Monthly Archives: May 2011

A New Direction

I’ve been doing really well since dissolving the community aspirations for Maya Creek. I don’t feel as rushed, and have enjoyed taking long walks exploring the woods with Kita.

On one of those walks it really struck me how beautiful the land was, and how much it easily rivaled many of the parks I’d been to. That reminded me of my high school guidance councilor, and how I’d told her that if I could have any job in the world it would be to be a park ranger. Everything kind of clicked for me at that point.

Maya Creek Nature Preserve & Sustainable Campground

I basically want to set the land up as a private park and sustainable campground. Once the straw bale house is done, the campground upgraded, and the trails cleared I’ll start on my own home. Eventually I may build a larger building to have a space for retreats, workshops, and classes.

At some point whenever everything is set up at the campground I may start charging something for visitors who just want to camp.  I may also sell food and meals from the garden and start making the place financially sustainable as well.

People seem to think that I still want to start a community, but it’s really not even on my agenda. I want to get my own life in order, share the beauty of this place, the things I’ve learned and am learning.  Beyond that adding more people on a permanent basis gets complicated quickly and I’m liking simple.

Environmental Group Retreats

Sustain Mizzou from MU and ECO from Truman State came out for campout/work party.  Unfortunately the group from Truman could only stay for a tour since they had finals looming, but it was still great to meet them.  About a dozen people camped out, cooked veggies and marshmallows over the fire, and basically had a nice party.

The next day they helped clear out what I’m calling the North Ridge trail.  I didn’t actually get a chance to enjoy what we’d accomplished that day until I walked it a few days ago.  It makes a huge difference in how much you can enjoy when you’re not constantly dodging branches and watching your feet to make sure you don’t trip.  So thanks to everyone who helped out!  You can find more pictures of the event here.

This coming weekend May 13-15, the Missouri Student Environmental Coalition is holding their spring retreat out at MC.  Depending on the size I’ll probably put them to work clearing another trail and helping make some more raised beds in the garden.  I may also put some of them to work digging out a space for a small root cellar.

The Garden

I’ve really gone crazy making expanding the garden.  I’ve probably doubled the size of the garden from last year.  If one of my summer apprentices wants I’d like to continue expanding it until I’ve filled in the entire fenced in area with raised beds.  It’s probably a little over half way to that point now.

On May 4 there was a mild frost and killed back most of my potatoes and a lot of my squash, tomato, and pepper plants.  At the time I didn’t know how I could really protect the hundreds of plants, but in retrospect I should’ve piled straw up around them.  It’s lightweight enough not to damage them and easy to apply.  Next year I’m also going to start 3x as many tomatoes and peppers as I think I’ll need just to be safe.  Live and learn.

The Campground

I’ve gotten my camper positioned and cleaned out.  My plan is to live in the campground during the summers, at least until I get my own home built.  After this year though I’ll hopefully be living in one of the summer cabins we build, but the camper will do for now.  Jessica will probably be staying with me a lot more this year, although she did just get a small apartment in Columbia. I’ll be glad to have her around more.

As far as the new summer cabins go, I’ve got the site for the first summer cabin staked out and it’s a beauty.  It’ll have a really nice view looking into a wild field.  I now think that the cabins will have a simple tamped dirt floor, with a rubble trench curtain drain to keep them dry.  I’ve got some chisels and other wood working tools to make a simple timber-frame to support a metal roof and to wrap the scrap billboard tarp around.  I think I’ll call this new style, neo-rustic.  🙂


The little bitch is growing like a weed.  She’s already learned sit, lay down, and shake, although her biggest accomplishments are that she now knows that she’s not allowed in the garden and that she’s not supposed to chase the guineas or chicken.

The training shock collar has really worked wonders, but don’t worry, I hardly have to use it and when I do it has a vibrate option that works most of the time.  The noise I make to tell her she’s doing something she’s not supposed to carries a lot more weight now.  I probably won’t need to use the collar at all in the near future.

Watching her play makes any stresses I have seem silly.  She’s dug out a big crater in the middle of my sand pile, and I’m pretty sure she’d dig a den under a tree if given the opportunity. Also, she’s always picking up sticks, but we’re still working on the finer points of “fetch”.  Her favorite parts of our walks are when we take a break down by the creek and she goes bounding up and down it.


It looks like I’ll have a full crop of volunteers this year.  A lot of people have been finding me through a site called, which is set up sort of like WOOFing but for anything really.  There are hosts and volunteers, hosts can be anything from a family looking for a nanny in paris, an organic vineyard in Italy, or a beautiful nature preserve/campground/homestead project in mid-Missouri.  The hosts are expected to provide room and board and the volunteers provide about 25 hours of help a week.

At this point I’m still looking for one more full-summer volunteer.  I’m going to have 4 people staying for the summer, with a spot for a short-term volunteer that’ll keep changing all summer.  At this point the short-term tent space is reserved for 6 different people with only a span of 2 weeks near the end of June available.  It should be kind of nice having a new person to get to know constantly, not to mention all of the other different people coming for weekend work parties and tours.