Viva La Revolucion!

Posted March 31st, 2006

3-31-06

As spring progresses further, we find ourselves in the core of my favorite season. The temperature is perfect, the bugs are bearable, and the forest is alive. The ferns have unwound into a new season of growth and the shade has thickened from a full green canopy of newborn leaves. Each morning, we awaken to the sweet sounds of recently returning birds full of chirping stories of their winter adventures. Each evening, the twinkling forest of lightening bugs mesmerizes our eyes. This forest is truly a paradise.

In the technological world, we�ve recently ordered a flow meter to measure our water usage at the kitchen sink. This is a valuable data collecting tool in the design of our new gray-water system as well as the future educational and research potential of the Hostel. After months in discussion at the drawing board, we�ve also completely revolutionized the construction method of our compost bins. Although we�re using the same general design as before, we can now build a bin in literally a twentieth the amount of time as before. Cheers to the compost team of present and past, all of which are equally responsible for the innovations and new design! Viva La Revolusion!

Our massage workshop this past weekend was a really great experience. Thank you Tammie for your time and energy! We�re eagerly anticipating this weekend�s Tai Chi workshop with Ken as well as the Jacksonville Jazz Festival the following weekend. We�re also beginning the preliminary planning on our Memorial Day Weekend Retreat. This next retreat will be centered on the themes of inspiration, creativity, and artistic expression. We�re working on painting, music, writing, and theatrical workshops just to name a few as well as scheming up a few surprises. Stay tuned for further details.

Although, the thick of college spring break has ended, we�re still quite busy in the midst of this perfect weather. I encourage everyone to call at least a week in advance, especially for weekends if you�d like to make a reservation.

As of recent, we�ve welcomed two new staff members to the hostel, Anneli and Neil, respectively from Sweden and Australia. Two international staff members at one time! What a treat! Thank you Tannis and Gnat for all of your energy, passion, and tireless hours dedicated to the Hostel. We all love you both and will miss you!

May the Forest be with You

Mark Garner

Spring break has begun!

Posted March 22nd, 2006

With March has come the blooming of the flowers and the trees as well as the opportunity for college students to take a short pause in the midst of their busy schedules for spring break vacation. After our two quietest and serene months, we are now bustling with new enthusiasm and energy each day and expect to sell out our 15 person maximum occupancy almost every night this month. We had a vegetable oil and solar panel run bus occupied by NOLS, National Outdoor Leadership School, stop through a couple weeks ago and bless us with movie night. We hooked up a laptop, full PA sound system, and digital projector to their batteries that are charged from the solar panals on top of their bus roof and thoroughly enjoyed “Baraka” in the cul-de-sac of Mister road. Quite a treat!!! We had a great spring retreat this past weekend with many highlights. The labyrinth was as spectacular as ever with 450+ candles alighting it; we discovered a snapping turtle during our wetland ecology tour; the sweat lodge and meditations were incredibly powerful, and of course, Tom was in his element as an inspirational story teller sharing with us the history of the hostel. We are also very excited about the present website, just released off the presses as well as incredibly appreciative to Bread Dave, who has spent tireless hours and energy over the years founding, creating, and perserving our original website and groundbreaking leap into the digitalia of the internet. THANK YOU DAVE!!!! Just recently, we welcomed back Matthew “Mattchew-I” Bachman, who returned to become the official project manager and put his many skills into action. As the azaleas begin their full bloom and we find the first of many thousand wisteria petals on the deck, we bid winter goodbye and welcome the dawn of spring.

May the forest be with you,

Mark