Posted May 10th, 2013
We have been baking in the Cobb Kitchen! By getting a hardwood fire nice and toasted in our handmade earthen material domed oven, the heat is retained by the thick clay, plaster and straw walls. As the coals die down they are swept to the sides and bread and pizza have been baked inside the super-hot oven. Its a great way to bake without using fossil fuels!
Our lake’s floating dock, the Lilly pad, is undergoing some modifications. The original builder returned to restring the central cargo net which allows you to soak in the water suspended, install new steps and reconfigure floating aquaponic/wick hydroponic planters which draw water up straight from the lake itself. We will be planting lemongrass to help keep mosquitoes away as you enjoy the sun and lake, and perhaps by midsummer we will have some new tasty treats growing on and around the lake as well!The Hostel has seen new hugelkulture mounds come up in the last few weeks. Hugelkulture is a technique in which buried wood and other organic material is built up in a large mound and then covered with soil, into which crops are grown. By burying the wood under the soil, it remains moist and soaked with water even in the dryer parts of the summer, slowly decomposing and settling over time, effectively minimizing or even eliminating the need to water, fertilize and till the bed for years or even decades! May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted May 3rd, 2013
We were blessed with Tea Time with Tom Dennard, the Hostel’s founder. Tom walked a group of people from all across the country(and beyond to Germany) around the grounds, sharing stories of the early years and the amazing people who have made this all possible. He also pointed out some native flora, including the endangered indigenous pitcher plants and the fragrant deer-tongue.
As the moon waxed to fullness, the Hostel was busy with preparations; collection of dozens of suitable stone and mountains of dry wood. The full moon is always a time for the sweat lodge, one of the Hostel’s most powerful traditions. 17 women and men were led back into the womb and cleansed in a series of four sweats. None emerged unchanged. The dance of sparks on the red hot rocks was immediately mirrored with the twinkling lights of the newly emerged fireflies, whose nightly dance continue to amaze all who witness it.
The Hostel paid host to Richard Powell and Marcus Thomson’s permaculture weekend workshop. Focused on nutrient up-cycling and optimization of underutilized resources, the two teachers inspired their students with techniques for composting, vermiculture and understanding the interrelationship between plants and animals, people and the elements. We are already planning for a deeper immersion into permaculture with these guys for the September, so stay posted for more details coming soon!
In the gardens the blackberries and blueberries are excitedly flowering and mature fruit is soon to come! The pomegranate tree is blooming gorgeous vermilion blossoms. We still are receiving flushes of kale, Brussels sprouts and lettuces, while a new crop of tomatoes, basil, peppers, pumpkin, okra and potatoes waits for its turn in the raised beds. We are currently building new hugelkulture beds, utilizing the abundance of dead wood in the forest to build deep beds, which will conserve the waters of spring for the dry hot days of the summer, cutting down of water consumption while increasing crop yields!
The Hostel was also blessed with the return of Dave and Josh, who brought their crystal bowls to play in the Glass House. As one led those assembled through breath and body exercises, the other enchanted all with the deeply resonating vibrations of the finely crafted crystal basins of different dimensions, each with its own unique sound he wove into an intricate sonic tapestry. The Glass House has also recently played host to Kundalini yoga, alternate nostril breathing, intuitive tuning and many other sessions of people gathering to attune with the natural forces of our environment/self.I’m afraid Daniel would be better suited to the chicken drama, but from what I understand Jesus is the top cock and his main girl Squeeze has been left in the chicken run while Jesus(who can jump/fly over the fence) freely cavorts with his side hens running free-ranged. The flock is divided between the older established crew and two distinct younger populations. Recently we rounded them all up in the run and clipped the wings of those who were unclipped, but the cocks can still jump/fly over the fence, which is now being augmented with bamboo lengths just harvested from the forest. Egg production is on the rise as they become more settled as a flock and when the younger clutch comes of age, we should be looking pretty good. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted April 18th, 2013
We had a coven of goddesses from Miami over the weekend, various tones of copper and bronze, laughing and playing in the sun, warming our hearts with their smiles and art, they left their transitory mark in a swirling pattern of raked leaves and etched earth along the path from the parking lot to the Dome. Its dancing meanders welcoming all into the Hostel.
