February 2012 Update

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

2012 Update

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