Posted April 28th, 2012
There is a magic ingredient in the Brunswick stew that is a Georgia springtime: the native azaleas have peppered the Forest floor with abundant life. The live oaks are lively, the Spanish moss trills her Rrrrs like no other air plant, twitterpation among all creatures is rampant, and Forest life is lush. Hostel life is all scarlet dinners of beet stew, radish salad and red velvet cake. Soft green mornings with sunned bellies full of cast iron cooked cinnamon buns prepare the way for rattlesnake root afternoons. Snakes slide serendipitously through the palmettos, salamanders and chameleons sneakily race each other down the boardwalk, and armadillos stomp around pretending to be 10 feet taller than their actual height of 9 inches and a shell. Robe-Chili Sundays, spontaneous reiki workshops and Asheville-esque dance church have taken the new dome and glass house by a storm – storms that we wish would take the rest of the Forest with precipitation since the lake’s in the throes of a drought period. The angel shower has new wings, along with a newly revitalized spout, mahogany wood paneling and gold sconce art surprises.
The canvas interior of the teepee is covered with a host of new hieroglyphics and cave paintings, the flower garden is weeded and mulched to highlight the white roses, Mexican bluebell, and moss roses that flourish amongst the poetry that writes itself out in its primetime basking space. A bounty of zucchinis, peas, beans, summer squash, and tomatoes has hit the garden with a flash of green and vermiculite. After a romping staff field trip to Maggie’s Herb Garden and our sister Pirate Hostel in St. Augustine, our herb garden is home to catnip, purple basil, lemon thyme, turmeric, rosemary and chocolate mint, along with a fresh outfit of a straw designed sundial. The blueberry patch, pregnant with color and potential sweetness, now has a bench to accommodate seated berry enthusiasts. The fireflies along the firebreak follow their bliss nightly, strobing right into the mouths of mason jars where we can watch them for a few seconds without sensing their need for freedom being as strong as ours.
As always, the Forest is busy doing its work, ushering Hostel Family in and out as the energies charge and change. Our dear garden manager, Jenny, has planted her seeds and moved on to a new hosteling opportunity in Panama. Jerome, most esteemed wizard of sourdough pancake parties, has reverse-migrated north to future organic farming potential. Supreme Chieftain Samwise and tiny tango dancer Queen Chloe bid farewell to the Forest on a two-biscuit kind of morning. Soul Kitchen Goddess Terra is never far from the thoughts of our tastebuds, but she and her miraculous edible concoctions now feed her home state of Maine. Dear chicken whisperer Eddie speaks softly to the animals and loudly to the cobb kitchen, from which we’ve enjoyed a week’s worth of dinners courtesy of the rocket stoves and wood-fired oven. Freddie holds the space as only a carpenter philosopher knows how, with his hands and with the transcendent light in his eyes. Brim Scout is in and out with hands full of freshly caught fish from the lagoon and a blueprint drawing for the coming Massage Hut, where promises of strong and tender hands to untie every knot in your back. Hostel family friend Laeo has been breathing fire frenzy energy into the organization and feng shui of the space. In turn, the Forest has gifted us with Tess, Duchess Manager extraordinaire, Lauren, Lady of Laundry Land, Emoore, folk rap planter, and Katy, who will preside over the soul of the soul kitchen.
The chicken world of March and April has been a soap opera of the poultry variety: five harvestings, one hawk incident, several new wing hairdos, many a duck duel, a new Palm Palace chick hangout and attempted incubation on the behalf of Wanda’s chicken littles. Newly named chicks Franny, Saltinbanco, Scarlett, Little Foot, Fuego, Sports, Clytemnestra, and Frida are roaming the Forest floor and competing with the two white Pekin ducks, Quackerjack and Duck Ellington, for corn and compost scraps.
The spring season is literally abuzz with promises of the land of honey since the Hostel will soon be the keepers of bees. Ethnobotanical intensives, pan drum extravaganzas, and a primitive skills workshop are on the learning and sharing agenda for the spring – please check the events listing for further dirt on these weekend wonders. The next sweat lodge will be May 6 and not to be missed, so please reserve your spot for that soon. As wonderful a job as we humans do acting as solar panels when we recharge our souls and bodies by the sun, we are dreaming of solar panels in the field beside the T-Trail, furthering our role as a sustainability education hub and pushing us to the next level of “off-gridding”. In the near future also Mister Road will have a new family member: Mister Parking Lot. With an eye towards getting cars off the road and into the freshly mulched parking lot in the cul-de-sac, guests arriving by car will park in the new Mister Parking Lot and stroll down the new trail to the Hostel. May the Forest Be With You
The Hostel Staff