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The Polish influenza

Last month, we received a crazy volunteering form in our inbox, all the way from Poland. We somehow lost contact along the way {OK, not somehow. Our reception was worse than ever and my inbox never updated}. Then, one day, I receive a phone call from a friend living in a community not too far away from us.
"Cat, there's a bunch of people here asking for you."
Oh my goodness, they did it! The next day, this beautiful VW is parked in our land.

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It was a group of five, and it was the best group of five we could have asked for. Big smiles and a refined sense of humor, patchouli and beautiful dresses, and a dog that would drool every time she saw our cat - drool as in I like you so much I could eat you. 

It's hard to believe we did more work in a week than we would have done in a whole month {even though Sam was going out for work almost every day}! Here are some of the things we checked off the list:

  Clearing land - we did one of the most critical parts, which was the totally overgrown forest on the upper part of the land
 ☑ Clearing the inside of the house - debris and stones out, almost ready to start working on that floor!
 ☑ Taking down the walls of the old pigpen, to lay the foundations of the future bathroom
 ☑ Making new garden beds  

Yes, we were busy!

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That's the work on the old pigpen/ future bathroom, above.

And below... Well, we're one step closer to have this as view from our front door

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I really can't put my finger on what is my favorite part about having volunteers. There are so many things that warm our hearts about these helping visitors. The shared meals, the new kitchen flavors, the late night {sometimes deep} conversations, the different opinions on how to do something, the indelible touch people leave on the land and buildings... I love looking at something done with friends and thinking "oh, I remember how hard it was to place that stone there", or smiling upon the memory of the joke someone did while we worked together. These memories build up. And so does reality. And suddenly, our land and our building is no longer our land or our building. Embedded is the physical memory of the people who passed by, and in the air lingers the light breeze left behind those who moved around bringing something new, every time.

Like the remains of a cough our friends had upon arrival, that turned into cough for us that turned into fever that turned into a flu that put everyone here in the valley down for three weeks. We've called it the polish influenza but hey, now that is has passed I'm proud of it. It too tells a story.

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Scenes from early autumn

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To identify the woodpeckers pecking the trees near our trailer - they're nor shy of shameful.
To think, and rethink, and build with winter in mind, helped by friends who wear banana stickers on their foreheads.
To forage and cook, and share and trade for fresh sourdough bread. Always with a some knitting nearby.
To dream about the next batch of chickens.
To dream about the house-to-be.
To overcome insecurities and make new things for selling. And to have the support of your beautiful friends.
To try new kitchen adventures and laugh at the little one sniffing the air. To dive into warm apple and cinnamon, because the weather forecast says rain next week.

Stones and more stones

Building happened during summer! We worked on stone beds around the house to help shape the space and create a more lively outdoors, as well as more sitting areas - yay! Remember the ruin we took stones from last year? We came back once again for material (once? What am I saying? We must have went there over 40 times with our old rusty  wheelbarrow). With all the people we hosted this summer, and the experience from last year's, building this one was almost fun.

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And since we have our hands on it anyway, let's remake the old one just across. - Sam

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And since there are new walls, let me climb them all. - Jade (and fall once, not pictured)

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Do you see the curvy corner on the right one? That's where our future cob oven will be! There's a hole in there, inside the bed, which will be filled with stones and whatever old hard material we can find, to make a stable base. And then, on top of it, we start the cob construction. We're still looking for models and different ways of doing it. I personally love the way Dreamweavers Collective shape their ovens and the light touch to it. But anyway, we sense that will be something for next spring.

For now, we'll fill the bed on the right with aromatics, loads of lavender and a tree in the center.

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Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who helped us doing this! It's a special feeling to live in a place that carries the work and intention of so many different persons

Gentle days passing by

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We've been having our best summer since being here, by far! Lovely groups of volunteers are passing and bringing an amazing renewed energy to this place. Just what we needed, after feeling homesick (remember that post?) and quite isolated from cool folks.

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I've been discovering a new routine - God knows how hard routines are when babies are around. I wake up very early with Jade and leave her and Sam in bed, as I walk to the compost toilet to empty her potty (yeah, that whole elimination communication thang). I bring a small basket along and, on the way back to the house, make a whole garden tour and the morning harvest. These moments, while the sun hasn't yet shone upon the garden, the air is chill and the soil is wet under my bare feet, have revealed such peace and clarity.

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The fire is started, coffee is milled and mint leaves for tea are picked. People start gathering under the pergola and preparing breakfast together.

One of the best things of having people passing  by is how easily you can actually see the result of what you're working on. And how you actually do the things you had only planned to do someday, or that would have taken you a week to complete, and in one morning is actually ready. And how all this different persons leave something behind after their stay. A new chicken coop, and new garden bed, seeds to prosper, their handwriting on the blackboard.

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OK, that's actually my handwriting planning the autumn crops.

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On full moon we were nine. After dinner we wrapped ourselves and blankets and hiked to the very top of the mountain. An hour and a half walking merely by the bright moon leads us to a magical place, from which we can see only mountains and mountains bathed in moonlight, all the way around oneself. Darkness and silver, and tiny disperse sparkles of light - villages. The wind is harsh against our faces, and we gaze at the moon and feel grateful, oh so grateful, for being here, now. We got home to cookies, after.

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Did I tell you the sunflowers are blooming? Beautiful, bountiful summer!

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As I write this, there's sweet guitar playing coming from downstairs. Jade, Sam and the cat nap together. We feel happy and contented, with a warm feeling of home within. Our car is breaking again and we aren't even completely stressed out by that yet.

 

I hope you're having a good summer too! Would love to know what you've been up to.