Weekly Update 12-30-09

Posted December 30th, 2009

Winter Solstice, with it’s longest night of extended darkness, was balanced by full blast sunshine. Temps are fluctuating in the forties and fifties. Somehow it usually seems more frigid than the thermometer indicates. Firewood collection, raking, sweeping, gardening, and such are warming chilled bodies from the inside out. And the wood stove keeps on keeping the dome cozy.

Orange Kitty and Miss Lady wandered into the Hostel without reservations or identifications, blatantly ignoring the no pet policy. Perhaps they considered themselves travelers due to their Forest adventures. Adorable and sweet as could be, our feline and canine friends were adopted by caring guests. Many thanks for the furry ones and the generous people!

Salads are being plucked from the Secret Garden, rinsed, and served ultra fresh. The dinner fridge seems to be perpetually overstocked due to local donations and gifted produce lovingly grown by guests in their home gardens. Such abundance is glorious.

Tom’s annual Christmas party was held the eve of the eve. It’s a gathering of all sorts of folks, including Hostel staff and guests. Delicious sippables and munchables are shared. A circle of thanks offers everyone an opportunity to share names and gratitude. And then the crowd meanders the neighborhood caroling. Quite the occasion!

Various kind individuals who previously lived-worked-played at the Hostel have come back to the Forest for visits during these recent weeks. It’s wonderful to hear stories of yesteryears. Especially, since the essence of being here is still oh so similar.

Most of the staff scattered for the holidays. We are grateful for those who did not abandon the ship, holding space with merriment and joy throughout those quietest nights. As we reconvene, celebration continues—appreciation for day-to-day life, an upcoming full moon with aligned sweat lodge, and the transition from oh-nine to ten.

Happy happy 2009 conclusion!

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 12-17-09

Posted December 17th, 2009

Clouds dispersing for a spectacular lake reflected sunset. Flutterings of yellow, rust, and burnt umber leaves scattering upon the ground. Recent rains remaining as extensive puddles beneath elevated boardwalks. A turtle lounging in the pool. Mist hovering above the duck pond as dusk set in. A swarm of khaki dragonflies zipzapping around the bench of giants. Two bats swooping between the tree silhouettes. Mosquitoes, somehow still in season, leaving their itchy marks. (This is definitely a swamp forest!) Smiles and celebration permeating the potential gloominess of lingering overcast. Cedar shingling of the new dome being orchestrated by Denis from beautiful Deer Isle, Maine. Radishes, leafy greens, and more tangelos being harvested. Deliciousness for dinner, chomped at shining refinished tables. And hula hooping around a blazing fire. Just another evening into night at the Hostel… how marvelous!

Bulk ordering is a grocery acquisition approach applied at the Hostel that can be adapted for any pantry. Reduced packaging and fewer trips to the mart are pillar eco-friendly factors. More bang per buck is possible due to cost effectiveness and subsequential access to higher quality ingredients, while staying within a budget. The Hostel bulk orders oils, vinegars, grains, beans, and sweeteners in conjunction with a local health food store. This is a symbiotic relationship, since our order in addition to theirs meets the minimum quantity required by the distributors. It is quite possible that you and yours could cultivate a similar collaboration.

Organic hard red spring wheat berries are amongst the bulk goodies in the pantry. Sprouted and coupled with dates, the wheat berries can become yummy wholesome bread. Homemade sprouted grain bread is a simple, ultra-nutritious, and dollar-wise alternative to grocery store offerings. The recipe below is an adaptation from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book:

Soak 2c of wheat berries in room-temp water for 18 hrs. Keep covered in a dark place, rinsing 3 times a day. Ready in apx 36 to 48 hrs, when the sprouts are one third the grain length. Final rinse and towel dry the extra moisture away. Grind the sprouts and 1/2c of dates or other dried fruits in a food processor until a dough ball forms. Remove and rest the dough, covered, for about an hour. Place on a well-greased baking sheet. Bake gradually, 300 degrees F for 2 1/2 hrs or until browned. Cool loaf, wrap in a towel, place in a brown paper or plastic bag, and refrigerate for a day or two to soften the leathery crust. Enjoy!

Much gratitude for the kindness, caring, and sharing of previous, recent, current, and upcoming guests. Your participation and contributions enhance the thriving nature of the Hostel.

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 12-07-09

Posted December 7th, 2009

The full moon and accompanying sweat lodge were featured events this week. Much appreciation for all who participated. Guided as a medicine wheel meditation, the sweat encompassed community, introspection, strength and wisdom, and vision as the themes of each round. The experience was described as gentle and supportive. Although there were hefty storm warnings and weather scans indicating present moment occurrence of heavy precipitation, the ceremony unfolded without a hiccup and merely a slight drizzle during the third round. We are oh so very grateful for the prayers and blessings that encouraged the downpour to hold until dinnertime. At which point, the clouds wrung themselves and thanks were practically shouted in effort to be heard over the roof-pounding deluge.

Fairly frigid dripdrops continued falling from sky in bursts through out the week, saturating the Forest. Puddle abundance and slippery-when-wet boardwalks inevitably resulted. Galoshes are great for life amongst such conditions. Walking at a more gradual pace and/or with a toe-then-heel stride minimizes the potential of balance mishaps due to the slickness. Sweeping away wet leaves during the precipitation lulls is also quite helpful in reducing the banana peel bit equivalent and for increasing visibility. Raking fallen debris from the sand paths amplifies their ability to reflect moonbeams, as well. Nighttime navigation of the Hostel’s paths is further enhanced by gazing towards the horizon and viewing the contrast between the paths and Forest, rather than attempting to see per usual. Many thanks to all who nurture the paths while visiting here.

We are seeking previous work exchange, staff, and/or manager who’s who sorta snapshots capturing Hostel livin’ workin’ playin’ for an upcoming collage project. Representation of as many generations, eras, and clusters of folks who have dedicated spans of their day-to-days, simply because they love this place, will be much appreciated. Please flip or scroll thru photograph stashes, scout out some free print deal on the interweb, and snailmail copies to our post office box.

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff

Weekly Update 11-30-09

Posted November 30th, 2009

Families of all sorts populated the Forest this week surrounding our Thanksgiving celebration. This holiday of family gathering, feasting, and gratitude is very much an extension of the Hostel’s daily dinners. Circle of thanks, where everyone joins before dinner to share a moment listening to the Forest, who they are, where they are from, and some specifics they are thankful for, was enjoyed per usual. Turkey on the menu, however, was a scrumptious variant.

The garden’s dandy, although there were frost warnings this week. Many thanks always for those who cultivate and nurture its growth. For Alan, who donates the horse manure. And for more and more tangelos!

Since we cannot change the nature of a species, exotic invasives are being plucked and uprooted from the Forest. A traveling collective known as the Dharma Bums offered their helping hands with this project. They also cheerfully contributed towards the perpetual collecting of firewood, weeding of the sweat lodge area, and fireside music.

Amongst the miscellaneous occurrences… Four unique yoga sessions were shared in the Glass House. A tea party was hosted in honor of a solar return duo. Dank strutted off to elsewhere when no one was looking. Front porch and backyard chairs have been refurbished. And the Hostel continues to draw in the loveliest guests.

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff