December 30, 2018
You're invited to consider joining our adventure for the upcoming season, our 31st year of offering hands-on learning opportunities to study the art and science of creating sustainable community.
Each winter, Windward accepts applications for three month internships and apprenticeships starting in mid-March and running into mid-November.
Internships are for those who are interested in learning about the broad range of systems involved in creating sustainable community using appropriate self-reliant technologies. Interns will be involved in working in the garden, caring for the animals, food preparation and storage, equipment maintenance, renewable energy applications, fiber arts, and construction.
It might help to think of an internship as starting to work towards a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Community Systems.
Apprenticeships are for those who want to focus their interest in sustainable community on some particular system or project. Whereas interns do a bit of most everything, apprentices spend a good portion of their day working on:
- building a particular skill such as welding, weaving, or wood-working,
- doing online study towards some form of accreditation,
- building an online business,
- developing their artistic skill in fields such as writing, painting, scuplture, or performance
- delving into some field of personally relevant study such as Herstory's Role in Creating Intentional Community or Techniques for Producing Clothing from Locally Grown Materials
For more detailed information, Click Here
Specific Projects Underway for 2019
The Pearl awaits a southern wall
In the spring, while the ground is still moist, we'll start the work of creating a concrete stem-wall foundation for the southern half of the aquaponics greenhouse. When done, this unit will contain a 3,000 gal solar heated tank for raising tilapia, and aquaponic beds to grow tomatoes, strawberries and duckweed year round. The design also incorporates an 8'x24' walk-in solar powered freezer and an 8'x24' ice house.
Skills Involved: the use of water and laser levels to lay out a level foundation on sloping ground, the construction of stepped concrete forms, the installation of rebar, the on-site mixing of concrete, effective vibration, and the installation of anchor bolts.
The Cabin awaits a downstairs ceiling
Windward has been developing its natural burial cemetery known as Herland Forest, and a key dimension of that work involves a desire to help people who are struggling with end-of-life issues. Windward is committed to working with the terminally ill and we want to make our cabin available to patients who want to take advantage of Washington's Death With Dignity option. That law allows people who have less than six months remaining to take control of their passing at a time of their choosing.
But that work can't get underway here until the county grants a certificate of occupancy. One of the steps needed before that will happen is the installation of a sheet rock ceiling for the main floor. Mounting 12'x4' long sheetrock on the ceiling is a task that we can start in late winter when, as the spring rains melt the snow pack, the ground is too wet and too cold to do much outside.
Later, once the weather warms up and the gardens are planted, we'll return to the cabin to "mud" the joints, spray texture and paint the ceiling.
Skills Involved: learning to use a crane to lift sheet rock to the ceiling, prepping the ceiling to provide adequate anchor points, prepping sheet rock to accommodate openings for lighting, "taping and mudding" sheet rock joints, masking off to protect non-sheet rock surfaces, the mixing and spray-application of texturing compound, overhead painting techniques, installation of lighting fixtures.
Between May and September, Windward hosts various non-profit events in its campground. In order to increase class room space for educational events, we're manufacturing and installing a multi-use 36' diameter dome. In 2018, the 425 structural elements needed were manufactured in Windward's metal shop. In 2019, we will prepare the dome's foundation, erect the dome and start the process of manufacturing a cover from industrial grade vinyl sheets.
Skills Involved: Learning to use laser and water levels to create a level foundation for the dome; learning to use landscaping cinder blocks to create a level raised surface capable of diverting run off from snowmelt and rain away from the dome; various techniques will be used to assemble the dome from the top down, lifting it as each level is added. The assembly work will be integrated with a level-by-level and as-you-go process of manufacturing a custom cover using industrial vinyl welding techniques.
Extra Credit Projects for 2019
Projects waiting for that special person to arrive
A Masonary Stove for the LongHouse?
One of Windward's ongoing construction projects is a 62'x24' Four Seasons Harvest" style greenhouse capable of providing the community with table greens right through the winter months. In the fall of 2018, we received a certificate of occupancy from the county affirming the fundamental completion of the exterior parts of the structure.
This winter is the first time we've been able to use the space when snow's on the ground, finding it very pleasant to gather in this space that's sheltered and pleasantly warmed and lit by sunlight.
But the sun doesn't shine all the time, so we're looking into the appropriateness of creating a rocket-stove style masonary heater in the LongHouse. This is the sort of project that will remain dormant until someone comes along who has a passion for building that sort of heat system. Will this be the year when someone arrives who's eager to take this on?
A Birthing Pen for the Sheep?
Improving the animal areas is an ongoing project. Currently, the sheep are bunking with the goats (to the pleasure of neither) so that the sheep pen can be improved by the addition of a lean-to on the north side of their hay barn.
Currently, we're having to delay breeding by at least two months in order to ensure that lambing doesn't happen in the middle of a snow storm (a ewe's favorite time to lamb since predators are less of a problem). Traditionally, sheep migrate up and down the mountain towards the zone that's right for their needs of the moment. But since our sheep have to remain on Windward land, it falls to us to create appropriate conditions for them to birth in.
The goal is to create a four foot high retaining wall ten feet back from the north side of the hay barn, and then build a lean-to shelter on top of that so that the ewes can give birth in January without having their lambs have to bed down in the snow. It takes a couple of months for the lambs to grow to the point where they can make the transition from milk to taking full advantage of the new spring grass, so improving the nursery will enable the ewes to time their birthing schedule to sync up with the peak grass production.
This work will involve some excavation and the construction of a 4' tall concrete stem wall, which is the sort of work that will also be going forward to create the southern wall of the aquaponics greenhouse. Whether there's enough energy and enthusiasm to do both will depend on whether enough folk show up who want to help the ewes take better care of their babies.
Sheep waiting patiently (not) for their improved quarters
Refurbishing the Sawmill?
We purchased our sawmill back in 1994, and it's done good work for the community, but eventually complicated equipment such as this has to be taken apart, repaired and prepped for doing new work. Sadly, the person who undertook to do the refurbishing passed away. And so, the mill awaits the arrival of someone who's interested in what one can do given access to trees and a wood shop.
At Windward we invite people to not think in terms of "making money" but rather in terms of creating value. Having the ability to transform a dead standing tree into custom-cut lumber opens the door to a wide range of value-added products that can be marketed online or at local craft fairs.
When some piece of equipment breaks down and need repair, folks who have access to lots of money can send it into the shop for repair, or even update their system by buying something new. People who don't have lots of cash or credit have to learn how to repair and make do. The problem then involves gaining access to the tools needed to do the repairs. If someone wants to learn the art and craft of salvage and repair, then Windward has most of the tools they'll need. And there's usually some piece of equipment they can practice on.
Where we can, Windward strives to embrace the aesthetic principle of shibumi, a Japanese concept which translates into something like "embodying nature's grace." While we want to have lots of signs to explain what people are looking at, we'd rather not use wood and paint that will soon deteriorate and look tacky. What we'd rather go with is stone slabs that have names and designs sand blasted into them.
This winter we had a chance to acquire two tons of beautiful rock slabs and get them delivered before the fall rains made it risky to bring heavy equipment in. Now that we have the raw material to work with, we're looking forward to learning how to create stencils and transform these beautiful slabs into lasting markers. But again, that will have to wait until someone with both an artistic and a mechanical bent joins the community.
Well, those are some of the things that we're looking at doing over the coming year. Is there something that you're passionate about that we should add to the list?
If you're wanting more detailed information about the internship and apprentice program, and how to start an application, then Click Here.