is here to pursue our own goals and dreams. Each
time someone "drops" by to visit, they take up hours
of time. If they're seriously interested in whether or
not they might find a homebase here, then that's time
that needs to be spent, but if they're just "tourists"
looking for a few hours of amusement and diversion,
then we've got better things to do.
Lots of people fail to realize that intentional
communities need to have the blessing of their
counties in order to even exist. Sure, you and some
friends can rent a house or buy a piece of land and get
something started, but sooner or later you're going to
run smack up against land-use regulations that
determine what you really can do with land you
Our conditional use permit authorizes
Windward to have up to 21 full time residents. Our
numbers rise and fall with the seasons (for example,
some people prefer to spend the winter months on a
house boat on Lake Meade in Southern Nevada) or
with seasonal employment but within the last year our
low was 9 and our high was 15, so yes, we do have
the potential of adding more permanent residents.
Numbers growth isn't our goal, but we're always
open to new and interesting people. Over the years
people have felt drawn to Windward, and relying on
that has worked out well enough for us.
Now that you've gotten a copy of the Notes
to read through, you'll have more of an idea of what
we're about. If you're still interested then I would
invite you to pursue that interest, and if you're not
then please take a few minutes and tell us about that
too. It's always hard to perceive how others perceive
what you're doing, and we appreciate any feedback.
But before I go, I want to talk about two
problems that are implied by what you've passed on
about yourselves. The first is that you're already a
community of 4; the challenge of integrating two
existing communities (i.e. your family and
Windward) is't trivial since there's going to be some
inevitable conflict between the two.
On one hand,
Windward wouldn't reject you because you're a
couple, but on the other, the dynamics of coupling
often implies the reverse. If the premise is that your
relationship to each other comes first and that your
relationship with the community would inevitably
come second, then we have a problem. While we
understand why and how you'd feel that way, it's a
losing proposition for us. Your decision to join
Windward would require that we work to form an
authentic and valid relationship with you, but if your
interpersonal commitment requires that you can't
reciprocate, then even with the best of intentions,
you're setting us up to fail.
Community can mean a lot of different things
to different people. It's a powerful technology which
like fire can either warm your home (if used wisely)
or burn it down (if not). Finding a working balance
between your interpersonal and our intrapersonal
forms of community is a real challenge. I'm not
saying it can't be done, or that it can't be done at
Windward; I am saying that it's tough to do well.
The second problem has to do with
vegetarianism. We're deeply committed to
sustainability and to stewardship. To that end, we
raise goats, sheep, chickens, etc. These animals form
a vital dimension of sustainable life, and Windward
wouldn't be Windward without them. Each of these
animal systems exist because they convert things we
don't want to eat into things that are good for us to
eat. Sometimes the connection isn't obvious; the
sheep produce wool that retains body warmth, thereby
allowing us to get by on less food. Other systems
have subtle benefits such as the way range chickens
keep fly larve down without the use of pesticides.
These animals are integral parts of the
sustainable life, and inherent in these technologies is
the production of meat as a by-product. We take our
involvement in stewardship and husbandry very
seriously, and consequently the consumption of meat
is and will probably always remain part of what we
are and what we do. We certainly agree that people
eat entirely too much meat these days, and that meat
with hormones and preservatives isn't good to eat.
While we don't raise meat for its own sake, still it is
part of the natural order. These domestic animals
have served mankind for millennia and we feel a bond
and a kinship with them; Windward will continue to
work to see that the future has a place for them as
Book Report: Reading and books form a key part of
life at Windward, and one of the joys of cooperative
life involves sharing good books with each other, and
being able to talk about the interesting things learned.
David Lowell wrote a while back and suggested
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: a search for who
we are by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I found it
It's a study of life and our relationship to it,
as well as our relationship to the other primates.
Sometimes that can be defined by asserting what they
are and sometimes by what they are not. What is a
human, and what qualities are uniquely human? This
book makes it hard to cling to the ancient believe that
humans are substantially and definitely set apart from
other forms of life.
Two points that the book brought up stand
out in reflection. The first has to do with morality and
humanity, and our believe that we as a species have
some sort of patent on these concepts. Sagan relates
an experiment with Rhesus monkeys in which two
monkeys were caged side by side. In order for
monkey A to get fed, he had to push a lever. When he
did that, he got food but at the same time monkey B
was given a painful electric shock. 88% of the
monkey chose to go without food rather than hurt
their neighbor. Indeed, one of them went two weeks
without food rather than see his neighbor be hurt.
When the monkeys were exchanged so that monkey B
now had access to the lever and food, none of them
would administer the shock to the other monkey.
The second experiment Sagan related had to
do with cooperation. The experiment was set up so
that two rats had to each press a lever at the same
time in order to get food. The experiment was tried
using females, castrated males, castrated males with
testosterone implants and intact males. The test
subjects were further divided into rats that had lived
with others and rats who had lived alone.
