Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update 11


Ladies and Gentlemen, Family and Friends of the 2012 Kroka Vermont Semester,

We now present КОЗЕП, our new cedar and canvas canoe. We’ve spent the last week or so working relentlessly on it, but we sure could not have accomplished it without the guidance and help of Scott who left us on Sunday. He was an amazing teacher and I think the group agrees that his skills are unparalleled. It was sad to see him go, but he left us with an awesome canoe, put together by him and the group. The canoe is painted dark green, and the frame is primarily cedar. When one peers inside, little shiny gold specks glare up, the ends of tacks holding the boat together, awaiting an adventure on the water. 

That evening, we gathered around the boat with Scott and admired his and our work. It was beautiful to see, and there was little doubt that this was truly a masterpiece. I know we’re going to thoroughly enjoy using this precious water vessel. Elisa also left us on Saturday, but only after having taught us a few very crucial skills. Her enthusiasm and patience during our paddling lessons were greatly appreciated. 

We spent almost all of Monday finishing up on our academic work. We were busy making pack basket liners, doing laundry, and getting last minute assignments done before heading out on farm tour. 

Luckily, we were able to take a very welcome break in the afternoon for a walk in the woods.  
It was an amazing opportunity to learn about forest ecology and forest 
management from Jayson Benoit and Jon Cox.  

Jayson, the Operations Director and Land Management Coordinator at Northwoods, is an encyclopedic source of knowledge about the local ecosystems, and he can identify all the birds.  Jon is a 2011 Vermont Semester graduate who has been working at Northwoods since the summer.  We had a wonderful time thinking about forest stewardship, identifying wild edibles and spring ephemerals, looking for salamanders, and climbing a huge mossy boulder.  We are blessed to have people like Jayson and Jon as our hosts here at Northwoods.

During the day Conor decided to go and be a cooking god and made us surprise cinnamon rolls with apples and raisins inside and chocolate on top. I made a dinner of enchiladas and beans. Pleasantly stuffed, we proceeded to break out the ice cream Lu had brought us. It was a great night. 

On Tuesday morning, we got up, packed our sleeping bags and overnight stuff sacks, and got ready to head out on farm tour. The chores were finished and we all piled into the van to head for Bonnieview Farms, a sheep dairy farm near East Craftsbury. We arrived and got to see the cheese making facilities and pet the lambs. It was an amazing experience. I had never seen a lamb act like such a bro before (Malcolm, Noah, and I found this really awesome little lamb that just NEEDED to be chilled with). After that, we all went to Bread And Puppet, where we saw “cheap art” with lots of local history and political messages and puppet tableaus that were simultaneously disturbing and moving. 
We continued on our way, having wound our way across the distance of our entire small group solos several times, to Vermont Natural Coatings in Hardwick. We took a tour and learned about the finishes that we put on our paddles and canoe (we used Vermont Natural Coatings’ PolyWhey finishes) and their business and philosophy. The finishes are water-based and revolve around whey obtained from cheese makers, especially those in the area. 
After a very interesting yet exhausting day, we headed to Craftsbury, where we planned to spend the night in a church’s basement. We arrived in town a few hours early, so, upon noticing a library behind the church, some of us made a dash for the books, while others enjoyed the sunshine and green grass. Meanwhile, Noah and Malcolm played on the plastic alligator seesaw in the church backyard, before joining the rest of us.

And so I sit here writing in the library, looking at a pine tree out the window, occasionally looking into a book titled "Strange Stories, Amazing Facts Of America’s Past",and writing the update. I know we’ll have an adventure tomorrow. We’ll be headed to Sterling College for their All-College Workday, and subsequently back to the church at which we’re staying to participate in a community dinner, but we can save that all for next time.

Stay Tuned!

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