A young man from Lyon, France stayed with us on Monday, he had been on the road for 2 months before stopping by on a whim. He help create and tend the fire all night, which given the soaking rain the day before was impressive. It was the first time he had used a copper blow tube and was thrilled by the American ingenuity. He hopes to return again.
We’ve had quite the range of music over the last week, ranging from a quartet of mandolin, guitar, violin and chello around a campfire with mountain folk lyrics to a young man from Nashville who shared his own songs on soothing guitar and powerful vocals.
We have been making use of the last of our cool weather crops in the garden, incorporating many vibrant lettuces, kale, beet, arugula (dressed in hand picked honey-suckle blossoms) into the menu which also included Thai-stir fried bok choy with(Hostel grown) shitakes and broccoli and cheese pizza, which featured the just budding broccoli florets. Soon hugelkulture mounds will be created for the tomatoes and many other warm weather seedlings we have nearing transplant.
The new fence nears completion around our natural spring-fed swimming pool; soon there will be jasmine and ferns growing around the perimeter of this striking locally milled cypress, one of a kind fence.May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted March 23rd, 2013
Rain is falling gentle and steady in the forest today, the puddles reflecting the riot of green that has emerged in the canopy over the past few weeks. An unseasonably cool March has led to warm fires at night and good work during the day. The last two weeks, our major focus has been on the revitalization of the area around the pool. Frank and Daniel, two incredibly talented carpenters and artists, have led the charge. A deck constructed from local Cyprus wood is in place and has already soaked up the energy of dancing and conversation. Our goal is to reach completion in time for the hostelers arriving in late spring to be able to escape the South Georgia heat with a refreshing cold dip in the water.
The planting for the summer vegetable garden is proceeding apace, and new flowers are reaching for the sun in the flower garden. The hostel bees have been working hard as well. The first honey of the year was collected last week and a new super was added to the hive in preparation for the coming season. Spring seems to have also effected the chickens, leading to a population explosion. As many of you know, the Forest Chickens are a wily lot, and three cleverly hidden clutches of eggs have given us a score of new recruits. Tiny chicks wander the land, learning the art of vigorously scratching the ground and hiding in their mother hens’ feathers. Just last week, the chickens received a letter in the mail from a chicken colony in New Orleans. They do have quite a following you know!
Spring break has brought a host of quiet, calm, and engaged students from universities around the country. We’ve also had a consistent stream of international hostelers moving through. In the last month guests from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Columbia, Venezuela, Israel, Norway, Australia, and Canada have joined us at circle.
All in all, the Forest feels joyful and vibrant. Nature’s abundance is evident in the fresh greens we’re serving at dinner and the laughter around the table as we eat. We hear it in the emerging chorus of insects and birds during our moments of silence. Its scent rises from the rain-wet forest floor. The abundance of knowledge is, as always present, currently in the form of a fully-booked Survive to Thrive primitive skills workshop this coming weekend and the Permaculture weekend at the end of April. We’re still dancing in the Soul Kitchen and laughing on the front porch, still creating art and doing our part to the make the world a better place.May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted January 14th, 2013
Here we are! It’s a new year and the hostel keeps slowly but surely marching into the future. Winter here is a quiet time for contemplation, meditation, and rumination. The leaves in the canopy have thinned out and the days are spent bathing in the crisp sunlight while exploring all the beauty our forest has to offer. Chilly nights are spent basking in the warmth of a wood stove inside the domes sharing stories, playing games, or lost in a good book. The new library just had its first birthday by the way, the crown jewel of the hostel is a sight to behold and an amazing space to recharge those batteries drained from prolonged exposure to the rat race. Add a amazing meal made from love by Terra (she makes Julia Child look like the Swedish Chef!), perhaps a jar of hostel-brewed mead by Peter (our recently departed Wizard of the Forest), and things don’t get much better this side of heaven.
