Forest Update May 2013

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

Forest Update May 2013

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