Posted November 8th, 2016
Thanks to the restart button hit by Hurricane Matthew, we have accumulated, bucked, chopped and stacked 9 chords of wood! That will get us through the winter quite comfortably. Bamboo, who we love dearly and thought was a goner, has been lowered to the ground, a new foundation set and is currently a floor and two walls awaiting to be completed. The new porch and stairs will be carved out of beautiful oak slices leading into our newly reconstructed labyrinth. Many guests and work traders arrived with the desire to contribute and, as is the nature and spirit of The Hostel, their love has left the forest more beautiful than she was before. Soon our new Narnia building will house guests that can enjoy a spacious area with a rustic loft lit by a charming skylight.
A two week Permaculture Design Course is under way and students are learning to grow food using the lay of the land, weather patterns and symbiotic planting patterns. Guests enjoy daily morning yoga and an afternoon lounge upon our newly finished floating dock on the lake.Our juvenile chicks are getting big and will soon move into the expanded full grown chicken coop! Pico, our top cock, and Ember, a tiny, gorgeous silky arucana mix, have formed an alliance with so many hens to provide for and protect so there is now peace in the flock of 31 chickens. Change is in the air, fall in upon us and we are ready for the winds of winter! May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted August 4th, 2016
A joyous summer is upon us! South Georgia can be quite hot and muggy but the generous canopy does its best to shelter us from the bright sun during the dog days of summer.
All are welcome to lounge about our new, beautiful pool deck and swing, tarzan style, into the chilly pool water. Sunbathing atop our new, eco friendly floating dock is encouraged, allow yourself to be kissed by the sun! The sound of epic drum solos from our magically acoustic library are the soundtrack to our recently reconstructed forestscape.
We have raised the roof on the Narnia building and deconstructed others in the surrounding space so as to appreciate the interesting shape of the domes. A new loo allows forest folk to poo with a view. The current crew of jovial hoodies are serving the hostel with daily beautification and upgrades, like Jonah prepping the garden for our fall crop planting, Ryan building said floating dock and Frank completing Narnia that many hands have helped to dip shakes that act as a sturdy covering against the elements.
Early each morning our proud and noble top cock, Pico, sweetly converses with the goldie hens, a silent and still beak to cheek foul communication! He protects and provides for our 25 hens who find peculiar places to roost such as on the liveroof, in reorganized flower pots and even hut porches! Do not disturb for a great pecking could befall you! Our second generation of hostel mixed breed chicks coming into adulthood are learning to peck, scratch and beg for food. They know that plates + humans = food so it is advised that you watch your sandwiches closely! They are mostly trained to drink from our water glass when offered, their open-beaked panting will clue you into their needs.
We must get back now to chopping wood for WINTER IS COMING!May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted March 13th, 2016
Winter at the Hostel has been a joyous time of creation. New boardwalks were put immediately into use as extreme amounts of rain refilled our lake, our pond, and turned the forest floor into a magical winter swamp. Our ducks (first generation, hatched from our previous ducks last year) have loved the wet environment and roamed the forest’s waters with the guests and the number of rubber duckies that began to humorously scatter the environment.
Spring has made itself known this week as the trees funneled all that water to their new buds, the forest floor began drying up, and new baby chickens scratch at the ground around mama hen. Frank and Jay have returned and are creating a new building with a great view, and our Art Lab Carpentry club demolished the roof of Laundry Land to prepare the space for its next reincarnation. The Soul Kitchen is spoiled right now, with Cooper (our Baker extraordinaire from California) and the new range (stove/oven) feeding the rush of hungry travelers that spring brings to us.The physical garden is being planted, while the gardens of our minds are being fertilized with daily classes and monthly retreats. What a privilege it is, to be in the forest at this time, where every one of us is a teacher and every one of us is a student. Until we leave here, teachers of teachers and students of students, sharing love and wisdom with the rest of the world. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted October 13th, 2015
The Forest received a lot of rain this month! The lake and pond have both been replenished to their original levels. The forest experienced a brief period of standing water around the single track boardwalk paths revealing their original intent to keep our feet dry. While the heat and mosquitoes continued we did enjoy a wide variety of guests from all over the world. Members got together for some amazing events including live music, dancing, and the second Forest Fusion event.
