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.We are going to build houses (and possibly a fort) that straddle the little creek that runs along Elkus Ranch. There is a collective sense that the yellow-jacket incident has set us back about half a day. It’s definitely time to get started.


Blake makes a survey of the stream where the Piki team intends to build a house big enough for them all to sleep in. It’s ambitious, and a little risky – if they roll out of their house in the night, they are going right in the water…

IMG 1260
Of course, on the way back up to the barn for the design phase, we have to check in with the goats.

IMG 1285
Gever helps the tinkerers figure out where they are going to build. It looks like the Piki team is going to be far enough away from the Nooi and the Kablooi that they may need to build a telephone system – yay!

IMG 1289
Then, it’s back down to the creek to start building.

IMG 1294
Gretchen, Chane, Connor, and Hayden (also known as the Nooi) decide to take some more precise measurements before they start picking and cutting poles.

IMG 1301
The pole picking process goes quickly – everyone is eager to get started.

IMG 1306

Everyone seems to think that big thick poles are better until Gever asks Connor to help demonstrate how strong the thinnest pole is.

IMG 1311

Josie and Theo (of the Piki) test the strength of their thinnest pole as well. “You’ve invented a ride,” observes Hanna.

Back downstream on the creek, Josie, Sophia, Blake, Ana, and Theo set about building their mansion. Gever tries to make a clever joke about Frank Lloyd Wright and Falling Water but the Piki are too busy with their project now to respond.

The Piki head back to get some more tools.

Portait of a Tinkerer: Hayden uses the opportunity to remove a sticker from his sock to watch a spider, look at a tree, and talk about buildings with Gever.

Gever goes over some important elements of structural engineering for the teams. He certainly does love to draw diagrams of pole houses.

Some quick models are made to explore possible solutions to the challenges posed by our limited materials; poles and pallets.

The trip back and forth between the barn and the creek is just a little too long to walk regularly. Luckily, there is a long-standing tradition of riding on the running-boards of the big truck and what might otherwise have been a tedious undertaking is now a fun part of the day.


Portrait of a Tinkerer: Lauren takes to the running boards with grace and style.

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Gretchen finds great joy in the slow ride down the hill to the creek.

Ana and Theo get the Piki “foundation” in place.

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Sophia thinks that the creek is a pretty nice place to be.

Note from the editor: some logistical issues prevented us from getting good photos of every team today. Not to worry though, we are committed to balanced coverage and we’ll see more the Nooi and the Kablooi tomorrow.