It may sound like perfection to some but of course theres always room for improvements and thats exactly what were focused on in these slow months. We recently completed planting one hundred trees out in our southern field where the old tree farm used to be. Live oak, cypress, hickory, and long leaf pine were all lowered into the ground by the loving hands of our staff and guests. A huge thank you goes out to Laeo for his leadership and insight into this project which would of not happened without him. It’ll be a battle for these saplings to out compete the prolific gum trees and underbrush out there but with some love and luck our children will be able to enjoy a forest out there just as beautiful as the trees that surround the hostel. The finishing touches were put on long-awaited Massage Hut and come spring will provide a space for guests to receive rubdowns from transient body-workers (let us know if your interested!). Our garden is a cornucopia bursting with kale, collards, turnips, beets, onions, arugula, onions, and much more. A colorful nurturing organic salad picked fresh graces our dinner table nightly. All this made possible by our graceful flying gardener Bridget. Also the in accordance with the new year we’re cleaning house to provide a clean slate for future hostelers to build upon. The lounge, loft, tool room, colabatorioum and hidey hole have all been given a thorough purge (big shout out to Ryan-Ian and Dawn) and hopefully an organization system for the library will be actualized in the coming months.The good times are never in short supply here at the hostel as demonstrated by our blow out New Years Eve, many a traveling musician coming through (Tina and Her Pony, The Sky Captains of Industry, and Josh, our musical compost tech), and even a tricked out english doubledecker bus made a home of Mr. Parking Lot last weekend. Keep an eye on the site here and our Facebook (friend us!) for info on upcoming workshops and events. Come clear your mind, watch day slip into night on the porch, lend a hand, and help us bring in a new era for the hostel and the rest of the world. If you bring us enough chocolate maybe Lauren, our lovely housekeeper, will make you a basket out of pine straw! May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted July 20th, 2012
Summer is rolling right along with workshops and skill shares a plenty! The month of June included many days in the sunny garden and a permaculture weekend workshop, hosted by Richard Powell of Orlando. Richard lectured participants on where and how to set up different systems on your own property in order to maintain a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle. During this workshop, the group set up a water garden next to the swimming pool and planted water-loving plants such as taro root, turmeric, blackberry, and water spinach.
Following the permaculture weekend was a natural building workshop where participants learned about green building practices and spent a full day building a cobb hut, which will soon be our massage hut. The team created a mixture of sand, clay, and pine needles, everyone got muddy, and the walls of the hut were built, interlaced with beautiful colored bottles.
Other recent summer classes at the hostel included didgeridoo basics where each participant received their own digeradoo, Reiki level one certification, kundalini yoga, hula hooping, poi spinning, and many more. The living roof on the cobb kitchen has been discovered as a great nesting spot by the chickens. The hostel welcomed in three new chicks on the roof, which were lowered down by bucket and are now safely roaming the forest with their mother foraging for bugs. There is never a dull day here in the forest!
We are also now celebrating an outstanding new staff including Chop, the laundry guru, Daniel, our front desk fairy, Peter, the zen gardener, Alex, our cross-country bicycling compost tech, and Tina, our soul kitchen mamacita.
Some things to look forward to here at the hostel are an upcoming full moon sweat lodge, building of a solar dehydrator, continuing entrance road repairs, and the possibility of new critters (details to come)! The Art of Capoeira will be taking place August 31st – September 2nd, and will include workshops on this Brazilian martial arts dance, singing, clapping, culture and fun. Also, keep an eye out for an upcoming yoga retreat, an artist weekend, another natural building weekend, a sound healing workshop and much more!May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted June 16th, 2012
The winds of change are blowing at the hostel as summer slowly creeps in. We have been blessed with over two weeks of much needed rain and storms, quenching the thirst of both the garden and the lake. These frequent storms not only brought us humidity and mosquitoes, but also a fresh staff crew to celebrate summer in the forest. We said goodbye to Heather, our resident artist and fairy, as well as Matthew, our gypsy-hearted train hopper. Matthew and Heather truly radiated the spirit of the forest from their fingers to their toes. Every time we say “Aho” we remember the glowing energy and genuine enthusiasm they brought to us. With this goodbye comes a warm welcome to Chopp, our laundry wizard and dancing forest florist, Daniel, our hola-hooping housekeeper, Peter, our gentle green thumb, and Juan, our djembe playing resident artist.
