Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Busy busy

The rest of the week zoomed by, as we tried to finish the myriad projects that had been started at the Colloquium. At one point we ran out of prepared clay, so the organizers were scrambling to dig more and pulverize it in a hammer mill for use in plastering. My new red made-for-women construction boots and tool belt got a bit of a workout, but the speed of work was enjoyable and filled with laughter and conversation, as we compared techniques and traded skills.

More music ensued, and some nights of drumming and dancing. (It was so freaking cold in the evenings that it was the only way to keep warm!) Joe Jenkins gave his Humanure talk on Friday night, and he was hilarious, as usual. I guess when you are constantly talking about crap, you find a way to make it funny.

Saturday was a day of finishing up projects as much as possible. Nothing got completely done; a crew will be back this week to prepare projects for winter. But the Kerrville Folk Festival site is now blessed with a cob/adobe/earthbag welcoming booth, a strawbale staff building, a timberframe bucket toilet facility, a spiffed-up-with-earthen-plaster auditorium, and a mind-blowingly-beautiful and artful ceremonial stage for its open air church.

Saturday night after the closing ceremony, we had a talent show, and I performed a song I wrote while I was there, with the help of Pete and James who played guitar and sang back-up. It was terribly hard to leave on Sunday, but it was time for Pete to get Sun Ray and I to the airport.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunny again

Well, last evening was full of music, with attendees regaling us with their voices and instruments. There was one thing that filled some of us with dread, however: the impending night of frost. Two of us (I will not name names), knowing our rated to 10-degrees-celsius sleeping bags were waiting for us in our tents, bailed from the ranch for a night at the cozy Comfort Inn. A hot shower and heated room was what we needed to recover from the chill visited upon us by the previous 24 hours.

Having learned our lesson, we made a trek
(again to Walmart) and got us some sleeping bags that we hope stop our incessant complaining about the cold.

Doni and Kaki, of earthbagging fame, arrived yesterday and I spent some time chatting with them this morning, and thanking them for all their help with the composting toilet project at Dufferin Grove Park. I am looking forward to working with them here as they teach us earthtubes, a faster version of earthbagging.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bale pics

Compressing bales for use in a straw bale wall


Sitting and soaking

It's been a busy couple of days. On Saturday, we started some projects, but then sat on our butts all afternoon and the next day listening to some seriously inspirational presenters. We've heard about:
These folks really connected mud and life; pretty mind blowing.

Last night, they said we might be having a storm in the night, so I moved my clothes out to my colleague's car. The water dripping through my tent at 3am put the lie to my valiant tent waterproofing efforts, though once the water got in, the waterproofing on the tent's bottom seemed to be retaining water nicely. Fortunately, I was able to divert most of the drips off of my (rather skimpy and not meant to handle sub-zero temperatures) sleeping bag, so that I could at least get through the night.

Today has been around 10 C, though now the clouds are gone. Tonight will be cold, and then it will apparently warm up. Fingers crossed, 'cause I left my winter parka at home, against my better judgement.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I've arrived

Well, I met Janet, a fellow Colloquium-goer, this morning at our hotel. My luggage arrived on the first flight from Memphis, none the worse for wear. We stocked up on supplies at Walmart, and then drove her rented SUV to Quiet Valley Ranch, all the while chatting about sustainability. Then we set up our petrochemical-derived tents and unpacked our plastic canvas knapsacks and folding chairs. Long live sustainability!

Tonight, Penny Livingston-Stark opens the Colloquium with a talk about "natural building, permaculture and regenerative design". Off I go!

Oh, and a guy in a Utilikilt just walked by; so cool.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In San Antonio

We left Toronto a half hour late, so that left me running about a mile in the Memphis airport in order to make it onto my connecting flight with one minute to spare. In San Antonio, i discovered that my luggage wasn't so lucky; it will apparently arrive tomorrow. I am scheduled to leave at 10am, while my luggage will fly in for 11am. Not sure how I'll sort that out.

Supper was a microwaved pizza pocket and a Snickers bar. Getting geared up for 10 days of vegan fare, I guess. Well, off to bed; looks like a busy day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In Toronto

Getting ready to go

I am finalizing my packing, and getting ready to go to the Natural Building Colloquium in Kerrville, Texas: www.naturalbuildingtexas.org. Alan tells me that I might consider taking fewer socks; we'll see what finally makes the cut.

Thank you for Centre for Local Research into Public Space for their generous sponsorship, and for the staff at Dufferin Grove Park, for donating the proceeds of a recent Friday night supper to help pay for my trip.