We had two fantastic live music offerings this month.
Tina and Her Pony performed in the library singing harmonies and playing the cello, guitar, and ukulele in a southern Appalachian style. It was well attended by members and it was a beautiful experience.
We also had a Tuvan Throat singer perform for hostellers named Jon Errkila. This type of singing is known as Khoomei and is the folk music of Tuva which was a country that existed from 1922 to 1941 before being absorbed into the Russian Federation. Jon performed in the full regalia of southern siberia and it was quite a delight.
The second Forest Fusion event was another success with approximately 28 members in attendance. The classes included survival skills as well as an art class focusing on Animal Totems. We will be hosting another version of this event for Halloween with a costume theme. Please check the facebook for updates and schedules as they become available.
October is sure to be much cooler as temperatures start to drop out of the 90s and the hostel can breathe a sigh of relief and start to welcome the cooler dryer fall months.May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted August 25th, 2015
As you can imagine, South East georgia in the month of August is quite a hot and humid ordeal. However, thanks to the tree canopy, ample fans, and the refreshing watering holes on the property, we have thrived this month. The daily ritual has become the art of productivity in the mornings and finding slower tasks in the hotter afternoons. Rains have been consistent in cooling us down in the evenings and spontaneous dancing in the rain has happened on more than one occasion.
Members have been making consistent trips this month and we have been busier this year thanks to a particularly mild mosquito season and cool nights hovering in the low 70s. Our staff has been busy keeping the place in beautiful condition and there have been quite a few additions in terms of member and staff art. We continue to seek ways to improve member experience, decrease electricity use, and maintain the serenity of this legacy in the forest.
Our main event this month was the first of its kind which we have dubbed “Forest Fusion”. This event was an amalgamation education and entertainment. We hosted about 30 members for the weekend for classes on friction fire and local plants. There were other offerings such as meditation, body work, and a Cacao ceremony. Members reflected that this was one of their favorite events ever and that they received a lot of healing by being in nature in an open accepting environment. We are hoping to continue to offer this event monthly and will be posting details on our website as well as our facebook page.We look longingly into the future months as temperatures will begin declining in September and looking forward to the fall. We hope to see you soon as September and October are some of the best months to enjoy the serenity of the forest. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted August 8th, 2015
We have been having the most lovely time here in the forest. Our 40th Anniversary on the 4th of July was a wonderful success. Over 50 members were in attendance with live music performances from Danielle Hicks and Jai Biotic. We also had Yoga Nidra sessions in the morning along with yoga classes and a brunch. Saturday night we featured Veronika Tuskowski and Bridget Adams doing live painting. It was a delightful mixture of music, art, and spirituality. We were so inspired by the event that we decided to use the same format and plug in some outdoor nature connection classes. Forest Fusion, August 21st – 23rd 2015 will be offering the same format with two outdoor educators from the Earthskills scene; Wren Shoumate and Ex Umbra. This is going to be a fantastic event and all of the staff are eager to recreate the magic of the 4th of July celebration. With Meditation, Yoga, live music, live art, and nature connection classes, this weekend will have something for everyone! Please check out our Facebook page for more information and for pictures from the 4th of July 40th celebration.
The weekend after Forest Fusion, August 29th, we will be hosting Lou Thomann who is the founder of the Yaupon Tea Company for a lecture and plant walk focused on the Yaupon Holly. This understory tree is the only indigenous source of caffeine in North America and grows prevalently throughout the South Eastern US. We are excited about this offering and hope you will join us for this insightful weekend into a local sustainable source of caffeine.
We have been making the hostel more beautiful as always by adding a new set of stairs to the front of the screen porch and also expanding the cross way into the kitchen with a full fledged deck. The creative use of wisteria vines really makes these additions stunning. We also hosted Jay and Frank Belo for a couple of weeks while they built a beautiful new staff village toilet and shower. As always we are engaged in smaller repair projects and making the space shine.
It amazes me how much the canopy helps to keep the forest cool in this intense sun. Short afternoon showers have become more regular which really breaks the heat as well. We have had a steady stream of folks from the south east and all over the world. Please join us.May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted June 19th, 2015
The extraordinarily cool spring has given way to a hot dry summer in the forest. We are in the midst of a dry period here in the forest. Low rainfall and drainage ditches built by the county have been depleting the standing water on the property. The lake and pond are both very low and get fairly hot from the constant sun. The pool is a refreshing oasis this time of year and has become a refuge for staff and guests alike trying to beat that midday heat. The upshot of this is that the mosquitoes have been very manageable this year. No-seeums and yellow flies have been few and far between. While we are weary of the long term implications of this dryness, we have been very happy to enjoy outside spaces without the swarm of mosquitoes that are normal this time of year.
We have been heavily involved with making the place as clean and well taken care of as possible. Many of the enclosed areas have been rescreened and we have been busy with belt sanders to clear the spaces of graffiti and errant art. We understand people want to contribute to the space and feel apart of it. Unfortunately, if everyone does this, we end up with hundreds of hours of work restore the huts and infrastructure to vital glory. Please be mindful that we actually contract artists to install murals and art pieces in the rooms in an intentional way. Please review the membership agreement as we have included new language surrounding visual alteration of any space around the hostel. Always feel free to express yourself in a raw and creative way in our ‘Collabrotorium’ located just above the Corral.
The two rooms adjacent to ‘Laundry Land’ are being reimagined! Their previous names were ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Turtle’. Under the careful hand and brilliant imagination of our ‘Artist in Residence’, Terisa Wren Shoumate, they have taken on a new life as ‘Palmetto’ and ‘Chicken’. Be sure to check these rooms out in their brightness and how Wren managed to bring the beauty and magic of the forest into these rooms.
We are revving up for our Fourth of July celebration which will be marking 40 years of existence for the Hostel in the Forest. The place has grown and evolved in a remarkable way and we have a special 3 day – 2 night event planned to mark the occasion. Please check out our events for all the details. It will be a weekend to remember and please note that due to dry conditions we will not be permitting fireworks on the property.Please be aware that South Georgia heat is very intense! Please hydrate and refrain from vigorous activities during the peak sun. Cool off in the swimming pool or the lake and wear sunscreen. Do come and join us under the tree canopy and help us to co create a world of serenity and abundance. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted June 14th, 2015
Posted May 26th, 2014
Spring has sprung in the forest and the summer sun has begun to shine down bright. Apollo (also known as Steven) has departed beyond the horizon, leaving good vibes and a field of solar beauty in his wake. During his mighty sun streaked chariot ride across the forest, Steven oversaw the reclamation of the Hostel’s dome roof which, after thirty nine years of moss growth and forest symbiosis, was ready to be repaired and re-imagined. A skilled team of hostel family craftsmen united to take on this important and prestigious project. Dirt, Freddy, Frank, and Eddie along with Hostel staff and dozens of gracious volunteers, dipped, hand cut, and nailed over three thousand red cedar shakes, completely transforming our beloved mothership. After seventy seven days and seven thousand nails the roof has been restored to it’s vital glory.
The inspiration and enthusiasm exuding from the dome’s grand completion has whirled down the garden path to the (not so) secret garden where the plant king Chris has been utilizing his extensive love and knowledge of all flora and permaculture technique to maximize the work and devotion that has come before him. The garden is now poised and ready to produce a summer of great abundance and beauty.
