Well, I think it’s safe to say that it was a great week of Tinkering School down at Elkus Ranch.
Day One – Fooling Around, With a Purpose
Day Two – We Get Into a Spot of Bother
Day Three – We Get Down to Business
Day Four – Whistle While You Work
Day Five – Work, Work, Work
Day Six – We Go The Extra Mile
All of the pictures taken during Session One are currently being uploaded to our Session Archive (on Flickr) for your perusal. This process usually takes a few days, so check back if you don’t find what you are looking for.
It is the final push to get the houses ready to sleep in. In complete honesty, Gever is overheard to admit that he’s not sure this is a sustainable tradition at Tinkering School – “Next, we’ll be sleeping in the cars and boats we make,” he says, suddenly grinning like a fool.
Photo documentation is spotty today because we are all pitching in. Gever keeps saying “All hands on deck” until one of the tinkerers asks, “What does that mean?”
Despite the vast amount of work in front of us, Leslie, the ranch manager has offered an animal tour and chore duty – both seem equally exciting to the tinkerers so we opt to spend the morning working on the farm.
While we wait for Leslie and her assistant Cathy to take us around the ranch, we sit with the chickens for a spell. Read the rest of this entry »
The home stretch, the last stand, the final push – Thursday. There was a faint hope this morning that some of us would be sleeping at creek tonight but by midday we can all tell that it is not to be.
It is the very nature of this kind of project work to present emergent and progressively harder challenges as it unfolds. The stakes (the accumulated effort of the teams) are raised by the very fact that there is a deadline; no one wants their existing work to be for naught. So we work. We lash poles together, we saw exotic angles into wood to handle complex joins, we schlepp more pallets, we return to the forest of yellow jackets and sneak away with the trees we felled but could not take on Tuesday.
Jared learns and applies the official Tinkering School lashing technique. Read the rest of this entry »
A whole day working on one project – it’s an interesting idea for an eight year-old to ponder, let alone undertake. We returned to the creek this morning, our biggest ideas not yet realized and the reality of the constraints and limitations beginning to set in. Plans will be re-jiggered, great ideas will be modified or discarded, and assumptions will be challenged. We have a tough day ahead, but the light at the end of the tunnel is a bonfire, barbecue, s’mores, and a mechanical fireworks project.
Part of working is schlepping. So we schlepp the pallets down to the creek, we schlepp the tools down from the barn, we schlepp and we schlepp. Read the rest of this entry »
Not getting the lumber we need for the day’s project out of the forest last night is what one might consider a “major setback.” We discussed the possibility of going back to the forest for another try, but that went over like a lead balloon. Our fallback is to head back to Tinkering School HQ at Gever’s house and recover eucalyptus poles that were used in previous camp sessions. That sounded pretty good to the tinkerers, so instead of moping around because we didn’t have the right supplies, we loaded up and headed out.
At Gever’s house, we hitched up the old flatbed trailer and let the kids ride while he got it positioned for loading. Read the rest of this entry »
It was a foggy morning. A very foggy morning. We almost didn’t leave the house. But if we hadn’t left, we never would have had the adventures we had – and if we had known what we were in for, we probably would have stayed home.
We arrived at the beach under thick overcast and occasional wisps of ground fog. Sophia wondered what manner of day this would be. Read the rest of this entry »
It is the first day of Tinkering School. We are back from a one-year hiatus – taken to get Brightworks up and running – and it feels like we never left. The barn, the farm, the ranch house – it is all just the way I and the other collaborators who have been here before remember it. It’s us who have changed.
We start the afternoon with a simple project working with wire. Every session starts like this, simple projects that engage everyone’s hands so that we can all get used to each other’s company. A knitting circle where the conversation roams freely while we work to shape something new out of simple materials.
We quickly learn Josie’s look of concentration. Read the rest of this entry »