Females and castrates learned to cooperate in
short order, but implanted males and intact males had
a much more difficult time learning how to work
together in order to get fed. And males who had lived
alone never did figure it out. We're still debating the
significance of that experiment. For people in the
"cooperating biz" that's pretty daunting.
Is testosterone incompatible with cooperative
association? I don't want to think so, but I'll relate an
observation that I've made. I go to a number of
conferences each year, and I noticed that at one
involving the provision of housing for the mentally ill
that out of a hundred men in the room, none were bald.
Statisticly, that's way out of line, and while it
may have been a fluke, it also may have something to
say about the role of testosterone in cooperative
Editorial Note: If you've noticed that the appearance
of this issue of the Notes is subtly different than
previous issues, it is. There's a saying that one year in
the life of a computer is equal to seven dog years, and
the passage of time finally caught up with the trusty,
old 286 that we've been using to put the Notes
together. Over the holidays, we made the change over
to a Windows-based 486, and that involved an
upgrade in our word-processing software.
The changes from Wordperfect 5.1 to 6.1 are
substantial, and many of the settings that madeup the
form and look of our newsletter are no longer
functional. We've had to recreate the "look" using
new software, and while we've gotten it pretty close,
there are some subtle differences. Over the next few
issues, we'll be exploring the nifty options that 6.1
offers, as well as learning to cope with the changes
involved in working within a Windows environment.
Given the "excitement" of the past two months, we're
just glad to get the Notes out before the end of the
month. We're going to try to make up some time
before the next issue is due out in mid-April, but
we'll have to see how that goes. It's going to be a
very busy spring.
The Winter of 96
First it was the wind. Even though we're
fairly protected by the ridge that shelters Windward
from the prevailing northwesterly winds, there are
times when the wind can shift around to the southeast
and come directly at us. Because of the dry conditions
that have been plaguing the Pacific Northwest for the
last decade, a greater-than-average number of trees
have fallen susceptible to the pine beetle. When the
weather reports started predicting record winds, Bob2
and I decided to get to work and bring down any of
the dead trees that looked like they could fall on any
of our buildings.
An afternoon spent with chainsaws
and cables brought down a dozen trees just in time,
and so while the wind did blow and shake the
remaining trees, we were able to escape any further
damage from falling trees. Come spring, we're well
started on putting up next winter's wood supply.
Wind velocities of more than 150 mph were recorded
on the coast, but our mountains shielded us yet again.
It did blow, but while the show was impressive, no
damage was done.
Act Two was freezing rain. Once winter sets
in, we're snug and alright, but it's the transition times
that cause the most stress and damage. What will do
the most damage is a foot deep snowfall that then
turns to rain, or worse yet, freezing rain. The snow
soaks up the rain, and gets progressively heavier, but
at least with the rain, there's some run off. With the
freezing rain, there's no run off, just a steady
accumulation of more and more weight. That's what
we got this year, and by the time the ice cap was an
inch thick, it was too much for the greenhouse/barn.
The weight buckled the supporting ribs, bent the
walls out and a roof that once was a beautiful arc
turned into a strange undulating shape.
In engineering, this sort of event is called
"destructive design." The idea is that you build
something, stress it until it breaks and then strengthen
that part. Now that we know where the barn will fail
under heavy load, we've added structural support in
the form of heavy, aircraft cable that prevents the
walls from bending outward and the roof from
buckling down. Bob2 worked on slowly drawing the
walls back into place using chains, come-alongs and
cables, and soon after the snow melted, he had the
roof remarkably back into shape. Looking at how
bent the support pipes were, I never thought that he'd
be able to get it back into shape as well as he did.
For Act Three, nature turned cold, very
cold. For almost a week, the nightly lows were below
zero, and at the worst the temperature dropped tofifteen below. That was really cold, and since the
lambing and kidding had come early, we were really
worried about the toll the weather was likely to take
on our newborn. Sheep and goats are ruminants, and
the digestive process is highly exothermic, so they're
little heat engines in their own right. In Switzerland,
the animals live on the bottom floor while the people
live above them in the second story. That way the
considerable heat that the animals give off can rise
and keep the people warm. People can talk about a
"three dog night" all they want; it's goats and sheep
that can get you through the really cold spells.
What we were afraid of was that the little
ones, since they lack both body mass and a working
rumen, would fall subject to the cold. In fact, we did
lose a kid during the cold spell, but it appears that it
wasn't really the cold that killed it. The goats, and
especially the kids, tend to pile up in a heap to keep
warm, and we think that the kid just got suffocated on
the bottom of the pile.
This is our eighth winter on the land, and
each year we are better prepared for winter. Although
I wouldn't try to say that we were "prepared" for 15
below, still I'm proud to report that the water system
kept online right through the coldest part. Our
systems are constructed as a series of concentric
systems. During the summer we enjoy such amenities
as our spacious, solar-heated summer showers. As the
weather becomes more inclement, we fall back and
rely on more standard indoor showers.
