Some weeks are rough; nothing goes right, nothing happens on schedule, the tools needed are missing or broken, the car doesn’t start, and so on. Sometimes getting past these hurdles requires taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and counting the weeks since all these projects started. Or sometimes it just takes a major break-through to give the encouragement and energy to keep going, keep positive, and most of all, keep building and planning.
This week there was some of all of the above. It felt as though getting the posts prepped to be erected on the Nid foundation walls was taking absolutely forever, and then when measuring for their placement everything was a tad bit off, adding to the general frustration. Then there was the matter of lifting the 150lb (or more) posts into place and holding them there, trying to align not-very-straight posts with each other and with the foundation…you can imagine. By the end of the week the posts were all finished, and Mandy had spent a morning patiently helping to get the first three posts situated and a method somewhat figured out so that hopefully the rest will go up without too many hiccups! On Friday morning I ended up with a spare hour, and put my frustration-fueled energy to good use in erecting the door frame (the glorious carpentry of which you saw a couple of weeks ago), leveling it, propping it in place, and framing up for the poured concrete door sill. Next week I must get half a yard of gravel, and then I’ll be able to pour the sill, thereby securing the door frame in place. After that, I’ll be back to erecting the remaining posts before having to hunt down and harvest some bamboo for the horizontal wall lathes.
Despite some moments of consternation, frustration, and “Oh god, what have I got myself into?”, the progress on the Nid is going pretty damn well. I took me most of the week to realize this fact, as somehow I’d got the idea into my head that I’d already been here on St Croix for 3, maybe 4 months? Then I looked back and thought “oops…I arrived here 2 months ago yesterday”. Since then all is well again!
Speaking of things going well, today’s baking was amazing! Everything went smoothly, from getting up and kneading the sourdough at 5:30am to lighting the oven, baking a huge variety of dishes and successfully controlling the oven temperature for about 8 hours on very little wood. We had four stalks of bananas come ripe this week – that’s some 60+lbs of banana – so banana bread was the first thing to go in the oven, at around 8am, along with some trays of Tiny House Toasties (crispy rosemary-olive oil sourdough slices). Then a tray of veggies, followed by two batches of sourdough – some of the best yet – beef stew, and last of all, granola and pumpkin seeds. All I can say is that 8 hours of baking is a very long time and takes an awful lot of energy! Yet once the oven is hot it seems wasteful to not use the heat as much as possible, thus the bake-day has come to be.
I almost forgot…how could I? I made some delicious cheese earlier this week, having scored a couple of gallons of milk on sale (it’s generally prohibitively expensive here). Just a basic mesophilic cheese, fromage blanc, I suppose, firmed in a cheese mold in the fridge for a couple of days then garnished with fresh rosemary and Mandy’s Hawaiian pink salt. It’s rather delightful on bread, toasties, fruit….or straight from the knife!
That’s it til next week, cheers!