Monthly Archives: January 2011

Help Wanted

Update: I still have space for one more summer apprentice, and I’m starting to get my short-term volunteer tent pretty booked up for the summer. (5/7/2011)

The more time a volunteer spends, the more interesting or creative the tasks they’re given tend to be.  For instance, someone coming out for their first time for a day wouldn’t be given the task of setting up a beehive.

Here are just some of the projects we’ll be needing help with this summer.

Summer Cabins

We’re looking to build a number of cabins to replace the tent platforms and tarp system we’ve used the last couple of years.  The number and design of these cabins has yet to be determined, but we will try to use salvaged materials as much as possible.

Finishing Visitor Common House

I will be finishing the common house and would be interested involving a work exchanger help on a number of projects.  These projects will include finishing the floor, putting in the interior plumbing and walls, digging and installing a rainwater cistern, and building a solar hot water system.

Because of the nature of many of the projects it may not be a full-time position and the apprentice could also be in charge of the communal garden as well as helping on any other projects or projects of their own creation approved at a community meeting.

Common Garden

This year in the garden we would like to focus on growing staple crops such as potatoes, corn, squash, and possibly beans.  We would like to continue sheet-mulching the food forest area around the vegetable beds and plant them with different edible/medicinal perennial or self-seeding plant guilds.

Apart from general weeding, watering, and pruning, other desirable projects for the garden would involve setting up the partially constructed top-bar beehive, digging/building a small root cellar, collecting materials and building large compost piles, and the construction of a greenhouse/tool shed/coop building.

An extended-stay volunteer or apprentice would be preferable to accomplish many of the larger goals, but many of these are not immediate needs and if there are a limited number of work exchangers available one may split their time between the common house and the garden.

The Living Situation

All extended-stay volunteers and summer apprentices will be asked to work 5 hours a day, 5 days a week on average.

Currently the housing situation consists of 5 various-sized tents with covered platforms that have mattresses and limited shelving.  Apprentices and volunteers are in charge of their own bedding.  The other facilities consist of a composting toilet, solar shower, and open-air kitchen.  There is a small solar power system on the common house which is capable of charging AA and AAA batteries, cell phones, and running laptops for short periods is possible.  Most people can get a weak cell phone signal on the property, and internet access is available on a limited basis.

Laundry can be done at one of the two laundromats in Fulton.  Other facilities may be available from friends of the community located nearby, but this would be subject some limitations on volume and frequency.

As far as food goes, we would like to have a rotating cook position this year.  Every day a different person would cook lunch and dinner and be responsible for cleaning the dishes used to cook.  Everyone else would be responsible for cleaning their personal dishes as well as their own breakfast.  The people cooking will receive community credit for time spent cooking and cleaning.

Tao will donate all the beans and rice that could possibly be needed.  Other ingredients will come from the garden as well as from dumpster diving.  If cooks want to buy other ingredients for community meals that’s their prerogative.  There are also a large number of herbs and spices available in bottles and in the garden.

Drinking water will be provided.

Spice of Life

It’s to be expected that we’ll all want to try our hands at the different projects to mix things up and get some different skills.  Weather often dictates which projects can be worked on, so often we may all be working together on the same project.

There will be at least one large community party on the 4th of July weekend, and festive work parties on the second Saturday of each month will continue to be held.  Apprentices are encouraged to take days off if they begin to feel burned out.  Nearby Columbia offers numerous activities and has become quite good at attracting excellent musicians.

Many nights are spent around the campfire talking while others choose to read or do other hobbies.  If you have any musical inclinations or hobbies please bring whatever you might need or want, just remember that storage space is limited.

Sign me up!

Great! It’s always exciting to meet other people with similar interests and aspirations.  Give me (Tao) a call or shoot me an e-mail and tell me about what you’re interested in doing and how long you’d be available.  Things will get going at the beginning of May and probably stop some time in November depending on the weather.