During the month of May, we kicked the summer off with an amazing event, From Surviving to Thriving. The event was taught by long time friends of the hostel, Chuck and Wren. During this primitive skills workshop, we learned how to make rope, ferment vegetables, build fires, and identify plants. The highlights of the event included a 6am bird call identification with Wren and late night campfire story sharing.
The Sound Healing Retreat was the perfect way to introduce new staff to the space, with digeradoo and live drawing performances in the glass house by Matthew and his partner Chelsea. Josh and David came up from Orlando to add to the event by leading a magical crystal bowl meditation to follow the show. All who attended the retreat left the hostel replenished and glowing.
The garden, now hydrated and happy, is providing us with a bounty of squash, zucchini, okra, green beans, cucumber, and tomatoes which we use for the nightly hostel dinners. Thanks to a previous staff member, Jerome, the hostel is filling up on antioxidants with our daily blueberry harvests from our beautiful patch. On a good day, we take in a few gallons of blueberries! Tea Time with Tom has made a recent comeback, with the beloved man who started the hostel in 1975, Tom Dennard. For two weekends so far this summer, Tom has shared stories of the vibrant history of the hostel and served tea back at this forest writing studio. We are all so delighted to receive the warmth and love that Tome brings with him each time he pays a visit to the forest.
Please stay updated on our Facebook page here, as we have many more amazing events to come!
Posted April 28th, 2012
There is a magic ingredient in the Brunswick stew that is a Georgia springtime: the native azaleas have peppered the Forest floor with abundant life. The live oaks are lively, the Spanish moss trills her Rrrrs like no other air plant, twitterpation among all creatures is rampant, and Forest life is lush. Hostel life is all scarlet dinners of beet stew, radish salad and red velvet cake. Soft green mornings with sunned bellies full of cast iron cooked cinnamon buns prepare the way for rattlesnake root afternoons. Snakes slide serendipitously through the palmettos, salamanders and chameleons sneakily race each other down the boardwalk, and armadillos stomp around pretending to be 10 feet taller than their actual height of 9 inches and a shell. Robe-Chili Sundays, spontaneous reiki workshops and Asheville-esque dance church have taken the new dome and glass house by a storm – storms that we wish would take the rest of the Forest with precipitation since the lake’s in the throes of a drought period. The angel shower has new wings, along with a newly revitalized spout, mahogany wood paneling and gold sconce art surprises.
The canvas interior of the teepee is covered with a host of new hieroglyphics and cave paintings, the flower garden is weeded and mulched to highlight the white roses, Mexican bluebell, and moss roses that flourish amongst the poetry that writes itself out in its primetime basking space. A bounty of zucchinis, peas, beans, summer squash, and tomatoes has hit the garden with a flash of green and vermiculite. After a romping staff field trip to Maggie’s Herb Garden and our sister Pirate Hostel in St. Augustine, our herb garden is home to catnip, purple basil, lemon thyme, turmeric, rosemary and chocolate mint, along with a fresh outfit of a straw designed sundial. The blueberry patch, pregnant with color and potential sweetness, now has a bench to accommodate seated berry enthusiasts. The fireflies along the firebreak follow their bliss nightly, strobing right into the mouths of mason jars where we can watch them for a few seconds without sensing their need for freedom being as strong as ours.
As always, the Forest is busy doing its work, ushering Hostel Family in and out as the energies charge and change. Our dear garden manager, Jenny, has planted her seeds and moved on to a new hosteling opportunity in Panama. Jerome, most esteemed wizard of sourdough pancake parties, has reverse-migrated north to future organic farming potential. Supreme Chieftain Samwise and tiny tango dancer Queen Chloe bid farewell to the Forest on a two-biscuit kind of morning. Soul Kitchen Goddess Terra is never far from the thoughts of our tastebuds, but she and her miraculous edible concoctions now feed her home state of Maine. Dear chicken whisperer Eddie speaks softly to the animals and loudly to the cobb kitchen, from which we’ve enjoyed a week’s worth of dinners courtesy of the rocket stoves and wood-fired oven. Freddie holds the space as only a carpenter philosopher knows how, with his hands and with the transcendent light in his eyes. Brim Scout is in and out with hands full of freshly caught fish from the lagoon and a blueprint drawing for the coming Massage Hut, where promises of strong and tender hands to untie every knot in your back. Hostel family friend Laeo has been breathing fire frenzy energy into the organization and feng shui of the space. In turn, the Forest has gifted us with Tess, Duchess Manager extraordinaire, Lauren, Lady of Laundry Land, Emoore, folk rap planter, and Katy, who will preside over the soul of the soul kitchen.
