Weekly Update 6-23-2008

Posted June 24th, 2008

We had our sweatlodge this week Wednesday on the full moon, poured again by Papillon. Peaches has become our steadfast firetender, enduring the blazing sun and fire to hold space and serve those who are in the lodge. Thanks man, and thanks to all of you who have been bringing rocks for the lodge as well. Keep them coming, as we can only use each rock once – if you live near a river, pick up some two-fist-sized rocks from a dry spot up on the bank, and we can use them in our next lodge for healing and prayer. Thanks!

Friday we cut two extra window spaces in the kitchen walls, one in each wall on either side of the existing window over the sink. They are screened on the inside, and will hold a piece of glass from the old dome doors on the outside during the winter. They brought an incredibly cooling breeze through the kitchen, as well as extra light and forest greenery, a feeling of more space, and recurring smiles from those of us who live here. Murray wandered through, musing “Why haven’t we done this before?”

Saturday 7-year-old Eli from Jacksonville treated us to a Ninja show out on the old dome deck, and then that evening we had an impromptu all-ages dance party in the common room with laser lights and superloud 80s pop music, followed by a swim in the lake to cool off. The lake has been staying warm at night, the yellowflies have died off, and the mosquitoes are still scant – it’s an amazing time to be in the forest.

We’d like to extend the invitation to dance instructors to come down and trade us a dance workshop – salsa, swing, ballroom, tango, or any other couples’ style dance that’s a lot of fun – for a night in a treehouse. Also a reminder that we accept trades from massage therapists as well. Just call and ask for the manager to set it up.

Thanks y’all, and May The Forest Be With You…

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 6-16-2008

Posted June 16th, 2008

This weekend in addition to a relaxed and intimate artist retreat, we had two unannounced performances at the Hostel. Friday night Kathy Meyers led a movement and embodiment ritual in the labyrinth at dusk by candlelight, with staffers Carlyn and April and work exchanger Molly. Saturday night, former manager Mikey Tietz led the staff, Tom, and Murray in about seven short comedy sketches, for the delight of guests and staff. Despite sputtered lines, missed cues and a minimum of rehearsal (if any at all), we all had a lot of fun.

We had some issues with wanting to host travelers and yet trying to keep space open for people to attend the retreat solely for that purpose, so it looks as if in the future we will try to keep beds open for both, and hopefully not have to turn anyone away unless we are bursting at the seams. There is a yoga retreat coming up the weekend of July 18th, details to be found on our events page. On the work side, we took the chainsaw to four dead trees that have been looming in the forest, including the fabled Widowmaker which hung over the dome for years but thankfully never fell. We took it down as well as one right next to the glass house, one by the chicken coop, and one over the pool. All went smoothly and now we can breathe a little easier when powerful winds blow through the Hostel.

This week we also brought out our new line of Hostel shirts, which we’ve begun buying at thrift stores (instead of sweatshops in China or India) and had silkscreened locally. There’s a huge assortment of t-shirts, halter tops, hoodies, jogging bras, thermals, and other cool gear, and they are flying off the racks, which we built right in the common room next to the office window. Everyone’s really excited about this development and we’ll continue to experiment with what types of clothing y’all want to buy. Workshirts? Jumpsuits? Vests? The possibilities are numerous.

That’s what we’re here for at the Hostel in the Forest, and that’s what we learn, work for, and teach: creative, dynamic change.

May The Forest Be With You…

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 6-10-2008

Posted June 10th, 2008

This week at the Hostel we had a startling number of arrivals – of baby chicks! Apparently the chickens have been hiding eggs under the domes and out in the woods. First, earlier in the week, we discovered that we had nine cute little peepers hanging out with two different mamas, a Rhode Island Red, and a Milleflora. Some of them were picked off by predators, and we gave the rest to a guest and her daughter, along with one of the mamas. (Thanks Gracie.) Then over the weekend, another thirteen chicks appeared under the wing of our mama chicken Shadow! We’ve done some work to track down their secret nests to eliminate further surprises, but we’ve still got plenty of chicks to give away, along with some mama chickens. Come help yourself if you can provide a loving home and would like to invest in egg futures.

We have also seen some serious blueberry harvesting as the first round ripens on the bushes. We’re getting close to a gallon a day, and Trey and Peaches have been cooking up plenty of blueberry pie and blueberry cobbler. Some we’re stockpiling to make some Hostel blueberry wine – workshop announcement to come, as soon as we perfect the process.

Thanks to all who have been bringing us organic fair trade coffee and donating to the cause! We feel much better supporting these farmers and organizations, and appreciate your support as well. Keep it flowing and so will we. This weekend also saw a board of directors and staff meeting over Sunday brunch, to laugh, hang out, and discuss the possibility of a Hostel internet radio station. We’re looking into sharing our live kitchen mixes with you, as well as investigating podcasts and ways to broadcast the night sounds of the forest.

Thanks for all the love, support and dynamic energy y’all bring to the Hostel.

May The Forest Be With You…

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 6-03-2008

Posted June 2nd, 2008

This week at the Hostel we were blessed with a visit from a former manager, Mark Gribbon – his first time back at the Hostel since his tour of duty in 1988! Though so much of the infrastructure has changed, he said that the ethos was the exactly the same: good people spending time getting to know one another, especially on the front porch. He shared his old pictures with us, and it was true – one could hardly tell the difference between eras when the shots were of front porch hangouts.

Mark was manager when the pool was overhauled and rebuilt using rebar and cement blocks, so we got to view pictures of its construction and the ensuing mudfight. There was some debate as to the length of the warranty on the pool – he claimed 19 years and Murray and Tom claimed 21, but the matter was resolved over some wine and storytrading between the three alumni.

The staff cleaned the pool this week as well, getting all the way to the muck at the bottom and giving it a good scrubbing, then filling it with fresh clean water from the well. (Thanks Mark for your support with the process.) The timing is just right as the weather gets hotter and sweat becomes a natural part of the workday – we’ve had pool gatherings just about every afternoon since cleaning it. We also received donations of large plastic barrels, pvc pipe, and some lumber, and will start building a rainwater barrel system in the garden this week. Thanks guys! Our gardener Zak Stern the Chosen will be leaving us this week, and he has been working hard on creating a small urban garden, with displays on how you can create small effective garden areas for your home, including a potato barrel and squarefoot raised bed. More info to follow soon on the website.

This past week we’ve had a record number of no-shows and it has been extremely frustrating. PLEASE, if you can’t make it to the hostel, call us and cancel your reservation! Not only does it deny space to travelers who could be staying in your place, it also demoralizes the staff, and if your name is placed on our no-show list, you will not be welcome to stay at the Hostel again. Thank you for your consideration.

This week we were also honored to host a war veteran, who said at our circle of thanks that it was his first time out in nature in many years without carrying an M-16. He was thankful to be able to relax and to realize that he wants to radically change the way he lives, and we are thankful for his service and to witness the beginning of his rebirth.

Also, we are currently planning a Yoga Retreat Weekend for July 18th-19th 2008 ~ more details soon.

May The Forest Be With You…

The Hostel Staff