As always the soul kitchen is providing delicious vegetarian dinners courtesy of Jeff, the Hostel’s master of cuisine. When not intriguing weary travelers with the wafting smells of exemplary meals drifting throughout the dome, Jeff moonlights as the Hostel barber, resident reiki master and all around integral fellow.
Excitement flows deep as the era of the Fantastic Four comes to an end and the age of the Fearsome Five begins, with the advent of the great and glorious Dawn joining the forest crew.
From the acoustics of the library to the serenity of the lake the Hostel in the Forest is ready to usher in a summer of dreams.May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted November 15th, 2013
The last few weeks have been very busy at the hostel. The last weekend in October and the first weekend in November the Hostel hosted yoga fundraisers. The staff and other guests were welcome to join in learning from exceptional teachers. This past weekend a gathering of handpan musicians filled the forest with angelic sounds. The winter garden is planted and thriving. We hope to have a salad of greens from the garden at dinner every night throughout the winter. There have been a couple of projects that are being wrapped up as well. Elmos has a new staircase, and the floor of the Glass House is being painted with a beautiful mural.
As always, the Hostel continues to attract international travellers. We have hosted guests from Sweden, Columbia, France, and Canada. The Hostel also has been home to a few new adorable baby chicks, which appeared just a couple of days ago.Coming up is our November Sweat Lodge and not too far away is Thanksgiving. The circle of gratitude and the meal for Thanksgiving are going to be very special here at the Hostel. Firewood is stocked up for both inside and outside fires, so we will all be warm and cozy. We look forward to hugging you all and sharing stories fireside. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
Posted September 6th, 2013
Wow, it has been an incredible summer her at the Hostel! We have had guests from all over the world: from Malaysia to England, New Zealand to Korea, California to Italy and Argentina to Australia. We love being a place for diverse peoples to come together and share their stories!
The Soul Kitchen has been churning out incredible vegetarian meals from raw sunflower seed falafel to barbequed tempeh, African pumpkin soup to pad Thai. We fire up the Cobb Kitchen to cook homemade pizza and bread in a hardwood burning oven, and the rocket stoves are used to saute and boil, using a simple bundle of sticks to provide the fuel. Its great to cook off of the grid using renewable resources!
The gardens have dazzled us with fruits, flowers, herbs and veggies! Our fig trees gave us amazing dark purple figs, the tropical looking okra plants have excelled in the hot and humid summer, as have our purple sweet potatoes. White ginger blossoms provide the most delicate and intoxicating aroma, and the butterflies have enjoyed the zinnias and other colourful flowers. Tomatillos, squash, cucumber, corn, peppers, and sunflowers have also done well.
All summer we have been creating hugelkulture mounds, which is a permaculture technique of burying wood and other organic matter to create more favourable growing conditions(like retaining moisture and adding organic fertilizer). We have a 40 foot long mound on the northside of the lake which is transforming yard clippings into watermelons! We have the speckled heirloom variety Stars and Moons and the compact and tasty Sugar Baby growing just on the shore, which makes watering very easy! We are still working on a large (so far is 20’x20’x7’) hugel mound-pyramid on the southwest of the lake, and would love for some of our guest members to come and work on completing it with us over the next couple of weeks!The Hostel has played host to many lectures, classes and workshops this summer, ranging in subject matter from intuitive painting to ethnobotany. We’ve learned about community building in urban environments, permaculture in rural environments. Just recently we had a natural birthing workshop, where women learned how to use herbal tinctures, flowers, belly binding, organic cooking and placenta encapsulation to nurture their pregnancies and foster a sacred relationship with their own bodies, their child, their family and their world moving forward after birth. Right now we have a permaculture design course underway, where students are engaged in a rigorous program meant to empower them with the principles and techniques for designing permaculture installations in any environment, from desert to swamp, city to jungle, which will recapture lost nutrients and water, and turn them into sustainable gardens for feeding people and the land itself. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff
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