Note: The circumstances for this workshop are unusual for us. Typically, we celebrate the community that brings us in to help them build their community by building a timber frame. We have every reason to do so for the people for whom we are building this roundhouse; however, there are a few special circumstances.
As we have reported previously, this inspirational group of Maskoke (pronounced mus-ko-gee) indigenous people is in the process of re-establishing its community on ancestral lands. Out of respect for their wishes, we will not be sharing their story; they have asked that they be allowed to tell their story in their own words and will do so for Scantlings at an appropriate time.
One of the many challenges they face is the local community which is hostile to peoples who are not of the dominant culture - that is, white Americans. Because of this circumstance, they have asked us to be circumspect in both the description of the project and the photography we share online. As the purpose of this blog is to share the experience of the participants with our larger community (and their families and friends), we will be telling the story by describing the work we are doing and those who are doing it. In no way is this a hardship for the participants, all of whom have been inspired by the generosity and support that the Maskoke have shared with us in their words and deeds. Not only have they shared this sacred place, they are also preparing our food, arranging for our camping and showering, assisting us in fabricating and raising the timber frame, and sharing their culture while accommodating ours.
Ekvn-Yefolecv (ee-gun-yee-full-lee-juh) means "returning to the Earth" as well as, in this context, "returning to the homelands."
Now, to the blog....
The two days leading up to the workshop were filled with two inches of rain. This part of Alabama has a deep layer of red clay soils which, when mixed with water, creates a slick, greasy mess that oozes out from underneath any pressure, creating rutted surfaces only exacerbated by further rain building up. Clay soils do not drain well, so the mess can remain for extended periods. If we were children, this might be a playground of mayhem - assuming rain slickers and galoshes were the attire. I can attest from inadvertent personal experience that this mess would have allowed for tackle football with soft landings and sliding for extra yardage.
The work site, showering facility, and camping site are separated by several miles of unimproved roads - really just widened trails through the second-growth forested hilly terrain. Two-wheel-drive vehicles are useless for getting around, and we even had four-wheel-drive trucks stranded along these narrow roads on the participants' day of arrival. The community has two six-passenger ATVs, and we added an eight-person ATV and two two-person ATVs for shuttling support crew and participants between the three sites.
To make up for the challenge of these difficult roads, we had Alabama's first frost with the temperatures dropping into the low thirties overnight. A cold front had followed the storms, making for inhospitable camping, particularly in the already soggy campground. The campfire at the site provided much-needed warmth into the evening, but the day ended with cold tents and some shivering through the night.