I traveled out to “upstate” NY this weekend for a Bamboo Building Workshop trusting my old Audi wagon to make the 135 mile trip. Having attended and taught many building workshops over the past eight years, I was super excited and nervous at the same time. Did I forget anything, or more importantly not bring extras in case, adding to my load. Possibly my favorite cooking knife or/and an extra tent might come in handy? Will we need a 4″ ladder, that can fit in the car.
Leaving at noon on Friday gave me plenty of time to make the informal arrival deadline 3-7pm, but with the day off why not show up earlier. A drive across the Pike and onto the Taconic Parkway was beautiful. The deer crossing signs are true! Three sightings on the way. Getting off the parkway way the first service station of the drive. A good chance to pick up cigarettes and lighter (hate to say this was/is important). The ride from the Mobil to the farm brought me over the Hudson River into the Woodstock region of NY…I knew I was close…20mi max…but on the back roads. Many chances to get twisted around but I soon arrived at the farm. Boy do I miss my old Audi sports sedan on these drives. Alas, the gate described in the email appeared, and it was open! A dirt road with hand painted arrows gave directions up a steep winding hill giving a vista of the 60 acre art-farm called Rosekill. I arrived. At this time I get the feeling in my gut I want this to last forever.
The anticipation of the build and meeting people is on my mind, but I must set up camp. Events like this require a certain amount of private space to sleep, keep your belongings change clothes, but also need to be close to the group you’ve yet to meet. I picked a spot after meeting Alejandro(alex) a co-instructor and Jill who owns the farm with her mate Hoke. They were cleaning and prepping the kitchen for the crowd to show up. I set up my camp and wandered a bit waiting for people as I was early. Alex was expecting between 5-15 people which is often the situation. In the end over 25 people circulated through the build weekend. Some for a couple hours others just a night…
Quiet…deserted outbuildings wildflower fields all types of trees rocket stove shower wood fired sauna lake vintage caravans dogs running free wind sun composting toilet rock walls birds insects…
I forget, was I there for a workshop to build a bamboo structure?
The first person I met was a guy from Queens NY. It was late afternoon and I was doing crosswords unwinding at my tent. He was carrying many bags, one of which bottles were clinking, another I soon found out was full of NY bagels! People soon rolled in and by sunset we had a good crowd but no real dinner but a good bonfire. Time to eat. The “cooks” which became a revolving bunch soon realized two old Colman camp-stoves on plywood counters were the “cooking” equipment, yet a commercial double-basin stainless sink and glass front fridge on each side. Communal meals ensued as everyone brought supplies for preparing meals, or great snacks fruit to graze on.
As it was our first night the meal ended later then planned, but by about 10pm we had a sheet up and were ready for a powerpoint on Bamboo from Alex and Joana. It did not disappoint, although I did break to tend the bonfire. Keeping this going all weekend soon became a priority. This meant firewood.