Lost Valley Week 4 – Cob and Ceremony

HSS Week 4

The week started off with Ravi, continuing our lessons on economics – specifically discussing local economies tied with social entrepreneurship to promote healthy trade and strengthen local communities. On that same vein, we also discussed cottage industries and the logistics of possible businesses to implement on-site at Lost Valley as a hypothetical exercise. The main obstacle we encountered was the high rate of transience within the community, which doesn’t promote longevity in terms of implementing and running a business – a factor that led most of the working residents to find sources of income outside of the community.

Image result for ceremony historyWe also had another class with Catherine on the historical and social significance of ceremony in society (i.e. Japanese Tea Ceremony), which segwayed us into the major class project for the week – to plan a Fall Equinox ceremony for Friday.

But before the ceremony, we had Eva Edleson, a natural building guest instructor and founder of Firespeaking, came to teach us on the PDC building day. And as part of the building day we toured all the natural building examples on campus, and got to repair the Lost Valley welcome booth near the guest parking lots, which had been worn away by rain so we repaired it with a clay plaster. While half of the class repaired the welcome booth, the other half made experimental cob bricks – all of which was made by hand (and foot!)

Once we cleaned up from the build project, Colin gathered the class and presented options for our PDC design projects. Many of the options were on-site, including the on-going agroforestry project, the Solplex grounds, the Creek Garden, the Sun Garden or even the entire 87-acre Lost Valley property. Students were also allowed to choose locations off-site, which two groups chose their own properties.

I chose an off-site option called Moon Meadow Farms, an assisted living home for the physically and mentally handicapped, owned by Minx and Ira (an eccentric elderly couple) and managed by Tim Byers (our PDC instructor Brian’s father). As the groups finalized, my team included Bethany Bonneville and Bri Hofmann, with a unique set of clients that included Brian, everyone mentioned earlier, as well as consideration for the residents.

Friday wrapped up with a few more economics classes on the nature of money and the sharing economy with guest instructor Amanda Krichbaum, and another sit-spot exercise where we observed and sketched our surroundings – making note of major and minor changes from the last sit-spot visit.

Image result for fall equinoxOnce the scheduled classes ended for the day, we rushed around campus gathering supplies and materials for the Fall Equinox ceremony (procrastination got the better of us.) But we managed to pull it off with success and many of the residents attended. What was kinda crazy about the ceremony was that we called upon elements of nature, specifically the weather. And what happened couldn’t have been planned – our ceremony in the Meadow was bright and sunny, but we had a rolling rain shower come in half way through so the sky was a contrast of clear sunny sky and dark rain clouds, which caused a double rainbow right above us!

Even a “Lu-Lu” skeptic like myself was pretty taken back that the weather played out like that on the day of our ceremony…

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