As things get colder still, we shut down more
systems as we keep fewer and fewer spaces heated.
Even at the coldest point, we still had running water
available at the freeze proof faucets. That may not
sound like much of an achievement, but in previous
winters we've gone for months without running
water, so it's a major accomplishment to us. While
the supply lines to the kitchen did freeze during the
coldest part, we were able to get that problem
analyzed and solved, and in a couple of days we had
the kitchen running again.
And then came Act Four, the rain. Normally,
our weather comes west to east across the Pacific, but
occasionally a weather formation called "the
Pineapple Express" sets up and funnels rain clouds
directly from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest.
Usually February is a wet month for this area. The
record rainfall for Portland for the month of February
had been 9.5 inches; this year the "Pineapple
Express" brought that much in a single week. While
the mountains shelter us from the constant rain that
makes Oregon the butt of so many jokes ("How can
you tell when it's summer in Oregon?" "The rain gets
warm."), still the more rain they get, the more rain we
In just a couple of days, three feet of snow
turned to mush, slush and then run-off. You didn't
have to be a weather wizard to figure out what was
going to happen next. While the first three acts of this
winter's drama were exciting, the last part will remain
unforgettable. In a few short days, the Klickitat
carved and reshaped itself.
Over the past eight years,
I've driven the highway along the Klickitat a few
hundred times. Since the river and the life it shelters
fascinates me, I've come to know a lot about its
nooks and crannies; now, all that is just history, since
the Klickitat has redesigned itself. At its peak, it
spread from canyon wall to canyon wall, and where
there once was a bend in the river, now the river splits
into two strong channels that create an island where
no island used to be. Pasture land along the river
where deer used to graze is now nothing but a field of
stones, and roadways that ran along the bend of the
river are completely gone, swept and scoured away.
The paper says that the Federal damage
estimates for Klickitat County are totaling up to
$13.3 million, which comes to about $800 for every
person living in Klickitat County. For a county that's
lost most of its industrial base, it's hard to understand
how they're going to make up that kind of loss. With
the closing of the mill, the town of Klickitat lost it's
only sizable employer, and now the river has dealt the
town a crushing blow. Of the thirteen million in
damages, they're saying that the town of Klickitat
suffered $2.3 million in losses.
How did Windward fare in all this? Well,
other than the damage to the greenhouse/barn, some
erosion to our road, the stress of the cold and the
inconvenience of having to use logging roads to get in
and out, Windward came through just fine. I've seen
floods before, and when we selected land to make our
home, I knew better than to give all that beautiful
bottom-land a second thought. If you build in a flood-plain,
you get flooded out; with nature, it's that
simple. At Windward, we're sheltered from just about
everything except forest fire, and we're working
steadily on reducing that danger.
We did lose about a half-dozen of the lambs
and kids, but oddly enough it wasn't the bitterly cold
weather that took that toll, but rather the rain that was
the killer. So long as the little ones were dry, the cold
didn't matter all that much, but two days of hard
driving rain evidently chilled some of them to the
point where their mothers couldn't keep them warm
There are a few interesting conceptual
legacies to come from this. One has to do with a
better understanding of just how isolated we are here.
While we don't feel isolated, it seems that most of the
rest of the world doesn't know Klickitat County
exists. It was most strange, and more than a bit
galling, that the news reports kept talking about
Oregon's Great Flood, without evidently realizing that the river has
two banks. It's hard to have a flood on only the
southern bank of a great river, but for all the news
coverage we got, it might as well have been that way.
Another shift in our perceptions has to do
with the question of whether or not we work to make
the new trailer, the one we call Finney, energy
independent. Extending grid power over the water hill
to that trailer won't be cheap; if we instead go ahead
and install a renewable energy system, then no matter
what the power does, we'll have a system that will be
fully functional. There's work and effort involved in
using and maintaininng a renewable energy system,
and I've been concerned as to whether or not the team
would be willing to learn what needs to be learned
and do what needs to be done in order to make it
After three days without power, I sense a
heightened appreciation for the concept of energy
independence. None of us at Windward are
"survivalists" who look forward to cutting off ties
with the larger society which surrounds us. On the
other hand, none of us likes being dependent on the
outside world to the degree that things "out there" can
disrupt what we're doing here.
Now that it looks like the Winter of 96 is
behind us, we're getting ready to embark on an
aggressive and ambitious plan of construction and
development for the summer season. Morale is high
and everyone seems to be filled with plans for things
to do as soon as spring arrives. Even though there's
still snow on the ground, the heart knows that it's the
end of February, that the snow won't last and that
spring is waiting just over the hill. If you squint your
eyes just a little, and look real carefully, you can see it