Menu

Tinkering School

The Blog of the Sleep-Away Program at Elkus Ranch – Updated every night during camp

Day 3 – Camaraderie

After a quick breakfast, the group heads for the barn, ready to get back to work, to tackle the frustrations and problems we faced yesterday afternoon with fresh eyes and minds, and to make progress.

Josh, bearer of the compost bowl.
IMG 0136

But before work can get started, the compost must be dispersed – the perfect excuse for an early morning visit to the chickens.

IMG 0181

And then it’s back to work. Panda works on attaching more rubber elastics for their wheel boxes.

IMG 0218

And Kablooi is back to work too. Despite a minor setback yesterday afternoon – the boards with the inner grooves that allow the axle to slide vertically up and down were installed on the wrong side of the box – the team is able to adjust, address the challenge, and continue forward.

IMG 0222

Portrait of a Collaborator: Daniel brandishes a drill.

IMG 0226

The Piki’s trapezoidal cart is coming along. The team works out some reinforcements and looks to add attachment points for their suspended seat.

IMG 0230

A peek at Piki plans.

D7K 8541

Ava supports the Panda suspension box, trying it outside for the first time.

D7K 8544

Meanwhile, Piki sets to work on breaks – wood covered by pieces of an old bike tire, which will pivot to stop the cart. On any project that involves vehicles, breaking is necessary to make sure we maintain control at all times. It’s also a great challenge – making and adapting breaking systems that work with the wheel box design you’ve got.

D7K 8547

Working in pairs is great – you’ve always got the extra set of hands anticipating your needs, you have company, and when you get stuck, you have an extra mind problem solving along with you. Tuesday, now that we’ve had a chance to get to know one another and each-others styles of working, teams really get closer.

Rory and Kevin add the re-jigsawed boards with the internal grooves back into the correct place.

IMG 0239

Bits of Tinkering School creativity.

D7K 8549

The creature belongs to Eloise.

IMG 0246

The Nooi wheel-box factory.

IMG 0249

Eighteen hard-working tinkerers makes for a busy barn.

IMG 0254

When the weather’s nice, working outdoors can be fun. Anya and Aimee work together to assemble Panda’s cart-body.

D7K 8551

Your Daily Goat.

D7K 8553

Jonah takes a minute to put together the back wheels for a side project.

D7K 8556

Portrait of a Tinkerer: James and the Rubber Bungees.

D7K 8557

Teams plow forward on their projects – tons of energy, busy hands, and momentum.

The Kablooi:

D7K 8561

The Nooi:

D7K 8563

The Piki:

D7K 8564

And Panda:

D7K 8570

Hands of a Tinkerer: Rory gets in for the tough angle.

D7K 8574

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Eloise, pensive.

D7K 8578

Rory studies.

D7K 8580

The Kablooi need notches in the bottom side pieces in order to get the wheels low enough for the bottom of the cart to have enough clearance above the ground. Armed with a drill and a jigsaw, Junior Collaborator Serena is up for the job.

IMG 0267

Portrait of a Tomatillo Plant.

D7K 8599

Leslie, the ranch coordinator, takes the group on a tour of the ranch, introducing us to the animals and showing us the gardens.

D7K 8606

Eloise befriends a goat.

D7K 8633

Lucy, meet Lucy.

D7K 8672

As we clean up the barn before lunch, we get a look at the state of the projects.

Kablooi’s frame is beginning to come together.

D7K 8696

The Nooi have a double (back to back) seat made and mounted.

D7K 8697

“Mango juice? Can I have it in a bowl?” Jonah asks. “My cup’s outside.”

D7K 8722

The third rule of Tinkering School – all unresolvable disputes are settled by ro-sham-bo. When Serena tells James and Jonah this, they must immediately put it to the test, creating absurd statements with which to challenge the other and then playing.

D7K 8727

D7K 8728

Portrait of a Collaborator: Nova

D7K 8747

Kevin, eating chocolate.

D7K 8752

Portrait of a Collaborator: Tricia, sly.

D7K 8754

Karsen, knife at the ready.

D7K 8763

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Ari, content.

D7K 8769

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Rory, eyes glinting with curiosity.

