Last (Two) Week(s) at the Institute — 7–20 Jan. 2018

Winter continues to be our slow season, and so it seemed better to summarize what’s gone on at the institute over the last two weeks in one post. Last weekend the board met to discuss the direction for the institute in 2018. We also announced the launch of our tool library and had a podcast and blogs.

Board Meeting

Last weekend the board met to discuss where to go in 2018. We are excited to report that memberships are growing and we’re going to be increasing our outreach efforts to help grow our community. One of the most palpable decisions that came out of this meeting is to help focus our workshops for the foreseeable future: we’re going to seek out people with homesteading and self-sufficiency skills to teach classes in the new “Homesteading 101” series. This combines our interest in long-term sustainable communities able to survive without fossil fuels.

Winter Around the Institute

Everything needs rest. Right now our plants and soil are covered in snow while microorganisms prepare the beds for next year’s garden. Our berry patch waits for the new year and the woven fence is ready for more saplings. The bees are staying in their hive, huddling together and keeping warm by shivering. Inside each hive is a roiling mass of bees that keeps their internal temperature in the 70ºFs even when it’s below zero outside. Our large spruce tree’s boughs are weighed down by snow, changing its shape to shed snow instead of break under the weight. We’ve tried to get outside to fish and keep busy with whatever work can be done below freezing. In the garage, we’ve been putting together the prototype wall for the tool library.

We also made a trip up to northern Minnesota, where we got to see ice blocks being cut out of a lake, making me think about creating an icehouse in a future year here in Wisconsin by harvesting ice off our own lakes.

Upcoming Blogs and Podcasts

This week we’ll have posts on processing a big from contributor Matt Miles and chopping wood. We’re also working on our first edition of “Is It Low Tech?” for the podcast, where we examine if a practice or item is moving our lives in a more sustainable direction.

Otherwise

It has been quiet here in Cooksville. We presented to the local town board about the tool library we’re building and making available to the community. We’ve also been following through on the large-scale clean up and organization effort outlined in podcast no. 32, which means starting no new projects until it is done.

 


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