We finally built two enormous compost piles yesterday! Tiffany and Andy each had an 8 foot X 8 foot X 5.5 foot space…. and filled them bountifully! I had the easy job…. working my newest toy… a used Caterpillar Skid Steer. Layer upon layer…. kale plants, wood chips mixed with horse manure from the finest stables in the bay area, goat manure, excess strawberry plants, chicken manure and straw from our chicken house, fluffy grass plants dug up from the garden, sheared off barberry and lavender plants. I was amazed at how long it took…. The three of us spent most of an entire work day putting the piles together. They’re named…. as each used to be and will be in the future… These are “Gregorovich” and “Justinian.” I think we’ll probably have to haul some tules down from the lake for the next two…..
Before the fires of this past October, we contracted with a federal program through NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) to create a fuel break, above the farm and camp area. Although we’ll be given some money for doing this (when the project has been completed), it’s not an exorbitant amount. You’d think that prevention is a good thing….. but as yet, that doesn’t seem to be the theme. Nevertheless, we had a crew of 12 chainsaw wielding men work for 2 days this January, cutting manzanita mainly, and piling it for burning…. all in all, six acres of vegetation. Since then, Kashaya and various members of our staff have worked diligently to get all the piles burned. Think 15 days…. an average of 40 piles per day. We still have maybe 60 more, give or take…. plus a bunch of branches along the road ready to be chipped as soon as the crew comes back to finish the job. The record number of piles burned was achieved today…. 57 piles.
Things were going quite well earlier, but without rain, it got drier and drier… finally figured out that it was much too dry to burn, when the fire inched out of the pile, through the dry grass, and up an oak tree, burning all the moss as it traveled. Whew! Below, the recored achieving staff at work!
Other projects abound! Casey and Ron have been working on revamping Blue Heron Lodge. Below, you can see some photos of the redwood wainscoting throughout the foyer, and the four new rooms (2 will have queen beds, 2 will have 2 single beds). Each will have a sink (forest green, if they come through….) A very practical evolution.
I wouldn’t have selected the wainscoting, if it hadn’t been in the big building…. put there about 20 years ago by Clive, who got it as a steal, I’m sure. We’ve spent any savings he got on the wood on paying Ron…. it’s taken such a long time to place three inch pieces of beautiful wood throughout. And that doesn’t take into account Justin and Greg spending days sanding the dirt and bird poop off each piece. But my, it’s glorious! And we have more room in the building! Casey’s manifesting the doors for each of the four rooms out of Douglas Fir that was milled out of trees growing in the camp area until a couple of years ago, when we had to remove them.
Tom comes out periodically…. bringing his sourdough for waffles. We had them Monday, and he’s promised them again this Friday, when Michael and Jill are supposed to come out to practice making pizza with Kashaya, the pizza Guru (he just got a portable wood-fired oven for his catering business in Virginia). After pizza Friday night, our friend Sean will be making sourdough bread for the local fundraising event in Willits, “Sip Some Soup!” (Emandal provides all the bread….). Not only waffles, though, Tom has been invaluable by showing new staff all about the weed-eaters. With a bit of practice, they should be able to wind string without even looking!
San Hedrin peaks out through the pruned branches of one of our apple trees. Andy and Tiffany have only a few more to go! And stretched out in the “Big Sandbox” or the volleyball court, depending on how old you are….. are approximately 5680 feet of drip tape, we hope is in good condition for this upcoming summer gardening season.
Never quite enough room for all the plants needed in our garden, but here some coming up! Just received a packet of “Dark Galaxy” tomatoes that went home with Tom….. who said he will bring them back when they’re ready to go into the ground. Lots of other varieties though. Yummm!
And ARTSTAYS Workshops just went up! Such a diverse group of amazing artists! Check them out! http://emandal.com/2018-artstay-dates-fees/2018-art-stay-workshops/
Family Camp… filled. Former Staff Family Camp…. a bit of room. Not Just Cowboy Poetry, September 22…. Don’t forget!