The chicken world of March and April has been a soap opera of the poultry variety: five harvestings, one hawk incident, several new wing hairdos, many a duck duel, a new Palm Palace chick hangout and attempted incubation on the behalf of Wanda’s chicken littles. Newly named chicks Franny, Saltinbanco, Scarlett, Little Foot, Fuego, Sports, Clytemnestra, and Frida are roaming the Forest floor and competing with the two white Pekin ducks, Quackerjack and Duck Ellington, for corn and compost scraps.
The spring season is literally abuzz with promises of the land of honey since the Hostel will soon be the keepers of bees. Ethnobotanical intensives, pan drum extravaganzas, and a primitive skills workshop are on the learning and sharing agenda for the spring – please check the events listing for further dirt on these weekend wonders. The next sweat lodge will be May 6 and not to be missed, so please reserve your spot for that soon. As wonderful a job as we humans do acting as solar panels when we recharge our souls and bodies by the sun, we are dreaming of solar panels in the field beside the T-Trail, furthering our role as a sustainability education hub and pushing us to the next level of “off-gridding”. In the near future also Mister Road will have a new family member: Mister Parking Lot. With an eye towards getting cars off the road and into the freshly mulched parking lot in the cul-de-sac, guests arriving by car will park in the new Mister Parking Lot and stroll down the new trail to the Hostel. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted March 1st, 2012
February is traditionally a slower month in terms of guests and the Hostel takes this time to improve facilities and gear up for our busiest months of the year. Make those reservations early folks! March and April are some of the most beautiful months with warm sunny days, balmy nights, and a slew of wonderful beautiful people ready to share in the vision of a sustainable world.
Brim Scout and Freddie Alexander, two very fine carpenters, put their efforts into the pool hut and the finished results are quite spectacular. The view from the pool hut deck is just lovely and Freddie put a lot of love and time into the inside of the space removing years of graffiti. We said good bye to Brim with tears in our eyes as the road called to him once again. The six weeks he spent here in the forest touched every ones lives and we look forward to his return.
Eddie Cuellar, a fine gentleman hailing from Wisconsin, also wrapped up his time here in the forest during February. Eddie’s signature cowboy hat and pre-dawn coffee/ tortilla shop were a heartwarming cornerstone of those colder mornings in the forest. Eddie is a gentle soul with the rough hands of a man who works tirelessly on behalf of the Hostel. Often found at the center of convivial conversations around the fire or sweating it out in the restoration of the Labyrinth. Eddie embodied the love and diligence that this space deserves. We will forever have a place in our hearts for this man who showed us the power of selflessness and positive intention. ‘
The highlight of the month was our “Surviving to Thriving” primitive skills weekend. Chuck Thompson, a previous staff member of the Hostel, and Wren Shoumate who have spent years traveling to various Earthskills rendezvouses and utilizing survival skills in real world situations. The workshop touched on a wide range of subjects which included fire skills, primitive shelters, and navigation. The point of the workshop was to shift their perceptions into modes of improvisation and observation. These themes were reinforced through helpful exercises in orienting people to the space and encouraging attentiveness through a fun game of guile and wit involving clothespins. I felt that guests left with a better sense of how the wilderness can be a friendly place with a little resourcefulness and respect for the elements.The days are getting warmer and those cold winter nights are giving way to warmer wilder nights. Hostelers are swimming in the lake and the pool. The azaleas are starting to bloom. Spring has come early this year and we have peeled off the winter layers ready to receive the warmth of the coming months. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted March 1st, 2012
The forest has been bursting at the seams with productivity, creativity, and serendipity. We kicked things off with a rip roaring celebration to bring in the new year. The countdown to 2012 prompted sparklers and champagne as we reflected on the blessings of 2011.
