I wasn't sure if I'd start a brk thread, but in the spirit of absorbing myself more fully into all things Wheaton labs here I go. I arrived here just over a week ago after driving all the way from Pennsylvania. This was my first trip to the western US and I made the most of the journey. I took my time getting to Montana, stopping in so many cool places and sleeping mostly in my car at rest stops along the way. Going on an adventure like that and then arriving at Wheaton labs has been fulfilling on a level that is honestly hard to express. It's something that I had been hoping to do for a very long time. And finding the courage to finally go through with it has been an immensely rewarding experience unto itself. I am grateful to everyone back home who misses me but still genuinely supports me following my bliss.
Now that I am here I am ready to contribute and to learn. I have a background with growing food and building soil, but I have very little experience in natural building and most other things permaculture. So I am especially happy to be here during the cold months where I should be able to focus on honing those skills. I already feel that I have learned so much in just one week.
Anyway, I've never been one to share my experiences or thoughts online but I will do my best to post here semi-regularly and I hope that it will be semi-interesting to any of you out there following along. And feel free to say hello if you are. Any interaction/ encouragement/ advice would help me to feel that I am not speaking into the void.
I started off the day building a firewood rack for outside Cooper Cabin with Stephen. There's plenty for me to learn even during building something this simple. Beginner's mind is always a good approach, and it's easier to do when you truly are a beginner. The key going forward will be to keep my humility. It also helps that Stephen is a thorough and patient teacher. After we delivered that to the cabin we also made some improvements to the existing rack inside Cooper so that wood can be sorted by levels of dryness. After that we made it back to basecamp to clean up the shop, and then I met up with Grey and Caleb to harvest some junk pole. Grey explained to me what to consider when deciding what poles to harvest. Size, proximity to other trees, growth habit, zonal edges, and privacy afforded are some of the many things to consider before cutting. After lunch we headed to the sawmill with admittedly low expectations. Things started slow as Grey and Caleb made several inevitable adjustments, but they seemed to finally make a breakthrough and were eventually able to mill some good lumber.
I started off yesterday finishing insulating the solarium. Considering this is where I sleep, I was definitely happy to get this completed. I've been comfortable in there but now the mornings should be a bit warmer and the rmh should require less wood.
Later on I got a chance to man the saw mill with some guidance from Caleb. There were plenty of knots on the ponderosa pine that we were cutting but I think we managed to get a decent amount of usable boards. It's been really cool to see the sawmill finally running smooth after all the time and effort Caleb and Grey put in to dissecting and understanding the intracices of the machine.
I started off the day sluggish after waking up in the middle of the night wishing I had eaten one less slice of pie. I guess that's what happens when there are 7 pies for 10 people. But I was feeling good after drinking some apple cider vinegar and splitting firewood.
Grey, Julia, and I spent some time planning on where wooden boxes would be most useful. We focused in on places where plastic containers were currently being used and were likely to eventually break if continued to be used. After lunch me, Fred, and Grey designed and started to build 4 boxes for event plates, bowls, and mugs. They should look really nice in the classroom when completed, and more importantly should be super functional.
I built some simple shelves for the bunks in the solarium. Just a safe place where you can put a book, your glasses, your phone, or whatever else you like to keep nearby while you sleep. I also "repaired" the outer fabric on a finger of my work gloves. It was my first time sewing anything so it felt like a win even if it's not pretty. I think it will hold up for a while, and even if it doesn't at least it was a chance to practice a new skill.
Yesterday I helped Fred move a couple of toolboxes to the "shed" on his plot. The shed is actually just a platform right now, so we had to find a way to protect the tools and the shed floor through the winter weather. We used logs and junkpole to make a frame for a billboard tarp. When we finished with the frame and put the tarp on we saw that it was just short on the sides. It was getting late and the snow wasn't forecasted until Wednesday so we called it quits and decided we'd come back the next day to add another tarp. Unfortunately the forecast was wrong and it had ended up snowing several inches over night. Luckily the tarp kept out most of the snow and we were able to clean off the rest and get the second tarp on before more snow arrives tomorrow.
Get me the mayor's office! I need to tell her about this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda