‘Midsummer Mayhem’ as I called it featured a large bonfire, a pickup truck pool, lawn games, garlands, and me in loin cloth and antlers for fun.
The major summer accomplishment was getting the 2nd layer of plaster done on all of the buildings. The 2nd coat is the most labor-intensive coat, and involves sifting, mixing, and applying a large amount of plaster. I owe a lot to my volunteers who put in a lot of sweat getting it done this year.
The finish coat won’t take nearly as much effort, though getting it nice and smooth will take a decent amount of time. I’m excited to get it done at least in the common house next year, it’ll drastically lower the amount of dust that coats everything now.
I got a great harvest of shiitakes off of the mushroom logs from the 2012 workshop and a previous smaller batch of logs. There are usually 2 big flushes of mushrooms each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. I did some soaking of the logs prior to the logs fruiting to give them some extra moisture and I think it really paid off.
I think the mushrooms will be a pretty big piece of the puzzle when it comes to making Maya Creek financially sustainable. I helped fund a kickstarter project to product a book called “Farming the Woods”, and I finally got my signed copy in the mail. It looks to have some other great ideas on how to make a living off of non-timber products in a temperate forest environment.
The Garden Harvest
For the last couple months there’s been a weekly routine of harvesting the garden on Monday and then spending the next two days processing the harvest by canning or dehydrating it. The sun hasn’t been cooperating too much this year as far dehydrating goes so a lot of it has been canned.
The tomato harvest was intense this year. Despite getting off to a slow start I’ve ended up with 20-25 quarts of tomato sauce and probably another 6 quarts of salsa. The amount of time and effort that go into it don’t make financial sense, but it’s hard to argue the quality of the end product.
Without my volunteers I’d be spending the vast majority of my time working in the garden and processing food. I enjoy that work, and I hope that’s how I eventually spend my late summers, but for now I need to spend a lot of time earning money for construction and on the actual construction itself.
The Cistern Pit
The last part of the Summer was spent digging out the cistern hole. It was originally dug out in 2012, but because of too many things going on, it was covered up and left for the following year. Unfortunately, the temporary roof collapsed and it filled with water, which then caused the walls to partially collapse in.
Sean, Caroline, Billy, and myself spent several hard days of digging and hauling out buckets of clay from the hole. The original plan called for simply attaching mesh to the clay walls and spreading concrete on it directly and then building a thick frost barrier wall around the top.
Since the pit is now much larger, I’m planning on essentially building a below-grade concrete box, pouring a rebar-reinforced concrete slab, and the walls will be cinder blocks filled with rebar and concrete. I’ll backfill outside of the cistern up to the frost line and then build the thick frost barrier wall and use that to help frame up the roof cap when I pour it.