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.

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While we wait for Leslie and her assistant Cathy to take us around the ranch, we sit with the chickens for a spell.IMG 1961
Ana likes the red one very much.

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A quiescent chicken seems to have a peculiar calming effect on the tinkerers.

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These gals are particularly fond of broccoli.

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Whenever we can’t find Alonzo, we look in the chicken coop.

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“Can I keep ’em?” asks Connor.

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Gretchen and Josie with suitable chicken corsages.

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We have, with some diligent effort, become friends with the lama.

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Then Cathy and Leslie arrive (with their dogs) and we head to the shed to get gloved up.

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Then it’s off to the barn to meet the horses from the upper pasture. The kids were amazed that there were animals on the farm that they hadn’t met yet.

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Like little Hercules’, they set to cleaning out the stable.

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Hayden brings the wheelbarrow in enpty…

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…and Blake takes it out full.

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Alonzo does his share as well, proving that doing other people’s chores is more fun than doing your own.

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Hayden puts the loose straw pile to good use.

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Gretchen makes friends with the dog that accidentally pushed her over earlier in the day.

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After lunch, we return to the creek and get back to work. Connor is building a new, taller, and more sturdy ladder for the Nooi house.

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Blake and the Piki clan are still making fancy furniture.

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Ana has a love/hate relationship with the clamps.

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Gever was struck by the verdant beauty of the trail to the river.

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The Kablooies are working to get their roof up.

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Hayden is fishing, with a knife. The fish don’t seem too worried.

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Josie is getting a piece of the Piki roof tied down.

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The Piki have a pow-wow with Daniel to work out the logistics of their fire pit.

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Blake helps out at the Nooi house by stabilizing their new ladder.

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The Piki house is sturdy enough for Ana to do some gymnastics practice.

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Tah dah! The Kablooie house is finished!

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Tah dah! The Nooi house is finished!

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Gretchen tries out the new guest bench downstairs at the Nooi house.

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Gever and Connor decide to add another safety railing on the Nooi house.

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Sophia decides to build a ferry to take people to the Piki firepit so they don’t track mud through the house.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Josie from the bridge.

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Meanwhile, Sophia works on the ferry some more.

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From what Gever can gather, this is mostly meant for any raccoons that may wander by.

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Be sure to read the fine print.

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Blake and the Piki clan take a moment to create a nice flower arrangement.

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Lauren spearheads a swing-making project and soon a swing is born.

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Meanwhile, Sophia takes a ride on her own ferry.

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The swing is big enough for two! Sophia and Josie enjoy the river swing.

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Chane checks in with the Nooi team as they spend a moment hanging out in their finished house.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Connor from the trees.

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Gretchen and Connor in the Nooi house.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: From the department of “how can you not include a shot like this in the blog?” Gretchen being Gretchen.

During the final setup of the Piki house, we discover that there is insufficient structure in the walls, and much to the shock of Sophia and Josie, their kit-bags have fallen out and drifted downstream. “At least they floated and didn’t sink,” says Sophia, “because if they sank the stuff inside would have been wetter.”

Some rapid engineering analysis reveals that there is much work to be done to make it safe for all five tinkerers who want to sleep there, but now that their stuff is soggy, Sophia, Josie, and Ana decide to vacate the house and sleep up in the ranch house again. That leaves Theo and Blake to set up quick rails that allow for only two sleepers, which they do, and then they sleep.

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And with that, Jared, Lauren, Gretchen, Connor, Blake, Theo, and Gever settled down for the night in the creek houses.