After much hard work and anticipation we had a ceremony unveiling the new dome, called “The Library”, to the local community and friends of the Hostel in the Forest. The ceremony was well attended and featured some clips of Dennis Carter explaining some some of the more critical architectural aspects of the dome. Freddie also spoke at length about the benches which were crafted from a 92 year old pine tree that fell on the property some months back. Freddie also elaborated on the basket structure surrounding the dome that creates a difference in pressure that actually allows the building to cool and dry itself during the summer months. A huge advantage in a swamp. The staff provided a large spread of finger foods and Tom Dennard poured a champagne toast to a magnificent building and all of the folks that put so much hard work and love into a building the hostel can truly be proud of. Countless hours and so many people helped to make this structure what it is and we whole heartily express our gratitude and appreciation to all of you.
With the dome completed we turned our focus to other projects around the property. Right on cue, Brim Scout, an ex-manager and very skilled carpenter came to visit with his son on a kayak trip. After some deliberation, Brim agreed to help out the hostel with two sets of stairs that were of concern to us. The stairs leading up to Top Peacock were in need of replacement and Brim came up with a two level design utilizing some of the local bamboo. The finished product is a gorgeous set of steps with a bamboo banister that is absolutely stunning. The second set of stairs were those leading up to Pool Hut. While we were more than happy to have had another two level set of stairs, Brim, of course, took it to the next level. The finished product will have a 6’ x 8’ deck on the front of pool hut with stairs that wrap under the building. The design is sure to make Pool Hut one of the more popular tree houses. Brim is a tireless worker and a truly inspiring character that we are very fortunate to have in the repertoire of hostel family.
Our chickens have been very busy this month with three different flocks of chicks chirping on to the scene the last few weeks. First, Leopard hen wandered out from under Sky Room with 11 black and white chicks. With in the next few days, Wanda and Paprika, both became doting mothers of 6 and 7 chicks respectively. The chirping brigades bring smiles to our faces as 24 chicks mill about the forest floor. Just as a heads up, please give the mother’s their space as they are very protective of their broods. Best to observe and not disturb the chicken scratching lessons.We have also had a steady stream of guests who wish to share their skills and talents with the hostel. There were many informal gatherings on subjects ranging from ricotta cheese production to home made wine tutorials. Others have lent their hands in the odd repair or two with tree houses and deck furniture. We are always grateful for the generosity of guests in this aspect and these efforts are why the hostel is still going strong after 37 years. Thanks to everyone who made January and February, truly amazing months. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted December 26th, 2011
Happy holidays to you and yours.
December was a wonderful time for the hostel as we stoked the wood stoves and gathered around the fire pit sharing stories and ideas for a more harmonious existence. The pace has shifted to more introspection and personal development. Staff members have begun exploring instruments such as the banjo and the more exotic didgeridoo. The fall colors are finally here in the forest and our raking is more of a meditation as the forest is always resetting our canvas of walkways.
Our first event for December was a primitive skills workshop taught by Heather and Colbert who live completely off the grid in the swamps of Georgia near Moldova. The classes were wide ranging from improvisational clothing modification for sudden weather shifts, fire making, and all of the interesting uses for local fauna and flora. Colbert taught us that learning primitive skills are a priceless investment in our selves and keep us connected to the basics that sustain human existence. Colbert’s teachings are reflected in our bright low smoke fires outside and the abundant pine sap we use as antiseptic bandages for minor cuts.