D7K 8776

Panda’s been running into a few minor issues with their wheel boxes. They work on them. Jonah plays with the tire-less bike.

D7K 8811

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Kevin grins.

D7K 8815

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Grazzia, accomplished.

D7K 8832

Kablooi starts attaching the bungees that will hold the wheels down.

IMG 0320

Nova, the photographer.

D7K 8859

Jonah – Click. Click.

IMG 0329

Kevin works on the Kablooi suspension boxes.

IMG 0350

The Piki’s suspended “hammock” is in progress.

D7K 8865

IMG 0366

Audrey tests out the new hammock.

IMG 0386

It steers!

IMG 0430

The Kablooi suspension is working, too! Kevin tests it out.

IMG 0461

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Zachary – a captured moment.

D7K 8939

The Piki take their trapezoidal ATV for a test run.

D7K 8965

Then reaches and improve. Jen considers adding a crossbeam.

D7K 8970

Test two!

D7K 8980

And three! Success!

D7K 9002

Piki, thrilled, takes a moment to rest. Their cart isn’t perfect yet, but they’re off to a great start.

Audrey finds a chicken.

D7K 9041

The Kablooi cart – nearly there.

IMG 0684

The Nooi’s cart is ready for a test drive. James clambers aboard.

IMG 0749

Madelyn takes a ride!

IMG 0807

While excitement runs high in the barn area – two teams have now tested their carts, (though Nooi’s cart body snapped in two and has to be fixed) a group headed down to the creek to explore. They return in the midst of this excitement bearing a baby bird.

IMG 0843

Found at the creek, the tinkerers named the baby “July.” Kevin saw the bird fall out of a tree and saved it from drowning in the creek.

This brought much excitement and discussion on what to do. After learning that birds would take back offspring even after they were picked up by humans, we decided to return the bird to it’s home. A group headed for the creek to do just that.

IMG 0869

Even though the group couldn’t find the birds nest, they left it in a nearby tree. Within a minute, the mother returned, chirping to it’s baby. The group left the happily reunited pair for a few minutes to give them space, and returned to find both gone – headed back to the nest. A happy ending.

IMG 0873

Today has been filled with a wonderful sense of caring. The group has truly pulled together and begun to watch out for one another. When minor cuts and scrapes occur in the barn, alert tinkerers race to help grab band-aids and gauze. We’ve become protective of one another. Tuesday has been a magical day.

IMG 0883

Post Script: Evening activities included brownies, barn time, and these beautiful crepes, made by Nova and Jonah.

D7K 9121

D7K 9123

Thanks to Nova, for selecting tonight’s flicker feed of pictures and for her help with the blog.

Day 2 – Problem Solvers

Rise and shine! Josh and Tricia are up and ready for the morning. Monday always seems to be our earliest wake-up, tinkerers, both young and old, full of anticipation and excitement.

IMG 8486

After breakfast, we head for the barn for the grand reveal of this week’s project. But before we hear the surprise, Josh reads off the teams.

Tinkering School has had, at any one point, up to four teams. With our biggest group of tinkerers yet, we divide into all four, complete with the traditional names; the Piki, Nooi, Kablooi and Panda.

IMG 8496

Continue Reading

Day 1 – Explorations

Welcome to Tinkering School! Sunday is a day of getting to know one another, learning about our new surroundings, exploring, and trying new things. As kids arrive, both returning and first-time tinkerers get a chance to acquaint or re-acquaint themselves with their surroundings.

As the parents leave, we gather around to introduce ourselves, sharing our “spirit tools” and a fun fact about ourselves with the group. This is the first chance we have to meet our fellow tinkerers and collaborators.

DSCF3433

As per Tinkering School tradition, each tinkerer is bestowed with a knife at the beginning of the week. It’s a symbol of entrusted responsibility, but also an important tool, and allows for the everyone to share in the joy of whittling breaks.

Josh reviews with the group the five rules of knife safety.

DSCF3435

Thrilled with their new knives, the tinkerers take the first chance they get to try them out. Pointy sticks are all the rage – an excellent choice for a first whittling project.

DSCF3470

Continue Reading

Older Posts
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 75 other followers