The forest brought together many fresh and familiar faces to bring in this holiday season. The heart and soul kitchen was in constant motion as we had a selection of baked goods flowing out to happy guests all day. We had a wonderful ceremony in the glass house where we explored the true meaning of Christmas and its healing energies. We passed around an herbal tea of yarrow and local herbs whilst setting the intention for the coming new year. This was followed by singing, drumming, and periodically sharing revelations. We found the Christmas spirit in the simple bliss of being.We are all very excited about the coming New Year in what is sure to be lively celebration on the days leading up to 2012! May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted October 27th, 2011
Transition has been the theme du jour here in the forest, fitting for the backdrop of autumnal metamorphosis that October has brought about. Last week, hostel family, staff and managers old and new gathered to bid a heartfelt farewell to outgoing manager, Jay Belo, along with already-missed staff members Carlyn and Aleisha. Though they have moved on to graze greener pastures, their many contributions to the hostel will be felt with deep gratitude by future forest-dwellers for years to come. With the raised garden bed project oh-so-near completion, an idyllic garden dinner party was a most fitting way to toast the product of the love, sweat and tears that went into transforming that fertile space. In true hostel fashion, a steady influx of diverse guests who are commonly open to deepening their connection with nature have been gracing the hostel with their unique perspectives and stimulating conversations. Busy weekends have welcomed some fantastic groups like Karen and Ian’s Aum Tala yogis and Eckerd College’s service retreat participants – both of which shared their amazing, spirited energy that can still be felt lingering in the forest. More intimate week days and nights have allowed new staff and management to establish cohesion and a push of productivity in anticipation of winter hibernation. Cool nights have been a consistent reminder of the even chillier days to come, but hearty dinners and stove fires will surely continue to keep hungry bellies satisfied and weary feet warmed.Oh, by the way, back popular by demmand Feature Chicken May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted September 26th, 2011
After months of temperatures in the high 90s, fall has finally descended on the Forest. Cooler nights and pleasant days have inspired fresh energy to complete projects. The garden overhaul is nearly half complete; by the end of the week there will be 736 square ft of raised beds installed and the pathways between them laid with sawdust, hay, and hardwood mulch. Earlier this week the first seeds for the fall were planted, and we are all looking forward to the late fall and winter crops and no longer wading through knee-deep grass to reach them.In the mean time, the rain visits us every few days, and we are keeping full of shiitake mushrooms harvested from logs made at the mushroom inoculation workshop this past spring. Homegrown shiitakes carry a superior flavor and texture. Thanks to the hard work of the workshop participants, and Carch’s careful love and maintenance over the summer, we can now look forward to several years of mushroom harvests. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted September 6th, 2011
The first signs of autumn have settled into the forest—cleansing rains and a crisper air. The coolness is especially welcome as we commence the building of our raised beds in the garden. The bed frames are a beautiful rough cypress which allow a more sustainable structure to grow delicious veggies. No doubt our fall garden will be most delightful this year. Freddy is also continuing his steady progress on the shelves and benches in the new dome, and as the boards tell him where they’d like to rest, book matched stacks of pine from our forest line her walls .
Labor day weekend brought great energy and wonderful food to the forest with our acro-yoga fund raiser. Lovely Lila lead us in combining the flying elegance of acrobatics and the fluid strength of yoga as we enjoyed Jonas’ crafted vegan meals in between sessions.Day by day we’re feeling the shift in the seasons, awaiting the falling of the leaves and the beauty of each day among the trees. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted August 18th, 2011
As the dog days of summer wear on, we at the Hostel have been perfecting the art of sitting very very still. This week, guests have led us in two meditation sessions, helping everyone to relax and cope with the heat. The screen porch is still a favorite hangout, attracting crafters, readers, and contemplaters of navels. In their quest to continuously find new and innovative ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and move as little as humanly possible, Aleisha and Carlyn have taken paper recycling to a whole new level. Aleisha has been creating treasure boxes from hardcover books discarded from libraries, and coiling some of the paper into beads for jewelry. Carlyn has made paper from drier lint and combined that with old cereal boxes and pages carved out of Aleisha’s books to make new postcards for the Hostel.
Of course, there are some advantages to the heat. Hostel staff made their first field trip of the year to the beach (for some of us, the first in several years). The beach at St. Simon’s island, just around the corner from the hostel, was exactly the prescription needed to recharge and refresh everyone. The beach was lovely and the water the perfect temperature for hours of gentle lazing. The afternoon was topped off with ice cream and pizza (ice cream first, of course); a quintessential summer experience.We’ve all vowed to visit the beach as often as possible before the inevitable progression of summer into fall. In the meantime, we are working on planning the fall garden and designing new raised beds to replace the ones that have rotted away. We are also now measuring the completion of the new dome in terms of weeks instead of months, and looking forward to spending cool fall evenings watching documentaries there. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff